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At Denver Counseling Options, we understand that being healthy means taking care of your mind and body. Wondering how massage or energetic bodywork might help do just that? This month, we sat down with Ginny Anthony with The Mindful Body Integrative Therapeutic Massage and Energetic Bodywork to learn how her work can help alleviate stress, chronic pain, structural imbalances, degenerative conditions, and more.
We all know getting a massage is relaxing, but are there other physical and emotional benefits?
Experts estimate upwards of 90% of disease is stress related. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can help manage stress, which translates into decreased anxiety, enhanced sleep quality, greater energy, improved concentration, increased circulation, and reduced fatigue. Clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage.
What types of massage and energetic bodywork do you provide and how do I distinguish between them?
My work is extremely eclectic and dependent upon the needs of each individual. Massage involves direct contact with and manipulation of body tissue while energetic work involves an approach that is 90% hands-off, manipulating and healing the electromagnetic body.
I work within four specific Massage Modalities:
- Applied Kinesiology – evaluates and treats an individual’s structural, chemical, and mental aspects
- Deep Tissue – helps with chronic muscular pain and injury rehabilitation and reduces inflammation related pain caused by arthritis and tendonitis
- Myofascial Release – relieves cervical pain, back pain, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, neurological dysfunction, restriction of motion, chronic pain, and headaches
- Neuromuscular – locates and releases spasms and hypercontraction in the tissue, eliminates trigger points that cause referred pain, rebuilds the strength of injured tissues, assists with venous and lymphatic flow, and restores postural alignment, proper biomechanics, and flexibility to the tissues
And, I work within four specific Energetic Modalities:
- Aromatherapy – uses essential oils extracted from herbs, flowers, resin, woods, and roots in body and skincare treatments
- Bach Flower Remedies – integrates a system of 38 flower essences used with herbs, homeopathy, and medications to correct emotional imbalances by working on the subtle rather than the physical body
- Barbara Brennan Healing Science – focuses on clearing blocked energy and balancing the body’s energy field through hands-on work and deep healing techniques
- Esoteric Healing – heals through the energy field, which flows through and around us and chakras, or centers of energy, which vitalize their related endocrine glands
Tell us about you. How do you take care of yourself and own a business?
I maintain focus on 4 primary areas: nutrition, sleep, exercise, and a spiritual practice.
How would someone learn more about your work and the benefits of massage and energetic bodywork?
The best way to contact me is to call 970.497.0696, and I am happy to answer any questions about my work. I have practiced for 20 years strictly on a word-of-mouth basis.
On a more personal note, what do you think the secret to a good life is?
I think a life well-lived is all about balance – inner peace achieved through mental and physical balance as well as emotional and spiritual balance.
By Lori Jackson
A client and I are in a session together. They begin to whisper when the conversation turns to how they explain to others why they come to therapy. Often times their voice becomes even softer, they look at me with lost eyes, and then begin almost desperately trying to justify every reason why they are sitting in front of me. It often feels like a mixture of fear, confusion, and desperation: fear of judgment or having made the wrong choice, confusion because they are better now than when they started coming (but wonder if that is just because they are not as upset about “that thing” anymore), and desperation because they want me to tell them they are here for the right reasons and validate their choice.
Believe you me, a few years ago, and sometimes even today, I hear the above conversation, and a little voice in my head begins to panic, creating a cocktail that looks similar to the above remedy. I too, doubt myself, my choices, my work, my actions, all…. At…. Times… Why? Because I am a warm blooded human who is scared like everyone else, who wants to be sure that it makes sense, and that “they” won’t say xy or z about little old ME.
Well, here’s the honest to God truth. There is no such thing as “they.” “They” are YOU, ME, our NEIGHBORS, and our FRIENDS. “They” are the next person who is scared, confused, and desperate. So, here’s why I periodically go to therapy: because when I go see Mark, I leave feeling like I could just be me for the last hour, I could talk about myself and how I felt, I could have him lovingly help me to see how what I am thinking or feeling or doing is or isn’t helping me and my relationships. When I do go to therapy, I feel heard, valued, insightful, open, willing, dedicated, determined, loving, happy, accepting, joy filled, honored, excited, hopeful, eager, and most importantly, just BETTER. I often find that the people who judge or ask me why I pay to go or give me their opinion as to why it’s not a good thing to do so, “they”, those people, are often times the ones that need the most love and support, and yep, I’m gonna say it: THERAPY.
Do what you do for you and the world will be so rad!
At Denver Counseling Options, we work with individuals, couples, and families who are experiencing life and all of its struggles and wild adventures. Springtime often typifies the wild experience of our ever growing housing market here in Colorado. We thought that this month we would help our readers by giving them some guidance from the experts themselves. Nick Stewart with Liberty Home Loans has demonstrated a gift for understanding the financial side of the industry and we trust his judgment. Take a peek at a few key questions and suggestions he has on the topic below.
How do I get started with the mortgage or refinancing process?
Very simply, call me on my cell phone. I usually spend about ten minutes on the phone with new clientsto ascertain what they are trying to accomplish with a purchase or refinance, and then outline several suggestions for different loan programs. These are low key conversations as opposed to formal interviews, which in my experience make clients uncomfortable. After our initial conversation, I meet my clients in person to establish a trust and comfort level between us all.
I know buying and refinancing homes can place an emotional hardship on families. How important is it to find the right lender for the process?
