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Stages of Change in Therapy – how understanding of ourselves helps us progress

When clients first come to therapy, they often wonder: “What do I want to gain from this? How can I get help if I don’t even understand what’s bothering me?”.

Maybe they tried therapy before and it “didn’t click” or they lost motivation, or simply couldn’t find time to commit to weekly sessions. What they DO know is they need help, they just need to find out what to do.

These feelings are very common when facing a big step such as going to therapy. The understanding of our motivation is one of the essential parts of getting better – not only knowing what the issue is – also the knowing why I want to change.

What to expect from the process of change?

How fast can I move forward?

What if I fail?

Being prepared will make us more confident and less anxious about the changes and will let us navigate the process in a more mindful way.

The Stages of Change or The Transtheoretical Model of Change is a clinical theory developed in the 1970’s by James Prochaska of the University of Rhode Island and Carlo Di Clemente.

The stages can be best explained as interrelated steps we go through with our thoughts and emotions when we are confronted with a difficult situation that needs changing.

The concept can be applied to anything from quitting drinking to breaking up an unhealthy relationship to healing from grief after losing a loved one. The stages follow an order and each of them has a purpose in creating change. They also occur gradually – from initial resistance and denial, a commitment and progression is created, and relapse is an expected part of the process.

I love to talk to my clients about the Stages of Change, because it provides tremendous help in creating a deeper understanding of the process they are going through and prepares them to set realistic expectations for the next steps. It is like a map of progress that they fill in with their own details to use in moving forward the therapy path.

Important elements to consider in a change process are:

Readiness to change: having the resources and knowledge to make a lasting change successfully (e.g. believing that therapy is helpful or knowing where to find information on AA support meetings).

Barriers to change: if and what is preventing you from changing (e.g. not having time, finances to dedicate to treatment, not having reliable transportation to drive to group meetings.)

Likelihood of relapse: triggers to returning to a former behavior (e.g. living with a person who is using drugs when attempting to stay sober.)

According to the theory, stages follow the order:

Stage 1: Precontemplation (“I don’t need to change.”)

Clients in this stage do not see change as something wanted, needed, or possible and have no intention of changing the behavior. For example, “I have no intention of taking up a sport or going running.”

The client may be lacking awareness, insight or information about the issue, may have tried to address it and failed and feels discouraged. Since the situation is already usually impacting client’s life in a serious manner, we try to help the client consider the need for behavioral change. We want to educate and discuss the risks regarding current behavior.

Stage 2: Contemplation (“I think I want to change.”)

Clients are in procrastination and plan to make the change within next months. They are aware of the pros and cons of making the change. For example, “I know I need to lose weight for my health, but I enjoy fast food.” Important to consider is working with ambivalence – mixed and contradictory feelings, identifying barriers and committing to changes in the present.

Stage 3: Preparation (“Ok, so how do I start?”)

Clients are committed to changing their behavior, they want to work on an action plan, they are organizing resources and support, writing down goals, developing strategies to make the changes happen and implementing first preparatory actions (e.g., getting a gym membership.)

Stage 4: Action (“I’m doing it!”)

The change behavior began, and a new pattern of behavior is forming. Clients have made some progress and modified their lifestyle over the last six months, for example, “I go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays every week, and I am following a plan set out by my trainer.” What’s important now is to keep the positive change and motivation going, reward progress behaviors, and monitor for relapse and obstacles.

Stage 5: Maintenance (“I’ve changed.”)

Clients in this stage have been following the new pattern for a certain amount of time and it is now part of their lifestyle. They become confident they can continue their new way of life. It can last between six months and five years (Prochaska & Velicer, 1997). Relapse is now less likely to happen. for example, “I am confident I can make healthy eating choices at home, work, or when I go out.” Now we want our clients to sustain the new behavior for the long term, avoid relapse and develop coping strategies.

Stage 6: Relapse (“I’ve done it again.”)

Clients returned to their old habits or behaviors and regressed to an earlier stage. It is not considered a stage, but a failure to maintain the change, either by the wrong activity (e.g., beginning smoking again) or inactivity (e.g., stopping going to gym.) As disappointing as it feels, relapse is typical for behavioral changes, yet not inevitable. We want clients in this stage to focus on identifying the triggers linked to relapse, to reaffirm them in their commitment and help them process through the stages again.

Stage 7: Termination (“I permanently changed.”)

