TIPs: All Categories
Go to our YouTube page to find videos of our therapists providing tips and tools to help you address some of the struggles you or a love one may be dealing with today.
WHO WE ARE
ADHD: Breaking Through ADHD Paralysis
A GROUNDING TECHNIQUE
A USEFUL TOOL TO HELP CALM ANXIETY
TEEN CUTTING UNDERSTANDING SELF HARM
CREATING A SAFE SPACE
HOW TO STOP YOUR ANXIETY
CREATING RELATIONSHIP RITUALS
SLEEP TIPS FOR CHILDREN
ARE YOU AN ACTIVE OR PASSIVE LOVER
THE MIRROR GAME - A TOOL FOR DEVELOPING THE SKILLS FOR BEING THE BEST LOVER
SEXUAL COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
24 HOUR TURN AROUND
TRUST & TRUTH TELLING
In response to the demand / requests from people like yourself, we have started to create mental health videos. Watching mental health videos can serve several purposes and benefits for individuals. Here are some reasons why people like yourself might choose to watch some of the Center for Growth's mental health videos:
It's important to note that while mental health videos can offer valuable insights and support, they should not replace professional medical advice or treatment. If someone is experiencing severe or persistent mental health concerns, it's crucial to seek guidance from a qualified mental health professional.
Compulsion Counseling in Philadelphia, Santa Fe, Mechanicsville and Ocean City Self help articles about anorexia therapy, bulimia therapy, over eating therapy, gambling compulsion therapy, sex compulsion therapy, porn compulsion therapy and codependency therapy.
When a partner strays away from a relationship it can cause a rift in trust between the couple. Therapist at Center for Growth have compiled a list of self help tips for those dealing with affairs, infidelity, unfaithful partners, and cheating in their relationships.
Anger Management Therapy in Philadelphia: Recently you've recognized that your anger is no longer manageable, and acting on your irritability seems like the only way you can cope. learn how to manage anger, before the anger manages you.
Anxiety and Panic Counseling in Philadelphia: Lately you've been feeling anxious, had a Panic Attack , struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). experience Social Anxiety Phobias or Stress which all negatively impact your quality of life.
Go ahead, diagnosis yourself! You may just have a Gambling Addiction, Perinatal Depression, Eating habits that will prevent you from losing weight, Codependent personality, or simply bad habits that you are uncomfortable with. Take the challenge. Test yourself.
Children and their families have unique needs. Depending on the issue, children, ages 3-11 benefit from working with play therapists and families from being with a therapist trained in family therapy and adolescents working with therapists trained in their developmental needs. Each style of therapy will speak to the presenting issue in a slightly different way. Here at the Center for Growth, on staff we have clinician's trained in the different styles of treatment. Feel free to call us and speak with one of our clinician's about what style is right for you. Additionally, enjoy the tips we have written that specifically are written to help you better understand the various issues and possible treatment strategies.
Aging is a natural process that may present challenges for some individuals and their families. Therapists at the Center for Growth can help older adults who may have difficulty with the transitions of aging to manage their emotions, find new sources of enjoyment and meaning, and find new support systems. Below you'll find tips created by these same therapists to help you with the natural process of getting older.
Chronic Illness and Chronic Pain Treatment in Philadelphia: Living with a chronic illness or pain can be an extremely difficult. The condition could have begun at birth, or begun recently. No two people react the same way. However, when looking at society at large, certain themes and patterns emerge. Coping requires developing a strong sense of self, developing a realistic plan, and creating a support system. If you are reading this tip to learn more about how to support a loved one with a chronic condition, keep reading.
Codependency Treatment in Center City Philadelphia: Codependency, also known as relationship addiction: Treatment for codependency is available in Center City, Philadelphia. The concept of a relationship addiction has only become popularized in the last ten years. The term was originally coined to describe the partner of a drug or alcohol addict. Codependency is a disease that is thought of as a learned behavior, typically passed down from one generation to the next. People who are codependent typically engage in one-sided, unhealthy and / or abusive relationships. Below you'll find self-help tips provided by the therapists at The Center for Growth for those struggling with codependency.
Learn how to be aware of the cultural differences and similarities between people to increase your communication and understanding. Do you have questions about how to improve diversity and recognize how underlying assumptions can prevent diverse workplaces and communities? Do you want to improve your understanding of other cultures to help you in your relationships? This exploration can benefit your personal life and career by improving your communication and behaviors and to respect and adapt to the cultures of other people in your life.
Are you new to the dating scene? Not entirely sure where to get started? Struggling with online dating and setting up a profile? Have you been dating for a while and need some tips on how to maximize your dating experience? The therapists at the Center for Growth have provided self help articles to assess and strengthen your dating experience.
Depression Treatment in Philadelphia : With all the varying diagnoses of depression being used today, it can be difficult to know where to begin in order to learn more about your specific diagnosis. You may be suffering from Bipolar, Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia, Premenstrual Dysphoric Depressive Disorder, Postpartum Depression or Situational Depression. Read further to understand the nature of your specific type of depression, and get the tools you need to learn to manage your disorder and /or recover.
Eating Disorder Treatment in Center City Philadelphia: Do you, or someone you know, suffer from anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating? Have you tried to take recommendations from others in order to make healthier choices, but have found it futile? Perhaps you've tried to help a friend and noticed that their health is not improving. This section includes a collection of strategies that one can implement to try to affect a positive change, as well as necessary information on healthy dieting and weight loss.
Friendships are an important part of our lives with many health and well-being. But, they can come with challenges too. Read our tips for healthy friendships and how to handle friendship struggles in your life.
Grief Therapy and Loss Counseling If you have just suffered the loss of a loved one, it may seem that happiness is an emotion that is out of reach. Taking care of your own mental health during this difficult time may seem impossible, let alone caring for other loved ones. Read this section in order to identify ways to make this transition possible, and to learn about the many faces of grief. We have broken down the types of tips written on grief, sorrow, loss and mourning into the following four categories: * Children and loss * Overcoming loss and moving forward * Stages of grief * Types of loss, grief and sorrow* Miscarriage and grief
Medical and Development Problems. To learn more about the emotional issues around ADD / ADHD, Autism, Blebs, Diabetes, Heart Attacks, Herpes Simplex, and Somatoform Disorder keep reading. We have gathered together self-help articles that are designed to be read from the privacy of your own home. Have questions? Want specific help? Contact one of our therapists today. Help is available 267-324-9564 Center for Growth / Therapy in Philadelphia.
Parenting Support In Philadelphia. As a parent do you struggle with managing: power struggles, temper tantrums, hypersensitivity, picky eater, homework battles, parenting burnout, sensory integration issues, defiance, sibling rivalry, bullying, ADHD, aspergers, co-parenting? Could your child strengthen his/her: social skills, awareness of own feelings, awareness of other's feelings, decision-making skills, ability to read social cues, adjustment to transitions and new situations, sensory integration skills, self-control, emotional regulation. WE BELIEVE THAT PARENTING IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT JOBS ON EARTH. We understand that external factors such as financial or work pressures, marital problems, family dynamics, and the frenzied pace of the modern world make the task of parenting more challenging. There are no such things as perfect parents or perfect children. In fact, the key to thriving in the parent-child relationship is finding strategies that match the child's needs with the parent's ability.
