Category Archives: Anxiety

NWA Marriage & Family Therapy, Google and the Self Diagnosis

Welcome to the age of Google and information.  I see more clients  more confused now about their situations with all the information they research or read in an  attempt to apply everything to themselves, in hopes of a quick resolve.  Information sometimes applied correctly and successfully and sometimes applied very inaccurately and excessively with unexpected consequences, or not with the desired results

Younger folks are much more willing to rely and use the internet to self diagnose or treat others.   If its accurate and effective, you might save some money but since the biggest predictor of any one getting better is the relationship a client forms with their therapists,  all the information in the world can not substitute face to face  sessions with a professional.   As well as  not all therapists follow the medical model, even thought all insurance companies do, and that is the bulk of what most people find.

Even experts in the mental health field can disagree as to the how’s and why’s of diagnostics and therapy or of the various mental health issues,  which are in a constant state of change and advancement as they are approached from many view points and with new advancements in the filed.

Often times clients self diagnose or diagnose others in their family with various personality disorders without ever having gone to see any one in the mental health field.  Google has made their decision for them.   Everything can sound so similar too, clients tell me.  Sometimes finding issues they did not know were even issuesSo you may consider trusting the face to face process of using a therapists in real time, hanging in there and seeing what happens, rather than amass  information that leads to many clients to feel less than or  more anxious.

Counseling and mental health therapy in one form  or another, through various healers  has been around since ancient times, even before the mental health field developed to what it is today.

Even thought face to face therapy is still considered the gold standard, its good to know that other options now exists.

Thanks Again.

 

What is EMDR?

(Adapted From the EMDRIA Network website)

What is EMDR? 

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a cost-effective, non-invasive, evidence-based method of psychotherapy that facilitates adaptive information processing developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD in the late 1980’s.  EMDR is a treatment which comprehensively identifies and addresses experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural resilience or coping capacity, and have thereby generated traumatic symptoms and/or harmful coping strategies. Through EMDR therapy, patients are able to reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive.

How Was EMDR Developed?

In 1987, psychologist Dr. Francine Shapiro made the chance observation that eye movements can reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts, under certain conditions. Dr. Shapiro studied this effect scientifically, and in a 1989 issue of the Journal of Traumatic Stress she reported success using EMDR to treat victims of trauma. Since then EMDR has developed and evolved through the contribution of therapists and researchers all over the world. Today, EMDR is a set of standardized protocols that incorporates elements of many different treatment approaches.

How Does EMDR Work?

No one knows exactly how any form of psychotherapy works neuro-biologically or in the brain. However, we do know that when a person is very upset, that individual’s brain cannot process information as it does ordinarily. One moment becomes “frozen in time,” and remembering a trauma may feel as bad as going through it the first time because the images, sounds, smells, and feelings haven’t changed. Such memories have a lasting negative effect that interferes with the way a person sees the world and the way the person relates to other people.

EMDR seems to have a direct effect on the way that the brain processes information. Normal information processing is resumed, so following successful EMDR sessions, a person no longer re-lives the images, sounds, and feelings when the event is brought to mind.

The client still remembers what happened, but it is less upsetting. Many types of therapy have similar goals. However, EMDR appears to be similar to what occurs naturally during dreaming or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Therefore, EMDR can be thought of as a physiologically-based therapy that helps a person see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way.

What Is An EMDR Session Like?

During EMDR, the therapist works with the client to identify a specific problem as the focus of the treatment session. The client brings to mind the disturbing issue or event, what was seen, heard, felt, thought, and what thoughts and beliefs are currently held about themselves and the event. The therapist facilitates directional movement of the eyes and/or other dual attention stimulation of the brain, while the client focuses on the disturbing material, and the client just notices whatever comes to mind without making any effort to control the direction or content.

Each person will process information uniquely based on personal experiences and values. There is no right or wrong way to process  the information or feel.  Sets of eye movements are continued until the memory becomes less disturbing and is associated with positive self-beliefs.  EMDR is often used for trauma, PTSD, as well as other situations.

If you feel  EMDR would be something you would like to try please call my office to set  an appointment.  I am an EMDR level two practitioner.

 

 

Is your intuition faster than your logic?

