Posts in Learn
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 City Psychotherapist + Consultant who splits her time between Manhattan and Santa Fe, providing online therapy to individuals and couples. With extensive training and experience, she provides psychological consultation, psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and executive coaching to a range of clients including VIP's + high-profile clients. As a women's emotional health + relationship expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief and women's mentoring. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, meditation, travel and really good key lime pie. She lives with her husband, psychologist, scholar and mindfulness expert John Chambers Christopher. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal websites KimSeelbrede.com, Santa Fe Integrative Psychotherapy or Well+Being Blog.

#shrinkthings :: CBT, Challenging Those Pesky Automatic Thoughts

Are your thoughts, both conscious and those just beneath the surface, keeping you from success and living the life you desire? Have you heard the saying, "thoughts are not facts? These thoughts that interfere with health and happiness sneak up on us fast, some louder than others, and many are like background noise wreaking havoc on your life. Many thoughts need to be challenged because they no longer serve you and actually keep you looping in misery or feeling "stuck." One successful and time-tested strategy for working with coaching or psychotherapy clients is helping them learn to notice the "automatic thoughts" that have a deleterious affect on relationships, mood, anxiety, behavior and general outlook contributing to negative quality of life and poor health. 

Automatic thinking refers to the automatic thoughts people have in response to things happening around them. The goal is not to judge these thoughts that occur, but to develop awareness and then learn to challenge and replace them with more realistic thoughts thus breaking the cycle of negative impact. I've included a helpful CBT tool from Psychology Tools, a resource that I regularly use with coaching and therapy clients to interrupt negative thinking. 

Prompts For Challenging Negative Thinking (Use the list of prompts below to help you assess the truthfulness of your negative thinking).

What thought do you notice?

Evidence

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York City Psychotherapist + Consultant who splits her time between Manhattan and Santa Fe, providing online therapy to individuals and couples. With extensive training and experience, she provides psychological consultation, psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and executive coaching to a range of clients including VIP's + high-profile clients. As a women's emotional health + relationship expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief and women's mentoring. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, meditation, travel and really good key lime pie. She lives with her husband, psychologist, scholar and mindfulness expert John Chambers Christopher. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal websites KimSeelbrede.com, Santa Fe Integrative Psychotherapy or Well+Being 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 City Psychotherapist + Consultant who splits her time between Manhattan and Santa Fe, providing online therapy to individuals and couples. With extensive training and experience, she provides psychological consultation, psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and executive coaching to a range of clients including VIP's + high-profile clients. As a women's emotional health + relationship expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief and women's mentoring. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, meditation, travel and really good key lime pie. She lives with her husband, psychologist, scholar and mindfulness expert John Chambers Christopher. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal websites KimSeelbrede.com, Santa Fe Integrative Psychotherapy or Well+Being 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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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York City Psychotherapist + Consultant who splits her time between Manhattan and Santa Fe, providing online therapy to individuals and couples. With extensive training and experience, she provides psychological consultation, psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and executive coaching to a range of clients including VIP's + high-profile clients. As a women's emotional health + relationship expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief and women's mentoring. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, meditation, travel and really good key lime pie. She lives with her husband, psychologist, scholar and mindfulness expert John Chambers Christopher. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal websites KimSeelbrede.com, Santa Fe Integrative Psychotherapy or Well+Being Blog.

ADDICTIONS, COMPULSIONS & ALCOHOL TREATMENT USING EMDR THERAPY

There are many forms of treatment that successfully help clients heal from addictions, compulsions, anxiety, unhealthy relationship dynamics, self-esteem problems and other behavior difficulties. Some of the most helpful therapies include: CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, DBT or Dialectical Behavior Therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, 12 Step programs and body-oriented therapies such as Somatic Experiencing (SE) and EMDR Therapy. As an integrative psychotherapist, I have great respect for these psychotherapy modalities, and have had real success using some combination with my own clients. I find EMDR therapy to be the most effective form of therapy to address alcohol use, substance and behavioral addictions, compulsions, eating disorders and any underlying traumas that may have contributed to using substances and maintaining these behaviors. 

Dr. Robert Miller developed a protocol called the Feeling State Addictions Protocol or FSAP that uses EMDR therapy to focus on a very important piece of alcohol and other addictions. Pleasure. Mainly, that people rely on substances or behaviors because of the intense positive feeling it gave them initially and continues

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York City Psychotherapist + Consultant who splits her time between Manhattan and Santa Fe, providing online therapy to individuals and couples. With extensive training and experience, she provides psychological consultation, psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and executive coaching to a range of clients including VIP's + high-profile clients. As a women's emotional health + relationship expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief and women's mentoring. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, meditation, travel and really good key lime pie. She lives with her husband, psychologist, scholar and mindfulness expert John Chambers Christopher. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal websites KimSeelbrede.com, Santa Fe Integrative Psychotherapy or Well+Being Blog.

