High Functioning Anxiety

All Your Questions About High Functioning Anxiety

All Your Questions About High Functioning Anxiety

 

Did you know that high functioning anxiety isn’t officially a diagnosable condition? This is because it can be so subtle, and yet not as debilitating as anxiety disorders. As such, there is very little research on the subject compared to general anxiety disorders.

High functioning anxiety is also different from diagnosed anxiety disorders because there is very little acute biological response. Their palms aren’t getting sweaty, no significant increase in heart rate, no dizziness, and yet the chronic stress can definitely make a physical impact through lack of sleep and overworking. 

High functioning anxiety refers to the fact that people with this condition usually appear outwardly successful, calm or put together, though inside they are suffering. They are “functioning” at a “high level” despite how they feel inside.

 

What Does It Look Like?

To someone on the outside, people with high functioning anxiety are hyper successful, driven and organized. They may be perceived as being stoic or unemotional, even cold, or abrupt. On the flipside, they can be very outgoing and passionate about what they do. 

When people have diagnosed anxiety disorders, they are frozen by fear. This is the more typical media representation of anxiety. People who can’t leave their homes because they are so afraid, or break down and have panic attacks when triggered, or who even need medication in order to cope with day to day life. 

The high achievement, organization and attention to detail with the elusive high functioning anxiety makes it hard to see that anything is wrong at all. In fact, the high functioning anxiety sufferer may appear to be thriving. 

 

What Does It Feel Like?

For the person dealing with high functioning anxiety, it’s a different story. On the inside, they feel a constant churning of anxiety, usually related to feelings of perfectionism, overthinking and need for approval. 

  • Fear of failure
  • Need to be liked
  • Need for approval
  • Rumination, racing thoughts
  • Obsession over the most minor details
  • Unwilling to be vulnerable, a fear of vulnerability
  • Fear of seeming stupid or uneducated
  • Inability to enjoy the present moment
  • Insomnia

 

What Causes Anxiety?

Even with diagnosable anxiety disorders, uncovering the cause can be a long, mysterious process. Sometimes, there may not even be an obvious cause, rather a complex synergy of many factors. 

Factors could be environmental, genetic, the result of a trauma or brain injury: there are so many potential factors even for diagnosable anxiety disorders, so the elusiveness of high functioning anxiety is even tougher to pin down. It may be possible to identify triggers for your anxiety, even if you never uncover how it began in the first place. 

 

The Downside of High Functioning Anxiety

High functioning anxiety can have numerous adverse effects in your life and on your health. Including:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Chronic stress
  • You may avoid eye contact
  • You may be a people pleaser 
  • A cycle of procrastination
  • The inability to say “no” even when you’re too busy or overwhelmed
  • Loyal to a fault
  • Never go beyond your comfort zone
  • Never show your feelings
  • May think your feelings are normal and never seek help because outwardly you’re successful
  • Living a life of denial, simply labeling yourself as a “workaholic” or “list-maker”
  • A reliance on substances to cope, such as alcohol, weed, caffeine or sleeping pills.

 

The Benefits of High Functioning Anxiety

Having high functioning anxiety isn’t all doom and gloo m however. Many studies have proven that those with a livable amount of anxiety are more driven, more organized and even have less accidents causing injury. Other benefits include:

  • Punctuality
  • Outgoing
  • Detail oriented
  • Helpful
  • Loyal
  • A good leader
  • A person of action
  • Focused 
  • Incredibly driven
  • More successful than non anxious peers

While these are all excellent qualities that clearly great for achieving success in your career and following your dreams, there are ways to find a healthier balance so you don’t have to put up with the negative aspects of your high functioning anxiety. 

 

How to Cope

It is worth noting that even if you feel like you have an undiagnosable condition like high functioning anxiety, if you feel overwhelmed or need help figuring out how to make your life easier you should seek out a therapist. 

We’re not just for crises, we can help you overcome anxiety, depression, and anything that is making life difficult by giving you the tools for coping and thriving. 

Some steps you can begin to take on your own include meditation to encourage stillness and stopping the cycle of rumination. 

Channeling anxious energy through exercise can be helpful, and avoiding caffeine may help with insomnia and feelings of anxiety. 

Proper sleep hygiene can increase your quality of life drastically. This means taking time to wind down at the end of the day, avoiding caffeine after lunch and no screen time an hour or two before bed. Try reading a fiction book, soothing yoga or sleep meditations to prepare your mind for rest. If you find you can’t fall asleep, try leaving your bedroom and reading somewhere else until tired again. 

