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The Sauna: Managing Conflict Well

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The Sauna: Managing Conflict Well

Conflict. It’s on the political agenda this year, from the more rabid factions of the Trump campaign to the infighting in the Democrat and Republican parties. As a therapist, I’m no stranger to conflict, and in my next series, The Sauna, I’ll be exploring how it can go wrong, and how, when handled correctly, it can lead to greater understanding and trust. Yup, conflict can be good! We’re hopefully familiar with the joys of a healthy debate, or a respectful negotiation. For many, even most of us, we’ve used basic skills to get a promotion, work out the household tasks, and tickle our...

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Trauma 101: Helping Friends & Family Not To Put Their Foot In It

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Trauma 101: Helping Friends & Family Not To Put Their Foot In It

As you know, the holidays are a particularly difficult time for the chronically challenged, whether you’re suffering from PTSD or Fibromyalgia. So in order to help you help them, I’ve written your holiday letter for you!  Feel free to add, subtract, and modify as you will:   Dear __________________________, I know you don’t know what to say about my illness, and that you’re struggling to find the right words to show that you care for me. Therefore, in the interest of preserving our friendship/marriage/family-work bond (circle appropriate), here are some words to...

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Trauma 101: Discovering Your Inner Protector

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Trauma 101: Discovering Your Inner Protector

When I started writing this series, I explored “safety.” What it means, particularly to those of us who were not nourished by it often enough as our young spirits grew. Many of the essentials I’ve since explored with you, grounding, resourcing, meditation, all help reduce the constant undercurrent of distress in our lives. However, none speaks as specifically, even boundaries, to safety as does finding, and feeding, our inner protector.   You see, when we’re born, we just…are. There’s no good part, or bad, no funny part, or grumpy, no side of us we show at work (cuz we’re...

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Trauma 101: Stepping Gently Into Your Body With Yoga

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Trauma 101: Stepping Gently Into Your Body With Yoga

For most of the uninitiated, yoga still belongs to the land of human pretzels and tie dyed, aging hippies. We’ve even come up with an Americanized version of this ancient and varied school of body movement, which involves some grueling combination of power and heat. Yet yoga is also one of the most commonly used and effective forms of support for those of my clients recovering from trauma. Yoga, from the Sanskrit meaning “to join, unite, or attach,” (and hopefully you know the importance of attachment to trauma; if not, click here), invites us to enter our bodies gradually, allowing...

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Trauma 101: Meditation

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Trauma 101: Meditation

Ah, to sit in stillness, cultivating peace! Doesn’t that sound just wonderful. Maybe you’ve even gone to the expense of creating a space, buying one of those special pillows, getting a sound bowl, burning incense. And it’s fantastic…for about four seconds. Then your mind kicks in…and the battle is ON!!! Your back starts hurting, your left knee act up, you can’t stop thinking about the LIST that everybody’s got: what to get done today, what should have gotten done yesterday. Or that jerk that cut us off, or claims we cut them off. Some of us as well simply were not born to sit...

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Trauma 101: Boundaries, Part 2

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Trauma 101: Boundaries, Part 2

In the previous blog, I gave you a challenge: how do you define your boundaries? In this, I’m going to show you.  Below, there’s a brief video of a friend of mine, Margaret, and I doing a simple standing exercise, with me slowly approaching until she senses me–what we call the ‘alert’. At that point, I’ll back off, and we’ll discuss her experience. It is the ‘alert’ that is significant here, because it will be different for those with healthy systems than with traumatized ones.With healthy systems, what usually happens, about three feet out, is a heightened...

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