Candace Pert shares her own journey, both personal and professional, to understanding that emotions are physical things. They are actually chemical chains of proteins found throughout the body. Pert draws out this connection between mind and body.
Stress. A little is useful for energizing us and helping us get things done. Too much, or chronic stress, and the body becomes unable to adapt and cope. (Benson, H. and Stuart E.M. The Wellness Book) What is stress? Separate from the stressor, stress is what you feel inside. It’s not just what’s in the environment, it is the interplay between what’s happening in the environment and your perception of what’s happening (see it as a threat versus a challenge) and your belief about how well you can cope with it successfully (can’t).
Since it is something that happens within you, there are shifts you can make in your thinking, beliefs, behaviors and emotions that build stress hardiness. (Are you feeling overwhelm already? See the act of reducing your stress as a finesse, a creative challenge, like a game.) Stress hardiness, the ability to experience stressors without experiencing a stress response, is facilitated by anything that helps you 1) have confidence in your ability to influence your life positively, 2) see what life puts in front of you as a creative challenge to finesse rather than as a threat, 3) commit to helping you support yourself to live effectively, 4) share your stresses with a friend (research of Kobasa, Maddi and Kahn).Continue Reading
Psychotherapy is shaped by both what we know about the conscious mind, brain and nervous system, and also by the understanding of the subconscious mind. Psychotherapy addresses both conscious and subconscious minds by increasing your awareness of your inner truth.
In psychotherapy you shine a spotlight on yourself that reaches inside for a fuller, more perceptive view of yourself. This intuitive view guides you in healing and correcting the unsatisfying parts of your life.
Good psychotherapy happens in relationship with a trusted psychotherapist who doesn’t allow you to be anonymous. The more you are known and accepted by another person, the more permission you have to accept yourself even though you have parts or things about yourself you may not like. When you find a therapist respects and accepts you nonjudgmentally when your vulnerability is shown to her, you have created a relational space in which you can grow and heal. The change that takes place will be much more powerful when it happens in such a relationship. When you let the therapist see you and know you, you are allowing her to help you. Good psychotherapy cannot be done in anonymity.
Psychotherapy is the process of making conscious change through talking, through seeing your situation with expanded openness. The benefit of deeper self-understanding is potential for healing and for making decisions that are a truer fit for your life.
There are numerous methods and techniques for working with the subconscious mind which therapists are proficient weaving into psychotherapy. This is quickly becoming a standard practice in today’s psychotherapy. Methods like hypnotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Energy Psychology, Emotional Freedom Technique, and numerous others are widely used as part of psychotherapy because the conscious and subconscious minds frequently hold different personal realities. There is a need to understand and work with both. Psychotherapy provides the safe space of the relationship to do this. Psychotherapy then integrates the deeper-mind work into conscious understanding and healing.
Good psychotherapy is better now at what it always intended to do. It is a laboratory where you learn to like yourself and have more confidence and be more effective.
No one ever tells us to stop running away from fear…the advice we usually get is to sweeten it up, smooth it over, take a pill, or distract ourselves, but by all means make it go away.
― Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
This is a wonderful book and one to have by the side of your bed when you are going through those times when you can’t sleep and can barely get your breath. Pema Chodrun tells us that this is what it means to be human, that we can stand it and then talks us through breathing and facing ourselves while feeling our emotions.
Energy Medicine is based on ancient understanding of the body’s energy systems, including meridians and chakras. The idea is that when your body’s energies are balanced, you are healthy and functional. You experience well-being.
Energy Medicine sees the body’s energies as able to retrain in order to reach balance. Energies flow, and cross over, and move. Space to move is a daily necessity for the body’s energies to function well. Energies are both the patient, needing treatment and care, and the healer, the thing that heals the energy imbalance. Energies want harmony and can help create it. Energies like to connect with other energies. Healthy energy flow is forward.
Energy Medicine practice utilizes exercises that, if done daily, can strengthen and maintain the health of your body’s energies. Energy Medicine uses energy testing, similar to muscle testing used in kinesiology, but to test the flow of energy through a muscle, rather than the muscle’s strength.Continue Reading
Views on how to heal depression lie on a continuum. At one end is the medical model view, a syndrome and list of symptoms. This view holds that you are not responsible for the cause or the cure of your illness. While it seems nice not to be held accountable, with deeper inspection it is less desirable. Inherent in this view is a lack of empowerment to make a difference for yourself. Your role is seen as good self-care, taking your medication as prescribed and getting yourself to treatment. Psychotherapy may or may not be medical model-based. It depends on the views of the practitioner. But in this view there is little hope manifested in what you can do to bring about your own healing. Depression is an opaque, senseless phenomenon.
At the other end of the continuum is the holistic view that while not holding you responsible for having depression, does hold you responsible for empowering yourself to heal. The holistic view of healing gives the patient a role. It is to understand your symptom(s) symbolically in relation to your life. The physical symptom is itself a guidepost to its own symbolic meaning. Here the symbolic is more important than the physical manifestation. The symbolic, seen as the cause, becomes the treatment focus. It is your job to analyze beliefs experiences and circumstances to understand the mind-body meaning the symptom may be bringing.
For instance if you no longer have any pleasure in life, what is seen as more important than that lack of pleasure is the symbolic meaning of it. What part of you has closed itself off to pleasure? What needs to alter in your life? What are your beliefs or experiences that might lead to a lack of pleasure?Continue Reading
What is it, and will it help you with your problem, issue or goal?
Hypnosis is both a noun, it is a state of deep relaxation, and a verb, it is the act of hypnotizing one into a deeply relaxed state. When you are in a deep relaxation, the conscious mind lets go of control so the subconscious mind can expose information about you to yourself. The subconscious mind can be influenced, changed and healed around a situation.
What hypnosis does best is support you and help you heal. It connects you with your inner self, increasing the depth of self-knowledge, understanding and self-acceptance. It is helpful for changing behaviors you want to end or begin.
Hypnosis verses hypnotherapy.
After relaxation, hypnosis suggests as true to your subconscious what you want to be true but that isn’t. Hypnosis may include guided imagery to experience it as already true. Hypnotherapy is interactive. Therapy occurs while you are in a hypnotic state. This work is inquisitive and searching, and helps you make connections about why you are the way you are, or why you feel the way you feel, in some area of life.Continue Reading