 

If It Isn’t a Real Disorder, Is It All In My Head?

When your thoughts, habits and behaviors are impacting your quality of life negatively, then it doesn’t matter if there is an official definition or diagnosis. Something can still be done, and there is no need to suffer that deeply for success. 

 

Can a Therapist Still Help Me? 

Therapists don’t just deal with diagnoses, we help you uncover the root of your high functioning anxiety and build a plan for coping with it to make your life as enjoyable as possible. We can help you harness the positive benefits of high functioning anxiety and minimize the negative aspects in a healthy way. 

If you think you are living with high functioning anxiety, know that you don’t need to struggle and can find help! It may be hard to admit you need help or aren’t “fine”, and overcoming your high functioning anxiety will certainly be worth it! 

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.


Transgenerational Trauma

Transgenerational Trauma

Transgenerational Trauma

 

TRIGGER WARNING: Transgenerational Trauma and Can Trauma get Passed Down in the DNA? 

There is a new body of research which is talking about how trauma can be passed down generationally (including through biology). 

I first learned about this over the last several years in specializing trauma and noticing that my clients often had parents or caregivers with significant trauma histories. 

I began to do my own informal research through completing genograms (a family tree that indicates relationships, health, etc), having conversations with colleagues, and eventually being led to the research that showed this very phenomenon. 

So… does trauma get passed down in the DNA? 

 

What does Transgenerational Trauma Mean? 

Transgenerational trauma is trauma that is inherited from generation to generation. 

There is no doubt in my mind as a relational and systems therapist that trauma can be inherited. 

From what I know about families and relationships, it is clear that nurture certainly plays a role in how we see ourselves and experience the world and people around us. 

If we were raised in abusive or toxic circumstances, it is clear that as children we would pick up on some of those patterns of behavior and then use those patterns of behavior or “habits” in future relationships in that way as well. 

For example: a child who was raised in a household where their parents engaged in excessive drinking, drug use, and violence would likely be traumatized by that. 

As they grew up, they may learn to engage in some of those same behaviors or strategies to manage emotions or conflict. Say this individual then begins has children and as a parent engages in strategies that engage in emotional numbing and explosions of conflict. 

These behaviors may not be the same exact things as drugs and violence, yet now they are parenting utilizing the same addictive strategies (gambling, eating disorders, drug use, sex, fights, shaming, blaming, etc.), and you can see how the pattern continues as unconsciously as the environment continues to utilize various strategies to maintain until it is brought to consciousness and the system works to change. 

In the example of transgenerational trauma above, you may see how the environment creates trauma and continues from one generation to the next, as those who experienced high levels of trauma parented and continued to parent within the context and knowledge of what they knew. 

As children, we learn from our environment and how that translates into the future can depend on a variety of factors outside our control as well as some that are within our control. 

This made sense to me. I get this and believe that what we learn from our relationships throughout our lives impacts us on a conscious and unconscious basis. 

We can consider finding ways to become more conscious and aware of these impacts so we can shift the pattern.

 

Inherited Transgenerational Trauma and Biology

There seems to be some research indicating that this may not just be true just through nurture, yet through nature as well. 

What I found was that it was not just something that was being researched relationally within the family, yet also being studied genetically and biologically. This was OVERWHELMING to consider. 

People who experience trauma are possibly passing down these patterns via their relationships and dynamics with others AND through their biological genes as well!

Much of what I read focused specifically on survivors of genocide (such as the Holocaust). 

Some research focused specifically on tests run on animals. It seems that the evidence has begun to show how adverse experiences of children at early ages (and throughout life) can change someone’s brain and perhaps even the way trauma is passed down genetically across generations. 

To me, this is a fascinating area and concept to consider especially as a way to place more value on preventative measures to help with trauma generally speaking (especially in childhood). 

As this body of research continues to grow my hope is that there will be more resources placed to help treat trauma (and it’s many forms) and ways to prevent it. 

In some states (like California), they look at the “Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACEs) as a public health issue (which it is!) and focus on ways to work with children and families to help prevent and intervene as soon as possible to reduce the long term impacts.

We are here to help at LCAT, we have various therapists who have training and understanding in all the A/a’s. Please join us on your healing journey!

YouTube page where Amanda Pasciucco, Founder of LCAT 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.


addictive personality

What is an Addictive Personality?

