Posts in Sessions
Guilt Or Shame :: How To Know The Difference

People often confuse guilt with shame. They are complex states, and as a therapist who works with both men and women, shame seems particularly hard for men feel vulnerable enough to identify. And women cover shame in some interesting ways as well. So what are the differences between the two? Guilt is an experience that we have related to something we may have done. “I feel really lousy about my behavior last night, and I’d like to make it better with us.” When we experience guilt, we come to terms with a behavior or problem and work to correct it. Some people don’t actually experience guilt for many reasons, but we can save that for another post.

Shame is complicated and the road to recovery is not so easy. Shame also goes hand in hand with secrecy and sometimes even isolation and despair. People can feel very alone with their shame. Shame reactions, when unmanageable, can even drive some to suicide. Many deal with shame by punishing themselves. Often an individual may have identified with the voices of important others in their development—a parent who projects, or individuals who have been bullied, scapegoated or shamed by others. Some people are sensitive and will “carry” the shame of the family. Therapists see this often.

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NYC + Santa Fe Psychotherapist, Kim Seelbrede, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Psychotherapist, EMDR Therapist, Relationship Expert + Stress/Anxiety Coach who provides Psychological Consultations in-person and online psychotherapy working with individuals and couples. Specialties include: trauma, addictions, anxiety, depression, relationships, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and pie. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal website www.kimseelbrede.com or blog.

Burnout :: Have You Lost Yourself And How To Recover If You Have!

You’ve lost your flame, your essence, and not much excites you anymore. Forget soul-stirring passions, it’s a good day if you care about matching socks! You sleep, but rarely feel rested upon awakening. The usual things that once left you feeling refueled no longer make a dent in your recovery or outlook. Burnout, whether personal or professional, often comes from choosing a high pressure career that is emotionally draining, or having too much on your plate. In addition to career demands, you may be juggling the needs of others—children or aging parents. In my private practice, my therapy and coaching clients describe feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm by the seemingly ordinary tasks of daily living. I have many clients complaining of long hours and added responsibility which they attribute to cutbacks and corporate greed. My clients describe feeling undervalued and disrespected in the workplace. Many are very experienced and are tasked with the responsibility of training colleagues who are inexperienced or younger and therefore hired because they can be paid less. Many have jobs that carry a great deal of responsibility with little reward which can feel hard on the soul.

How do you know you have burnout? There are many physical and emotional symptoms of burnout. They may include loss of joy, fatigue and exhaustion and behavior or cognitive problems such as agitation, forgetfulness and apathy. Stress manifests in many ways and a good physician can help you determine if stress is showing up in your body. Something is off and you may not even know what’s wrong especially for those who are over achievers. Getting support for professional or personal burnout will help you in your recovery. While the thought of visiting a psychotherapist fills many with terror, it may be helpful to see a professional just to talk, vent or express the emotions that you cannot do with a spouse, family member, friend or colleague. Asking for help is not a weakness, it’s very proactive and smart.

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NYC + Santa Fe Psychotherapist, Kim Seelbrede, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Psychotherapist, EMDR Therapist, Relationship Expert + Stress/Anxiety Coach who provides Psychological Consultations in-person and online psychotherapy working with individuals and couples. Specialties include: trauma, addictions, anxiety, depression, relationships, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and pie. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal website www.kimseelbrede.com or blog.

CBT :: Coaching + Therapy Techniques For Changing Thoughts And Behaviors

We ALL need a little help sometimes, even when we have awareness of our challenges and difficulties. It's really hard for many to ask for help, so I thought I'd share some useful techniques that I use in my own private practice in NYC working with therapy and coaching clients. CBT techniques are very helpful tools to be used in therapy, coaching and useful when applied to everyday life situations. What follows are some of the most common problems that clients struggle with and CBT techniques that are helpful. 