Although many books have been published on parenting, there is no essential guideline, no bible on this joyful, yet difficult, title. Raising a child elicits a struggle for a parent, as no child responds well to all styles of parenting. Our goal is to provide you with a basic outline: how to set limits, teach responsibility, parent a child with special needs, and establish an important emotional connection with your child. Additionally, we have dedicated a whole section on taking time for yourself and continuing to cultivate your marriage.
Personality Disorder Treatment in Philadelphia. Do you or a loved one struggle with: Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder, or Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder? If so, help is available. You can read our online articles or you can call 267-324-9564 and speak with a therapist in Philadelphia at the Center for Growth.
Marriage Counseling and Relationship Counseling in Center City Philadelphia : Perhaps you've experienced a divorce, or have simply been single for a while and are hoping to enter a new relationship. Maybe you're not sure if the one you have now is worth saving, as the passion may have waned and you've begun fighting with your partner. This section is designed to help you answer all those questions and to develop the skills needed to work through common relationship problems.
Self-esteem is how we think and feel about ourselves. Although there are subtle differences between self-esteem and self-worth, this self esteem therapy self help article will focus primarily on an amalgamation of the two. Because how worthy we feel of love and happiness ties directly into how we think and feel about ourselves. And both concepts dovetail into how we experience interpersonal relationships of all kinds, including the relationship we have with ourselves. Both self-esteem and how inherently worthy we feel of love affect how we move and make choices in our lives. There are many ways to increase positive feelings towards ourselves, including practicing gratitude, evaluating and improving coping strategies in times of stress, and doing deeper family of origin work to understand what has influenced our sense of self. Increasing self-esteem also involves releasing the need to be perfect. It helps to have a therapist to guide you through these processes (Self Esteem Therapy).
What is the Self? We can’t talk about self-esteem without asking the existential question of, “what exactly is “the self” anyway?” And the answer is: “it depends on who you ask.” In eastern spirituality, the self is something that’s constantly shifting, changing and cannot be pinned down as one thing. However, we can acknowledge that we have traits and habits that tend to sustain themselves over time, in addition to our ever-changing emotional landscape. Perhaps “the self” can be understood as “your center.” According to self esteem therapy, it doesn’t have to be a rigid experience where you categorize every aspect of yourself to create a never-changing identity. But what keeps you centered? And what gets in the way? And, what does it feel like to be centered? We turn towards self esteem therapy to answer the above questions.
When you’re centered in high self-esteem you might feel at peace, calm, assured of your abilities and in loving understanding of your limitations. You are not beating yourself up for being you. And you are allowing yourself room to change and grow. Forming your “self” can be a lifelong endeavor, and you have choice in the matter of who you want to become. Increasing self-esteem is an empowering process that puts you in the driver’s seat of your life.
How to Stay Centered? In self esteem therapy, to stay “centered in ourselves”, we can start with understanding what’s most important to us- what we value. And how true are we being to what we value the most? Does our life look and feel like our own based on what’s most important to us? Or are we staying true to a societal ideal? Are we listening to what other people think over our own opinion of what life should look like? Are we standing up for what we believe in? Or are we letting people walk all over us? Are we advocating for ourselves to be treated properly and with respect by other people and institutions? Or are we staying in relationships that cause us harm? In a society that’s filled with constant noise, social media and images to “live up to”, it can be hard to hear yourself. Self esteem therapy can serve as a safe space to see yourself and your life more clearly. Self esteem therapy can help you to find yourself in a sea of noise and competing ideas about what you should do, and who you should be.
Knowing our values requires that we form an intimate relationship with ourselves, which some of us were never taught how to do. The truth is that the more we get to know ourselves, the more we can make peace with what’s inside of us. It takes a skilled self esteem therapist to walk you through this vulnerable process in a way that feels both safe and cathartic. The process of “finding yourself” and clarifying what is most important to you can be fun, informative and bring great relief to those suffering from low self-esteem. Self-knowledge is power and gives way to greater self-acceptance and ease in life. We know what to expect from ourselves and we grow to appreciate our unique energy.
Building a Strong Relationship with Self Some of us get into adulthood without a fully formed sense of self. We’re not sure who we are and what we need. We may struggle to spend quality time alone. We struggle to set boundaries, to recognize our communication style, and to understand our wants and needs in interpersonal relationships. We may be people-pleasers, unable to deal with the discomfort of others. We may put our needs second to others, creating codependent relationships where we over-give until we have very little left for ourselves. We become off-centered, living out of alignment with our values and our self-esteem plummets. Self-esteem increases when we protect ourselves through boundary-setting rooted in self-love and self-care. A question to ask is: what boundaries do I need to set in order to feel good about myself? And, what is the most loving action I can take for myself at this time? How do I stay with myself and my authentic needs, and not abandon myself for the needs of others?
Building a strong relationship with ourselves requires that we learn how to listen and tune in deeply to our feelings. When we honor our feelings, we become someone we can count on. We learn to listen to our “gut” or our intuition and to trust ourselves. Our feelings are messengers, but if we’re not used to this way of thinking, finding the right therapist can make this process feel safer and you will see results faster.
Self-Compassion It’s easier to understand self-esteem in the form of a verb, rather than as a noun. Having high self-esteem means we are self-compassionate and we believe in our capabilities. And we act from that place of self-confidence and self-worthiness. Self-compassion increases our ability to accurately appraise our strengths and weaknesses. We learn to acknowledge our faults without self-hate. Self-evaluation without kindness towards self is inner warfare.
We may have learned how to criticize ourselves as a means to survive, or to “keep ourselves in line.” Excessive self-criticism is often a sign of struggles in early childhood relationships, childhood emotional neglect by caregivers, and/or being forced to engage in dysfunctional family dynamics that make us confused about who we are. If you were the “fixer” in your family, you might have learned that you are only valuable when you are “problem solving” in adulthood. In cases like this, your value is based on something outside of yourself, a metric that you did not even consciously choose! The truth is that you are valuable outside of that assigned familial role, it’s just hard to ground into that without the help of a therapist to help you hold up the bigger picture for you.
Why Choose Self Esteem Therapy: The Benefits of Raising Self-Esteem Given all that we know about “the self”, increasing positive self-appraisal and feeling more confident is paramount. The benefits of raising self-esteem are countless. Here are some examples of those benefits.
How Raise Self-Esteem- An Overview of Self Esteem Therapy Working with a trusted self esteem therapist can speed up the process of increasing self-esteem and self-worth. Having a trusted person on your side that can help you stay centered in your values and authenticity is truly priceless. It’s like having a guide as you’re walking on an unknown trail. A therapist may guide you through a values assessment, helping you to highlight what’s important to you and why.
