Taking Control of Trauma: Understanding PTSD and EMDR.

For many individuals, traumas can have lasting and seemingly uncontrollable effects on our personal, social and working lives. The human mind usually processes and allows the effects of trauma to fade over time, for many of us the journey to recovery can last longer. One of the common and currently most talked about effects of these traumas is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.  PTSD is the re-experiencing of a traumatic event or events. PTSD is caused by life threatening events or the witnessing life-threatening events, sometimes called “big T’s”. With today’s research, we now also know that many more events- even if they are considered less traumatic- have the similar impact and are referred to as “little T’s”.

If you think about important events in your past, such as the first day on a job, or a first date, you can vaguely recall your excitement and feeling almost “beside yourself”. Yet now when you look back, you may smile at the memory of those experiences, but they do not overwhelm you as if you were there. They are fond memories, adding to the story of who you are.

Some traumas don’t process this way. They get stuck in the part of the brain that controls fight, flight or freeze instincts. Everyday reminders become triggers and continuously create the feelings of the original trauma.  These triggers can even escalate and become something to fear as well. It is not clear why traumas get stuck and cause PTSD and other symptoms, but what it is clear that methods such as EMDR can have a dramatic impact on clearing these stuck traumas and allow normal processing.  EMDR helps the brain process the memory and move on, just as they do with pleasant memories. They may be less than fond memories, but with the use of EMDR they lose their impact.

Here at South Denver Psychotherapy, we use EMDR for many of our patients to help with PTSD and other conditions. We love that we get to help our clients on their paths to healthier, happier and better lives.

South Denver Pyschotherapy Gives Back at the 2014 Nibbles and Sips

 

 Todd McPherson, the director of development Inter-Faith Community Services, recently wrote this beautiful thank you to South Denver Psychotherapy. Jim Kennel, the husband of Pam Kennel was the honorary chair and we couldn’t be more pleased with the turnout and support for the community. Todd writes:

As I glance out the window, I am taken aback at how things change in our neighborhood. Today, it is the turn of the weather and tomorrow we will be talking about the current news stories.

 One thing that doesn’t change is our gratitude for how YOU are standing in the gap for those in need. You have chosen to make a positive step to improve the community we live in. It is our Colorado philosophy of friendliness that makes our organization even more beneficial to those new to the State and a home to those that have put down roots.

 We were reminded of this at this year’s Nibbles and Sips, an Inter-Faith Community Services celebration commemorating  50 years of service. We picked the theme of Boots and Bling to bring us back to our roots and the western community that has made us a success.

 We THANK YOU for being a guest or supporter of this wonderful event. Our hat is tipped to the many companies and individuals that helped us raise $120,000 to aid our neighbors in Western Arapahoe and Northern Douglas Counties. Food vendors, sponsors, auction item donors, table captains, guests, service providers, volunteers, board members…wow, we are so fortunate to have your support.

 We brokenew record and past benchmarks THANKS to your generosity. YOU made a difference! 607 tickets were sold and 547 were able to attend the event. We had so much fun nibbling and sipping the 50 fine food and beverage stations (we didn’t plan it that way, but were happy to celebrate 50 years with 50 sampling vendors).

 Thanks to DMX Direct, we had a wonderful photo area to remember the occasion. Be sure to look at the fun pictures on our Facebook page. We can’t forget the staff of the Hyatt Regency DTC for their professional and diligent assistance – we couldn’t have pulled off this accomplishment off without them!  

Our Honorary Chair, Jim Kennel and our effervescent host, Mike Nelson are to be applauded for their amazing support – you both brought this event to the next level of entertainment.  

Be sure to SAVE THE DATE for the 2015 Nibbles and Sips – Saturday February 28, 2015 at the Hyatt Regency DTC. They are renovating their ballroom to give a little extra bling for our event. Back by popular demand – our Colorado Casual theme, Boots and Bling will continue.

Face-to-Face: How to Establish Healthy Boundaries on Social Media Volume 2

When to Click the Share Button:  How to Deal with Personal Issues on Facebook

Last week, we talked extensively about how to handle varying opinions on social media.  This week we continue the discussion, and talk about being respectful of personal boundaries while surfing social networks.

Everyone’s Boundaries are Different.

While “never post anything you don’t want your grandma to read,” is always a good rule, the truth is that everyone’s boundaries are different. Just because one person is comfortable sharing something doesn’t mean that everyone else is. This is perfectly normal. In this case, make sure you leave the news sharing up to the individual. If someone wants to mention their pregnancy, loss of a loved one, significant weight loss, wrecked car, job loss,newjob,new spouse or anything else that can be ranked as private leave it to them to share it.

You Never Know Who is Reading.

No matter how big or small, there are always consequences when you post or tweet something. The big thing to remember is that you never know who is reading it. Just as everyone’s boundaries are different, everyone’s privacy settings are different too.  Because of this, it’s best to think of everything you share on someone else’s page as public.  Bosses, future employers, insurance, spouses, friends, relatives and strangers could all be perusing the things you post. So please, act accordingly.

Careful in the Comment Section.

It may seem like social media is a dark and scary place, but there are many instances where it is positive, informative, beautiful and downright inspiring. It is up to you to make it that way. If you have a friend who is facing a tough transition or an exciting new happening, we recommend keeping it simple and supportive. Saying “thinking of you” is an excellent way to be supportive without adding all of the drama that can sometimes happen on these sites. Whatever you are tweeting, tagging, or chatting about, respect your own boundaries and the boundaries of others. Keep the web and social networks a safer and more inspiring place.