Every mortgage file is different; each has its strengths and weaknesses. My job is to find the right lender with whom I can successfully negotiate any obstacles. Since it is largely about getting the best lender pricing for each client, I try to match each client with a specific lender.
How could using Liberty Home Loans’ services now prevent emotional stress after a house is purchased or refinanced?
Great question! Basically, here’s how I think of it: my job is to take the stress OFF of the client. A good portion of my job involves solving issues that arise with virtually every loan in such a way that my client never knows there was an issue. I tell my clients, “I’ll keep you in the loop, but honestly, you’re paying ME to stress, not YOU.” The mortgage process boils down to calm communication between us and a disciplined approach on my part to make sure each file keeps moving toward its conclusion.
How would someone find you and seek your services?
The easiest way to get ahold of me is by calling my cell phone at 303.917.3162. You can also reach me via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or check us out on our website (www.libertyhomeloans.com). A majority of my business is from repeat customers and referrals. My clients having a good experience is my number one goal.
On a more personal note, what is your favorite material object that you already own and why?
Another good question, and one that speaks to the heart of who I am. I love the outdoors, and especially the mountains. In the winter, my favorite activity is skiing, whereas in spring and summer, I love to golf. I also go fishing with friends in some of the state’s high altitude (and hard to get to) locations. In the fall, I head to the mountains to see the changing colors and try and spot whatever wildlife I can. So, I guess my favorite objects are the equipment I need for each of these activities: skis, golf clubs, fishing pole, and high power binoculars.The key for me is being outside and enjoying Colorado!
Wondering how chiropractic care might empower you to live the life you envision? Not sure exactly how it might fit into your current health regime? We sat down with Dr. Mario Chavez of Vita Nova Spinal Care to learn a bit more about the chiropractic care he provides daily to improve and enhance his patients’ health.
I have always heard that you go to a chiropractor to get “popped.” Is that what I should expect in your office?
No, in our office there’s no popping or cracking, no twisting of the neck. We do a very specific technique called NUCCA and QSM3 and that’s a very specific adjustment to the atlas bone, which is the top bone in the neck. The reason that’s so important is that all of the nerves in the brain have to pass down through that bone to get to the rest of the body, so by correcting it very gently and specifically, we can impact the entire neurological system, which allows the rest of the spine to start to align itself from the top down.
Why do you believe in chiropractic care?
In addition to the reasons I listed above, my wife had numerous different health concerns when we first got married, including digestive and pain issues. We’d gone to a lot of different doctors, but it wasn’t until we went to the chiropractor that we started seeing some solid results and changes, which is actually what drove me to become a chiropractor.
And then, after 5 years of being married and being infertile, the doctor discovered a fracture in my wife’s tailbone that was corrected. She subsequently had her first normal cycle in 12 years, and two months later, we conceived. I have also suffered from migraines for many years and chiropractic care has pretty much put those to rest. So, chiropractic care has had a very personal impact on my wife and me. I believe in it because the body is designed to heal from above down, inside out, and I believe in it because that’s how we’re created.
Why is owning a family practice so true to who you are?
I’d say it’s true to who I am because it’s a major value in my life; I’m definitely a family man. We believe in taking care of the entire family, especially in regards to health, which should begin with children and be cultivated, rather than waiting for an emergency to show up that we try to fix later on during an adult stage of life.
In our practice, we actually do something called family plans, where if two parents are under care, we take care of the kids on a complimentary basis. We do this because we believe in children’s healthcare; if parents see it’s important to take care of themselves, we don’t want cost to be an issue for them to also take care of their kids. Family is just a big part of who we are. The building block of society is the family, so if we can have healthy families, we can have a healthy society.
How would someone find you and seek your services?
The best way to contact us is through our website (www.vitanovaspinalcare.com) or to call us at 303.798.8672. You can talk to Jeannette about any other questions you may have.
On a more personal note, what is your favorite storybook to read with your family, and why?
My favorite storybook to read with my family is a group of stories called The Book of Virtues by William Bennett. Virtue is a very important part of building character and is what helps us to be happy. Aristotle said, “Virtue in action leads to happiness.” If we can teach our children the virtues in a very specific way, then we can have happier, healthier kids. Other than that, I like any Dr. Seuss book, especially Green Eggs and Ham.
Interested in Essential Oils but not sure where to start? Wondering which oil might help with sleep or your immune system? We sat down with Dr. Maura Fletcher of Well Beings Chiropractic, to learn a bit more about the essential oils she uses every day to promote health for herself and her family.
How can oils help me and how do I get started?
Essential oils are an empowering tool that can be used to support health goals including:
- Increased immune function
- Increased feelings of ease in the physical body (i.e. ease aches and pains)
- More restful and peaceful sleep
- Decreased toxicity in body and home
- Improved emotional balance
We have many different kits that offer a sampling of oils that support a wide variety of health goals, including enrollment kits many clients have found helpful. Attending a class or a 1:1 consultation is another way to learn about which oils can best support your needs. Classes are held once per month at Well Beings Chiropractic in Lakewood.
Why do you believe in oils?
Essential oils have been around forEVER! I believe in them because I have seen their effectiveness for myself, my family, friends, and clients.
What do you do to take care of you?
I meditate, move my body, and write a happy moment down daily, go to church and get adjusted weekly, and have massages one-two times per month. I also attend counseling, spend quiet time reading, and use really good hair and body products.
How would someone find you and seek your services?
On a more personal note, what is your favorite smell and what memory does it remind you of?
