When life gets us down, we seem to overlook the options that are before us. Sometimes, what we need is to look through our predicament through a different perspective. If we seek professional help, there are so many counselors and therapists that we do not know where to turn. Know that not all therapists are the same. Do not necessarily worry about what letters are after the name, but focus on what the therapist provides and how they approach a particular issue or problem.
At Bright Hope Counseling Center, we pride ourselves on being different because we know that what we do works. We often times are the counseling center of last resort because by the time a person comes to us, they have already been through three, four, or even five different counselors. What makes us different is our approach. While most therapists and for that matter, most schools of counseling, preach traditional talk counseling such CBT(Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), we focus on techniques that work directly with the subconscious mind and use methods that wok on rewiring the actual synapses of the brain. Our difference is that we get people better fast. For example, we have had many people who have experienced traumatic events such as rape, violence, car accidents, etc. Instead of talking about it for what feels likes years, we jump right to the heart of the problem, and work on reprogramming the brain. The result is that the person usually feels better after 1-2 sessions. We come with a guarantee, that if we can not help a person feel significantly better in month, that we need to be fired, and help the person find a more suitable referral.
Chest hurts, heart starts racing, the sudden fear of imminent death, and the world around starts to close in. Sound familiar? Panic attacks are some of the scariest experiences a person can endure. Sometimes they only last for a few minutes, and others, last for hours. They seem to strike at any moment for whatever reason. They can debilitate a person to point of them never leaving their house, and when the thought of leaving happens, severe panic ensues.
Panic attacks leave the sufferer feeling absolutely helpless. Yet, I am here to declare that hope and healing is possible. With the right therapist, relief from panic attacks can come sooner than most people think. Below is a list of treatments that I have used with individuals to help rapidly resolve their panic.
1. Hypnosis - Clinical hypnosis works wonders for the rapid resolution of panic attacks. Contrary to urban myth, I can not make a person do anything without their consent. In other words, there is no barking like a dog or quacking like a duck. Anybody who wants to experience hypnosis will be able to be hypnotized. With hypnosis, the person enters a relaxed state where the subconscious mind becomes active. Once active, the mind is open to suggestions that allow the person to overcome the effects of panic attacks. What happens is that over time, the frequency and intensity is drastically reduced. For most scenarios, this is my go to method.
2. EMDR - This is a form of therapy that rapidly resolves traumatic experiences in patients. EMDR can be used to treat panic attacks as they are happening to help the brain become desensitized to the stressors that cause the sudden onset of attacks. For frequent panic attacks, this seems to work best.
3. Flooding - The concept of flooding is controversial. Many therapists like what it can do, but it taxes the emotional threshold of the patient. Flooding literally means what it says. The panic attack sufferer will place themselves in a situation that instantly causes an attack, and the more frequent a person is placed in that environment, the quicker the recovery. Imagine the brain is like a computer that is frozen. What flooding does is press the reset button, and fixes the error. I like the idea of flooding, but to convince the patient is another subject altogether.
4. Psychotropic Medications - I am not a big fan of psychiatric medications. I believe that they have their place in a person's treatment. Generally speaking, psychotropic medications work. They are, however, not permanent solution. The more permanent solution is actual therapy. Psychotropic medications in conjunction with therapy is also helpful.
We have all experienced anger. Some more than others. It is a common emotion. Anger by itself is not bad. Even Jesus became angry. Anger becomes a problem when it starts to consume and devour our thoughts and minds. Some people when they get angry enough say they start to see red or black out entirely. This usually represents a deeper struggle within the person.
Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath. ~Eckhart Tolle
This quote by Eckhart Tolle sums up the root of anger in a simple sentence. The pain from can from anywhere. It may stem from being ignored and neglected as a child, or harsh past physical punishment and abuse. Low self-esteem and poor body image may also contribute to the past pain. We should always remember that we need to look past the anger and look for the inner pain.
So now that we have identified the cause of anger, how do we handle it? There are several ways to go about addressing anger. Anger management groups, online programs, and one on one individual counseling with a trained therapist. Anger management groups work. However, they can be quite intimidating to introverted newcomers. Also, the therapist leading the group may or may not be quite trained enough to identify individual social cues from group members. A quiet person may be interpreted as not being engaged. Online courses may seem like a viable solution. It may or may not keep the court system off the person's back. What online courses lack is that they do not address anger at its true core; at its pain.
Individual anger management counseling with an awareness of deeper issues can help the person address the cause of their anger from a biological, social, psychological, and even a spiritual level. Once the different aspects and issues are addressed anger will subside, and our fuse with significantly lengthen.
