trauma therapy

Trauma - Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Trauma - Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

 

Trauma - Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or TF CBT is an evidenced based model that uses CBT techniques to help aid in trauma treatment. This is done through the “PRACTICE” model.

Psychoeducation/Parenting Skills - focuses on learning about trauma and supporting caregivers and primary supports in supporting the trauma survivor

Relaxation - building relaxation skills to relax the body. The belief is that if you engage in focusing on the body that it helps support ability to manage trauma

Affect Modulation - learning about emotions to help connect your physiological reactions with your emotions

Cognitive Coping - recognizing thought patterns and different thoughts or beliefs the survivor has about themselves. Connecting these thoughts to the physiological and emotional responses 

Trauma Narrative -where the survivor writes or creates an account of their story with the therapist in session. 

In vivo gradual exposure - in each session the therapist works with the client and their supportive other in gradually bringing the trauma into the room from the beginning and reading the trauma narrative to the client and the supportive other separately to prepare for the client reading or sharing it in session. 

Conjoint Sessions with Client and Supportive others - Sessions can be individual for the client or the supportive other(s), and there are some sessions that are conjoint (relational). The most notable of these is where the client/survivor shares their trauma narrative with the caregiver/support

Enhancing Safety - this is not about victim blaming! This is about supporting people who have experienced trauma in learning what are healthy ways to set boundaries, recognize red flags, and work on self-advocacy.

This model was developed predominantly to work with children, but has been used with all age ranges. Although it is most effective with children.

trauma therapy

 

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy

Eye Movement Den-sensitization Reprocessing Therapy or EMDR is another evidenced based model that has been shown to have incredible results in treating trauma and a variety of other mental health diagnoses.

EMDR utilizes eye movement or bilateral stimulation (BLS) to reprocess memories or images that represent the trauma or an event in a clients life. The BLS accesses neural pathways in the brain to help aid the client in reprocessing the memory and the negative belief that was created about themself in that event or memory. In using the BLS it allows the client to access multiple parts of their brain to reprocess the memory in a safe secure environment.

In the event of a trauma or difficult experience, the brain responds in crisis and is not usually able to access the part of the brain that allows for reason and understanding, the brain is most times responding out of fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. These are automatic responses that we have no control over. Our brain goes into autopilot. EMDR accesses these memories and allows for us to reprocess these memories while also engaging our frontal lobe creating a different experience and allowing new pathways to be created. For more information regarding EMDR read Getting Past Your Past by Francine Shapiro, PhD.

 

Inner Aspects

A sex-positive, trauma-informed care model that we use at Life Coaching and Therapy is called “The Inner Aspects” or the “Parts Theory” Model, informed by, and not limited to the following models:

Francesca Gentille’s Inner Aspects Model, Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication Theory, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Bowbly’s Attachment Theory, Tony Robbin’s 6 Human Needs Theory, Hendrix’s Imago Model, Jung’s Archetypes, Schwartz’s Inner Family Systems, and Shapiro’s Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.

For short, The Inner Aspects or Parts Theory is a life hack to better communication in sex and intimate relationships.

The concept is that who we are internally is complex.

We may have only one body – AND we have multiple “identities” within us. Identifying our parts helps us slow ourselves and our thoughts down, to understand the types of strategies we have been using to end up with our current presenting problems. Emotions arise because our needs aren’t being met. Arguments and conflict arise because humans argue over strategies on how to get their needs met. (Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication).

We each have various parts of us that hold onto different stories and beliefs about life.

 

Qualities of Parts of Us:

  • Sweet and Innocent
  • Saboteur and toxic
  • Animalistic or barbaric
  • Sensual and sexual
  • Divine or inspired
  • Selfish, childish, rebellious, or manipulative
  • Competitive and athletic

The inner parts work that you are responsible for is to find an inner nurturer that represents your younger selves.

The external work is to find the parts of you that can be the most open to strategizing the best ways to meet both your needs and the needs of those individuals and communities that you state that you value. Through gaining this insight towards your inner aspects, you allow space for healing and growth.

