The Spiritual Aspect of Recovery From Mental Illness


The dictionary means refer to the word spiritual as “referring to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature.”

To look at the spiritual aspect of recovery, what we are focusing on is how our experiences relate to our soul or a deeper level of consciousness within us. I understand that this opens a whole other debate on what is the soul, does the soul exit and so on. -I am not here to enter into any debate of right or wrong, but simply bring forward the aspect that at some stage we all ask the question: 'Is this it? What is the meaning of it all? And in particular with mental illness: 'Why do I have to go through so much pain?'

Those simple questions have the power to shake the very foundation of our lives because there is no definitive answer; they relate to our individual belief system. Our beliefs are at the very core of who we are and how we instinctively respond to our life experiences. These are made up of all things that we learn along the way through our lives. In school we learn techniques to train our intellect and our physical body but through life the lessons we learn about our emotional and mental self comes largely from personal experience and interaction. At what point in our lives other than a crisis do we assess our personally developed coping strategies to decide whether or not the patterns that we have learned are actually the best way for us?

One of the key factors to both recovery and also the prevention of mental illness is recognizing that our learned way of operating is not the only way, and instilling hope that there can be a 'better kind of normal'. One of the most important questions I find myself asking is “Why is there no curriculum in schools which educates children on how to become aware of their own thoughts, feelings and behaviors to offer a variety of alternative coping strategies and perspectives? Why do we focus? solely on the intellect and the physical body when the one common thread that each of us share is that we are all thinking, feeling and emotional beings? ”


The seventeenth century philosopher Descartes said: “I think therefore I am”, yet it was not until 300 years later when Jean-Paul Sarte realized the truth of that statement and said: “The consciousness that says 'I am' is not the consciousness that thinks “. (Tolle E, 2008)

Today, the author Eckhart Tolle who's techniques on being the 'observer' have been widely used within the Mindfulness approach to therapy, written of the epiphany which drew from his darkest hour when he contemplated ending is all because he just “could not live with himself “. He wrote of the realization which sparked the question: “Am I one or two? If I can not live with myself, there must be two of me; the I, and the self that I can not live with -Maybe – only one of them is real. ” (Tolle E, 2010)

So for the sake of the discussion today, let's consider that the part of you which recognizes the act of thinking could be called the soul and your thoughts and feelings could then be interpreted as the language in which the physical body speaks to the soul in order for you to learn from your experiences. One coping strategy that I would like to present to you is the ability to assist clients to view each experience as valued and appreciated aspect to life. This includes the strategy to perceive that our whole purpose for living is to learn and grow from our experiences. With this we can separate the theory or 'coping strategy' that the experiences in our life that trigger pain are actually occurring to show us something about ourselves.

Colin Tipping is the author of the book 'Radical Forgiveness' which shows a similar understanding to Eckhart Tolle's. Tipping goes to educate his readers with techniques on how to view a painful life situation from a varied perspective in order to empower them with the ability to let go of the victim mentality and find the value in each experience. If this understanding was within each of our staff we could help teach our clients to not only learn how to let go of anger and resentment, but also shift their whole perspective from one of victimization to acceptance and hopefully, appreciation for how they have grown through their experiences.

Why are these feelings so important? Science … Greg Braden is another Spiritualist and Author who takes these theories one step further and combines it with science and quantum physics to look at the electromagnetic energy field of the body and how it responds to our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Consider for a moment what if feels like to hold pain, anger, grief or resentment in your heart and how your body responds physically. Now consider how your body feels when instead you hold the feeling of gratitude, appreciation and love. The surprising thing is that the strongest electromagnetic field is not surrounding the brain as Scientists first thought, but actually around the heart. (Braden G, May 2009) This is where we hold all of our core beliefs such as 'I am not good enough'. It's where we hold our anger, our resentment, our grief – but also our gratitude, our appreciation, and our love. If we look at what the science is showing us; with the largest electromagnetic field surrounding the center which deals with our core beliefs we can see that through life we ​​are like little beacons, continuing transmitting a frequency that tells everyone around us about how we are feeling and the core beliefs in which we hold.

So … if we view life from the perspective that we are all here to assist each other in recognizing what belief systems we carry that are no longer working for us so that we can learn from them and let them go, you can see why we seem to end up in the same patterns, the same relationships, the same problems over and over again if we do not learn how to recognize what is going on inside of us and evaluate our core beliefs at the heart of it all.


This spiritual approach to recovery can be applied to any person of any ethnicity, any race and any religion. Australia is a culturally diverse land. It is made up of over 220 different ethnic groups who speak 90 different languages ​​and practice 80 different religions. (TAFE SA, 2011) With the steady influx of natural disasters that appear to be happening all across the globe, more people are asking the question 'what is the meaning of it all' and shifting their focus to religion, spirituality and alternative therapies in search of something deeper.

In May 1984 the Thirty-seventh World Health Assembly made the decision to adopt a resolution which made the “spiritual dimension” part and parcel of World Health Organization Member States' strategies for health. (WHO, 1997.) Within our work, do not we owe it to our clients to have every aspect of recovery understood? Should not this also include a sound knowledge of networks and partner organizations that we can refer to when a specialized service is required, as recommended by the 4th National Mental Health Plan? How many reputable, new-age organizations or healing centers can you recommend? If we truly value our clients and understand that it is our core belief systems that provide the foundation to the way in which we all operate, it would be beneficial to educate our staff on more of these valuable therapies and have at least one consultant within every organization who is educated in a multi-faith understanding, and who also has an understanding of their local network of reputable alternative and complimentary therapy organizations so that we can refer clients to those services when needed. With this in place we can truly provide a completely holistic service.

There has been a significant shift across the industry to change the focus of service delivery from a clinical model to a recovery based approach. What I bring to you today is simply another aspect to recovery which is in line with that shift. – Thank you.