The internal struggle of depression and trauma can run incredibly deep. The scars and wounds of emotional pain , though not seen by the naked eye, cause infinitesimally more damage than anything physical. Society places an unfair stigma on the people that suffer because the world just does not understand. For some, many of these wounds have been going on since childhood. For others, they may be more recent. Either way, the person feels that they are completely alone and have no where to turn.
To those suffering, there is hope. I say this because our office has helped thousands of people find hope, purpose, and healing. Have we helped everybody we met? Unfortunately, no. In working with emotional pain, there is unfortunately, no guarantee. Will we give our best? Absolutely. The people we were unable to help refused to take the journey to healing with us. The reasons are many, but core is the same. They are afraid. Healing is scary, and sometimes past healers caused more damage.
I have heard dozens of stories where a person gave up hope because a therapist did not know what to do, or made a blanket statement that going back church will fix them. To those therapists, I say, "How dare you." There is nothing wrong with referring out to another therapist who has a different level of expertise, but to flat out deny the person the opportunity to heal is wrong.
So here is our proposal:
Give us a chance. We will compassionately listen and hear you. Since we specialize in non traditional methods of counseling, our chances of success are far greater than just talk therapy alone. Together, we will develop a plan of attack, and develop measurable goals for success. At times, it may be painful, yet goal will be in sight. If you feel that we are not a good fit, talk to us, and we will find someone that will. We are diverse group of therapists working with a common goal. Just know that there is hope.
While sitting on the couch with my wife yesterday, she mentioned to me that she just feels sad. Sad? I asked. Yes, sad. Being the therapist that I am, I starting asking her more questions in order to get to the reason for her sadness. In the end, all we could really come up with is that it was cold, cloudy, and just plain dreary. She seems to get this way every time the weather looks like doom and gloom. We believe she suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as S.A.D.
S.A.D. affects many of us who are stuck in a the house because it is too cold and dreary to go outside. Days without seeing the sun has an effect on almost all of us. SO, how do we beat it?
The answer is not that surprising. Here is a small list of what we can do to help keep the winter blues at bay.
1. Exercise More.
2. Start a hobby.
3. Connect with family and friends.
4. If involved in a particular faith, become more active.
5. Meditate and visualize yourself be warmed by the summer sun.
6. Not recommended because of the cancer risk, but it does help - Tanning beds.
7. Last but not least, vitamin D.
If you can think of any other ways to beat the winter blues, let me know.
In this blog, I want to address the issue that some Christians have with other Christians seeking out counseling and therapy services outside of their local church. I have been told on numerous occasions that if the Bible is not used, then it is the work of Satan, and can not address that heart of whatever is hurting the person. I have even been told, that depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc are not the result of some chemical deficiency within the brain, but an issue with unresolved sin.
In the past thirty five years, there has been a surge of churches preaching the dangers of secular counseling and therapy, and promoting the quite dangerous idea of Biblical Counseling. As both a Christian and a therapist, I am deeply concerned with what I read, hear, and see.
I memory serves me well, the biggest opponent to traditional counseling is Dr. John MacArthur. Dr. MacArthur is a pastor of a large independent fundamental Baptist church in California. He states that being a Christian and a therapist is an oxymoron because modern counseling theories and techniques are based on humanistic concepts and do not address the person's underlying sin. Therefore, the training required to be a Biblical counselor is the ability to quote Scripture in an attempt to apply to whatever issue is presented.
I have seen, firsthand, the damage done to people who first went to a biblical counselor. Even John MacArthur and his church was sued in the early 1980's after a counselee committed suicide after undergoing such treatment. I have seen people more despondent, more anxious, and now feeling judged, condemned, and unworthy of help. Using the Bible as a source of inspiration is one thing, but using it to tear a person apart is another. I will even quote Scripture when it is beneficial in helping a person, but never in a way to promote judgment.
My practice has the approach of looking at each person biologically, psychologically, socially, and SPIRITUALLY. Faith is important to a lot of people and should not be ignored. Faith in a counseling setting should only be used to build up, and not tear down.
February 2016, the time of year in which disappointment can easily occur as four weeks have passed to work on your new years resolutions. Each year people all over the world make the choice to make resolutions for the next year, to inflict change among their lives. It can be a time filled of motivation and excitement. What this change can mean in both big and small ways. Is it the most common resolution of losing some weight and getting into shape? How with some dedication and lifestyle modifications you can increase your energy, health and maybe most importantly your self esteem? Sure, change when decided by you can be invigorating, but what happens when change happens due to other factors? Change, when it happens can be terrifying, especially if it wasn’t chosen by you to occur. Change cannot always be predicted, and sometimes the only thing we have control of is how we choose to respond to the change.