The behavior is extinguished now and there is no need or craving to return to old behaviors. Client is now integrated with the change because the unhealthy habit is no longer a part of their way of coping. The new, healthier behavior is part of the person’s identity and lifestyle and has persisted for a long time, for example, “I have been keeping up with physical exercise for some years now, and even after recovering from a long-term injury, I continue to do so.

Another view is that termination is never reached and a risk of relapse into unhealthy ways is always present.  In this perspective, the client always remains in the maintenance stage. In some cases, individuals who do not participate in therapy are usually in a contemplation or preparation stage of change, sometimes even in an action stage.

From there we work together on creating new habits and learning to accept the change as a wonderful part of life!

If any of this information feels right to you, please feel free to contact our office for more information.

Kindly,

-Zuzanna Gromulska, MS, LPC-Associate Supervised by Guillermo A. Castañeda, LPC-S

References:

https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2000/0301/p1409.html

https://positivepsychology.com/stages-of-change-worksheets/

https://www.verywellmind.com/the-stages-of-change-2794868

Prochaska, J. O., & Velicer, W. F. The transtheoretical model of health behavior change (1997). American Journal of Health Promotion12(1).

When the Caregiver Needs Inner-Care

Dear Reader,

 As a provider, I have come to understand the importance of providing care to others.  In many walks of life, we all engage in providing care in one form or another.

Caregiving is a benevolent and altruistic practice.  Caregiving can range from providing care to children and adults, helping meet the needs of others, or providing support.

Caregiving has many forms, variations, and levels of depth.  Some individuals require more support and others need less.  Every individual and situation is unique to its circumstances and necessities.  In some cases, there are seasons where individuals may need more or less from us.

Normally, when inquiring about why caregivers engage in such practice, it derives from values such as kindness, a deep sense of contribution, and a desire to help others.

However, what happens when the role of caregiving becomes all-consuming or encompassing?

In some cases, the caregiver may over-function, overwork, over give, and hurt. 

Dr. Gabor Maté eloquently points out in a lecture how caregivers are honored in obituaries for selflessness, always being there for others and putting themselves last, and working until the last minute of their death.  In his lecture, he cautions the audience of how these individuals needed to receive care when receiving fatal diagnosis and continued to perform in caregiving roles at the expense of their health, and prioritizing others when they themselves needed support.

This is a grim and sobering observation of the caregiving spectrum.   On one end, it can have a positive and adaptive function, and on the other it can lead to maladaptive and negative consequences.

It reveals the cost and impacts caregiving may lead to when over-functioning, over giving, and not taking the time necessary to rest or recover.  Dr. Maté’s message emphasizes the importance of caregiving for the self.

Now, if you are in a role where you are providing care to another individual, the following items are signs that you might need to prioritize your own self-care:

  1. Resentment

If you find yourself resenting others who are receiving of your care, this might be a sign that you are likely over giving or over functioning.  Resentment is an important emotion that signals the body that we need something.  In some cases, both the mind and body may need physical or emotional nourishment, care, and rest.

One way to address resentment is by recognizing and understanding that we are emotional human beings who have needs.  Of course, this begins with self-awareness and listening to ourselves.  Our body, mind, and heart are talking to us all the time. Once a need is acknowledged, boundaries can be established, and needs can be expressed.

  1. Sickness and Illness

This occurs when a primary doctor or provider has pointed out the importance of taking time off, self-care, or reducing stress.  This might mean that the body needs time to recover or rest.  There is a strong correlation between inflammation, stress, and chronic illness.  In some cases, stress can exacerbate the symptoms of sickness or illness.

A way to address this is by asking for help.  Like mentioned above, it starts with recognizing what we need.  When this occurs, we might recognize that we need help and that’s okay: we are human.  This may mean that some tasks or projects need to be delegated appropriately, revised, or entirely removed.

  1. Misplaced Responsibility

This normally occurs when we feel a deep sense of responsibility for others.  Granted, there are real and valid situations where we do hold a responsibility for others’ wellbeing such as parenting or leadership roles.  However, misplaced responsibility occurs when we feel responsible for things that are truly outside of our control.  This can lead us to feeling exhausted, discouraged, and hurt.

One way to address this is by accepting both what is within and outside of our control.  Acceptance is an antidote to those things which are not within our control.  This does not mean we are giving up; however, it may mean that we can redirect our efforts in a more adaptive or helpful ways.

  1. Insatiable Expectations

No matter what we do, it feels as if it’s not enough.  As human beings we have a potential to do extraordinary things; however, if unaware it can lead individuals to over perform or overwork.  Like mentioned before, this may be due to misplaced responsibility on ourselves such as things are truly outside of our control.  This can lead us to limiting our ability to be present and enjoy the process.

