About Sue Diamond

Sue Diamond, M.A., is the Founder and Clinical Director of the Good Life Therapy Centre which focuses on helping couples and individuals create loving relationships in the aftermath of addiction and relationship trauma.
If you would like help, please call our office to set up a time to meet with one of our outstanding therapists @ 604-682-1484 or Click Here to Contact Us.

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Do You Have the Roadmap for Becoming an Exceptional Couples Therapist?

[Part 3 in this 3-part Series]

In my last 2 blogs, I have outlined a clear roadmap and template to help you be successful and reduce your stress when working with couples.  There are many approaches to couples therapy, so I’ve been sharing how the transformation from a good couples therapist to an exceptional couples therapist happens.  It involves both sound theory and good guidance.  I have done it myself, so I know it’s possible.  I’ve studied and integrated the Bader-Pearson model of couples therapy for nearly a decade, and transformed my skills as a couples therapist.  You can too!

In this third and final blog post in the series, I want to stress how the use of neuroscientific findings can help you both stay calm in tough situations and become a reliable means for getting more traction in your work.

How Neuroscience Helps Couples Therapy

According to John Gottman, couples wait about 6-7 years too long before coming for help. Many people wrongly assume they should be able to do it themselves – that ‘getting along’ should come naturally. Our popular culture reinforces this fairy tale.  When it gets hard, partners cycle in and out of painful interactions, too embarrassed or too embittered to ask for professional help.  Most couples will get their car fixed faster than their relationship.  I am hoping we can begin to change that culture.

Couples trigger each other in a unique way.  This is because the primary attachment relationship in adulthood stirs up and activates early attachment experiences.  I believe this is what Esther Perel is referring to when she says, “Tell me how you were loved as a child, and I will tell you how you love.”  If everything went well and we felt securely  cared for and valued by our parents, there is a high probability we will recreate that with a loving partner in adulthood.  But for too many couples, they are playing out the painful disappointment chronically encountered in early childhood abuse and/or neglect.

The Triune Brain

To understand how this takes place, it helps to know a little about the brain and nervous system.  Humans are born with automatic responses to potential threats called instincts, much the same as almost every other animal on the planet.  These reactions are most often known as the 3 F’s, or our fight/flight/freeze instincts.

Our brainstem is the oldest part of our brain, and can be thought of as the ‘reptilian’ brain. Our most basic and automatic functions for self-preservation reside here.  The ‘alarm’ that alerts us to danger fires the signal so rapidly that partners have already said and/or done harmful things, before they even know what has happened.  Think of what occurs when you poke an alligator with a stick – a lightning-speed response, invoking terror in anything nearby.  The survival strategy in this part of the brain to overwhelming threat is the freeze response.  This dorsal vagal response has the effect of leaving individuals vulnerable to repeated abuse and neglect, via their inability to self-activate.

The next major part of the brain, sitting above the brainstem, is the limbic system. This is also referred to as the ‘mammalian’ brain.  This is where the amygdala resides and where fear is stored.  This crucial part of the brain registers all painful experiences, both physical and emotional.  Since our brains are underdeveloped at birth, early experiences literally shape us.  When these have been difficult, our amygdales are on high alert, and are constantly triggered into a fight or flight response.

Understanding these two parts as the ‘survival’ brain, helps to explain partners reactivity to one another.  I will say more about that below.

The third part of the brain is the neocortex, found at the top and front of the head, is only found in humans and some primates.  This part of the brain, including the pre-frontal cortex, applies reason, logic, creativity, and problem-solving.  It manages impulses and is where relational circuits are formed.  This part of our brain allows us to assess a situation, strategize, and use ‘higher order’ reasoning to manage our fear. It also tells us about our place in the world, our intrinsic value vis-à-vis those around us.  When online, it helps us to thrive rather than just survive.  According to Stephen Porges, this is the top of the hierarchy in the nervous system, where we can stay ‘socially engaged’ even during stressful events, keeping us connected to others.