Identifying and learning which parts of you have been impacted by trauma allows for you to reintegrate these parts of you fully and meet their needs to work towards healing these wounded parts. This integration allows you to reduce the experience of being “hijacked” by these parts (or losing control of your responses through being reactive). As Francesca Gentille would say you want “from reactivity to creativity” which is to say “responding” from a more centered integrated space.

Inner Aspects uses insight and empowerment to help individuals and relationships heal from the impact of trauma.

Trauma in Children

 

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) was created by Marsha Linehan initially to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. DBT became one of the most popular models in treating BPD and was evidenced based. Linehan utilized both “western” and “eastern” medical models to create DBT which differed from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

The foundation of DBT is mindfulness and dialectics. Dialectics are the focus of being able to see the “both/and” rather than the polarizing beliefs of the “either/or.” Dialectics challenges our brains to see the “inbetween” or grey rather than being stuck “black or white thinking.” Whereas mindfulness focuses on being fully present in the moment, being non-judgmental, and focusing on one thing at a time. The combination of these two foundational factors allowed for clinicians to utilize this effectively with clients with Borderline Personality Disorder, but quickly began to show efficacy in a range of other mental health disorders.

In addition to mindfulness and dialectics, there were other sections of DBT that clients use to learn how to lead a more balanced life. The sections of DBT are: Dialectics, Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal Effectiveness, and Cognitive Modification. Each of these sections build on dialectics and mindfulness to help clients deal with crisis, manage emotions, engage in healthy relationships (with themselves and others), and adjust thinking patterns. DBT uses acronyms to help remember various skills so skills can be applied and easily recalled.

From my education and experience as a therapist, I see a strong correlation between Borderline Personality Disorder and trauma. Given that Linehan and others have done ample research to support the use of DBT with BPD, I do not think it is a far assumption to see how DBT can also support people who have been traumatized.

Mindfulness and Distress tolerance focus on building self-awareness and grounding techniques which are vital to trauma treatment. Furthermore, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness support people who have experienced trauma in managing their emotions, learning skills to recognize their emotional experiences, and learning how to engage in healthy relationships through boundaries, building self-esteem, and other social techniques.

A signature of trauma is the cognitions created, so the use of cognitive modification within DBT is very important in addressing challenging thought patterns. Challenging these thought patterns are healing for clients and allows for them to engage in life and relationships more fully and genuinely.

Review Therapists Website, Social Media posts, and ads to learn about their policies, beliefs. A therapist who is trauma informed will show that somewhere. And being able to see their social media pages, blog posts, etc. will show you what that therapist or practice values. If you see information regarding trauma, that is a good sign. However, just because they are posting does not mean that they are competent, that is why you have to see multiple points.

If you already have a therapist, you can still review what is stated above and also have conversations with the therapist about their experience with trauma work. Recognizing the red flags for you and what may be barriers or strengths in working with this particular therapist around trauma.

Trauma work requires a safe place for clients to disclose some very challenging experiences. I would recommend finding a trauma therapist who is able to provide that safe space, one that is non-judgmental, supportive, and can sit with you and attune while you are working through these tough experiences.

People who have experienced trauma, do not feel safe in many places so finding a therapist who is attuned to you and you feel that you are able to connect with is important. Safety is not an easy thing to come by if you have a trauma history, so connection, attunement, vibe, and trust are steps to getting towards safety. If you feel safe from the get, that is amazing! However, it is normal to feel levels of anxiety in beginning therapy.

Finding the right fit is tough, but hopefully some of these tips have helped you find some general things that can help you. Remember trauma is challenging and requires a space that is able to cultivate healing and growth, through safety and connection. Part of the therapist's role is to help you grow in feeling safe in the therapeutic relationship to heal the impact of trauma. A safe place that is empowering, engaging, challenging, connecting, supporting, and healing.

At LCAT we are happy to help and many of us specialize in working in trauma. If you have any questions please contact us!

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

 

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

 

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.