A way to address this by setting realistic and achievable expectations.  To do so, we may start by prioritizing and clarifying what is truly important for us.  Ideally, the goal would be to shift our expectations from focusing on the outcomes and instead focusing on the quality of the process.  In other words, enjoying the journey.

  1. Over-Identifying with the Caregiving Role

This can occur when we confuse our identity with the caregiver role.  The self is made up from different parts, values, and life experiences.  However, in some cases either because of adverse childhood experiences or through social learning experiences we might forget who we are.  Hence, we might confuse the caregiving role as a form of identity.  Very reasonably, it might be a very important part of who we are, however, the invitation is to take into consideration that even then, it’s not all of who we are.

A way to reframe this, is to make room for other parts.  This requires awareness of ourselves: to make room for both the caregiving part of ourselves and other parts.  Hence, this may begin by exploring all our parts such as our strengths, our roots, our values, and needs.   There is more to us than the caregiving role.

In closing, caregiving is a beautiful and rewarding experience.  However, the caregiver needs love, too.  My intent is to invite the caregiver part in you to make room for inner care.  Like Maya Angelou once said, “Love liberates,” it does not confine.  Caregiving is an act of love that liberates the self to express and receive love.  In essence, my hope for you is to live the life your heart longs for.

With warmth and kindness,

Jazmine

References

A., V. D. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York (New York): Penguin Books.

Martinez, M. E. (2016). The mindbody code: how to change the beliefs that limit your health, longevity, and success. Sounds True.

SCSASmithers. (2013, March 6). When the body says no — caring for ourselves while caring for others. dr. Gabor Maté. YouTube. Retrieved August 11, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6IL8WVyMMs&t=2309s

La Hipnosis en las Fobias

 

Las fobias son conocidas como miedos “exagerados” que pueden (y a menudo ocurre) incapacitar a quien la sufre, de tal modo que no puede llevar una vida normal.

 

Es clasificada como un trastorno de ansiedad y se refiere a situaciones, objetos o seres que en realidad no representan una amenaza real.

 

El Manual Diagnóstico y Estadístico de los Trastornos Mentales V (DSM-V) la clasifica dentro de los problemas de ansiedad.

 

Hay una serie muy grande de disparadores de las fobias, que van desde situaciones, como ocurre en la fobia social, en donde la persona no puede relacionarse efectivamente, no puede acudir a sitios donde se reúnan dos o más personas.  De hecho, pudiera llegar a presentar ataques de ansiedad, de pánico y hasta posiblemente trastornos físicos.

 

Los animales, gatos, perros, etc., y por supuesto los insectos, son uno de los motivos que, con frecuencia, llegan a provocar una fobia. Hay aproximadamente 470 tipos de fobias.

 

Es muy importante señalar que existe una diferencia muy grande entre un miedo y una fobia, en una fobia el miedo es más allá de toda proporción, impide por completo que la persona pueda acercarse de cualquier forma a la situación que la produce, logrando con ello inmovilizarla.

 

Existen varias estrategias para enfrentar el trastorno, por ejemplo, la terapia cognitivo conductual, terapias basadas en un acercamiento gradual al motivo y otras.

 

Sin embargo, la hipnosis ha demostrado una efectividad muy grande en la resolución del problema, en lo que respecta a los tiempos de recuperación la hipnosis ha demostrado que es una terapia sensiblemente más rápida, por lo que se le conoce como una terapia breve.

 

Es importante apuntar que, si bien la hipnosis es más rápida, no basta con una sesión, se requiere de cumplir con un protocolo, a fin de lograr los resultados esperados y abundo en el concepto.

 

Un sujeto en hipnosis siempre estará consciente, que la hipnosis es un estado de profunda relajación, más allá de la meditación, en donde se establece una comunicación con la mente subconsciente y se pueden reprogramar hábitos, sentimientos, conductas, emociones, y siempre con la aceptación y consentimiento de la persona.

 

Si gusta más información sobre la hipnosis, no dude en llamar nuestra oficina (915) 209- 1234.

 

Sinceramente,

Guillermo Castañeda, Hipnotista Profesional

Intimate Partner Violence Amongst Men

This blog is dedicated to all individuals that have been subjugated to violence, abuse, and distress within their relationships even though this blog specifies abuse towards men. Readers’ discretion is advised.

 

 

This topic is a little more distressing than others.

