Treatment for PTSD

 

The Alpha-Stim technology is compact –

but don’t let its size fool you. I packs a wallop!

I am a mental health therapist and I use the Alpha-Stim technology with 100% of my patients on a daily basis. But, don’t take my word for it. Here is what Psychologist, Kathy Platoni, at the Veteran’s Hospital had to say about the Alpha-Stim (AS):

“AS technology is the gold standard for adjunctive treatment of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Every single one of my PTSD patients has one, whether Veteran or police officer. I have used this technology for 28 years in my practice and equally as widely in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have treated hundreds, if not thousands of civilians, Soldiers and Marines with Alpha-Stim. There are absolutely NO concerns whatsoever about using it with this population. As a matter of fact, I would be failing my patients if I didn’t use the AS technology. It reduces the internal distress and allows for the internal quiet so absent in those diagnosed with PTSD better than any other intervention I have ever used.”

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment, LLC | Anxiety Counselor | Performance Anxiety

Your boundaries are social rules of engagements you have with others. A person with healthy boundaries can “No” without guilt. Below are 7 additional ways that will make it easier for you to enforce boundaries.

  1. Know what you are willing to accept and what you are not. Be specific about your limits.
  2. Know what you value the most. Don’t compare your values with others – values are very personal. Determine what is your priority and then live your life keeping your priorities in check.
  3. Stay in touch with your emotional disposition. When your body is having a reaction, don’t avoid it. Listen to your body; it will tell you everything you need to know.
  4. Don’t put others on a pedestal. When you do, you may find yourself discounting the manipulation or abuse they render.
  5. Stop saying “Yes” when your brain is screaming “No.” You will walk away feeling taking advantage of and, worse, defeated.
  6. Be courteous to others. It isn’t about who is right – it is about playing fair (and fighting fair.)
  7. Aggressive is not the same as assertive. Asserting yourself is not only health, but it teaches others how to treat you.

~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LCPC

Mind Maps

MIND MAPS WORK LIKE A CHARM

What you focus on is what you attract into your life. Period.  If you don’t see it, you cannot achieve it. Mind Maps are a great place to start.

It really is *that* simple!

Every time you see your Mind Map for the future, it serves as a gentle reminder of what you need to do and how you need to feel on a daily basis. You will get excited about your vision and burst through your toughest tasks, even when you don’t feel like doing them.

Why?

Because your mind is at work, imagining what it will be like when you reach the vision. The more you look at your dream or vision board, and see yourself following your mind map, the more you harness the power of your subconscious mind to help make all your dreams come true. Visual prompts that you only see once a day or only when you are home, often can lose most of their power to impact your everyday decisions. Carry your vision with you, on a Mind Map as a gentle guide to help you navigate you way to your DREAM LIFE.

How?

So simple. Look at the Mind Map image above. Put pen to paper and begin to dream a little.

It’s Never Too Late to Heal From Trauma

K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment, LLC Anxiety Counselor | OCD

As a psychotherapist, my goal is always that my patient leaves the session feeling better than when they arrived. And, psychoeducation is an important part of the therapeutic experience. I teach them about the mind-body connection and how the two cannot be separated. If we can calm the mind, the body will follow.

Patients Love Guided Imagery

Guided Imagery is a mind journey that slows down the stream of consciousness. It is a guided meditation that includes rich imagery. It is an effective technique for calming down the central nervous system.

It is simple, yet relaxing. It often slows down the brain and, as a result, calms the sensations, like tightness, pain, fear, shallow breathing, heart racing, etc. in the body.

Traumatized Patients Respond Favorably to Guided Imagery

Shockingly, less than ½ of people diagnosed with Post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD), receive treatment. For traumatized patients, the expectation is that we will be preparing for Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR), as it is a widely accepted evidence-based  intervention for PTSD. During the first few sessions, I often use Guided Imagery as a way to stabilize and resource my patient before we begin EMDR. The response to Guided Imagery is overwhelmingly positive, especially those whom I have diagnosed with PTSD. Many report that they ‘feel calm and relaxed’ at the conclusion of the Guided Imagery. If you have never experienced Guided Imagery and are curious, contact K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment at 208.258.3510.

~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LCPC

Hello, Lazy. Good-bye Guilt.

