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PTSD Resources ~ Pt 2

BT 2010 ZenPondThis is Part 2 of the 2010 Best PTSD Resources for Trauma Survivors. You can find Part 1 here, as well as the initial introduction to this project. Part 1 deals with trauma subjects in a more general way. Part 2 explores major trauma symptoms in greater depth, as well as therapy issues, and alternative forms of therapy.

As you can see, I’m having trouble leaving out any resources which resonate. As always, my choices are entirely arbitrary, but I believe them to be of great value. Coming next Friday, the third (and final!) part of this compendium, which will cover issues relevant to specific types of trauma survivors, and to specific types of people in a trauma survivor’s life.

2010 Best PTSD Resources
for Trauma Survivors ~ Part 2


Part 2 Index


Major PTSD Symptoms 

Therapy

Alternative Therapies

Mindfulness

Relaxation


Major PTSD Symptoms


Depression


Depression Basics

You Can Start Feeling Better: 8 Important Things to Do About Depression
[SEO: Examines and refutes 8 basic fears about depression. Disclaimer: WebMD states it is funded by Lilly, a maker of antidepressants.]

13 Tips for Dealing w/a Lousy Day
[SEO: 13 coping strategies for those lousy, crummy, horrible days that we all experience, and good reasons why you should consider using them. Keep this list handy.]

10 No-Cost Strategies to Fight Depression
[SEO: “If you’re depressed, and especially if you have bipolar disorder, lifestyle changes and other do-it-yourself strategies are not a substitute for professional help. But even if you are already taking antidepressants or seeing a therapist, there are many things you can do to help yourself feel better — and they don’t cost a dime.” A series of 11 slides with suggestions for ways to feel better.]

16 Ways Depression Is Like a Pumpkin
[SEO: A little humor about the overlap of depression and pumpkins. What makes humor work is that it so often reveals the truth.]

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Get Help Before You Truly Need It

Depression: 5 Steps to Prevent Relapse
[SEO: “If you’ve struggled with depression in the past, you are likely all-too-familiar with how easy and subtle it might be to slide back into a depressive state. It can sneak up out of nowhere, kick you into auto-pilot and before you know it you feel like you are ‘back to square one.’ When working with depression it is very important to get in touch with our relapse signatures that are the tell tale signs that we are beginning to slide. When I ask people to think of their signatures they say that more negative thoughts begin to visit them, there may be a feeling of wanting to isolate from friends and family, or the phrase ‘what’s the point’ comes up over and over again.” A step-by-step process of increasing awareness of when relapse is happening and what you can do to pre-empt it.”]

Promise Me You Will Be Here Tomorrow (YouTube)
[SEO: This video by a woman with Dissociative Identity Disorder is empowering and validating. She speaks to the idea that many times in the healing process it’s so hard, you believe it will kill you. It’s overwhelming, and you think about giving up. Her message is: you won. Don’t give up now. Important powerful stuff that child abuse survivors (the context of the video) need to hear, and a promise to be made that must be honored. But the message is valid for anyone trying to rebuild their life following trauma. If you are in a bad place, watch this. Watch it even if you’re not in a bad place. It’s that powerful, and may help you at some future point.]

Embracing life after suicide attempt
[SEO: A tough subject, but one many trauma survivors are acquainted with: surviving a suicide attempt — and what comes next. This article, written by a suicide attempt survivor with bipolar disorder, emphasizes that speaking out about mental health and suicidal tendencies is the way forward. “The dangerous thing about silence is that it breeds shame and isolation, both of which can be much more devastating than any singular psychiatric condition alone. It’s one thing to be crazy. It’s quite another to think that you’re the only crazy person on the planet.”]

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Different points of view

Everyday Health: What Not to Say to a Depressed Person
[SEO: Long ago, in high school, my best friend said cheerily to me at a very low moment in my life, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” Add that to the list of what not to say.]

Supporting Individuals with Depression: The Importance of Self-Care
[SEO: What you need to know about limits, boundaries, and self-care issues when supporting someone who is depressed. If, on the other hand, you are the depressed person, it’s a good reality check to consider what the people in your life may be experiencing when supporting you. It would be an act of caring on your part to point them to this article.]

As His Depression Worsened He Realised He Had To Do Something
[SEO: “‘For men, we tend to have a set of rules,’ says the Thornhill, Ont., resident. ‘We don’t want to feel as if we have a weakness. But we have to see [depression] as a sickness like a family member [should]. The only way you can do something about getting better is to literally fight the sickness. You have to work at it and realize when it’s happening — ‘I’m in it now, but I have to get out of it’ — and not be afraid to say you’re sorry.'”]

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Specific Issues

In Sleepless Nights, A Hope For Treating Depression
[SEO: The impetus for this line of thought was in observing that new mothers suffering from post-partum depression were less depressed when their newborns kept them up all night. It’s intriguing to think that insomnia may be some kind of natural defense against certain types of depression, and may well be for some people, but for me, depression and insomnia really feed off of each other.]

Depression: Is Critical Thinking Part of the Cure?
[SEO: Discusses the ways our thinking aids and abets depression: all or nothing thinking; disqualifying the positive; emotional reasoning; should statements.]

5 Tips for Dealing with the Sunday Blues
[SEO: “For many people, Sunday can be a rough day. This is especially true if you have been through a loss.”]

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Stress


In the News

PTSD and Unemployment
[SEO: A detailed look at how being unemployed creates stress, anxiety, and doubts about self-worth, and describes the steps a person took in counseling to alleviate some of these symptoms.]

Why Relaxing Is Hard Work
[SEO: People who live stressed lives often find it very difficult to relax. The focus here is on job stress, and how being “out of the office” is no longer a seemingly valid option. This article delves into the “why”, and offers tips to overcome it.]

Childhood Hardships May Trigger Lifelong Susceptibility to Stress
[SEO: “In yet another study that links mental and physical well-being, researchers from Brown University have found that people who experience adversity during childhood are more susceptible to stress throughout the rest of their lives….Psychological resilience does not mean that a person will never become depressed, never be overwhelmed by stress, or never need to find a therapist. But it does mean that a person is in a better position to work through these things, and possibly has more fully developed emotional tools that will help them do so. And as this recent study shows, resilience starts young.”]

What Everyone Should Know About How Stress Affects the Brain
[SEO: This is fascinating. “To put it simply, they found that in rats, chronic stress caused atrophy in the area of the brain associated with decision making and goal directed behaviors and an increase in the areas associated with habit. Are you a stress case? Hope is not lost and we can thank the Neuroscientists for their discovery of neuroplasticity. If you haven’t heard the term neuroplasticity before, basically it means that throughout our lives we have the ability to rewire our brains.”]