Change can range on the spectrum from simple to complex, from minimal to catastrophic. It can be a shift change at work, or finding out you are losing your job because of downsizing. It can be going to the doctor and expecting a clean bill of health and walking out with an unanticipated diagnosis. While these are very different situations, both can have great effects on the person attempting to cope with this change. It is normal to be thrown by a change in situation, especially when you are comfortable in a routine. Positive coping to change can make the biggest difference in the handling of a situation. Of course, this is easier said than done and there are many different stages one may go through to get to the point of accepting this new, unasked for change. One of the earlier stages of change is contemplation in which we understand there is a problem or a situation that needs to be ameliorated but there is no commitment to action-yet. Being in this phase is a perfect starting point for you have begun to realize the need for change.
There are many circumstances when change can occur, both planned and unplanned. The question that I want to ask is when do you decide to make a change on something you know needs to be adjusted? Do you need to wait for a new year to have enough push to finally take action? Change can occur at any time that you wish, it can be very uncomfortable and difficult to face but that is what you can receive help with. Whether it is a change inflicted by yourself or one that occurs outside of your control, support is available to work through these tribulations. At some point in our lives, we have all had to deal with change. While some change is more difficult than others, the skills we use to handle the simpler change can often be modified and applied. Take a moment to think about a change that has occurred in your life, take a moment to think about a change you are ready to make. If you are ready to make or process a change and would like to do so in a supporting, safe environment feel free to contact us.
One of the hardest decisions a parent has to make is whether or not their child should take medication for ADD or ADHD. I am here to declare that medications are not the only option. Below are list of alternatives that have been successful with children
Binaural Beats - Binaural beats are two different sound tones where one tone is played in one ear, and the other, which is slightly different, is played in the other ear. What happens is that the brain tries to cancel both sounds out by creating sound that is not really there. The sounds are attuned to a special frequency that is tuned to a particular emotion and mental state. For ADD/ADHD symptoms, these tones are set anywhere between 14 and 20 Mhz. The results are usually instantaneous while the tones are being played, and the actual long term effects start to appear in around two weeks or so. Both Android and Iphone have free apps on their app store. I recommend using the binaural beats as often and as much as possible.
BioFeedback - This can be an expensive venture, but keep reading, I found a cheap alternative. BioFeedback connects electrodes to the brain that reads brain waves. What happens is that the participant is forced to concentrate on a task to control objects on a computer screen. It really is pretty cool. Unfortunately, the cost can be quite prohibitive. Prices range from 80-150 an hour. I was told that a person may need somewhere between 40 and 60 sessions for the results to occur. Now, for the good part. There was a toy company a few years ago created a game called MindFlex. It does essentially the same thing. The person puts on a device on the head, and it reads the brain waves to control a fan that makes a ball levitate. The person is forced to concentrate and focus enough to have the ball navigate through an obstacle course. The have stopped making this product for something called MindFlex Duel. Prices range online from $80.00 through $130.00. I highly recommend it.
Chiropractic Care - Yep, the chiropractor. Studies have shown that upper cervical chiropractic care has been known to alleviate and sometimes eliminate the symptoms of ADD/ADHD in children and adults. The belief is that the upper vertebras are slightly tweaking a nerve in the base of the skull, and when adjusted properly, the body can realign and heal itself. I was quite skeptical at first until I learned that in the 1940's-1960's there were chiropractic psychiatric hospitals. They had a cure rate significantly greater than medical psychiatric hospitals. The AMA had more money and clout, so they lobbied the government and had everything shut down. It was not until the mid 1980's that the AMA was sued and had to recant their false claims.
Of course, our practice is here to meet any counseling needs you or your children may experience. Our therapists, Gillian Squillacioti, LPC and Ameleo Manuel, LPCA have extensive experience treating children, and would be happy to meet and discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding your child and ADD/ADHD
Counseling and hypnosis share some. similarities. Both involve trust, and for both to work, the person participating in counseling or hypnosis needs to feel comfortable, and have faith in the overall competency of the therapist. This is where the similarities seem to end.
The single biggest complaint that we hear about counseling is that it take an incredibly long time to see results. People have said that just talking about a problem does absolutely nothing for them. This is where hypnosis comes into play.
I have always said that whatever I can get done in 50 sessions of counseling and therapy, I can can done in 10 or less sessions with hypnosis. What happens with hypnosis, the person leaves the office feeling the best they have felt in years. They leave the office with the warning, "Depending how long the results INITIALLY last, will tell me how much work we have to do together." Every hypnosis session is cumilative. As the subconscious mind is more willing to participate in hypnosis, the more suggestions and length of time the results will last. The ultimate goal in hypnosis is to resolve what ever problem is presented. Also, since all hypnosis is truly self hypnosis, the person will ultimately learn how to duplicate the results at home.
