Feeling Overwhelmed

Feeling Overwhelmed? Let's Solve Your Anxiety and Depression!

Feeling Overwhelmed? Let's Solve Your Anxiety and Depression!

 

As a therapist in the age of COVID, I have heard a lot from my clients and community sharing increased feelings of anxiety, depression, and feeling overwhelmed. 

Social distancing, quarantining, and uncertainty in our lives and communities has exacerbated people’s mental health symptoms. 

This pandemic created a world of uncertainty and put a halt on the world we live in. 

In these uncertain times, people are reporting higher levels of feeling overwhelmed, anxiety, trauma, and depressive symptoms. 

We know living in isolation or with minimal contact with others or no physical contact can have large impacts on people.

 

What Can we Do if we are Feeling Overwhelmed?

Clients have been sharing how this difficulty has created or exacerbated symptoms for them. We spend sessions reflecting on these emotions, ways to cope, and ways to connect with people. 

 

Feeling Overwhelmed

Find Ways To Express Yourself

In times like these, it is important to find ways to express yourself. 

Ways to express yourself include writing, art, talking with a trusted support (professional or informal), or creating. 

There are so many ways we can express ourselves to counter feeling overwhelmed. 

This allows us to have an outlet for feelings we are having. Finding ways to reflect on our experiences and emotions is vital in maintaining our health in times like these.

 

Find Things to Do

Find things to do that promote your safety and pleasure. 

Keeping busy can be helpful or finishing projects that you have struggled to complete in the past! Distraction can be a useful tool in managing mental health symptoms. 

To be clear, distraction is NOT avoidance. Distraction is a temporary tool to use when you are feeling overwhelmed or other negative emotions - and you have to go back to your emotions and still work through them. 

Things to do can be like new hobbies, exercise, listening to music, cleaning, watching a show, or something else! Find ways to stay appropriately busy, NOT avoidant or overfunctioning. 

 

Find Ways to Connect with Others

In this time of social distancing where we have limited physical contact with others, connection can be hard. It can create feelings of isolation, loneliness, or depression. Feeling Overwhelmed

Connection is a natural antidote to these things and can certainly help these experiences. 

Social Media or technology has afforded us with the ease of connecting to others. I think the important way to use this tool is with boundaries that create opportunity for intentional communication and with boundaries. 

Connection can look like instant messages, phone calls, video calls, or posting things that connect you to others on social media. Schedule times to connect with people through these modalities creates certainty in these uncertain times. 

Additionally, if you feel comfortable and safe to do so (while following CDC guidelines) there are a variety of socially distant connections you can make in person. Depending on where you live with differing guidelines, there are different ways to connect with others. 

If its possible to have physical connection with others in your household whether that is snuggling, massage, walking together, exercising together, hugging, etc.

 

Find Ways to Connect with Yourself

Connection does not stop with others. It starts with yourself. Taking the time to connect with yourself through self-reflection, self-touch, and self-love. There are so many ways to connect with yourself to work towards growth, healing, and connection. 

If you are looking for extra support during these tough times, we offer tele-therapy sessions here at LCAT and are happy to help!

YouTube page where she provides free information at 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 Counseling

Trauma Counseling to Recover from People Pleasing

Trauma Counseling to Recover from People Pleasing

 

Often in trauma counseling and emotional healing, we focus on trauma responses that occur and perpetuate throughout someone’s life. 

The three most widely acknowledged trauma responses are: fight, flight, or freeze. 

Often these responses are unconscious and automatic, and if you are interested in your own traumatic response cycle, continue to read below! 

 

Trauma Responses

Traumatic responses caused by triggers are often seen in trauma counseling. 

The fight response is when someone is activated or “triggered” and responds aggressively or in a dominating way.  Fight can look like literally getting into fight, speaking aggressively, or even be a pursuer dynamic.

Flight is where someone leaves or “runs away.” This can look like someone emotionally removing themselves, literally removing themself from the circumstance, or avoiding any of the things that remind them of said trauma.

Freeze is when someone’s body and physiological responses “shut down.” This can look like someone not being able to move, someone not being responsive, or someone completely dissociating.

These trauma responses are most noted and discussed due to the research around Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (which is historically done around large scale traumas). These responses are clear and valid responses and after often addressed in trauma counseling and therapy.

As we learn more about trauma and the impact it can have, it has become more clear that “fawning” or “placating” is another trauma response. 