  1. Journaling—This technique gathers information and data about habitual thoughts, emotions and moods. Included in journal entries can be: time of day, the source or trigger, the intensity of the feeling state and the response or action taken. You can add more helpful and adaptive coping responses that might be considered in the future.

  2. Catastrophizing—This tendency is to go immediately to an irrational thought that something is far worse than it actually is. Catastrophizing generally takes two different forms: making a catastrophe out of a current situation or a future situation. Step one is to identify when your are doing this. Next, use your smartphone or journal to write the thoughts down throughout the day and add a corrective statement to counteract the negative belief.

  3. Cognitive Distortions—Alone or with a therapist, you practice identifying harmful or negative thoughts that are automatic for you, then challenge these thoughts that lead to vulnerability or distress in your daily life.

  4. Cognitive Restructuring—Once you identify the distortions or inaccurate views, you can begin to learn about how this distortion took root and why you came to believe it. When you discover a belief that is destructive or harmful, you can begin to challenge it. Instead of accepting a faulty belief that leads to negative thoughts about yourself and poor self-esteem, you could take this opportunity to think about something in a different way.

  5. Write Down Self-Statements to Counteract Negative Beliefs—This is a challenge especially if your belief is strong or it has served you in some way. Confront these negative thoughts by introducing a positive more correct thought. Positive thoughts or self-statements help to interrupt old patterns and create new neural pathways.

  6. Exposure and Response Prevention—If you suffer from OCD, you can expose yourself to whatever creates the compulsive behavior that follows. Avoid doing the behavior by writing about it instead in a journal or notepad.

  7. Interoceptive Exposure—If you struggle with panic attacks or anxiety, this technique involves exposing yourself to bodily sensations that elicit responses that lead to distress and panic symptoms. As you experience unpleasant symptoms, unhelpful thoughts arise and you can learn to tolerate the experience, reduce avoidance and develop a different way to view these symptoms such discomfort, but not dangerous.

  8. Play the Script Until the End—This technique involves imagining the worst case scenario, letting it play out in the mind. For those who struggle with fear and

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NYC + Santa Fe Psychotherapist, Kim Seelbrede, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Psychotherapist, EMDR Therapist, Relationship Expert + Stress/Anxiety Coach who provides Psychological Consultations in-person and online psychotherapy working with individuals and couples. Specialties include: trauma, addictions, anxiety, depression, relationships, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and pie. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal website www.kimseelbrede.com or blog.

Difficult People :: Saving Yourself From Crazy Makers And Gaslighting

Have you reached the end of your rope with the crazy makers in your life? I have them in my life as well, and even with psychological training, they frequently throw me off-course. You’ll never change them because that’s the very nature of crazy (so put your energy elsewhere!), you can however protect yourself. You are surrounded by them and you can't escape the insanity. They are your ex, colleagues, friends, lovers or family members--sometimes you even have to co-parent with them.

Perhaps your life demands regular contact with them, leaving you with feelings of dread and terror—you may also have somatic complaints or physical symptoms especially if you had a parent with similar behaviors and you are now re-experiencing the trauma! Crazy makers drain your energy and consistently engage in controlling, destructive, manipulative and reckless behaviors. Sadly, similar to a train off the tracks, they leave a path of destruction. Children are especially vulnerable to becoming collateral damage when a parent is a narcissist and/or psychopath.

What are some of these behaviors?

  • They set traps for you—it can be a no-win game

  • They are masters of distortion and manipulation

  • They create drama, drama and more drama

  • The exhibit excessive negativity

  • They display outbursts of rage and anger

  • They are frequently competitive and aggressive

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NYC + Santa Fe Psychotherapist, Kim Seelbrede, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Psychotherapist, EMDR Therapist, Relationship Expert + Stress/Anxiety Coach who provides Psychological Consultations in-person and online psychotherapy working with individuals and couples. Specialties include: trauma, addictions, anxiety, depression, relationships, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and pie. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal website www.kimseelbrede.com or blog.