Couples Trigger Each Other’s Amygdala

This is where the trouble begins.  Once the bliss of symbiosis fades and the real challenges of creating a healthy, meaningful relationship set in, partners are hijacked by the emotional baggage stored in their limbic brains.  Some partners start fighting and others get increasingly more distant.  Both re-enact painful memories of early bonds with parents who were unwilling or unable to value and validate their basic worthiness.

How to Target Interventions to Calm the Amygdala

Helping couples understand how they get hijacked is critical.  It helps them understand that it is not their fault and that they are not deliberately trying to hurt one another.  They are just wired that way.  With our help, they can learn how to rewire, both autonomously and collaboratively.  Here are a few suggestions to get started:

1.  Name It to Tame It

Educate couples about the survival brain.  Let them know that bringing conscious awareness to their ‘triggers’ is the first step in change.  If they can begin to
“name it to tame it,” as Dan Siegel says, they are already a big part of the way there.  Just by saying out loud,  for example, “I’m feeling afraid right now. . . ” will produce a marked reduction in the intensity of the feeling.  Often, partners are not telling each other what emotions are being stimulated by their interactions, but instead are internalizing and isolating, resulting in a build-up of negativity between them.

2.  Separate Past from Present

Remind partners that ‘trigger’  by definition means an emotionally charged memory ‘from the past.’  Assist them in coming into the present moment and noticing the absence of threat.  Help them stay curious about the fact that they are safe in the present, while their bodies are telling them they are unsafe and preparing for fight/flight/freeze.  Staying in conscious awareness allows the neocortex to stay online, thereby dampening the charge in their amygdala. This helps to untangle past defensive responses from their current desire to stay connected, even under stress.
3.  Soothing Self and Other

Holding individuals accountable for their reactivity is a key and distinctive feature of the Bader-Pearson developmental model.  Helping partners learn how they can calm themselves through soothing self-messages, by self-care activities, by reality-testing with partners in real time, and by reaching out for comfort when distressed.  These are essential in interrupting traumatic patterns, and place the onus on each person to work hard on their own change.

By helping couples identify and work through traumatic bonds from their past, each develops a deepening compassion for their other.  This creates a willingness to arrest and/or avoid behaviours and interactions that they know will stimulate pain in the other.  Each person becomes more attuned to the other, and more ‘giving’ in the best of ways, allowing the environment to be one that is more consistently soothing overall.  This promotes growth in a way that is impossible to achieve if either of them are in a defensive state of fight/flight/freeze.

Training to Integrate Neuroscience for Greater Effectiveness

This is just a small token of what can be accomplished using neuroscience in our work with couples.  The good news is that there are a host of interventions included in the Bader-Pearson training, that directly target these reactive states.  I am going to be sharing so much more during the upcoming training which starts January 13th, 2017.  Therapists who take the Bader-Pearson Developmental Model training have often studied other models as well. They find this training so helpful because they are integrating important components that were missing in other approaches.  New couples therapists report a confidence based on what they believe is the best in the field and are ready to take on this new area of expertise.  This training is only offered locally once per year, and the class is kept small for training purposes.  I will be letting you know how you can join the training at the end of the month, so be sure to watch for this offer.

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful Holiday full of love and laughter.

Until next time,

Do You Have the Roadmap for Becoming an Exceptional Couples Therapist?

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[Part 2 in a 3-part Series]

Last week I shared my passion for doing the Bader-Pearson model of couples therapy.  I told you how it transformed my skills in a way that is making a big difference in helping couples make positive and permanent change.  I presented a roadmap for knowing how to be truly effective in your sessions with even the toughest clients.

In case you missed it, here are the 3 overlapping and comprehensive features of the Bader-Pearson Developmental Model of Couples Therapy:

 
  1. The Stages of Couples Development and integration of attachment styles.
  2. Differentiation as the key feature in creating a secure & lasting bond.
  3. The practical use of the latest neuroscientific research to promote both autonomy and connectedness.