This is the response of “people pleasing” or placating others to avoid conflict or further harm/trauma to appease the abuser. 

This looks like a child trying to appease a parent to avoid further harm or a partner agreeing to something that they wouldn’t otherwise agree to if not for the fear of the others. 

This also can look like someone constantly looking to others for approval. 

Each of these trauma responses is an automatic response your brain has. 

These responses are out of one’s control often and out of their own awareness. 

Through trauma counseling or therapy and emotional healing these can be addressed to find various new strategies or coping mechanisms to manage when these responses happen after the trauma.

Trauma Counseling

 

Fawning and Recovery

In my professional experience, I have seen many clients who have struggled with fawning. 

These individuals require frequent validation, often avoid conflict, and often work to please/appease others around them to their own detriment. 

Like all trauma responses, this is an automatic process which can then create subconscious patterns in people’s lives where people continue this response into a strategy in their relationships. 

This strategy relates to clients engaging in this behavior across contexts and relationships. Often I work with couples where there is a level of codependency in the relationship where one or both partners engage in this dynamic, creating a difficult dynamic within the relationship. 

Whether individual or within a relationship, creating recovery around people pleasing is hard because of its origins. 

In my professional experience, it requires revisiting the origins of this pattern and how this strategy met the needs you had at the time. 

Being able to recognize that this strategy is no longer useful is necessary to work with your therapist to find new strategies to get your needs met. 

Another important piece of this is to recognize ways to feel safe. 

Recognizing that people who experience trauma do not feel safe, and remind yourself that finding safety is important. Safety can be emotional, physical, relational, and environmental. 

Depending on your experience, finding safety can be a necessity. 

There are so many things that can be useful to “people pleaser’s” in their recovery that the list can go on and on. 

The best advice I can give as a therapist is to find a therapist who you can trust and work through this with. 

That includes if you are in a relationship because whether you recognize it or not, your relationship(s) have been impacted by these experiences. 

Look for someone who specializes in trauma therapy, trauma work, or trauma counseling, these are the first steps towards emotional healing. 

You can get more free content on relationship and sex tips by checking out LCAT’s Owner’s YouTube page where she provides free information at 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.


healing trauma

Is Healing Trauma Possible? A New Normal in the Age of COVID

Is Healing Trauma Possible? A New Normal in the Age of COVID

 

COVID-19 has taken the world by storm creating a system of stress, chaos, and trauma. 

As mental health professionals, our goal is to help our clients in healing trauma, yet what happens when there is systemic trauma? 

Many are wondering how we are going to heal from this trauma, and how will we recover as individuals, families, relationships, communities, as a nation, and as a world?

I have discussed systemic trauma in terms of oppression of marginalized populations, yet this pandemic is causing waves of trauma reverberating throughout the world. 

healing trauma

To be clear, marginalized populations have been hit hardest in terms of this pandemic. According to data from the State of Connecticut online, COVID-19 infection rate for the black population and the hispanic population is double the infection rate for the white population.

Yet the resources are still not going to the vulnerable communities. 

Loved ones are not seeing one another, people are isolated, people are dying, people are living in fear. It is CLEAR that the broader system has been impacted.

The level of uncertainty in the world around us can become overwhelming.

As a mental health professional, I see so many around me personally and professionally struggling in the face of this pandemic and they all seem to want to begin healing the trauma, even though we are in it. 

As families are trying to create a new “normal” in the face of this global, systemic trauma, some families are planning funerals. 

 

Healing Trauma

Unfortunately, we do not know the long term effects of this on individuals, communities, and broader systems. 

What we do know is that these impacts will be great and we will need more support… probably emotionally, intellectually, somatically, and specifically around healing trauma. 

The veil has been lifted in our communities, our political system, and the world. 

Now as a community, we urge those that can to work together to create a world that is better than when this began. 

 

What can you do to help, if you are able? 

  • Begin to notice your privilege. 
    • Not everyone has the same resources or safety that you do. 
    • Some people cannot afford food. 
    • When you say “we are all going to be fine,” realize that that isn’t true for everyone. We have seen countless lives already impacted in mental health. 
  • Realize that you impact others 
  • Take care of yourself - shower, feed yourself, socially distance, etc.
  • Sew some masks for people that you know are struggling with supplies. 
  • Cook meals for those who are in need. 

