How Mindfulness Can Help Your Clients Manage Anxiety: A Short Practice for “Befriending” Fear

Some degree of fear and anxiety is inevitable in life. But for some patients, these emotions can become truly debilitating, keeping them trapped in cycles that can lead to depression and even chronic pain. So how can we help patients better manage fear and anxiety when they come up? Below, you’ll find a simple exercise that anyone can use to work through these painful feelings. It’s courtesy of my friend Ron Siegel, PsyD. Ron is Assistant Professor of Psychology, part time, Harvard Medical School, internationally-renowned teacher, long-time student of mindfulness meditation, and well-known author. ____________________________________ One of the first things…

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Working with Memory to Reframe a Traumatic Experience

A single moment can last forever in the memory . . . Now when the memory is of something special, a time or an event that we hold dear, reliving the experience can feel almost as good as the actual moment did. But when someone is remembering a traumatic experience, that memory can trigger a painful cycle of fear, anger, helplessness, and shame . . . . . . and this, in turn, can slow the healing process for patients recovering from trauma. So can traumatic memories be changed? In the video below, Peter Levine, PhD shares some key insights….

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Could a Better Night’s Sleep Improve Treatment Outcomes for PTSD?

Is it possible that what happens with trauma patients at night could undermine all the hard work we’ve done with them during the day? Or asked another way, could improved sleep actually enhance our interventions with patients? We know that disrupted sleep patterns and nightmares are common symptoms of PTSD. But a team of researchers from the San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs recently began investigating connections between sleep disturbances and PTSD symptoms. The researchers took an interesting approach in designing this particular study. Building on previous animal studies that showed a connection between fear conditioning and disrupted…

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Two Chemical Reactions That Happen in the Brain during Trauma

When a traumatic event triggers our internal alarm system, the body goes into fight, flight, or freeze . . . . . . but what happens in the brain during trauma? According to Dan Siegel, MD, there are two key chemical reactions to trauma (and one can play a role in actually shrinking part of the brain). Check out the video clip (below) for more – it’s just 4 minutes. Knowing how trauma affects the brain can enhance our interventions for helping patients heal from a traumatic experience. How have you used brain science in your work with traumatized clients?…

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Can Traumatic Experience Strengthen Brain Function?

For years we’ve been able to see differences between a healthy brain and that of a person who’s been diagnosed with PTSD. But can we detect differences within a population, all of whom have experienced traumatic events? And if so, what could that reveal about why some people develop PTSD while others don’t? Dr. Samantha L. Anders and a team from the Brain Sciences Center at the University of Minnesota wanted to pursue an emerging line of research into whether traumatic experience could actually strengthen brain function. You see, some trauma survivors actually report positive psychological changes following painful or…

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How Mindfulness Can Help Us Work through Grief

When a person experiences significant loss, it’s natural to want to offer comfort and relieve their pain. But according to Jack Kornfield, PhD, it’s crucial not to rush past difficult emotions in the healing process. In fact, as Jack explains, it’s important to learn how to honor and acknowledge grief. Jack reveals more in the video below, and illustrates responses that can help people express grief and begin to heal from it. Take a look – it’s just about five minutes. What strategies have you used in your life, or your work with patients, to deal with grief and loss?…

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