Ever feel like that little guy in front? Literally running for your life in a whirlwind of danger and betrayal? Think, feel or flee?
Your instincts are powerful messengers that should never be ignored or over ridden by you rational brain.  More and more we are talking in terms of having 3 brains,  a gut brain, heart brain and logical mind.
For most of us this sensor is active and functions well.  Some times this system can go faulty for may complex reasons, such as trauma or dissociation and then it might give us false danger readings.  In this article, we will assume that your intuitive powers are well calibrated and functioning as they were meant to.
If your gut brain is sensing danger and it is at an all time high and your fighting for what literally feels like your survival most of the time, do not let the logical mind talk you out of  what your gut is sensing. Often time we rationally tell ourselves the following excuses to ignore our gut:
-that its not what we are thinking or seeing
-that there is a perfectly logical explanation for what is going on
-that it really can’t be, that we must be too sensitive
-that this would never happen
-that we do not have all the facts and need more
-that this is the first & last time
 or finally…. it does not matter what behavior I see, since, they said they said they care about me or love me.
Maybe your chest is tight and in a panic or your stomach’s in a knot and you cant breath or you feel like throwing up? Trouble seeping waking up with fears?  These are messages from your intuitive body to pay attention, that you might be in emotional or physical danger.
Did you ever ignore the signs only to later find your self shocked by unexpected betrayals, abandonments, lies, infidelities and/or by the outright unexpected brutalities and sucker punches that came later? Often times the impact is worse especially by some one who says they “love you”, “would never hurt you”, or “are trying to protect you”.
Do you find your self “rationalizing unacceptable” behavior time and time again that puts you in harms way? Reducing your expectations so low that you violate your own standards for your minimally acceptable behavior?  Are you overriding your intuitive gut brain by rationalizing what just happened, might not be as dangerous or as unloving as your intuition is screaming out, that it is?
You intuitively knew something was just “not quite right”! Assurances by the other person to the contrary can be false, controlling and manipulative with the goal to quiet your inner fire alarm and continue to put you into an unsafe acceptance of an ongoing dangerous situations and liaison wit them.
Your intuitive “gut” brain is quicker and wiser than your other brains because it does not ponder to think and elaborate,  it works a million times faster and it is there to protect you from danger …..so honor it and RUN.
Carmen Cubillo, LAMFT, LAC, EMDR
NWA Marriage & Familly Therapy

Anger & Idioms, our colorful expressions.

Anger seems to be one of our most  often used emotions and often our only “go to” emotion.  Real anger is rarely a primary emotion. Anger is so often expressed  that we have many idiomatic expressions in our language that describe how some people  may feel when they become angry.

We say expressions  like:

  • driving me up the wall
  • driving me nuts
  • hot under the collar
  • blowing off steam
  • blowing our top
  • hitting the ceiling
  • flying off the handle
  • blowing our stack
  • mad as a wet hen
  • rage quit
  • hissy fit

Do any of these sound familiar?  These are all colorful ways that have been weaved into the fabric of our vocabulary and that we use to communicate our frustration, fear, or thoughts of being overwhelmed.  Try for a moment to really notice where anger resides in your body when your feeling over the top angry?

Are you able to visualize any of these expressions? Can you see yourself literally driving up the wall? Seeing that in your minds eye might bring some level of humor to the situation . Ask yourself how important is this really now? And in 25 years?  Is it really about this situation now or maybe there are some unresolved feelings from past that you might not have even been aware of?

You might find that “seeing red” does not always have to be the end result of your anger once you are aware of having anger notice where it resides in your body and of your triggers, and how to release it …. noticing this mind body connection might open up the possibilities to seeing aqua blue, emerald green, sunshine yellow and many more. Take a moment to consider all the other different emotions that we choose from, or at least allow.

Image result for free downloadable images of driving up the wall

 

Attachment styles and your relationship?

Attachment styles and your relationships?  What is your attachment style in your relationship?

John Bowlby (British) and later Mary Ainsworth (Canadian ) pioneering research in developmental psychology, known for their work in early work in attachment.  Ainsworth research in attachment styles explored how a mother’s (ie. caretakers) and infants bond to each other.   She described  3 types of attachment styles in infants. Secure, Ambivalent and Avoidant attachment style.  Suggesting that these early attachment styles are learned from our primary care giver)s) in our early years.  We internalize them as road maps  to then later repeat as adults in our adult relationships.

Secure attachment style is of course the most stable style, yet only about 50% of population is able to create a secure attachment style.   This can create less than stable relationships and over all difficulty in long term relationships or marriage, if we do not fall into a secure attachment style. Secure attachment It is  stable, honest, intimate and manifests as a willing commitment to the other and to the relationship in the long run, even in hard times.

New research shows that attachment styles are both environmental meaning they can be learned by modeling and some speculate, some part might be inherent to us when we are born, as well. Also attachment styles  are now considered more fluid than before, where they were considered unable to change.  The new research shows that  if  some one can model a secure attachment style in a relationship or marriage to an ambivalent or avoidant  that is anxiously attached,  this person might in four or more years have a chance at being  able to change their style to a more secure attachment style.  How ever this is not a given and there are many other factors.

Ambivalent or Anxious attachments manifest with an inherent need to get a lot of affection and attentions, sometimes it never seems to be sufficient.  They are often insecure about  themselves and need a lot of affirmation form others.  They have a fear that their partner will some how  or abandon them, because they are not worthy  or they have a fear that their partner will cheat on them.  Worry seems to over ride trust, and they seem to pursue the other more.  They are usually uncomfortable alone and seek to be in a relationship at all costs even if it is not a healthy relationship.  Sometimes anxious attachment can manifest as a high need for control, or neediness vacillating with anger if unable to get needs met..  Having said that, all manifestations of control attempts of one partner over the other are not always just anxious attachment issues.

