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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

When You Feel Powerless

Note from Hannah: This post is being republished post-election after many people reported feeling hopeless and powerless. I hope it is of some help.  Powerless. Helpless. Stuck. These are some of the very worst, most unpleasant ways to feel. Too often people experiencing these emotions are hesitant to get counseling, or even talk with friends, because they feel it will “do nothing.” This is based on the belief that the event or circumstance needs to change in order to feel better. The thought at the core of hopelessness is: The thing that’s already done must be different or else I will never feel better. This is not true. Getting unstuck is about navigating your responses and feelings more effectively- not changing external events. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I think it’s essential to our well-being to cultivate healthier ways to     . . . read more

New Approaches Welcomes Leah Ottow, LCSW

Big news: We are pleased to welcome Leah Ottow, LCSW to New Approaches! Kind, compassionate, insightful, and intelligent, Leah is an excellent therapist and we are thrilled to have her on board. Some words from Leah: My style is collaborative and based on the belief that a trusting relationship is the foundation for therapeutic growth and change.  My approach is integrative and includes elements of humanistic, cognitive, family systems, and mind-body theories, with treatment tailored to a client’s individual needs. Areas of interest include anxiety, relationships, perfectionism, identity, depression, mindfulness, trauma, stress management, loneliness, pregnancy/post-partum. . I’ve worked with adults, adolescents and children in Southern and Mid-Coast Maine since 2007.  A Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Maine, I hold a Master’s in Social Work from Boston College and a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College. She joins Hannah Curtis, LCSW     . . . read more

When You Feel Powerless

Powerless. Helpless. Stuck. These are some of the very worst, most unpleasant ways to feel. Too often people experiencing these emotions are hesitant to get counseling, or even talk with friends, because they feel it will “do nothing.” This is based on the belief that the event or circumstance needs to change in order to feel better. The thought at the core of hopelessness is: The thing that’s already done must be different or else I will never feel better. This is not true. Getting unstuck is about navigating your responses and feelings more effectively- not changing external events. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I think it’s essential to our well-being to cultivate healthier ways to react when these gut-wrenching feelings strike. The following are some of my thoughts, that are on the surface quite simple, but take an     . . . read more

Parenting: Are You a Fixer or a Guide?

It seems to me that well-meaning parents lean towards one of two strategies (but often do both): being a fixer or being a guide. Neither is wrong. Like I said, these are what caring parents do. The trick is getting the right ratio of guiding to fixing, and knowing the limits of each. Guiding is teaching, explaining, validating, comforting, supporting, discussing, asking questions, and encouraging exploration. Fixing is about taking charge and changing a situation. These are very different strategies and both should be used intentionally. Guiding Guiding helps children learn lessons and skills that they can take with them their whole life. It is a process that takes time. It embraces life as a journey and kids need help along the way. Guiding is appropriate for situations where safety is not an issue. It’s for when a child is     . . . read more