However, I have found that this topic is important to discuss especially for those individuals that believe there is no way out, that nobody would understand, empathize, or care for their well-being after being subjugated to some form of abuse by a partner.

 

If you have been keeping up with the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case, you may have come to realize the severity of intimate partner violence—no matter what stance you take within this case—one thing is imminent, men are and can become victims of abuse by their partner.

 

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is defined as intimate partner (whether current or former) who perpetrates violence through physical, sexual, psychological, stalking, and coercive acts (Douglas & Hines, 2011; Miller & McCaw, 2019). The CDC has considered IPV to be a national and social health problem affecting thousands of people each year (Douglas & Hines, 2011).

 

Past research has concentrated on IPV amongst women, however, as time has passed, more cases on IPV amongst men have risen and have become an important focus for our society, community, and health departments.

 

In 2010, a study conducted to measure IPV, 37.3% of women have experienced some form of sexual, physical, or stalking by their partner and 30.9% of men had experienced the same by their partners (Miller & McCaw, 2019).

 

Alongside this, 23.9% of women and 13.9% of men experienced severe physical violence by their partner where medical attention was needed (Miller & McCaw, 2019).

 

As we can see through these statistics, men experience a high percentage of IPV from their partners, so why are we not talking about it more?

 

Well according to Campbell-Hawkins (2019) in her study amongst African American males who experienced IPV, some barriers for obtaining help included fear of being viewed as weak by their society, culture, and peers.

 

Men will less likely seek out help when experiencing abuse due to their community’s stigma on what being a “man” consists of.

 

However, as we have seen through the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard case, it does happen, and it can lead to violence, aggression and abuse.

 

Even though the stigma on men says they “should” be stronger and able to defend themselves amongst women or their partners; these toxic ideologies can perpetuate suffering in silence for men.

Let’s talk about some of the abuse and IPV men can experience from their partners.

  • Physical abuse
    • This includes hitting, slapping, scratching, shoving, pushing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, throwing things to hit the person, destruction of property.

 

  • Psychological/Emotional abuse
    • Humiliation (i.e., “you’re not man enough,” “you’re a coward,” etc…)
    • Shaming, invalidating feelings (i.e., “quit being so sensitive you’re a man.”),
    • Isolation of family friends (i.e., severe jealousy), threats (i.e., removal of children, lawful consequences, self-harm/suicide threat if left, etc…)
    • Stalking and harassing either at work, home, social media, phone calls, to family members, and so on.
    • Manipulation/coercion
    • Screaming/yelling
    • Blaming
    • Chronic infidelity

 

  • Sexual abuse (yes, men can be sexually abused by their female partner)
    • Manipulation in doing something they do not feel comfortable during intimacy.
    • Threatening their masculinity (different from toxic masculinity) if they do not engage in specific acts.
    • Inserting foreign objects into the body without their permission.

 

These are some examples of IPV amongst men.

 

However, this does not minimize the abuse women go through as well, many of these examples also apply for women and other parties.

 

For men, it is also important to be aware of these examples and seek out help. There is help for you through no judgement and unconditional positive regard.

 

Remember, you are a person and should be treated as such.

 

This isn’t just a “woman” issue, it is a man issue as well and being aware, empathetic, and active in ending IPV in general is a community, society, and individual duty.

 

If you are or have experienced some of these examples, please do not hesitate to contact the National Coalition against Domestic Violence (NCADV) 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224

 

If it is an emergency, please call 911 immediately.

 

Kindly,

 

Elda Stepp, PhD, LPC, LMHC, CART

 

References

Campbell-Hawkins, M. Y. (2019). Intimate partner violence (IPV) and help-seeking: The experiences of African American male survivors (Doctoral dissertation, Walden          University).

Douglas, E. M., & Hines, D. A. (2011). The Help Seeking Experiences of Men Who Sustain Intimate Partner Violence: An Overlooked Population and Implications for Practice.      Journal of family violence, 26(6), 473–485. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-011-9382-4

Miller, E., & McCaw, B. (2019). Intimate partner violence. New England Journal of Medicine, 380(9), 850-857. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1807166.

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling Like an Imposter? The Impact of Imposter Syndrome and How to Cope with It

Feeling Like an Imposter?

The Impact of Imposter Syndrome and How to Cope with It

“I’m not good enough to be here.”

“What am I doing here?”

“Will they notice I don’t belong here and fire me?”

“I’m a fraud. Everyone will know.”