The “High” of Symbiosis

In the early stage of a relationship – love is bliss.  This boding stage is known as “Symbiosis.”  This ‘falling in love’ stage can feel obsessive in nature and is imagined to last forever. Partners feel the “rush” produced by both novelty and euphoric possibility. Yet, this stage has a clear beginning and end, lasting anywhere from 1 to 2 years. In this early stage, we deposit our hopes, wishes, fears, and desires, dreaming of a future (consciously or unconsciously) filled with happy times and conflict-free pure, ecstatic love. If we don’t move on, the highs are replaced with too many painful lows.

Mature love develops over time and is grounded in the real complexities and endless challenges of life. The “rush” is replaced by a feeling of warmth & security. Mature love requires our ongoing attention to the best and worst qualities in ourselves and our partner. It stresses our acceptance that there is no ‘perfect’ person out there for us but rather commits us to growing together over time, striving to build a connection based in mutual respect and admiration.

Transitioning from Fairy-Tale Love to Real Love

This is not an easy task. There is tremendous tension and risk-taking. Along the way each partner suffers disappointments and disillusionments that must be tolerated to successfully move forward. Each person must take their partner off the pedestal or out of the gutter and place at ground level. Each must wrestle with what isn’t appreciated about him/her, and integrate that into a bigger love that can transcend daily trials and tribulations. Each partner must  also take themselves back by defining who they are outside of the relationship. This stage is known in the Bader-Pearson model as Differentiation.” Many couples get stuck in failed differentiation, usually because of either high conflict avoidance or high volatility.

What is Differentiation?

‘Differentiation of self’ is the ability to identify and express important parts of you – being able to tell your partner how you feel, what is important to you, your fears, your hopes, and your desires – especially for the two of you as a couple.  This can be scary for partners because it risks being vulnerable.

‘Differentiation from other’ involves a state of curiosity about what their partner thinks and feels, hopes and desires while at the same time, managing their emotional reactivity to what is said that they may not agree with or find offensive.

For this reason, activating either side of the differentiation coin creates tension and anxiety, especially if early childhood experiences made it unsafe to be vulnerable. Structuring couples therapy with partners who are in the early stages of differentiation, that pushes them forward, will help both to learn these essential developmental skills. Couples often enter therapy when one partner is wanting more differentiation and the other is threatened by it and continues to pull for a return to symbiosis.  This keeps them stuck, cycling in and out of early differentiation, with little movement toward the higher stages of couples development.

How Couples Avoid Differentiation

There are many ways that partners will pull for symbiosis with each other and you will see it happening in your sessions with them. Here are a few examples of what you might see:  

  1. They may be passive, not wanting to risk putting themselves out (and being held accountable) for initiating what they want.
  2. They may change the subject each time you get close to something important between them that creates anxiety or tension.
  3. They might go quickly to blaming the other person for all their apparent deficits rather than begin the painful but necessary task of taking responsibility for their own shortcomings.
  4. They may also fail to be curious about what their partner is going through and how their own behaviours are contributing to his/her stress.

These unhealthy strategies on the part of those individuals stuck on the “dark side of the honeymoon” must be addressed and encouraged to change, if any movement forward is to be made.  No parent would stop their child from learning to stand up and take their first steps – even though they will undoubtedly fall. Likewise, we must nudge each partner out of their comfort zone and into a bigger, more mature connection to themselves and one another.

Troubled couple sit with arms folded in the office of the therapist
Transcript of A Stuck Couple

When partners are stuck complaining rather than working on their own growth, it can be helpful to structure the session where it will have the most impact. This couple is stuck in a chronic pattern of demanding entitlement and placating, emotional caretaking.  She longs for him to make her feel ‘special’ in a way that she never felt growing up.

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This transcript shows how I attempt to push her ‘other’ differentiation and his ‘self’ differentiation.

After some time in session, I coach Kate to ask the following question:

Kate: “Do you feel I’m giving as much as you are in this relationship?” (This shifts her from self-centeredness to other awareness)

After some silence and tension  –
John: “No, not really.” 

Another long & tense silence.  Kate is struggling with her emotions. I wait to see if she can utilize the tension to move forward with her task. Instead, she says, “I need to go to the washroom,” and quickly leaves the room.