This may sound really silly, but my husband wore Curve cologne in chiropractic college. Every time I smell it, it brings me back to when we first fell in love during a time in life that was full of connection and good times. The olfactory sense has a very powerful tie to emotions!
By Tony Jackson
We have all heard how important it is to love ourselves. How can someone else love us if we can’t do it for ourselves? I have read numerous blogs, articles, and posts about how to love ourselves better, but I wondered what it looks like when we don’t have that self-love. If I asked the question, “Do you love yourself?” how many would actually know? So, this read is about recognizing when you lack self-love.
An individual who doesn’t love themselves like they should may make damaging decisions that are difficult to see until the consequences are too great. These decisions are sometimes related to personal and professional relationships, and can manifest as individuals who are dependent upon others for validation. When we rely on another person’s approval, we can lose focus on our own needs, which can lead us to sacrifice our beliefs to accommodate others. This can lead us to have little, if any, self-worth. What about your own basic needs? Your taste in music, food, politics, or where you go to relax are all examples of needs. If you find yourself in a relationship where you feel you never get to do what you want, you may have issues surrounding self-love.
Are you still hung up on the past? Have you healed from that relationship that ended two years ago? Those who do not love themselves first usually face these challenges since being unable to rebuild yourself can be an indicator of not loving yourself. Look at the relationships you’ve had. Did you come out of them thinking it was you that caused their demise, basically blaming yourself? Or do you see them as learning experiences, and realize that even though you made mistakes, you wouldn’t completely change for any relationship? Did you stand your ground and demand that your needs be met, too? The need to repair ourselves also applies to other areas of life, like getting fired or getting an “F” on an assignment; these do not make us worthless and label us as failures for life. Having self-love is crucial when we need to pick ourselves up.
A lack of self-love can lead us to want people or things that are not good for us. You want to be with that person so you feel good about yourself or change how people see you. That person could be an ex-girlfriend you know is bad for you, but you do it anyway even though it may go against your beliefs and needs, because you’re missing something or need to be accepted. Some say any relationship is better than being alone, but the amount of work it takes to keep a relationship alive can take a toll on our psyche and have other negative consequences like co-dependency. Depending on others for approval is a learned behavior and people who are in unequal and emotionally (sometimes physically) abusive relationships are often co-dependent.
Someone who lacks self-love may look very similar to someone who has self-esteem issues. They look externally for people or things to make them feel better. It is hard to be ourselves, but especially difficult for people who lack self-love, which can lead us to withdraw socially and focus only on negative aspects of our lives. Recognizing these characteristics can be an essential first step in understanding that you lack self-love and can help you determine if you need to take steps to make the necessary changes in your life. If you find yourself wanting to love and accept yourself more, go for it! It is empowering to make changes in our lives and can open and improve other areas of our lives as well. Take that step and make the change because it is a life changer and possibly saver!
Not sure what the difference is between a neighborhood, charter, magnet, special focus, and private school? Wondering where to go to start educating yourself about deadlines, school tours, and next steps? We sat down with Keely Buchanan, co-founder of Preparing for Denver Kindergarten, to learn a bit more about how they act as a resource for parents in the Denver area
How do you help parents?
My business partner, Nicole Martin, and I own a company called Preparing for Denver Kindergarten. We help Denver parents of littles, aged 1-5, navigate the search for public and private Preschool and Kindergarten. We also help parents new to the district/state, and those with kiddos who are not thriving in their current environments. We host monthly parent group information sessions from August – January focused on Denver Public Schools (DPS), and all area Private Schools. And, we also work with parents one-on-one via private consultations throughout the year (for DPS and many other districts), offering customized enrollment information, lists of schools, recommendations for classroom environments, teachers, and programs, and live developmental assessments of littles aged 2-5+.
Nicole was a 1st Grade Teacher and has owned a Wash Park Early Childhood Literacy focused Preschool for 11 years (Martin School of Early Education). I manage Communications & Distance Learning for the tech side of a Fortune 500 during the day, and follow my passion for helping parents on the side. I am a data nerd and have done hundreds and hundreds of hours of research so that parents don’t have to. We both have two boys: ages 5 and 3, and are both currently navigating the Kinder (and beyond) process ourselves.
How can your services ease emotional stress for families?
The search for Preschool and Kindergarten can be overwhelming to say the least. We strive to help parents move through their anxiety to a place of knowledge and excitement about their choices. We tour a LOT of public and private schools, meet with a LOT of Principals and Heads of School, complete a LOT of research, talk to a LOT of parents, and are passionate about helping parents find the best fit for their kiddo, budget, commute, educational philosophy, and long term goals. We will never tell a parent where to send their kiddo, but we can help them narrow down the search, understand all options, odds, and deadlines. We then provide our recommendations based upon what they are looking for and who their kiddo is. Parents leave our sessions truly understanding all of the options, armed with deadlines, best practices, resources, and plans for next steps and school tours.
Do you think that your class could help prevent a child from having emotional challenges in school some day?
Gosh, we would hope so! Most of the stories that we hear about wrong fit and having to move kiddos from school to school, are due to a parent not fully understanding all of the available options open to them ahead of time (i.e. DPS Preschool entry points for Montessori and Dual Language, Advanced Kindergarten testing and deadlines, searching beyond a neighborhood school, exploring lottery options like Expeditionary, Dual Language, International, Innovation, Charter, Montessori). If a parent has the luxury to truly understand all choices, deadlines, and odds for public school, they can then do their best to find the best fit for their kiddo. And, if they have the luxury of a private school budget, they can fully compare/contrast private schools to find the best fit as well (Gifted, Parochial/Religious, Montessori, Waldorf, Dual Language, International, Micro, Progressive, Traditional, Independent, Diverse, etc.).