• Braden G, May 2009, The Spontaneous Healing of Belief, 4th Edition, Hay House Australia, 56 – 60
• Tolle E, 2008, A new Earth, Penguin Group Australia, 54-55
• Tolle E, 2010, The Power of Now, Hachette Australia, 4
• Tafe SA: Certificate 4 in Mental Health 2011, MRTZ / CHCMH401A – Work Effectively in a Mental Health Setting / Cultural Considerations in Delivering Mental Health Care, Jigsaw Publications.
World Health Organization (1997) Review of the Constitution …, EB 10 1/7, p.2:

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You Can Heal Your Memories When You Choose To

Many people define themselves by their past. If you had physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in the past you are angry, depressed, anxious, resentful, mistrusting of people and can not do anything about it, it's just the way it is. However, more people now are discovering that you choose how you think and feel everything that happened.

The first thing to realize is that you can choose how you think and what you think about. If you are thinking about a past wrong that happened to you, realize that you do not have to dwell on it. Most people dwell on problems and difficulties because they believe that they have to keep thinking about the problems until they reach a resolution. Consequentially, they spend their whole day feeling worried, angry or depressed and often lose sleep as they continue to dwell on the problems.

When you consider what thinking is, it's problem solving. The negative side to that is that if you do not make a conscious effort to control your thinking, you will tend to think about your problems. The good thing is that you can decide what you are going to think about. You could be angry thinking about a time when you withstood abuse or misunderstood by parents, or a lover, or you could choose to think about a recent vacation your went on, or a recent accomplishment. You can feel overwhelmed thinking about how you failed out of college before and you are back in and having a test, or you could think about setting aside study time and choose to focus on the material. You could get depressed thinking about what you used to have, or you can think about what you have now and what you could now do to acquire more of what you used to have.

You may have observed from the previous examples that you can use thinking as problem solving for good and not to make yourself unhappy. Imagine if you think of every past experience as something to learn from. If you were repeatedly criticized in the past you can now be easier on yourself. If you were physically or sexually aborted in the past you now can plan to protect yourself. If you do not trust people because of past abuse, you can learn to discriminate between people who you trust and those you do not. Therapy is a big help with this.

Once you arrive at a solution for the problem memory you no longer have to dwell on it. If you start thinking of the memory you can consciously choose to think about something that is more pleasant. You get to choose!

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Is ADHD Really Just A Problem With Food?

When my daughter was around 5, we noticed that every now and again she would go totally crazy. I think the current term is hyper, I suspect that schizo is now politically incorrect. It was disturbing to watch because she was totally out of control, over-excited, tons of energy, reason went out of the window, and it was impossible to control her. It would last an hour or two, then she would calm down and be perfectly normal.

Our first thought was not “oh she's sick better get her to the doctor”, it was more like “what can be causing this.”

I suspect, nowdays, a trip to the doctor's would have resolved in a Ritalin prescription and the diagnosis of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder) without a great deal of investigation.

Still we cared about what was happening to our daughter and so we watched and made connections and ever realized that it was the green food coloring found in sweets and cakes that was causing the problem. No green food coloring, no problem. Eat something green and out-of-control.

I treated one 14 year old young man who had been diagnosed with ADHD and was taking medication – but it was not enough. He was a very intelligent young man and I suspect this is quite often a factor in ADHD – boredom in school. His home life meant his parents had little time to give him the attention and love he craved, so he acted out because that brought him the attention and excitement he needed in his young life.

Peter Breggin MD writes about abandoning responsibility for our children in his book Toxic Psychiatry where he suggests that medication for ADHD is simply a substitution for the love and attention our children need.

A recent New York Times article suggests that around 1 in 10 school age children sufferers from ADHD, and that 1 in 5 of 14-18 year old boys will also receive that diagnosis.

Just looking at the numbers, anyone with any sense would realize that this is not a mental health problem – it's affecting just too many people. It must either be an environmental problem or misdiagnosis.

A Netherlands study reports that around 2 out of every 3 diagnosed cases of ADHD is actually food hypersensitivity – as it was in my daughter's case.

The three main problem food areas are Dairy, Wheat, and Colorings / Additives.

So if your child is going a little crazy from time to time, do a little investigation yourself by eliminating food types from their diet and see if that makes any difference. If it does not then spend a little more fun time with them and enjoy their presence in your life, rather than treat them as a nuisance getting in the way of what you would rather be doing. Once you get them started on medication they will probably be hooked for life. The side effects of these drugs long-term are unknown and I suspect we will have a major epidemic of mental illness – because of drugs like Ritalin – in 20 or 30 years time.

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ADHD Treatment: Drugs Vs Therapy

In 2010 my daughter has been identified as having ADD but she had never been assessed by a medical doctor. In our circumstance, it was school officials who had identified her. It started out with what seemed to be her best interest in mind. School officials wanted to provide a better learning environment and services that would help her learn. Like any other parent, my wife and I want the best for our children. When we asked how they determined she was “ADD” they simply recognized it when they see it. Granted, teachers see children across the spectrum and are capable of seeing when a child is not like the others per se. What happened next is what was most upsetting. They began to infer that the natural course for our daughter would be the use of prescription drugs and that anything less would amount to condemning our daughter necessities of life. Our eyes popped. It was a clear threat using language that resembled laws concerning child welfare. I should mention that our daughter does not have the best attention span but certainly not hyperactive by any definition. I can not imagine that any but the overzealous physician would prescribe amphetamine containing ADHD drugs for her.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is the second most common long-term medical diagnosis for children in North America, preceded solely by asthma. By the age of 18, more than 1 in 7 people are diagnosed with the psychiatric disorder, which causes inattention, hyperactivity and restlessness. The treatment for ADHD has been widely debated for years and remains to be somewhat of a mystery to this day.

20 years ago, a study financed by the National Institute of Mental Health in the US recruited more than a dozen leaders in child psychiatry to examine which type of ADHD treatment was most effective in children. The study, containing 19 differently weighed categories, focused on reducing impulsivity and inattention using one of three treatments – medication, behavioral therapy, or a combination of the two. Without disclosing any specific statistics, the findings of the study, when released to the public, deemed medication to be the most beneficial treatment. It was also revealed that combining medication and therapy had little positive effect beyond the medication itself. The presentation of these results made it easy for schools and insurance companies to reject expensive therapy treatments while simultaneously presenting drug companies with a marketing strategy.