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week (Sept. 13-19)
[SEO: Chronic illness, whether mental or physical, is in itself a stressor. There are few respites, and those tend to be short-lived. There is still such stigma attached to mental illness that many people make it “invisible” to any extent possible, which then shuts out opportunities for care and compassion from others. Others live in chronic physical pain, and can’t just “get over it”; it impacts every facet of life. This website is full of understanding and compassionate people on the same journey. You can also participate in their Share About Your Life with Invisible Illness ’30 things’ Meme. A good resource all year long!]

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Stress Basics

Stress: Know the signs
[SEO: This fact sheet has a great diagram of where in the body stress occurs, and the symptoms that result. Also lists typical signs of stress, and links to study further.]

What You Can Do About Stress — Right Now
[SEO: “Stress reduction techniques can be considered the things that build stress hardiness. Stress hardiness is defined as a mindset exhibited by an individual that makes her or him resistant to the negative impacts of stressful circumstances and events. Building stress hardiness could easily be compared to building immunity to a disease.” Step by step, what you can do right now to relax and de-stress. Very helpful!]

How to Put Boundaries Around Worry
[SEO: A series of nine slides. “Worrying is stealing your energy, fatiguing your muscles and body, exacerbating your aches and pains, increasing your vulnerability to stress and infection, distracting you from the present, interfering with your sleep, inappropriately increasing or decreasing your appetite, and keeping you from more pleasurable or important tasks. It is time to recognize the act of worry serves no purpose and has become a bad habit. Here are 9 tips to help you put up boundaries around your worry.”]

The Power of Acceptance: Unwind and De-Stress
[SEO: “It’s extremely difficult to focus on identifying, acknowledging and accepting what we cannot change in life if we’re in a state of high arousal. Feeling stressed makes you want to cry or scream. When you’re stressed you’re more likely to yell. And extreme stress and anxiety makes you want to avoid what you’re afraid of. The first step in accepting, tolerating and surviving stressful circumstances is to get your body into a calmer and more accepting state.”]

The Art of Discovering the Spaces In-Between
[SEO: A good discussion about why finding the spaces in between, where true relaxation can occur, is so important. “But staying in the known is ultimately confining. It’s not enlivening or liberating. We live in the boxes (cages?) we have constructed and avoid the possibility of wide open space. We choose tension over relaxation, habit over potential. We accept ‘good enough,’ while turning away from everything we truly long for. As Eckhart Tolle says, we are constantly chasing forms by thinking, doing, and reacting against. And in every moment, there is space — breathing space, quiet and clear. Right now.”]

Social Support: Tap This Tool To Combat Stress
[SEO: Gives pointers on how to begin cultivating a social support network from amongst family, friends, co-workers, and/or people who share common interests. “Taking the time to build a social support network is a wise investment not only in your mental well-being but also in your physical health and longevity. Research shows that those who enjoy high levels of social support stay healthier and live longer. So don’t wait.”]

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All Kinds of Tips

8 Unconventional Ways to De-stress and Release Tension
[SEO: “As we move through our daily routines we are often faced with obstacles and challenges which can lead to some degree of stress and anxiety. So to become more relaxed and free of tensions it is important to break away from your ordinary routine and find ways to de-stress. This process can be very simple or more in depth, but why not try something new and different?”]

Ten Tips for Handling Stress
[SEO: “There are certain things that we cannot change in life regardless of how hard we try. When faced with the inevitable, the unknown, or a painful experience that is out of our control, it can be very stressful. … No matter how hard the experience may be, there are life-affirming tools that one may use in order to handle things effectively.” These tips are divided between releasing stress from the body, and from the mind.]

Stress Busters: 22 Ways to be Kind to Yourself
[SEO: “It’s easy for stress and anxiety to weave their way into your life. Do you care about yourself? How do you know? What do you do to show yourself that? A lot of people experience anxiety as stress and pressure: to be perfect, appropriate, correct, on time, grown-up, professional, controlled. Then there are those pesky expectations, both external and internal.” Includes 22 excellent tips consider stress-busting as being kind to yourself.]

50+ Simple 30-Second Ways to Bring Tranquility To Your Life
[SEO: “Trying to find and maintain a sense of tranquility is tough when you’re constantly trying to battle work commitments, family time, social relationships and all of the daily frustrations that interrupt your day. To help further you along on your journey to finding inner peace, we’ve compiled a list of over 50 quick and simple ways to bring tranquility to your life, even if you think it’s impossible.” Excellent resource! Lots of ways to calm yourself in various situations. Includes sections of “Go-to Stress Relievers”, stretches, meditation, and anger management. Also remember, Breathing Is Good.]

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Breathing, Stretching, Writing

Don’t Wait to Exhale
[SEO: “I don’t know about you but I’ve taken plenty of deep breaths during stressful times and it doesn’t seem to help. What does help is breathing out. The actual relaxation response associated with breathing comes with the exhale, not the inhale. It comes as we push stale carbon dioxide out of the body to make room for fresh new oxygen to come in. So, in order to calm ourselves, we need to make sure that our exhales are actually longer than our inhales.” Instructions on how exactly to do that.]

10 Easy Stretches to Relieve Your Stress
[SEO: Includes how-to pictures for each of the ten stress relief stretches. (Note: The post states it is part of a series, but I could not locate the other parts on this blog. Just sayin’ so you won’t stress over it.]

10 Ways that Writing Can Help You DeStress
[SEO: A helpful post to focus on the benefits of writing. Most intriguing, for me, is the claim — among others — that “writing alleviates asthma”. I have noticed on occasion when asthmatic and deep into my writing, that it draws my focus away from each breath, and I seem to relax and breathe a little easier. Who knew?]

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Anxiety


Anxiety Basics

Anxiety and PTSD: How to Set Goals, Heal Trauma and Find Anxiety Relief
[SEO: “Each step matters. Not ‘just a choice’ but treating anxiety is definitely about choices we make. That isn’t about being hard on you. Maybe it sounds like it is? I mean that here and now, you do have the freedom, the space, the chance to be more than just fear, stress and anxiety; let yourself be more. Let go.”]

Are You Wired to Worry?
[SEO: Learn how to approach anxiety rather than react to it.]

Anxiety Disorder Impairs Emotional Control
[SEO: “A new study confirms that people with generalized anxiety disorder have brain abnormalities that suppress the unconscious control of emotions.” Provides details as to how the study was conducted, and implications.]

Helping a child manage fears after a traumatic event
[SEO: “Traumatic events can have profound effects not only on those who have been injured, but also on loved ones, survivors, and witnesses. Extensive media coverage of tragedies means that the circle of witnesses has expanded to include those who were not present at the event. Large-scale tragedies such as bombing incidents and school shootings can be extremely disturbing to children, who thrive on predictability and security.” Excellent article on Sidran Institute’s site, a great resource for trauma survivors.]

