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EMDR To Reduce Post-Divorce Conflict

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emdrMarital conflict, separation, dissolution and court proceedings can be stressful and even traumatic.  The arguments, verbal attacks, grief and feelings of loss or betrayal can be devastating. The result of that trauma, if not resolved, is often anxiety, overt stress, and resistance to interactions with one’s former spouse that trigger extreme anxiety and defensiveness.  When there are children involved, interacting with one’s ex is necessary, but can be the source of ongoing feelings of traumatization, stress and anxiety, in turn creating more conflict, further escalating the negative feelings.  None of these feelings and behaviors are conducive to productive co-parenting or communication, not to mention personal health and wellbeing.  However, EMDR can help.

 

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a well researched and established technique that combines imagery, mindfulness, and cognitive techniques to meet the client’s treatment needs.  EMDR therapy is often used in trauma counseling, the treatment of anxiety, and in the treatment of a number of other issues.   The process of doing EMDR involves focus on a traumatic or disturbing memory while doing back and forth eye movements, listening to alternating tones, and/or feeling alternating vibrations in your hands.  This process enables the brain to resolve emotional trauma and gain insight into the circumstance in a way that is often more effective than traditional talk therapy.

What can EMDR mean for someone struggling with divorce or post-divorce conflict?

  • It can help to facilitate trauma processing.
  • It can reduce undesirable feelings and responses to the triggers of the anxiety.
  • It can help to improve one’s ability to maintain a more rational, productive and un-emotional mindset when interacting with their former partner.
  • It can help to reduce anxiety.
  • It can help to improve an overall sense of well-being.

In a nutshell, the trauma and bad feelings resulting from divorce can fuel conflict and ongoing resentment.  By treating the trauma with EMDR, there is tremendous potential to change the dynamic of the interactions between former partners, and to reclaim a life of peace and dignity following divorce.

Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC  http://www.thcounseling.com

Peaceful tip for regulating stress

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Relaxing on the beach

How I love to think about the beach.  Whether it is in the middle of a Colorado winter, or the middle of the summer, I find great peace thinking of the rolling waves, gentle breezes, salty aroma, and warm sand of a beach.  Many therapists refer to this as a safe place, but  I prefer to think of it as a peaceful place.  Either way, it’s a wonderful reprieve during a stressful time in life.  I often tell clients who are struggling with anxiety, stress or trauma to think of their peaceful place when they have an onset of anxious or stressful symptoms.  I tell them to imagine the sights and sounds, smells and feelings of their place.  I encourage them to breathe deeply, enjoy the sights and sounds, relax and spend a few minutes there. Doing so can lower heart rate, decrease cortisol levels and increase endorphins, all of which improve the way one feels.  As I consider my next vacation- literally or figuratively, I invite you to consider yours.  Where is your peaceful place?

 

Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC  http://www.thcounseling.com

Two Blogging Awards!

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award_beautiful-blogger-award_2010

I am flattered to have been recognized for my blogging with two blogging awards: The Beautiful Blogger Award and the Inspiring Blogger Award!  I know I am not the most consistent blogger (by a long shot), and I hope to be a more frequent blogger going forward.  These awards are certainly motivating! Many thanks to myrealfoodfamily for this nomination!

Here are the rules:

1. Display the award image on your blog.

2. Link back to the person who nominated you.

3. State 7 things about yourself.

4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and link to their sites.

5. Notify the bloggers that they have been nominated and link to the post.

So, here are some things to know about me:

1. Painting and drawing are a couple of my hobbies.

2. I love hearing people’s stories.

3. I love nature…. mountains, oceans, birds, trees.  Anything nature!

4. I am fascinated by neuroscience.

5. I used to dislike public speaking and now one of my favorite things is teaching my classes.

6. I am not very tech-savvy, but I try.

7. Music is motivating for me.

Here are the blogs I am nominating for these awards:

1.The Power Within

2.Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

3.Knowing Neurons

4.the flow channel: Psychology, Neuroscience, Health, Yoga.

5.My Real Food Family

6.Positive Positive Positive

7.The Greatness Project

8.100 Smile Challenge Blog

9.Exhilarated Living

10.Thinking out loud

11.bringontheburn

12.Distracted by the lights

13.Something More

14.Nourished Balance

15. newbloggycat

Thanks to each one of you for your inspiring blogs!

Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC  http://www.thcounseling.com

 

Why Learn Positive Thinking?

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Tree

Take a deep breath and look around you.  Name a few of the wonderful things about this day.  Is it the weather? A conversation with a friend? A delicious meal?  Giving thanks for the goodness in our lives is a great way to start on the path to more positive thinking.   If you need some help getting motivated to begin practicing the art of optimism, here are some things to think about:

  1. When practiced regularly, positive thinking changes the neural pathways in the brain reducing depression and autonomic pessimism, and increasing happiness.
  2. Increasing a non-judgmental stance improves one’s ability to grow and take responsibility for mistakes without feeling the added weight of stress, pressure or shame.
  3. Improved confidence.
  4. Less impacted by the stressors of life.
  5. More positive, connected relationships.
  6. Some research has shown that people approaching life with a positive attitude tend to find more meaning in life.
  7. Positive thinking often leads to a more pro-active approach to physical health and preventative measures for health.  Positive thinkers are more likely to engage in exercise programs and good nutrition.
  8. Improved immune system.  Whether it is due to the pro-active approach to physical health or the reduced stress, research has shown that positive thinking correlates to an improved immune system and greater disease tolerance.
  9. Greater life satisfaction.

So start by being thankful for the small things in life, such as a smile someone gave you or a beautiful day. See where those thoughts lead you in your life and the good things that follow.  Take an opportunity to change a negative thought into something positive—or take a non-judgmental approach to negative people or negative interactions.  There are opportunities in all that we do and ultimately we have choices every step of the way in how we choose to see things.