Self esteem therapists may also help you to highlight what you need, and how your ability to self-advocate has been disrupted by trauma, or dysfunction in your family of origin. A self esteem therapist may offer gratitude practices, mindfulness practices and spiritual exercises to help you feel connected to your life, and something greater than yourself. This does not have to be God-oriented, or religious-oriented. Your therapist may help you to become aware of the way you speak to yourself, and manage “negative self-talk.” They may suggest journaling exercises, and assistance in naming your feelings so you know where to stand.
Your self esteem therapist may also help you to increase self-care through routines and rest. Your self esteem therapist will encourage you to care for yourself in the ways you most need to. This dedication to self-care sends the message to yourself that you’re worthy of care and increases self-trust. Again, you become someone you can rely on. Staying true to yourself, living an authentic life and building a strong intimate relationship with self paves the way for fulfilling relationships with others and helps you to choose a life that’s aligned with your values.
Are you experiencing sexual problems? Are you in needs of some tips, tricks and ideas about how to overcome erectile dysfunction, impotence, premature ejaculation, dyspareunia, painful intercourse, orgasm difficulties, overactive sex drive, sex addiction, no sex drive, maybe you are trying to become pregnant but can’t, or simply you don’t know how to have good sex. Maybe the issue is around sexual orientation and you wondering if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and need someone safe to talk with. Or maybe you have experienced one of the following sexual issues: sexual aversions, sexual boredom , poor body image, sexual embarrassment and / or anxiety, depression, chronic pain, cheating Spouse / infidelity, medical problems, sexual trauma marital problems or basic sexual communication problems. If so, sex therapy will help you.
What is Shame Therapy? Shame therapy is a safe space to identify, explore and heal from feelings of shame. Shame is a common emotional experience amongst human beings, but it often thrives in secrecy and isolation- a private experience we somehow all share. By definition, shame is an emotional experience involving a sense of feeling unacceptable, defective, or that you are fundamentally failing in some way. Shame says, “you are not good enough”, and “you are not worthy of love.” And despite the fact that making mistakes is a part of being human, under the influence of shame, you experience deep embarrassment, humiliation or “otherness.” Since human beings are inherently social creatures, it’s especially painful to feel as though you do not belong. When we carry a deep sense of shame it becomes an obstacle that gets between us and the life that we want to live. This life may include fully potentiating at work, in relationships, or just wanting to feel at ease in yourself, worthy of good things happening in your life. Dealing with shame in therapy is a common occurrence, as shame is a nearly universal experience. Dealing with shame in therapy can reshape the way we view ourselves.
The way we speak to ourselves when carrying shame is often negative. Through this negative self-talk, we put ourselves down silently, or aloud in front of others. We might reject compliments from other people. Shame influences us to keep ourselves hidden from others, hurting our ability to connect and feel like we belong in our relationships. We might feel like we don’t belong at our job, experiencing the all too common sense of “imposter syndrome.” We might sabotage relationships because we don’t believe we are deserving of connection, or we feel incapable of the vulnerability needed in order to connect with others. There is too much to hide when carrying unhealed shame. What’s so painful about shame is that it creates the tendency to isolate, when we really need to feel accepted and seen by others in order to heal. Sometimes this acceptance can start when revealing your shame to a trusted therapist who can hold space for you and remain non-reactive. Dealing with shame in therapy is a safe way to address it without overwhelming yourself.
Although shame in and of itself is not a mental illness, the pain it brings can be debilitating- bogging us down and influencing the ways in which we live our lives. Shame can cause symptoms of depression and anxiety, like hopelessness and social wariness. Shame is like carrying a secret around that you hope no one will find out about. Shame will tell you that “if people find out about the real you, then you will be rejected.” And because shame is such a painful and all-encompassing experience, you might avoid facing it. This is understandable because it can be scary to face something that we’ve ran from for a long time. However, numbing behaviors like drinking alcohol, staying busy all the time and avoiding situations that may trigger shame altogether does not resolve the shame itself. Although facing shame can be frightening, dealing with shame in therapy can also be rewarding, brave and give you a new lease on life.
Shame and Society We live in a society, in which life is well documented on social media platforms. We see other people “living their best lives”, but we don’t often see the struggles behind the perfect selfie or vacation picture. We end up comparing our worst days to someone else’s highlight reel. And we’re under constant pressure to fulfill socially imposed expectations. Although the body positivity movement is gaining traction, there’s still a lot of shaming that happens towards people’s physical bodies, leaving some of us filled with shame and suffering simply because of how we look. There are social expectations around gender, sex, race, culture, sexuality, relationships and more. The list goes on. It’s hard to say what the true “ideal” even is anymore, and because no one is perfect, and diversity is beautiful, resolving our shame can be viewed as a brave act of courage and rebellion. You are allowed to own your story and revel in who you are.
Shame and Trauma Trauma is any overwhelming event or experience that leaves you unable to cope during and in its aftermath. The effects of trauma worsen when you don’t receive support in the aftermath. Sometimes trauma is repetitious and complex, like the trauma of repeated child abuse, child neglect or an undiscovered perpetrator of sexual violence. When we are young, we learn about ourselves and the world through our primary caretakers, and the experiences we have that leave us feeling safe or unsafe in the environment we exist in. If you’ve experienced childhood trauma, it’s likely that you carry a heightened sense of shame. If you were neglected as a young person, you may have internalized the message that “you are not worthy of care”, or that “you do not deserve basic nurturing.” Although this is heartbreaking, it’s vital to understand that the shame you carry is not your fault, and it comes from being traumatized and trying to make sense of your world as a child. A qualified therapist who understands the shame and trauma connection can help you to process your experiences, facing the shame and rewriting your story. At the Center for Growth, we have shame and trauma specialists who understand the complexities and can help you heal. Dealing with shame in therapy can be a game-changer when working on your mental health and releasing trauma.
Toxic Shame In its most extreme form, shame can become a debilitating experience of worthlessness and intense self-loathing. Toxic shame can result in severe isolation, and even suicidality. Toxic shame often develops when a child is vulnerable to the messages they are receiving from those around them. It is the kind of shame that can take the shape of a critical parent. The “voice of shame” in this case can sound a lot like an abuser. Toxic shame can leave the person with a sense of self that is caught in shame. Toxic shame is less like an experience and more of an embedded part of someone’s identity. This is often the case when someone has unresolved trauma that started at a critical time of life and development. Toxic shame is often harder to deal with on one’s own. Dealing with toxic shame in therapy can not only help with the deeply painful feelings, but can also help in rebuilding a stronger sense of identity outside of the shame.
Healing Shame We have to remember that shame is not the enemy, but rather, it’s more like a doorway. Just as triggers are leading to an unhealed wound, shame is an opportunity for growth. When we stop running from our shame, we often discover its gifts. Healing through shame can feel like a spiritual experience to some because it can leave us feeling more connected to other human beings, and our imperfect humanity itself. The attempts to run from shame only create more barriers, as we frantically try and escape something that’s already here. Dealing with shame in therapy can allow you the safe container needed to stop running from your shame and face it head on
Healing Shame in Therapy When dealing with shame in therapy, it can help to have a guide who understands the terrain and can help you to feel safer in this process- especially if you’re a trauma survivor. Here are some examples of what a therapist will help you work through in the context of healing shame.