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PTSD Survivors Speak

PTSD Survivors Speak: Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You
[SEO: “Living in that PTSD bubble, where you avoid certain situations, are scared about everyday happenings, or stay emotionally detached from everything can be a livable life. But who wants to live a life in a bubble?” Note: it’s not about taking stupid risks, or putting yourself into dangerous situations. It’s about challenging yourself, in very small steps, to stretch a tiny bit outside your comfort zone every day.]

PTSD Survivors Speak: How Anxiety Feeds PTSD
[SEO: “If you can’t resolve what happened to you in a crisis, even if you do end up doing something heroic, then that subconscious issue becomes a rock in the stream of your life, roiling everything after. It never ends. … Without resolution, PTSD can operate in the background, in the subconscious, and limit a person’s life significantly. The fear of triggering an episode can become as traumatic as the original event, and a cycle of self-oppression begins that is very difficult to stop.”]

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Coping With Anxiety

Grounding Techniques
[SEO: Grounding techniques are useful when feeling anxious, or spacy/dissociative, or not very real in that moment. For example, try touching something that brings you into the present, like holding an ice cube. Other techniques include ways to distract you till the anxiety passes, such as reading a book, etc. There are probably 200 ideas here. Be proactive about making these grounding techniques happen. Meaning, if you’ll need to hold an ice cube, make sure you always have ice on hand. :)]

Coping With Anxiety: Change What You Can, Accept the Rest
[SEO: “‘Ask yourself: Is this a productive thought? Is it helping me get closer to my goal? If it’s just a negative thought you’re rehashing, then you must be able to say to that thought: ‘Stop.’ “That’s difficult to do, but it’s very important,'” Ross says. … You may even need ‘breathing retraining,’ Ross adds. ‘When people get anxious, they tend to hold their breath. We teach people a special diaphragmatic breathing — it calms your system. Do yoga, meditation, or get some exercise. Exercise is a terrific outlet for anxiety.'”

50+ Simple 30-Second Ways to Bring Tranquility To Your Life
[SEO: “Trying to find and maintain a sense of tranquility is tough when you’re constantly trying to battle work commitments, family time, social relationships and all of the daily frustrations that interrupt your day. To help further you along on your journey to finding inner peace, we’ve compiled a list of over 50 quick and simple ways to bring tranquility to your life, even if you think it’s impossible.” Excellent resource! Lots of ways to calm yourself in various situations. Also remember, Breathing Is Good.]

Six Practical Ways of Coping With Panic Attacks
[SEO: Helpful coping information of what to do if you are having a panic attack. In the moment, you may not remember any of this, so print it out, and keep it wherever you are most likely to make use of it. The first tip is to try to slow down your breathing. If you can focus on that one alone, it will help a great deal.]

On Dealing with Fear: Stop Judging Yourself and Be
[SEO: Great post on dealing with fear, from spiders to possibly falling back into a depression pit. “We can challenge and overcome our fears if we’re willing to take power away from them. They aren’t as powerful as we think they are.”]

7 quick ways to avoid a meltdown
[SEO: Simple things to change direction and calm down. Simple but not easy when in the thick of a meltdown, so keep this list handy. Includes the “Four Square” method of breathing to relieve anxiety. Worth a try!]

How to Put Boundaries Around Worry
[SEO: A series of nine slides. “Worrying is stealing your energy, fatiguing your muscles and body, exacerbating your aches and pains, increasing your vulnerability to stress and infection, distracting you from the present, interfering with your sleep, inappropriately increasing or decreasing your appetite, and keeping you from more pleasurable or important tasks. It is time to recognize the act of worry serves no purpose and has become a bad habit. Here are 9 tips to help you put up boundaries around your worry.”]

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Consider Anxiety in a Different Light

Make Room to Cure Anxiety
[SEO: “What does anxiety management mean to you? Make time for the things that don’t have a space in your life, yet. How often are you able to feel calm, well-rested, comfortable? What can you change to make those things a part of your everyday existence?”]

Discover Opportunities You Never Imagined: Embrace Uncertainty
[SEO: “Letting uncertainty happen is stressful. It scares us when we don’t know what’s going to happen because we imagine all kinds of bad and undesirable things that might occur. We feel that we can’t leave too much up to chance. But when we try to eliminate all uncertainty, not only do we block out the bad stuff that could happen we also block out the good things that could happen – things that we never guessed might occur.”]

16 Ways to Get Emotionally or Mentally Unstuck
[SEO: I tend to get good and stuck when anxious. Many of the ideas offered here are just “out there” enough to give them a shot next time I can’t seem to break out of my anxiety. By “out there” I mean: “time travel” (!) or “go to 10,000 feet” (in your mind!). It’s a provocative list!]

5 Ways to Push Through Discomfort to Make Positive Change
[SEO: “How do you separate yourself from your fears so they don’t sabotage your efforts? How do you silence that inner voice and force yourself to keep taking step, after step, after step?”]

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Dissociation


General Education

Missing Links

Dissociative Disorders Glossary
[SEO: Dissociation can be an aspect or symptom of PTSD. Various terms defined in this extensive cross-linked glossary crossover to many other PTSD symptoms and related disorders. Sidran Institute’s website provides many free resources for trauma survivors, and is highly recommended.]

Index to 120+ articles on the ‘Discussing Dissociation’ blog
[SEO: ‘Discussing Dissociation’ blog is maintained by Kathy Broady, LCSW. While much of the focus of this blog is related to child abuse survivors, many topics covered pertain broadly to any trauma survivor.]

Dissociation Blog Showcase
[SEO: This is a static page on my blog listing 185+ dissociation-related blogs, eventually to be annotated.]

The DSM5 and Dissociation
[SEO: A discussion of contemplated revisions to the DSM5 — and their impact — regarding dissociation and dissociative disorders. “There has been some concern that the dissociative disorders, especially dissociative identity disorder, would be subsumed under other diagnoses and thereby essentially be ‘declassified.’ …[The task force is] proposing that there be a stress and trauma spectrum section which will include PTSD and the dissociative disorders. …Even though there would still not be a diagnostic requirement of a trauma for a dissociative disorder to exist, placing dissociation squarely into a section with an emphasis on trauma etiology would be a blow to the false memory advocates.”]

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About Trauma

20 Signs of Unresolved Trauma
[SEO: A good starting place if you wonder whether symptoms you are experiencing can be considered trauma-based.]

Trauma and Numbing

[SEO: The focus of this article is child abuse survivors, but numbing is commonly used by trauma survivors of any causation. “Everyone uses numbing at times as a method of coping. The problem is when it becomes obsessive or addictive. When the numbing is so often and so intense it blocks all emotions.” The author also discusses cultural norms by which grieving people are told to stop crying, or that “it’s okay”, which reinforces messages previously learned whereby having no feelings at all begins to equate to “happiness”.]

