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Author: Heather Edwards

Heather Edwards Mental Health Counseling / Articles posted by Heather Edwards
CBT

CBT: Spring Clean Your Mindset

Spring has sprung! Just as Mother Nature ditches the dreary dormant season of winter, CBT can shift your mindset from doom to bloom. Think of it as a spring cleaning for your brain. So, grab the mental Swiffer to dust out the cobwebs. Spray the virtual Windex to clear the fog. It's time to open up to blossoming possibilities. It’s easy to fall into the habit of negative thinking.  The shorter, darker, colder days of winter have a real effect on mood and energy.  Over time, it can affect your attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors.  You might begin to automatically assume worst case scenario's.  That fearful belief provokes an anxious feeling that further validates the fear that something will go wrong.  It’s a vicious cycle that feeds on...

anxiety

Anxiety and Lockdown

Anxiety is on the rise. As we approach another lockdown, you anticipate uncomfortable feelings.  You notice parts of yourself vying for attention - the ones that feel fear, loneliness, and shame. The anxiety of unfinished business from the past, beckons your acknowledgment and soothing.  Without the external distractions of work, shopping, and appointments, you are forced to sit with your internal world. There are many ways to distract yourself from this discomfort. You can go for a walk, watch a movie, call a friend, dance in your bedroom, or take a class online. It's a temporary "fix" but, will all this “doing” result in healing? What if this is the time to stop doing? What if all this doing has kept you stuck in unproductive being? And what if...

EMDR

EMDR Therapy: Rewrite your story

EMDR Therapy opens windows in the mind. Imagine rewriting your story. One where YOU decide who you are, how you can be, and how life's challenges affect you.  Take a moment to notice how you view yourself in the world. Complete the statement, ”I am_____”. Is your belief negative, such as, “I am unworthy.”, “I am powerless.”, or  ”I am unsafe.”? If so, that core belief may be tied to earlier unprocessed memories.  What if you could believe something else? What would you rather believe about yourself? I am strong, safe, capable, worthy, lovable, smart…  People decide to start EMDR therapy because of anxiety, depression, or pervasive negative beliefs. Francine Shapiro, the originator and developer of EMDR therapy stated that often these experiences are the result of unprocessed memories. When...

change

Butterflies: Proof of change for good

Change doesn’t happen comfortably.  Just when the caterpillar's world was ending, it became a butterfly. The extenuating circumstances you are in right now are also a new beginning. Uncertainty. Isolation. Fear. Instability. Change. Transformation. Transcendence. Each has an affect on mental health, for better or worse. Each is an opportunity for greater compassion. Your everyday life looks distinctly different than it did a few months ago. Whether you’ve been on lockdown, protesting with Black Lives Matter, or struggling to keep a roof over your head or business - this is a time of unprecedented and profound change.  You’re experiencing change in how you socialize, work, educate, love, heal, and relate to the world.  It’s unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and uncertain. Traumas are triggered. Self preservation is awakened. The status quo is upended. Emotions are...

pandemic

Pandemic Life: 3 Conversations

Does it feel like you’re in a time warp? Is making decisions and prioritizing a challenge? Are you easily upset? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be living in a pandemic. Lately, therapy conversations related to the threat of COVID-19 revolve around three main concerns. 1. An altered relationship to time. 2. A reevaluation of needs. 3. How the central nervous system reacts to the pervasive threat of death. Let’s start with time. Your normal routine is up-ended. The people you saw, places you went, and appointments you kept are just a memory. You’re not rushing to catch a train, changing your clothes to go to the gym, or squeezing in a visit to a doctor’s office during the workday.  You’re losing track of the hours in...

ritual grief quarantine

Ritual. Grief. Quarantine.

Ritual. It brings family, friends, and communities together. It binds you in your values. It bonds you in your shared beliefs. It connects your  mind, body, and spirit. But what if rituals don't exist? Sunday was Easter. I’m not a terribly religious person, but I knew that I wouldn’t be with my family for a traditional gathering. And it felt like a freight train rolled in and parked on my chest. I woke up sad. The familiar heavy fog of longing for something that wouldn’t be, had settled in while I slept. My family ritual was not happening today. And I'm not alone in that. Weddings, funerals, bar & bat mitzvah's, seders, school & sports events, and more have also been cancelled or modified. It's a loss...

Control vs Concern during quarantine

Right now, things feel out of control. And when things feel out of control, a sense of fear and helplessness can take over your thoughts.  You become the metaphorical rat in a maze searching for a way out, or around, the dreaded worst-case-scenario. This can be paralyzing from a psychological perspective.  But what if there are things you can influence right now? What if there was a way to discern the difference between your concerns and your control or influence?  When the two get muddled together, you lose the distinction between what you can actually change, and what you can't. Then you swan dive into the rabbit hole of hopelessness and isolation. Many people are struggling with control during quarantine.  Control leads to self efficacy, feeling proactive, and grounded. So,...

COVID-19

COVID-19: Seeking a silver lining

COVID-19 is frightening. Most of us are wondering what COVID-19 will mean for our future. Not knowing what to expect is stressful. In fact, the three largest contributors to stress are: 1. uncertainty; 2. lack of information; and 3. lack of control. I’d say the Coronavirus has checked all three boxes. Many people are struggling with boundaries, privacy, and managing emotions while quarantining at home. Negotiating space, finding ”me time” for self care, and sitting with the uncomfortable feelings challenge even the best coping strategies.  So, let’s get back to basics. There’s no magic bullet but perhaps the closest thing is gratitude. Take a breath, get grounded in the now, and connect with your core values. Look around you and notice how many have manifested in your...

Lust and Love: 3 fire starters

  Valentine’s Day inspires love, lust, and for some… disdain. If you fall into the latter group, this blog’s for you.  What if your flames of passion have dwindled to a cold, damp, smoldering ash? Or the only “action” you’re getting is a cycle of conflict and avoidance? Or worse, you’re still fumbling blindly seeking the match to ignite the fire that won’t light up.  Love and lust are action words. In other words, a verb. And a verb is defined as, “a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence, ...

trauma, emdr, therapy

Dear Trauma: EMDR changes lives

Dear trauma, I don’t need you anymore. You served a purpose and kept me safe in the face of danger. But now you’re getting in my way. I got this. Yours truly. When trauma happens, your central nervous system reacts in one of 4 ways to protect you:  Fight - physically defending yourself  Flight - running away Freeze - if I don’t move, they won’t see me - think deer in headlights Faint - playing dead It’s involuntary and automatic. It’s your body‘s way of protecting you in the moment. So, thank your body for doing that - and let it know you’re safe now. In the case of PTSD and limiting beliefs, it’s not enough to know you’re safe. Your body's protective mechanisms get frozen in time...