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My Methods

My therapeutic approach allows my clients to feel safe, have fun, relax, be curious, expand, connect with themselves. Using adventure, hiking and kayaking allow one to be nurtured by nature and use mindfulness to be in the present moment.

Connect with nature through adventure, ecotherapy, hiking, and kayaking. My hammock throne will be in office this summer which will allow clients to have a womb-like experience and connect and heal their inner child as well as set intentions for sessions and install safe places and positive shifts that have occurred during the session.

Treatment Modalities

EMDR

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a cost-effective, non-invasive, evidence-based method of psychotherapy that was originally developed by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. in the late 1980’s for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). There have been 24 randomized control studies of EMDR therapy which attest to its value and demonstrate its usefulness across all ages, genders, and cultures. Tens of thousands of clinicians have been trained all over the world in EMDR therapy and studies have supported the use of EMDR with many special populations with an assortment of conditions such as Acute Stress Disorder due to Recent Incident trauma or disasters, personality disorders, eating disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, performance anxiety, complicated grief, dissociative disorders, addictions,  chronic pain, sexual and/or physical abuse, ADHD, and body dysmorphic disorders, just to name a few.

EMDR has been accepted as an effective form of treatment by several major health organizations including most recently the WHO (World Health Organization). It is listed as an evidenced–based practice by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) and NREPP (National Registry of Evidenced Based Practices and Programs) and the VA/DOD Clinical Practice Guidelines (2004, 2010) recognize EMDR as being a “A” category (the highest level designation) for treatment of trauma.

EMDR is an eight-phase treatment which comprehensively identifies and addresses experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural resilience or coping capacity, and have thereby generated traumatic symptoms and/or harmful coping strategies.

Through EMDR therapy, patients are able to reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive. EMDR is a physiologically–based therapy that appears to be similar to what occurs naturally in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and seems to have a direct effect on the way our brain processes and stores information.

The Adaptive Information Processing Model is the guiding principle of the EMDR approach and it postulates that health and wellbeing is supported by positive and successful experiences that increasingly prepare a person to handle new challenges and that the brain is equipped to manage and process adversity. Sometimes it just needs a little help. EMDR Therapy utilizes a 3 pronged approach which includes not only a focus on past (contributory) memories, but also focused reprocessing of present situation that continue to be triggering, as well as the development of an adaptive, positive template for the future.

“EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma. When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound. If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.”  (Francine Shapiro, EMDR .com)

For more information, go to www.emdr.com, www.EMDRIA.org, www.aztrn.org (Early EMDR Intervention and Disaster response). www.emdrhap.org (International Humanitarian organization)  Shapiro’s describes EMDR therapy in a 1 hour webinar/video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsQbzfW9txc

Image by Robert Murray
EMDR
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NARM

The NeuroAffective Relational Model(NARM) is an advanced clinical training for mental health professionals who work with complex trauma.   NARM is a cutting-edge model for addressing attachment, relational and developmental trauma by working with the attachment patterns that cause life-long psychobiological symptoms and interpersonal difficulties. These early, unconscious patterns of disconnection deeply affect our identity, emotions, physiology, behavior, and relationships. Learning how to work simultaneously with these diverse elements is a radical shift that has profound clinical implications for healing complex trauma. As such, NARM is positioned to become an invaluable treatment option for the Trauma-Informed Care movement as we gain a greater understanding of the nature of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

This developmentally-oriented, neuroscientifically-informed model, as outlined in Dr. Laurence Heller’s book, co-written with Aline LaPierre, PsyD, Healing Developmental Trauma, emerged out of earlier psychotherapeutic orientations, including Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Attachment Theory, Cognitive Therapy, Gestalt Therapy, and Somatic Experiencing®, and bridges traditional psychotherapy with body-mind approaches within a context of relational practice. NARM is a mindfulness-based clinical treatment, as its method is grounded in a phenomenological approach to addressing identity and consciousness of self – who we truly are beneath these patterned ways of relating to ourselves and the world. Seen in this way, healing complex trauma is a vehicle for transformation on a personal and collective level. In recent years the role of self-regulation has become an important part of psychological thinking.