PTSD Healing Thought of the Day
[SEO: “A splintered personality experiences the circumstances within its life as more powerful than itself. So, it’s our ‘experience’ because of our ‘splintered personality’ that makes circumstances loom so large. NOT because that’s how things are but because we are so fragmented they seem that way.”]

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Symptoms

Are Flashbacks a Dissociative Symptom?
[SEO: Blog by clinician, Paul F. Dell, who specializes in dissociation and PTSD, and is the current President of the International Society for Study of Trauma and Dissociation. He concludes that not all flashbacks are dissociative; the discussion continues in the comments.]

Believing Your Own Memories
[SEO: This is beyond validating for child abuse survivors. We all doubt, try to deny. And yet, we know. I was a person convinced I was crazy, and that my “memories” proved it. So I love this quote! “He even told me that the ‘insane’ patients try to convince you that they were abused, but the child abuse survivors try to convince you that they weren’t!” Excellent post.]

Staying Present as the Key to Healing from Child Abuse and Aftereffects
[SEO: “… I had a therapist who encouraged me to live in the present. He would say that the past has already happened and the future has not happened yet. The only moment I have right now is the present one. He would encourage me to engage in activities, such as playing the piano, that drew my focus to the present moment. His antidote to being triggered and dissociating was to focus on the present — on how the chair feels under my legs, how my breath feels in my body, etc.”]

DID as “Extreme Borderline”
[SEO: Is DID an extreme form of BPD? Excellent musings — both in this post and comments.]

It’s a dissociative thing
[SEO: It’s artwork, but be sure to scroll down to read the description, too.]


The Healing Process

Art Therapy: How can it help?
[SEO: A growing community of child abuse survivors are using the Polyvore website (www.polyvore.com) as hands-on art therapy. The site lets you choose “sets” of art objects and arrange them as you would a collage. This linked post provides detailed explanation (follow the text above the artwork to below it) as to how survivors can best use Polyvore in therapeutic ways. Excellent!]

Grounding Techniques
[SEO: Grounding techniques are useful when feeling anxious, or spacy/dissociative, or not very real in that moment. For example, try touching something that brings you into the present, like holding an ice cube. Other techniques include ways to distract yourself till the anxiety passes, such as reading a book, or choosing an activity that calms you. There are probably 200 ideas presented in this link. Be proactive about making these grounding techniques happen. Meaning, if you’ll need to hold an ice cube, make sure you always have ice on hand. :)]

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Sleep Issues


In the News and Studies

Expert Answers: How Does PTSD Relate to Sleep?
[SEO: A good discussion with Dr Wil Pigeon, Director of the Sleep & Neurophysiology Lab at the University of Rochester Medical Center about PTSD, its effects on sleep, and what you can do about it if you, or someone you love, may be suffering from PTSD.]

Behavioral Therapy Improves Sleep and Lives of Patients with Pain
[SEO: “Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia significantly improved sleep for patients with chronic neck or back pain and also reduced the extent to which pain interfered with their daily functioning, according to a study by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers. The study, published online by the journal Sleep Medicine, demonstrates that a behavioral intervention can help patients who already are taking medications for pain and might be reluctant or unable to take additional drugs to treat sleep disturbance.” Discusses details of the study and outcomes.]

In Sleepless Nights, a Hope for Treating Depression
[SEO: This study originated from observation that new mothers with postpartum depression found their depression lifted by being up throughout the night with their newborns. The article describes the subsequent extrapolations to other types of depression, and where the research is headed. It’s intriguing to think that insomnia may be some kind of natural defense against certain types of depression, and this might be true for some people, but for me, they really feed off of each other.]

Can You Die of Insomnia?
[SEO: As a chronic insomniac, I’ve had my moments where I wondered about this. “For the vast majority of people, chronic insomnia will not directly lead to death. But a lack of sleep can put you at a greater risk for developing other serious medical conditions that do have increased mortality.”]

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Tips To Sleep Better

Productive Sleep: 5 Things You Should Know
[SEO: “Sleep happens to be one of the most important things that we do each day. How we sleep affects our memory, learning ability, mood and health. Too much or too little sleep can have negative effects that will last us throughout the day and interfere with our work.”]

Need More Sleep?
[SEO: “For optimal health and well-being Labcoats ‘R Us will tell you we should all be getting between 7-8 hours sleep a night; a lovely thought dreamed up by people who’ve clearly never gone 4 days without sleep and found themselves wondering why the walls are slithering.” (Love that sentence!) Provides a list to check against whether you are getting adequate sleep, what you can do about it.]

5 Natural Ways to Sleep Better
[SEO: “Not only can lack of Z’s stress you out, it can lead to heart disease, diabetes and depression. And it can make you fat. Your risk of breast and colon cancer goes up, too (this has to do with a light-induced decline in production of melatonin, a cancer-protective hormone).” Sleep is the holy grail I continue to search for. Do you, too?]

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Soothes Stress (video)
[SEO: “An instructional video with demonstration and guided narration to practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). PMR is an evidence-based relaxation method that involves tensing and relaxing muscle groups, effective for stress and insomnia.”]

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Therapy


Do You Need Therapy?

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Index of Types of Psychotherapies
[SEO: A detailed description of different types of psychotherapies and their methodologies. See also NIMH’s page How To Find Help.

Psychotherapy shown to reduce trips to the Emergency Room
[SEO: “Helping people recognize the link between their physical symptoms and their stress or emotions resulted in a 69 per cent drop in repeat visits to the emergency room by patients in this group. Hospital visits dropped from an average of almost 4.6 visits a year to 1.4 visits a year, the researchers found.” This is not at all to suggest that “it’s all in your head.” But if identifying and pursuing therapy for anxiety issues resulted in fewer panic attacks or other symptoms that sometimes land people in the ER, wouldn’t it be worth it for that alone?]

Behavioral Therapy Improves Sleep and Lives of Patients with Pain
[SEO: “Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia significantly improved sleep for patients with chronic neck or back pain and also reduced the extent to which pain interfered with their daily functioning, according to a study by University of Rochester Medical Center researchers. The study, published online by the journal Sleep Medicine, demonstrates that a behavioral intervention can help patients who already are taking medications for pain and might be reluctant or unable to take additional drugs to treat sleep disturbance.” Discusses details of the study and outcomes.]

Mental Health Apps: ‘Like a Therapist in Your Pocket’
[SEO: iPhone apps for therapeutic benefit are growing ever more sophisticated, and will gain more widespread use both with increased availability, and decreasing funds or services for face to face therapy for many people in need. One app described in the article causes a “mood map” to pop up randomly throughout the day to note the user’s moods. “Users also can chart their energy levels, sleep patterns, activities, foods eaten and more…. Based on the information entered by the user, the app offers ‘therapeutic exercises’ ranging from ‘breathing visualizations to progressive muscle relaxation’ to useful ways to disengage from a stressful situation, Morris says. And the information the app captures can later be charted, printed out and reviewed.”]