Therapy And Counseling :: Which Type Of Therapy Do You Need

You've decided that it's just too difficult trying to manage things on your own and now you're  ready to reach out for a little help, but web research has you completely overwhelmed. Understandable! Finding a therapist can be difficult especially if you don't have the benefit of a referral from a trusted friend or colleague, and you're likely unsure of the type of counseling that would best suit your needs. Sources such as Psychology Today and GoodTherapy can provide profiles of therapists in your area, as well as list the expertise of the counselors, psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. Professionals tend to specialize in many areas such as: grief and loss, aging, adolescent concerns, transitions, crisis counseling, anxiety, depression, addictions, alcoholism, stress reduction, trauma resolution, marital and relationship difficulties, family concerns, spirituality and more. To make your search a little less daunting, I've included a partial listing of psychotherapy modalities that licensed psychotherapists and psychologists use with their clients.

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York City Psychotherapist + Consultant who splits her time between Manhattan and Santa Fe, providing online therapy to individuals and couples. With extensive training and experience, she provides psychological consultation, psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and executive coaching to a range of clients including VIP's + high-profile clients. As a women's emotional health + relationship expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief and women's mentoring. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, meditation, travel and really good key lime pie. She lives with her husband, psychologist, scholar and mindfulness expert John Chambers Christopher. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal websites KimSeelbrede.com, Santa Fe Integrative Psychotherapy or Well+Being Blog.

Eating Disorders :: Mindfulness Or Distractions--What Works Best

As a therapist who treats clients with Eating Disorders, I am constantly reminded of the need for an integrative treatment approach and psychotherapy that addresses the complexities that ED's present for clients. Does Mindfulness help or hinder eating disorder recovery? The best answer may be that it depends on the nature of the eating disorder, and the stage of treatment. This is a much-debated topic within the ED treatment community.

Mindfulness, in addition to DBT Skills can be incredibly helpful for patients and clients in recovery, and in many aspects of their lives, especially when trying to manage powerful emotions and regulate mood. Some clients have reported that attempts at mindfulness early in recovery, especially during meals, creates intolerable anxiety and distress that interferes with the process of eating. Clients with Anorexia Nervosa find that distraction is the most helpful way to eat. "Thinking" about what's being consumed and eaten in early ED recovery is described as excruciating by clients. Distraction allows them to "pair" an enjoyable activity with mealtime, which is a very different experience than meals with the demand that they be "mindful" of excruciating feelings of fullness and any other sensations.

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York City Psychotherapist + Consultant who splits her time between Manhattan and Santa Fe, providing online therapy to individuals and couples. With extensive training and experience, she provides psychological consultation, psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and executive coaching to a range of clients including VIP's + high-profile clients. As a women's emotional health + relationship expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief and women's mentoring. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, meditation, travel and really good key lime pie. She lives with her husband, psychologist, scholar and mindfulness expert John Chambers Christopher. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal websites KimSeelbrede.com, Santa Fe Integrative Psychotherapy or Well+Being Blog.

About Treatment For Addictions and Substance Abuse :: Healing From The Inside Out

The problem of addiction and excessive substance use can impact people from all walks of life, including: teachers, doctors, students, parents, spouses, your child. Therapists, psychologists, researchers and addiction experts are often at odds about the nature of addiction. Whether you believe it is genetic, trauma, poor coping skills or some combination of these factors, effective treatment is available for individuals and their families. Addiction counseling is a form of therapy designed to help an "addicted" individual detox and recover from his/her problem, develop healthier coping mechanisms and adapt to a new life of abstinence or harm-reduction.

How do people recover from addictions? Effective addiction and substance abuse counseling and psychotherapy can be done with a private therapist, in a rehabilitation center or in an outpatient program.  Many choose to enter personal therapy to get to the root of their reliance on substances and addictive behaviors, and find solutions beyond just stopping the substance. Healing from the inside out takes time,

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Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York City Psychotherapist + Consultant who splits her time between Manhattan and Santa Fe, providing online therapy to individuals and couples. With extensive training and experience, she provides psychological consultation, psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and executive coaching to a range of clients including VIP's + high-profile clients. As a women's emotional health + relationship expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief and women's mentoring. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, meditation, travel and really good key lime pie. She lives with her husband, psychologist, scholar and mindfulness expert John Chambers Christopher. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal websites KimSeelbrede.com, Santa Fe Integrative Psychotherapy or Well+Being Blog.