Monday, March 30, 2015

Benefits to Holistic Treatments

Today I want to share with you a brief article on an emerging, yet very successful topic: approaching illnesses with holistic therapy. For many people, getting a prescription to help with symptoms isn't enough. In order to grow and move forward the entire picture needs to be examined. Therapy is a part of the holistic approach to healing and I am working to better expand what I am able to offer my clients (stay tuned for that exciting news!) But for now, this is a great quick read on the basics of holistic treatments and how they can help people suffering with all types of illnesses whether they be mental or physical.

The Benefits of Holistic Treatments
Written By Mark Perry 
Published By:

Modern medicine has evolved into more discoveries of new drugs and new forms of treatment to cure all types of diseases. These are the conventional methods to give relief and to cure illness that are generally applied to most people. However, another kind of treatment has given rise to a more realistic approach to cure illness – the holistic way which is a kind of treatment that would go back to the basic roots of the cause of the illness and the person’s whole being as an important part of this treatment.

Holistic treatment is defined as more of an approach rather than a treatment; it focuses on the person’s whole being – his physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness that need to be addressed. The holistic treatment is into more of the lifestyle of the person and identifies the imbalances which may cause some negative effects to the person’s health.

It focuses on the root cause of the disease and the goal is to eliminate the disease by encouraging the person to strive for wholeness and healthy living.

The benefits of holistic treatments are:

• Quicker relief for pain

• Improvement of overall general health

• Understanding the need for a well-balanced lifestyle

• Awareness of keeping environment safe and healthy

And much more.

The holistic treatment has benefited illnesses like ovarian cancer wherein most women treated thru this way experienced lesser pain, general improvement of health, reduced growth of cysts and totally eliminating the cancer. Another benefit of holistic treatment is the improvement of eye health particularly those suffering from Glaucoma. This treatment focused on natural medicines combined with eye exercises, healthy eating habits, taking natural vitamin supplements and stress relieving exercises like yoga, meditation and self-relaxing exercises. It is believed that by applying the holistic treatment the prevention of eye disease would be more effective.

The holistic treatment has also benefited the drug rehabilitation program by incorporating the holistic approach to do treatment. All the possible causes of the addiction are properly addressed with the help of doctors and others who provide the care for recovering addicts. Included in this treatment are more recreational therapies, proper nutrition with the use of natural herbs, regular stress-relieving exercises and spiritual counseling. The use of synthetic medicines for calming those in the rehab is avoided as much as possible because they need to clear the body of toxins is already enforced by using more natural methods.

Monday, March 23, 2015

How a Suggestion Can Change Your Life

How a Suggestion Can Change Your Life
Whatever you think might happen—probably will. 
Post published by Polly Campbell on Mar 20, 2015 in Imperfect Spirituality

Ever had someone tell you that the procedure would “really hurt” or that the test was “really hard” or that the boss was “impossible to deal with” and then had those scenarios play out just as predicted?

Turns out those early suggestions actually shaped the reality.

A deliberate suggestion can influence how well people remember things, how they respond to medical treatments, and even how well they will perform and behave, according to research by psychological scientists Maryanne Garry, Robert Michael and Irving Kirsch. (link is external)

The reason, they say, is attributable to something called “Response Expectancies.” This means that the way we anticipate our response to a situation influences how we will actually respond. In other words, once you expect something to happen, your behaviors, thoughts, and reactions will actually contribute to making that expectation occur.

If you think you’ll ace the interview and expect it to go well, you’re more likely to do a good job.

If you think you’ll win the race, you’re more likely to train and prepare and perform in a way that gives you a greater chance of winning the race.

Using suggestion in this way can be a powerful tool in accomplishing our goals. But, many of us get caught up on the other side thinking only of our limitations. The power of suggestion works just as well then—to actually sabotage our success.

Think you’ll struggle with the job? Then, you’ll likely feel more negative and create less-favorable outcomes.

Has it been suggested that no one in your family knows how to have a healthy marriage? Then, you may unconsciously do things to sabotage your own relationship.

When you expect to get that cold—because everyone is getting it—you’re bound to be ill.