Increasing Self-Compassion It’s been proven that an increased level of self-compassion actually helps people to reach their goals faster and with more precision. This is because self-judgment, negative self-talk and shame itself serves as an obstacle to reaching our fullest potential. Avoiding shame decreases our willingness to take risks. When we are going for something big, be it a job promotion, a college degree, an artistic endeavor or a relationship, we will inevitably meet some “failures” along the way. We will not succeed 100% of the time, so increasing self-compassion is not only necessary, but quite practical. However, learning to live your life with increased self-compassion is a practice. Your therapist might help you to practice self-compassion by directing love inwardly during a mindfulness meditation. They might challenge you to do inner-child work, recognizing the parts of yourself that really needed that love and care in your younger years and delivering that care in the present as a wise adult.
Healing Loneliness Because shame thrives in isolation, sometimes even the act of telling your therapist about the shame you’re experiencing can create some relief. Your therapist can help you to identify safe people in your life, and safe communities where you can share yourself with more openness and freedom. Therapy can be “practice” for more authentic communication outside of therapy and in your “real life.” When you begin to let others in, you will realize that you are not alone in anything you’ve ever thought or felt. You might spend your time with many people, but still feel lonely if you’re hiding your true self.
Understanding Your Triggers Understanding what triggers your shame is important for everyone. You might experience shame when your boss criticizes your work performance, as it reminds you of the feelings of inadequacy or the story of “I don’t belong here.” Or, your shame triggers might be more pervasive, bringing you back to a place of childhood trauma. The possible scenarios are endless, but it’s imperative that you learn to understand when you’re triggered and what that’s like for you. You can become more familiar with the landscape and less avoidant of negative feeling states. There will be “Ah-ha!” moment in your life when you start to recognize that shame is not who you really are, and that a trigger is in fact something that can be traced back to a source. We feel better when we know what’s going on with ourselves, even if the experience is difficult. Part of recovery from shame is really getting to know ourselves and learning how to work with our triggers so we feel less of a need to avoid them.
Increasing your Capacity for Vulnerability Because shame is a difficult experience to feel, and you may be in the habit of avoiding any emotions associated with it. Shame can come with a degree of hopelessness, anxiety, fear of being found out, sadness and depression. Your therapist can help you to experience these tough emotions in a safe way, and you can actually learn how to feel them and become less avoidant of them. This allows you to be more self-contained, comfortable with whatever comes up for you. When you learn that you can handle what you feel inside, you can share more easily with others and feel an overall increased sense of confidence. When you share your true feelings with others, you open yourself up to more profound connections, deeper relationships and you give yourself the chance to be known and accepted for who you are.
Healing Self-Sabotage Unresolved shame can work against you in the form of self-sabotage. Because shame tells us that we are not worthy of success, we might sabotage opportunities to reach our fullest potential or accomplish goals. We may sabotage as we approach milestones in life, or at the dawn of new endeavors. Self-sabotage can sometimes be in the service of keeping things the same, and avoiding any potential triggers that, say, applying for a new job may bring. We might avoid risks because of shame, trying to maneuver our way around the potential emotions of both success and failure. Self-sabotage can work as a feedback loop: we feel “not good enough”, then something good happens, but we get in our own way and destroy an opportunity, thus finding our evidence that we don’t deserve good things. Your therapist will help you identify patterns regarding self-sabotage and help you to take the necessary risks in efforts to create the life you want to live.
Spiritual Counseling in Philadelphia: Individuals heal in various ways, though the essence of healing involves a combination of mind, body and spirit. There is no one specific way to reach spirituality, which is why we are providing a series of tips to help you find the way that suites you the best. Ultimately, none of us know the "right" answers towards your most personal questions, and the tips are not geared to define specific questions; however, they were created to help you along your own unique journey.
Technology has integrated into our daily lives in so many ways from social media, cellphones, smart TVs, automatic robots, etc. As the techno-boom continues, it can get hard and harder to keep up. The therapists at the Center for Growth have compiled a list of articles on addressing technical questions in our individual, social, and relational lives.
Trauma often robs us of the feeling that we are in charge of our lives. It can make us question the world and feel out of control in relation to our mind, body and emotions. Trauma therapists at the Center for Growth have provided self-help tips and articles on what trauma is, how it effects the body and mind, and how to work on relinquishing the hold trauma has on you or your loved one. In addition you can schedule a trauma therapy appointment today
What is Trauma: An Overview
Trauma is an event, or a multitude of events that overwhelms a person’s capacity to cope. When a deeply distressing event occurs, it may leave a person feeling overwhelmed and helpless, diminishing their sense of self. Trauma can leave us feeling out of control in relation to our mind, body and emotions. Trauma robs us of the feeling that we are in charge of our lives, or feeling like we can protect ourselves or effect change. It can make us question the world we live in and how safe we feel in it, and this can create enormous anxiety. When we face a traumatic event and we lack the resources to cope with it, we are left with residual pain to deal with. We need the support of trauma therapy.
When we hear about trauma, we often think about harrowing events like being at war, or experiencing a natural disaster. But trauma can be experienced in the context of dysfunctional families, relationships, educational institutions and workplaces. When people are seeking therapy, they might not even realize that what they experienced growing up, or at work, falls under the category of trauma. They may be seeking therapy for anxiety, a dysregulated nervous system (caught in fight, flight, freeze or fawn), or substance abuse. However, they end up in trauma therapy addressing the underlying cause of a lot of these unpleasant, distressing symptoms, which is the trauma itself. Let’s look at some of the nuances of trauma, trauma therapy and conditions caused by experiencing various types of trauma.
Big “T” Trauma and Little “t” Trauma
Big “T” Trauma
In trauma therapy, “Big T Trauma” refers to what we most often associate with the word trauma. Big T Traumas are the events we associate with the development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and include experiences like being at war, or in a serious accident where your life feels threatened. Big T Trauma also includes sexual violence, physical abuse, witnessing community violence, or being a witness to a loved one being harmed. Events like traumatic loss require a different kind of grieving process that trauma therapy can assist you in weathering. These life-threatening or extremely disturbing events often cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which we will talk more in-depth about below.
Little “t” Trauma
In trauma therapy, “little t Traumas”are highly distressing events that can still have a massive impact on an individual, but do not quite fit into the “big T traumas”, like natural disasters or being a witness to violence. Little t Traumas often occur in the context of relationships, emotional abuse, narcissistic abuse, bullying, racial abuse, harassment or negligent parenting. Little t trauma may also include infertility, miscarraige and experiencing infidelity. Little t trauma is most often associated with complex trauma, and C-PTSD, which we will discuss below. Little t trauma is still highly impactful and can influence individuals to create maladaptive coping strategies to manage being in a relationship that’s dysfunctional, or a family dynamic that they can’t get away from. Little t trauma is different from big T trauma, but not necessarily easier to deal with.
