sleep and insomnia

Word. This is the number one anxiety related sleep issue I hear about: “I wake up and can’t get back to sleep.” That is closely followed by: “I can’t get my monkey mind to stop at night when I am trying to get to sleep.” I am going to help you with both issues. It’s up to you to actually implement the help. Horses, water, drink…well you know the drill.

First we are going to get the blah, blah, blah, sleep hygiene talk out of the way. You have heard it all before, BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT, duh. If you can’t get these principles under wraps, you may as well stop here, even if I am going to give you some mostly secret knowledge later on.

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speed of want

The Speed Of Want is a chapter title I read in the recent (great) book by therapist Lori Gottlieb Maybe You Should Talk To Someone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019). In it she alludes to what I think of as the human evolutionary trait of finding faster, easier ways to the goal, with none or less of the hard work necessary to accomplish it. Witness the recent college admissions cheating scandal. In modern times, think of the changes that have occurred simply between the start of the industrial age and the present that have impacted our lives with mass production, instant worldwide communication, and outsourced labor due to advanced robotics alone.

But there are unintended consequences to this ‘need for speed.’

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why is assertiveness important

“I hate confrontation.”

That is what I hear at least once a day in my therapy practice. And it is usually from women. I wish I could give every woman who thinks this a short lesson on assertiveness, which is often what they mistake for confrontation or conflict. It does not mean you must alter a quiet demeanor, become bold and brassy, or the even worse expression— “a real ball breaker.” Why is assertiveness important? First you have to understand what assertiveness actually means.

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things your therapist wants you to know

As therapist, here are six things I want you to know. Some could be considered general life truisms, but they are also things that will help you progress more quickly if you choose to enter therapy.

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blushing

First, why do we blush? The feeling accompanied by blushing is an exquisite sensitivity to the feeling of embarrassment. Embarrassment is often tied to shame. Blushing is an automatic, uncontrollable response to these feelings. It happens in humans because our facial veins react to this adrenaline. So when the limbic system is triggered, the blood rushes to the face causing the redness to appear. There is a lot of basic (scientific) info on this reaction here, here and here if you are interested.

But what you really want to know is how to control blushing. Right?

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social anxiety

A concerned mother wrote and asked me for suggestions for her son who was in his first semester at college in a different state. She was feeling helpless from afar, and wanted to know how to advise him about his long-standing social anxiety and depression, which had flared in his new environment. This is what I told her.

Dear Worried Mom,

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talk therapy

What better time than the start of a new year to make change that can positively affect the rest of your life? Let’s assume you have made that brave decision, and talk therapy is part of your plan. What do you expect when you are expecting talk therapy? If you want to know how I do it, read on.

People that have never experienced talk therapy often feel a tad apprehensive about getting started. There are lots of reasons. Some wonder if it will do any good at all, and others have the odd fear they won’t be able to ‘do it right.’ Some people simply don’t know how it proceeds or what is expected of them, and they are anxious about that. Still others believe they will receive all the instructions from the therapist about how to change and be on their way—with no real understanding of the courage, persistence, and work that real change takes. And some believe a pill is the answer.

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vacations are important

What is the point of a vacation?

The easy answer is to get away from work and your daily routine. Perhaps it is to relax and unwind from daily stresses that accumulate over time, so much so that we are not even aware of the pile-up. But I think that taking time away from your daily routine makes you a better person for others. It creates the ability to be more ‘there’, more present, for others when you tend to your own spiritual garden. In other words, vacations matter.

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breath work

Most therapists who treat anxiety disorders will teach you breath work. They also call it diaphragmatic breathing or belly breathing. But I don’t think that many teach you why this is so important in managing anxiety.

Why does the why matter? Because if you understand a little more about the positive effect this can have on your body during panic and anxiety, you are more likely to use it.

There are three solid reasons to do breath work.

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focus with hypnosis

I use hypnosis in treatment when the client agrees it will be helpful. It is part of the sessions, not the entire content. In order to learn hypnosis, I trained specifically with different instructors who teach different methods. In this way I developed my own style. And I don’t care what you call hypnosis: mediation, guided imagery, or hocus-pocus, it works. When you focus with hypnosis, you are quieting and stilling the mind with a gentleness that allows the solutions already within you to surface.

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