In fact, the influence of suggestion and our expectation is so far-reaching that scientists are now looking at how the power of suggestion and expectancy to can aid in medical care, criminal investigations, policy decisions and educational processes.

Using the Positive Power of Suggestion

But, you can use it right now to take charge in your own life and create the experiences you desire. Here are four ways to do it:

1. Tune in to the moment. This is good advice for just about anything. But as is with so many things, awareness is required to help us identify the suggestions that are coming our way in the first place. If you are not aware of the messages you’re sending or receiving from others, it’s tough to counteract the negative suggestions you hear.

Tune into what’s going on around you. Get curious about it and the suggestions that are influencing you will be easier to spot. Then you can give special attention to those that are helpful or encouraging.

2. Create a network of support. Find the people that believe in you and stay close to them.

Psychologists have shown that we are influenced by both deliberate and non-deliberate suggestions. (link is external) How people talk to us, their gestures, tones, and implications matter just like their words. Positive influence begets positive suggestions.

Think about whom you spend time with, and make sure that they are bringing good energy—that alone will create positive outcomes in your life.

Think too about how your behavior is suggestive. When you are parenting or interacting with others, you are making non-deliberate suggestions (link is external)with your body language, attitude, and attention. Those subtle suggestions can also build people up and inspire them or tear them down, all without you saying a word.

3. Maintain a flexible mindset. When we are locked into a fixed mindset we tend to take failure personally and see little opportunity for improvement. This is limiting. Instead, remain open to any outcome and when suggestions or influences come into your life consider those that take you closer to your goals.

With flexible thinking (link is external) you continue to learn and grow and improve and draw things into your life that will influence your progress.

4. Understand that the power of suggestion is always working. Another way to tap into this potential is just simply to remember that the power of suggestion is always working. If you expect something to happen—if someone or something suggests to you a specific outcome—your expectations of that outcome play a major role in its occurrence. The expectation or suggestion alone changes your behavior (often unconsciously) and your responses to help bring into reality the outcome you are expecting.

Knowing this then, don’t expect anything less than the best. I suggest you deserve it.

to view the original article, click here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

How to Overcome Barriers to Forgiveness

Good Morning!

Today we want to share with you an article from Psychology Today, written on how to overcome barriers to forgiveness. Although it's a longer read, it is informative and can help shed some insight into your own life. Also, remember, if you are in the D.C. Metro area and are looking for help, you can contact me through my website:

How to Overcome Barriers to Forgiveness
It's hard to let go of the suffering caused by someone else’s wrongdoing. Post published by Samantha Smithstein Psy.D. on May 17, 2014 in What The Wild Things Are

This article was written by Linda Graham, MFT (link is external) and was reprinted with her permission.

Laurie and Jamie sat in my office a few months ago, locked in an impasse all too common in couples therapy. The previous week, Laurie discovered that Jamie had done the seemingly unforgivable: He had had a brief fling with the new administrative assistant in his office while Laure was out of town visiting her ailing father. Jamie was genuinely remorseful, but he also carried a grudge of his own about Laurie’s repeated overspending on their credit card, despite his many requests to stay within their agreed upon budget.

We all know how painful it feels to suffer these kinds of hurts, betrayals, or abuse—and to have this pain harden into lasting grudges or resentments. I’ve spent 20 years helping couples (link is external) like Laurie and Jamie recover a sense of trust after they have violated their vows or broken their agreements. In that time, I’ve found that helping people understand each other’s underlying motivations is crucial to repairing a rupture between them.

But I’ve also learned that helping people forgive each other is essential, even when there is good reason to resist. Indeed, study after study has suggested that being unable to forgive these past wrongs can wreak havoc on our mental and physical health.

Forgiveness is the practice of letting go of the suffering caused by someone else’s wrongdoing (or even our own). It does not mean excusing, overlooking, forgetting, condoning, or trivializing the harm or jumping to a premature or superficial reconciliation; it doesn’t necessarily require reconciliation at all. Instead, it involves changing our relationship to an offense through understanding, compassion, and release. Two decades of social psychology research have repeatedly demonstrated the emotional, physical, and social benefits of forgiveness. True forgiveness repairs relationships and restores inner well-being.