How would someone find you and seek your services?
We have a web site (http://preparingfordenver.wix.com/kinderprep), are very active on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PreparingforDenverKindergarten), and parents can email us at PreparingforDenverKindergarten@gmail.com, or give Keely a call at 303-638-2894.
On a more personal note, what kind of music makes you smile?
Right now, I smile quite a bit when my boys (Arlo: 5.5 and Nelson: 3.75) and I listen to and sing along with our favorite kid CDs in the car and at home. Our current favorites are Justin Roberts, Peter Alsop (from my childhood), and myriad Soundtracks (Despicable Me 2, RIO, RIO 2, Muppets Most Wanted).
- Don’t abandon your healthy habits ~ When life becomes difficult, we typically let go of our self care first. Remember: when you feel good, you can see things better.
- Take time for you ~ If you need a break, take one. The more we push ourselves, the harder it can be to recover. Taking a 30 minute walk or going to a movie can change your view drastically.
- Stick to a budget ~ Just because it’s the holidays does not mean you have to spend beyond your means. Set goals with family members or spouses ($50 limits and it must be hand made, etc.), because breaking the bank isn’t worth breaking you.
- Learn to say no ~ Let people know you are starting new traditions and that you are able to do some things, but can’t do them all. Telling a person no is a form of setting clear boundaries and improving self care. Saying no does not make you bad.
- Find joy in the small things ~ Create new family traditions by making decorations, having evening story time, writing stories about your favorite holiday memories with your family, etc. Create things that make you happy.
- Set aside differences ~ Nearly all families have their challenges. Find a safe partner to support you through the holidays, and set aside ill feelings toward others until a later date.
- Reduce the need to fill it up ~ Many families feel the need to fill the space under the tree. If this is the case for you, buy a smaller tree. Make a plan for a realistic holiday and feel more comfortable about sizing down.
- Acknowledge your feelings ~ Recognizing what we are feeling allows us to own our personal space and embrace our imperfections. No one expects you to be perfect, so love yourself and your feelings, no matter what they are.
- Be realistic ~ Talk with your family members about what you are able to do and then make a plan. There is no harm in being you. Embrace it and all will be as it should.
- Reach Out ~ Don’t be afraid to ask for support when you need it. Talk with friends, family or professionals. There is no shame in being supported.
By Tony Jackson
It’s true. Everyone has life stressors they deal with; from children to the elderly, stress is a daily factor in every individual’s life. Stress is considered the number one health problem in America. We are built to deal with some stress, but facing it each and every day takes a toll on our physical and mental health. Stress weakens our bodies, and if not dealt with in a healthy and effective way, it can lead to depression, anxiety, heart disease, and cancer. So, it is important to recognize what causes each of us to stress out so much.
Relationships probably make the largest demand on our bodies; when they aren’t healthy, neither are we. Whether an unhealthy relationship is with a spouse, child, parent or someone at work, the resulting stress can be so close and damaging that it will take a toll on your body and mind. Anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses are all major results of stress. Taking time to work on your relationships, whether at home or work, can be very beneficial. Knowing when to cut off a relationship or take a break is critical to managing your health and head. Building a foundation of communication and trust early with your children will help them with relational skills with you, at school, and personally.
Being stressed about your health often causes your health to be poor. Funny how that works, and it makes you wonder which came first, the stress or the health problem. When you consider everything a major illness can impact, including finances, missed work, and relationships, you realize a health issue is more serious than what you first thought. Plus, how can you manage your stress if your body is already fighting a major battle? Having health care is comforting, but many people in this world are still burdened with how to pay for themselves or their child if they get sick, which leads us to another major stressor, finances.
Most, if not all, couples fight about finances, but, financial issues are not restricted to couples. If you don’t worry about finances and manage your money perfectly or you have an endless supply, that is fantastic. However, that’s not a reality for most of us, and the number one cause of divorce is money issues. It is frightening to think about not being able to pay rent or pay for food, let alone being able to get your child a Christmas or birthday present. Even if these fears never come to fruition, the mental toll of worrying can lead to depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and well, you get the point.
How about our careers? I’m sure we are all satisfied with the amount of money we make, have amazing bosses, and feel like we are living up to our true potentials, so no stress there. Well, that CAN be true. I have talked to people who enjoy their work and like being there, and even some who think of it as a break from their personal lives. That’s great for those people, but if that doesn’t describe you, fear not, because you’re not alone – not even close. Numbers show that jobs can be considerably more stressful than finances or relationships, and my personal experience aligns with this. If this isn’t the case for you, then you manage work well. However, most of us face stress from our careers at some point, whether from being treated unfairly, carrying a huge workload, or from work relationships. And, a whole different set of stressors exist for people sending out resumes and trying to get back into the workforce.
Finally, life at home is very stressful: what to have for dinner, getting the kids ready in the morning, completing chores, and managing a home or apartment is a lot, and then there’s the relationship you have with whomever you share your abode. Then out of nowhere, the water heater goes out. You got a new dog that chews everything up and needs training, plus he threw up all over your bed at 2am, and you rolled over in it. Your daughter came home from school and told you she has a big project due she forgot about, but she’s really sad because her friends wouldn’t play with her at recess. I could come up with millions of scenarios about home stressors, and so could you, and something would still happen that we’d never anticipated.