 

Stop chasing the moving target.

It is possible to unplug and get lazy without the guilt. Call it self-care. Call it unplugging. Call it going dark. Call it getting off the grid. Call it what you want.

And then — do it. Yes, you can relax and do nothing. In fact, I highly recommend it. Even God took a break. You deserve to take a break, too.

The issue is how does one get lazy without feeling guilty.

Simple.

Give it a time limit with a timer. Or — set a time that the ‘lazy’ will conclude. This is an effective way to do it without feeling bad about it.

And, quit comparing your productivity to high achievers. This is not helpful. And, stop apologizing for being unavailable for a little down time. After all, your cell phone is for your convenience; not everyone else’s.

Do your focused work sans distractions and the do your lazy sans distractions. not only will you be able to restore your energy and your mind, but it will help you feel more in control of your daily activities by squeezing a little lazy into it, as long as there is a time limit.

If you don’t restore your energy with some down time, you may run the risk of allowing your anxious mind to negatively effect your mood and your physical health.

~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LCPC

Reinvent Yourself

You can reinvent yourself; below are some guidelines to make this fundamental shift in your life:

  • Accept discomfort; it’s part of life but often only temporary
  • Careful with your self-talk; your brain cares more about the words you use than anyone else’s words (avoid inflammatory language)
  • Reward yourself along the way
  • Hire a coach
  • Get organized; your outer world is often a reflection of your inner world
  • The most successful people usually have a coach
  • Dress the part
  • Hang onto the friends that make you the best version of yourself
  • Do those activities that boost your confidence in your natural abilities
  • Even though it may feel fake at first, get your thoughts, actions and beliefs in alignment with you short term goal
  • Failures are not failures (unless you give up on your goal); stay in pursuit. Envision every failure as a mere detour sign
  • Know ahead of time that goals are difficult to reach and you will likely encounter many detour signs
  • Break long term goals into shorter goals; working backward is very helpful. A reverse timeline if you will
  • Create habits that move you closer to your short-term goal
  • A good Plan A has a good Plan B in the back pocket
  • Prepare ahead of time how you will stay on course and how you will navigate setbacks

Imposter Syndrome

 

K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment, LLC | Anxiety Counselor

Imposter Syndrome

You are not alone.

Doubts creep in, despite how successful you are. Imposter Syndrome is the tendency to discount obvious evidence of our abilities. And, while it isn’t a diagnosable mental illness, it can be debilitating. And, sharing with others that you believe you are an imposter is likely not going to serve you well. The good news is, however, that it is all about the story you are telling yourself.

Would you be surprised to know that nearly 70% of people have experienced Imposter Syndrome?

Have you ever found yourself (silently) telling yourself:

“If they only knew that I wasn’t an expert at this, they would have never hired me; I wonder how long I can fake it until I am found out?”

Or…

“I’m in over my head and am not qualified for this!”

Or…

“I cannot believe everyone is making a big deal out of my recent accomplishment. I mean, if I can do it, how hard could it be.”

Or…

“I cannot believe I have fooled everyone into thinking that I deserved that promotion. I wonder how long before they figure out that I am truly just faking it?”

Change the story.

Would you be surprised to learn that you can think your way out of this? You can change the story you tell yourself. When you make a mistake, you may feel shame and compare yourself to others. That is thinking like an imposter. Non-imposters understand that they cannot be brilliant at everything and they are okay with that. If you can learn to think like a non-imposter, you can overcome this feeling. Pay attention to the thoughts on which you focus and you can learn to reframe them. For example, next time you find yourself comparing yourself to a particularly analytical colleague, instead of dwelling on how you are more less analytical than him, switch your focus to “It is so great to have him on my team, being that I am the creative one and he keeps me grounded; we make a great pair.”

It is all in the story you are telling yourself. And, while you cannot control impulsive thoughts you think, you can control the thoughts on which you focus. Focus on the reasonable thought that you cannot possibly be an expert in everything.

Celebrate your little wins.

Considering your accomplishments does help. Make a list of your major accomplishments to which you can frequently refer. Put them in a visual field that you look at often, like your bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, etc.

You have a mission in your life and you are making a difference. Never underestimate the influence you have on the others around you. You have had a kaleidoscope of millions of experiences that have formed you into who you are today. You are unique and you have a unique skill set.