After the results were released, many of the study's authors expressed concern regarding the design of study. They announced that the research results, and the way they were presented to the public, demeaned the positive effects of therapy and oversold the benefits of medication. The researchers explained that the medications prescribed for ADHD, such as Adderall and Ritalin, are designed for the “quick fix” of symptoms such as fidgeting and forgetfulness which were heavily weighed categories within the study. This shifted focus away from the importance of the long-term academic and social skills children obtain through behavioral therapy and idealized symptom reduction through medication instead.

The original study was later extended to follow the participants through until early adulthood. Researchers found that the effects of the medication began to dissipate as the children got older. More recent studies have concluded that, with an all inclusive research model where the child is treated “as a whole,” a combination of therapy and medication far exceeds the benefits of medication alone. A few of the same studies showed that behavioral therapy can also successfully replace medication in many cases.

Four years have passed and our daughter is an excellent student. Some days she struggles, some days she thrives. Sounds like a normal kid. All of it without the drugs that were recommended. We owe her progress to a smaller classroom, identifying her learning style and working through her strengths. It turns out she relations on her sense of hearing, “an auditory learner” whereas most people are visual. Indeed our public system will cater to the majority, (visual learning) which makes sense, but in our daughter's case did not.

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Stress Management – Foods to Help Lower Stress Hormone Levels

Stress is inevitable in life, and as such, one's goal should not be stress-free living but how to successfully manage stress. By itself, stress will not make an individual ill, but the way of coping with it will. The practical objective, therefore, should be how to execute an effective stress management strategies in order to minimize and alleviate the negative effects of stress in our daily lives. Different means are on hand to effectively mitigate the toll that stress exerts on one's overall health, and one effective means is by eating healthy, going for a diet that feature foods that help lower stress hormone levels such as cortisol.

Cortisol and Disease

Cortisol is a stress hormone that is also associated with higher levels of blood sugar and blood fats (also known as triglycerides). Although these substitutes can be used by the body as an energy source, excessive amounts have been identified as a culprit for a host of health issues such as digestive disorders, heart attack, muscular tension, premature coronary artery disease, short-term memory loss, and adopted immune system.

Stress Fighting Foods

One of the features of effective stress management programs is proper nutrition or healthy eating habits. Some food are known to fight stress by raising the levels of serotonin, a brain chemical which has a calming effect. On the other hand, other foods are known to tame stress by lowering the levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. The following are some of the foods that are known to be helpful in stress management:

Complex Carbohydrates
Complex carbohydrates aids in raising serotonin levels. It also helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels. Food under this group include pastas, slices, whole grain cereals, and oatmeal. Oatmeal is also a good source of magnesium and potassium, substances that are known to aid in lower blood pressure.

Citrus Fruits and other Source of Vitamin C
Research indicate that vitamin C helps in boosting the immune system as much as it lowers the levels of stress hormones. It has been shown that people who took vitamin C before doing a stressful task have a lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. Good sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits such as oranges. It can also be obtained from green leafy vegetables and bell peppers.

Fatty Fish
Fish oils such as those from salmon and tuna are known to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids helps in controlling the levels of stress hormones. Apart from that, it also protects against heart disease and mood disorders such as depression and PMS.

Other Foods
Other food that can help in combating stress hormones are as follows: spinach, black tea, pistachios, avocados, almonds, raw vegetables, milk, herbal supplements, dark chocolate, sweet potatoes, carrots, walnuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds.

The list above is of course not a complete when it comes to foods that help in stress management. The point here, however, is that all of us can be free from the harmful effects of stress simply by being wise about what we choose to eat. Combined with other healthy stress-busting practices such as exercise, we can choose to live a life that is free from the harmful effects of daily stress.

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When The Fun In Gambling Is No Longer Fun

Gambling is all fun and games until you hit the point where you see seeing the fun in it, or you become irredeemably addicted.

Admittedly, most people do not see it coming. They start gambling for very noble reasons including,

1. The need to take time away from work and family pressures
2. Escape route from depressing thoughts on other issues.
3. Hopes of winning a fortune and living lavishly ever after
4. To bring a tinge of excitement into their otherwise dull lives
5. A chance to go out there, socialize and make new friends.

As you can see from the above points, no one anticipates that gambling will grow into the Frankenstein that now threatens to push them off the sanity cliff. A lot of people are able to keep their gambling under rein. They do it for fun, to pass some time and to socialize. Others lose it completely. They become slaves to online and offline gambling. It throws their lives off-balance. They start putting more time and money into gambling, and they gradually neglect other aspects of their lives.

At this point, problem gamblers look back at their lives and get surprised at how and when it happened. For a lot of people, the problem starts with a shift in mentality. A big loss or a big win, and you are hooked. You start gambling more money than you had planned to spend on gambling, you invest a lot of time in the casinos and before you know it, you are a slave to gambling. You can not eat, sleep nor breathe without thinking gambling.

To help you understand how gambling addiction works, I have analyzed some of the most common factors that pull people deeper and deeper into addiction.

1. Illusion that You Can be in command of Chance
No one can control chance. It does not favor anyone, smart or otherwise. Unfortunately many problem gamblers think that they can manage to overturn their luck on the tables through sheer power of the mind. They have this skewed illusion that they can win if only they can learn the tricks of the game. They spend hours on end in the casinos trying to perfect their game. They fail to acknowledge the fact that gambling is 100% chance and not something to be learned. There are no tricks and knowledge that will all of a suddenly overturn the tables to your favor.

2. The Lure of the Jackpot
Winning a few hands on the tables can make you feel unconquerable. Everyone loves winning, and science has proven that people remember their victories more than they remember their losses. Fortunately, or probably unfortunately in this case, new gamblers have what is commonly referred to as 'beginner's luck'. They begin their gambling hobbies on the right foot. They became obsessed with the idea of ​​winning the jackpot.

3. Faith of Changing Luck
In life, we are encouraged to get up after every fall. We will make it in the end. We will accomplish our goals if we do not quit. After all, who wants to quit while the gold vein could be just a few inches away. There is only one place where this advice does not apply. If your quests are governed by pure luck, there is very little chance that you will ever make it. The statistics are open for anyone who wants to take a look. Gambling only ends up in massive losses, debts and frayed social relationships. There is no better time to quit than now. Lady Luck will not smile at you anytime soon.

