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Looking Way (Way) Back: An Evolutionary Perspective for Modern Mental Health

Note from Hannah: This the first in a series of guest posts with the goal of providing new perspectives to mental health, wellness, and being a human. This piece was bravely shared by our guest writer, David.  My brain is broken, I thought to myself, as I sat in a plush, brown leather chair in my psychiatrist’s office; the perfect cliché- in an old brick building in downtown Portland, Maine. I stared, vacantly, through a large bay window, the sun’s rays cast upon my face, warming my skin through the white sheer curtains. Being a few stories up, I gazed at a slightly veiled view of  the modest skyline of the city I grew up in, amidst the backdrop of sparkling ocean and blue sky. The view made it easy to transport myself elsewhere, in avoidance of what I was     . . . read more

New Perspectives Make a Difference

Recently I heard a talk radio program where the host said (in reference to what, I cannot remember), “This is not like psychotherapy where they are trying to fix you…” I couldn’t hear the rest because I was in total shock. I knew this point of view existed, but I had never heard it said so succinctly: psychotherapists try to fix people. I could only think in little sound bites: Wait. Time out. FALSE. It took me a couple of weeks to recover and process. So now let me say in response that I’m not interested in fixing anyone. I don’t believe anyone is broken. At the heart of it, I actually think most people fear they are broken, but are not. It’s this fear that creates a lot of problems. As a therapist, I do not try to fix     . . . read more

Holding Shadows: Forgiveness and Acceptance of the Past

I’m pleased to offer this piece by guest writer, James Day Leavitt. (photo credit: Siobhán Butler) I imagine my past as a long hallway, with doors along each side of the corridor. Behind some doors are my difficult experiences. Things I don’t want to see anymore.  Regrets, mistakes, animosities, hostilities, hurts and lost loves. I don’t want to replay these things. They are uncomfortable to see. I am embarrassed and would like to start fresh, new, and unencumbered by the past. That’s why re-birth, and absolution of ones sins is so popular a concept. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy (memory energy) going back and checking the doors to make sure they are secure, locked, or at least mostly closed. I get scared they may come out and poison what I have made or are about to make     . . . read more

Can EMDR Help Me Change an Old Pattern?

Tomorrow I will be a guest on the internet radio program Growing Up Chaotic to discuss EMDR and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s at 7pm EST and I hope you will listen. As a result, I’ve got EMDR on the brain. I’ve been using this type of therapy with many of my clients for several years now. What I’ve learned is that EMDR can be a tool for change when you have an old pattern that just won’t budge. EMDR is a comprehensive form of therapy that is well-researched and highly effective. It is an approach that is done by  psychotherapists who have received specific training. “What is EMDR?,” you ask: well my previous post will start to answer that question- click here. In my practice I tend to use EMDR when clients indicate a history of trauma or a     . . . read more

Can People Really Change?

I’m always a little surprised when I’m asked, “Can people really change?” Yes, people can really change. And if you’ll excuse the double negative, I’d say people can’t not change. While I’m not an expert on too many things, my humble observation is that everything changes. All the time. I don’t know about you, but I wake up older everyday. I know about homeostasis but I think it’s to keep us on some even keel as we experience change around us at every moment. Change happens, whether you believe you are in charge of it or not. If you don’t believe you are driving your own life, then change happens, you just didn’t give it much intention or direction. That’s a waste, because I really think we know what’s best for our own lives. So it bums me out when     . . . read more