 


sex counseling

Trauma Focused Therapy

Trauma Focused Therapy

 

Trauma focused therapy is therapy that focuses on helping clients/patients heal from various events that have happened in their life. Trauma focused therapy does not mean just “talking” about trauma. There are a variety of modalities that are evidenced based that have been shown to help people heal from trauma.

Oftentimes, I have clients ask me, “what steps should I take in healing from trauma?“ “How can I find a therapist that can help me with trauma?” “I don’t want to feel this way anymore, what do I do?”

 

Find Trauma-informed Healthcare Providers

What does it mean to have a trauma-informed therapist? A trauma informed therapist or health care provider focuses on providing choice, asking for consent, and the language used on forms and within sessions. Health care providers that are trauma informed show ways that they are mindful of how trauma may be impacting the individual in their relationships and other various contexts.

Trauma informed health care providers are vital to the health care system because for those who have experienced trauma it is 100% necessary for individuals to be finding providers who are trauma informed. This allows for collaboration and self-advocacy, which is important to people who have experienced trauma.

 

Ask Them About Therapy Models

Therapists who are trauma-informed may also be trained in a variety of models to support people who have experienced. At Life Coaching and Therapy, here are some of the models we use to help with trauma. We use a variety of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or TFCBT, EMDR, Parts Theory or “The Inner Aspects” Model! 

In the next week blog, we will explain what we actually do in each of these therapy models! 

At LCAT we are happy to help and many of us specialize in working in trauma. If you have any questions please contact us!

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


Trauma in Children

Secrets to Noticing Trauma in Children

Secrets to Noticing Trauma in Children

 

Trauma in children can be difficult to understand and recognize. 

Children do not have the language to identify what is wrong or if they are experiencing trauma. 

As parents, caregivers, professionals, and adults, it is important to be mindful of various signs that COULD mean a child is experienced trauma.

One of the first ways to notice trauma in children is to look for somatic symptoms. 

Often times, children express issues in their mental health through various physiological symptoms such as headaches, stomach pains, constipation, and even issues with skin.. 

To be clear, if your child has a stomach ache, it does not mean they have experienced trauma. 

If your child is experiencing stomach aches regularly, notice these consistent issues in your child and speak with a medical doctor and mental health therapist to assess for signs of psychological distress.

Trauma in ChildrenOther physical signs of abuse may be more obvious such as bruising, cuts, bleeding, avoidance of physical touch, or avoidance of being touched in certain areas, avoidance of eye contact, or bleeding from genitals (not related to menstruation). 

Children may also demonstrate various behaviors that can indicate some level of emotional distress due to trauma or adverse childhood experiences. Skin picking, hair pulling, over eating, restricting food, sexualize behaviors (not age appropriate... please consult with someone as to what is and is not age appropriate), self injury, avoidance of people or places suddenly and consistently, intense bursts of emotion, frequent nightmares, jumpiness, fear for personal safety, truancy, mutism, and frequent levels of negative self talk.

Trauma in childhood is also seen in their attachment to their caregivers. The behaviors and symptoms described above can be physiological or behavioral manifestations. Other attachment wounds can look like fear and/or confusion around various attachment figures in their life. Significant changes in their attachment to others can also be an indicator. 

Trauma in Children

To be clear, any of these symptoms can be typical in children. Its when you notice clusters of them or frequency of these symptoms that should be cause for concern. Patterns of these behaviors usually indicate some level of emotional distress, if not trauma. Also, the context of what is age and stage appropriate is vital. So if a teenager is avoiding their parent, there is high likelihood that may be a normative behavior for developmental level. It’s important as your child(ren) grow that you learn what is and is not appropriate behavior. At the end of the day, YOU know your child best.

Another important aspect to remember in working with children is that if a child does report abuse or trauma, the likelihood they are lying is fairly low. Of course there are situations where that is the case, but the statistics do show that when kids share that something has happened to them, it usually has. So if your kid has trusted you enough to share with them, please take it seriously. Because it is serious!

 

Long Term Effects of Trauma in Children

There are long term impacts of childhood trauma. Untreated or unaddressed childhood trauma can lead to serious mental health issues over time and in adulthood as well as issues in future relationships. These impacts can be with physical health, relationships, sexual intimacy, parenting, etc. 