How To Know If You Are Addicted To Gambling
Although there are clear pointers that indicate you are going down the addiction lane, it can be extremely difficult to identify them if you do not know what they are. This is probably the saddest thing about addiction. We never know we are addicted until we take a step back and look at ourselves in hindsight, at which time the damage has already been done.

In this section, we will discuss the 5 major red flags to watch out for.

1. You Just Can not Stop
Remember the wise Gambler who Kenny Rogers sings about? Every wise gambler knows when to hold and when to fold. Compulsive gamblers on the other hand do not have limits. They will gamble everything they have thinking that they are having bouts of fun, when in actuality they are driven by compulsions beyond their control.

2. Gambling with Money Not Meant for Fun
Problem gamblers will gamble with money that they can not stand to lose. They do not have a set gambling budget and will often risk money mean for important things such medical bills and other utility bills.

3. Gambling to Win or to Recover Losses
If you find yourself gambling more for the sole purpose of hiring the jackpot than for fun, you need to reevaluate yourself. Same case applies if the main driving force behind gambling is to recover losses that you had suffered earlier.

4. Obsessively Thinking about Gambling
If you eat, drink and sleep thinking about gambling, you might already be too deep in the trench.

5. Borrowing to Finance Gambling
Have you ever borrowed money to finance gambling? Chances are if you have, things are not looking so good.

What other keypointers do you think indicate a problem with gambling? I believe that you know them better. You know what triggers that red flag and siren at the back of your mind. A lot of gamblers realize the symptoms that point to problematic gambling in their lives, yet stopping becoming a quagmire.

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Which Came First, Mental Illness or Chronic Pain?

It is well known that people with anxiety, depression, insomnia, PTSD or other mental or emotional conditions also suffer from chronic pain.

Recently someone asked me. Which comes first?

  • Does pain or fibromyalgia cause anxiety?
  • Does PTSD give you headaches?
  • Does insomnia cause migraines?

Inflammation is the key

  • Mental illness can be linked to inflammation in the brain.
  • Pain can be infection in the body.

What are the causes of inflammation ?

  • Toxins such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungus, mold, metals, pesticides and other chemicals.
  • The other main cause is your diet .
  • The first big problems are sugar, dairy, gluten or gains.

Can physical trauma be the problem?

  • You get in a car accident, you hurt your neck or back.
  • That pain becomes chronic, your life becomes very different.
  • You become sad and hopeless.
  • You gain weight because you do not have as much physical activity.
  • You become depressed.

This is a case where the physical pain is causing the emotional distress but it is a real emotional reaction to a real situation. It is a real loss that you are grieving about. It is situational because if the problem went away so would the depression.

However here is how a physical trauma may cause deep emotional or mental issues.

If you were in a car accident, a victim of a violent attack, were involved in a lifetime of playing football or other contact sport you may have suffered a blow to the head or multiple blows to the head. If as a baby you were involved in a traumatic birth that could also be a significant head trauma.

  • These blows to the head could cause inflammation in your brain.
  • We can see what the infection does to your brainwaves.
  • The inflammation can cause the right side of your brain to more dominant than the left side.
  • This puts you into a “fight or flight” situation.
  • This is known as “hyper vigilance.”
  • You can not sleep, any little thing sets you off, you become anxious, and you may get diagnosed as PTSD.

If your brain is hyper vigilant what does it do to your body?

  • The nervous system will be over stimulated, your muscles spasm, your heart races, and your breathing increases.
  • Your digestive system shuts off you can not digest when you are anxious.
  • You get bloating and gas.
  • You may become more sensitive to foods because your body perceives everything as an enemy.
  • Your body even perceives itself as an enemy.
  • It attacks itself and you get diagnosed with an auto immune disease.
  • Over time you get chronic digestive issues, chronic inflammation, chronic muscle spasms. You can not sleep so you never get time to heal.

That is how a head injury can be the cause of inflammation that leads to both chronic pain and mental emotional problems.

More precisely your automatic (autonomous) nervous system is off balance.

  • Your brain controls your automatic (automatic) nervous system.
  • It controls your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and your emotions.
  • Some people call this the mind-body connection.

So what can be done?

  • With Brainwave Optimization we look at your brainwaves, turn them into musical tones and play them back to you.
  • You become aware of your own brainwaves and you brain re-calibrates itself. It is like tuning a piano.

When we get your brainwaves more balanced then your autonomic nervous system becomes more balanced. Then your mind / body connection becomes more balanced.

Who is a candidate for B rainwave Optimization?

  • If you had a head injury or emotional abuse or emotional trauma you are very likely to be a candidate.
  • Anyone who's brainwaves are imbalanced is a candidate.
  • This is easily seen on an evaluation.

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Coping With a History of Childhood Sexual Abuse or Trauma

Childhood sexual abuse is devastating to those who experience it. In adulthood, the lingering long-term consequences are many. These can include low self-image, anxiety, depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, complex PTSD, trouble establishing and maintaining relationships, adjustment issues, feelings of low self-worth and a sense of unease about one's identify or place in the world.

Long-term counseling with a qualified therapist can be helpful. The most effective therapy should be from a therapist who understands the impact of childhood trauma and its lasting effects through adulthood.

Because of family dynamics, it is not uncommon for those who have experienced child sexual abuse to also have experienced emotional abuse, neglect and / or physical abuse. This just adds to the layers of trauma to address in therapy.

When a person experiences traumatic events early in life, part of their sense of self remains at that point in life. In essence, they are emotionally stuck in that point in time. You may have heard of the 'wounded inner child' concept. When such a person experiences everyday stress, it can be overwhelming and difficult to function for someone with a history of trauma.

Nurturing the inner child can be helpful. This can be done by imagining talking with a child who is scared or stressed. If a child is scared or stressed, a competent parent would be gentle, patient, loving and understanding. Nurturing one's inner child can include being gentle, patient, loving and understanding with oneself. This can be as simple as saying things to oneself such as “everything is going to be OK” or “it's OK to be scared” or “I'm going to take care of you.”

