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At a training in Minneapolis these past four days, I learned a lot about the inner child and inner adult we all carry inside of us. And I learned how incredibly healing it can be if we can find a way of nurturing and making the environment safe for our inner child. For some of us we still carry the hurt and pain of our childhood in a part of ourselves as adults.

It made me realize how much we may listening to our wounded child instead of the responsible and calm adult part of us. So what if we were to find a way to soothe and comfort our child part that was criticized and abused as a 5-year old or as a 16-year old? How much joy and fulfillment could we really experience in ourselves and in our relationships when we lead with our adult self and not our child parts?

Well, I say there is an immense opportunity for growth and transformation by doing so. Take for example the husband who approaches his wife after looking at the latest Visa bill: “What is this! How many times have we talked about keeping our spending in line? We can’t afford this!” So who is...

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EMDR Therapy: Five Ways You May Be Surprised by Its Benefits

A friend asked me one day about some challenges she was going through. She told me how difficult it was for her to concentrate and how easily she became startled. She mentioned her sleep disturbances and how easy it was for her to get angry. As we talked more, I discovered that she had traumatic experiences in the past. I asked her if she thought she might have post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

“How can this be,” she said. “I thought PTSD was for war veterans.” I explained that PTSD goes well beyond traumas like combat exposure and sexual trauma to traumas like the experience of an emotionally abusive family member or the experience of a series of painful relationship breakups. And I explained that her poor concentration, anger outbursts and sleep disturbances were probably the result of traumatic events from her past being re-experienced in present day like flashbacks. This was a real eye-opener for her.

I told her that was the bad news. But the good...

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Coping with Grief: 7 Tips for Supporting Yourself During the Holidays

The holidays are in full swing. Christmas music is playing in department stores, markets, and coffee shops. People are out shopping, co-workers are talking about their holiday plans and neighbors are decorating their houses. It’s hard to escape. So how do you move through this time when you are actively grieving the loss of a loved one? You don’t feel cheerful or celebratory at times. What do you do to manage the hubbub of the holidays and the strong emotions you are feeling inside? Frankly, it’s hard. After all, you have many fond memories of someone who has been so close. And now family is coming back together, but this time without someone you miss dearly. The holidays for many are the hardest part of the grieving process.

So here are seven tips and strategies to help you find some relief and solace through the rest of December.

  1. Acknowledge your lost sibling, spouse, parent or child during holiday get-togethers. Light a candle and ask friends and family to share a memory or a prayer. These moments can be bonding. The...

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WAR Stands for We are Right: Six Ways to Turn to Love and Not WAR in our Intimate Relationships

If you think about it, wars are often waged as a way of proving that each side is right. So what’s the point of being right? Is it the satisfaction of getting one’s way? Or is it the satisfaction of seeing the other party lose? In the world of intimate relationships WAR leads to emotional disconnection which can be a death nail for any relationship. Over and over, romantic partners are faced with a choice: Try to be right or return to love. Many run-away problems result from partners looking out for their best interest and not looking out for the interest of the partnership itself. Unfortunately, for many of us we find it is easier or more comfortable to be right and harder to understand our partner in times of strife and stress. Here are six ways of looking out for the best interest of the relationship and laying down the need to be right:

  1. Physical attunement: The body doesn’t lie. Our partners may tell us one thing, but the body may be telling us what is really going on. In conflict, learn to track your partner’s physical nuances...

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The Guts-Brain Connection and Mental Illness

I have heard for a quite a while about the connection between our guts and the health of our brain. But it was not until I read Dr. David Perlmutter's book, Brain Maker, that I realized how profound this connection really is. Dr. Perlmutter offers some easy dietary changes we can make to help minimize our risk of Parkinson's, Alzheimers, dementia and even mood disorders like depression and anxiety.

More probiotics, kefir, yogurt and kimchi in your diet can help fortify your gut which in turn can benefit mental wellness. I am hearing more and more of people contracting early onset dementia and Alzheimer's and hearing the increasing prevalence of depression and anxiety. Could some of that be a result of our diets?

I think so and the research though relatively new appears back this up. We are living much longer lives. Good eating habits established early can help ensure that we live the latter phases of our lives in good health.

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Ten ways of fighting well for couples: How to have a win-win resolution

A successful partnership is not one in which a couple has found a way to avoid fights. Fighting actually if done well is actually a sign of a strong relationship. We can’t always agree on everything and it is healthy for partners to face and work through contentious issues. Here are ten ways for you and your partner to fight well:

  1. Use a familiar term of endearment like a smile, a well-placed touch or reassuring voice even during the heat of battle. It allows each partner know that they can make it through this even after the end of the fight.

  2. Speak less especially when you feel activated. More words can create misunderstanding or anger when a few words of reassurance was all that was needed.

  3. Take a deep breath to calm your nervous system. It allows for a better judgment, patience, and a better chance of hearing and understanding your partner.

  4. Build a secure relationship so that when you fight you know that there are no losers. Know that the relationship is not on the line when you fight. You are in...

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