What Makes Therapy Work?
[SEO: Discussion of the dynamics that make therapy work well, starting with the importance of the therapeutic relationship; noticing patterns; and learning how the past influences one’s life today. Good overview.]

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Choosing a Therapist

10 Ways to Find a Good Therapist
[SEO: “When we want to improve our bodies we pretty much know where to find help. … But what do we do when we want to improve our inner selves, our relationships, to find help with depression or anxiety?” A thorough look at the various avenues for finding a good therapist, and also a few “don’t go there” tips.]

What Good Psychodynamic Therapy Is About
[SEO: Gets to the heart of what a good therapy experience feels like, and what it should be able to do. “This is what psychoanalysts make conscious — the patterns that disable and limit people — ones that give ulcers either to individuals themselves, or to recipients in their orbit. Psychoanalysts and psychodynamic psychotherapists understand these patterns, and help the afflicted come to understand them in themselves and others. They help people expand awareness so they can respond strategically instead of reacting impulsively or holding back endlessly. … It helps people grow, change, integrate, modulate, decrease self-absorption, regard themselves accurately, take themselves seriously but not too seriously, free up emotional energy in service of mastery and generativity — in short, become their best selves.” But keep in mind, such a potential takes time and requires your willingness to be truthful and open.]

Is Online Psychotherapy Right for You? 5 Points to Consider
[Online therapy is now a growth industry, with all the benefits and pitfalls that implies for you as consumer. A good, basic article to consider should you in decide to pursue it.]

Choosing an Anxiety or Trauma Therapist
[SEO: “Focus on the human part. It’s a relationship. Yes, a business partnership but anxiety and/or trauma therapy also introduces you to novel concepts like calm. Not to mention brave new worlds. Brave new worlds which offer a great deal, but you have to be comfortable opening your mouth first.”]

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Paying for Therapy

What To Do About Money?
[SEO: “For many survivors struggling with PTSD finances becomes a major part of the problem. You aren’t functional enough to work full-time and the treatment element gets expensive. What’s a survivor to do?” Been there.]

Getting Therapy When There’s No Money
[SEO: Some of the information in this article may have changed since January 1, 2010, when the federal Mental Health Parity law took effect, but there’s still a lot of good information on finding support groups, therapists with sliding scale fees if you have no health insurance or an Employee Assistance Program at your work. If you are insured, check your policy to determine any limits imposed on number of visits or dollar amounts covered. Ask any prospective therapist if they bill insurance, or will accept the insurance limit as payment in full.]

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Therapy Issues


General Issues

The Ten Coolest Therapy Interventions
[SEO: “Descriptions of our work tend to focus on the various psychological theories we use rather than the techniques. Discussing theory does help explain the ideas that underlie the process, but techniques are how many of these theories are put into practice.” Each therapy intervention described includes a brief summary. If it interests you, click on the name of the intervention, which will take you to a complete article about it written by someone who is an expert in that particular intervention.]

Therapy is Not to Make you Happy
[SEO: “I think of a therapist as a mirror. They are someone who is able to reflect back to you a clear and undistorted image of yourself so that you may understand yourself better. This reflection can also provide you with a lot of information about how you appear to and interact with other people. Clear and undistorted images with all of our flaws are hard to take. And many people would rather focus on the flaws of others rather than address their own. But we can only change ourselves, and we can only effect change with accurate information about what we are doing. This realistic reflection from the therapist will help the client see and understand why things are happening the way they are in their lives. It can help clients see: behavior patterns, relationship patterns, thinking patterns, distortions in thinking, defense mechanisms and contradictions. Once a client sees these things they can then make intelligent decisions about them.”]

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The Therapy Process

The Secret That All Clients Should Know but Few Therapists Share
[SEO: It wasn’t until I found a truly great therapist that I experienced feeling much worse in the beginning of therapy before I began to feel better. “…while you may experience more pain in the beginning, this process is necessary in order to fully explore your situation in a way that will lead to new insights.”]

5 Things Not to Worry About in Therapy
[SEO: “Psychotherapy is full of both extraordinary potential benefits and some possible pitfalls. … But there are some things in psychotherapy that you just shouldn’t spend too much time worrying about. They may seem important or worth worrying about, but it’s just a waste of your time, energy and focus.” I pretty much agree with this list, including the proviso at the end of the first point that “Therapists who act or talk in a judgmental manner should be avoided.” It’s the last thing you need in therapy.]

6 Ways to Open Up and Talk in Therapy
[SEO: “You’ve gathered up the energy and resources to start psychotherapy. It’s a big step and you’re excited to begin. But you find yourself unable to talk in therapy. What’s the point of talk therapy without the talking? We find it so incredibly easy to open up online, but when we’re in the therapy office, we become suddenly mute. There are many strategies to help ‘open up’ and be able to talk more freely while in psychotherapy.”]

Staying Present During Trauma Therapy: Grounding Techniques
[SEO: “Judith Herman, in ‘Trauma and Recovery’, states that the central task of the first phase of therapy must be safety. How can you experience this if you do not even feel safe within yourself, but at the risk of uncontrolled flashbacks? In fact, for many trauma survivors it may have felt that there were only two choices available to them historically: abuse or dissociation. Learning grounding skills so that you can be present enough to develop a whole range of self-care strategies is crucial.”]

Transference Is Not Transferable
[SEO: This article focuses on transference of clients “falling in love” with their therapist — who ends up rejecting them, stopping therapy, etc. But transference is how you work out old issues in therapy! For example, my father was physically present but emotionally gone, especially during the years I abused by a family friend. He did not protect me, yet I grew up trying to protect him. In my years of therapy, without ever labeling it as such, there were times when my therapist played the part of a good, present, safe father. He consistently modeled that behavior, especially in how he interacted with my child alters. Through him, they learned to love a good father; but they also learned — in a loving, compassionate way — that he could not be their father. In my experience, a really good therapist knows that transference is where the best therapy occurs. So many trauma survivors come from abuse and neglect, and crave love. It is a failing of the therapist if he/she cannot skillfully manage it.]

Proof Positive: Chicken Little Goes to Resilience Therapy
[SEO: Amusing and clever “transcript” from the therapy session of Chicken Little discussing process of how to not catastrophize everything. :) And actually a good discussion about resilience, and “treating trauma before it happens” by instilling proper coping skills.]