 

We cannot unsee the atrocities and lives lost. 

We cannot unsee how marginalized communities were hit harder than privileged communities.

We cannot unsee the value of mental health, the value of health care, the value of our communities.

My hope is that we can come together as a community, and work towards healing trauma together to address what we know more than ever to be true… Can we create a new normal together?

At Life Coaching and Therapy, LLC we are ready to collaborate with you!

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.


Microaggressions In Our Society

Microaggressions In Our Society

 

Alright Folks, we need to talk about microaggressions because they are everywhere! 

Microaggressions are statements (verbal or non-verbal) that are common in everyday life. 

They can come off as insensitive comments that are “well-intentioned” or unintentionally passive-aggressive, oblivious, or naive and harm a group of people. 

Microaggressions can be based in gender, age, body size, race, culture/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, ability, etc.  They communicate a negative message or meaning towards a particular group.

 

Examples of Microaggressions: 

  • Saying to a black man… “you speak really well” or “you are really smart” (playing into the stereotype that black people speak improperly or are not intelligent)
  • A cis, het human saying to a queer person “you are too pretty to be gay.” 
  • A person without disabilities speaking louder and slower to someone in a wheelchair… The implication is that because this person has a disability, they must not be intelligent or able to hear.
  • Saying to a larger-bodied individual “wow, you are in really good shape and can move quickly” because the assumption is large bodies are not “in shape.” 
  • A patient at the hospital, speaking to a female, and requesting a doctor when they are being attended to by a female doctor. (The patient often does not realize that she is a doctor because the assumption that women are not doctors)

microaggressions

 

Implications

We all make mistakes and fall into taking on messages from the dominant culture. 

AND that does not give us the excuse to not examine our words and actions. 

It also does not give us the right to check our own privilege and biases! At LCAT, we try to do this daily. 

Microaggressions show each of us which messages we have internalized, and they provide information on what we need to examine and shift. It is not advised to use this as a style of communication

It is not a strategy that creates connection, contribution, growth, and/or significance. 

migroaggressions

Do better!

We need to be mindful of the messages we are receiving and giving. 

It does not matter if you were “well-intentioned” if your impact was not consensual.  

If you want to change, then you have to do “the work.” 

When you have the knowledge, do you believe it is your responsibility to alter your behaviors and actions to reflect that knowledge? 

Let us know in the comments! 

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.


COVID Anxiety

COVID Anxiety with Children

COVID Anxiety with Children

 

COVID anxiety is a real thing.

The last three weeks have been a crazy whirlwind. All of our lives have been turned upside down because of the Coronavirus. Schools have been canceled, millions of people have lost their jobs, and we can’t even enjoy being outside like we did just last month.

Even if you are one of the lucky ones able to work from home, you’re probably still feeling a great deal of disruption. By now, you’ve socially distanced yourself into isolation. Regular life is now Zoom conference calls and sweatpants at home all day. Maybe you get out for a run or a walk, and that’s about it.

The impact of what’s going on has so many layers it’s hard to process. Managing working from home with kids out of school all while watching the news of new cases and rising casualty numbers is nerve-wracking. The financial markets are in turmoil and there’s a general feeling of uncertainty.

How can you manage stress and COVID anxiety when the future is so unsure, and everything looks so bleak?

 

Shrink Your Circle

This is not the time to be worried about whether your kid is getting points for doing the extra credit assignment. Don’t fret over missing yoga or not getting in your gym time. During a crisis that threatens all of your normal, do what you can to shrink your circle into things you can control. Leave everything else outside.

Most people do well with a routine. You may be struggling with anxiety because yours has been torn to pieces. Start again new by making a fresh routine based on your reality. Avoid starting every day with a question mark or vague outlines of what’s supposed to happen. Break up your day into time slots. Dedicate specific time to work, cleaning, and homework.

Pay attention to your mood and your body. It will tell you what you need to feel calm and secure. You may need a clean house to feel grounded. Maybe it’s a shower. Whatever it is, your body will communicate what it needs as well.

If you’ve got kids, they’ll thrive on routine. Think about it. All day, they’re at school where every fifteen minutes is planned. They walk in lines and complete assignments. Suddenly, they’re dealing with online portals and weekly communications from their teachers. They haven’t seen their friends in weeks.

A routine can shield your kids from the COVID anxiety so many of them are feeling.