In all my years of counseling, I have never seen results occur this fast.
Excelling in any sport requires not only talent, but the ability to visualize. Sports hypnosis is a form of sports psychology that involves the mind/body connection. The belief is that in order to have the competitive edge, the athlete not only must physically gifted and talented, but be able to predict their opponents next move before they even act. This is where hypnosis comes into play.
The unique ability of hypnosis to put athletes into a trances gives athletes the competitive edge. Once a person is willingly placed in an hypnotic state, they are able to recreate their participation in their particular sport with superior clarity. In most cases, the mind is so clear, that the participant literally feels as they are truly playing their chosen sport. The result is faster reaction times, increased practices,and the ability to perform at a higher caliber.
Don't just take my word for it. Check out this link from London's Metro news! HERE
As a therapist who gave up doing traditional therapy for a career in hypnosis, I am always shocked to see and stretch the boundaries of what hypnosis can and cannot do for my clients. In order for me to say what it does, I first have to state what it is not.
I think that one of the biggest reasons why it is not used in more mainstream therapy is that there is a belief that hypnosis does not work, and is nothing more than strangely packaged snake oil. Most universities do not teach hypnosis. So if they do not teach it, then why learn it. Second, a significant amount of people believe that hypnosis is a form of mind control. Even a popular Christian website, GotQuestions.org says that hypnosis is a form of demonic mind control. Probably, the biggest misconception is the question of whether or not I can be hypnotized. I tell everyone that there are only two types of people that can not be hypnotized. They are the ones that refuse, and the ones who are too developmentally and emotionally delayed to understand what I am saying. Everyone else can be hypnotized to some degree. Lastly, when someone is hypnotized, they do NOT feel any different, and at no point is control ever lost. Since all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, if any suggestion is given by the hypnotist that goes against person's will, the individual will either ignore the suggestion or instantly come out of hypnosis.
So what can hypnosis do?
Hypnosis is not the panacea of therapy. It is not the end all be all. However, it is only limited by the client's subconscious mind. Simply put, if the mind can conceive it, then it can become a part of a person's reality. To date, below is a sampling of what I seen accomplished with hypnosis.
Co-consciousness with D.I.D. Patients
Streff Syndrome Drastically Improved with D.I.D. Patients
Resolution of Trauma.
Learning hypnosis is simple. Therapists already do the majority of hypnosis by leading clients through a guided meditation or imagery. They thing which is missing is a few steps called convincers, inductions, deepeners, and finally anchors. To pick up these skills, do a simple YouTube search for hypnotists demonstrating the technique.
It is that time of year again. For the parents, it is the most wonderful time of the year. For kids, it is fear and loathing all over again after a summer of bliss. For many students, the school year is riddled with horrible anxiety and dread. Just mentioning the word,"test," brings with it the feelings of failure, anxiety, nausea, panic, and more. Standard therapy alone often takes a long time, but have you tried hypnosis?
Test anxiety is very real to those students who have to live it. As a child, I was paralyzed with fear when it came to taking tests. I wish I had learned about hypnosis back then. What is wonderful about hypnosis is that we are able to guide the person experiencing the test anxiety and essentially eliminate the fear. Under hypnosis, the student will explore the subconscious effects tests have on the mind and the body We will reinstall feelings of confidence and promote a general sense of well being.
Overall, treatment for test anxiety is very short. Generally speaking, the treatment should be less than 5 sessions. Of course, there are exceptions to every case, and some people need less while some need more.
Give us a call if you or your child is experiencing test anxiety
We have all had sleepless nights. For many, those sleepless nights turn into days and even weeks. Often times, patients will complain to me about about racing thoughts clear into the evening. Insomnia can be caused my many things, but the most frequent causes are unresolved trauma, stress, and anxiety. Our practice is well suited to handle most of cases of insomnia.
We treat insomnia not as core issue, but as a symptom of something bigger. If insomnia is psychosomatic, meaning it is not due to a medical condition, then treatment can occur through a few methods. First, hypnosis does wonders for a person by teaching them to clear their mind and they can actually relax enough to sleep. I have had numerous patients tell me that after they were hypnotized that they went home and had the most restful night sleep. Ultimately, the goal is for me to teach the person how to hypnotize themselves so the insomnia resolves completely on its own.
For the rare individuals who cannot be hypnotized, I use more standard techniques to identify the source of the insomnia such as an underlying trauma. In most cases, once the trauma is resolved, the anxiety and insomnia go away. Treatment will take a little bit longer, but it is still generally well received.
When you are ready to make an appointment, feel free to contact us or make an appointment online.
Thoughts of rambling therapists.