So, being able to recognize where your stress lies is, oh, so important. You will never avoid being stressed out completely, so learning to manage it will prove extremely helpful. Taking care of your body is one effective way of dealing with stress; if your body is weak, stress will consume you. However, if you are strong like a bull, you can swat away those stressors with a “tough as nails” immune system. Taking care of your body includes a healthy diet, plenty of rest, and not making matters worse by drinking so much that you put off the worry until the next day. Exercise is a great way to relieve your body of stress and it keeps your body and mind sharp, including a walk or a run (keep in mind that you don’t have to run a marathon). It’s better to adopt the attitude that it’s okay if you cannot get your exercise in one day, because you don’t need the stress that comes from worrying about it; picking it back up the next day will be fine. Stretching is another great releaser of tension that may be building inside you. And, being prepared ahead of time reduces stress greatly: have lunches ready and clothes laid out the night before, make a list of what needs to be done during the week, have meals ready to go for each day. Do this on Sunday, and you’ve reduced possible stressors, leaving you ready to say, “Bring it on Monday!”
So, STOP AND BREATHE! Seriously, do it now! Sit up, use great posture, fill your lungs with glorious oxygen, and push it down into your gut. Do this numerous times a day, every day. Lay down for a few moments. Treat your mind and body right, and they will repay you by helping you be the best you can be to deal with whatever comes your way.
By Elisha Gilb
What is depth psychotherapy? Depth psychotherapy is a psychoanalytic therapeutic modality meaning that it looks at the unconscious and early life experiences as fundamental aspects influencing us in the here and now. A depth psychotherapy session may look at teasing a part a dream the client had or using active imagination to move a problem through a person’s life.
The work done in depth therapy centers around dream work. A person may bring in a very important dream. The therapeutic work would stem from looking at the components of the dreams, for example, the images. We would look to explore the meanings and significance of factors making up the dream, and the implications of the dream or unconscious material on the person’s lived experience. The work and dream could be further extended by using active imagination. For example, perhaps a dead relative came to the dreamer, and before the dreamer could ask an important question, the dreamer woke up. Extending the work therapeutically via active imagination, I’d ask the dreamer to continue the conversation in the therapy setting. This type of work holds significance as it allows unconscious material to become conscious, and moves psychic energy into the personal growth and understanding of psychic material. (more…)
We are thrilled to announce that Ara O’Hayre will be joining the Denver Counseling Options team in January! Ara is currently a 3rd year graduate student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Regis University. In addition to finding joy in therapeutic work, Ara also finds joy in being a mother. She enjoys cooking dinner with her son, watching movies, and spending Saturday afternoons at the museum.
Starting in January, Ara will be offering $25 individual therapy sessions and $40 couple sessions. Space is limited, so contact us now to be added to her waitlist at email@example.com or 720.432.2813.
Check out this video to learn more about Ara’s favorite part of being a therapist (hint: it involves aha moments). Ara also discusses the development of her empathetic side as a child and how that led her to become a therapist in the present day. She emphasizes that she truly enjoys working in Marriage and Family Therapy and the non-finger pointing perspective it gives her whereby “When we’re going through difficult situations in life, we don’t look at it like there’s something wrong with the person.” And finally, Ara hopes that people who are considering therapy for the first time understand that she is not here to judge them, but rather to walk alongside them in this part of their life’s journey.
In case you haven’t seen it, we also learned about Ara’s favorite kind of pizza, her favorite quote, and her style of therapy in this video.
By Elisha Gilb
In depth psychological thinking, the image of Hercules as a muscle-bound, strong, warring embodiment is the equivalent of our own ego structure. Hercules is the embodiment of our own psychological structure known as the heroic ego. We all have a heroic ego; this is the part of us that looks to self-preserve, self-protect, and will fight/struggle against events and issues that feel out of sync with our self-preservation and/or containment of our fragile selves. This heroic ego is our own ego’s need to fight and preserve itself as one of our main driving life forces.
“The hero still exists … now the human ego-complex.” –James Hillman.
Though it may sound good to have a strong warrior-like heroic ego, in actuality, this may stop psychological growth. Our heroic ego literalizes the world of images, symbols, dreams, myth, and unconscious material. When the imagined is made literal, we lose the psyche and our ability to work with unconscious material including dreams, images, and life material.
We all know Lori as a helpful, supportive and insightful therapist at Denver Counseling Options. What you may not know is that she has overcome significant trauma in her own life after being kidnapped at the age of 3.
In a new interview with Cheryl Preheim of 9NEWS, Lori opens up about how the experience has shaped her and helped her find her greater purpose.
Most of us can tell when our children are upset because they act out. They scream, yell, throw temper tantrums, or begin to have struggles in school. Children do not have the ability to bridge what they are feeling with their actions unless taught to do so. So when your child exhibits any of the following behaviors that may not have been as prominent before your divorce, it may be time to talk with them:
1. They “grow up” or act older than their age. This often occurs in children who are pleasers and they want you to be happy, so they will put their “child needs” aside to help you and show you that they are not a burden and that they are capable, strong, etc. What it most often really means is that they are scared and worried and don’t want to make things worse, so they are putting their needs aside for you. You can assure your child that you have got things under control and will do your best to ensure life is functioning and as normal as it can be, but that it will be difficult to adjust to a new life. Let them know that it is OK for them to remain the child and to have fun, and you will carry the grown up stuff for the time being.