In many ways childhood trauma or “Adverse Childhood Experiences” have a long term impact in our world. There has been much research done to show how these experiences can shape a persons life and impact their health and whole being. Untreated trauma is an epidemic in my opinion. Engaging with children, caregivers, and families in addressing these issues as early as possible or to preventative work could have major change in our world and future generations.

For more information on childhood trauma, feel free to look into the research done around “Adverse Childhood Experiences” or ACES to learn more about the impacts about childhood trauma and what to look for. If you are unsure of what may or may not be occuring within a child’s life, support the child and/or family in engaging in therapy to learn more. At LCAT we can help!

 

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


Trauma Symptoms

Hazard Warning! Identifying Trauma Symptoms

Hazard Warning! Identifying Trauma Symptoms

 

Those who experience trauma sometimes have trauma symptoms they are unaware of. 

 

Risk Factors for Trauma Symptoms

Some general risk factors that can increase someone's likelihood of experiencing trauma symptoms are: 

  • Marginalization and/or institutional “isms” as that creates circumstances that are more challenging 
  • History of trauma within the family
  • Living in an unsafe environment (emotional and/or physical)
  • Difficult family relationships
  • One or multiple disrupted attachments in childhood
  • Temperament
  • Personality
  • Stress level
  • “ACES” (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

These are just some and there are certainly more to consider. 

When you know that someone is having intellectual and emotional responses to threatening or disturbing events, and struggling with their ability to cope in their current life experience, you may want to consider that they are experiencing trauma symptoms. 

Trauma can show up differently for different people; however, there are SOME things to notice or be mindful of in yourself or in others as trauma symptoms:

  • Feeling irritated, angry, or on edge
  • Being jumpy
  • Being paranoid or hypervigilant
  • Frequent fear of personal safety
  • Feeling depressed, powerless, hopeless, or helpless
  • Having nightmares or changes in sleep patterns
  • Re-experiencing an event or feeling (almost like deja-vu)
  • Dissociating or disconnection from reality or your body (feeling like you are watching yourself)
  • Difficulty trusting
  • Engaging in the same pattern of behaviors over and over again
  • Intrusive thoughts and difficulty letting thoughts go
  • Difficulty in relationships
  • High levels of reactivity
  • Avoidance of anything that reminds the individual about their trauma
  • Being frozen

These are some of the more common trauma symptoms and can be seen to meet clinical diagnostic criteria by a trained (and preferably licensed) mental health professional. 

HOWEVER, it is important to note that one of these does not necessarily mean that you have experienced trauma. 

Having several trauma symptoms on this list indicates that you may have experienced some trauma. As you can imagine, there is an overlap in various mental health conditions.

 

So What the Heck Do I Do About These Trauma Symptoms? 

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have any of these risk factors, you may be feeling stressed. 

Identifying symptoms is often the first step to identifying what we need. Way to go!Trauma Symptoms

This sense of awareness allows us to recognize patterns and work towards healing. 

The next thing I would recommend is find a trauma informed therapist and/or someone who specializes in trauma symptoms.

Trauma-informed care means a therapist who looks through a trauma perspective and can contextualize your experience and think systemically.  

After getting your consent, trauma-informed providers are often able to recognize which factors can be impacting triggers in mental health. 

Other than identifying symptoms, taking accountability for how your trauma(s) has impacted your life, or your relationships, can be another part of helping empowering yourself.

Engaging in trauma work with a therapist. 

There are a variety of ways to do trauma work, but it can be very useful to do therapy specifically geared towards trauma such as Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Internal Family Systems (IFS), Inner Aspects Model, mindfulness practice, and other models.

Trauma work is exactly that. It is WORK. So be ready to dive into doing some real emotional, cognitive, and somatic work. My colleague, Amanda, always says “trauma is in the body. Healing has to take place in the body.” Basically, you have to do somatic work for trauma work to be effective long term. 

