How Can We Expand the Circle of Healing?

Why does a particular treatment approach work with some patients but not with others? When I was in grad school, they used to say that in therapy, about a third of people get better, a third stay the same, and a third get worse. And from what I can tell, while we’ve improved some, we still aren’t helping as many people as we’d hope. But why is that? For just a moment, let’s imagine that this circle represents all of the people who are suffering: We help a large percentage of the people we see. Our treatments and approaches work…

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Why The Most Popular New Year’s Resolution May Be More Important than You Think

If I was a betting person I’d be willing to wager that, if you asked around at your New Year’s party last night, you found at least one person whose resolution was to hit the gym more in the coming year. And I’d bet that if you asked them why, they’d mentioned the extra pounds they’ve been putting on. I think my odds of winning would be pretty good, too. Getting more exercise is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, especially after the food-fueled holidays. But there are more benefits to exercising than just losing weight. For example,…

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Work That Makes a Difference

“What difference does my work make?” Have you ever asked yourself that question? I’m guessing it’s one that many people might ask themselves from time to time. Here at NICABM, we’re committed to making a difference in people’s lives by creating expert training programs for practitioners. But there’s more to it than that. From the very beginning, one of our core values has been to give back to people who are in need. So at this time of year, I like to take some time to look back and see how well we’ve lived up to that commitment. And I…

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How to Recapture the Mystery and Wonder of Small Moments

Life can get busy – chaotic even. And amidst the chaos, it can be easy to miss the small moments of wonder that are truly life-giving. Here’s a story from Rachel Remen, MD about a doctor who had his eyes opened in a powerful way. In fact, he says that experience freed him from the cynicism, depression, and frustration he’d been carrying for years. Take a look – it’s under 5 minutes. Doctors aren’t the only ones who can miss these holy moments, it’s therapists, teachers, and parents – it’s all of us. Now I’d like to hear from you….

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Polyvagal Theory and How Trauma Impacts the Body

Can trauma haunt the body the same way it haunts memories? According to Stephen Porges, PhD, not only does the body remember a traumatic experience, but it can actually get stuck in the trauma response mode. So even when the threat is gone, the body still perceives danger and its defenses stay engaged. Why does this happen and how can we help patients with it? Stephen shares some background on polyvagal theory, and gives his own personal experience to illustrate how this works. Check it out, it’s just 4 minutes. How have you worked with patients who felt immobilized by…

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How to Work with Trauma without Triggering Fear

We know plenty of strategies for engaging our trauma patients. But do we know what to avoid? How to help patients heal is not always clear. And trauma patients, given all their diverse history and symptoms, can be some of the most challenging. So it almost goes without saying that, when working with clients who have experienced trauma, there are extra precautions practitioners need to consider. Let’s take eye contact for instance. While many of us would say eye contact is essential, Stephen Porges, PhD has written about the importance of averting eye gaze when working with trauma patients. Direct…

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