The Risk of Re-Traumatization
One of the most common risks associated with experiencing trauma of any kind is the propensity towards re-traumatization. Experiencing trauma makes it so that you are more likely to re-experience trauma. Trauma therapy may serve as an intervention not only to heal PTSD or C-PTSD, but also to bolster healthy self-protective measures, building a stronger sense of self which can help keep you safer from trauma repeating itself. Trauma therapy can also help you to address your maladaptive coping skills. You might not need those same coping skills as much as you once did. Your therapist will help you to implement new strategies.
An example of this is if you grew up with parents who constantly put you down, your sense of self might be compromised. You might have developed the belief that you’re never good enough. This might feel vague, but all encompassing. Without trauma therapy, you might find yourself in relationships with people who treat you like your parents did. This re-traumatizes you and keeps you from healing and believing that you are good enough and worthy of relationships that reflect that. It keeps inflaming the wound of “not being good enough” and you might not only feel the pain of the present, but also be brought back to the original feelings associated with the parental-induced trauma. This is why trauma therapy is so useful in ending the vicious cycle of re-traumatization.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Therapy Services
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs in the aftermath of experiencing a traumatic event. It’s helpful to break down PTSD into four different symptom categories. It’s important to remember that not everyone will experience the symptoms in the same way. Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD, and just because you don’t meet the criteria for a PTSD diagnosis, does not mean that you aren’t suffering, or that you aren’t experiencing some of these symptoms. Seeking Post Traumatic Stress Disorder therapy services will help you no matter where you are on the “PTSD spectrum.”
The Four Categories of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms
Re-experiencing Symptoms: Something reminds you of the traumatic event and you feel fear. You might be triggered by a smell, taste or sound. And you might feel as though you are back in the traumatic event and feel sensations in your body that were present during the trauma, or you might experience the emotions that were present during the trauma. This experience of feeling like you’re going through the event again is called a flashback. Post traumatic stress disorder therapy services can help you to address the symptoms involved in re-experiencing the traumatic event.
You might also experience nightmares associated with the trauma, or feeling unsafe. Nightmares ridden with anxiety, fear and helplessness, including memories of the traumatic event. Your brain is actually trying to make sense of the event that took place, by integrating them through your dreams. However, as powerful as your mind is, it might need the help of a safe and reliable trauma therapist to help guide you into feeling safer after a trauma occurs. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder therapy services can help you to feel safer in your body and mind.
Last, you may experience frightening thoughts, ruminations and even obsessive thoughts about the trauma, or how to keep yourself safe. You might find your mind replaying the trauma on repeat and you’re unable to stop it from happening.
Avoidance Symptoms: Avoidance Symptoms occur when you try to avoid situations, people or stimuli that trigger traumatic memories. If you were in a bad accident, you might stop driving. Avoidance may also cause you to isolate yourself from others, and feel numb to your inner world. There may be feelings that need processing, but it doesn’t feel safe to turn towards them because they are too big, or too triggering to experience alone. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder therapy services can help you to safely and slowly start to re-experience emotions again with less fear and anxiety.
Arousal and Reactivity Symptoms: You might feel on edge, jittery, on guard or on the lookout for danger. This is sometimes referred to as “hypervigilance”. This may look like being easily startled, having trouble sleeping because you’re on edge and unable to feel relaxed, and having emotional outbursts. This may puzzle the people around you, but your experiences are valid. Having a skilled therapist in your trauma therapy journey will help you to learn ways of re-regulating your nervous system so that it doesn’t have to be on the lookout for danger quite as often. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder therapy services will also help you to identify and better understand your triggers so that you can develop more control and less reactivity.
Thinking and Feeling Symptoms: After a traumatic event, your beliefs and feelings might change drastically. You might experience difficulty remembering certain things, or creating/maintaining order in your life. You may become more fearful of the world, believing it’s less safe. You might feel blame or guilt, perhaps blaming yourself for what happened to you. You might feel ashamed about what you experienced. You might experience depression, losing interest in what you’ve previously enjoyed, and losing a desire to engage with other people. You might start to become fearful of others. A skilled trauma therapist providing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder therapy services understands the intricacies of trauma, and will help you to better understand what’s happening, so that you can feel empowered and start to heal your thoughts and feelings.
Complex Trauma Therapy Services: Complex trauma, often associated with C-PTSD, is trauma that is not focused on one single traumatic, or overwhelming event, but rather, an accumulation of events. When an individual experiences trauma repeatedly and cumulatively over a period of time, such as domestic abuse, child abuse and neglect and repeated sexual violence this is often considered complex trauma. Each experience of trauma is compounded by the previous experience which often has a serious impact on the individual’s mental health. Symptoms of PTSD and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) often overlap but the impacts of complex trauma are often more extensive and debilitating for an individual. Part of the reason why complex trauma is more debilitating is that when trauma happens repeatedly, we can get used to it and develop ways of coping with our circumstances that are maladaptive. Complex trauma therapy services can help you to update your coping strategies and better understand your maladaptive ones that could be harming you in the present.
Individuals with a history of complex trauma may be more vulnerable to act out by abusing alcohol or drugs in an attempt to deal with or forget about the trauma that they have experienced. Complex trauma therapy services can address avoidance behaviors. These behaviors may represent a coping mechanism or an attempt to regain a feeling of emotional control. Similarly, people with complex trauma may engage in self-harming behaviors to feel in control of their pain or to refocus their pain on something that they deem more manageable or “safe.” It is important for the traumatized individual and their loved ones to understand that these are serving the individual as a coping mechanism to manage intense feelings in some way but that they can be dangerous and counterproductive to the individual’s treatment. These maladaptive coping skills may also impact relationships, intimacy, and work life. During trauma treatment for C-PTSD, the therapist will not focus on one event, but a multitude of traumatic events and how they shape an individual’s sense of self and identity, if they are carrying shame about who they are (inherent feelings of badness), their coping skills and their vulnerability to finding themselves in similarly traumatic, or stressful situations that mirror the emotions and experiences of the complex, layered trauma. Complex trauma therapy services really work to help the individual as a whole. Complex trauma therapy services can help someone with complex trauma reorient themselves towards healing and releasing unwanted patterns from the past and release shame.
Dissociative Identity Disorder Therapy Services: Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) occurs when someone experiences extreme dissociation (an altered state of consciousness, or “going somewhere else”, to the point where they have different personalities known as alters or parts. DID is recognized by four criteria according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). First, a person must have at least two or more alters or different personality states. These alters or personality states have their own way of viewing themselves, others and the world. Second, at least two of these alters take control of a host’s (main personality) behavior at various times. Third, the host finds it difficult to recall information about themselves and the extent seems beyond normal forgetfulness. Finally the above factors cannot be explained by substance use or a medical condition.
Try to imagine DID as at least two or three distinct people all living in the same body. Dissociative Identity Disorder Therapy Services can help the person and their family better grasp the reality of this experience.The host person’s body houses all of these distinct people. Sometimes the different alters know each other, other times the alters and host are unaware of the others or are only aware of certain alters. Dissociative Identity Disorder Therapy Services teach the host and alters to work more cooperatively with each other as a team. Dissociative Identity Disorder Therapy Services may include the therapeutic goal of integration, or the decreasing of the number of existing personalities, but this is not always a realistic treatment goal.