2. They “act out” or begin to get into trouble, perhaps bullying or picking on others more. This typically means that they are really scared and hurting inside and no one is “really listening” to them, so they show their hurt to the ones who are vulnerable and weaker than them. Often times these children need love and attention. They need a safe place that will not shame them, belittle their feelings or make them question what they are doing. Spend QUALITY time with them. Play games, go for walks, sing songs, draw pictures, paint, tell stories, camp out in the living room, play baseball or basketball, fly a kite, whatever it takes to just be (and put all electronics away, including the TV).
3. They “get quiet” or shut down. When a child shuts down and gets quiet, it often means he/she is unsure how to express themselves. You can help them by letting them know they can talk with you anytime and that you will ONLY LISTEN. When you are done listening, ask them what they need, this will help them to learn about their needs and feelings. Spend time with them after this. Take them for a drive, go to the mountains, go on a hike, roller skate at the park, fishing, activities that support little talk but allow for a space to be OK with not talking. If they are ready, they will open up; if they don’t, keep doing it, it will eventually come out.
4. They “turn into babies.” Whenever I see children who talk like a baby, or act like a baby, it typically translates to them wanting love and affection. So rather than belittle them or tell them to act their age, when they are out of the baby talk moment, ask them to snuggle with you for a little bit. Sing a song with them, draw a picture with them, go for a walk, take them out for a meal (and don’t bring your phone or another person).
5. They “begin to hate you” or they treat you as though you are a fault for the divorce. You may or may not have been the decision maker in your divorce, however, this is not the reason your child is angry. They are angry because they are hurt and scared and “their feelings” in the situation probably were not taken into account when the divorce decision occurred (which is very normal). When a child is angry at a parent, it often means that they feel safest with that parent so they take it out on them mostly because the parent of choice will not hold it against the child or retaliate. You can tell them that it is OK for them to be mad at you, you understand their anger, you might be angry too if you were in their shoes, but that you never intended to hurt them and you are sorry for their pain.
Being honest through divorce is a much harder task to achieve than one would imagine. Being able to put your feelings and needs aside for the sake of so many things is really, really hard. When a person ends a relationship, they grieve the loss of it. The most difficult part of this grief is that the thing you are grieving still exists and isn’t out of reach. The feelings that come up are those of regret, rage, self-blame, shame, ridicule, loneliness, irritation, feeling cheated/lied to/unimportant, and so the list could go on forever.
My role here is not to focus on the bad feelings but to help you to understand that the more you embrace the feeling and say things out loud to yourself like, “Well, I guess we are going to be pissed off today,” the likelihood of you moving through that feeling is much greater and will often occur at a faster pace. I once had a friend say to me, “You know, the more I stop fighting what I am feeling and just own it, the quicker it is gone.” And guess what, she was RIGHT! Ahhhh, what a secret to hold and practice.
So … back to the crappiness of divorce. If you are going through a painful divorce/breakup, allowing yourself to feel what you feel — not fighting it — will also allow you to get through it in a much faster pace. In addition, when you can release these feelings, you often find that you can work with others like your kids, your ex, your family and all of those who are needing, expecting and hoping something of you; you can more likely be a better recipient of these relationships. So, the key to getting through it all is to lean into it. Own where you are. State the obvious, and never come from a place of being mean, but more importantly, come from a place of being honest.
When we are honest, we often find an absolute sense of relief. Being honest does not mean hurting others, being mean, or going against your needs and feelings. It means telling the truth from your heart and telling it with love. We tend to keep how we really feel inside so as not to hurt others, but eventually at some point, the “truth” comes out. So, you can either do it from a good place or you can do it from a place of reactiveness. My suggestion: speak from the heart.
And remember, practice makes perfect. You won’t get it right the first time, or maybe the first 20 times, but eventually, it will come and you will get it.
Go with love,
1. Say I love you.
Everyone needs love and needs to know they are loved. Tell each other that you love one another. Don’t forget the words and their importance. You may think, “Oh, he knows I love him,” but even if he does, TELL HIM AGAIN. If you think, “He hasn’t told me in so long, why should I tell him?” you’re stuck in a power struggle. Let go of your end of the rope, stop playing tug of war, and tell your partner how important he is to you. You just might be surprised. If your partner doesn’t respond, it’s OK. You did your part; keep doing it.
2. Pass little notes.
We all want to feel special. When we get little quick notes from people who are important to us, we feel special, we feel loved, and we feel cared for. Don’t let this giddiness of life slip away. You can express yourself in so many ways when you leave a note. Draw a picture, kiss the paper with lipstick, tell them how cute their butt it; it doesn’t matter. Just pass a little message to let them know you are thinking about them.
3. Keep it fun.
Not only is love the hardest thing you will ever do, but if you ensure that you enjoy it, the likelihood of its success is much greater. Couples who focus on joy and laughter tend to have higher levels of intimacy, joy and a greater ability to work through difficult things. Make sure you allow for the silly moments. Be sure you include fun activities that are outside of the box that keep the joy and laughter in your relationship. If you can’t think of anything, remember back to what you enjoyed as a child: Twister, Connect Four, put-put, 20 questions, hiking, bike rides. Keep it simple and pleasurable; don’t try too hard.