I

f you have these thoughts, chances are that you may be dealing with Imposter Syndrome. This phenomenon includes thoughts and feelings of self-doubt and incompetence that continue despite having background knowledge, experience, and accomplishments important to the position.

A person impacted by this phenomenon won’t believe they earned their success through their own merits and worry that their peers or employers will come to the same realization. Minor errors at work just reinforce this perception of yourself.

Imposter syndrome can impact anyone in any position or profession. Possible causes of Imposter Syndrome include: parental rearing or childhood environment, personality traits, current mental health status, new expectations and responsibilities, institutionalized racism, and gender bias.

Now that there is an understanding of what Imposter Syndrome is, we’re going to break-down the five types of Imposter Syndrome, the impact of Imposter Syndrome, and how to reduce the impact on your life.

The 5 Types of Imposter Syndrome

The Perfectionist

If Imposter Syndrome shows up in this type, the person may focus on how things are done to the point that perfection is expected of themselves in every area of their life. Additionally, they will not acknowledge the hard work they’ve invested and may criticize themselves for any errors, seeing them as failures.

The Natural Genius

The Natural Genius type will appear in people who spend their lives easily picking up new skills and believe new information and processes should be understood easily as well. This relates to Imposter Syndrome when they begin to have difficulty with tasks because they feel that competent people would not have any difficulty with these tasks.

The Soloist/Individualist

In this type of Imposter Syndrome, the person believes that they should be competent enough to not need help from others with tasks. If they are not able to successfully complete those tasks individually, they feel like frauds.

The Expert

This type will be observed in people who believe that they should have all the knowledge they need internally. If they are not able to answer questions or find out they were not aware of certain knowledge, they feel like failures.

The Superhero

The Superhero type often appears in people who connect competence to their capability of succeeding in every role they take on in their lives. Imposter Syndrome comes in if they are unable to successfully fulfill role demands and expectations.

This is merely an introduction to the five types of Imposter Syndrome, and we hope to elaborate on them in a future blog.

The Impact of Imposter Syndrome

            Imposter Syndrome can leave a lasting impact and overbearing burden on a person if they are not able to cope with the phenomenon. Since people are experiencing these thoughts of self-doubt and incompetence, they end up working harder than they usually would and placing higher expectations on themselves – leading to mental health issues and, ironically, poorer work performance. These thoughts of self-doubt and incompetence fuel anxiety, depression, guilt, and stress. The combination of these mental health symptoms then leads to a lack of sleep and inability to focus. If these symptoms are not worked through using effective coping skills, it can lead to other psychological and physiological symptoms.

How to Reduce the Impact of Imposter Syndrome

Sometimes our frequently used coping strategies may not work with certain phenomena, including Imposter Syndrome. There are plenty of ways to work through this self-doubt, including:

  • Discussing your feelings and thoughts with your peers, friends, coworkers, family, and mentors.
    • They may be feeling something similar and can provide insight on how they worked through the experience.
  • Recognizing your experience, knowledge, and competence.
    • It takes a lot of work to get where you are in your position or profession, and you would not have been able to get there by doing nothing.
  • Challenging your self-doubt.
    • It’s important to question whether the facts support the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself.
  • Avoid comparing yourself with others around you.
    • We are all unique in our own ways and comparing ourselves is not an accurate comparison.
  • Seek help if your symptoms worsen.
    • It can be hard to do this on our own and there is nothing wrong with needing help from a therapist, church leader, etc. to help you work through it.

Imposter Syndrome can be a difficult phenomenon to work through, especially when it feels so real and scary. However, it can be worked through if you have the right tools at your disposal. You are competent. You have the experience for the position you’re in. You’ve proved to your peers time and time again how you’re deserving of the role. Now, all you must do is allow yourself to believe it as well.

My hope for you is to see your worth in your role, profession, or position. If you would like more information, please contact our office at: (915) 209-1234.

                        Kindly,

                                 Zoe Olivo, LPC-Associate Supervised by Guillermo A. Castañeda, LPC-S

After Experiencing Relationship Hurt: 5 Healing Practices

Dear Reader,

 

When we are growing up, our primary caregivers are like mirrors.  They mirror back to us how they see the world, how they see others, and see us. Their way of relating and engaging with us and others impacts how we may see the world, others, and ourselves.

When reflecting on our own childhood experiences, we need to consider our primary caregiver’s mirrors.  They hold the reflections of their own caregiver’s mirrors which provide us with glimpses of transgenerational patterns and themes that may be passed down from one generation to another.  Hence, our world-views, the way we interpret the world, hold the mirrors of our caregivers, our culture, our ancestors, and own life experiences.

