Shame-Free Pleasure

Shame-Free Pleasure and Body Image

Shame-Free Pleasure and Body Image

 

How many times have you desired shame-free pleasure, yet instead felt self-conscious about how you looked?

People compare themselves with media images which in turn causes self-doubt, dissatisfaction and hate towards their bodies; therefore, making them purchase beauty products (Tiggeman, 2005; Britton, 2012; Greenfield, 2018). 

The beauty and makeup industry actually uses unrealistic, photoshopped images to advertise their products for consumption (Richins, 1995; Cory & Burns, 2007; Greenfield, 2018). 

Literally, all around the United States, there is a glamorization of certain types of bodies while there is a disdain for others.  Social conditioning is like oxygen, and it fills every moment we are in.

Yes, we can be “aware” of it. Yet we really rarely understand the correlation that negative body image has with shame-free pleasure. 

Often, shame will leave a person  feeling disconnected and dissatisfied because they are following someone else’s life ideals, rather than tapping into their own.

 

Shame All Around

Especially in a pandemic, people are watching more advertisements and not being taught about having a healthy relationship with their bodies.  

While having a disdain for their bodies and thus not wanting to be seen for pleasure, many relationships can suffer from the messaging that minds have been programmed to see and compare themselves to. 

The human body is extraordinary and it’s capable of having pleasurable moments that can bring connection between the mind and body. 

Actually, there is a depth of shame-free pleasure that occurs when you learn to appreciate your body during solo sex or partnered pleasure. 

 

What Is Body Image?

Body image is perceived as incredibly important, especially in capitalistic cultures (Botta, 2003). And some studies have associated body image with sexual satisfaction (Lowery, 2005; Yamamiya et al, 2006; Sanchez, 2007; Weaver & Byers, 2007).  

So few people tap into their fantasy or pleasurable life because their shame is a barrier to entry. However, imagine the bliss that could occur without disdain for the human body. 

Unfortunately, no matter what your gender media images have been used as a standard to measure how individuals’ body image should appear. (Grabe et al., 2008; Brown, 2002).  

 

Why You Want Shame-Free Pleasure

  • Experience vulnerability and depth of connection, which is a major component in partnered intimacy
  • Learn about one’s own body responses and advocate towards self responsibility for sexual pleasure
  • Psychological factors that may be associated with low libido may be alleviated 

If you are really worried about having shame-free pleasure because you fear how you look, why not consider a blindfold? You can blindfold yourself or someone else! 

Or if everyone wears blindfolds, then it’s similar to having sex at night… yet in the day. 

If you aren’t convinced yet why shame-free pleasure matters, then maybe learning more about who you are on the inside can help. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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. 

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

How to Fight Depression

How to Fight Depression

 

How to fight depression when you have a constant feeling of sadness and a loss of interest is incredibly challenging. Depression often stops you from doing the normal activities you used to find pleasure in. 

As common as depression might seem, how to fight depression varies from person to person. Being depressed can make people feel helpless. Along with therapy, embodied movement, and sometimes even medication, there are some ways on how to fight back against depression below!

Get in a Routine

Depression can strip away the structure from your life. 

By establishing a gentle, daily schedule, it can help get you back on track and prevent the days from bleeding into one another. Even the smallest day to day routine can help break the negativity depression holds on your life.

Set Small Goals

When you are depressed, you may feel like you cannot accomplish anything. Even if it is the smallest task, depression wants you to believe you cannot do it. 

In return, this often makes individuals feel worse about themselves. 

So to get started, set daily goals for yourself. Start small and make it an easy task you can succeed at! 

  • Making the bed most mornings.
  • Doing the dishes every other day. 
  • Going to bed at the same time.

As time passes, individuals fighting depression report that they start to feel better when they can accomplish small steps. Don’t add too much to your plate, and realize that adding more challenging goals to your day can increase depression side effects

Moving Your Body

By exercising in a healthy way and moving your body in a way that doesn’t exacerbate it, the brain creates endorphins, which temporarily boost your mood. 

This can have long term benefits with people struggling with depression. 

Regular movement can help rewire your brain in a positive way. 

Even just going for a walk three times a week could be enough on how to begin fighting depression.

Emotion does follow motion! 

Eat Balanced

There is no magic diet on how to fight depression. 

However, it is a good idea to be mindful of what you eat. If your depression tends to cause you to overeat or undereat, getting in control of eating habits may help you feel better overall. 

Foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, and folic acid, such as spinach and avocados, could help ease depression. Be mindful if you have allergies to some foods though! 