Feelings are the last to change

No one feels confidence 24/7. You don’t have to feel confident to act confident.  Start today, by telling yourself a different story and stop waiting to not feel like an imposter anymore. Your feelings about this will be the last to change. Take control back by reframing errors in thinking that you are an imposter. Tell yourself a better story. The better story pushes the imposter out of the book and brings the hero in.

 

Improve Focus

When you learn to focus on one thing, you can learn to focus on anything.
 
How do I do this?
 
Simple; do the 4 steps below:
 
  1. Turn off all distractions.
  2. Find an image in your immediate surroundings.
  3. Set your phone timer for 2 minutes.
  4. Focus only on the chosen image.
 
When your mind wanders, (and it will), don’t feel bad….just bring your focus back to the image. Over and over…until the 2 minutes conclude.
 
Good job. The more you do this, the easier focus will become. This is a tool that can be used for focused performance as well as beginning meditation.
 
Good luck. Drop a line and let me know how it goes.
 
You so got this.
~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC

Photo by L U C R E A T I V E on Unsplash

Meditation Matters (Really, it does)

Your Brain Needs a Break

Your mind likes to stay busy – all the time. It spends the vast majority of the time in the past (depression/rumination) or in the future (anxiety/what ifs).

Your mind needs a break; it never gets a break…not even when you sleep. It likes to stay busy to help you survive. Mindfulness can give it a break.

Mindfulness is a practice to be in the present moment, which helps you cope with emotional states, such as depression and anxiety. Mindfulness is also beneficial to your physical state; there are numerous benefits, not the least of which includes reducing symptoms of chronic pain.

That sounds pretty good; right?

How do you start? What does it look like?

You can start today by doing one thing at a time. (For example: Don’t eat while you are working or watching TV; simply eat and savor all of the textures and flavors in your meal.) Pay very close attention to the present moment, at least for a short while. Look up, look around you, deeply inhale, through your nose, the color blue (calming thoughts); slowly exhale, out your mouth, the color red (thoughts that don’t serve you well).

Exhale longer than you inhale. Extended exhalations stimulate the vagus nerve and natural pace maker; feel your heart beat begin to slightly slow down. You may have concluded, at this point, that we are referring to a meditation practice. How do you know if you are in a meditative stance? Read below for more juicy goodness:

Meditation is different for each person. The best way to consider the definition of meditation for you is to consider this: “What is that one thing that you do that you truly enjoy – that when you are engaged in that activity, time and space cease to exist.”

For some, this may be water color, drawing, writing, creating. For others, it may be more physical, like walking, hiking, running, etc.

If you haven’t tried meditation before, you will immediately notice that your attention wanders and is not easily controlled. Be patient; it takes approximately 66 days to create a new habit.

Meditation strengthens your ability to pay attention in the present moment, but also increases your awareness of how our minds fluctuate, often in unhelpful ways. People who regularly practice meditation are often better able to control what they focus on throughout the day. You can’t control your thoughts, but you can control the thoughts on which you want to focus.

~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC

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208.258.3510

You Don’t Have To Act The Way You Feel

You cannot feel good 100% of the time, right?

Sometimes, negative events occur that are outside of your control and can leave you feeling emotionally unhinged. You don’t have to be transparent with your emotional state, however. When you are highly emotional, you still have the option to preserve your composure and dignity. You have options; you can hold it back so that it doesn’t contaminate your current social interactions, like in a work, academic or recreational setting.
 
How?
 
Self regulation. Imagine you are comprised of more than one self. Your other self is analytical and cool under pressure and may even have a different voice from the self that experienced the negative event. This simple distancing technique can provide the space you need to distance you from the situation. It is giving yourself a pep-talk, if you will, from a third person’s point of view. (Example: “All right, Donny, so you don’t know why this friend has dumped you. It happens. It isn’t the end of the world. You are a loyal and genuine friend and there are a lot of people who want a loyal and genuine friend like you.”)
 
The more intense the emotional state is in the moment, the more distancing is required.
 
~Lisa Schiro, M.S., LPC
 
K-Counseling & Anxiety Treatment, LLC Anxiety Counselor | OCD