Even if you have been married for 30 years, knowing your partner on a private level is imperative. Go on a date, pick each other up, bring flowers (both men and women), make out in the car, go to the drive-in, have dessert after the kids go to bed. Whatever you need to do to make special time for one another, do it. Date and don’t just talk about your children. Talk about your fantasies and dreams. They are ever-changing, so keep each other informed and enjoy them together.
5. Have a safe person to vent to so that your spouse doesn’t get it all.
We all have a list of annoying things that our spouses do. I am sure your spouse can name half if not more of your list. The key is to have a safe person you can vent about this list to, who won’t dislike your spouse, and who will love and support you, tell you that you are totally right, and let you get it out. When we keep it in, the irritation adds up, and our spouse gets the brunt of our irritation. This makes for a difficult marriage as it is hard to hear all of your flaws all of the time. Find another outlet and lighten the load.
6. Keep Intimacy in your marriage.
Having sex is the closest two people can possibly get to one another. Without it, we miss something that is very important in a marriage and a partnership. Even when it’s scary and/or you don’t have time or you don’t like the way you look, make a point to push through the fear, concern and time constraint to be intimate with your spouse. Most couples are unsure how their spouse becomes interested or can “get in the mood,” so just ask him or her. Spend time getting to know what your partner enjoys. Learn what feels good for you, tell your partner and ask for what you need. Keep in mind that there are many reasons why couples have a difficult time having sex, but the primary source is medical ailments. If this is the case for you and your spouse, talk with him about how and what you can do to maintain closeness while effectively working with a medical condition.
7. Know how your partner feels loved.
Understanding the important things that make your partner smile is key to a successful and fulfilling relationship. First and foremost, ask him. “Honey, if I could do anything to make you happy, what would you want from me?” If your spouse is anything like my husband, he’ll will get a smirk on his face, say several inappropriate things, and then you’ll have to ask again. BUT… ask again, with a sincere smile. Tell him you want to bring him joy, you want to do things that are important, and you want to know what those things are.
8. Take the 5 Love Languages test.
Gary Chapman wrote “The 5 Love Languages,” which is an outstanding book on relationships and knowing what you’re dealing with. Learn your partner’s love language (Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Act of Service, Physical Touch, Quality Time). Knowing what your makes your partner feel loved is not only enlightening, but empowering! Being able to take yourself out of the experience and think about your partner. Do something that makes them feel good. I know it’s hard to do (especially when you feel like you’re the only one doing it) but you will see the response, it will feel good and you will be surprised at what comes out of it.
9. Get a little closer.
Spend time together! We all need space, time and connection. Give it to yourselves. Hire a sitter, employ a grandparent or friend, do a trade with another family who has children, and worst case (this is the last option) put your children to bed early, and create a date experience after bedtime. The key is to escape your normal and experience a non-stressful, relaxing time with your partner. Find a way. Make it your No. 1 priority and let the connection begin! ☺
10. Don’t be afraid of showing intimacy in front of your children.
Model for your children what a loving and secure relationship looks like. Keep it PG and appropriate, but they too need to know you love one another. They too, need to see what to reach for, mimic, and have in their relationships as they grow older. You are their mold, fill it up with joy, goodness, honest conversations about difficult things, openness, and integrity — imagine how you want their relationship to look, and do that!
Image credit FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Adolescence is a challenging time for parents and teens. Even the word “teenager” is enough to conjure feelings of anxiety, fright, and dread for most adults, however few are empathetic to the challenges and anxiety teenager’s experience. Whereas the basic cause of the tension between parents and teens remain the same, the current generation of adolescence is fraught with unprecedented challenges.
Just lock your bedroom door and wait for college to come.
Hahahaha (notice how I didn’t say LOL?).
Seriously, be afraid, very afraid. But if you want to give it a shot and I think you should then try some of these tidbits.
First let’s examine what they are going through.
How to have a simply amazing love life!
Is your relationship simply amazing? Are you getting butterflies when you think of your partner? If you could look up “perfect relationship” on the web, would you find a picture of the two of you?
Well, if so, GOOD FOR YOU! If not, welcome, to reality. Our relationships are hard, aren’t they! Boy, if I had a dollar for the number of times I complained about my relationship I could have bought that beach house on Maui.
Here are some great ways to have the marriage you might have always thought you wanted, but didn’t know you could have.
- Ask for what you need:
- Often times we have a hard time with telling people what it is that we need. Telling your partner that you want to have sex more often or be more intimate can really make you vulnerable. (more…)
Just some simple ways to making sure she knows you value her and your relationship.
If you make a promise, keep it! Not standing by your word may lead to the trust you had breaking down and effecting you two negatively.
Don’t assume. If you are not 100 percent sure what she meant then ask her. If she is feeling down don’t assume it is something you did. Communication is important in this lesson and being upfront is going to prevent future problems. (more…)
As mothers there seems to be an unspoken understanding of what “post-partum” actually means. Women who say, “I have PPD” (or Post-Partum Depression), can get a variety of responses to this one statement. Many women simply are terrified of saying this statement due to the high levels of stigmas that have engulfed our culture and mothers in general.
When I work with a mother who is experiences the birth of a new child, whether it is her first, or fifth baby, my first job is to understand her emotional state. As a mother to three little ones, I can empathize with the “emotional state” she experiences, but as a clinician I want to help both demystify and normalize the experience of what having a little person can do her women emotionally, physically and intellectually. I help women identify whether they experience post partum depression, post partum anxiety, post partum psychosis, and the baby-blues.