 

Reach Out Instead of Looking In

Times like this it’s easy for anxiety to snowball and spiral out of control. How can you break your attention away from all of the negativity?

Serving others is a way out if you’re lost in worry and stress. And it doesn’t mean you have to start a massive donation drive for your local hospital. 

You can contribute to ongoing efforts to help people affected deeply by Coronavirus by helping those in your inner circle who may be struggling.

After weeks of social distancing, think about how grateful you are for the friends and family who randomly check in on you from time to time. 

Are you doing the same for the people you care about? 🤔

Try talking to your neighbors. Make sure they’re ok. Have frank conversations with your spouse or partner(s) to let them know you are there for them and care about how they’re doing.

You’ll notice that as you focus your attention outwards, you’ll be less stressed about how quarantine and the virus are affecting you. 

It can be a nice paradigm or perspective adjustment to just try to contribute more in ways that bring YOU joy. 

Quarantine Self Care

Get Physical!

Exercise, hug the people you live with, and have as much sex as you can! 

We take for granted what a handshake, a hug from a friend over coffee, and a kiss from a lover can do for us. 

Humans are so physical by nature that a month of standing six feet apart has huge implications for our mental health.

Even in places that are in total lockdown, you can still get out for a jog or a brisk walk. Make sure you do something physical every day.

Intimacy with your partner should also be a priority. Prioritize sex. 

Don’t let the doldrums of working from home and the kids around all the time stop you from expressing love for your partner physically. 

Get a sound machine and a lock on your bedroom door!

Sex can be the renewal you need and releases critical endorphins that can sustain you in times of stress.

Hug your children, or tell them how much you love them. Offer whatever reassurances you can.

COVID Anxiety

 

What’s Life Going to Look Like on the Other End?

Eventually, normal life will start to return. The stores will reopen, and you can go see a movie on the weekend. Normal probably isn’t going to look the same anymore. 

We’re all probably going to have a mask at the ready... and we’re going to be warier of touching things when we don’t know where they came from.

How is your life going to be different when that happens? Think about what made you the most stressed when Coronavirus hit. 

Was it not enough emergency cash? Did you feel insecure in your job? Did you have the medical supplies or the food storage to get you through?

Downtime during Coronavirus is the perfect time to practice some goal setting for the future. You can avoid COVID anxiety and stress by creating conditions in which past pain has less chance of happening again.

 

Celebrate the Victories

Someone I know used time at home during the Coronavirus to teach his five-year-old daughter how to ride a two-wheel bike. There’s a lot of bad that has happened during the pandemic. 

Still, years down the road when he’s reminded of what we’re all going through now, he’s going to remember running around in the parking lot, bent over, killing his back as he ran after his daughter as she pedaled. 

It’s not going to be all bad… 

Create memorable moments with people who mean something in your life. 

Express gratitude for family and friends. 

Check-in, follow up and persist. 

We’ll all get through this.    

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.


Control consent

Keeping Control Over Your Right to Consent

Keeping Control Over Your Right to Consent

 

Staying in control over choice and consent is crucial to your long-term happiness. I encounter so many people who struggle with others imposing their will on them. 

They feel like the negative consequences of saying “no” outweigh their desire to exercise total free will.

Consent is one of the most important foundational blocks in an intimate relationship. 

Without it, it’s impossible to truly know your partner and even yourself. Real intimacy comes from vulnerability, and making a conscious choice to open yourself to another human being.

When consent is denied or withheld, it places a roadblock in front of the deep connection that love can provide. When given, it’s one of the best gifts you can give.

We all should fiercely guard control of our ability to give consent. 

That’s true of when we’re having sex and how we’re treated by others.

 

Control Over Choice Vs. Control Over Outcome

This is an important distinction when it comes to being a control freak. Let’s take physical intimacy as an example.

In bed, a lot of people are control freaks.

Control consent

They want to dictate how fast things happen, what positions you have sex in, what they go, no-go areas are, and how often you make love.

When this happens, control tilts into negative territory because it affects your partners and their ability to control their intimate experiences.

Real control, related to physical intimacy, comes when we set parameters and make choices willingly to engage in a mutual sexual experience. We’re controlling the situation, not the outcome.

We should fiercely guard control over our safety, what we feel comfortable doing, and who we’re doing it with. However, trying to control the outcome will only shortchange the experience. 

