Anxiety is not a choice. It’s not a characterological weakness. It’s a kink in your biological software. Sadly, the mood-as-a-choice crowd has been growing in the last decade or two, making it worse. Now, not only do you stutter in a crowd, have difficulty making eye contact, or find your obsessive thoughts getting in the way of rational decision-making, but you understand these to be signs of failure on your part. The shame, then, of being incompetent, unfriendly and untrustworthy, stupid, and my favorite absurdity, “attention-seeking,” makes it almost impossible for you to simply work with your physical self to heal it, because even admitting your anxiety is embarrassing. Once you can get past your shame however, and simply allow yourself with guidance to gently, compassionately step into your anxious body, you have the power to bring flow to the log-jam of chronic anxiety. Continue Reading Anxiety, Embodied: The Biology of “Mental” Illness
Therapy is hard work. It’s so much more that talking about your problems with the fantasy that at some point, they’re just going to go away! If you don’t have the skill set for recovery, for catching your breath, for resting the body that produces thought, you’re probably wise to stay on the surface and out of that body. But you won’t heal. That’s what twenty years and over a thousand clients have taught me. The path to your healing begins with the ability to find your ease. Relax. Continue Reading Relax! The Case for Taking It Easy as a Path to Mental Wellness
Trauma deeply impacts our sense of personal territory. Do we have a right to territory? What does it take to keep myself safe within that territory? If I feel an alert, should I mention it, because I might hurt someone else’s feelings? Because for me, and in my experience, our boundaries physically mark the beginning of what constitutes “us,” they are not merely a concept, and in becoming more embodied, less dissociative, we are more able to feel physically when someone is crossing those boundaries and entering what we sense as our personal space. Continue Reading Trauma 101: Boundaries, Part 2
Boundaries. I love how the therapeutic community throws words like “boundaries” around, without a clear explanation. Before you read on, in fact, go ahead and test this (and for those of you who’ve had therapy, or at least read a multitude of self-help books, this should be especially fun). How would you describe boundaries? Are… Continue Reading Trauma 101: Boundaries, Part 1
So the complaint of too much stress is a familiar one. You’ve read several times in my writings that a common definition of trauma is overwhelming stress. Before you nod your head in recognition, though, let’s stop for a few minutes and challenge that notion. What constitutes “too much stress?” This is what I’ve learned: the experience of stress is greatest when our stamina is low.
Sitting on a couch does not help. Trying to run the marathon at the start does not help. Workouts that build in intensity and build our stamina do, emotionally as well as physically. Continue Reading Trauma 101: Redeeming Stress
I have been thinking a lot about healing throughout my life. It’s not like I’ve had some miraculous kind of healing at any one time, although there have been several times that I’ve been in quite a bit of pain, and I have asked Kevin (husband) to pray for me at which time he will put his hand on me and pray silently. I don’t even know what he prays, but the pain has several times immediately disappeared. I have prayed for healing from the Crohn’s disease, and depending on one’s definition of healing, it is not gone, but I live a healthy life and I am fully functional.
Healing has come to mean for me being able to live well in spite of pain or sorrow or disappointment. Additionally I think healing can be physical or emotional. I certainly believe that if God wanted to completely heal me or Katy (daughter) from her diabetes he could, but I have learned that it’s through our difficulties that we are made stronger and healthier. Healing us completely might not be what is best for us.
One other short story comes to mind and takes place when I was eight years old. A brain scan revealed that I could have a seizure at any time. The docs told my mom no bike riding no bathing alone etc. Mom asked for some trusted friends to pray over me that I might be able to live a normal childhood. Nothing ever occurred after that prayer time.
I have grown up believing the Bible to be the Word of God, my creator, but on my journey my belief in the Word and its power in my life have been made real, not just a belief. I have found that the Word describes me perfectly. I have also found that when I depend on the promises given in the Word, they are reliable. The most important part of the Word for me is using it as a guide for living, and it has not failed me. I am able to find joy, comfort and peace in all circumstances. I have been tested several times in this life with tough circumstances and oddly in those times I have experienced the greatest peace and reassurance through the Word. When life gets hard, I do three things every day. I pray for help, read the Word and exercise. It works.
Continue Reading The Case For…How Christianity Serves Healing
Religion. Just the word itself brings a palpable, observable quake to most thinking persons’ systems. Even those who acknowledge the numinous quickly clarify, “I’m not religious, I’m spiritual.” Who can blame them? We live in an extraordinary country, one founded on religious freedom; yet historically, religion in this country has been used to control, to… Continue Reading Religion and Healing: a True Paradox
I was, and still am by licensure, a massage therapist, as well as a licensed clinical social worker. Initially, it was a good way of getting through school, but as I worked with my massage clients, I began to realize that I was picking up on more than just the physical manifestations of their distress.… Continue Reading Bodywork Therapy
Why Bodywork? Imagine, before you, a frozen lake. Middle of winter, not a ray of direct sunlight in sight. Depression can be like this. Thirty years ago, give or take, the standard treatment was to identify the beliefs that froze our inner emotional waters, and in countering the “I’m powerless, unlovable, incapable” voices that held… Continue Reading Why Choose Bodywork Therapy?