Get Enough Sleep

Depression can make it hard to get enough quality sleep, and too little sleep can make depression worse. 

Start by making changes to your lifestyle. 

Establish a routine so you are trying to go to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning. Try and avoid taking a nap and remove all distractions from your bedroom. 

By taking these few steps, you may find your sleep improves over time.

Take on Small Responsibilities

When you are depressed, you may want to withdraw and give up on responsibilities at work and home. 

If full-time school or work seems like too large of a commitment, try part-time. Sometimes even the smallest accomplishment can give your mental health a boost. 

Similarly, challenge your negative thoughts! When learning how to fight depression, a lot of the work is noticing and changing how you think. The next time you are feeling terrible about yourself, try adding the opposite side of the argument to balance out. 

An example might be that someone believes no one likes them, yet there is any evidence. By thinking about why you feel this way, you may beat the negative thoughts before they spiral. Add in the reasons why people would want to be friends with you.

Do Something New

When you are depressed, getting out of bed might be a struggle. 

Yet, if you push yourself to do something new or different, it can help get you out of the rut and boost your mental health. 

It can be as simple as reading a new book or going to a museum. 

When you challenge your brain to do something different, there are chemical changes that occur in the brain. By challenging your brain, it alters the level of dopamine which is associated with pleasure and enjoyment. 

Having dinner with friends or taking an art class can challenge the negativity that depression puts on a person. If you are depressed, making time for new things, or things you used to enjoy, can help. With depression, it is common to feel as if nothing is engaging anymore. 

The most important part is to not give in and keep trying. 

It might sound strange, yet you have to work at having fun sometimes. 

Prime your mind and plan something, even if it feels like a chore. Baby steps are key when it comes to fighting depression. 

Try gradually adding to your routine and responsibilities, as a way to feel accomplished and better about yourself. Also, if none of this works, see a mental health provider as a way of fighting off your depression symptoms.  

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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. 

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

PTSD test

What To Do With Your Results After Taking a PTSD Test

What To Do With Your Results After Taking a PTSD Test

 

Have you taken a PTSD test and been surprised by the results? 

 

Unfortunately, many things could lead to symptoms of PTSD, and you will come up as mild to severe scoring on a PTSD test. 

 

You may have said YES on a PTSD Test to having:

  • Flashbacks
  • Night terrors
  • Hot flashes
  • Intrusive thoughts

 

It is important to note that a PTSD test online is just the beginning of a PTSD diagnosis though. PTSD testing has to be done by a psychotherapist and someone who specializes in trauma. 

 

A diagnosis of PTSD can help you access more of what you need. In the end, though, these PTSD test results are not therapeutic themselves. The healing begins now!

 

Seek a PTSD Therapist

 

Part of what therapists do is help clients process through various events that may have occurred in their life. Trauma focused therapies do not simply just ask you to “talk” about your trauma.

 

There are a variety of PTSD treatments proven to help individuals heal from their symptoms. 

 

Ensuring you have a licensed professional who understands the complexity of the mind, the family you grew up in, and someone who is culturally competent is important for healing. 

 

Many don’t realize that trauma informed care does not mean just talking; rather, it means feeling it to heal it! 

 

There are a variety of PTSD treatments that have helped people heal from trauma. Many clinicians at our practice have specific training in working with trauma. Although it may feel overwhelming or hopeless, you don’t want to feel this way anymore.

 

PTSD Test Results Unusual? 

 

Many of us think that we are “ok,” when things like loss have a huge impact. Think about times where you had to let go of a friend, family member, a lover and you didn’t want to… yet knew you had to. 

 

When these moments happen, our body has an emotional embodiment hangover. Many clients will tell us about experiences such as breakups or infidelity, being given up for adoption, moving out of their caretakers home before they were 18, being made fun of at school, etc. 

 

At various times, most individuals have an experience of feeling left out and not chosen. If you feel a sense of hurt on the inside, it may be echoes of past trauma. 

 

Similarly, all of us would probably get positive results on a PTSD test after the entire globe is currently undergoing collective trauma with COVID-19.

 

Remind yourselves that EVERY relationship and relationship style has the potential to be super stressful, and right now, no matter who is living with you, the trauma responses are likely to be more intense than usual. 

 

Similarly, as individuals are stressed, it is a time to be mindful of what we expose ourselves to. 

 

Too many negative posts or blogs without positive outcomes could bring more feelings of trauma. 

 

The entire world is much more stressed out than normal, so try to give yourself compassion and patience. 

 

Give yourselves and your partner(s) some grace and extra acceptance right now. Even healthy happy relationships are struggling right now.  