The NeuroAffective Relational Model™ (NARM) brings the current understanding of self-regulation into clinical practice. This resource-oriented, non-regressive model emphasizes helping clients establish a connection to the parts of self that are organized, coherent and functional. It helps bring into awareness and organization the parts of self that are disorganized and dysfunctional without making the regressed, dysfunctional elements the primary theme of the therapy.

Core Principles of NARM

The NeuroAffective Relational Model™ focuses on the fundamental tasks and functional unity of biological and psychological development. The NARM model:

  • Integrates both a nervous system-based and a relational orientation.

  • It brings developmentally-informed clinical interventions that use body-mind mindfulness and orientation to resources to anchor self-regulation in the nervous system.

  • Works clinically with the link between psychological issues and the body by helping access the body’s self-regulatory capacities and by supporting nervous system re-regulation.

  • It uses mindful inquiry into the deeper identifications and counter-identifications that we take to be our identity.

In the NARM approach, we work simultaneously with the physiology and the psychology of individuals who have experienced developmental trauma and focus on the interplay between issues of identity and the capacity for connection and regulation.

NARM uses four primary organizing principles:

  • Supporting connection and organization

  • Exploring identity

  • Working in present time

  • Regulating the nervous system

Five Organizing Developmental Themes

There are five developmental life themes and associated core resources that are essential to our capacity for self-regulation and affect our ability to be present to self and others in the here-and-now:

  • Connection. We feel that we belong in the world. We are in touch with our bodies and emotions and capable of consistent connection with others.

  • Attunement. Our ability to know what we need and to recognize, reach out for, and take in the abundance that life offers.

  • Trust. We have an inherent trust in ourselves and others. We feel safe enough to allow a healthy interdependence with others.

  • Autonomy. We are able to say no and set limits with others. We speak our mind without guilt or fear.

  • Love-Sexuality. Our heart is open, and we are able to integrate a loving relationship with a vital sexuality.

To the degree that these five basic needs are met, we experience regulation and connection. We feel safe and trusting of our environment, fluid and connected to ourselves and others. We experience a sense of regulation and expansion. To the degree that these basic needs are not met, we develop survival styles to try to manage the disconnection and dysregulation.

A Fundamental Shift 

Whereas much of psychodynamic psychotherapy has been oriented toward identifying pathology and focusing on problems, NARM is a model for therapy and growth that emphasizes working with strengths as well as with symptoms. It orients towards resources, both internal and external, in order to support the development of an increased capacity for self-regulation.

At the heart of what may seem like a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms, most psychological and many of physiological problems can be traced to a disturbance in one or more of the five organizing developmental themes related to the survival styles.

Initially, survival styles are adaptive, representing success, not pathology. However, because the brain uses the past to predict the future, these survival patterns remain fixed in our nervous system and create an adaptive but false identity. It is the persistence of survival styles appropriate to the past that distorts present experience and creates symptoms. These survival patterns, having outlived their usefulness, create ongoing disconnection from our authentic self and from others.

In NARM, the focus is less on why a person is the way they are and more on how their survival style distorts what they are experiencing in the present moment. Understanding how patterns began can be helpful to the client but is primarily useful to the degree that these patterns have become survival styles that influence present experience.

Each therapeutic tradition has an implicit metaprocess. The metaprocess teaches clients to pay attention to certain elements of their experience and to ignore others. When therapies focus on deficiency, pain, and dysfunction, clients become skilled at orienting toward deficiency, pain, and dysfunction. Focusing on the difficulties of the past does not sufficiently reduce dysfunction nor support self-regulation.

The metaprocess for the NARM model is the mindful awareness of self in the present moment. The client is invited into a fundamental process of inquiry:

“What are the patterns that are preventing me from being present to myself and others at this moment and in my life?”

We explore this question on the following levels of experience: cognitive, emotional, felt sense, and physiological. NARM explores personal history to the degree that patterns from the past interfere with being present and in contact with self and others in the here-and-now. It brings an active process of inquiry to clients’ relational and survival styles, building on their strengths and helping them to experience a sense of agency in the difficulties of their current life.

