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Article Recommendation: Why Should I write my birth story?”

Article Recommendation: Why Should I write my birth story?”

Check out this great article about the importance of writing our birth stories. 

Interested in sharing your story? The Catalyst Center is now offering a monthly Birth Circle group! Call us at 720-675-7123 to learn more.

Book Review: “Hold Me Tight” by Susan Johnson (review by Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFT)

Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFTToday, one of our therapists, Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFT, is sharing her review of the book “Hold Me Tight” by Susan Johnson

I just finished re-reading what I consider to be some of the best information about couples and relationships out there, Dr. Susan Johnson’s “Hold Me Tight: Conversations for a Lifetime of Love” (2008). Dr. Johnson is the founder of Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy and her book explores the attachment principles behind human connection, specifically within intimate partnerships. For many people, this book serves as a complete reframe of conflict within couples. We often try and tackle relationship conflict with tools and skill building. While these things are important, they often miss the mark.

In the book, Dr. Johnson beautifully illustrates how the basis of all human interaction is rooted in emotional connection and attachment. The way we feel safe or not in our partnerships mirrors the way we felt safe our not as infants with our caregivers. If we have a secure attachment with these fundamental people then research finds that we both give and seek love more readily. As it is put in the book, securely attached couples “roll with the hurts better.” These couples are also found to have healthier balance of separateness and togetherness, and tend to even like themselves better.

When we fight with our partner, we are essentially protesting the fact that we feel emotionally disconnected from him or her. Tools and skill-building in this case just won’t cut it. They may help temporarily, but they are kind of like taking pain relievers for chronic headaches that are caused by needing to wear eyeglasses. Learning more skills won’t hurt, but it also certainly won’t solve the problem.

Dr. Johnson describes couple interaction as a dance, “The more I –fill in the blank–, the more you—fill in the blank–, which causes me to continue to—fill in the blank” and the cycle continues over and over again. This is why it feels to couples like they have the same argument over and over again. One week it might be about the dishes and another about parenting responsibilities, but it is the same exhausting fight and the same hurt feelings. They only way to solve the couple conflict is for both people to understand the dance in which they are trapped in its entirety and what their individual steps in the dance look like. Then the couple can unite against the dance they are caught in (which is the problem) and move past it.

Although this is quite a paradigm shift for most of us, I believe it is a hopeful one. If we can master our understanding of the cycles we are caught in, then we can change them. And even more exciting is the fact that once they are altered, the purpose of the fight is diminished. The hopelessness so many couples feel can be transformed into feeling safe and secure so that when issues arise, they are much less of a blow.

~ Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFT

Kendra is a therapist at The Catalyst Center. Her specialties include:

Interested in learning more about Kendra or booking a free consultation with her? Kendra Doukas, M.S. LMFT can be reached by calling the Catalyst Center main office at 720-675-7123 or by emailing us directly at CatalystCenterLLC@gmail.com

Ask a therapist: “Do you constantly analyze your friends and family members?” (answered by Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFT)

Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFTToday, we continue our popular series “Ask a Therapist” with one of our therapists, Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFT answering one of our most commonly asked questions: “As a therapist, are you constantly analyzing your friends and family?”

This is one of my favorite frequently asked questions. Most people assume therapists are continuous judges on others’ behavior. It seems to be generally assumed that therapists are going to feel the need to jump in and analyze or give you their feedback on everything. My friends and family will make jokes such as, “Oh, what she must be thinking” or “Watch out, she’s a mandated reporter!”

The ironic thing is that therapists are some of the most non-judgmental people around. Most of us become therapists because of some internal belief that all humans are good and are trying their best. Therefore, we actually give you the benefit of the doubt far more than most others will. The other thing to consider is that as therapists, we see a wide array of human behavior and you kind of can’t shock us. Facts that may be appalling to some folks seem almost standard to us.