Trauma Symptoms

Outside of some therapy models, some somatic work to consider is yoga, meditation, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, reiki, and osteopathic care.There are many more options to be considered!

If you are in a relationship and your trauma is showing up there. It is vital that trauma is addressed together. Trauma is relational, therefore it can be vital to your individual health as well as your relational health. Healing happens in the body and in our attachment to others.

Consider joining our staff at Life Coaching and Therapy, LLC (LCAT), we specialize in the body, trauma, and relationships!

You can get more free content on relationship and sex tips by checking out my Youtube Channel - The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


Trauma Meaning

What is Trauma? Introducing the Trauma Meaning

What is Trauma? Introducing the Trauma Meaning.

There is so much debate as to what to include and exclude in the trauma meaning. 

Trauma. Ugh.

Throughout history, the trauma meaning specifically centered around serving those in the armed services, firefighters, war veterans, police officers, and first responders experiencing symptoms after exposure to one event.

The natural progression for trauma connected to symptoms after one event began to expand and connect to those individuals who have experienced physical abuse, domestic violence, and / or sexual violence. 

Those individuals who are exposed to a threatening or disturbing event or series of events that have lasting distressing mental or emotional responses, causing the individual to feel overwhelmed in their ability to cope and integrate into their current life experience is what we define as the most broad “trauma meaning.” 

trauma meaning

This quickly didn’t serve individuals experiencing trauma though, because more seemed to be happening. Why was it that two people who experienced the same event could each process this event differently - where one may have experienced it as a trauma, the other may not.

After 10 years of being a trauma therapist, I realize the massive amounts of individuals experiencing varying levels of trauma that this PTSD trauma meaning has left out.  

Trauma as only from the perspective of the individual is not an trauma-focused approach to therapy. 

We must consider the effects that come from our societal beliefs, systemic impacts, and cultural constructs, so you can begin to notice what I see becoming a public health issue. 

 

The Progression of Our Understanding of Trauma

Initially, the definition focused on the individual and how the individual experienced the traumatic event. Similarly, the trauma meaning had to do with a specific event or events (like those listed above).

Massive research has been under way for the last fifty or so years, identifying that symptoms related to trauma is more about the way our brain responds to various events or experiences over time.

These experiences shape individuals and families and can reverberate through the family system into other relationships throughout the course of people’s lives, even if they were not direct experiencers of the trauma. 

Trauma effects are intergenerational. 

These dynamics can unconsciously continue from generation to generation, until one or more people decide to make the change. 

We now are able to see that trauma is relational, it does not exist in a vacuum affecting only one person. The trauma meaning has to include the ripple effect across that individual’s world. 

In my practice, I see that the massive impact of trauma on individuals, families, friendships, and their romantic relationships. 

Confronting these realities and having insight to them allows for opportunities for growth and healing. 

You can get more free content on relationship and sex tips by checking out my Youtube Channel - The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


Am I Bisexual

Licensed Therapist Answers “Am I Bisexual?”

Licensed Therapist Answers “Am I Bisexual?”

 

Today, we answer a common client question:“Am I bisexual” 

How do you know if you are bisexual?

Am I Bisexual

We wish there was a clear answer that could be used for everyone, and there is not. We are all unique and special in what we desire.  What I will share is what I have learned from my education, my experience, and my private practice. Please consider these as some general questions to reflect on if you are wondering if you are bisexual.

 

What is Bisexuality?

Stereotypically, the definition of bisexuality is being sexually attracted to “both” genders (ex. Men and women). Some would say it would be attracted to cisgender men and women and someone would include transgender individuals in this as well.

Cisgender is someone whos sex assigned at birth “matches” their gender presentation and/or expression (ex. Someone with a penis identifying as male). 

Transgender is someone whos sex assigned at birth does not “match” their gender expression and/or presentation (ex. Someone born with a vagina who identifies, dresses, and lives as a man.. because he is). 

I think it is important to note that there is conflict within the bisexual community regarding whether or not transgender individuals should be included.

Am I Bisexual

Unsolicited opinion: if you identify as a man or woman regardless of sex assigned at birth or what your genitals are… you are a man or a woman. Full stop. 

