As both a therapist and a student of life, I am constantly searching for ways to help both myself and the lives of my patients. I feel that any provider, whether they are a medical doctor, nurse, psychologist, or therapist, should be open to possibilities that what they currently know to be true could one day be turned upside down. This is what happened to me this past March.
I have a colleague friend of mine that I have known since my early days of counseling. She practices in my hometown in Florida, while I practice here in Gastonia. Ironically, we each recieved training in the exact same forms of treatment that the average therapist never takes the time to learn. It was not until last year, I saw her post on Facebook about the Neuro Emotional Technique or NET for short. I asked her how much better is it at helping people with trauma, anxiety, phobias, etc compared to traditional talk therapy, EMDR, and hypnosis. What she said made my skeptical. She said NET blew those treatments out of the water. It was not until six months later when I was talking to an old friend from the church I attended as a child that NET became a reality. She said that she went to my therapist friend for help, and was helped immensely in just a couple of sessions. It was my friend's testimony that prompted me to sign up for the next training. What happened at the training completely took my previous 16 years of practice and stood it on its head.
I attended this training in Orlando. I am not going to lie, I was planning on going to the training, and if it was total garbage compared to what I had already known, I was going to leave and go on a mini vacation for myself, and spend the next few days lying on the beach with a cold one in my hand. Well, within the first hour, I was mesmerized. What I learned blew my mind. NET is a technique and a treatment method that helps people uncover and understand how life events in the past contribute to how we feel today. Often times, the events appear to be seemingly unrelated. We call these Neuro Emotional Complexes or just stuck points. It also uncovers emotional setbacks that keep us from healing physically. I literally watched people and now have treated people for chronic pain such as ear, leg, and stomach pain literally go away after uncovering and releasing past emotional stuck points. On a personal note, the physician who was teaching me asked me what I want to be different in my life, I said I want to be free of my addiction to sugar. What was uncovered was that my sugar addiction became out of control when my parents divorced when I was 17. To be perfectly clear, I am happy my parents are divorced and happily remarried, but at that time, but it was traumatic for me to go through. It was emotional residue, so to speak, that I was unaware that I still had in me. Since March 22(as of this writing on 5/5/18), I have lost over 30lbs without even trying. Another personal testimony is my elbow pain. I injured my elbows lifting weights. My elbows hurt so bad that I could barely lift myself up from the chair without help. I even had to have my intern open a bottle of water for me. To doctor helped me find the stuck point to that as well. My elbows have been bothering mefor about 5 months, and it was at that time, I remember making an off handed comment to my wife about a family member causing me a great deal of stress. That stressor was related to my elbow. Immediately after NET, I was to lift myself up, open my own bottle with out pain, and do unassisted push ups. My elbows now can finally heal. Needless to say, I am a believer.
So what does all this mean to the people that I serve and treat. It means that I am one of only 8000 practitioners in the world that are trained to provide this service. There are over 600000 therapists in the US alone. So, NET is pretty darn unique. What I have literally seen happen is that we can get through a year of traditional talk therapy in less than one hour. The results speak for themselves. I do not have to know deep, dark, family secrets. Nor do we have to rehash the painful past. Check my link for NET on our website for a video demonstration. It is really that simple. To be fair, this is not a cure all. The individuals who are not well suited for this technique are people who suffer from active psychosis, and people with severe mental illness that need immediate long term hospitalization. Almost everyone else achieves success. So if you are someone else you love could benefit, give us a call.
Till next time my friends,
Survivors of sexual abuse, often times, hide in darkness. For years, survivors suffer afraid that if they tell, they will be accused of lying, face rejection, and worse, judgment.
We at Bright Hope want survivors to know that there is hope, and just by reading this post, salute and applaud the courage that is being taken to just read this blog. For starters, I am going to give a synopsis of treatment options available to treat and help survivors heal.
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - Trauma Focused - (CBT-TF)
This form of therapy is designed to confront irrational thinking about what happened, and to provide education so the survivor knows how to better cope with the negative feelings. I am not going to lie, this technique is my least favorite by far. Research shows that it works just as well as the other two methods that Ia m going to describe. However, in my almost 17 years of experience, I am not a believer.
2. Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing - (EMDR)
EMDR is the treatment of choice for veterans coming home from conflict. It's premise is that the brain is set up in two parts - Emotional and Logical. When trauma occurs, the emotional side of the brain basically freaks out and cause a freezing effect very similar to when a computer freezes up. The result of this is the all too familiar feelings of panic, fear, nightmares, etc. What EMDR does is connect both sides of the brain by either tapping back and forth on both sides of the body, holding vibrating paddles, and using the eyes to look right and left. When this is happening, the survivor starts to discuss or think about what happened. The result is that the trauma starts to be processed by the logical side of the brain. The results are usually nothing short of astonishing. Now, I must warn of the downside to this technique. It is exceptionally difficult for the survivor to go through. It is a controlled flashback, and for healing to occur, the trauma will have to be relived.