 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

 

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

Solutions for Dealing with Crippling Anxiety

Solutions for Dealing with Crippling Anxiety

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with heart palpitations, as if you were dying due to crippling anxiety?

If you’ve ever experienced nervousness with a shortness of breath, those may be signs of an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is tricky, so if you know anyone who has it or think you are experiencing anxiety, look out for the following symptoms:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Isolation or social withdrawal
  • Agitation or irritability 
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Substance abuse

The most common signs of anxiety are often seen by the one experiencing the anxiety.

So when someone tells you that they are struggling with anxiety, be compassionate. They aren’t asking for you to argue with them about it. Instead, they are wanting empathetic connection.

What Causes Anxiety?

As humans, we respond to everyday stressors through a somewhat automatic stimulus and response. This is from our evolutionary “monkey brain,” but our excessive worry leads to anxiety disorders.

So, anxiety is a mental health disorder ranging from nervousness to fear, and an anxiety disorder is used by a therapist to submit a bill to the insurance company. Unfortunately, if there is not a diagnosis, your insurance will not cover your therapy sessions.

If you didn’t know, anxiety comes in many forms of fear and worry within our daily lives. A quick overview for those of you who want to understand the “diagnosis” part. There are a few types of anxiety that are most common.

Some anxiety disorders include: 

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Social Anxiety
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Have you ever heard of these? They are common and there are many videos on YouTube and TikTok made on the concept on how to solve these symptoms. In case you are curious about what these anxiety disorders are, here is a quick overview:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

A more common type of anxiety that LCAT sees often is GAD. Generalized anxiety disorder includes an irrational fear and excessive worry. Please take note if your anxiety results in sweating, shortness of breath, short-term memory loss, or dizziness.

Additionally, if you are having concentration and sleep problems., you may notice that anxiety is affecting your work life balance. Furthermore, those who report having GAD state issues within their interpersonal relationships, which may then lead to folks with social anxiety disorder.

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is when a person has an intense fear of what others may say. This then leads to a negative effect on the person, as they will start to avoid social events. Think about those who had social anxiety, and then covid19 happened. With no more social events to attend, they could go right into their disordered behavior. Sometimes, in place of social events, a person with social anxiety will use habits and rituals to replace social connection.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

As noted, OCD is a type of anxiety that features irrational thoughts or fear that need managing. Instead of understanding the cause, a person with OCD may exhibit compulsive and repetitive behaviors that help them manage their fears. For those with OCD, nervousness is alleviated, yet they are not getting better yet. 

 

How to Treat and Recover from Crippling Anxiety

Listed above were just a few types of anxiety disorders, yet how you solve anxiety and recover is most important! The use of an anxiety treatment plan helps you have better control over your life. If you use a treatment plan with your therapist, it alleviates the crippling anxiety symptoms, instead of having more complications in the future.

So how do you get better from these anxiety symptoms and find your ability to cope? If what you have been doing isn’t appearing to work, create a new plan. Therefore, begin the search, as you may need new skills sets and quality care by a psychiatrist and/or a licensed therapist.

At our practice, Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT), treating and recovering from anxiety is possible with evidence-based therapies.

Your treatment will be customized and based on previous treatment history and an assessment of you as a client. We will take special care of your needs when deciding which type of approach may work for you. 

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a highly effective treatment method for many anxiety disorders. It involves the use of several strategies that work together to determine the possible causes and triggers you may have. Skills involved in getting CBT for anxiety include:

  • Recognizing and changing the related actions and thoughts that may lead to nervousness
  • Learning coping skills for deciphering various levels of anxiety 
  • Restructuring to assist clients in cognitive thinking errors to increase new behavioral choices

Prolonged Exposure Therapy

Prolonged exposure therapy is one of the best treatment for trauma-related anxiety. Why? Because it allows an individual to discuss how their anxiety started and then slowly helps them work through it somatically. 

Additional Techniques

Additional techniques that are used with therapy can improve your results. Some of our favorite include, yet aren’t limited to: 

  • Hypnotherapy
  • Art therapy
  • Medication management
  • Yoga or massage therapy
  • Guided meditation
  • Deep breathing techniques
  • Mindfulness training

If you’ve been experiencing the signs of crippling anxiety and it’s affecting your daily life, speaking with a mental health professional becomes imperative. 

If you have any questions, learn more about our Text Therapy Program to help. Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a practice focusing on anxiety for teenagers and adults, and we transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach.

 

 

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. 

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

Do I have PTSD?