Yet we often find it hard to let go, forgive, and move on. According to research, even when we can feel compassion and empathy for the person who harmed us, we can remain stuck in fear or hostility for days, months, even years.

Why is something so good for us so hard to do? That’s the questions Ian Williamson at New Mexico Highlands University and Marti Gonzales at the University of Minnesota have explored through research on the psychological impediments to forgiveness.

In a recent study (link is external) published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, Williamson, Gonzales, and colleagues identify three broad categories of “forgiveness aversion.” Traditionally, ideas for helping one person to forgive another have implied either expanding one’s empathy or compassion for the offender or “distancing,” not taking things so personally. But their research on forgiveness aversion suggests another approach: Forgiveness comes not necessarily by appealing to kindness or compassion but by addressing the victim’s fears and concerns. Williamson and Gonzales’ research suggests how to work with perceived risks to forgiveness and to move toward forgiveness in a safe and genuine way.

Below I offer a brief tour of the three barriers to forgiveness, along with ways to overcome them, drawing on research and my own clinical experience with hundreds of couples and individuals. Understanding these barriers to forgiveness can be very useful to clinicians and to anyone who has ever struggled to forgive—in other words, most of us.

Barrier #1: Unreadiness

The first block is “unreadiness,” which Williamson and Gonzales define as an inner state of unresolved emotional turmoil that can delay or derail forgiveness. People can feel stuck in a victim loop, ruminating on the wrongs done to them by another person or by life, and be unable to shift their perspective to a larger view, to find the meaning, purpose, lessons, and possibilities for change from the events.

Who is most likely to experience unreadiness? Williamson and Gonzales found that people’s tendencies to be anxious and ruminate on the severity of the offending behavior reliably predicted an unreadiness to forgive. People showed more reluctance to move toward forgiveness especially when they held a fear that the offense would be repeated,

How can we overcome the barrier of unreadiness?Williamson and Gonzales’ research validates the folk wisdom that “time heals all wounds” and establishes the importance of not rushing the process, not coming to forgiveness too quickly. Certainly the passage of time is an important factor in helping people get some distance from the initial pain, confusion, and anger; it helps the offender establish a track record of new trustworthy behavior (link is external) and helps the victim reframe the severity of the injury in the larger context of the entire relationship.

Over the three months that I worked with Laurie and Jamie, I saw them confront and ultimately overcome the barrier of unreadiness. In taking that much time, Laurie was able to place Jamie’s transgression in the context of a 17-year marriage that had already survived even greater challenges than Jamie’s one night of out-of-bounds behavior. And over time, Jamie was able to trust the turn-around in Laurie’s spending habits, relaxing his vigilance about her every move.

Tips to Overcome Unreadiness1. Recall the moment of wrongdoing you are struggling to forgive. “Light up the networks” of this memory by evoking a visual image, noticing emotions that arise as your recall this memory, notice where you feel those emotions in your body as contraction, heaviness, churning. Notice your thoughts about yourself and the other person now as you evoke this memory. Let this moment settle in your awareness.
2. Begin to reflect on what the lessons of this moment might be: what could you have done differently? What could the other person have done differently? What would you differently from now on? When we can turn a regrettable moment into a teachable moment, when we can even find the gift in the mistake, we can open our perspectives again to the possibilities of change, and forgiveness.

Barrier #2: Self-Protection

The second block to forgiveness is “self-protection”—a fear, very often legitimate, that forgiveness will backfire and leave the person offering forgiveness vulnerable to further harm, aggression, violation of boundaries, exploitation, or abuse.

Who is most likely to experience self-protection? People who have experienced repeatedly harmful behavior, and lack of remorse or apology for that behavior, are most likely to resist forgiving the offending party, according to the research by Williamson and Gonzales. In fact, they found that even the strongest motivation to forgive—to maintain a close relationship—can be mitigated by the perceived severity of the offense and/or by a perceived lack of sincere apology or remorse. Refusing to forgive is an attempt to re-calibrate the power or control in the relationship.

