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What is EMDR and Can It Help Me?

Many people have heard about EMDR. You may be wondering how does it work? Could it help you? EMDR is a means to assist in recognizing and changing the negative responses that weigh us down and inhibit us from living our most fulfilling lives. EMDR helps to fully process and integrate difficult events in our lives, so that we don’t remain stuck. If you find yourself asking “why does that still bother me?” or find yourself repeating patterns or making choices that no longer serve you—despite your best efforts to change them—it may benefit you to talk to an EMDR trained mental health professional. The role of memory networks Our brain has a natural ability to process and integrate information. However, our ability to process information becomes compromised when under stress. When we are unable to process distressing events, the     . . . read more

Why Women Are Anxious and Frustrated at Work

Here’s the reason no one is talking about If you were an honor student growing up, you might be screwing yourself over at work. Let’s start with a story. Amanda was detail-oriented and highly competent. She did her job reliably well and got along with her colleagues. From the outside she appeared successful. However, she felt chronically frustrated because she often felt dismissed or talked over in meetings. She didn’t feel she was being paid fairly for her work quality. She also felt anxious much of the time and struggled to speak up about these feelings. Deep down she questioned if she deserved the things she wanted. Was she truly good enough? When I met Amanda I told her this: you are stymied by the schoolgirl mindset. Her response was probably the same as yours: What?! Let me explain. My     . . . read more

Beyond Postpartum: The Surprising Benefits of Being a Mom

Writer and mother extraordinaire, Lynn Shattuck, recently wrote a great piece for her blog reflecting on her postpartum experience. It was hugely popular because it hit home for many women. It brought back some memories for me, too. It took me a few weeks to regroup emotionally from having a baby in the middle of a dark, cold winter. In the thick of it, I was more exhausted, anxious, and vulnerable than I had ever been. In my worst moments, I worried about everything from dropping the baby, to falling down the stairs, to forgetting her altogether. Who had entrusted the care of this helpless creature to me anyway? Didn’t they know that I occasionally tripped and misplaced things?! I was worn down like all new moms. In the hardest hours, sparks of worries kept me tired and wired in     . . . read more

The Surprising Reasons You Feel the Way You Do

  This week has been all about why having a deep understanding of your emotional life is essential to your well-being and the health of your relationships. Today, I will concede that this can be difficult work. I’ve argued before that emotions are information, but decoding the clues they provide sometimes takes a master sleuth. Did you know that chronic emotional states like anxiety, depression, numbness, anger, or irritability can actually be a way to cope? Many people first come to therapy because they want to decrease these emotions. However, this can be tricky for some people because these states developed as a way to cope with even more painful emotions. For example, if you witnessed a tragedy or violence, you may develop chronic anxiety to cope with terror and powerlessness. The mind wants to feel in control, so you     . . . read more

From Surviving to Thriving

Last weekend I went to a fantastic concert, right here in Portland. Enjoying the music, I realized I was not just hearing it, but feeling it as well. There were thirteen musicians on stage, so there was a lot to watch. I felt more deeply relaxed than I had in quite some time. I felt alert but calm, my body let go of tension. My mind was focused and engaged. It seemed like an optimal state of being. Needless to say, it was highly enjoyable. This experience got me thinking about the fantastic piece, from our guest writer last week as part of the New Perspectives Series on this blog. He explains how he was able to use an evolutionary perspective to make life changes that helped improve his mental health. His perspective is that if we consider the types of foods,     . . . read more