There is an inherent second part to this question that is critical: the incorrect assumption that therapists can analyze their own relationships. Having a true and accurate analysis of a relationship requires a neutral perspective. Therefore, we cannot establish a fair or accurate assessment of our own relationships because we are half of the equation! So, the next time you wonder if your therapist friend of family member is secretly judging all of your choices, remember that this is most likely the furthest thing from the truth. In fact, you might turn to this person during times when you most need a forgiving opinion.

~ Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFT

Kendra is a therapist at The Catalyst Center. Her specialties include:

Interested in learning more about Kendra’s work or booking a free consultation with her? Kendra Doukas, M.S. LMFT can be reached by calling the Catalyst Center main office at 720-675-7123 or by emailing us directly at CatalystCenterLLC@gmail.com

Ask a Therapist: “What is EMDR?” (answered by Dr. Rohini Gupta)

Today Dr. Rohini Gupta continues our popular series, “Ask a Therapist” by telling us about EMDR, a research-validated treatment for trauma and anxiety.

Francine Shapiro, a psychologist and educator, founded EMDR. During a walk in the park she noticed that moving her eyes back and forth was a calming experience and reduced negative thoughts and feelings. She eventually developed a standard procedure known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). It is an effective treatment for those who have experienced a disturbing event or trauma.

When a disturbing event or trauma occurs in one’s life, the event can become locked in the nervous system with all the original sensations-the image, sounds, thoughts, and feelings associated with the event. Because this experienced is locked, it can be triggered when a reminder of the event is present, leading to much discomfort and negative emotions. You may even feel out of control.

With EMDR, bilateral stimulation (eye movement or tapping back and forth for example) can unlock the nervous system. This can allow the mind and body to process the experience that is being triggered from the past. This bilateral stimulation can also process unconscious material, information not known to you.

In a safe and supportive environment, EMDR can be an effective treatment and many studies have shown its efficacy. It has received world wide attention and not only can help people heal from traumatic events such as rape, sexual abuse, auto accidents and combat but also events that have been distressing in one’s life such as grief, loss, and divorce.

~ Dr. Rohini Gupta

 

Dr. Gupta is a therapist at The Catalyst Center, her clinical specialties include:

The Catalyst Center has several therapists who are trained in EMDR. For more information, or to book a free consultation contact us 720-675-7123.

 

 

Ask a therapist: “How can I cope with anxiety about the government shut down?” (answered by Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFT)

Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFTToday, we continue our popular series “Ask a Therapist” with one of our therapists, Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFT answering a question on many of our minds: “How can I cope with anxiety about the government shutdown?”

The government shut down is all over the news, but what does not seem to get talked about is the effect is has on the psyche of the American people. We talk about the economic effects. We talk about the people that are out of work as result. We don’t talk about the anxiety it provokes in many Americans.

I have had many clients over the past few weeks bring this up in session. Many of them feel crazy for bringing it up and express concern that they might be turning into “conspiracy theorists.” Historically when a shutdown has happened, we eventually pull through and the shutdown ends. However, it is incredibly anxiety-provoking because no one has any certainty about this fact. We don’t have research and evidence regarding the systemic effects of the shutdown. Rather, we see these issues as they arise and hope enough people are still at work to tackle them. For many of us it can feel like, what’s next?

The reason that something like this is so anxiety provoking (not to mention infuriating and depressing) is that it hits deep against our sense of control. For most of us, the shutdown is completely out of our control and most people don’t feel comfortable with that. We all label some people as “control freaks” but in my experience as a clinician, most of us get very anxious when we are trapped in a situation over which we have little to no control. My suggestion is to break down the feeling of lack of control so that it is not so black and white. There are many things we can do for ourselves to cope with this difficult time.

Yes, there is little we can do as individuals to end the shutdown; however, this does not leave us powerless to how we can cope with it. First of all, we can control what we choose to listen to. For many people, this might need to allow themselves to find one or two sources and intentionally partake in media coverage so that they have some information. For others yet, this may be a great time to go on a media hiatus because listening is too anxiety-provoking altogether. Secondly, we need to take steps to help ourselves feel safe. We must first recognize this perceived threat of safety as incredibly reasonable and warranted. It is understandable that people are currently questioning whether or not we are safe from scares such as food borne illnesses and terrorists. These folks might feel better buying a fire safe box and getting documents in order, having an “emergency bag” prepared, or even taking a “wilderness” class.