According to their study, one of the hardest decisions people ever face about forgiveness is: Can I get my core needs met in this relationship? Or do I need to give up this relationship to meet my core needs, including needs for safety and trust? The ongoing behavior of the offender is key here. If the hurtful behavior continues, if any sense of wrongdoing is denied, if the impact of the behavior is minimized, if the recipient’s sense of self continues to be diminished by another, or trust continues to be broken, or the victim continues to be blamed for the offender’s behavior—if someone experiences any or all of these factors, then forgiveness can start to feel like an impossible, if not a stupid, thing to do.

How can we overcome the barrier of self-protection?“Victims may be legitimately concerned that forgiveness opens them up to further victimization,” write the researchers. “Intriguingly, when people perceive themselves to be more powerful in their relationship, they are more likely to forgive, perhaps because they have fewer self-protection concerns in their relationships with their offenders.”

In other words, people sometimes have understandable fears that offering forgiveness will be (mis)interpreted by the offender as evidence that they can get away with the same behavior again. People very often need to learn they have the right to set and enforce legitimate boundaries in a relationship. Forgiveness can also involve not being in a relationship with the offender any longer or changing the rules and power dynamics for continuing the relationship.

Only when Laurie stopped her overspending and came to respect Jamie’s limits on their monthly budget could Jamie relax his need for self-protection and offer genuine forgiveness for Laurie’s past transgressions. When Laurie could again trust the sincerity of Jamie’s remorse and apology over his betrayal, and trust that indeed the behavior would never happen again, she could relax her need for self-protection and forgive.

How to Set Limits1. Identify one boundary you’ve been reluctant to set with the person you are struggling to forgive.
2. Clarify in your own mind how setting this limit reflects and serves your own values, needs, and desires. Reflect on your understanding of the values and desires of the other person. Notice any common ground between the two of you; notice the differences.
3. Initiate the conversation about limits with the other person. Begin by expressing your appreciation for him or her listening to you. State the topic; state your understanding of your own needs and of theirs.
4. State the terms of your limit, simply, clearly, unequivocally. You’ve already stated the values, needs and desires behind the limit; you do not have to justify, explain or defend your position. State the consequences for the relationship if this limit is not respected.
5. Negotiate with the other person what behaviors they can do, by when, to demonstrate that they understand your limit, the need for it, the benefit of it.
6. At the end of the specified “test” period, discuss with your person the changes in the relationship, if the limit was respected, or the next step in consequences if the limit is not respected. You may have to repeat this exercise many times to shift the dynamics in your relationship.

Barrier #3: “Face” Concerns

The third block is “face” concerns—what we might call the need to save face in front of other people and protect one’s own public reputation, as well as avoid threats to one’s own self-concept—i.e, feeling that “I’m a pushover” or “I’m a doormat.”

As social beings, we’re primed to not want to appear weak or vulnerable or pathetic in front of other people. We will protect ourselves from feeling inner shame in many ways, which may include a reluctance to forgive. Researchers have also found that hanging on to a grudge can give people a sense of control in their relationships; they may fear that forgiveness will cause them to lose this “social power.” If our concerns about saving face foster a desire to retaliate or seek vengeance rather than forgive, we may need to re-strengthen our inner sense of self-worth and self-respect before forgiveness can be an option.

Who is most likely to experience face concerns? People who feel their self-worth has been diminished by the offense, or who experience a threat to their sense of control, belonging, or social reputation, or even feel a need for revenge, are more likely to experience the face concerns that could block forgiveness. “To the extent that victims fear that they may appear weak by forgiving, and are concerned with projecting an image of power and interpersonal control, they should feel more averse to the prospect of forgiving,” write the researchers.

How can we overcome the barrier of face concerns? Very often people who have been hurt by another need to recover their own sense of self-respect and self-worth to create the mental space where forgiveness looks like a real option. We need to develop and maintain an inner subjective reality—a sense of self—that is independent of other people’s negative opinions and expectations of us. Good friends, trusted family members, therapists, or clergy can be very helpful in functioning as a True Other to someone’s True Self—they’re figures who can help generate a more positive sense of self.