Finding Hope: ‘The Instillation of Hope’ in Therapy and in Life
[SEO: “The instillation of hope offers a path back to a sense of possibility in our lives when almost all seemed lost. It’s about relief, restoration. And the chance, once more, to look forward – to wonder, when we’re in a barren place, what might be over the horizon (and to be given the strength and sustenance to keep putting one foot in front of the other in order to find out)” Includes a list of questions to help you refine your beliefs and expectations about hope.]

Addressing a Misconception in Body-Psychotherapy
[SEO: Great article using analogy of an ant bite that gets worse when scratched. [Physical catharsis such as primal screaming, etc.], “should only be a means of understanding the energy that we carry within us, energy that we often hide from ourselves and from others. Once we understand the capacity we have, and our many coping skills, we realize that no good can come from reaction-based behavior. Noting the times that our (ant) bites weren’t attended to, witnessing our pain from this safe adult vantage point, and bringing attention to the patterns and reactions in the present that stem from those past experiences goes a long way toward detoxification and healing without generating more surface scars.”]

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When Therapy Relationships Don’t Work

9 Rules for Surviving Therapy
[SEO: If you wonder if your therapy is going anywhere, or if the problem is you or your therapist, this list explores reasons why it could be either of you or both. Really good therapy requires really good communication, especially on the therapist’s part, because you may not know enough about your issues to communicate them completely yet. Ask for clarification if you need it. Be assertive, but not aggressive. Assume the therapist is in your corner unless and until
proven otherwise. And check out these 9 rules for surviving therapy: you — and your therapist — may be viewing your therapy process with inaccurate assumptions.]

7 tips for Changing Therapists
[SEO: Should you tell your current therapist it’s not working? Ask for a referral? What are you legally entitled to when leaving a therapist? and other considerations.]

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To the Therapists Out There

How Do You Inspire a Client to Believe in Therapy?
[SEO: An interesting discussion amongst therapists as to what does the therapist bring to the table, especially in PTSD cases, to help the client believe in the work they are doing. “There is only one experience that I find cuts through virtually any dark cloud, and that is the touch of human empathy. When people who are overwhelmed by pain suddenly find someone who seems to understand how they feel, they no longer feel alone and abandoned by the world. A skilled therapist can provide more than the usual kind of empathy. After years of exploring the human condition, the therapist reaches within the client’s experience that at least begins to provide some meaning to explain and place in context her experience.”]

Google and Facebook, Therapists and Clients
[SEO: “With more and more therapists embracing social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, the question arises — where do you draw the line in terms of boundaries with your patients? Where does a patient’s and therapist’s privacy end or begin on such sites? How do patients and therapists navigate this brave new world of connectedness and ‘friending’?”]

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Alternative Therapies


Art Therapy

BT2010 Crayons of Life

Top 50 Blogs for Learning about Medical Art Therapy
[SEO: This is a great resource! Categories include: general art therapy, blogs that offer art therapy ideas, blogs from organizations, blogs by art therapists, and blogs by those in recovery.]

Niki de Saint Phalle: Using Art to Express Rage
[SEO: “One consequence of [child sexual] abuse may be deep rage, and art can help deal with that anger and spiritual wounding constructively.”]

Art Therapy: Subconscious Clues
[SEO: A growing community of child abuse survivors are using the Polyvore website (www.polyvore.com) as digital art therapy. The site lets you choose “sets” of art objects and arrange them as you would in a collage. This linked post provides detailed explanation (follow the text below the artwork) as to how survivors can best use Polyvore in therapeutic ways. Excellent!]

Telling Without Talking: Breaking the Silence of Domestic Violence.”
[SEO: “…when talking about violence brings shame, ambivalence, and fear, art therapy gives survivors not only a voice, but also is a way to raise consciousness about the profound effects of battering and all forms of abuse between partners.” (Unrelated to the article, but also discussing art therapy’s role in healing, is a 1995 book similarly titled, Telling Without Talking: Art as a Window into the World of Multiple Personality. Expensive, but you may be able to request it at your library, or buy it used on eBay.)]

Art Therapy Helps Children Cope With Tragedy (story and video)
[SEO: Although the focus is on children who use art therapy to cope with the death of a loved one, the article explains well why art therapy is beneficial for anyone dealing with trauma. “‘It allows them to take the pain and to take the sadness, take the frustration, take the questions, and put it outside of themselves,’ art therapist Mary Gambarony said, ‘and that’s very healing in itself to get it out of you, put it on something objective in front of you and be able to look at it.’”]

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Music Therapy

What is a Music Therapist? Consider Us Your Personal Trainer!
[SEO: “Music therapists—we’re like your personal trainers. We come in to a situation, assess your strengths and needs, work with you to establish treatment goals, then develop a treatment protocol tailored to meet your individual needs and goals. We are qualified to help you get better cognitively, emotionally, socially, and physically. We can target communication goals, sensory-integration goals, and interpersonal goals. We approach our work armed with knowledge of how music affects brain and behavior function and ready to use that knowledge to help make your life better.” Includes a very helpful 3 minute video, “What Is Music Therapy?”]

Music Therapy Helps Vets Control Symptoms of PTSD
[SEO: The focus here is on veterans, but everything in this article and video speaks to trauma survivors, generally. “Scientists say certain pieces of music can arouse forgotten memories the same way smelling warm chocolate chip cookies can take you back to your grandmother’s kitchen. Similarly, or maybe conversely, music therapists try to use pleasurable sounds to make it easier for PTSD patients to talk about unpleasant and painful memories. When patients hear music they like, there’s also research that shows that it can inhibit activity in the brain’s amyglada, which regulates the negative emotion system. That could mean that music clears a path to talk about trauma because it produces a sense of contentment or happiness and brings down fear and anxiety.”]

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Writing

Is blogging good for your mental health?
[SEO: A discussion comparing and contrasting the benefits of blogging vs group therapy. People blog for many reasons but a surprising number of them say they do it for mental health. “In 2005, Allbusiness published a survey of 600 bloggers by aol.com. Of note, half of the bloggeres surveyed said they blogged as a form of therapy. One-third of them wrote about self-help and self-esteem issues. About another third said they turned to blogging in order to relieve anxiety. Compare that to 5% of bloggers who said they turn to mental health professionals.”]

Writing for Therapy Helps Erase Effects of Trauma
[SEO: Focus of story is on war veterans but the principles — and proposed exercises — are the same no matter what type of trauma was suffered. “Dozens of studies have found that most people, from grade-schoolers to nursing-home residents, med students to prisoners, feel happier and healthier after writing about deeply traumatic memories.” The article cites half a dozen studies demonstrating emotional and physical benefits to writing about trauma, including immune system stimulation, fewer visits to doctors and hospitals, help in easing symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. The caveat is, have a backup plan for help — and stop — if it becomes overwhelming. ]

Boost Your Body Image by Journaling
[SEO: Acknowledges that journaling has long been a tool in treating emotional eating, and offers the idea that journaling can improve one’s body image and self-esteem. “It can give us clues as to why we bash our bodies and how we can learn to respect and love ourselves as a whole. Albers writes, ‘When you clearly spell out what your challenges were in the past, you can predict how you’ll respond in the future, and you can make plans to deal with these challenges in a more productive way the next time.’”]