Do I Have PTSD? Behind the Scenes with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

Do I Have PTSD? Behind the Scenes with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

 

If you’ve experienced a traumatic event, or witnessed multiple trauma, you may ask yourself “do I have PTSD?” on the regular. 

 

If you feel you aren’t sleeping, having flashbacks, intrusive thoughts about trauma, and / or you wonder “do I have PTSD?” more than once a week, it would be good to see a therapist. 

 

Many people who have PTSD have had to deal with life-threatening situations like accidents, war, natural disaster, assault, sexual coercion, and / or any other event that gets stuck in the body triggers and responses. 

 

Generally, the fear and shock that comes with experiencing any of these events does fade over time. However, when you have PTSD, it gets replaced by constant flashbacks, shock, and fear… to name a few symptoms.

Do I have PTSD?

 

How to Answer “Do I have PTSD?” 

 

You can tell if you have PTSD when you notice the following:

  • You must have had a serious injury, sexual violence, near-death experience, been threatened with death, or experience rape. It could be a first-hand experience, or you might have witnessed a friend or family member go through such an experience.
  • You’re experiencing trauma in the form of nightmares, emotional distress, flashbacks, and other thoughts or symptoms that show when you’re thinking about the event.
  • You try as much as you can to avoid situations, thoughts, or feelings that will make you remember the trauma. For instance, if the event happened in a particular place, you try to avoid going to such a place.
  • You start having frequent negative thoughts or feelings that get worse by the day. You can not remember how the whole event unfolded, and you blame others or even yourself for the trauma even when you’re not at fault. Your favorite activities no longer interest you, and you feel lonely and alone.
  • Find it hard to see positivity in situations.
  • You become unreasonably angry and very irritable. You also engage in dangerous activities just to harm yourself or even have suicidal thoughts. Cannot enjoy sleeping like before, and staying focused becomes a problem. 

 

Treatment for Symptoms of PTSD

 

Psychology therapies and medication are the common treatments for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. 

 

These methods are used because they help you come to terms with your feelings and seek professional help. There’s a treatment for PTSD regardless of how long you’ve been suffering from it so it’s not too late!

 

Before a professional recommends any type of treatment for PTSD, you will have to go through the assessment and watchful waiting process.

 

  • Assessment: Your doctor or a mental health professional will carry out a thorough assessment of your symptoms and the right treatment will be recommended. After that, you will meet a mental specialist for more assessment and treatments if your symptoms are severe or you’ve been experiencing it for over four weeks.
  • Watchful waiting: Your psychiatrist or APRN may recommend watchful waiting if you’ve only been experiencing the symptoms in less than four weeks. The process involves careful monitoring of your symptoms to know if it will improve or become worse. You will likely then be asked to do a follow-up appointment within 90 days. 

 

Psychological Therapies

 

If your PTSD will require treatment, the first treatment that your doctor or professional will recommend is the psychological therapies. If it’s a severe or persistent case of PTSD, a medication will be recommended alongside the psychological therapies.

Do I have PTSD?

 

Three types of psychological therapies used in treating people with PTSD include:

 

  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
    • It helps you deal with PTSD by helping you to change your thinking and how you act. 
    • For example, your therapist can help you face your fear and change what you think about what happened. You might have been blaming yourself for something that wasn’t your fault, and your therapist will help you see that.
    • Your therapist will also encourage you to start doing the things you’ve avoided since you had the traumatic experience. 
    • For instance, driving (if you’ve had a car accident), or other things you’ve avoided depending on your experience. The general period for Tf-CBT may be between 12 weeks or more. 
    • Each session usually lasts for 53-60 minutes.

 

  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
    • This is a new treatment for PTSD that involves tracing your therapists’ finger by making side to side eye movement while remembering the traumatic incident. Also, therapists use theratappers, the light bar, or butterfly hugs and taps to get through. 
    • This method has been proven to reduce PTSD symptoms. It is a long and methodical process with amazing outcomes. Seek an https://www.emdria.org/ specialist today. 

 

  • Group Therapy for PTSD
    • Group therapy has shown to be helpful as people can easily speak about their experiences with other people regarding their PTSD symptoms. 
    • It can help you understand your condition better and find ways of managing it. 
    • Many charity organizations provide counseling and support to people with PTSD

 

If You Answered Yes to “Do I have PTSD?” Consider Medication 

 

Medications are recommended in severe cases or when psychology therapies seem not to work.

  • You can choose medication if you do not want to undergo the psychological therapies or if it hasn’t been effective.
  • If you also have an underlying condition like depression, you may not get the needed results from psychological treatment.
  • Medication is usually used for a minimum of one year before it will be gradually withdrawn. 
  • Your doctor will inform you of the possible side effects of taking any medication, and they’ll let you know if you have to continue or stop it at a point if the symptoms reduce or when there’s no improvement.