John: “Sometimes I think you are off in la-la land Sue.” He is back-pedaling away from the enormous anxiety he is feeling, attempting to undo what he said out loud to her and wanting to blame me for it.

Kate returned. I address the tension that is palpable and point out how it results in John collapsing rather than speaking up more. He goes on to explain why he was afraid to speak up.

John: “I’m afraid you’ll blow up – you’ll snap and go to ‘all or nothing’.”

Kate gets silent and the tension begins to mount again.

Sue: “Can you tell her what the worst thing is that you imagine can happen if you do speak up?” (Pushing his self-differentiation by revealing more to her rather than keeping it to himself)

John: “Yea – that’s she’ll drink.”

Sue: “Did you know that he still had that fear?”

Kate: “No, I had no idea.”  (Takes it personal; gets sulky) “What more do I have to do to convince you that I’m not going to drink.”

John: Nothing – this is not about you, this is my stuff.”

I remind her that she can listen to understand without taking it personal.  I  suggest to her,

Sue: “See what happens when you adopt an attitude of being curious rather than furious.”

Kate: “Do you think if you speak honestly and I get upset that I’ll have no other recourse but to drink.” (Demonstrating a new interest in what he is thinking and believing)

John: Yes, sometimes.”

Kate: Has that kept you from telling me how you feel in our relationship?” (Beautiful deepening of curiosity about his worry – she is staying with him)

John: “On some level…”

Kate: Can you think of an example of what you have held back?” (An impressive ability to ask very good questions that keep them focused on his issue and his internal experience)

A long silence as he contemplates whether he can say anything and what feels safe.

J: Like when we bought the dining room suite – I didn’t feel comfortable saying anything.”

She begins to escalate into a flooded emotional state, so I step in to calm & coach her, suggesting the following:

K: “What would you have said if you felt you could have?”

J: That I thought it was too much money but then I think I’m holding you back, it’s what you wanted at the time.”

Sue: “Kate, if this feels right to you and find your own words, can you ask him,

“If you knew that I would manage my reactions better and not blow up would you speak up more about what you want?”

J: “Yes, but I also don’t like the way I sometimes speak to you.  I want to communicate in a more mature and respectful way.”

Sue: “That’s great. You speaking up in a way that is consistent with the kind of partner you aspire to be will help both of you be more open and honest and will move you towards knowing and trusting yourselves and each other more. Good work.”

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Developmental Progress

The process of differentiation involves the active, ongoing process of revealing one’s thoughts, feelings, hopes, and fears within a close personal relationship, and risking either greater intimacy or separation.  For this reason, the tension is high as there is a lot at stake.  As a therapist, being a calm, reassuring presence, who encourages growth and offers developmental support, you make it possible for couples to harness the tension for their emotional and relational growth. With the guidance and reassurance I provided, this couple could explore territory that they chronically avoid and by doing so, they built more internal resilience.

My Next Blog – Part 3

In my next blog, I will expand on how this model includes the latest neuroscientific research and integrates it into sound interventions that create meaningful change. The role of the therapeutic environment is rich for new and healthier neuropathways.

I hope you have found this helpful and I look forward to hearing your feedback.  I look forward to our ongoing dialogue in this series on the Developmental Model of Couples Therapy and how it can improve your effectiveness with couples.

All the best,

Do You Have the Roadmap for Being an Exceptional Couples Therapist?

If not, I’d like to share some tips with you today.  But first, let me tell you a little about my journey.

I used to think that my many years in practice seeing individuals had provided me with the tools for couples therapy, but I was wrong. I was a seasoned therapist, treating individuals with big problems – like addiction, early childhood abuse, neglect, or even war trauma.  Yet, if you put two people in a room with me who had ‘lost the love’ they once had together, I did not know how to manage the reactivity or move them towards a happier relationship.

Yet now I’m seeing couples, many of whom are on the brink of separation or divorce – with big problems like infidelity, active addiction or chronic hostility and I’m handling them with care, compassion and most importantly, confidence.  I went from being primarily an individual therapist, to seeing mostly couples. On top of that –  I have a full wait list of people who want to see if they can create something together that they are longing for.