Stop transphobia.

 

What's the difference between Bisexuality and Pansexuality?

Bisexuality focuses on the attraction exclusively to men and women, where as pansexuality is attraction to all genders (including non-binary, transgender, genderqueer, gender fluid, gender bending, etc.). 

Note: These are generally agreed upon definitions… it does not mean they are set in stone or that people within these identifies strictly adhere to these definitions.

 

Am I Bisexual?

Generally speaking, here are some indicators that you may be bisexual:

  • you are attracted to men and women - it does not have to be equal attraction!
  • you have had romantic relationships with men and women
  • you fantasize about men and women
  • you like pink, purple, and blue.. KIDDING, yet it is the flag!

Am I Bisexual

Basically the bottom line is that you are attracted to (romantically and/or sexually) to male and female humans. There is variation and does not necessarily mean the attraction is 50/50. It also does not mean that you have had to be in relationships or had sex with either or anyone else to know. You do not need to have had sex with someone to understand who you are and not attracted to. It helps, but is not necessary for your identity!

 

The Best Way is Self Exploration!

Any identity requires levels of self reflection and exploration. The only way to truly figure out your identity is through your knowledge and experience of yourself. If you need help with this please find an identity affirming therapist (like us at Life Coaching and Therapy, LLC) to help you through this process!

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


Pansexual Flag and Pansexuality

The Pansexual Flag and Pansexuality

The Pansexual Flag and Pansexuality

 

Often in my practice or working with others in the mental health field, people ask me what various sexual and gender identities mean - one example we often get is “what is pansexuality?” Or “why does pansexual have a different flag?” 

 

Pansexuality

Pansexual is someone is who is attracted (emotionally or sexually) to all genders regardless of biological sex. 

This differs from bisexuality as the definition of bisexuality is attracted to “both” genders or the gender binary. 

 

What does that mean?

Pansexual Flag and Pansexuality

It means people who identify as pansexual are attracted to people outside the gender binary, including non-binary, gender queer, gender fluid individuals. 

Pan means “all” which is why the identity is “pansexual” as it includes attraction to “all.”

 

Pansexual Flag

The Pansexual Flag is used to show visibility to this identity and is three horizontal lines pink on top, yellow in the middle, and blue line on the bottom.

  • Pink to represent sexual attraction to those on feminine scale of gender regardless of biological sex. 
  • Pansexual Flag and PansexualityYellow in the middle to represent those who are not on the gender binary (e.g. non-binary people, gender fluid, etc.). 
  • Blue at the bottom is which is indicative of attraction to those who identify on the masculine scale of gender regardless of biological sex. 

If you have more questions about the pansexual flag, let us know! 

You can get more free content on relationship and sex tips by checking out my Youtube Channel - The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


rainbow

The Rainbow Flag -  The Story of “Our Rainbow” 

The Rainbow Flag - The Story of “Our Rainbow” 

One night, I was reading a book to my six-month-old daughter about the Rainbow flag (“Our Rainbow”), and I learned that each color of the flag had a meaning and representation to the community itself. 

Of course this makes sense when you think about it, but the rainbow flag was not something I had given much thought to.  

This obviously speaks to my privilege as a millennial, queer person who has been able to not have to learn the meaning because there has been some great shifts in acceptance around my identity. 

However, to many who do not have access to fly this rainbow flag freely, there is a great meaning!

So I learned, I learned from the book my six-month-old child received from my best friend. 

 

A History of the Rainbow Flag

I wanted to share what each color represents. 

First, I should share that the flag has changed over the course of time. 

At one time, it had 8 colors and then after 1979 went to 6 colors and within the last couple years there has been additions to include queer people of color. 

After a quick google, the original flag had 8 colors with meanings: 

  • pink (sex) 
  • red (life)
  • orange (healing)
  • yellow (sunlight)
  • green (nature) 
  • teal (magic) 
  • indigo (serenity)
  • violet (spirit). 