Who develops Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)? It is estimated that one in a hundred people have DID (Haddock, 2001, p. 1). People with DID typically have a history of severe and chronic abuse or neglect during childhood. However, not all people diagnosed with DID present with a history of trauma. Sometimes people are unaware that they have DID, although they or other people in their life may suspect that something is off or not quite right. People with DID may wait for years to get a correct diagnosis and are sometimes misdiagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia or even Bipolar. When receiving Dissociative Identity Disorder Therapy Services, your therapist will assess you for the diagnosis of DID, and also for any other coexisting diagnosis, or conditions that might also need to be better understood, or healed.
Disassociation: Dissociation refers to a continuum of experiences in which a person experiences an altered state of consciousness. On one side of the continuum there are “normal” types of dissociation that all people engage in including daydreaming when you are bored or the feeling of being on “autopilot” on a long car ride. You may forget what you were doing, not notice your surroundings or realize that you have lost track of time. On the other side of the continuum are more extreme types. Extreme types of dissociation include missing chunks of time, minimal or no memory of certain life events, or the experience of “blanking out” to insulate oneself from a difficult event. Many people who experience extreme types of dissociation are not in control of when and how they dissociate. Besides people with DID extreme types of dissociation may be experienced by people who are survivors of war, rape, natural disasters or even car accidents. During a traumatic event, you may have had to “leave your body” or “become absent/not fully present” in order to survive the event or keep your mind somewhat intact. Dissociative Identity Disorder Therapy Services will help you to identify dissociation and to understand the part that it plays in protecting yourself. Dissociative Identity Disorder Therapy Services are not commonly offered services, but at the Center for Growth, we offer this unique service to those with DID, or those suspecting they might meet the diagnostic criteria.
Children, Tweens, and Teen Trauma
Children, Tweens, and Teen Trauma occur at a higher rate than most of us would like to believe. It’s a hard pill to swallow that two thirds of Children, Tweens, Teens will experience a traumatic event by the age of 16th, according to the government research agency, SAMHSA. Many children, tweens and teens get bullied in school, which can cause overwhelm, isolation and low self-esteem. Children, Tweens, and Teen Trauma occur when community violence happens, and when abuse is present in their households. Children, Tweens, and Teen Trauma can also occur because of divorce and dysfunctional family dynamics.
It’s important to note that children, tweens and teens have less options to cope with traumatic events than adults do. Children, tweens and teens can’t decide to get an apartment in the city, or just leave their situation behind. If they are experiencing trauma as a result of what’s happening in the household, or at the hands of primary caregivers, they may feel trapped and more powerless than an adult who naturally has more options and autonomy. Children, Tweens, and Teen Trauma occur across all races, cultures and socioeconomic levels.
Trauma affects children, tweens and teens in all different ways. When Children, Tweens, and Teen Trauma occur, they have a higher risk of developing post traumatic stress disorder after a traumatic event than adults do, likely due to their increased vulnerability. Children, tweens and teens are naturally vulnerable and need protection. However, sometimes trauma happens outside of anyone’s control. Your child, tween or teen may have experienced a traumatic event no matter how well you’ve tried to shield them from danger.
Children, Tweens, and Teen Trauma therapy is essential after a traumatic event, or consistent trauma (complex trauma) due to recurring overwhelming events and situations. Children, tweens and teens are developing and learning about relationships and what to expect from the world at a rapid speed. We hear “kids are like sponges” all the time, which is precisely why trauma therapy is vital for them. Trauma therapy can help children, tweens and teens to process what happened to them, and learn ways of dealing with it, including how to hold themselves in high esteem, avoiding self-blaming and increasing self-worth. Children, Tweens, and Teen Trauma therapy may also help kids to form a safe and reliable relationship with a therapist, which can be healing in and of itself. Children, tweens and teens benefit from having an outlet outside of their primary caretakers, especially if the trauma they’re experiencing is related to their families.
Trauma from Abuse Therapy Services
Trauma from abuse occurs when someone is being physically, sexually, emotionally, mentally or narcissistically abused by someone in their life. When any type of abuse happens via someone you trust, you are likely dealing with betrayal trauma on top of other said types of abuse. Betrayal trauma hurts so badly because when we put trust in someone and they turn out to be abusive, it really hurts our worldview. Trauma from abuse therapy services can help you to reconcile your feelings of betrayal and learn to trust yourself and the world around you again.
Common questions that occur when someone experiences betrayal trauma are: “Who can I trust now that my Mother emotionally abused me?” Or, “I really trusted my boyfriend, but he started hitting me. How can I ever trust another man again?” Trauma from abuse therapy services can address these difficult questions in a safe and nonjudgmental space.
People who’ve been abused often experience a decrease in self-trust and self-worth. “How can I trust myself to pick the right partner after what I’ve just been through?” Or, “I must have done something to cause the abuse from my narcissistic ex-partner.”
Trauma from abuse can be damning, but trauma from abuse therapy services can help you to regain a sense of confidence, and heal from the different kinds of abuse you might have experienced. Many abuse victims don’t feel safe in the aftermath of their traumas, so part of receiving trauma from abuse therapy is helping survivors to feel safe, empowered and able to manage triggers as they come up. When you have a safe therapist in your corner, it’s a lot easier to process your abuse experiences, talk through them and sit through the discomfort that comes up on your healing journey. It is possible to recover from abuse and to protect yourself from being abused in the future through obtaining trauma from abuse therapy services. It helps to have the right trauma therapist on your side.
Traumatic Loss Therapy Services
Losing someone you love is one of the most painful human experiences. Grief is the kind of emotion that cannot always be tamed, stuffed or reserved for “the right time.” You might be in the produce section of the supermarket, and grief will push through the “norm” and you might cry, or be overtaken by a deep sadness. This is normal and perfectly okay. Society doesn’t make grief an easy experience; we are often only given a few days off to grieve, which sends the message that we should be “over it” in a short period of time. Receiving traumatic loss therapy services can help normalize your experiences and help you to cope with your struggles.
Grief is always hard, but when trauma is attached to loss, the grief process becomes more complicated. Traumatic loss may occur when we lose someone unexpectedly to violence or sudden death. Traumatic loss might occur when experiencing repeated miscarriages, or lose a baby in the later stages of pregnancy, or at birth. Traumatic loss therapy services can provide a safe container to process your emotions surrounding the loss. Traumatic grief may occur when watching a relative in pain over a long period of time. It may also look like losing someone who you’ve had a historically complicated relationship with. Perhaps you look back on the relationship and feel both sad and confused about the loss and what it means for your life. When looking back on complex relationships, traumatic loss therapy services can be the guiding light as you sort through what might feel too overwhelming on your own.