It won’t be as fulfilling as when you let the outcome develop naturally.

 

When to Put the Control Freak in Time Out

I meet with so many people who deny themselves sexual pleasure and close connection with intimate partners because they can’t let go of control. The act of controlling something is now controlling them!

We all need to work on keeping the control freak in check from time to time. It opens us to new sexual experiences and parts of intimacy we have yet to explore.

Dealing in absolutes over what you will and won’t do can be limiting. In cases where there is past trauma, that may be warranted. However, in a trusting and consensual relationship, hardlines aren’t conducive to great sex.

One of the greatest pleasures with sex is the exploration and development we all go through as we experiment and discover. You learn how you like to be touched, when to move fast and when to go slow, and what turns your partner on the most.

 

Letting Go of Control Can Be the Ultimate Freedom

Overcoming your inner control freak isn’t easy, especially when it comes to sex. The people most hell-bent on control often have the most difficult time sexually. They can’t get past their head and just enjoy the experience.

Progress with letting go of control and enjoying intimacy takes time. Progress comes in stages that are sometimes small victories over the years. Hopefully, you have a supportive partner and friends you can count on to help celebrate any forward movement.

Staying mindful of your mental state before, during and after sex can help. Try to take notice of how you feel before you have sex. Are you naturally resistant anytime your partner tries something new? Are you able to comfortably allow your partner to stimulate you to climax? Can you have a frank talk during or after sex about where you want to be touched and how?

Letting go of arbitrary boundaries or any shame you carry around sex in bed or during everyday life, is the true path to control. Instead of being a control freak about the little things, start freaking out over controlling the important things in life. Search for and find love and fulfillment through openness and exploration.

 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 in the LGBTQ

Trauma in the LGBTQ Community

Trauma in the LGBTQ Community

 

Trauma in the LGBTQ+ community is unique and often underestimated or misunderstood. 

One of our specializations here at Life Coaching and Therapy, LLC is trauma and the intersection of that experience with other identities including gender and sexuality.

Systemic trauma is a different experience that other types of trauma. A variety of communities experience systemic trauma (i.e people of color, black people, people with disabilities, women, etc.). Systemic trauma, in my eyes, is trauma that comes from being a part of an identity that our greater culture does not support through social systems in place. 

 

Systemic Trauma: Heteronormativity

In the LGBTQ community, this looks like heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is the dominant culture being one that supports other sex couples who are straight (presenting) and cis gender (assigned gender at birth matches gender identification and presentation).

A dominant culture of heteronormativity equates to various systems that do NOT support same sex couples, queer people, and people who are outside of “gender norms.” This can be overt through laws or can be through microaggressions (verbal or non-verbal behaviors or statements that are insensitive, discriminatory, and problematic towards a particular group). An example of a microaggression towards the queer community would be “which one of you is the man?” to a same sex female couple. 

Something as simple as finding a greeting card for your partner, in a same sex couple, can be very difficult. The perceived relational make-up of couples in greeting cards is that of other-sex or gender couples. Laws around marriage, adoption, and workplace all create additional barriers to LGBTQ individuals, couples, and families. 

In addition to microaggressions, dominant narratives in our culture can create layers of trauma to an individual's identity. A common cultural narrative that creates feelings of intense shame in the queer community is religions. Many religions have outward, unsupportive language or outright hostility towards the LGBTQ/queer population. 

The way pronouns are used and assumed in a heteronormative culture also lends to creating levels of microaggresions AND harm to the LGBTQ community. Specifically people in the transgender community, gender queer community, and non-binary community. 

 

Trauma in the LGBTQ

Interpersonal Trauma

When most people consider trauma and the LGBTQ community they think of someone coming out to loved ones and being rejected. This CERTAINLY is traumatic and is common place for people within the LGBTQ community.

Coming out is the process of disclosing your sexual or gender identity to people in your life. In many cases this experience is vulnerable, challenging, and emotional. Often this results in rejection of the LGBTQ+ individual from friends, family, workplace, or the community at large. 

There are devastating impacts of being rejected from those you love. Please review various resources available on GLADD, HRC, and other LGBTQ specific organizatons to learn specific impacts of being rejected. In general, from my observation in my practice and what I have read, rejection after coming out leads to higher levels of homelessness, suicide, mental health issues, and substance abuse issues.