So how did I get from not knowing anything to being so confident and having that translate into real change with couples – and a full practice?

The Road Map

Simply put – with sound theory and good guidance. I began learning the Bader-Pearson Developmental Model of couples therapy.  For nearly a decade now I have been studying and integrating this comprehensive road map to creating real and permanent change with couples. I love the approach so much that I’ve been training therapists in this Model for the last 5 years – and we’re building a community – a community of like-minded, exceptional couples therapists.

This roadmap is a framework for treatment that is composed of three equally important overlapping components.

  1. The Stages of Couples Development and integration of attachment styles.
  2. Differentiation as the key feature in creating a secure & lasting bond.
  3. The practical use of the latest neuroscientific research to promote both autonomy and connectedness.

This expansive template will give you a clear way to assess your couple, and reduce the number of times you ask yourself: “What do I do now?” or, “Where is this couple stuck?”

It will reduce the anxiety you feel with difficult couples by recognizing, “I can handle this – I’m one step ahead.”

Stages of Couple Development

Today I’ll share the first aspect of this 3-part model – along with some tips on how to intervene with your couples. There are 6 Stages of Couples Development in the Bader-Pearson Model. I’m going to focus here on the first few stages as that is where most couples get stuck.

Symbiosis

The first stage of ‘falling love’ is commonly known as the honeymoon period, where partners focus on what they have in common and ignore or overlook things that irritate them. It’s a state of “temporary psychosis,” fuelled by internal ‘feel good’ neurochemicals.  It is an important stage in laying a strong foundation of love and bonding as a couple. This stage is known as ‘symbiosis’ because of the enmeshed nature of the two “I’s” forming a “we.” Symbiotic statements from partners include: “We love everything about each other” or “He completes me.”

Failed Differentiation

But this stage doesn’t last! Between the first and second year couples will move into the next stage – ‘differentiation.’ Many of the couples that come into therapy are stuck here and are unable to successfully differentiate. It’s a like a child who can crawl but is not able to get up and walk. It’s a painful place that many partners endure for many years. I’ve seen couples who have been married 30+ years and have never made it past the first stage. According to Bader-Pearson, it’s known as “the dark side of the honeymoon.”   By the time we see them in our offices, these couples will have well entrenched patterns of either fighting or avoiding that challenge even the best trained couples therapists.  At this stage partners will say: “If he really loved me, he’d give me what I want without me having to ask,” or “We have nothing in common so I don’t know why we’re together.”

Attachment Styles

To make matters worse, when a partner has an anxious-clingy insecure attachment, he will often put up with a lot of bad behaviour from his partner and collapse too easily rather than stand up for himself.  This helps him defend against the mounting anxiety at the thought of separation.  If a partner has an anxious-angry insecure attachment style, she will get mad at every little thing, especially when she wants nurturing.  If a partner has an avoidant insecure attachment style, he will not make the effort necessary to demonstrate the ongoing importance of their close bond and of feeling loved.  He will have no internal template for that.

Your Transformation 

These factors can feel like a tornado ripping through your office or like the tense calm before a big storm, if you are unprepared and lack the skills to manage and direct couples towards healthier interactions. That’s what I’m hoping I can help you with. I want you to be successful in your pursuits with couples. I want you to know exactly what to do to ease a lot of unwanted suffering for them and unnecessary anxiety for you –  and generate more income at the same time.

If I can do it, so can you!

3 Tips for Interrupting Symbiosis

  1. If you suspect a partner is stuck in symbiosis, reassure him or her that feeling disillusioned with their partner is normal and is signaling them to move on to the next stage of development. By helping them own their disappointment at the loss of the fantasy partner, you are assisting them in building emotional muscle.
  2. Reframe their differences as a source for being curious rather than furious.  Help them recognize that it is the intolerance of differences that lead to problems, and that they can begin to value what each person is bringing to their lives that is unique.
  3. Help them begin to get comfortable with the tension necessary for growth – without allowing either nastiness or stonewalling.  Too often partners react badly to the tension by either attacking or withdrawing. By doing so they never get know and express themselves clearly, nor do they build the resilience necessary to form a long-term secure bond.