Expression of feelings is also important for someone with a history of abuse or trauma. He or she learned early on in life the lesson that their feelings and well-being were not important. It can take time and emotional work to understand that he or she is a person of worth who has feelings that matter. Practicing expressing feelings through writing, art, music and talking to someone supportive and non-judgmental can be helpful. It is human to be scared, lonely, or stressed, and it can take some work to feel comfortable expressing this without being overwhelmed.

It can also be helpful to learn to treat oneself. Someone with a low sense of self-worth may struggle with this and not feel that they deserve such things. Taking steps to treat oneself in different, positive ways can communicate to oneself that he or she has value and is important. Treating oneself can include simple things such as taking a pleasant walk, nurturing a hobby, enjoying a snack in moderation, watching a movie, reconnecting with an old friend or any healthy activity that makes one feel good or special.

Coping with childhood sexual abuse can be complex and take a lot of emotional work. However, dealing with life's stressors by nurturing the inner child, expressing feelings in healthy ways and treating oneself can help people function more effectively.

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4 Simple Coping Skills You Must Have For Your Mental Health

In mental health circles, counselors, psychiatrists, and facilitated group specialists always talk about coping skills. Why? Not only because we need them to get through the day but also to help us function better in society.

I've come up with 4 must have copying skills for anyone dealing with mental health issues. They've worked for me and I know they have worked for many others as well. So here they are:

1. Have A Support Network

Family members and close friends would be ideal but I know that is not available for some. So, in that case, have your doctor as a support. Yes, I know, I know. They only dispense meds these days but he / she might be able to guide you to some resources that are available that you did not know about before.

Maybe there are support groups in your area specifically designed with you in mind? Even if there are not you can always go to a near by mental health clinic and look for services. Most of these places will take most types of insurance – even medi-caid. But what if it's miles away and you just can not get to it? Well, consider starting one of your own, Just have a small group of like-minded people simply supporting one another. And if you can find a volunteer facilitator, great! But it's not necessary. Sometimes the best therapy is a group of people who “get you” and care about your well-being.

Some of the great things about support groups is that you can create field trips, pot- lucks, or dinners while you talk.

I am currently in a group supported by an organization called Mental Health America. It focuses on getting mental health clients back in to work that we can handle and hopefully enjoy. Without this group, this site would not be possible for me. Consider Mental Health America if they're in a local area. Mental health clinics usually can help you.

2. Find A Way To Exercise!

I know, I know. Some of you may barely be able to get out of bed before 3 pm let alone have the energy to workout … I get it. I used to be there too. Here's the thing though. Forget about traditional ways to exercise; the gym, running, weight training etc … Have you thought about just walking? It does not even have to be a brisk walk like the gurus tell us. All you have to do is walk! Walk around the block. Walk around town and get some lunch when you wake up, if that's you. You do not need to have a gym rat to get those feel good chemicals going which is exactly what we must focus on first, not weight loss. Say, for example the feelings last just for 30 minutes. It's worth it.

Why? Because the more you do it the longer the endorphins and other neurochemicals are felt through the body. I walk 3 days a week every morning and when I'm done I practice 15 minutes of meditation. For me, it's the best way to start off my day. This leads me to the 3rd coping skill.

3. Mindfulness

The man called The Buddha taught that the source of all suffering was in our attempt to escape the present moment and our direct experience of it. Do you think this is true? There was a study done recently on mindfulness meditation. Appropriately, it is the first of its kind that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation.

According to Dr. Bruce Lipton gene activity changes daily. In his research it illustrates that by persistent change of perception of your mind CAN alter the activity of your genes creating over 30,000 variations from each gene. Wild stuff, huh!

So, what does that mean for us? For the mentally ill, our present moment is subjected to a lot of suffering much of the time. You might ask, “how can this help me as a coping skill?” Simple. By being present and feeling what you are experiencing in each moment would be ideal but what I've discovered is that people with mental health issues like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or generalized anxiety disorder etc … can only manage the pain for so long until we need to escape the present. I escape on bad days when symptoms flair. I feel it for a few minutes until I've calmed down a bit then I continue with what I'm doin '. Or, I simply give up the present moment lie down and go to sleep. Escape is necessary for us I've come to conclude. Too much time in our own head is not a good thing – for anyone.

When you feel something coming on, try to feel it. All of it. Breathe. Then release. If releasing is impossible, give up the moment and rest. Do not fight yourself any longer. Be your best friend … even with the mental disorder. It's the only way you will find peace in the present moment like The Buddha describes in his teachings.

4. Develop More Hobbies Than Goals

What do I mean by this? Well, a goal has an end point. Once you've reached it's over. Do not get me wrong I'm not against having goals. They work for some people but I'm not one of them. I think I've tried every method of goal setting out there and they just did not work for me.

Now, take my dad for example. He's goal-oriented. He had a goal to build a real two-fired helicopter. Took him over 5 years to do it but he did it. He now has a ready to fly flying machine in my parents backyard.

The down-side to goals are once you're finished, you're off looking for the next goal and the next and the next. My father is now restless because his goal is finished and he does not know what to do next!

So, try something different in a way. Develop hobbies that have no end. I'm talking about those hobbies that can only make you better and better with age and time. See where it takes you. Life is funny that way. You can start off doing one thing and having it end up evolving into something totally different – but right for you.

Coping skills for mental health will always be individualized so experiment. Try a few or all of these tips and see what happens. In no time at all you could be doing things you never thought possible for you …

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Everything You Want to Know About Hypnotherapy

Clinical hypnotherapy is the new buzz word in the medical world. You must have heard of hypnotherapy for overcoming weight issues, releasing phobias, fears, anxiety, quitting smoking, and overcoming addiction. However before we talk about the effectiveness of hypnotherapy, you must know what hypnotherapy is and how it works.

What is Hypnotherapy?

In hypnotherapy, the conscious mind is treated to be different from sub-conscious mind. Commonly we believe that our behavior and decisions are driven by our conscious mind. However, in hypnotherapy it is believed that our subconscious mind has a great deal of influence in driving our mental and physical behavior. If you want to do something but in the subconscious mind you believe that the thing is difficult to achieve, then there are maximum chances that you may not be able to do it. In most cases your subconscious mind wins over your conscious mind no matter how hard you try.

