Posts in Change
Voices :: Quieting The Harsh Inner Critic

“What will others think of me?” While some voices are kinder than others, we are most often hijacked by the messages received during the developmental years. The lingering voices, that harsh critic in our head, and the demands of other peoples' expectations prevents us from leading an authentic, fulfilling and heart-centered life. As a therapist trained to help clients “dig a little deeper,” we frequently bump up against the internalized messages, as well as the projections and expectations of other people. We are, all of us, an integration of human and experiential influences, the sum of our experiences contributes to the creation of self. But we can become fuller and more enlivened by learning to differentiate between “voices of the past” and the desires (and reality) of “now” and our true essence, before we collided with all the noise.

When trying to move forward or make important decisions, we often make choices that are weighed heavily by the needs and expectations of others—it is a familiar and reflexive process, and happens without our full awareness.  We confuse these voices as our own. They may come from a parent who says “you can’t,” “you shouldn’t” or “who do you think you are?” The harsh critic may once have had a purpose, keeping us safe for instance, but is now, no longer necessary. The voice that once warned you not to upset a parent or teacher remains as that lingering message… you “aren’t enough,” you “don’t matter” and “don’t deserve” what you desire. You may have even foreclosed on your dreams long ago, or never felt that discovery and imagining yourself in the future was even an option. I regularly observe adult clients saying, “but my wife won’t let me” as an example of how this model gets recreated with significant others in the here and now. Since it may not be possible to confront those voices taking up precious space in your head from the past directly (because you were young and it wasn’t safe), you can now begin to challenge them by giving yourself permission to differentiate between then and now, and dis-identify with those lingering messages from the past, and begin connecting to, and awakening your own will. Maybe “I can do this” is your new reality, and you can re-write your script.

The voices and foreclosure keep you paralyzed and stuck in the past and unable to change or move forward. You may feel adrift and lost. You may live with regret or the sense that choices made

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime 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.

Beginning Therapy :: Sometimes You Feel Worse Before You Feel Better

You’ve finally found a therapist that you trust, you’re opening up, being honest about the parts of yourself and areas of your life that could use some help. You may actually feel better—validated, stronger and more confident. Someone finally “gets” you. There is some relief in feeling less alone with your problems. If you ask people new to therapy how they feel, you may get different responses. Many feel better, get some relief, and then stop therapy. Some individuals notice after they begin therapy that they feel worse than before. Therapists don’t advertise the latter, but they should tell you that psychotherapy and counseling can kick up some uncomfortable feelings and emotions, initially, and from time to time. You may also notice that your friends and family are not so delighted with the new YOU. This wasn’t supposed to happen, and it doesn’t always, but often, it does! It’s a pretty common occurrence when people begin to change as a result of therapy and those closest to you are less than delighted.

People liked you the way you were, and now you’ve made some changes. You’ve rewritten the script, so to speak. You may be more assertive, or communicate your needs more effectively. Heck, you may have expressed needs for the first time in your life. This is inconvenient for those invested in the old you.

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime 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.

Online Therapy + Coaching For New Yorkers :: How To Find The Right Therapist For You

How to find an online therapist

As if taking the first step to speak with a therapist isn't challenging enough! You need a little help, and it’s really hard to know where to begin. If you live in New York City and struggle to make it in to meet with your therapist in-person, there are many who are trained in Telehealth and offer psychotherapy sessions for individuals or couples using video sessions or telephone, which may be a way that better suits your lifestyle. Face-to face is ideal, but if you could use some psychological support, online therapy is better than going it alone.

It can be downright overwhelming sifting through professional therapy profiles on Psychology Today—there are so many experts and options to choose from. I'm a New Yorker, and I get it! You’re very busy with work, social and home life. You travel frequently with demands and a schedule that makes it challenging to schedule regular therapy appointments in an office. You and your partner have schedules with moving parts—you’re rarely even in the same room together. Busy New Yorkers frequently begin therapy but then discontinue because of multiple cancellations and appointment change requests. It becomes a barrier to treatment to feel as if you can’t commit to regular psychotherapy session times. Just when you get some momentum, you have deadlines or you have to travel, and then you’re embarrassed to reach out to the therapist to reengage, so you begin a new therapist search. Clients with high visibility or high-profile individuals needing therapy that provides more privacy, discretion and anonymity, do not want to risk being seen entering a therapy suite or sitting in a waiting room.

It can also be challenging to find a good therapist in New York. And, even more of a challenge to finally find a “good fit” for you. It’s an investment of time and money, as well as emotional energy to begin the process of opening up to a stranger and discussing concerns such as anxiety, depression, traumatic memories, a crisis, feeling “stuck” or relationship challenges. New Yorkers often feel that their lives look great on the outside, but privately they struggle with stress, acting out or isolation and loneliness. These are but a few of the concerns that many busy, professional New Yorkers struggle with. What follows are some helpful tips to guide you in the process of finding a therapist who works online, doing virtual therapy, otherwise known as teletherapy, telemedicine, telehealth, video chat, to name but a few terms.

Some individuals searching for an online therapist find professional websites such as Psychology Today to be helpful. You can scroll through and match your needs and goals with therapists who have the skills or experience to help you, examples may be loss, transitions, career problems or chronic sadness. Reviews on Google or other sites such as HealthGrades.com can be unreliable for all sorts of reasons. Some therapists offer consultations to better understand their style and whether you are a good fit to work together.