A Mission of Love

Let’s face it, with the divorce rate hovering around 50%, I believe that whatever we can do to lessen unnecessary separations is a worthy pursuit. I personally want to do whatever I can to bring more love into people’s lives. It’s what we all want.  With effective couples interventions, I believe I’m leading a group of therapists who are changing the world, one couple at a time.  I hope you’ll join us one day. So many therapists that have trained in this model continue to meet in my advanced group year after year.  Many have been trained in other couple therapy models but say that something seemed to be missing. They have found that the Developmental Model, with its comprehensive scope, fills in the gaps and enhances their work considerably.

In my next blog I will explore the concept of differentiation, and how you can begin to push for it in your sessions with couples.  Then I will follow up with a 3rd blog on how to integrate neuroscience into your work with couples.

I hope you have found this helpful and I will be back with part 2 in the next week.

The 4 Agreements for Peace of Mind

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Going on Retreat

At the end of August each year I attend a 2-week meditation retreat. This is an important time for me to exit from my busy life and look inward and upward for direction in my life.  There is a large group of us who congregate at these events and we generally like each other’s company a lot.  We have time to socialize in the morning over coffee (@ 5:30 am) prior to practice, and we work together during the daytime breaks, creating a sense of community and personal usefulness for being of service.

But the most important part takes place during the 3 meditation sessions each day, which can last from 2 – 5 hours in length. As we are guided by our Guru to connect more and more with the power, peace and knowledge that exists within, all sorts of insights, memories, insecurities and competencies are revealed. Studying ancient Eastern spirituality gives a refreshing perspective that can provide a rudder and a search light in life.  It allows each of us to recognize we are much more than our physical self or our so-called material or professional success. This opens up new ways of being in the world that for me, are much more meaningful.

Life comes with a healthy dose of suffering for most of us. Survival often means putting up our guards and moving on, never really resolving or making peace with the hurt and/or anger. During meditation I get an uninterrupted opportunity to pull down the zipper on my defenses and begin to embrace parts of myself that are normally drowned out by the noise of everyday life.

heart-864114_1920Taking Time to Look Within

Growing up I learned not think too highly of myself because it was considered arrogant – “full of myself”.  I learned that any real success came with a price tag – the danger of losing those who could not or would not dare to risk, like I was willing to. The benefit of looking within is the opportunity to heal old messages that can damage self esteem and cripple our significant relationships.  I had one such message surface, totally unexpectedly one day.

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-6-43-12-pmHere’s what happened.  My mind began to wander onto a presentation I was planning for my Master Mentoring group, based on something I was “proud” of.  I knew what I wanted to do and I was letting myself play with some ideas about it. Then, suddenly – like a great white shark torpedoing out of the depths of the darkness – came this immense sorrow. I was crying as I “remembered” how embarrassed I was made to feel for being “too big for my britches”.  As hard as it is to make sense of, it was not ok to be too happy, too smart or too proud of my accomplishments.  An environment where achieving 98% on a test was not enough, leaves little room for feeling good about one’s self or for building on one’s success. I know I’m not alone when I talk about the shaming I endured for wanting more from life. I’ve talked to so many others who have had similar experiences to this.

 

Transforming Pain

I embraced this ‘feeling memory’ that surfaced and created a loving acceptance that despite all the years of therapy I have done, there was still residual pain around this issue. Transforming pain begins with the conscious awareness that it exists.  Only then can we pledge to disentangle the pain of the past from the life we chose in the present.  Our present can be full of success and proud and grateful moments – only if we can allow it. We can only allow it if we are not running on old limiting beliefs about our worthiness.

The greatest gift we get from creating time and space to go inward is the ability to access the wisdom that is already there – to “know” that we really do have everything we are seeking externally, within ourselves. That’s why I love “The 4 Agreements” – that small but powerful book written by Don Miguel Ruiz.  He has summed up how to keep our focus on what matters – bringing our best qualities forward. By developing this awareness, we can live a good life based on sound principles. 

