Category Archives: Stress

Communication Problems

Often times one hears of couples saying they have “communication problems”.  Such a term is very often used and can be for the most part rather nebulous.   It can sometimes be a description for many other problems and or underlying issues in a relationship that have not been explored.

Couples for the most part to communicate very well either directly or indirectly their unhappiness, disappointment, resentment, contempt  or anger for each other.  Sometimes they punish each other by using avoidance, manipulation or intentional harm that they might be less than willing to talk about or admit to each other.  Often times in couples therapy the process of discovering the source of the discomfort  or negative patterns might take some time.

Many times the presenting problem of what the couple labels as the issue soon gets overridden by past wounds, hurts or betrayals that have been buried between them and unresolved. Often times these other issues come bubbling up.

Couples who have issues with “communication”  sometimes have been carrying these wounds or unfinished business in an indirect way for months or even years.  These unhealed wounds are often dragged along unresolved in the relationship and/or marriage longer than is healthy and this can impact their current relational health.

If left unresolved the couple may find that the misunderstanding can escalate very quickly and eventually destroy their relationship. Exploring these resentments, patterns of attachment styles and past wounds every so often sometimes can reconnect a couple.  Sometimes the help of a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists can be a good start for a couple to begin to tall openly and to reconnect once again and clear their communication channels.

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.

 

 

Use it or Lose it, your best self as you age.

Getting older sometimes sneaks up on you and suddenly there you are and in part one needs to be very thankful for making it  as  far as you are in your journey in life, but some how doing what we used to do gets that much harder for some over fifty.

Some things one can do to enhance your bet self both mentally and physically is to keep your energy flowing and moving.  Keeping moving in one way or another can reduce the process of what we know or call  “aging” in both body and mind.

Increasing your movement increases your stamina and confidence in your ability to take care of yourself thus increasing your freedom.  Improving your balance through repetitive motions that many sport, dance, or yoga offer helps with right left /brain hemisphere balancing to reduce stress and it will also help you be more flexible as well as keeping your metabolism active.

The idea is movement helps keep your body’s internal functioning moving better and keeps your mind and memory sharper.  Movement can help prevent falls, accidents, improve digestion, improve sleep, it reduces the chance of cancer and high blood pressure and may prevent stiffness and many aches and pains that seem to sneak up on us.  Over all the idea of keeping your body in the movement to  feel better is not new,  nor is it  ever too late to start moving.  .

A good reminder to motivate your self can be to remember one of Newton’s law of physics,….

“A  body in motion stays in motion.”

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

 

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.