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime 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.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy :: What The Heck Is It?

You’ve decided to finally get some help for the parts of your life that feels messy, but now you’re really confused as you sift through the many pages of available therapists on sites such as Psychology Today. Smiling therapists offering so many different paths to help and healing and some techniques have really strange names, like, “psychodynamic psychotherapy.” Sounds a bit scary, and clinical and even sterile, but it’s actually a really helpful treatment option for some problems. I’ll explain briefly.

A therapist practicing psychodynamic psychotherapy or psychoanalytic psychotherapy means that they do work that helps you understand yourself deeply. The goal is insight and self-awareness into why you do what you do, or keep repeating patterns and dynamics that interfere with having the life that you desire.It involves a bit of deep digging to unearth these behavior patterns but so worth it. Because much of what we do is unconscious, we live in a way that leads to habitual patterns and repetition. The fancy word for this is “repetition compulsion” which is a neurotic style that we engage in. This may eventually lead to frustration and certainly a lack of agency of your life. In psychodynamic therapy, you will begin to notice these patterns and behaviors that are driving you so that you can grow and live your life in a way that is intentional and conscious, not driven by the voices of the past, the many

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime 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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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime 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.

Executive Coaching Failures :: When Psychological Blocks And Conflicts Interfere With Successful Coaching Outcomes

You’ve hired a top-notch life coach, maybe even the best executive or performance coach to whip you into shape, but now find that you are either stuck or that you made some temporary progress and are now reverting to your old ways. Coaching fails many hopeful clients and for some very important reasons.

You simply can’t move forward if you don’t get help clearing blocks and obstacles that are often unconscious, but sabotage your best efforts. Professional coaching can be very effective and successful, but sometimes you must dig a bit deeper to unearth unconscious beliefs about yourself and internal conflicts. Many well-meaning coaches lack the psychological training to be able to detect and support client needs when an executive's problem(s) stem from underlying emotional and psychological issues. For many, coaching can actually be detrimental when symptoms that are present are longstanding, stubborn, severe and ignored. An example of this would be attempting to coach individuals with severe personality disorders. Coaching methods utilized by trained professionals may utilize any number of high-level and cutting-edge modalities that have a proven track record of helping people overcome self-sabotage, problem, repetitive behaviors and psychological conflicts. Some examples include: EMDR therapy combined with coaching; CBT and DBT Skills blended into coaching sessions, psychodynamic (insight-oriented) coaching and depth psychology.

Many fear or do not trust therapy and prefer a coaching model that is “here and now” focused and results and solution-driven. What happens when executives stumble onto patterns and obstacles that come up for them again and again? Executives, creatives, officers and entrepreneurs hire coaches to help them remove obstacles and learn to find clarity in their lives so that they can see things about their thoughts, actions and behaviors that may be

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime 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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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime 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.

#shrinkthinks DBT Quick Reference :: Holiday Survival Skills For Anxiety, Addiction Triggers, Emotions And Problem Behaviors

Many of my psychotherapy patients ask for a Dialectical Behavior Therapy or a DBT cheat-sheet to have handy because... life happens, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, and it's hard to remember what to during those challenging moments! This is a basic list to remind you that you DO have other options at your disposal to help you better manage your relationship problems, trauma symptoms, addiction and eating disorder triggers, anxiety, depression, self-harm urges, relationship challenges, stress and strong emotions. With the holiday season comes lots of stress--and with no shortage of emotional triggers--people struggle with: alcohol and food in abundance, family stressors and memories that reignite feelings of anger, loss, sadness, longing and loneliness.

Even though situations and stressors are present, DBT can help you make healthier choices for yourself! A good place to start is to remember to focus, breathe and be mindful. When the skills don't work

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime 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.

#shrinkthinks DBT DIY :: Making A Distress Tolerance Kit For Healthier Coping

Whether you're trying to manage eating disorder symptoms or alcohol/substance abuse problems, creating a "coping skills" toolbox--a place to keep things that can help you feel calmer and more grounded is a practical and helpful tactic in supporting your recovery goals. Instead of using symptoms and negative behaviors, turning to your toolbox can give you other options that immediately engage your five senses and include healthier distractions, self-soothing strategies and making different choices in the moment!

TOOLBOX TIPS

What you will need for your self-regulation and coping toolbox:

  • Tactile (something to feel) - textures, warm or cold objects, stuffed animal, stress ball, the ground beneath your feet

  • Visual (something to see or look at) - flowers, photos, art, vivid colors

  • Auditory (something to hear) - music, focusing on sounds in the environment, meditation guides, books on tape

  • Olfactory (something to smell) - essential oils, perfume, candles

  • Gustatory (something to taste) - gum, mints, sweet or sour candies

DISTRACTION TIPS

How to Distract yourself when you have the urge to reward yourself in negative ways or when you have self-destructive urges:

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York licensed Psychotherapist and Consultant with extensive training and experience. She provides pscyhological consultation, therapy and coaching to a range of clients including high-profile clients, working in-person, online and worldwide. As an EMDR therapist, couples therapist + women's emotional health expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and really good key lime 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.