Posts Tagged ‘disorder’

Why do clients come to therapy?

Written by Sharon Coulter, MA, PPS, MA LMFT on . Posted in Blog

A client asked me this past week why people come to me for therapy. It was a great question. In the culture I grew up in, you only went to a therapist if you were “crazy,” so of course hardly anyone sought out help unless they were experiencing a severe mental health crisis. You were also served platitudes, such as, “You need to suck it up,” or “Get it together.” Sound familiar?

What a price has been paid by so many people who have grappled alone with functioning in the world – because of their own misunderstood struggles, or the dysfunction of partners or family units.

Today, I’m happy we’ve come so far and therapy has become another important resource for people to draw from on this journey we call life. In my experience, here are my “Top Reasons for Therapy” and why I’m so honored to work with the courageous souls who seek me out.

  • To make a change
  • To address an emotional issue like anger, anxiety, sadness, depression, loneliness, shame
  • To address a physical issue that has emotional impact (what one doesn’t)
  • To resolve trauma (seemingly “small” – or “significant”; note, all trauma affects us)
  • To address an addiction or disorder that is getting in the way of relationships and life goals
  • To work though limiting beliefs and unhelpful ways of thinking
  • To learn to express emotions
  • To learn to communicate in ways that maintain connection with others, especially during conflict
  • To work through a mental block
  • To address phobias or release fear of something
  • Spiritual incongruence
  • Lack of meaning in life
  • Lack of a sense of belonging
  • Support for a quest of some kind that has been ignited
  • To understand a sense of incompleteness
  • To address a desire to live life more fully and understand what that means
  • To learn self acceptance
  • To learn self forgiveness
  • To identify co-dependent patterns and understand healthy boundaries
  • To process loss
  • Help with a life transition (geographic moves, careers, relationships, life stages)
  • Help to support the process of aging
  • A safe space to support the dying process (self and others)
  • A sense of being “lost”

Of course, many of the above issues are multi-dimensional and overlap. Perhaps some of them resonate for you. Whatever you’re struggling with or want to further develop within yourself, I hope you’ll consider finding a therapist who can support you to create the change you deserve.

Trauma – identifying and alleviating it with EMDR

Written by Sharon Coulter, MA, PPS, MA LMFT on . Posted in Blog

If you think trauma or an adverse event is interfering with your choices and what you want for your life, I’m glad you tuned in. Unfortunately, the concept of trauma is widely misunderstood in the general population. This is because most of us think of trauma as some catastrophic event, like falling off a cliff, being a victim of acute physical violence or witnessing a murder (secondary trauma). Yes, these are all events that could very well induce trauma for a participant; however, there is also what therapists often refer to as trauma with a small T. This can be related to adverse events that are often enduring — like a child’s experience of divorce in the family, school bullying, the emotional disconnect of a parent, growing up in an environment where there is constant fighting, criticism, addiction, illness, to name a few. Sadly, many people are oblivious of the long-term effects on adults of this second type of trauma, which can be critically debilitating and result in poor self esteem, lack of boundaries, fear of confrontation, addictive disorders, and much more. A third type of trauma is transgenerational trauma. This is trauma that is believed to have been transferred from the first generation of trauma survivors to the second and further generations through post-traumatic stress disorder mechanisms.

Research by leading experts in the field indicates that the treatment of trauma is more complex than previously thought. No longer are clinicians encouraged to have clients tell “the whole story” since it’s now believed that this may further re-traumatize the individual.

As a clinician who often works with clients suffering from both major and “small” trauma, I’m trained in EMDR—eye movement desensitization reprocessing—a leading recognized protocol to help heal trauma. According to the world health organization, EMDR is based on the idea that negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are the result of unprocessed memories. The treatment involves standardized procedures that include 1) focusing simultaneously on spontaneous associations of traumatic images, thoughts, emotions, and body sensations and 2) bilateral stimulation that is most commonly in the form of repeated eye movements. EMDR aims to reduce subjective distress and strengthen adaptive beliefs related to the traumatic or adverse event without going into detailed descriptions of the event.

In my own EMDR training and in my utilization of the protocol with clients, I’m impressed with the results, and I’m finding most individuals experience good outcomes. Of course, like any intervention, EMDR may be more effective for one person than another and it’s one of several potential approaches to help clients. It’s also imperative to ensure the client has strong skills/resources to stabilize themselves when addressing memories or events that induce a high degree of reactivity. As you might expect, EMDR is frequently used to reduce PTSD symptoms.

For more information: https://www.emdr.com/what-is-emdr/