I think when Ruiz wrote his book, he was offering us a recipe for accessing the best of ourselves that is lying dormant within.

The 4 Agreements are:51mfvdolekl

  1. Be impeccable with you word.  This means to speak truthfully but also do so in a way that does not hurt others.
  2. Don’t take anything personally. This means that you begin to separate yourself out from what others say and do and recognize that it is a projection of their inner world.  As Ruiz says, “when you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”
  3. Don’t make assumptions. This means that we have to develop a curiosity about others that allows us to ask good questions and get to know someone without believing that we can or should know. If you think about, the only way you would know is by ‘assuming’ the other was ‘just like you’ as you are your only point of reference.
  4. Always do your best. This means you accept that on any given day all you can and must ask of yourself is to show up and make an effort. It doesn’t mean you are always going to be “on” and in fact, the real test comes when you can allow the flow of energy within to guide you.  Some days you may have tons of energy and others very little. In the former, you get a lot done, in the latter, you learn to take time to rest. This is what it means to be your best.

 

Putting it in Practice

If this is important to you, see if you can make some time and space in your busy life to challenge yourself to apply one of the 4 agreements each day.  Put your focus on this task without being hard on yourself in any way, or setting your expectations too high. Know that if you begin to bring awareness to how you are being more of who you aspire to be; this is who you will become. Feel free to leave a comment letting us know about your success. 

Next time, I’ll send out a follow up that focuses on how we can use the 4 agreements in our relationships.

Until then, I wish all the best in you from the best in me,

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Did You Know…Chronic Fatigue, Frequent Confusion and High Anxiety Can Be A Direct Result of Unresolved Trauma?

 According to healthline.com,

 ‘A traumatic event is an incident that causes physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological harm. The person experiencing the distressing event may feel threatened, anxious, or frightened as a result. In some cases, they may not know how to respond, or may be in denial about the effect such an event has had.’

When most of us hear the word trauma, we may assume it is caused by dramatic life events such as a car accident, war, sudden death, addiction, physical abuse. While most of this is true, trauma can also be caused by subtle events seeming so insignificant, we may be tempted to deny their effect on us, or we simply may not even be aware how they’ve affected us.

Regardless of what events caused it, living with unresolved trauma is not benign. Chronic trauma -wether we are aware of it or not- interferes with our automatic responses to potential threats. These reactions are most often known as the three F’s, or our fight/flight/freeze instincts.

Problems with processing the fight, flight and freeze responses is sometimes compared to a vehicle with the accelerator fully engaged, while also having the brakes fully engaged. Obviously, a vehicle would not hold up for very long under that amount stress and conflicting forces.

This is also true for the human body. Confusion and the inability to properly process traumatic situations cause extreme stress. If this continues for prolonged periods, eventually even the smallest amount of stress will become too difficult to handle. Common issues like being caught in heavy traffic or even small adjustments needed in your daily routine, will become overwhelming and the stress levels will feel severe.

How Do I Know If I Need Trauma Therapy?

You may need trauma therapy services if:

  • – You seem to repeat the same pattern of becoming involved with traumatic relationships and situations
  • – You feel exhausted and have a difficult time relaxing or getting rest
  • – You experience frequent periods of depression and have feelings of constant anxiety without any relief
  • – You use substances for self-medication and have dependency issues with alcohol, drugs, a shopping addiction, sexual addictions or other extreme behaviour
  • – You experience constant pain, chronic exhaustion, insomnia or other physical issues as a result of difficulties with processing trauma

The good news is, the brain is a very powerful organ, and possesses the ability to re-organize itself to new thoughts, patterns and neuro-pathways. With the help of trauma therapy, you can overcome trauma by learning new skills.

You can begin to feel more complete and whole by both making sense of your experience while working out the stress caught in your body memory. This will “quench” the kindled nervous system. That means you can slowly and effectively reduce the amount of stress you are carrying inside and replace it with a sense of your own resiliency (inner strength).

If you or someone you know or love is struggling with addiction, trauma or relationship problems don’t hesitate to contact us.  We are here to help you and your loved ones recover and find inner peace.

Please feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

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