What is an Addictive Personality?

 

You may ask yourself, what is an addictive personality?

Addiction has multiple parts to it and many people state they have “addictive personalities.”

What the heck does that mean?

Do you know someone who becomes consumed with different things or people?

Do you or others you know seem to become obsessive in relationships?

Do you know someone who is compelled and seems out of control in various aspects of their life?

Do you wonder why you are out of control or do you struggle to be able to manage relationships without becoming obsessive?

Do you often find yourself going from one substance or "high" of New Relationship Energy (NRE) to another?


Big “A” vs Little “a”

These may be indicators of an “addictive personality.”

In my clinical practice, I use the “A”ddiction and “a”ddiction.

To me, “A” is the one most referred to in our society and within clinical settings and surrounds drugs, alcohol, compulsive gambling, and some schools of thought would include sex and/or food.

In that regard, I do not treat as many people with or specialize in the “A”.

To be clear, neither is more valid or important - both are equally important to focus on and treat. 

I would say I work with a lot of folks who engage in obsessive or addictive patterns that would fall under the little “a.” 

In my experience, addiction often focuses on someone’s need to numb or escape some type of emotion or experience.

This could be from trauma, anxiety, depression, dysfunctional relationships or family systems, etc.

People with “addictive personalities” often use addiction as a strategy to feel differently than they do in order to “function.” 

Whether people are experiencing “A” or “a”, both result in what I would consider a chemical reinforcement in our brain and often a physical or emotional reinforcement in our minds and bodies.

This chemical high is a major reinforcement of the strategy or the "thing" (person, drink, drug, etc) that becomes the compulsion. Does this sound like anyone you may know? 

Have you ever been this person?

In working with addiction, it would seem that most addiction comes from some level of trauma someone experienced within their life and their addiction is a way or strategy to manage this.

We so often focus on the behavior in treatment, and to be clear that can be VERY necessary, HOWEVER, I would argue that until we are able to treat what is below that behavior [and have someone understand the why and the what the pattern of behavior (or strategy)] will just continue.

Common Underlying Issues Related to “Addictive Personality”

  • Codependency
  • Trauma (physical, emotional, sexual, etc.)
  • Family members (biological) who have history of substance use (research shows genetic component)
  • Family members or community members who have substance use history
  • Common coping is avoidance
  • Narcissism or increased self-focus
  • Systemic Trauma (institutional racism, white supremacy, heteronormativity)
  • Frequently invalidated throughout life
  • External locus of control
  • Significant difficulty in self-regulation

The list of "addict personality" traits can go on and on!

Seriously, there are many more, and these are just common ones that I have noticed in our practice. 

We hope this answers your question for "what is an addictive personality?"

If you feel like this post speaks to yourself or someone you know, therapy can be a very effective way in doing this work. Various providers engage in different techniques to help people who struggle with addiction. I truly encourage people to really do the inner work to find more adaptive strategies that do not reinforce these addictive patterns. 

We are here to help at LCAT, we have various therapists who have training and understanding in all the A/a’s. Please join us on your healing journey!

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.


stop comparing

How to stop comparing yourself to others and other couples

How to stop comparing yourself to others and other couples

 

Is it finally time to stop comparing yourself to others… especially other couples? 

Whether a pair of celebrities or a couple in your circle of friends, there’s usually a couple in your life that you compare yourself to. 

STOP COMPARING! 

Yes… another couple may be physically beautiful, or somehow manage that magical balance of having creative careers and a satisfying sex life that they can’t help but brag about. 

A dynamite celebrity couple like John Legend and Chrissy Teigen may have you looking at yourself and your partner with disappointment - like what if you had the money, the fame, or chemistry… if only then, your relationship could be just as perfect!

You know though… that is what you want to believe.

Intellectually, you know they have issues too, yet at the back of your mind, you can’t help but hear the seductive whisper from your insecure subconscious: couples goals! 

You want to believe that the grass is greener on the other side… because that feels somehow enticing to compare.

Comparisons are often, if not usually, problematic, and especially when comparing your relationship to one that you only know through social media. 

Social media is where people can post a carefully curated version of themselves - you know “the projected” masked self. 

The version that is “airbrushed” without the flaws, the loneliness, and the lack of communication. 

We see this when people post a heavily-filtered selfie, or perhaps embellish their accomplishments to seem higher status. The same goes for relationships and couples goals that you are judging from afar.