The goal of clinical hypnotherapy is to deal with the powerful subconscious mind and induces changes to drive your thoughts, behaviors, and feelings for your betterment. These changes stays even after hypnosis is over and are induced after exploring the deeper level of your sub-conscious mind

How it Works?

As humans, we actively respond to our sub-conscious urges without even realizing the fact. In hypnotherapy, the therapist uses a proven technique to break through your subconscious mind and access its inner resources. Then needed changes are induced in your mind in order to resolve unwanted behavioral patterns. To do this, first the irrational behavior of your subconscious mind are discovered, then they are released and then new learning and beliefs are induced.

The mind is sent into a hypnotic trance where it is able to achieve a deep level of focus and it becomes more open to changes. These state of mind is used to treat psychological issues. It has been proven that hypnotherapy can be used to treat a number of ailments, such as smoking, food addictions, weight issues, pain control, fear, phobias, trauma, anxiety, migraine, motivation, and concentration problems to name a few.

Dangers Associated With Hypnotherapy

There are no known side effects of hypnotherapy and is not dangerous at all. Hypnosis can not brainwash a person and can not compel a patient to do something he / she does not want to do. Legally, hypnotherapy can be practiced only by accredited professionals and in licensed clinics. Any issue which is extremely psychologically can be treated with the help of hypnotherapy.

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Why Women Are From Venus

New discovery reveals that a woman's brain is as efficient as the computer, and that is why we say women are from Venus.

Computers are the fastest and most efficient machines that were invented to process data. However, in order to achieve the desired output from the computer, data has to be decoded and interpreted to provide feedback to the output device.

The woman, on the other hand, relates little on her internal and external output to get the results she really needs and that process makes a woman's brain very superior when compared to today's computer. Here is why:

Analytic Skills

Typically, the human brain has the capacity to take information, analyze it, then make a decision based on what was received.

The woman has cognitive skills and the ability to analyze certain information, even before any data is changed. This process is similar to that of the optical scanning device of a computer.

The woman can look at a situation and make a split-second judgment and that makes her brain processing phenomenal! The extent to which her decision is correct or incorrect could always be debated, but 9 out of 10 times her statement holds ground.

In other words the woman does not have to entertain a man's conversation to conduct a proper analysis of him. This begs the question, given such brilliant intuition; why are there so many bad relationship choices? My opinion is that sometimes their soft hearts give way or they are probably too willing to forgive, although they do not easily forget.

Neverheless, when it comes to making some decisions, women generally make good choices. While it may be argued that men too have been known to make excellent choices, this is more through calculated risk rather than intuitive.

Often it makes sense but carries a weight that might have dire consequences. While women's decisions most times have little negative consequences. Women usually aim at improving collateral while reducing casualties.

Women And Ancient Wars

This less inclining to making bad decisions is because some men allow their spouses to call the shots when they encounter dilemmas in life. Research in ancient wars has shown that the Emperors and Kingsought advices from their wives, and most times the results achieved success.

Women often have 'gut feelings' and that is why they are favored in areas such as Human Resource, in the corporate society. Men on the other hand are 99% logic. While decent reasoning by the man makes sense, its usefulness is limited in situations involving problematic problems that see further than just intellectual and logical thinking.

It is often said that women think from their heart and not from their head. Here is why:

The heart is the source of the body's function just like the CPU (Central Processing Unit) is for the computer. The difference though, The CPU collects data, process this data and does logical functions such as forming basic arithmetic formulas etc. The results from the computer is limited to: 'yes' or 'no'; 'on' or 'off'; '1' or '0'.

In humans, data is received by any of the five sense organs which then passes it to the thalamus of the brain which interprets and carries the message via nerves. All this transition is possible because the heart regulate and transmits blood to the brain and aids in the rationalization process of the given data intercepted. The brain depends on a secondary source which is interpreted as, 'feeling or emotion' after allowing blood to flow back to the heart.

In medical science this gut feeling is the cognitive function of the brain which is called thinking.

Thinking With The Heart Instead

As human beings, our decisions are not always logical and there before we lean on the heart or gut feelings for a final analysis of any given situation. This is where a woman's intuition comes in most times and she makes quick decent choices in split seconds with limited data input, all due to cognitive brain function.

When you compare the computer and a woman's brain, you will see where the latter is very efficient, remarkable and often unmatched. Now you see why we say women are from Venus!

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Mental Health Counselor

A mental health counselor is an individual who combines traditional psychotherapy with prevention techniques in order to help clients cope and treat emotional and mental disorders. These professionals encourage their clients to discuss their emotions and experiences in order to learn more about their current issues and how they may assist and proceed in the therapy process. Therapy could include coping mechanisms, or strategies and skills designed to change behavior. Mental health counselors sometimes work in conjunction with social workers or psychiatrists to create the best treatment possible for an individual.

In order to become a mental health counselor, an individual must have earned a master's degree in counseling. A license to practice is also required. This is mandatory in all states in the Unites States. Licensation typically requires a master's degree, plus a certain number of supervised clinical experience hours. After approaching this degree and licensure, graduates must also pass a state-recognized exam. In order to keep licensing current and up-to-date, annual education classes must be attended. While in a master's program, students will study ways to recognize, define, and address mental and emotional symptoms and disorders.

This career is not for someone who finds sympathy and compassion difficult trains to embody. Mental health counselors may deal with individuals who are traumatized by their disabilities, or who are frustrated with their inability to cope with an emotional or mental disorder. These professionals should be able to listen to an individual, connect with the feelings that they are displaying, and communicate effectively with their clients. These skills may be easier to exemplify from someone who considers themselves a “people person,” or someone who gets along well with various types of individuals, personalities, and age groups.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median pay of these professionals in 2010 as $ 19.09 per hour, or $ 39,710 per year. This career is projected to grow by 37% between 2010-2020. Industries that employ the greatest amount of these individuals include places such as individual and family services, residential mental health and substance abuse facilities, and outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers. As insurance companies tend to provide reimbursements to individuals who use the services of counselors, more people are programmed to utilize these outlets. BLS also explains that people who are searching to receive mental health treatment are much more likely to visit a mental health counselor than to go to another provider.