Over time, we internalize at a subconscious and conscious level our identity, our beliefs, and parts of ourselves.  Early life experiences highly influence the messages we learn about ourselves and how the world works.  This basically sets our subconscious programming.  

Is the world safe? Can I trust others? Am I worthy?  Am I capable? Am I enough? 

To further analyze what may influence these beliefs, we can explore the relational and emotional injuries that can occur in families and at a cultural level.

According to Dr. Mario Martinez, there are three common relational wounds we experience as human beings: shame, abandonment, and betrayal.

In his research and work, he also outlines the antidotes to those emotional injuries such as honor for shame, commitment for abandonment, and loyalty for betrayal.

Dr. Martinez encourages readers to seek evidence of individuals in our lives who have shown honor, commitment, and loyalty to help reframe our worldview.  Now, his message is one of empowerment where, if we can identify the origin of the wounding, we can then help it heal.

Now the words relational, emotional injury and wounding are used to reflect what we experience when being shamed, betrayed or abandoned, not as actual physical injuries, but to reflect the depth and complexity of the pain.

Below, I want to outline five practices to begin or compliment the healing journey after experiencing relational hurt.

An important ethical disclaimer:  This list does not in any way shape or form endorse staying in abusive relationships.  If there is any form of abuse in the relationship, sexual, emotional, physical or forms of neglect, it must be addressed with professional help.  I will outline our community resources available in the *References section and available hotlines as well.  This list is not exhaustive and is not meant to replace any form of therapy. If you believe you or someone you know would benefit from counseling you may call our office for more information.

So, what can we do if we have experienced any form of emotional wounds?

1. We need to take care of our body first. When we have experienced any type of emotional pain, our body registers the pain.  In fact, the brain cannot tell the difference between physical and emotional pain.  Pain is pain for the brain.  Hence, taking care of our sleep, nutrition, rest, and safety are incredibly important in allowing both our body and brain to recover and heal.  We want to take care of our body with more self-care than usual. This helps increase the level of safety and reduce levels of stress.

2. We need to reflect on the stories we are telling ourselves. Our brain thrives and yearns for purpose and meaning.  When we have incomplete fragments of what happened to us, it feels uncertain and our thoughts may loop, feel stuck, or feel intrusive in efforts to make sense of things.  Granted, there are things in life that are so painful that those experiences may not have any meaning because nothing will make sense of it.  If something truly doesn’t have meaning, then that’s completely fair and okay.  Helpful practices in processing meaning are practices such as journaling, contemplating, prayer, or meditation.  These introspective practices help increase our awareness while making meaning of our own story.

3. We need to surround ourselves around safe, supporting and encouraging individuals. When we experience a relational injury, it’s as if that’s all we see.  It’s the way we feel seen and known.  In fact, it limits and narrows our perspective to any other possible positive views of ourselves.  When we nourish our mind and heart with people who believe in the best of us and want the best of us, we make room for another internal dialogue and perspective that can truly feel liberating and healing.  This may mean spending more time with a supportive friend or family member who participates in active listening, expresses compassion and provides encouragement.

4. We need to reflect on what we’ve learned from the experience. In many cases, this is where reading books, listening to podcasts, and talking to others may be helpful in better understanding situations and dynamics; although the most important learning is the one that we derive from the experience.  Learning from external sources such as books and other resources can help us name what happened.  Like Dr. Daniel Siegel says, “When we can name it, we can tame it.”  Naming things has an empowering impact since it allows us to reclaim our reality, knowing that what we went through has a name.

5. In some cases, we need professional support. If that means a therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, social worker, doctor, or any individual in a professional capacity who can help us or guide us, it’s highly encouraged.  We were never meant to do life alone.  In some cases, it’s liberating to admit, “I need help.”  Mental health professionals are there to help us understand ourselves, our emotions, beliefs, boundaries, and needs.  More importantly, counseling is a process where small changes have a compound effect on our desired goals.  In the beginning change feels small and unnoticeable, but, over time, we can see how much we have evolved, healed, and grown.

In closing, there may be experiences we may be holding on to that might be impacting our present.  If there are, know that for every injury there is an antidote and a way to reclaim our life and mental and emotional energy.  My hope for you is to live the life your heart longs for.

With warmth and kindness,

Jazmine

References

National Domestic Violence Hotline: Dial 1-800-799-7233  or Text: “START” to 88788

Community Centers in El Paso, Texas 

Center Against Sexual & Family Violence: Dial 800-727-0511

La Posada Home: Dial  915-544-4595

A., V. D. (2015). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York (New York): Penguin Books.