For more information on thankfulness, please visit: https://denvercounselingblog.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/thankful-list/

Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC             http://www.thcounseling.com

 

Following the tragic events of the Movie Theater shooting, and other horrific events over the last decade or two, it is frequently difficult for individuals to cope with the feelings and anxiety that are elicited by those tragedies.  Regardless of whether you were witness to the scene, knew someone who was a victim of, or witness to, the tragedy, or if you are just hearing about it from friends or media, it is shocking and difficult to understand.

Symptoms of trauma can include nightmares, depression, anxiety and panic, feelings of insecurity or disbelief that such a tragedy could have happened.  Being aware of how you feel is the first step to taking care of yourself in such an aftermath.  There are also other things to keep in mind when trying to cope in the face of such a devastating story:

  1. Remember that feelings of shock and confusion are normal in the aftermath of a very abnormal and tragic event.
  2. Talk to people about your feelings.
  3. Spend time with the people you are close to and love.
  4. Involve yourself in activities you enjoy.
  5. Nurture yourself.
  6. Exercise.  This releases endorphins which are helpful in the healing process.
  7. Give yourself time to heal.

If you find yourself in a position where your symptoms are not improving, or you don’t have anyone with whom to talk about your emotions, it is good to seek support or counseling to help you to recover from the shock.  There is help available for processing something as difficult to understand as these unthinkable human tragedies.

Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC  http://www.thcounseling.com

Cultivating Hope

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English: Rainbow

 

 

Victor Frankl, a famous psychologist, said that suffering without meaning equates to despair.  So how do we find meaning in our experiences? Knowing how to find meaning in challenges is one of the hallmarks of having hope.  So what can be done to foster this important attribute?

  • Look for how you can take something positive away from each experience – be the experience a good one or a bad one.  Examine your past experiences, mishaps and challenges.  What have you learned from those experiences?  Maybe you haven’t even been aware of what you have learned, but by taking the time to give it some thought, you may find that you have taken some pearls from those experiences after all.
  • How have you applied those pearls of wisdom to subsequent challenges?  Are you utilizing the wisdom you have gleaned from hard times in other challenges that you face?  If not, try to make a conscious choice to do so.  Being aware of how your struggles have taught you something makes them feel more valuable.
  • Do you feel you have the ability to get out of bad situations?  If you are able to learn from your challenges and find a “take away” pearl, then remembering that may give you the optimism you need to know that you can survive future challenges as well.
  • Think about your successes.  What are they?  What strengths do you possess that helped you to accomplish those things? Realizing you already possess certain strengths can be a source of security and comfort when faced with challenges, or even just a bad day.
  • How have you improved over the years?  What qualities of your personality have evolved, and how?  Have those qualities been beneficial to you in your life and relationships?  Recognizing that you are dynamic, changing and growing can help you find more meaning in each experience.  Life is full of learning opportunities.

Feeling good about yourself is one of the keys to finding hope.  Knowing that you have strengths and capabilities can give you the optimism you need to find the silver lining in situations, particularly because you have done so in the past.  Remember that today you have learned something new and that tomorrow will be a new day in which to apply that knowledge.

Tamra Hughes, MA, LPC    http://www.thcounseling.com

Tips to Help You Stop Judging Others (and Yourself)

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Ironically, when we judge others, we are really judging ourselves. Our harsh comments or thoughts are more often a reflection of our own issues than someone else’s. But, learning how to change automatic negative thoughts that we have towards others, and ourselves, is often easier said than done. There are a few things you can try to learn new habits of acceptance and appreciation.

Find at least one thing you like about each person you meet or know.  Although you may still have an initial negative thought about someone, you don’t have to latch onto that thought.  You can choose to look for the good in others.  Make it a habit to try to find at least one good quality in each person.  You will find it is not hard to do once you get started.

Puzzle cube; a type of puzzle.

Consider one positive way each person contributes to the world.  It may be that they work hard or that they are kind to animals.  It could be that they are a good parent or are very outspoken about a cause.  Whatever their passion, how does it positively impact others?

Focus on other’s strengths.  You may not value the same things as them, but they still have strengths.  Everyone does.  So, what might another person’s strengths be?

Appreciate the way that they are a piece of the puzzle.  We are all a part of the puzzle.  Each one of us adds an important piece to the world and without that piece, it wouldn’t be the same.  There are pieces of the puzzle that are far away from each other and don’t even touch, but they are still important in the grand scheme of the puzzle.  Try to appreciate that we all hold an important place in the world as each of us impact the whole.

Remember that each person has a story.  We don’t always understand why people act the way they do or make the choices that they do.  Sometimes we disagree with those behaviors or choices.  But, remember that there are reasons for the way we all develop.  There are stories behind each person and we don’t always know what those stories are.   Show compassion for others, and wonderment about their story.

Liking someone doesn’t mean liking everything about them.  We all have our flaws, but to focus on those flaws and allow that focus to take away from the good would be unfortunate.  If nothing else, you can appreciate that each person is unique.  Sometimes we just don’t click with someone, and that is human nature.  Not all personalities go well together.  But, that doesn’t mean that someone is not a good or likeable person.  Maybe they just aren’t your “cup of tea.”

Read back through these suggestions replacing the words relating to “other people” with words that relate to you, such as “I,” “my,” or “myself.”  Learning to accept yourself as ever-changing and unique is a wonderful way to improve your self-confidence and will provide you with another very natural way to appreciate others.  After all, our thoughts about others really are only a reflection of our thoughts about ourselves.

Tamra Hughes  MA, LPC  http://www.thcounseling.com