 

Why Treating PTSD is Important

 

Many people that leave PTSD untreated do so because of many reasons:

  • They may not be aware that they have the condition.
  • They may feel it’s a temporary feeling that will wear off with time.
  • They may be scared of undergoing the treatment due to the fear of their traumatic experience.
  • They may fear being labeled with a “mental health diagnosis” 

 

PTSD affects people of all ages, including in vitro babies whose parents are under constant emotional stress during pregnancy.

 

PTSD can have devastating effects on those who have it and the people around them. 

 

It affects the relationship with your friends, family, and people around you. If you have asked yourself “do I have PTSD?” chances are that you can seek an intake appointment with a therapist. 

 

Don’t suffer any longer, as PTSD can also lead to severe emotional problems and health issues that may arise over time. Seek assistance today. 

 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

 

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. 

 

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

 

Conflict and COVID-19 – The Bubble System

Conflict and covid-19 seem to go hand-in-hand in our mental health practice.

Something that is a pattern is the conflict surrounding people’s COVID-19 “bubbles” (and how to manage those boundaries). Many a session, I have spent speaking with couple’s, families, and individuals about negotiating boundaries around COVID-19 and how to do so appropriately.

The biggest challenge has seemed to be various people’s understanding of what is okay and what is not okay around COVID safety. As well as people’s understanding of what being in “their bubble” means.

As we are aware people have different standards surrounding what feels safe with COVID. Some people prefer masks 100% of the time, some people are okay without masks if people are socially distant, some people will interact with others not in their households without masks, and some do not wish to interact with any outside of their household unless it is utilizing technology.

Many have begun to utilize this idea of “the bubble” which includes people that you may have less restrictions with while you are around one another. This can include people outside someone’s household, feeling okay being inside their home, and wearing or not wearing a mask.

“The Bubble” 

The biggest issue is the bubble and consent. This is when people who share a bubble are feeling unclear or have different expectations of what is okay for them within their bubbles. This can look like one piece of the bubble believing that another is taking unnecessary risks or not providing adequate communication surrounding the decisions they are making.

As a result of these decisions parts of the bubble are in conflict because there is a disagreement between the levels of risk they are engaging in and therefore creating that much risk for the “bubble system.”

Because COVID is so easily transmitted, the actions you take pose a risk to others around you who you may have less restrictions with. This can be particularly challenging for people who are at higher risk from dying from COVID or around those who have a higher chance of dying from COVID.

In therapy, we have spent many conversations discussing consent, communication,  and boundaries.

How to Navigate This

This issue really comes down to communication and consent. If you are choosing to be in someone’s bubble you have to be able to agree on what is reasonable and feasible for your group.

If you are not willing to engage in the rules or disregard them, it takes trust out of the “bubble system”. This may mean that you have to create a different bubble or be willing to engage in communication with those for you to be able to come to agreements.

In relationships, trust and respect are vital to the success of the relationship. If you find yourself being dishonest, omitting, or not able to have conversations with one another… THIS IS A PROBLEM.

Breaking consent or boundaries in a relationship is also problematic! If you are doing something without the knowledge of someone else and creating a higher level of risk for them without their knowledge… that is a consent issue… and that is a pretty big deal.

I have had many clients talk about it “not being a big deal” and invalidating one another’s experiences.. Also not helpful! In these sessions, if we are not able to have the conversations and people are not willing to change boundaries or behaviors, I recommend dis-engtangling their bubble.

The most important thing is to keep everyone safe, healthy, and happy. We need to respect that we all may have differences as to how that may look and if it is so different than we are no longer comfortable… then we make different decisions around how to move forward.

If you do not think it is a big deal, that is your prerogative. HOWEVER, your actions have an impact on those around you… so it’s important to be mindful that no one can control you.

Yet others have the right to set boundaries as they see fit around their comfort. And if you do not like it, you may consider shifting your behaviors. Yet, if you are unwilling to do that, then you have to come towards a radical acceptance of this current outcome for the time being.

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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.

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

Grief and COVID

Grief During Quarantining and COVID

Grief During Quarantining and COVID

 

During the last 10 months something that has been clearer in my clinical practice is grief and the intersection of COVID-19.  During this pandemic there are varying levels of grief that my clients are experiencing as a result of COVID-19. 

 

What is Grief?

Grief is the experience of loss, usually associated with death. But we can experience it in a variety of different ways. Grief is typically experienced as high levels of emotional suffering and struggle. Following a loss (extreme sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, guilt, etc.).