Writing Heals
[SEO: An excellent article that rings very true to me, as I know I would not be here if I had not begun writing at a very early age. “For those who have experienced trauma, writing can evoke a sense of being heard and acknowledged. Fortunately, the notebook will accept anything! It won’t judge. It won’t grimace. It won’t ask you stop. It is there to receive all of the worst and best of your experiences. As you write them down, another part of you is listening and offering compassion and a hug. Writing it all out – whatever it is — can be a sort of letting go as the notebook listens and receives. Writing can also foster a sense of control. Because trauma was an experience in which control was not available, writing about particular emotions and experiences can bring back some of that control.”]

10 Ways that Writing Helps Relieve Stress
[SEO: A helpful way to focus on the benefits of writing. Most intriguing, for me, is the claim that “writing alleviates asthma”. I have noticed on occasion when asthmatic and deep into my writing, that it draws my focus away from each breath, and I seem to relax and breathe a little easier. Who knew?]

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Meditation and Yoga

Why Meditation Is Good For You (An Illustrated Guide)
[SEO: A humorous cartoon-type guide. Short but excellent, and part of a series.]

Can Meditation Help Veterans Overcome PTSD?
[SEO: “Norman Rosenthal, M.D., Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University is enthusiastic about using Transcendental Meditation to treat PTSD: ‘There are many studies showing that TM sooths overactive fight or flight responses. TM is a logical treatment for this condition.’ In a study published in Journal of Counseling and Development, veterans suffering from PTSD who practiced the TM technique showed significant reductions in depression, anxiety and family problems after four months, in contrast to veterans randomly assigned psychotherapy. ‘Transcendental Meditation isn’t introspection or reliving the past,’ says Roth. ‘You transcend thinking and enjoy deep, coherent rest, which helps heal the physiological seat of stress. Neuroscientists say that TM restores communication among different areas of the brain — reconnecting the parts that were stunned by trauma.'”]

Yoga Helps Vets Find Balance
[SEO: “‘Yoga uses meditation, deep relaxation, gentle stretching and breathing to reduce physical, emotional and mental tension. It has been found to be useful in helping people to deal with anxiety caused by traumatic events. Yoga is a different way of getting in and trying to address these symptoms,’ Thirkield said. ‘Yoga can teach soldiers very concrete relaxation strategies. It’s grounded in many of the same principles that therapy is grounded in.'”]

It’s Yoga Month: Give Yourself a Break and Stretch your Mind
[SEO: What yoga is, and isn’t. “Yes, it is now a 6 billion dollar industry, but it is more than a fitness trend. It’s a system of holistic development that is universal enough to be of value to anyone, on either secular or spiritual terms. If you’re looking for better health and reduced stress, you’ll find it — and an online search will turn up more than 1,000 scientific studies documenting those benefits. If it’s expanded consciousness and spiritual development you’re after, you’ll also find that, and you’ll find documentation in classic texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras.” (September is National Yoga Month. If you’re reading this in September, apparently a lot of yoga studios offer freebies now. Can’t hurt to ask!]

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EMDR

EMDR: What Exactly Happens During the 8 Phases?
[SEO: “EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an 8-Phase therapy approach that contains procedures that have been thoroughly examined by research. It is important that the specific protocol is followed and that the treatment is conducted by a therapist who is formally trained in EMDR. EMDR does not require the client to go into detail about the distressing events of the past. Unlike many “talk” therapies, there is no need to analyze the trauma for long periods of time.” This is followed by a detailed description of each of the eight phases of EMDR taken from the EMDR Network.]

Treating Child Abuse Trauma with EMDR
[SEO: “In the last two decades, however, researchers have made major strides in developing methods for treating victims and survivors of child abuse, including therapies that work as well (and in some cases better) with children as with adults. Among the most successful of these treatments is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a therapeutic process that uses eye movements, sounds, and repetitive motions to help clients process and come to terms with traumatic memories more quickly than talk therapy alone. And since many children and some adults are unable to verbalize traumatic experiences, EMDR can often provide the breakthrough that more traditional therapies can’t.”]

When the Shoe Doesn’t Fit
[SEO: Dispels some misconceptions about what EMDR can and cannot do. Includes more information on the eight phases of EMDR.]

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Service Dogs

‘Comfort Dogs’ Rescue People in Emotional Distress
[SEO: “Comfort dogs come to the emotional rescue of people who are suffering in the aftermath of disasters or battling the difficulties of daily life. Their job is deceptively simple: to get people to open up and talk about what happened.”]

Service Dogs to Help with Psychiatric Disabilities?
[SEO: The range of what a service dog can be taught is fascinating. One example, for people with anxiety or PTSD, a dog can lick the person’s face to help bring him into the present, bring the TV remote to provide a distraction, or in an anxiety-provoking social setting can, by being given a discreet hand gesture, whine or do other behavior which gives the person a graceful “out” to leave the room or move away from the group of people or person making him feel anxious.]

How Dogs Help Veterans Cope with PTSD
[SEO: A 5 minute video: “Struggling with post-traumatic stress, veteran David Sharpe says he found a dog at a shelter that saved his life. Now, with a group called P2V, he pairs other vets with rescued pets.”]

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Misc.

Chicago doctor treats PTSD with local anesthetic used in childbirth.
[SEO: Interesting implications for anyone with PTSD. His first patient using this method was a woman suffering PTSD following a mugging.]

Healing Body Work
[SEO: The body stores traumatic memories, too. Doing body work to release trapped tensions and pains can be a scary prospect. This post, written by a trauma survivor, explains some of the methods available, and how they are done. I admit that I’m one of those people she mentions who cringe at the idea of a relative stranger touching me. But I’ve known many people for whom therapeutic massage and touch worked wonders.]

Alternative Healing: Expressive Therapy
[SEO: This is excellent. Faith explains the difference between “art therapy” (which usually involves a prompt by the therapist) and “expressive therapy” (which may or may not utilize “art” to express it, and does not necessarily use a prompt, meaning, it can be purely spontaneous). “In a nutshell, she said that it is an outlet a person can use to express feelings and emotions. This can be done with painting, sculpting, drawing, etc., but it doesn’t even have to be art-related. Expressive therapy can be done through drama, writing, or any other way that you find to express yourself.”]