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Boost Up Your Brain Power

It's almost the exam time. So we thought of giving you the best brain power boosting tips for you, so that you can get ready for your exams with more confidence. Here are the easiest 10 steps for you to begin with;

1. SLEEP. It is really important that you sleep at least 6 hours continuously before you go to your exams, presentations or even interviews. Even though most of us have the habit of preparing ourselves overnight and cramming until the sun rises, the scientists say that sleep may help our brain to consolidate and organize information, so that it comes back to us correctly.

2. LOVE NUTS AS SNACKS? Researchers from MIT and Tsinghua University in Beijing, discovered that magnesium promotes new connections between brain cells and all kinds of nuts we eat, consist of high amount of magnesium. This improves our long-term as well as short-term memory.

3. BLUEBERRIES. Blueberries help keep your brain firing. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that this fruit is full of anthocyanins – the antioxidants that create the blue hue-foster neuron-to-neuron communication in the brain, which may help delay memory loss.

4. DO YOU KNOW HOW TO RELAX? The busy lifestyle we have makes us so anxious that we have a problem of taking new information in. The studies have shown that the relaxation improves the brain power by helping to take new information in and to remember what we already have in our brain. Yoga and a deep breathing will help you in this more than you think.

5. EXERCISE. Physical exercise has been proven to increase brain power and even create new neurons in the brain. So do not be lazy. Start using your physical energy to boost your mind up!

6. LAUGH IT UP. Laughter causes a natural release of the brain's endorphins – chemicals that drown out pain and increase overall well being. Laughter is a well known, natural stress reducer. So why not find some time from your busy schedule to watch a comedy, crack a joke, and increase those endorphin levels!

7. DO YOU FORGET TO TAKE YOUR MULTIVITAMIN? Vitamins are great for the brain. If it does not get enough of a certain vitamins through daily diet, consider a multivitamin. Multivitamins help facilitate the functioning of a healthy body and enriched brain. Start popping a vitamin every morning after breakfast for awhile and chances are good that you'll notice a difference!

8. RED WINE. Alcohol in moderation has been proven to be good for the brain. Red wine is considered as a healthy alcohol if taken in moderation. It is rich in antioxidants – chemicals that actually protect the brain! One glass daily for women and two for men is generally considered a healthy amount.

9. MUSIC HELPS YOUR BRAIN TO BOOST! Studies have proven that listening to music strengthens the right-hemisphere of the brain and literally changes the structure. Those same studies have found that people who listen to music are generally smarter and have more intellectual intelligence than those who do not.

10. THINK POSITIVE. If you are currently very good at thinking positively, chances are good that you already have a more powerful brain than those “Negative Nellies.” Take 10 minutes daily in the morning to think more positive and start noticing an improvement in thinking abilities and problem solving skills.

Now that you know how easy it is to boost your brain, why not start following these and face your upcoming challenges more effectively? GOOD LUCK !!!

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Gaslighting: How to Recognize

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation. It seeks to sow the seeds of doubt in the targeted individual. The goal of the gaslighter is to make the victim question her own perception, memory and sanity.

Befriending you and gleaning information from friends and relatives are ways the abuser gains insight into how to limit your mental health. Should you have even a minor psyche issue, it will be greatly exaggerated and much-discussed.

Dominate or destroy is the basic premise of gaslighting. Usually early childhood issues are played out in the imbalanced mind of the aggressor. Anger and jealousy are often at the root of the situation.

This is not a one-time or temporary situation. It often continues indefinitely until a crisis shines a light on the situation. Concealment is a hallmark of this form of mental and emotional abuse. Isolation and emotional manipulation are common tactics as well.

My sister has been undermining my life, my role in our family and my spirit for decades. I'm not surprised her abuse escalated past vicious gossip and back-biting. As she earned recruits to her cause of discounting me, her feeling of power increased. She needed to flex that power as often and fully as she could.

I avoided meeting anyone in her world. There is no telling how many versions of untruths have been repeated. Her efforts to convince everyone that I am delusional and my mother has full dementia were constant.

There is a term called 'double doc'ing.' If two doctors deem a person to have dementia, a third party (my older sister) could commandeer care. The plan was to put my mother in a care facility against her will and be done with her. Her life was blocking use of family land.

She lived in fear and I joined her. As soon as I arrived and blocked her reserve in the Lexington Place care facility, I became the target. Immediately, my mental status and the way I behaved was in question.

Both of us feared the end. When Mom passed, I became an open target. The police were at my door with an eviction notice within days of her memorial. A judge save me and 10 elderly rescue animals five days to vacate.

Friends stepped in or the dogs and I had no choice but plan an extended camping trip at the lake. I literally look with fear. Gabapentin kept the alcohol cravings at bay but it got dicey. After giving Mom's eology, I started to emotionally shut down.

After the judge spoke, I just wandered out of the courtroom. They were calling to me about court costs but I barely had gas to get home. I got to our tiny trailer in the middle of the Piney Woods and broke down. I needed to grieve my mother.

Soon, more police. I walked out with my new Texas license in hand. I shook hands with both officers and apologized. I told them that they were being used to harass me by my sister Cindy. Clearly, they expected to find me in an altered state. I told the paramedics that joined them that I was willing to take any test. Not necessary.

My sister is not finished. Her anger runs through her soul. It has steeped and festered over the years since it began around high school age. Shaking my mental health and emotional stability is the goal. Constantly reminding others of my weakness-perceived or real-keeps the destructive energy alive.

No victim has to stay in the role. It surprised me to defend my mental state on multiple occasions but no one detected a serious defect. Depression / anxiety issues are now a constant. One 10 mg. Lexapro has now morphed into 8 meds per day since I came to live near family.

Gaslighting is serious abuse. It does more damage than is visible. When the core of a person is attacked, survival instincts kick in. I no longer feel safe being in the room with my sister alone. She has suggested often that I may be violent. She would stab herself and throw the knife down and say I did it. It's that advanced in my case.

“Stop sharing what's happening on 'social media' or you're going to get hurt,” she grew. Her husband chimed in, “And she'll do it too.” I told her that I did not know our people physically threaten each other. My advanced degenerative disc disease quickly reminded me how vulnerable I am to injury.