Although, less talked about grief also comes with physical symptoms such as sleep difficulties, eating difficulties, changing in weight, fatigue, nauseous, aches and pains.

There are a variety of different processes of grief. One of the most well known is Kubler-Ross’ 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance).

Although a foundational in the concept of grieving, it does not necessarily mean that it is a step by step process (as described) or that everyone will engage in every stage. Also, these 5 stages were identified after researching the Holocaust (a genocide). 

 

Types of Grief

Grief is not a one size fits all way to grief or one type of grief. Below are a list of different types of grief that people can experience: 

  • Anticipatory grief 
  • Complicated grief
  • Traumatic grief
  • Ambiguous loss
  • Delayed grief
  • Secondary Loss

There may be several various types of grief, these are the ones I see most clearly in my practice. 

 

Grief and COVID

Frief is a complicated and broad topic. The amount of grief experienced collectively in our families, communities, country, and world is unique as a result of this pandemic. 

COVID-19 has struck our world in massive proportions resulting in high levels of loss be it human life, jobs, access to friends and family, change in cultural norms, etc. 

 

Death

Obviously, the death of people as a result of contracting COVID-19 is a horrendous experience for anyone and would be considered “traumatic grief.” 

Many of my clients who have experienced the loss of someone to COVID-19 have had a difficult time. Many of my clients were not able to be with their loved one when they were hospitalized and then died. They were not able to hold celebrations or services for their loved ones. They were not able to access the support of others because of quarantine. Being isolated and not able to be with the loved one has been extremely difficult. 

If the death was of a person who was not someone you are close to, you may be experiencing “secondary” or “vicarious” grief which is the loss of someone you knew. But may not have as significant daily impact. Although it might not have been your spouse, your parent, your child, OR your best friend, does not minimize the grief you may be experiencing. 

 

Life in Quarantine

Life in Quarantine has created its own version of loss for our communities. People are social creatures and require connection so being in quarantine for as long as we have is not something healthy for us. Life in Quarantine has resulted in social isolation and connection via technology. People’s worlds have been turned upside down and have created high levels of struggle for many. 

As a therapist, I am seeing higher levels of depression, trauma, and anxiety across the board. Clients are finding it hard to manage their symptoms because their is a lack of resources and connection. Isolation has become easier, self care has become more difficulty, and conflict is on the rise. People are stuck in the same environment 24/7. 

People are needing to do everything from one space and as the weather gets colder. Options dwindle for being able to engage in some level of safe connection with others outside their household.

This dramatic change in the way we live our day to day lives is causing grief, a loss for life pre-covid. 

 

Loss of Job and Resources

Businesses are struggling or shutting down. Thousands of people are losing their jobs. Resources are becoming more expensive as a way for some businesses to stay afloat. More and more continues to changes as COVID continues to be a predominant issue in our life. 

The above stated losses are hard enough, add in the loss of jobs people have been experiencing, loss of financial stability and resources. And the ability to feel certainty is creating high levels of grief and stress culturally. 

 

How do we Cope with Grief

On a variety of levels we are all struggling with grief right now. The best that we can do is try to facilitate support, connection, validation, love.

Ask for help or offering help to those we love and our communities. Noticing the privileges we have and areas that we can help those around us and our communities can be an important part of collective healing. Make no mistake, COVID-19 is a global trauma and in order to heal and survive this we need to work together to collectively grief, support, and heal. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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. 

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

PTSD for Nurses and Doctors

Systemic Impact of Coronavirus – PTSD for Nurses and Doctors

Systemic Impact of Coronavirus – PTSD for Nurses and Doctors

 

Covid-19 has wreaked havoc in our medical system. And the systemic effect of PTSD for nurses and doctors is being overlooked. 

In addition to the “normal” exposure of trauma that first responders “sign up for,”. We must consider that since the pandemic began, first responders have witnessed more loss, fear, and / or vicarious trauma than they have ever prepared for in their training. 

For those of you who live with and love doctors, nurses, CNAs, mental health workers, military, firefighters, EMS workers, etc. We thank you for being here to gather information on how to support the ones you love.   

 

What does Trauma Look Like for First Responders: 

I work with many people in the medical field (as do my colleagues) who are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the things I focus on in my practice is trauma – and it is really clear to me that this population is undergoing trauma.