The truth is that what is traumatizing for one person, may not be traumatizing for another. At the Center for Growth, we understand that traumatic loss is based on an individual’s experience of grief and losing someone. Receiving traumatic loss therapy services can assist you in navigating the rocky terrain of traumatic grief and loss. You are not alone. We have expert therapists who specialize in traumatic loss, baby loss, and traumatic, persistent grief. Do not hesitate to reach out for traumatic loss therapy services.
Treatment and Coping Strategies for Trauma
Trauma therapy will teach you how to cope with the aftermath of trauma, or aid you in the process of caring for yourself in active trauma, like abuse or workplace bullying. Trauma therapy will help you to understand what your triggers are, and how they affect you. We can look at triggers as doorways into what has originally harmed us, or overwhelmed us. Triggers can come in the forms of a song that reminds us of someone we’ve lost, or a smell associated with an abuser. Triggers can be hard to detect, but with the right trauma therapist, they can help you not only to cope with triggers, but to work with them so they don’t remain as difficult to deal with indefinitely. Part of gaining treatment and coping strategies for trauma include examining triggers and working with them.
Receiving proper treatment and coping strategies for trauma requires a strong relationship with your therapist, first and foremost. You have to trust them, and they have to feel right to you so that you can open up to them about trauma and the ways in which it has impacted you. There are so many ways to heal, and learning about different forms of treatment and coping strategies for trauma can come in many forms. Your therapist may help you to gain more body awareness, using somatic interventions and mindfulness to ground you back into your body. Your trauma therapist may use such as EMDR, to assist you in re-processing memories so that you can decrease your stress levels pertaining to triggers, trauma and memory. They may suggest trauma-informed yoga, and help you to relearn how to care for yourself as a way to help you explore treatment and coping strategies for trauma.
Unresolved, or untreated trauma can leave you unable to trust yourself. This can impede upon your ability to be your fully authentic self, and thrive as an individual and a part of a community or family. Learning the different ways in which you can master treatment and coping strategies for trauma can help you get back to yourself and regain a sense of power and control over your life, while balancing and embracing the uncertainty that is life itself.
Can someone actually change? How does someone change? What happens to the brain when change occurs? Learn more about the brain and mental health and explore the connections between how your mind effects your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Your brain is a powerhouse, sending messages to your body and allowing you to experience the full spectrum of emotions. Human life is incredibly complex, rich with beauty and also rich with the lessons of pain and suffering. Therapy can be utilized for a variety of reasons. Some folks seek therapy to help manage mental illness, while others obtain a therapist to help them traverse the emotional terrain of their lives. We are feeling beings, and nearly every situation in our lives evokes an emotional response. Feelings impact the brain, and how we think and move through life; feelings affect decision making. And our brain impacts how we feel because it stores memories, creates associations and may be sensitive to certain situations, or stimuli. It’s our brain’s job to form patterns so that life is more predictable, however sometimes we need to readdress those patterns and change our minds.
We all have a slightly different brain, so we have to get to know how our individual brain works. Therapy can be an opportunity to get closer to yourself, and to fully understand your brain and feelings, and how both your mind and emotions affect one another. Therapy as self-discovery can be one of the most rewarding journeys you’ll embark on.
Let’s look at some common feeling experiences, how they relate to our daily lives.
Anger, Aggression and Communication
Anger and Aggression are two common emotions felt by everyone at one time or another. However, because they exist on a spectrum, some folks might find themselves in therapy to manage feelings of anger, or aggression that’s acted out on family, friends or loved ones. Sometimes anger and aggression sabotage intimate relationships. Treatment for anger may start with addressing the feelings that arise in the body, slowing the person down and finding a way to help them to take a pause before aggression is displayed. To prevent aggression from playing out, it may be vital to explore communication styles, develop better ways of expressing frustration so that it doesn’t turn into a full blown life disruption.
The feeling of anger may arise and give way to emotions like blame and hostility. Through these negative emotions, unhealthy styles of communication may arise, like passive aggression. Learning how to talk about anger, and its associated feelings/actions is a process that a skilled therapist can assist you with. When we do this work we have the opportunity to change our brain’s response to familiar situations, and to learn new skills in managing life’s frustrations.
Because we learn how to communicate through a variety of life influences dating back to early childhood, therapy can be a tool to truly understand the way your brain works and learn how to manage navigating unpleasant situations with other folks. When we consider the ways in which we’ve learned how to communicate and process information, we can discover our present style of communication and how it’s helping us, or hindering us. Perhaps we want to work on assertive communication to prevent feelings of resentment from arising when we “go along with other people.” And maybe we take a closer look at our family of origin, and explore how they handled communication. There may be a need to navigate partnership with someone struggling with communication. Maybe our goal is to have blame-free communication as a way to redirect our frustrations and take personal responsibility for the way we deal with problems.
Fear and Anxiety and the Stress Connection
Everyone experiences fear, anxiety and negative emotions as a result of life stress. You might be seeking out therapy to help manage emotional experiences like anxiety that will inevitably arise out of the natural ebbs and flows of life. One does not have to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in order to experience fear, worry and insecurity that affects their lives and relationships. Because your mind is complex, having a therapist as a guide can be game-changing in efforts to create healthier ways of dealing with stress.
We are all beings of nature and nurture, and some of us naturally have an easier time managing stress than others. It’s also important to understand that we learn from our caregivers, and our thinking patterns in the present are often influenced by the models we’ve absorbed in the past. We may have learned that catastrophizing is a way that our family responded to anxiety-provoking events. Our learned experiences can make it difficult to tolerate negative emotions. An experienced therapist can assist you in building a new tool kit to properly cope with difficult feelings, so you can retrain your brain to manage feelings.
Therapy can also be sought out to help you identify what it is that you’re feeling. You may be stressed out and not realize the ways in which that is affecting your emotional health. Getting in touch with how you feel is not something that everyone “just knows how to do.” Feelings are often experienced in the mind, through physical sensations and expressed through words, actions and relationships. Through therapeutic techniques like mindfulness, you can learn to observe these experiences within you, and change your brain by relating to them differently.
Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on personal relationships of all kinds. Wanting help with managing your relationships is an excellent reason to seek therapy. Perhaps you’re an insecure partner, or you have a partner who feels insecure in the relationship and you aren’t sure how to proceed in a way that feels good. You might be realizing you tend to people-please as a way to keep other people’s stress levels down, all the while your inner life is being neglected. Therapy is an excellent option for any issues surrounding fear, anxiety, insecurity and overall stress management.
Self-Esteem, Confidence and Living a Happier Life
Most people would say they have the desire for a happy life. Sometimes happiness is a lot closer than we think it is, and it’s more like a state of mind or headspace we find ourselves in than a place of outside accomplishments. This “happy” state of mind might include love, gratitude and empathy for ourselves and others. If we suffered heartache, loss or a big change we may have lost our ability to feel confident and hopeful about the future. Because our brains form habits and patterns, sometimes we have to retrain ourselves to acknowledge what’s in the present. Or maybe we’ve needed a “self esteem tune-up” all along because of unresolved wounding around self-worth. How we feel about ourselves influences our emotional state, our relationships and how we make choices in life; therapy can help you understand yourself better, increasing positive self-regard, healthy interpersonal boundaries and an overall happier life.