An Avoidantly attached person will feel suffocated with real intimacy or too much closeness and have the need for alot of alone time, a high need for privacy and possibly even stray to have other relationships.  They might find a securely attached person too regular and too boring.  Avoidantly attached individuals, like change and excitement they are not very emotionally vested in a relationship, and will be quick to end and restart another relationship without too much time in between.  Their focus is more on themselves and their work. They will be less interested in sharing intimate feelings/ Avoidant often will often leave their relationships when times get  difficult and they feel stressed.  Avoidant  have difficulty establishing a sense of “we” identity.

Newer research from Mary Main now points to fourth attachment style, the Disorganized Attachment style. This is created when the parent has unresolved abuse, trauma or loss, and disorientates the child growing up.  Parents are frightening or frightened and struggle with emotional regulation, the world is an unsafe place.  Disorganized attachment style is full of mixed messages, creating a very unstable environment for the child and later in adult their relationships. Often manifesting as a difficulty in managing stress and self regulation, poor social skills and trust issues.  The adult them will have difficulty with later parenting or in relationships over all.  People with disorganized attachment styles are less likely to feel they need help or to seek help. These styles can be explored in therapy as to how they impact the couple or the individual.

Once you are able to better make sense of what attachment style you developed as a child and how this map is still guiding your life today,  you will be able to gain insight and learn new skills.  Most people can learn to develop  a secure attachment style with time  and therapy or  a securely attached partner.   This information might be useful to know about yourself and your loved one when dating or when looking for a life partner.

 

ONE BODY TWO BRAINS? YOUR GUT INSTINCT?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/

Surprising article in Scientific American Journal that explores the mind body connection. Scientists are now discovering that  people’s “gut instinct”  or “butterflies” are connected with mind and emotions through our body.  This gut instinct or some call it intuition, can process information much faster than our rational mind and it is usually accurate.

This other gut brain “second brain” is composed of many neurons in your intestinal tract and is connected with the brain in your head. The article points out that  it is the seat of your unconscious thought.  It can alert you very quickly to  danger, suspicion, excitement.

People  often say,” I just knew it in my gut”  that is because this second brain contains 100 million neurons,  give or take a few. That is more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system.  The second brain can control gut behavior independently of the brain in our head, and it is very connected with our emotions and with our physical illness or health.

More research is needed in the future but preliminary research shows that maintaining a healthy gut contributes to good mental health and vise versa.  So notice your hunches and your gut feelings and be open to their influence, they can provide valuable information.

Question? Can emotional issues affect your physical health?

kalidescope masked ballIt is interesting how we tend to compartmentalize our physical health as separate from our emotional health like it is in two different compartments, or locations. More and more research points to their connectedness. Stress for example seems to increase our inflammation response in our body as well as create muscles tenseness, shut down our immune system and create over all tightness in our body. We get a problem i.e. a “stressor” in our day and then our bodies automatically and often without us noticing respond with an increase in our protective mechanism that is also called the “fight or flight” response. This response is natural and helpful for survival but it was intended for short quick energy bursts to correct our possibly dangerous situation thus shutting down many of our other autonomous body requirements.

In our modern world often times the “stressors” are not easily resolved and we get stuck in this hyper arousal state without being aware of it. After some time, it may become our default state and it leads to exhaustion. Some of the more common symptoms of stress include headaches, skin problems, “tightness”, intestinal issues, and changes in sleep or appetite. I often explore with my clients many aspects of the person’s life that are impacting them. Sometimes making changes in one seemingly completely unrelated area can create more balance and reduce our reactions to our “stressors”. Becoming more mindful of your stress, instead of ignoring it is a big first step.

Carmen’s Blog

CarmenThank you for stopping by and welcome to my blog. I hope to share useful information and experiences with you here.

Couples and Marital Therapy

Deciding to participate in counseling is a journey of self discovery and a sign of courage for an individual or a couple.  In couple’s therapy it is often getting to know what works for your “WE” in a safe supported environment as well as for both of you.

A feelings of getting stuck sometimes in a marriage, relationship, career, or even in defining who we are as whole person is part of our human experience as people.   Emotions are not to be ignored or suppressed; they are your intuitive messengers and should be examined, verified and honored to create a more authentic fulfilling life.   One can struggle with feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, and fears that all  may be legitimate.  Emotions are powerful and have energy to creatively transform, expand and encompass new perspectives, new thoughts and behaviors.  Do you know how listen to your emotions with more clarity and compassion?  Finding your life’s goals and finding your own    voice can be important both for you individually, as well as for your couples success.