After Harvey Milk’s death in 1978, the rainbow flag increased in popularity, and due to difficulty with accessing hot pink fabric, pink was dropped from the flag. To keep it “even,” they dropped teal as well (gilbertbaker.com) to bring you the rainbow flag with the 6 colors we know now. 

The 6 colors continued to hold the same meaning they did on the previous rainbow flag creating a rainbow flag to represent various aspects of life and connect them to the queer community. 

As someone in the community, I never knew what the individual flag colors meant until I read this book. Therefore, I wanted to share it with our readers who are interested! 

Over the last several years the colors black and brown have been added to the rainbow flag. 

These colors are perhaps the most important on the flag because through these additions, the queer community is sharing love, acceptance, and the intersecting of identities and sexuality. 

Acknowledging people of color within the flag through the black and brown stripes creates significance and importance to these identities and also bringing the flag back to its original 8 stripes! 

 

Why are the Black and Brown Stripes important?

I want to say it clearly and strongly, that the addition of these two colors is integral in supporting all parts of the queer community, especially queer people of color. 

Although the queer community is marginalized in and of itself, people of color have been further marginalized within the queer community.

This is a step in overtly including people of color and acknowledging the unique contributions the various races and cultures have within our queer community. 

If you are interested in learning more about yourself and your identity, join us at Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT), as we would love to support you on this journey!

You can get more free content on relationship and sex tips by checking out my Youtube Channel - The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


LGBTQ in the Media Over the Past 3 Decades

LGBTQ in the Media Over the Past 3 Decades

 

Over the course of the last 30 years there has been a noticeable shift in the representation of individuals who identify as LGBTQ in the media. 

 

The 90’s and Early 2000s

As I was growing up in the 90’s and early 2000’s, there were some “gay” characters. Characters were typically gay or lesbian if any representation, and sometimes bisexual. 

Often characters at this time were used as comic relief and were not seen as serious.

Characters who identified as LGBTQ in media had stereotypical presentations and were usually side kicks or in the background. Stereotypes such as men being overly feminine, women being overly masculine. These characters were seen to be comic relief and characters with no substance. 

I learned that people were either gay or straight, and if bisexual people were included, they were shown to be promiscuous or confused. 

I watched people in these roles get made fun of and heard comments shaming those in the LGBTQ community. 

However, when Ellen came out on her show in the 90’s, the world would be forever changed! Ellen’s career took a drastic turn after coming out, resulting in her being shamed within pop culture. 

This showed queer people everywhere the social consequences of coming out and being authentically yourself. 

I think it is important to note systemically at this time, the Defense of Marriage Act was being signed into action - limiting marriage between a man and a woman, thus making it impossible for those of the same sex or gender to become legally married. 

Furthermore, what little representation there was of those on the gender spectrum were limited and often misused. Often times, main male characters dressed up as women to be “funny,” yet rarely anyone who actually within the queer community. 

If anything, at times you would see drag queens in the background of more mainstream shows at parties main characters were attending. It was rare that you saw a non-binary or transgender character within the media at all

Although there was much negative representation of those identifying LGBTQ in the media, “Will and Grace” was a notable transitional show in highlighting queer people in main stream, heteronormative culture. 

Straight and queer people both adored this comical sitcom. 

Additionally, shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Queer as Folk, and the L Word also made appearances showing queer people as main characters. 

Many beloved starter packs for queer millennials as they began to come out! 

 

The Obama-Era

As the LGBTQ movement progressed post 2008, there became more shows that included LGBTQ individuals in the media and on television. 

Shows in the mainstream like Glee highlighted the queer community in more positive ways, celebrating various identities within the LGBTQ community. 

LGBTQ in the Media
Ellen DeGeneres receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ex President Obama.

Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Ellen, and others began to be out publicly in ways that many queer people young and old were able to relate to. 

In Obama’s presidency, we saw some massive changes in the legal system around adoption rights, marriage rights, and protections in various states surrounding sexuality and gender identity. Further supporting growth for LGBTQ individuals to be more present in the media. 

 

YASSSSSSSSS QUEEN: Now

Now in the age of Ru Paul, Queer Eye, and Orange is the New Black, there are countless shows, celebrities, and LGBTQ icons. 