Martinez, M. E. (2016). The mindbody code: how to change the beliefs that limit your health, longevity, and success. Sounds True.

Wolynn, M. (2017). It didn’t start with you how inherited family trauma shapes who we are and how to end the cycle. Penguin Books.

La Magia del Amor Interior

 

En esta escritura, los invito a buscar en sí mismos la magia, y no magia en la que se puede sacar un conejo de un sombrero o una moneda de las orejas del participante, si no una magia espiritual, magia de amor y los milagros.

 

¿Qué significa lo que digo? ¿Qué significa la magia espiritual, la magia de amor?

 

Primero propongo a que se pongan a pensaren todas las cosas que han declarado estar mal en su vida. El sentimiento de estar atrapado en un trabajo miserable, un matrimonio que no parece mejorar, en una situación solitaria, o una carrera en la que se estudió con fuerzas, pero no realizo los sueños.

 

Todos estos sentimientos son muy comunes entre la sociedad. Van a ver veces donde no sentimos que en nadas nos va bien, esto no significa que es el fin del esfuerzo. Esto solo quiere decir que estamos presenciando un cambio mágico. Desafortunadamente, no sabemos como apreciar esta magia, y pues, se nos va de las manos para no volver y después aprendemos arrepentirnos del momento perdido.

 

Así con esto, los invito aprender como cambiar nuestro sistema de vida para poder valorar esta magia espiritual en donde podemos apreciar los milagros del día tras día e incrementar nuestro estado de ánimo. Así para lograr amarnos a sí mismos.

 

El primer paso para esta magia espiritual y los milagros es aceptar que el sufrimiento es igual de importante que el amor.

 

El sufrir no es para siempre y después de este sufrimiento viene el amor y la paz. Sin el sufrimiento y el dolor interno, no sabríamos entender la verdadera belleza de nuestra humanidad. Es muy humano sentir coraje, tristezas, miedo, y felicidad. Cuando peleamos contra los sentimientos, imponemos reglas de amor.

 

¿Y qué quiere decir esto?

 

Que queremos decidir como amar cuando el amor no tiene reglas. Las reglas en el amor disminuyen la intensidad de su poder, la belleza humana, y la magia espiritual.

 

El autor Paulo Coelho explica que, -Sufrimos porque no conseguimos imponer nuestras reglas-

 

El amor interior y la magia espiritual consisten en poder amar sus sentimientos incomodos, sus sufrimientos, sus fallas, así como amamos nuestras alegrías y logros.

 

Amarnos sin condiciones, sin reglas.

 

Todos los días que aceptamos amar sin reglas, es una oportunidad para llenarnos de milagros y de la magia espiritual.

 

Los invito a poder sentir estos milagros diarios de manera humana donde valoramos lo bueno junto con lo malo, ver la vida de manera hermosa, y saber que todo es pasajero.

 

Agradecer y contemplar los días, el sol, la luna, la naturaleza, los sentidos, la familia, y el universo. Todas estas son los milagros que se nos han dado y cuando amamos, se vuelven mas intensos y mas bellos y dejamos de sufrir en un estado constante.

 

 -Los milagros pasan cuando dejamos de tratar en controlar nuestro alrededor- Paulo Coelho.

 

Amablemente,

Elda Stepp, LPC, LMHC, CART

La Tiranía de Las Emociones

 

Como seres humanos somos seres sujetos a emociones, de hecho, nuestro cerebro se divide en tres, la primera fase de este es su parte primitiva, que se le llama cerebro reptiliano, debido a que lo compartimos con los reptiles, esta parte del cerebro funciona preparándonos para el ataque o la huida, esta es carente de emociones, entenderemos entonces que el cuento de Peter Pan es sólo una fantasía, porque los reptiles, en ese caso, el cocodrilo no podría odiar al Capitán Garfio. Entonces, esta región del cerebro es totalmente carente de emociones.

 

La segunda estructura del cerebro es lo que denominamos el cerebro límbico o emocional, que participa en la función de la memoria, el control de las emociones, las motivaciones, diversos aspectos de la conducta, el aprendizaje, de hecho en la supervivencia.  Su anatomía incluye el fondo de saco, el hipocampo, la circunvolución cingulada, la amígdala, la circunvolución del hipocampo y partes del tálamo.