How to See Yourself1. Sit comfortably, allowing your eyes to gently close. Focus your attention on your breathing.
2. When you’re ready, bring to mind someone in your life in whose presence you feel safe. This person could be a dear friend, a therapist, a teacher, a spiritual figure, your own wiser self.
3. Imagine yourself sitting with this person face-to-face. Visualize the person looking at you with acceptance and tenderness, appreciation and delight. Feel yourself taking in his or her love and acceptance of you.
4. Now imagine yourself being the other person, looking at yourself through his or her eyes. Feel that person’s love and openness being directed toward you. See in yourself the goodness the other person sees in you. Savor this awareness of your own goodness.
5. Now come back to being yourself. You are in your own body again, experiencing the other person looking at you again, with so much love and acceptance. Notice how and where you feel that love and acceptance in your body – as a smile, as a warmth in your heart – and savor it.
6. Take a moment to reflect on your experience. You are recovering a positive view of your own self again. Set the intention to remember this feeling when you need to.

Laurie and Jamie had kept their struggles private from friends or family, so they didn’t have strong face concerns about social reputations. But they did need to move beyond the shaming-blaming behaviors prevalent when they first came into couples therapy. They had to work on not taking things so personally and on feeling appreciated and worthy in each other’s eyes again before they could move toward forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not easy. It takes sincere intention and diligent practice over time. But overcoming reluctance, even refusal, to forgive can be facilitated by understanding these specific aversions to forgiveness, and by implementing strategies to address these barriers skillfully.

Originally published at Greater Good.  To view the article from click here.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Your Comeback Toolkit We all have setbacks...can you turn it into a comeback? Here's how!

Your Comeback Toolkit
We all have setbacks...can you turn it into a comeback? Here's how! Post published by Hendrie Weisinger on Jun 14, 2012 in Thicken Your Skin

I'm sure there are times when your best-laid plans don't pan out. You may seem to be going along just fine, when suddenly—wham!—a setback sends you veering off course. Your forward movement comes to a grinding halt and your motivation plummets.  At such times, your self-esteem may crash as well, leaving you waylaid by feelings of fear, doubt, and hopelessness.

People respond to setbacks differently. Most, however, experience a setback as some type of loss---whether of direction, motivation, self-esteem, confidence, or pleasure in their job. Most also tend to go through the same stages in coming to grips with loss---disbelief, anger, wanting to turn back time, depression, acceptance, hope, and positive activity.

To regain your momentum, you must fully experience and move through each of these stages.  You might experience several stages at once, or you might return briefly to a stage you've already passed. The only requirement is that you thoroughly work through each stage. This is where your comeback toolkit comes into play.

It's not easy to deal with setbacks---they are emotionally arousing, draining, and taxing. The good news, though, is there are specific skills that can help you turn a setback into a comeback.  The key is to remember to use them. Here is your comeback toolkit:

1. Tune in to your thoughts. Many will be exaggerated and irrational statements—"My life is over, I'm a failure." Counter punch using rational thoughts that give you perspective: "It's not the end of the world, I will have many other chances..."

2. Use your sense of humor..  Doing so will help reduce your negativity, restore your perspective, and the endorphins will energize you.

3.Practice Relaxation. This will prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, and stressed out and keep your thinking rational.

4. Engage in physical activity. Keeping active energizes you for positive action and prevents you from sitting home and feeling sorry for yourself.

5. Use Your Support Team.  Don't complain to them but go to them to help you problem solve.

6. Reassess Goals and Priorities.  A setback becomes a great time to look for new life path.

Setbacks happen to all of us. I suggest you make a list of the tools mentioned and keep them in sight---you'll be more likely to use them and it will be easier to turn a setback into a comeback.

To view the original article, click here.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Is it possible that one change could improve almost any client's relationship?

Relationships are a huge part of our happiness. They can bring up some of the most wonderful feelings . . .

. . . and they can stir up some of the most painful ones as well.

Yet there's one key thing - a key difference maker – that can change a relationship from being draining and negative, to loving and supportive.

But first, let’s consider . . .

What makes relationships so hard in the first place?

It often starts when we feel slighted, misunderstood, or disrespected in some way.