  • lack of self care
  • hypervigilance (on edge, jumpy)
  • irritable
  • constantly tired
  • perseverating or not being able to let something go 
  • depression
  • anger
  • responses that appear more intense (something is mild and it is seen as highly stressful)
  • not engaging in taking care of basic needs
  • sleep issues (too much or too little)

 

The Trauma of Treating in the Age of COVID-19

Some of my clients do not see their families due to safety concerns. Some have watched patients dying and needing to sit with them as their families are not able to be with them, being inundated with cases without support, resources, and enough gear. 

One of the biggest struggles I have heard from my clients is the level of uncertainty experienced when this pandemic hit. 

Various medical professionals were scared of transmitting the illness and having more suffer the same fate of many. Seeing the lack of resources (beds, PPE, equipment, and information) lead to high levels of uncertainty and fear resulting in many medical professionals experiencing high levels of trauma.

As the statistics reduced in New York and Connecticut, and its surrounding areas, many first responders finally began to feel the up tick in stress.

When someone is going through trauma and in survival mode, it can be VERY difficult to be able to notice the level of stress. This pandemic and the impact on the medical field is an example of this because it is a chronic trauma. 

 

How Can We All Help?

As we begin to see the numbers climbing again, I imagine our medical field will be re-traumatized. If you are a medical professional, first responder, or love someone who is here are some ways to consider supporting them:

  • Allow time to vent
  • Complete acts of service for the first responders (bringing them food or something to drink, running errands, etc)
  • Meditate 
  • Reduce stimulation at home
  • Focus on basic needs such as sleep, eating, and hydration
  • Hold compassion for the first responders
  • Focus on recharging and building a set of tools and resources to help
  • Try to be flexible and adaptive to allow your love one to check in with themselves and their needs
  • Ask for what you need and/or how you can support them
  • Do not bombard them with lots of information, try to slow things down 
  • Take care of yourselves!

These skills are important for everyone because if you are a first responder and experiencing trauma these tips will be useful for you. For those of you who support first responders, you are at risk of “vicarious” trauma or “secondary” trauma from hearing stories or experiences from your loved one. 

Please make sure you take care of yourself, knowing your limits, and communicating. Many client are seeking our support at LCAT to help learn ways to cope through this time. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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. 

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

Why Am I Depressed?

Why Am I Depressed?

Why Am I Depressed?

 

If you have been asking yourself “why am I depressed?” you should know that with all of the curveballs 2020 has thrown at us, you are definitely not alone! 

When you ask yourself “why am I depressed?”, that is a strong sign that it is time to seek professional help from a therapist. Luckily, telehealth therapy during COVID19 has made access to counseling easier for individuals who need it. 

Don’t blame yourself if you are feeling depressed: you are not lazy, you are not a failure, and there is nothing “broken” about you that can’t be rebuilt. Let’s take a look at some reasons why you might be feeling depressed. 

 

The Pandemic

The pandemic has been a trigger for many circumstances that can cause depression. 

  • Isolation: if you are unable to see anyone in your social circle or family because they do not live with you, this quarantine will have been especially difficult. Feeling isolated from those you love can increase feelings of depression, and can make you feel far away from any support systems you had in place. 
  • The death toll: the COVID19 virus has resulted in a huge loss of life, and it is a sobering and depressing thought. Grief, fear, pessimism and rage may be some of the feelings you are experiencing around the sheer numbers of those affected by the virus. 
  • The nature of the news cycle: while it is important to stay informed, the news cycle can wreak havoc on your mental health. The constant changes, the bombardment of bad news and zero focus on positive stories can paint a bleak picture and make you feel hopeless. 
  • Losing your job: many businesses large and small have had to furlough their workforce or lay them off, or they’ve gone out of business entirely. If you have lost your job, you aren’t just losing income, you are potentially losing security, opportunities, plans and feel like your ability to survive and provide is at risk. You may also feel unimportant if you were laid off and other staff weren’t, or like your sense of self is pretty shaky when you aren’t working. 
  • Losing a loved one: grief is a natural response to the death of a loved one, and the circumstances around deaths by any cause during the pandemic have made it difficult to have closure. The inability to mourn with loved ones or pay respects at funerals or the inability to hold your loved one’s hand as they pass can be difficult to process. 
  • Cancelling plans: if you had a wedding, event or special trip that was meaningful it can be devastating to cancel plans. Non refundable deposits or constant rescheduling can make you feel stressed and depressed.Why Am I Depressed?

 

Physical Factors 

If you have been ill it can be a trigger for depression, either physically or due to having a new, foreign relationship with your body and its limitations. 

If you have gained or lost weight you may be feeling depressed based on how you perceive yourself and how your body has changed in quarantine. 

There are hormonal and neurochemical factors that can trigger depression in some individuals. These factors can be controlled with medication and therapy, so it is important to seek help if you are feeling off. 