So, seriously… Before you get too preoccupied with couples goals, stop your frantic, unrealistic comparisons and turn them into healthy aspirations for your own relationship.

Harmful Comparison: “They are always all over each other! We never even hold hands.”

Healthy Aspiration: “I would love to connect more by holding hands or physical touch in our daily lives. Is that something you are open to?” 

First of all, why are you envious (wanting what they have) about another couple’s PDA? 

If you find you are admiring couples that are physically affectionate on public platforms, it might be that you need more connection via touch in your relationship, or you’re more shy about PDA and wish you were able to be open about how much you are valued and appreciated in your relationship. 

Or… you may be single and focusing on others rather than working on yourself! 

You don’t need to do exactly what your inspirational couple is doing, or do anything you’re not comfortable with, yet taking the time to learn about yourself and to communicate to your partner about your needs and requests is a great start. 

It could be as simple as taking more photos together!

Harmful Comparison: “They post so many photos as a couple! My partner must be ashamed of me because they never post my picture.”

Healthy Aspiration: “How do I want to be shown I am loved? How does my partner? Is the way I am showing them love landing for them?”

Different strokes for different folks! #couplesgoals! 

When you see a couple posting a lot of photos, it can make you begin to wonder why you aren’t posting about your partner, or why they don’t post about you. 

Did this bother you before, or just after seeing another couple post about each other all the time? 

Is it about the public declaration of love, or do you genuinely prefer a quieter, more private relationship?

stop comparing yourself

Chances are your partner is NOT ashamed, and is just respecting your privacy as a couple or they just aren’t that into social media. 

Chances are you picked up on something that is more about you and your need than it is about them! It is your job to communicate THAT with your partner or to yourself to process in therapy. 

The most important thing is finding out what expression of love makes you feel most valued by your partner and yourself, and if it means more selfies, let them know! 

Be open to the new and creative approaches that come about! 

For example, putting a date night on the schedule, could mean more time spent together on hobbies, or them doing more stuff around the house, or even just telling you they love you!

Harmful Comparison: “Wow, they’re on another vacation together? We can’t even find a weekend getaway.”

Healthy Aspiration: “We need to make more time for adventures together- even if it has to be local!”

A tropical vacation would obviously be awesome, whether you bring your partner or not! Yet, the reality is, sometimes the money just isn’t there… or there is covid19. 

Also, the couple you are comparing yourself to may just have different priorities… so what makes you think using their strategies will actually bring you the same joy or pleasure it brings them? 

Perhaps you are saving for a house, yet they want to rent forever and never have children so they can travel. Or perhaps you have student debt because you have your dream career, yet they just have financial freedom. 

Notice the difference between what feels urgent and what actually is important to you. I have a bunch of clients who realized that they were just living a life that was photo worthy without actually getting pleasure from it. 

If you find yourself longing for more adventures, try and be creative with local options - a picnic, a night in a local hotel (with room service!), a short road trip to a nearby outdoor tourist attraction.  

Everyone can use a staycation - anything that will shake up the routine and get you out of the house... individually or preferably if partnered, together. 

Your envy towards this couple could also be a sign or dissatisfaction in areas of your life other than your relationship. 

Are there ways you can carve out more time for yourself and/or your partner? Are there areas of your life that are causing you more stress than they’re worth? 

It is worth discussing solutions with your therapist if you feel exhausted or like you need to escape in order to spend some quality time with your partner.

Harmful Comparison: “They look so perfect. We’ve really let ourselves go...”

Healthy Aspirations: “I’m happy we are so comfortable with each other and I would request you support me in my individual health goals if you can.”

It can be so hard not to hate on yourself when you see someone who you believe is more attractive, slim, or stylish than you. 

And if you’re a couple that are more the stay-at-home-in-sweatpants type you might feel a little inferior. But why should you?

stop comparing yourself

It can be a wonderful thing to be candid and comfortable with each other! 

Of course, everyone likes to put in some effort now and then, yet you can be sure that the couple you’re envying have days where they don’t want to glam up. 

And if they don’t, who cares? What works for YOU is what matters. 

Now, if you want to get into fitness together or change it up in other areas of life, it helps to be able to support each other. 

After all, you are two independent people with lives, goals, and aspirations. Therefore, helping each other achieve these dreams is about as noble of a goal you can have as a couple!

Bottom line - TLDR: comparison is harmful and you cannot know what other people are going through in their couples goals! 