 

How does this = trauma?

In my experience in specializing in trauma and the queer community, I have learned so much from my clients on how systemic trauma and interpersonal trauma has impacted them. The information is important and I want to share it with you. My hope is, in understanding this it will allow you the opportunity to learn more and imagine what this experience is like for this population.

Systemic, community, and cultural barriers create passive and intended harm in the LGBTQ community. How? Thank you for asking!

 

IMAGINE:

  • That someone feels it is appropriate to ask you really personal questions after just meeting you because of your relationship with your partner. 

  • Growing up in the wrong body. 

  • That you are limited to celebrate certain religions due to your identity. Imagine you grow up being taught that liking or loving someone is bad. 

  • Growing up being told that your not dressing right. 

  • Having to consider where you are traveling based on how they respond to people within your identity.

  • Growing up and learning that people who are like you should be punished, harmed, or go to hell. 

  • Watching people getting harmed or made fun of for liking who they are. 

  • Hearing people use your identity as synonymous with “stupid.” 

  • People making fun of people “dressing up” as the other gender and its “funny.”

  • Being told your marriage doesn’t count.

  • Having to adopt your child.

  • Being told your relationship is seen differently than someone elses and you have less rights because of it.

  • Having to hide who you are from your friends, family, community, or workplace. 

  • The only way to have children and start a family is to pay a lot of money to adopt or do fertility OR go through the state and risk having that child returned to biological parents.

  • Having to come out over and over again anytime you meet someone, have a big step happen in your life, or really anything.

  • People saying “it’s not like it used to be, its so confusing now” effectively dismissing your identity. 

  • Having to pick a place to live based on how accepting they are of you and what resources there may be for you if there becomes an issue. 

  • Being scared to have to share who you are often because you do not know how the other person will respond.

  • Having to explain your identity all the time.

  • That some of these “choices” are not even realistic for you because you live somewhere that will never allow you to come out or be safe.

Trauma in the LGBTQ

If you were able to truly sit with some of these statements and reflect on it, you may be able to see how a system that supports people in feeling this way is indeed traumatic. It creates something known as internalized homophobia or internalized queerphobia. This is what happens to people in the LGBTQ community all the time, taking these systemic, dominant narratives within our culture and internalizing them to feel shame and disgust with who they are. Sometimes people are aware of it and sometimes they aren’t. 

Regardless of one's understanding and awareness of it, it has a massive impact on the individual and their relationships. 

It is for this reason that I specialize in this intersection and LCAT does the work it does. There are not enough systems in place to address the intersection of trauma and identity. Here at LCAT we are committed to doing this work and providing a safe space for healing from trauma, microaggressions, and the patriarchal, heternormative, racist society we live in. 

In the coming weeks, we will have further blogs to continue to address issues like this one!

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 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.

 


When to Unleash Your Inner Control Freak

When to Unleash Your Inner Control Freak…And When to Keep It in Check

 

Society tells us that being a control freak is a bad thing. It’s almost exclusively used as a pejorative, a way to describe someone who’s overbearing and micromanages others. We should all agree that maintaining control is an important social behavior, but when does it cross the link into “control freak” mode?

Like most things in life, context is important when we talk about being a control freak. There are some things, like trying to control the actions and feelings of others that are usually unproductive. Attempts at controlling others often lead to conflict isn’t sustainable long-term.

Being in control, though, of your feelings, emotions, and behaviors, however, is something that we should all be serious about. Hell yes, we should manage our affairs to create the life we want, and if that means being a control freak, then so be it!

There are certain things all of us can control that will have an immediate positive impact on our lives and in relationships. Maybe it’s time we took a look at the word “control freak” and how we feel about it.

 

Control When More Than One Person is Involved

Control becomes more complicated when dealing with intimate relationships. What happens if what you want collides directly with what your partner wants? 

Let’s say, for example, your partner wants to experiment with some light bondage play yet you don’t quite feel comfortable yet. What then?

First, let me say that our safety is something that we should always guard fiercely. Control your ability to stay safe whether it be from emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. 

There should be no accommodations when it comes to your emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental well-being.

At times, though, letting control go of other things must be done for the benefit of the relationship.

Don’t confuse the right to consent with having sex because your partner is horny on a weeknight.

We all need to work on gaining perspective over what our long-term and most important priorities are and focus on controlling what we can around those.

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.


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.