We react in self-defense. We might lash out and speak words we later wish we could "unsay." Or we withdraw in hurt to rehearse the reasons why we're right. And some of us simply shut down altogether.

The thing is, none of these defenses actually serves us well. Not one of them brings us closer to having the warm, healthy relationships we want.

Instead, we get caught up in a pattern where one hair-trigger reaction only feeds another. As practitioners, we often refer to this as a reactivity loop.

Now if you’ve ever worked with someone trying to stop this reactivity loop, then you know just how deeply entrenched it can be. Willpower and good intentions alone just aren't enough.

The best efforts often fail, and there’s a good reason why: we’re fighting neurobiology.

I know you know this, but just for review: What happens when we feel threatened is that the part of the brain that controls emotion takes over. That shuts down the prefrontal cortex. Now, in a life-or-death situation, this autopilot override is what keeps us alive.

But here’s the problem – when this shutdown happens for your client in the middle of a disagreement with their spouse or a heated negotiation with their teenager . . .

. . . the results can be disastrous.

This really isn’t the time you want your thinking brain to sign off while your emotional brain takes over.

But that’s only half the problem - so often in relationship struggles, there's something even deeper going on.

Not only is the conflict coming from outside, it also comes from within. When our self-critical inner voice won’t be stilled, we can feel insecure, as though we’re just not good enough.

If you work with clients, you’ve probably seen this countless times.

And if we’re honest, most of us know first-hand how toxic insecurity and self-doubt can be to relationships.

But as we know from the latest research in brain science, once a belief gets hardwired, it becomes very difficult to reset.

So here's the good news . . .

Research is also showing there's one practice that's particularly effective at retraining the brain so that we’re wired for positive, happy relationships . . .

. . . and that practice is mindfulness.

Thousands of studies over the last 20 years have shown that mindfulness can positively impact relationships and happiness. It can even change the structure of the brain.

Just 15 minutes of mindfulness practice a day can begin to unlock the barriers that keep people from connecting on a meaningful level.

Mindfulness can help us overcome feelings of insecurity so that we grow more open to love, trust, and intimacy.

This is not just about remembering to pause, take a deep breath, and count to ten in the heat of the moment. This is a way to rewire the brain and get beyond unhelpful “defenses” - you know, those walls we put up that don’t protect us anyway.

Mindfulness can help us drop the barriers built up over years of hurt, pain, and suffering. It can free us up from self-doubt and judgment so we can grow in self-compassion and acceptance.

So for just a moment, think about the impact this shift could have for your clients on their most cherished relationships . . .

Imagine your clients waking up every day feeling more alive, connected, and secure - without fear or worry about being anyone but their most authentic selves.

Picture the tense silence of a recurring disagreement with a partner giving way to open, honest, productive conversation.

Imagine the shouting sessions your client used to have with his teenage son replaced by evenings of board games and laughing.

Think about how it would feel for your client to see her grandchildren at a family reunion and hear her daughter say, “Thanks for not giving up on me when times were tough.”

Or what it would be like for your client to overhear her mother-in-law tell a friend how grateful she is to have her as part of her family.

Can you envision your client happy in their significant relationships, secure in the knowledge that both parties feel heard, understood, and appreciated?

Relationships can change.

That’s why we’ve created a program specially designed to overcome the insecurity, self-criticism, and judgment that block meaningful relationships.

And in this innovative program Tara Brach, PhD will be your guide. Tara is a psychologist, but not only that, she’s one of the world's most beloved mindfulness teachers.

As the author of Radical Acceptance and also True Refuge, she's already helped thousands of people transform their relationships - and their lives - with mindfulness.

In this interactive program, Tara will guide you to a deeper experience with your most loving, compassionate, authentic self.

She’ll share practices that can open your heart to a greater level of empathy and self-acceptance.

Her wisdom coupled with specific meditations will help you hold yourself, your loved ones, your clients, and really, the whole world in greater compassion.

These are the essential steps for reversing the negative patterns that prevent us from enjoying warm, spontaneous, and loving relationships. . .

. . . the kind in which both people feel seen, known, and understood.

Three short, lovely "nuggets" from Tara Brach... Enjoy!