Virtual Reality Therapy For Veterans With PTSD
[SEO: “The new treatment is a high-tech twist on a widely used type of cognitive behavior therapy for phobias and anxiety disorders, including PTSD, called exposure therapy. It’s based on the idea that patients can gradually gain control of their fear through confronting it repeatedly under the supervision of an experienced therapist. ‘The usual approach is for patients to close their eyes and imagine the event is occurring,’ says Rothbaum. ‘In our study, the patients’ eyes are open and they wear ear phones and a strappy headset with TV screens, allowing the therapist to match what they’re imagining with a virtual reality environment.’”

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness and Relaxation
[SEO: “Relaxation exercises imply a goal of relaxing a tense body-mind. Deep belly breathing and progressive muscle relaxation are two examples of specific relaxation skills that can be employed to reduce stress, tension, and anxiety. Relaxation can lead to mindfulness, because you need to be aware that you are tense, then engage in an activity to reduce that tension. Through that practice, you begin to understand the difference between a stressed state of mind and relaxed one. Mindfulness can also bring about relaxation, but it is a skill of a different sort. With mindfulness, we simply want to bring attention to what the body-mind is experiencing. Is it thinking? Remembering? Ruminating? Planning? Dreaming? Organizing? Feeling? Mindfulness asks us to simply notice what we are experiencing and accept that experience without judgment.]

Practice Of Mindfulness Can Relieve Depression And Anxiety
[SEO: “It really just means paying attention. It means being more present from moment-to-moment and enhancing that ability to be with and see things as they are as they are unfolding. And so it’s just a practice. It’s something that we can be good at if we do it intentionally. If we wait for it to happen, you know and just hope that we’ll become more conscious or more aware as we age, a lot of us will be disappointed partly because there are so many things pulling us in the other direction.”]

The Quick Guide To Mindfulness
[SEO: Five steps to achieve mindfulness. Sounds easy, but requires a lot of practice!]

Learning to Sit with Depression
[SEO: “… [O]ne of the central problems most people have is that they do not know how to focus inwardly and create a quiet, safe space in which they can engage with their inner emotional suffering. We develop a plethora of secondary reactions of avoidance, resistance or plain resignation. We busy ourselves in activities, anything to avoid facing the inner reality of our anxiety or depression. We talk about our problems, analyze them, and try to fix things through will power and positive thinking, which are all fine in themselves, but only if they come out of a foundation of stillness and inner listening.”]

How to Make Mindfulness a Habit With Only a Tiny Commitment
[SEO: When everything about our daily lives is a function of being “lost in thought”, either past or imagined future, how do we make being fully present more than just another after-thought? “First of all, forget about staying mindful 24-7. That’s an extremely tall order, and it isn’t necessary to be present all the time in order to experience great benefits from it. What we want to do is get familiar with the sensation of becoming present, and do it on a regular basis. Since the preoccupied mind is never going to remind you to be mindful — that would be like a french fry vendor reminding you to buy spinach — we need something else to remind us.” She states the goal to be mindful could happen every time you either open a door, or sit in a chair, and explains in detail how and why this simple mandate can bring you into the present on a regular basis.]

9 Ways Mindfulness Can Change Your Life
[SEO: “Through his experience in working with brain trauma, Daniel Siegel, M.D., author of ‘The Mindful Brain, The Mindful Therapist’ and others, found that the prefrontal cortex hosts 9 critical functions that happen to associate with outcomes in mindfulness research and healthy attachment in children. As we look at this list, you may even ask yourself what life would be like if these came natural to you.”]

Depression and Aromatherapy: Huffing Jasmine
[SEO: More on the value of being present. “When I was in my last depression, there was only one thing that could pull me back to here and now: Jasmine. During those long, sleepless nights I walked the neighborhood with my dog. It was springtime and the Confederate jasmine was in full bloom here in south Florida.” Note: This isn’t really about the jasmine, but about what it represents. Since I was a very young girl, nothing has released me from my time warp traps — directly into the now — like cats. Cats are always living in the present moment, and they want you to be part of it. What is it for you that brings you back to now? Cultivate it.]

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Relaxation


Relaxation Basics

Why Relaxing Is Hard Work
[SEO: People who live stressed lives often find it very difficult to relax — or disconnect from their cell phone or Internet — even while on vacation. Others, who may not have a job, cannot disconnect because they are searching for relief. This article delves into the “why”, and offers tips to overcome/alleviate it.]

Exercises to Calm the Body
[SEO: “A focus on breathing is an important part of treatment for stress, panic and anxiety. The advantage of using breathing to calm the body is that we are breathing all the time. It is present when we attend to it and when we don’t. We continue to breathe when we concentrate on it specifically, but also when we totally ignore it, like when we are asleep. It is possible to focus on our breathing anywhere and anytime, such as in the middle of a meeting at work, when we’re on the phone or when we’re driving.” Benefits of, and specific instructions for, breathing exercises, provided.]

The Art of Discovering the Space In-Between
[SEO: A good discussion about why finding the spaces in between, where true relaxation can occur, is so important. “But staying in the known is ultimately confining. It’s not enlivening or liberating. We live in the boxes (cages?) we have constructed and avoid the possibility of wide open space. We choose tension over relaxation, habit over potential. We accept ‘good enough,’ while turning away from everything we truly long for. As Eckhart Tolle says, we are constantly chasing forms by thinking, doing, and reacting against. And in every moment, there is space — breathing space, quiet and clear. Right now.”]

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Relaxation Videos and/or Music

Relaxation Music 19 — Tea Song of the Xiang River
[SEO: See also the whole series of relaxation music videos at this site. Beautiful soaring nature photography and gentle music.]

Relax Best Carribean Beach Ocean Waves
[SEO: This is rather hypnotic. Besides relaxation, I had it on in background when writing, and it helped to keep extraneous sounds from intruding on my thought processes. Excellent!]

HD Hawaii Beaches-1 Relaxation Music Video
[SEO: This is the 2 minute trailer for an iPhone app. Carry your relaxation music with you! (Disclaimer: I have no interest in this app or company, nor do I own an iPhone. It just seems like a neat idea.)]

My Peaceful Place: Close your eyes and relax, deeply (This really works!) (YouTube)
[SEO: A 10 minute video by Paul Collier with tranquil, relaxing music. Relax deeply, and don’t forget to breathe.]

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Soothes Stress (video)
[SEO: “An instructional video with demonstration and guided narration to practice Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). PMR is an evidence-based relaxation method that involves tensing and relaxing muscle groups, effective for stress and insomnia.”]

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://thirdofalifetime.com/2010-best-ptsd-resources-for-trauma-survivors-pt-2/

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    […] 2010 Best PTSD Resources ~ Pt 2 […]

  3. Resources: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Links « Kate1975's Blog

    […] PTSD Resources for Trauma Survivors Part 2 […]

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