My situation went way too far. I could not leave my mother's side and it was unbearable to endure. Watching my mother fade after burying my little sister caused a full breakdown. I had to be hospitalized. It was necessary.

I saw how one person could take my sensitive heart and caring nature and use it to try to crush me. She knew I would stay and take care of Mom but she wanted the credit for being the caring daughter. When I showed up and found her living in filth, I almost called adult services.

Cleaning that entire place was what was needed but with constant attacks by my sister, it was never peaceful for any duration. We did what we could and extended her life by a few years by rescuing abused animals. That part of this journey sustained us both.

Today, I am learning that it was announced through the elders in my family that I am delusional and 'hooked on pills.' There's not an ounce of truth but Dad, my loving aunt and some nieces are worried. It irritates my soul to know I caused concern. My sister delights in the drama.

My feeling is that without Divine intervention or a complete meltdown, my gaslighter will find the anger and energy to continue to try to reduce my value in the world indefinitely. It's such a dark disorder. Many do not recover. But, I choose to no longer be a victim.

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Reality Isn’t What You Think! How Cognitive Distortions Harm Us

We all see reality through a personal lens shaped by our beliefs, culture, religion, and experiences. The movie “Roshomon” was a brilliant example of this, where three witnesses to a crime recount different versions of what happened. When couples argument, they usually can not agree on the facts of what happened. Additionally, our mind tricks us according to what we think, believe, and feel. These are cognitive distortions that cause us unnecessary pain.

If you suffer from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, or perfectionism, your thinking can skew your perceptions. Cognitive distortions reflect flawed thinking, often stemming from insecure and low-self-esteem. Negative filters distort reality and can generate stressful emotions. Thoughts stir up feelings, which in turn trigger more negative thoughts, creating a negative feedback loop. If we act on our distorted perceptions, conflict ensues that can give rise to unintended negative consequences.

Cognitive Distortions

Being able to identify cognitive distortions builds our capacity to be mindful. Some are listed below:

1. Negative filtering

2. Magnification

3. Labeling

4. Personalization

5. Black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking

6. Negative projections

7. Overgeneralizing


Self-criticism is the most pernicious aspect of codependency and low self-esteem. It distorts reality and your perception of yourself. It can make you feel guilty, flawed, and inadequate. Negative self-talk robs you of happiness, make you miserable, and can lead to depression and illness. It leads to negative filtering, which itself is considered a cognitive distortion. Self-criticism produces to other inequalities, such as magnification and labeling, when you call yourself an idiot, a failure or a jerk.

Shame underlies destructive or chronic self-criticism and causes many cognitive distortions. You may find fault with your thoughts, words, deeds, and appearance, and perceive yourself and events in a negative manner that no one else would. Some beautiful and successful people see themselves as unattractive, mediocre, or failures, and can not be persuaded otherwise.


Magnification is when we exaggerate our weaknesses or responsibilities. We can also inflate negative projections and potential risks. It's also called catastrophizing, because we're “making mountains out of molehills” or “blowing things out of proportion.” The underlying assumption is we will not be able to handle what will happen. It's driven by insecurity and anxiety and escalates them. Another distortion is minimization, when we downplay the importance of our attributes, skills, and positive thoughts, feelings, and events, such as compliments. We may magnify someone else's looks or skills, while minimizing our own. If you're in a group sharing, you might think everyone's pitch was better than your own. Stop comparing. It's self-shaming.


Shame also underlies personalization. It's when we take personal responsibility for things over which we have no control. We may also blame ourselves when anything bad happens as well as take the blame for things that happen to other people – even when it's attributable to their own actions! We can end up always feeling guilty or like a victim. If you're plagued by guilt, it may be a symptom of toxic shame. Take steps to analyze and free yourself of guilt.

Black and White Thinking

Do you think in absolutes? Things are all-or-nothing. You're the best or the worst, right or wrong, good or bad. When you say always or never, it's a clue that you may be thinking in absolutes. This involves magnification. If one thing goes wrong, we feel defeated. Why bother? “If I can not do my entire workout, there's no point to exercise at all.” There's no gray and no flexibility.

Life is not a dichotomy. There are always extenuating circumstances. Situations are unique. What applications in one instance may not be appropriate in another. An all-or-nothing attitude can cause you to overdo or miss out on opportunities to improve and gradually attain your goals – how the tortoise beat the hare. Exercising for ten minutes or only some muscle groups has big health benefits, compared to doing nothing. There are health risks to overdoing, as well. If you believe you have to do everyone's job, work overtime, and never ask for help, you will soon be drained, resentful, and ever, ill.

Projecting the Negative

Self-criticism and shame generate anticipation of failure and rejection. Perfectionists also distort reality by assuming negative events or negative outcomes are more likely to occur than positive ones. This creates a tremendous anxiety about failing, making mistakes, and being judged. The future looms as a dangerous threat, rather than a safe arena to explore and enjoy our lives. We may be projecting the unsafe home environment from our childhood and living as if it were happening now. We need to recruit a loving parent within us to shine the light of consciousness on our fears and reassurance ourselves that we're no longer powerless, have choices, and that there's nothing to fear.


Overgeneralizations are opinions or statements that go beyond the truth or are bolder than specific instances. We may form a belief based on little evidence or only one example. We can jump from “Mary does not like me,” to “Nobody likes me,” or “I'm not likable.” When we generalize about a group of people or gender, it's usually false. For example, to say “Men are better at math than women,” is false because many women are better at math than many men are. When we use the words, “all” or “none,” “always” or “never,” we are probably making an overgeneralization, based on black-and-white thinking. Another overgeneralization is when we project the past onto the future. “I have not met anyone dating online,” so, “I will not ever,” or “You can not meet anyone through online dating.”

Perfectionists tend to overgeneralize by making global, negative attitudes about themselves and about their negative projections. When we do not measure up to our rigid, unrealistic standards, we not only think the worst of ourselves, we expect the worst will happen. If we spill our water at a dinner party, it's not just an embarrassing accident, we're mortified, and certain we made a clumsy fool of ourselves. We go one step further with a negative, projection and overgeneralize to imagine that everyone thinks the same, will not like us, and will not invite us again.

© DarleneLancer, 2018

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