Face-to-Face: How to Establish Healthy Boundaries on Social Media Volume 1

 The Cyberspace Soapbox:

How to handle political posts on Facebook

In today’s world, it is hard to tell where our digital experiences end and our real ones begin.  This vast interconnectedness via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media has many benefits. We can stay in contact with those thousands of miles away, be updated on the latest news with the swipe of a touch screen, and keep our  friends and families posted about the latest happenings in our lives.  Yet, just like out in the physical world, establishing boundaries on the web is essential to protect our social and emotional well-being. This week, we will be focusing on how to handle varying political opinions and disagreements in cyberspace.

No matter how tempting it is to sling mud as they do on Capitol Hill, it’s essential to avoid it on social networking sites. Always remember, no matter the site or the source, your post is public. Just like in a conversation at the office, or with a stranger at a dinner party, talking about sex, religion, or politics is  not a good idea.

Instead, think of these sites exactly as they are described; they are “networks,” which makes them a great place to put your best foot forward and stay in contact with all kinds of people.

If you are passionate about your beliefs, think about joining a Facebook group on the topic, or posting a supportive message on an organization’s business page. This will help you avoid offending those around you. It’s also a safe place, filled with like-minded people, to let your opinions fly.

Despite your best intentions, there will always be those people who share things that may not fit your views or are offensive. Before you react by getting upset, unfriending the person, or leaving a public comment you may regret later, stop, take a deep breath, and ask yourself these questions.

  • If the person said this to you in-person how would you react?
  • How important is this relationship to you?
  • What is it about this post that is upsetting to you?
  • Is this post directly attacking you personally?

Answering these questions will help you decide what to do next. If the post is exceptionally offensive, one option is blocking the person from your news feed. Blocking them doesn’t unfriend them;  you just no longer have to read their posts. They will still be in your network if you need to contact them later. This is a great option for acquaintances, coworkers, and other people on the outskirts of your close social circle.

If someone posts something that attacks you personally, think about sending him or her a private message asking to take it down. This may make you feel very vulnerable, but if you say that this post makes you uncomfortable, most people will comply with your request.  However, there will sometimes be those who aren’t respectful; in that case, you can take down the post yourself and unfriend them. Remember, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Lastly, it’s always important to remember that we live in a country where we have the privilege and right to have and share our own opinions, no matter how varied. Often a political post isn’t meant to attack you as a person, and it’s important to step back and remember to live and let live.  So as you surf the web, be safe, be aware, and set your boundaries. You are sure to learn new things from those around you. Visit us next week for more on social media and your wellbeing. 

The Top 5 Books for Improving Your Marriage

The Christmas lights are packed up, and the paper hearts have been taken down; now we are all waiting for spring.  Whether things have been rocky at home, or you and your significant other are doing your best, here at South Denver Psychotherapy, we have a few books to help keep you, and your marriage, warm, cozy, and well-informed until bright, warm days arrive again.

 

 5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

 

 This book is a heavy weight in the self-help world, and it continues to be a staple for people from all walks of life. It may seem like an unlikely read for improving your relationships, but think about it -those who are successful and happy usually excel at navigating healthy relationships.

 

While some people say there are places where Covey drags, a read through of the chapter on Understanding (habit 5)  is a good way to learn the basics of communicating with those you love. It could even inspire you to read the rest of the book.

 

4. How Can I Forgive You? by Janis Abrahms Spring

 

How Can I Forgive You is a follow-up to Spring’s cornerstone work, After the Affair. Both are great reads and can be found on the shelves of a wide variety of therapists, psychologists, and counselors. As the title suggests, How Can I Forgive You? focuses on forgiveness in relationships.  It deals with how to forgive after a traumatic event, how to earn forgiveness, and the healthy steps you should take if forgiveness is not an option.

 

3. The Relationship Cure by John Gottman

 

John Gottman is here to teach you that it isn’t what you say, but how you say it, that matters. He explains this key principle in 5 steps sure to improve your relationships through better emotional connectedness. As he is one of the leading experts in relationships, his book, The Relationship Cure, is sure to help you grow and improve your friendships, family ties, and, of course, your marriage.

 

2.  The New Rules of Marriage by Terrence Real

 

Terrance Real dives into the trenches and tackles the everyday struggles couples face in today’s world. He is known for his work helping both sexes understand that conflict is normal and to communicate better. He promotes fighting fair, remembering passion, and establishing boundaries. This book is a great tool for any 21st century marriage and a perfect reference for two strong, capable partners.  

 

1.       The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

 

This is one of the classics! Learn which way you and your spouse show and best receive love, through acts, gifts, physical contact, or quality time. Once you learn which category you and your spouse fall under, you will be able to communicate better and find a balance so that both parties feel loved.

 

This book often shows up dog-eared and well-loved as it circulates among friends. It’s a great gift for couples, new and old alike.

 

We love helping you and your spouse thrive in a healthy and happy partnership, but as many of us know, marriage is hard work and constantly grows and change.  South Denver Psychotherapy is here to help you grow along the way. Don’t forget to do a little reading while you are at it.