 

La tercera estructura es lo que denominamos el neocórtex, que representa lo que llamamos popularmente la materia gris, que es una concentración enorme de neuronas y en donde se procesa principalmente la inteligencia, teniendo una acción muy especial el lóbulo frontal.

 

Es importante aclarar que la división que he hecho de las diversas estructuras del cerebro es sólo teórica, porque en la práctica existe una interrelación muy estrecha entre ellas, por lo que una sin las otras no podría funcionar.

 

Pero vamos a concentrarnos en las emociones, nosotros seres humanos procesamos emociones como amor, miedo, ansiedad, tristeza, euforia, alegría, rabia, enojo y otras más, esto es por supuesto muy humano, completamente normal, pero ¿Qué ocurre cuando estas emociones se desbordan y se vuelven incontrolables? Entonces es cuando nos sentimos perdidos, nos desconectamos del mundo.

 

¿Cuántas veces hemos tenido la sensación de perder el control a consecuencia de cualquiera de las emociones mencionadas? Parece sencillo, de hecho, muchas personas a nuestro alrededor rápidamente nos aconsejan: Ya, tranquilo, domínate, no pasa nada, no exageres, Etc.

 

¿Pero de verdad es tan sencillo recuperar otra vez el control? Si respondemos sinceramente esta pregunta la respuesta, por supuesto, es no.

 

¿Qué es lo que nos lleva a perder el control?

 

Lo primero es la producción de una serie de mediadores químicos que produce nuestro cerebro, lo que genera un disparo emocional fuera de control, se producen mensajes a través de diversos caminos neuronales, sin dirección. Nuestra frecuencia cerebral predominante se ve alterada. Es el momento en que debemos pensar en solicitar ayuda profesional, que nos pueda devolver la calma, la cual debe ser proporcionada por una persona calificada, preparada para poder entender y ayudar en el manejo de las emociones.

 

En este proceso juega un papel muy importante nuestra mente inconsciente, que es donde se almacena la información de toda nuestra vida, la que almacena toda la información recibida incluso desde el periodo fetal, con la característica de que nuestra mente inconsciente no juzga, no califica, no comprende el humor, simplemente almacena información y esta información nos genera emociones que no alcanzamos a comprender y que obviamente impactan nuestra vida, lo cual explica el título de este escrito.

 

¿Qué pasa cuando sólo sentimos, pero no comprendemos el por qué?

 

Se generan emociones como la ansiedad, la tristeza, el miedo, etc. Y recurrimos a diversas instancias, como platicar con un amigo, con un médico, con un ministro religioso, cuando el profesional calificado sería un consejero, un psicólogo o un hipnólogo, quien nos ayudará a entender el origen de dichas emociones y a través de su guía poder controlar sus manifestaciones.

 

Si gusta más información sobre la hipnosis, no dude en llamar nuestra oficina (915) 209- 1234.

 

Sinceramente,

Guillermo Castañeda, Hipnotista Profesional

The Tummy & Brain Connection

What is the one thing that is most annoying when it comes to thinking your stomach?

        Is it doctors saying that you are overweight? Or family members commenting on your weight which in turn makes you feel terrible about yourself? Or is it not feeling good about how you look? How does this make you feel? How does this change your appetite? What about your health overall?

It’s common to struggle throughout the years to a point in which we don’t even want to hear the word “stomach” ‘tummy’ or even look at it. Maybe this has been the case for you or perhaps not.  However, our stomach is an important part of us.

Well, what would you think if I told you that your stomach is attached to your brain and affects your mood? For some of us, it may concerning to hear that since it may impact the way we treat it.

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Why Emotional Needs Matter

Dear Reader,

 

“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”

-Brene Brown

As a former teacher, I have seen how important, in our culture, is to think our way through things with a heavy emphasis on thoughts and changing mindset.  There is no doubt that our mind is incredible and capable of amazing things.

Meta-cognition (thinking about our thinking) was very important in helping students develop critical thinking skills.  In essence, it helps us formulate decisions, problem solving, planning, and organizing.

Now, as a mental health counselor, I understand how important and essential emotional needs are.  So, let’s begin with one important question:

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Stages of Change in Therapy – how understanding of ourselves helps us progress

When clients first come to therapy, they often wonder: “What do I want to gain from this? How can I get help if I don’t …

When the Caregiver Needs Inner-Care

Dear Reader,  As a provider, I have come to understand the importance of providing care to others.  In many walks of life, …

La Hipnosis en las Fobias

  Las fobias son conocidas como miedos “exagerados” que pueden (y a menudo ocurre) incapacitar a quien la sufre, …