The NARM metaprocess involves two aspects of mindfulness:

  • Body-mind mindfulness

  • Mindful awareness of the organizing principles of one’s adaptive survival styles

Using a dual awareness that is anchored in the present moment, a person becomes mindful of cognitive, emotional, and physiological patterns that began in the past while not falling into the trap of making the past more important than the present. Working with the NARM approach progressively reinforces the connection to self in the present moment. Tracking the process of connection/disconnection regulation/dysregulation in present time helps clients connect with their sense of agency and feel less like victims of their childhood.

Using resource-oriented techniques that work with subtle shifts in the nervous system adds significant effectiveness. Working with the nervous system is fundamental in disrupting the predictive tendencies of the brain. It is connection to our body and to other people that brings healing re-regulation. Using techniques that support increased connection with self and others is instrumental in supporting effective re-regulation.

Bottom-Up and Top-Down 

There are continual loops of information going in both directions from the body to the brain and from the brain to the body. There are similar loops within the lower and higher structures of the brain, that is, between the brain stem, limbic system, and cortex. NARM uses both top-down and bottom-up approaches. Top-down approaches emphasize cognitions and emotions as the primary focus. Bottom-up approaches, on the other hand, focus on the body, the felt sense, and the instinctive responses as they are mediated through the brain stem toward higher levels of brain organization. Using both bottom-up and top-down orientations greatly expands therapeutic options.

Working with the Life Force 

The spontaneous movement in all of us is toward connection and health. No matter how withdrawn and isolating we have become, or how serious the trauma we have experienced, on the deepest level, just as a plant spontaneously moves towards the sun, there is in each of us an impulse moving toward connection. This organismic impulse is the fuel of The NeuroAffective Relational Model™

MORE HERE: What is NARM?

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NARM
Transpersonal Psychlogy
HeartMath

HeartMath™

HeartMath™ is a unique system that combines rigorous research, advanced technologies, and validated techniques in training individuals to reduce stress and enhance their lives using biofeedback software. By generating an optimal physiological and psychological state called coherence, one is improving their nervous-system harmony, emotional stability, and cognitive performance.

What Is Coherence?

In regards to HeartMath™ services, coherence refers to the harmony of the rhythmic activities of the body including heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. Our research indicates that when the body experiences positive emotional states, it functions in a coherent manner, providing an endless amount of physical, emotional, and mental benefits.

When we allow negative emotions like anxiety, depression, and frustration to dominate our lives, the pattern of our heart rate variability (HRV) becomes disordered, which directly affects our physical and psychological performances. When we monitor heart rhythms through our software, we can study the physiological and psychological status, as well as predict future health risks, with the intention of reaching a coherent state. When a coherent system is learned, the heart sends more information to the brain, improving cognitive performance.

Using HRV analysis, we study the coherence through our software and determine where improvement is necessary. Coherence doesn’t mean that everybody or all the parts of the body are doing the same thing all the time. Think of a jazz band, for example, where the individual players are each doing their own thing, yet keeping in tune and step with the whole band. Coherence, in this sense, maximizes local freedom and global cohesion.

Unlike relaxation, the coherence state does not necessarily involve a lowering of heart rate or a change in the amount of HRV but rather is primarily marked by a change in the heart-rhythm pattern. Relaxation is a low-energy state in which the individual rests both the body and mind, typically disengaging from cognitive and emotional processes. In contrast, coherence generally involves the active engagement of positive emotions.

Psychologically, coherence is experienced as a calm, balanced, yet energized and responsive state that is conducive to everyday functioning and interaction, including the performance of tasks requiring mental acuity, focus, problem-solving and decision-making, as well as physical activity and coordination.

How can HeartMath™ help?

When you arrive at a HeartMath™ session, we’ll connect you with emWave and Inner Balance software and go through a series of relaxation and breathing techniques.

The HeartMath™ software clearly identifies your heart rhythm and coherence. Our goal is to help you reduce stress, improve cardiovascular health, balance different systems in your body including the immune and hormones, and increase your longevity, happiness, energy, and clear thought process.