What is all of this? One often asks, and I help by explaining, first, it is a very normal response that your body is having physical changes as well as the hormonal imbalances, but add to it, major life stressors that cause women to struggle. Most woman who experience anything other than sheer joy after having a baby, often keep the ladder to themselves, meaning they don’t share their feelings, fears, worries, or sadness for fear that people will judge them, think they are less than normal, believe they are going to harm their children, and they are treated similarly to how one might think an alien to be treated. It is OK to not be filled with elation after your baby is born, it is what you do with it, that can help yours and your babies future.
Our lives ar stressful enough, we have enough judgment and shame and fear as it is, why would, should we punish a woman who has just gone through what, anyone who has actually witnessed childbirth may describe as, a traumatic, yet life changing event. Let’s work on taking the stigma out of post partum and know that the majority of women who experience post partum often experience a mild form of depression or anxiety and typically very few women experience post partum psychosis. When we lump the names together there is much more stigma that comes from the experience, so let’s delineate them.
Post partum baby-blues; this is common in many mothers which often occurs shortly after having a child and typically only lasts a few weeks. Women are weepy, sad, lonely, feel isolated, overwhelmed, and often anxious. Baby-blues typically is short lived and corrects itself as hormones begin to find the places in and out of your body.
Post partum depression; otherwise known as PPD, often occurs within the first 18 months after childbirth. Women who experience depression, typically show signs of feeling depressed, such as sadness, being tired, losing energy, lack of emotion, distancing selves from others, lack of drive, inability to relate or connect with family, baby, or friends. Post partum depression can also overlap with anxiety in some women and is often heightened if there is a history of abuse in the home, substances are involved, and often with young mothers feeling like they’ve lost a sense of self.
Post partum anxiety; this often occurs within the first 18 months after childbirth and can manifest into full anxiety attacks and anxiety disorders if not supported or treated. Women are prone to anxiety when they feel unsupported, lonely, fearful, judged, tired, and nervous and as though they are not “keeping up” with what is expected. Anxiety is, in translation an experience of the body saying “this is too much, I can’t hold all of this in.” So when the body gives up to the stressors it is carrying, the mind begins to race, the heart will pound, hands may shake, and many other symptoms can begin to occur.
Post Partum Psychosis; this is the most severe form of post partum one may experience. Symptoms typically occur within a week to two after the birth of their baby, and are followed with depression sometimes at later dates. The psychosis portion is when a woman will begin to have severe and drastic mood swings, hallucinations, extreme irritability, mania, paranoia, delusions, and a rapid swing from depression to mania as well. Postpartum psychosis is treatable and will end, and when a woman is experiencing postpartum psychosis, this is very serious and needs medical attention and support immediately, so please help support yourself or her.
All forms of Postpartum can and are treatable and all women who are even curious, questioning, or feeling symptoms have the right to seek and find support. Finding the right support is imperative. Interview several doctors, ask them about their history in working with post partum, interview several therapists, and ask them if they can help support you with your family. Find support groups for women and mothers, one will be surprised at the number of women who struggle with the same things as you do. And always listen to your gut to determine your path and what you need, you know you best, and you are deserving of health and wellness.
For more information:
Lori Jackson, MA, NCC
You just aren’t sure what is normal, what might be from lack of sleep, and what to associate with post-partum. Allow us to guide you with a little information on things to look for.
- Decreased interest in leaving your home;
- If you find yourself cancelling appointments, luncheons, and get togethers with family or friends, you may be having an increase of anxiety or depression which may in turn be post-partum related. Being sure to find balance in your old life and this new adjustment is a difficult task and often takes trial and error as well as knowing what you and your baby are able to manage.
- Withdrawal from friends and loved ones;
- Often times new mothers who are experiencing post-partum anxiety, depression, and psychosis experience a heightened desire to stay away from those they know and love. There is a fear of being judged, rejected, and unsupported and “found out” often prevents mothers from engaging with their support systems. It is difficult to be around people who are doting and excited about your baby when you may not be as excited and enthused.
- Lack of joy in commonly joyful things;
- There is a societal pressure after the birth of a baby where a mother is supposed to be smiling, happy, exercising, and out walking within days after her new baby arrives. When a women experiences any form of post-partum, the things that used to be exciting and fun, have all of a sudden lost their luster. This does not mean she will not find joy in those things again, she most likely will, but will need some support in getting there, whether it be from a professional, friend, support group, etc.
- Increase in mind-racing thoughts;
- Often times when women experience post partum anxiety, depression and psychosis they have an increase in racing thoughts. Meaning, their minds begin to wonder rapidly about a variety of things. The mind will create delusions, images, ideas that would/could/might happen which heighten the anxiety, prevent mothers from sleeping, and can cause more feelings of isolation and fear, especially when she feels unsafe telling anyone her experiences or thoughts. Finding a safe person to support her, is imperative.
- Increase in feeling unheard/unimportant/unsupported;
- As a culture women are expected to be super-human creatures who can bounce back and still manage to “get-it-all-done”. Even if no-one has actually said this to her, there is an internal expectation that she is not-enough. Women feel and increase in focus on the baby and less of one on themselves, which can be scary when they are the one who is supposed to be caring for and supporting the baby. If a woman asks for help and is made to feel minimized and unimportant, the likelihood of her become post-partum is heightened.
Any additional questions contact Denver Counseling Options at (720) 432-2813.