The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship of our lives. It is from ourselves that we have relationships with our partners, children, parents and friends. Seeking therapy can be a way to increase how comfortable you are in your own skin. Therapy can help you to evaluate your coping skills, and create ways in which you can help yourself when you’re feeling triggered or down on yourself.
Therapy can also help you become an expert boundary-setter, allowing yourself to feel like your life is your own. A happier life starts with you feeling content with yourself, at ease in your body and feeling worthy of all good things. Therapy can help to increase self-esteem levels and grow into who you’re supposed to be!
Feeling Lonely, Numb and How to Reconnect
Feeling lonely, numb and/or disconnected are challenging experiences to grapple with on your own. Feelings like abandonment, numbness and grief are some of the rawest, most tender of human experiences. Human beings are social creatures, it’s how our brains are “wired.” We thrive in community over isolation. When we stop feeling connected to ourselves, we can’t connect authentically with others. And we begin to feel shut out, not belonging to the world or our social groups. We may even become hyper-critical of ourselves and feel undeserving of connection. Experiences like this can occur after grief, heartbreak or even a change in living location. Or maybe you have a history of fearing abandonment and therefore you abandon yourself in efforts to keep others around, forfeiting your unique qualities, wants and needs. It’s imperative that you reconnect with yourself and your feelings, and finding a therapist to assist you in this process can remind you that you’re not alone.
When we abandon our values and preferences for the sake of pleasing others, or keeping them close to us, we are self-abandoning. We may have been taught to do this to receive love from a very young age. Your mind might be used to automatically self-sacrificing in efforts to keep everyone around you happy. However, this is the fastest route to feeling numb, disconnected and at a distance from yourself. Finding yourself isn’t a one time gig, it’s an on-going commitment that a therapist can help you stay true to. There will always be things in life that throw us off balance temporarily, like grief and loss. With a skilled therapist by your side, you can learn to stay connected to yourself and better weather the storms of life.
Grief can come for many different reasons. You can grieve the death of someone, the loss of a relationship (human or pet), the loss of a baby (miscarriage), and even the loss of yourself and how you pictured your life to be. It’s important to honor that your feelings are here for a reason, and that grief, although painful, is a part of the human experience. Society is often at odds with honoring grieving processes. You might get only three paid days off of work for bereavement, and people might tell you to “move on” or “get over it.” Life does keep moving despite grief, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to grieve in your own way, and take your time with it. A therapist can help you to slow down and understand the symptoms of grief, helping to normalize your experiences and feel less alone.
Healing Guilt and Shame
Guilt can be defined as a normal human experience that occurs when we feel bad for something we did. We might feel guilty for behaving outside of our value system. Shame can be more sinister; it can be experienced as your whole self being wrong, rather than a specific action. Sometimes we carry shame from childhood trauma, being rejected by our families and told we are not good enough, or that something is wrong with who we are. Although shame and guilt are two different things, the two work together in an often “painful dance.” You act outside of your value system, or you aren’t sure what your value system looks like, and you conclude that there’s something wrong with you as a person.
Because we have social brains, and we strive to feel included, we are wired to feel guilt and shame. For example: if we “fall out of line” with social norms, we feel guilt or embarrassment. Through socialization we learned how to behave as children and young people. Unfortunately, shame in particular can become problematic. We may be keeping ourselves hidden from others, having troubles with self-expression and intimacy because inside we feel unlovable, or that we should not be seen. Shame often gives way to strong emotions like discouragement, hopelessness and deep sadness that can be hard to manage on your own. Talking about your shame in therapy can be like relieving pressure and tension. Sometimes just speaking things aloud can be healing, because your therapist will be a compassion witness who will not judge you. Your therapist can also help you to develop healthy coping skills to handle experiences of rejection, so that you don’t go so far into believing that rejection means there is something wrong with you. When we work through shame, we get to release ourselves from perfectionism and embrace the full spectrum of being human.
Trusting Self and Others and Embracing Vulnerability
We might hear “trust your gut”, but what exactly does that mean? And how do we know what our gut feelings, or intuition feel like? When we begin to experience a feeling, sometimes we are then hit with a wave of cognition, or thoughts that talk us out of feeling the very thing that’s trying to emerge. Perhaps you begin to experience anxiety when spending time with a new partner, but instead of learning what the anxiety has to teach you, you think “no, no, no- this has to work out!” And you don’t give yourself a chance to properly evaluate the situation and how you feel within it. The denial of recognizing our feelings diminishes our ability to truly know where we stand, and impedes upon self-trust. In order to trust yourself, you have to be willing to feel what’s here and accept reality.
Part of trusting yourself is trusting that there is something to learn about your feelings. When we stop denying our feelings, we may feel an increased sense of vulnerability. Some of us avoid this vulnerability because we learned a long time ago that it’s not safe to feel vulnerable. Or maybe we were taught that “feelings are bad”, or we lacked support in managing our emotions as children. A skilled therapist can help you to learn the skills needed to feel your feelings and understand the blocks you have in trusting yourself. And ultimately, from a place of vulnerability and openness, we can experience more relaxed intimacy with ourselves and others.
The more you learn to trust yourself, the better your relationships will feel with both yourselves and others. It is relaxing to trust yourself, to know that you have your own back and can make the best, most informed decisions possible to result in a good outcome for yourself.
We have divided the types of therapy that we do into the following categories: ADD / ADHD Therapy, Anger Management Therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Autism Therapy, Client Responsibilities, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, Critical Incident Stress Therapy, Depression Therapy, Eating Disorder Treatment, Gambling Addiction Recovery in Philly, Grief Therapy, Imago Therapy, Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy, Music therapy, Play Therapy, Postpartum Depression Therapy, Premarital Counseling, Sex Addiction Therapy, Sex Therapy, Support Groups / Therapy Groups & Trauma Therapy
For first time or veteran therapy goers, the process of therapy can be intimidating. From finding the right therapist to feeling stuck in your therapeutic process can effect anyone attending therapy. Our therapists at the Center for Growth have provided articles and tips on how to help you through potential roadblocks at the beginning, middle, and end of your therapeutic journey.
Finding a job, switching careers, work related anxiety & depression, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and sexual addiction in the workplace and taking care of self. Work is an enormous part of your life. Living a balanced life includes finding meaning in the work that one does. Explore your professional development in the comfort of your own home by checking out our tips and articles we've provided below.
Not finding what you're looking for in the other categories we've provided? Below you'll find articles and tips on other topics, that don't belong in any of the other categories, but may be necessary for you and your loved ones
Computer Generated Therapy Information. You decide if you prefer computer generated counseling or having a live person counseling your inner most thoughts. The choice is yours.
We decided to have fun and ask the computer questions and share with our readers the computer's advise. While we personally think this is
'entertaining,' the implications are scary. We as a society will need to adapt and develop a new way of thinking and being. I personally relish talking to a real person and look forward to beginning the conversation because change is coming.