The most essential thing is for people to know that they are not crazy for feeling scared, anxious, or hopeless and ready to flee to the hills. This is a big deal. We each need to be gentle with ourselves and brainstorm small ways to increase our feeling of safety and control.

~ Kendra Doukas, MS, LMFT

Kendra is a therapist at The Catalyst Center. Her specialties include:

Interested in learning more about Kendra or booking a free consultation with her? Kendra Doukas, M.S. LMFT can be reached by calling the Catalyst Center main office at 720-675-7123 or by emailing us directly at CatalystCenterLLC@gmail.com

Ask a Therapist: “How can I help my child deal with cross-cultural conflicts?” (answered by Dr. Rohini Gupta)

Rohini Gupta, PsyDToday Dr. Rohini Gupta continues our popular series, “Ask a Therapist” with her answer to parent’s questions about how to support their children’s development of a healthy cultural identity when living cross-culturalls or dealing with acculturation conflicts.

If you are a child of an immigrant parent or an immigrant parent yourself, you may find that you and your family are struggling. Coming to this country, there can be mixed feelings. For example, there can be excitement for the opportunities and advantages that America provides, along with distress related to figuring out how to maintain and honor cultural values from your home country. This is not an easy process and can especially take a toll on your family who find it difficult to balance these two worlds. For example, at home your child may be expected to abide by the cultural values held by you but at school they may be expected to fit into the ways of American culture. This conflict can be difficult for children and can even lead to mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

There are many ways to support children who are struggling with how to navigate two culturally different worlds. For example, working with a psychotherapist can help the child and the family to understand this struggle and figure out the most helpful way to navigate these culture clashes. It can be important to first understand that a change in a child’s behavior in which they seem out of control or even disrespectful may actually be a symptom of distress related to navigating these two worlds. Being curious about your child’s behavior and their experience is a good first step. Children can begin to feel that they are flawed and not good enough because they cannot seem to be accepted in either culture. Helping your child see that they are not flawed, but rather that it is difficult to juggle two worlds is important.

Another way to support children is by connecting them with others who may be able to understand their experience. It can be helpful to connect the child with cultural resources. Finding ways to seek out and discuss these issues with others from similar cultural groups can be valuable in decreasing isolation and identifying approaches that have worked for others.

There are many paths to resolving this conflict, depending on what the child and family values are and what the ultimate goal may be. For some, maintaining their cultural identity from their homeland is the priority. Thus, connecting them with cultural resources in the United States becomes incredibly important. For some, adopting American values may be what is most important, and connecting those families with American-like experiences and activities takes center stage. For others, adopting a bicultural identity, where an individual can pick and choose what works for them in each world, can create freedom from the pressures they face. Regardless of the path chosen, what is important to know about this process is that it is fluid and can change as the child grows older. Getting support can be incredibly helpful to navigate the confusing and sometimes complex task of juggling these two worlds, which do not have to be in such conflict with one another.

Dr. Gupta is a therapist at The Catalyst Center, Her specialties include:

To learn more or to book a free consultation session call The Catalyst Center at 720-675-7123

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Article Recommendation: Gay Mormons: Wendy and Tom Montgomery Lead Push To Change LDS Church Stance on Homosexuality

En joy this uplifting article from The Huffington Post about how the Mormon parents of a gay teenager responded to his coming out.

Gay Mormons: Wendy And Tom Montgomery Lead Push To Change LDS Church Stance On Homosexuality

 

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Article Recommendation: Home Depot Targeted Gay Employees For Firing After Financial Crisis, Lawsuit Claims

Article Recommendation: Home Depot Targeted Gay Employees For Firing After Financial Crisis, Lawsuit Claims

Home Depot Targeted Gay Employees For Firing After Financial Crisis, Lawsuit Claims

interesting article from The Huffington Post