It is much more productive to have couples goals for your unique needs as a couple - that reflect the needs of your unique relationship. 

Being in a couple and doing your own thing, being supportive of each other, and growing and developing with new communication strategies and new shared experiences? 

Now, THOSE are some couples goals!

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.


Feeling Lost - Hello, My Name is Uncertainty

Feeling Lost - Hello, My Name is Uncertainty

Feeling Lost?

Over the last several years, and especially the last several months, there has been a lot of uncertainty for many of the clients I work with. What I have noticed is that with this level of uncertainty, people feel lost, confused, and overwhelmed. People are expressing more and more stress at the current state of our world between the civil rights/social justice call to action and the pandemic.

People are reporting feeling “trapped,” “lost,” “overwhelmed,” and even paranoid. All these feelings, I liken to the level of uncertainty in our world right now. Many of my clients symptoms of trauma are flaring up and I am noticing a lot of regression in people. As a therapist, all of these things make A LOT of sense to me given looking at the greater factors at play in our world and the systemic impact this has throughout our world, our communities, our families, and ourselves.

For many clients who have been marginalized or oppressed - the uncertainty is bringing a resurgence in the feelings of “learned helplessness.” When we unpack this dynamic, it is a feeling of extreme difficulty and people often feel stuck because they have so many barriers to access change. This concept is used in a variety of ways, but to me it makes most sense as we are looking at it through the eyes of those who have been oppressed by the way our world works. For many clients in this category, I am noticing that any movements they have felt at a personal or community level have been removed, recreating the intense feelings of uncertainty and learned helplessness.

 

What is Uncertainty? Why do we need it?lost and confused

Uncertainty can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and trauma. This often results in people engaging in strategies that have been unhelpful in the past when they have had these feelings of loss or uncertainty. These strategies to get people’s needs met that are no longer adaptive can look like overcontrolling, secrecy, impulse spending, explosive emotions, avoidance, isolation, chasing or pursuing people, eating disorders, self destructive/injurious behavior, addiction, affairs, and numbing. 

People who experience symptoms anxiety, depression, and trauma often feel needs for the direct opposite of uncertainty - certainty. Certainty allows people struggling with these disorders to feel more control and predictability. When uncertainty increases, it often results in feelings of chaos and disorder around people - this unpredictability results in stress. 

When working with my clients, I work hard to support them in creating ways to balance their need for certainty and uncertainty. Here are some ways to help create more certainty and uncertainty in your life.

 

Ways to Create Certainty

Certainty is the need for structure, predictability, and organization. Often people use inappropriate attempts to control their surroundings as a strategy to access certainty. The problem with this is that we cannot control anything other than ourselves, our reactions, and our choices. When we work to do that for others we create a false sense of security and conflict in our relationships.

Here are some strategies that you might find useful to create certainty: 

  • Creating hobbies
  • Predictable routines (waking, bedtime, etc)
  • Scheduling connection points with friends, family, or partners
  • Journaling
  • Organizing your space
  • Organizing your time 
  • Engaging in self-care
  • Planning a meal
  • Healthy connections with people you trust and are rejuvenating for you
  • Exercise
  • Watching movies or shows with people in your life, video calls, intentional shared time 
  • Join cause that you believe

 

Ways to Create Uncertainty

Often times we associate uncertainty with things “that are not good.” Uncertainty is the need for creativity, adventure, spontaneity, and chaos. Often times people can be stuck in uncertainty if they are unable to be reliable or may engage in addictive behaviors and/or relationship patterns to meet this need. With too much uncertainty people do not have any structure, predictability, and often live in chaos.

Here are some strategies that may be useful in meeting this need healthfully: 

  • Creativity or artistic endeavors
  • Exploring a new area of where you live or somewhere outdoors
  • Unplanned trips or adventures
  • Sex
  • Meeting new people (consensually)
  • Role play
  • Learning a new skill
  • Pushing your comfort zone
  • Work on your own healing
  • An activity that increases adrenaline (in a safe way)
  • Engage in a debate

 

Although these suggestions are helpful in a microlevel, it may allow to create some self-efficacy and mastery. This will not cure the feelings of learned helplessness or the uncertainty in the world, but these suggestions may offer some ability to have some personal empowerment. Steps towards personal empowerment can help each of us take steps towards change and hopefully if all of us take steps this change can make the changes that are NECESSARY at the macro level. As Margret Mead said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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.


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.