Emotions drive our physiological and psychological states, which is why it’s crucial to learn how to manage emotions in a beneficial and harmonious way. Heart Math will regulate your emotional process, monitoring your heart and coherence, then provide techniques and feedback based on the results from our innovative software to help you make positive changes in your life.

 

The following symptoms and conditions can be treated with HeartMath™:

  • High Blood Pressure

  • Alexithymia

  • Insomnia

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Headaches (tension-type and migraines)

  • Cardiovascular rehab

  • ADD/ADHD

  • Addictions

  • Performance/Test Anxiety

  • Chronic Pain

  • Chronic Fatigue

  • Environmental sensitivity

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Cancer

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Arthritis

  • Phantom pain and amputation

  • PTSD

  • Atopic dermatitis

  • Diabetes Type I and II

  • Autism

  • Hypertension

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis)

  • Muscle spasticity

  • Immune-system dysfunction

  • OCD

  • Congestive Heart Failure

  • Loss and Grief

  • Eating Disorders

  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (complex regional pain syndrome)

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Transpersonal Psychology

Transpersonal psychotherapy is concerned with the study of humanity’s highest potential, and with the recognition, understanding, and realization of unitive, spiritual, and transcendent states of consciousness (Lajoie and Shapiro, 1992).

The goal of transpersonal psychotherapy goes beyond healing trauma to the awakening and attainment of our highest potential. The tenets, philosophies, and practices of the world’s spiritual and wisdom traditions are integrated with Western science, philosophy, and theory to create a full-spectrum psychospiritual developmental model. This model takes us from birth and normal Western developmental phases to the awakening of spiritual consciousness and the awareness of our interconnection to all living things through a shared energy field, as depicted in Eastern and Native spiritual traditions (Siegel, 2018).

Going beyond conventional psychology’s continuum of maladaptive to adaptive emotions and behaviors, transpersonal psychotherapy recognizes an expanded view of human wholeness, transformation, and inter-connectedness via the development of higher levels of spiritual consciousness.  As consciousness shifts, the context of one’s experience shifts, insights become more profound, and transformative healing occurs.  Clients transcend their egoic or personal perspectives, seeing events from an expanded state of awareness, often with new solutions and elevated understanding.

Through the use of attunement to each client’s needs, resonance with higher levels of consciousness, guided imagery, various mindfulness practices, breathwork, and tools from ancient spiritual traditions, transpersonal therapists guide clients to their own inner wisdom, facilitating shifts in consciousness, understanding, well-being and ultimately to living their fullest potential.

Mindfulness
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MINDFULNESS

“Mindfulness” describes a mental state of nonjudgmental attention to and awareness of the present moment -- along with calm acknowledgment of feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations as they arise. Mindfulness can also describe a type of meditation practice that cultivates this awareness, a quality all human beings possess.

According to Mindful.org, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

Mindfulness meditation comes from early Buddhist traditions over 2500 years old, developed to foster

  • clear thinking

  • compassion

  • open-heartedness, and

  • the alleviation of suffering

Despite its Buddhist origins, mindfulness meditation requires no special religious or cultural belief system. In fact, Jon-Kabat-Zinn Ph.D. is internationally known for bringing these practices to the West – creating a research-based program called “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” that has benefited people from all walks of life. This program has been a helpful ancillary form of treatment for many patients with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, psoriasis, and other chronic conditions caused or exacerbated by modifiable lifestyle factors.

This is a way of having a look at our struggles from a unique perspective. Our personal history is a story we tell ourselves. This story creates our identity and sense of purpose. Sometimes we have chosen to tell a story that has kept us stuck in some way in our lives. By utilizing techniques such as journaling or retelling our stories we can narrate our stories in a different way. We can use the strengths and skills we have found along the way to look at our problems and struggles and create new chapters and solutions to lead us forward in our lives.

Hiking Therapy
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HIKING THERAPY

Let the worries slip away while connecting with nature.  Nature heals and soothes while utilizing your senses and staying in the present moment.  Allow nature to nurture you and connect you back to yourself.   We will choose a hike that fits your comfort level.  

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