Guided Imagery and PTSD: A Different Approach to Treatment

When I visualize a traditional therapist’s office, and then a military boot camp . . . . . . I come up with two very different images. It might seem obvious to those of us within the helping professions that, in order for treatment to be effective, we need to match the intervention to the person sitting in front of us. But what if our own life experiences are so vastly different from our client’s that we’re barely speaking the same language? And, is it possible we don’t even realize the degree to which unfamiliarity with another’s way of life…

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A Four Step Strategy for Training Your Brain to Better Understand Your Emotions

It’s not uncommon to get a little swept up in the overwhelming feeling that often accompanies a busy schedule and an ever-growing to-do list. But often, when it comes to being productive, or even just maintaining a general sense of overall well-being, simply ignoring that feeling and pressing onward just isn’t the answer. That’s why I wanted to pass this along to you. It’s a four-step strategy from Dan Siegel, MD that we can use to slow our brain down and really connect with what we’re feeling – he calls it SIFTing the mind . . . . . ….

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Mindfulness . . . There’s an App for That?

As technology makes its way into what seems like every corner of life, it can feel rather challenging to strike that careful balance of knowing when it’s helpful and when it’s not. And frankly, the last place you might expect an electronic gadget to come in handy is front and center during your mindfulness practice. But last fall, after hearing about some of the great mindfulness apps that have been released for smartphones, I was so impressed that I shared them with you. Twice, actually. Of course, technology is constantly changing. And so after hearing about more cool new apps…

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What Happens When Mindfulness Collides with Neuroscience?

When’s the last time you turned on the local news and heard a warm-hearted, uplifting story? Having trouble calling anything to mind? While it might be true that the media focuses mainly on hardship and tragedy, it’s also true that our brains are hardwired to remember the bad more often than the good. So how can we stay happy if a lot of what we hear about and remember is sad, alarming, or downright scary? In his new book Hardwiring Happiness, Rick Hanson, PhD gets into why we focus on negative things more readily, and how we can rewire our…

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Body, Mind, and Spirit: Good Practice, and Good Science

Psychoneuroimmunology and spiritual healing . . . I think they share common ground. For psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) researchers, it’s important to work with the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and not just a single biological system. Here’s some research that shows the connection between PNI and spiritual health. Ruth Tanyi, DrPH and her research team in California investigated the effect of what they referred to as a PNI-based lifestyle intervention on depression. The intervention included spiritual guided imagery, muscle relaxation, and humorous videos. After conducting pre-intervention tests using the Beck Depression Inventory, researchers randomized the participants into two…

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Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal

Who would have thought that an iPod could hold the treatment for sufferers of post traumatic stress? I certainly didn’t, but research conducted at Duke University and the Durham, NC Medical Center suggests that guided imagery on an MP3 player can successfully treat symptoms resulting from military sexual trauma. No pharmaceuticals, no therapy, just a guided imagery soundtrack – and the subjects of the study reported a huge decrease in symptoms across the board. “Many survivors of PTSD can be re-traumatized by being pushed to discuss a traumatic event.” Treatment approaches for post traumatic stress vary widely, but new research…

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