No, I will not make anyone bark like a dog. Clinical hypnosis uses the subconscious mind to work through the sexual abuse with little emotional pain. It is slower than EMDR, but is still significantly faster than CBT-TF. To fully explain what hypnosis is and does would require several more blog posts. Fortunately, I already discussed this great detail in earlier posts. In the beginning, until the brain takes hold and eliminates the trauma completely, relapses may occur. They are not, however, as strong or as bad as before. This is my personal favorite all around because it is holistic and can be applied to almost any situation in life. Plus, it is not as painful as EMDR. Rule of thumb that I tell my patients is that however long EMDR takes to provide relief, it will usually double that with hypnosis.
4. Exposure Therapy
It is EMDR with out the paddles, eye movement, and tapping. Faster than CBT-TF, and more painful than EMDR because it is longer. Basically, the survivor recounts their story until they no longer have anxiety about it.
All in all, please know that help is available. Reality is that different people prefer different things. My usual course of treatment is a 1, 2, punch with both hypnosis and EMDR because hypnosis strengthens the person before undergoing the difficult task of EMDR. Again, whatever method is used, please do not give up, and seek help.
Let's face it, no one wants to need the services of a therapist. Talking to a complete stranger about intimate details of our lives is anything but enjoyable. Sometimes therapy works, and most of the time it does not. Most of us therapists never persue training outside of continuing education and graduate school. We are content just practicing and using boring talk therapy. Don't get me wrong, talk therapy has it's place, but consider the alternatives.
What I want to particularly talk about is how alternatives to talk therapy can put lives back together without spending thousands of dollars on copayments and fees to have someone just stare at a clock waiting for your time to be up.
I have said this before, and I will continue to say it. Almost every person I see falls into two categories. Depression or Trauma(Anxiety). Depression can easily be treated with standard talk therapy, and benefits from what about to say. Trauma, on the other hand, does not seem to respond well to traditional counseling, and needs other solutions.
For those inidividuals suffering from trauma help arrives in the treatment of either or both EMDR and clinical hypnosis. For those interested in how either of these treatments work, check out the other pages on this site. What's cool, if anything can be cool about trauma, is that once we identify a cause of the truama, and treat it, everything else seems to fall back in line. Literally what this means is that once the initial trauma is desensitized, anything else that was problematic returns the the pretraumatic state. I have actually seen victims of rape and other heinous acts return to their lives in a little as 30 minutes. Even after a follow up the next week, there are still no signs of anxiety, stress, nightmares, and flashbacks. For those suffering from multiple traumas, we have to tackle each trauma inidvidually from smallest to largest. The results are the same.
I know this sounds too good to be true. Let me tell you, that I have done of 2800 sessions using EMDR and probably close to 1000 using hypnosis(I learned hypnosis later in my career), and I can not begin to describe th joy I get when I see someone who has suffered for years finally recieve freedom from the chains of mental oppression.
Till next time friends,
1558-G Union Road
Gastonia, NC 28054
The answer is "Maybe, Yes, and NO." If I had a nickel for every person that told me that counseling did not help to resolve their traumatic past and memories, I would be able to retire to the beach yesterday. I always ask the person why they decided to give me a try. The answer is almost universal, "You helped my brother, friend, cousin, neighbor, etc." It is not that I am any better than the other therapists around; it is because I do not believe that one size fits all.
Quite frankly, talking about a traumatic past sucks. It often times will retraumatize the person telling the story. What good does that do? Absolutely nothing. That it why I answered, "no" when addressing the title to this post. Most therapist think talk therapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT) works for almost everything. This is what I call the one size fits all approach to therapy. As we have seen, this is not the approach to use.
The "maybe" answer comes from therapists who have experience with trauma, and have had some success treating it. This usually happens from therapists who are trained in different techniques besides CBT. They are what I call the eclectics. Generally, these therapists are fantastic in what they do. They assume their approaches can handle most anything. They use a wide net of counseling techniques to see what actually catches and works. Help normally comes with these therapists, but it may be slow because trauma is not their passion.
In our practice, we specialize in trauma. For myself, I live and breathe this type of work. I get the greatest joy in seeing someone smile for the first time in years. Little makes me happier than here someone who has a night's sleep free of nightmares. We use non-traditional techniques such as EMDR, hynpnosis, Visual Coding Displacement Therapy, and EFT to rapidly reduce symptoms. I have addressed these approaches in other posts. I know, it sounds like hocus pocus, but trust us, it works. Most of the therapists in our practice know how to use these techniques and you will be referred to a therapist that does. What we usually see is relief in one session, and full resolution in under five. Every situation is different, give us a call, and talk to us. We are not about wasting your time or money.
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.
Thoughts of rambling therapists.