 

World Events

On top of the immediate effects of the pandemic, there have been many world events that may make you feel depressed. 

  • Racial injustice: feeling like your life doesn’t have value because of the color of your skin or feeling helpless to change the injustices of the world. Viewing disturbing footage of violence, protests and riots, wanting to attend protests but can’t for health reasons. Feeling guilty about past or present actions.  
  • The election: no matter which party you plan to vote for, the constant rhetoric and worries about trying to get your vote counted and in on time can be overwhelming. Feeling like the world hangs in the balance if your candidate does or does not get elected or re-elected, or even just having arguments with family about politics can leave you feeling isolated, frustrated and sad. 
  • International tensions: China, Russia, Iran, sanctions, threats, Armenia, the explosions in Beirut, the mass shooting in Canada, the violence happening in Nigeria- the world has been a very busy place and it is easy to feel helpless. Why Am I Depressed?

 

What Should I Do?

It can be tempting to try to battle depression on your own and without outside intervention, however you deserve to have guidance and support! 

If you are feeling depressed to the point of suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can put you in touch with someone immediately by calling 1-800-273-8255, or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. 

If you are feeling depressed and you are not in immediate danger, book an appointment with a therapist. They can assess you and help you create a plan to tackle depression, and can refer you to other mental health professionals if needed. Finding a therapist is more convenient and accessible than ever as most are offering telehealth options. You can even find a therapist outside of your own state! 

By asking yourself “why am I depressed?” you have already taken an important first step, so take some time to care for yourself and open up to a loved one and a professional. 

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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. 

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

Call us at 203-733-9600 and press 0 to leave a message, or make an appointment.

Post Election Stress and Using Compassionate Communication

Post Election Stress and Using Compassionate Communication 

 

If you haven’t read part 1 of our post election stress series, please click here

Post election stress is here to stay as we transition administrations. 

In the meantime, we will give you our specific examples on how to communicate during this time. 

 

Use Compassionate and Non Violent Communication

If you work with me or others at our practice, you have probably heard about Non-Violent (or Compassionate) Communication (NVC). If you have not, look it up! 

Great resources on ways to learn to communicate differently and in a way that our culture has not done a great job developing. Marshall Rosenberg wrote books on it and there is a website

The premise of NVC is to be able to communicate more compassionately, kindly, and effectively. 

This is recommended in being able to take accountability for our role, acknowledge our feelings, be respectful, and set boundaries or make requests. 

So the “I feel ______________ when (insert experience or concern of behavior) and am wondering if you would be willing to ______________ (needs, boundary or request).” 

post election stress

Using NVC focuses on using “I statements” to reduce blame, acknowledge our role, and build ways to understand through identifying our own needs. 

This helps us communicate with those around us and be able to slow conversations down through engaging in validation and reflective listening. 

Again, this is NOT about agreeing with someone, it is about being able to sit in discomfort and still hear another person.

Does this mean that if someone is sharing something harmful and is continuing to cause harm that I keep having the conversation or the relationship? NO. 

If you are in a conversation and you are doing suggestions from Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog, and there is a lack of respect, kindness, or compassion – you have a clear right to set a boundary using NVC and remove yourself, if necessary. 

There are times where we do everything we can to facilitate and engage appropriately and it is just not okay for us to continue. This is where you can request space, time, or boundaries around the conversation. 

 

Real Examples of How You Can Apply This:

Some of my clients have set boundaries around not speaking about politics. 

Some have a system in place where they say a code word when things become heated and take 20-30 minutes to de-escalate alone and then return and try to continue the conversation and then rinse and repeat until they get through it. 

Some of my clients set timers and engage in an activity called “active listening” where one person speaks, the other listens, when the speaker is done they validate through reflecting back what the speaker said, then the speaker identifies if they felt heard, then if they do they reverse roles, and if they don’t, then they clarify what they were missing. 

Some of my clients have chosen to stop having relationships indefinitely or for a set amount of time (space) from the relationship. Some have ended relationships completely. 

Whatever you decide to do, I think it is important that you are responding rather than reacting. Responding is thoughtful, conscious choices vs reacting which is acting abruptly or without conscious thought. I usually encourage people to engage in these tips before making such a decision, unless there is an issue of safety or abuse or significant harm being done. 

Unsurprisingly, I also recommend engaging in therapy if that feels right for you, as a way to figure out what you might need so that your decision is indeed coming from a responsive vs. reactive place.

If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.

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. 

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

Call us at 203-733-9600 and press 0 to leave a message, or make an appointment.