LGBTQ in the Media
RuPaul by David Shankbone

Those who identified as LGBTQ in the media were once seen as a comic relief or shameful, and now are getting more air time and being celebrated. 

This includes people who identify outside the gender binary. There are more and more celebrities coming out as non-binary or gender queer such as Janelle Monae, Jonathan Van Ness, Sam Smith, and Miley Cyrus. 

Furthermore, there are many individuals in the media showing allyship and speaking out in support of the queer community. 

There seems to be a cultural shift allowing those on the queer spectrum and their allies to be able to create a varied experience of queer people in the media. There still is work to be done to include more people of color within media representation as LGBTQ characters and people in the media continue to be more seen.

Breaking down barriers and stereotypes helps diversity us and create a vibrant community!. 

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.


Identity-Affirming Care

Identity-Affirming Care

Identity-Affirming Care

 

Many individuals and therapy practices claim to be identity affirming, yet seem to lack the basic structure to support various identities such as race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual or relationship orientation, etc. 

 

As a therapist who specializes in LGBTQ+ issues, I see this OFTEN. Therapists and other health care professionals say they are a “safe space” with affirming environments for this community. 

Identity-Affirming Care

When in reality, they believe things like “gay people are not the worst” or “I know someone who is trans.” 

I want to be clear. Knowing someone in the LGBTQ community does not make you competent to support the community. 

I repeat... Knowing someone in the LGBTQ community does not make you competent in treating someone within the community.

How do you be an ally and how do you be identity affirming?

 

Be An Ally & Identity Affirming!

 

Being an ally means supporting various identities, showing up for those identities, speaking up for those identities, voting for those identities, learning about those identities, and including those identities. 

Identity Affirmative Care

There are so many other things to do, and here are some places to start:

  1. To be identity affirming AND an ally means using inclusive language, recognizing the “isms” and when heteronormativity is showing up. 
  2. Acknowledging differences, appreciating those differences, yet not pretending to understand them. 
  3. Identity affirming in healthcare is inclusive language on paperwork:
  • Partner 1 and Partner 2
  • Legal Name vs Name
  • Pronouns: ____________
  • Having signage or representation of various identities in advertising or in office
  • Addressing systems of inequality to increase access to care 
  • Supporting staff in reflecting on their own biases
  • Training staff on how to be inclusive with someone who specializes in these training sessions, etc. 

There are many more things to do, this is just a start.

 

Young People are not the Only People who Need Allies!

In my experience, I notice being an ally has shown up often times for younger generations (millennials and below). 

People who are 35 and below are not the only people who need representation and allyship.

All people within the community, specifically within the LGBTQ+ community, need to have their identities affirmed and supported throughout their life.

In the LGBTQ+ community, each generation has had a uniquely complicated experience surrounding their identity. 

Most commonly, this shows up in internalized homophobia or a person in the LGBTQ+ community has negative feelings about their identity due to the dominant culture narrative around that identity. 

Addressing these issues across the lifespan is vital to improving the quality of care and health of people within various communities. 

As someone who specializes in LGBTQ+ individuals and their loved ones, I see how outcomes drastically improve for individuals or relationships as they have more support, affirmation, and understanding around them REGARDLESS of age and stage

Support and affirmation are a protective factor. 

Again, I repeat, it is not enough to know someone in the LGBTQ community. 

To be an ally or identity affirming person, you have to be an active participant in addressing dominant narratives around this community (and any marginalized community!) and thus, work in COLLABORATION with this community. 

If you want to be an ally or have identity-affirming care, join the community. Follow their lead. Show up and help out. Part of that is being inclusive and being sure that those around you feel supported. If you do not know how to support someone, remain curious and ask them. 

You can get more free content on relationship and sex tips by checking out my Youtube Channel - The Sex Healer

If you know someone that would benefit from this information, feel free to share it. 

Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists! 

Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems. 

LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs. For clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized coaching on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do

Call or text us at 203-733-9600 or make an appointment.