Could Stronger Resilience Promote Better Health?

Could greater resilience reduce a person’s need for health care services? James E. Stahl, MD, MPH, and a team of researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital Benson-Henry Institute (BHI), noted that poor psychological and physical resilience is often associated with an increased use of healthcare services. Since research consistently shows that mind-body interventions can be effective in reducing stress and increasing resilience, Stahl and his team wanted to see if a resilience training program could reduce the demand for health care services. To do this, they created a retrospective, controlled pre/post intervention database analysis of patients who received care at…

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How to Help Clients Process Their Fears about World Events

When you look at the news, there’s pain and violence on every broadcast. But is this something we should help our clients process? Patrick Dougherty would say yes. And he has some clear, helpful guidelines for how to bring up difficult and divisive political and social issues in therapy. It’s one way we can help clients become more regulated and healthy as they interact and engage in their sphere of influence. Patrick Dougherty, MA, LP, is a licensed psychologist, teacher, and author. He’s worked with collective trauma since shortly after serving with the Marines in Vietnam and working in Northern…

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Polyvagal Theory in Action – How Heart Rate Figures Into Trauma Treatments

How can the body become a resource for a patient who’s experienced trauma? Polyvagal Theory helps us answer this question by explaining how people process their environment and how the body regulates itself in the face of stress and trauma. Watch the video below as Stephen Porges, PhD shares one way to apply Polyvagal Theory when working with the body’s responses to traumatic triggers and stressful events. How could you use Polyvagal Theory in your work with patients? Please leave a comment below.


Can Mindfulness Change the Anxious Brain?

What helps with anxiety? Anxiety disorders represent the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans. These can range from PTSD to common phobias, and they wreak havoc in a person’s day-to-day life. A team of researchers led by David Creswell, PhD at Carnegie Mellon University recently wanted to find out what impact mindfulness practice could have on the anxious brain. To design their study, Creswell and his team recruited participants from a population that’s under a lot of stress – job seekers. Now we know that when stress goes untreated, it can become chronic and contribute to anxiety and depression….

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How Does Mindfulness Change the Brain?

Mindfulness has been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even chronic pain. But how does that happen? The other day, I told you about a study that looked at how mindfulness can change the anxious brain. As it turns out, scientists have confirmed another brain connection, with a surprising twist. This is really cool. Dr. Britta Hölzel and her team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a study to look at the impact of an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on the brains of patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Now GAD can…

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Can Traumatic Memories Be Changed?

Experiences that are distressing, painful and, perhaps, even traumatic are unavoidable in life. But are there ways we can work with people to prevent memories of traumatic events from developing into PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)? One possibility that’s being investigated for accomplishing this is a method called “updating.” This approach uses verbal techniques to change how traumatic memories are consolidated in the brain. Basically, “updating” tries to decrease the conditioned fear response that can lead to PTSD. You see, there’s a period of time known as the “consolidation window,” when fear memories are being established and strengthened in the brain….

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