EMDR Therapy: A Brief Explanation

EMDR Therapy or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a highly-successful and powerful healing technique that very effectively helps people who suffer from anxiety, panic, chronic sadness, negative self-concepts, trauma, disturbing memories and thoughts, PTSD or post traumatic stress and many other emotional problems. Until recently, psychotherapists and psychologists have used some combination of talk therapy and CBT in their efforts to help people overcome distress and suffering. While nothing beats the support of another human who is able to listen and be present during suffering, many of these traditional techniques do not resolve client symptoms or support healing at the level of the nervous system in the way that EMDR does. EMDR is considered a breakthrough therapy because of its ability to bring quick and lasting relief for most types of emotional distress. 

EMDR therapy uses bilateral stimulation, right/left eye movement, or tactile stimulation which activates opposite sides of the brain. As troubling images, feelings and self-concepts are processed by the brain using bilateral eye-movement patterns, resolution of the issues and a more peaceful state are achieved. Memories or feeling-states are not removed, but rather the distressing impact is decreased so that clients are able to move forward with their lives and enjoy a dramatic reduction of symptoms. This technique draws on the theory that emotional experiences are "trapped" in the nervous system. As emotional experiences are released, the neurophysiological system or mind and body connection is able to heal and reconnect. Extensive scientific research studies have demonstrated that EMDR is an effective and rapid method for processing disturbing memories and healing PTSD and other psychological symptoms. In 2010, SAMHSA, a National Registry of Evidence-based practices (NREPP) endorsed EMDR as has the American Psychiatric Association in the treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. 

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

Support For Traumatic Stress + Loss

Whether you're struggling to manage challenging life-events, a trauma or accident, loss and grief or any kind of transition that causes you distress or destabilization, it's helpful to understand that your feelings, emotions and behaviors are a normal reaction to extreme or disturbing events. As a psychotherapist who uses EMDR therapy, supportive work and a focus on helping clients develop healthier coping skills, I'm happy to share tips to support you as you move through difficult times. What helps?

  • Allow yourself to acknowledge and accept that you're experiencing something difficult and that your reactions are normal, but that you can manage. Remind yourself about how you've handled difficult situations in the past. What healthy skills did you call upon previously to help you cope during stressful times?
  • Ask for help. This is hard for many, but people can be quite kind when it comes to supporting others. This also requires that you allow yourself to receive help and manage feelings of shame related to needing help.
  • Take exquisite care of yourself, when you can. Show self-compassion and practice self-care. Giving yourself permission for a "time out" can help you feel stronger and more resilient when you need to get back to the problem at hand. If you can, take some time to read, draw or engage any other hobbies that can help you briefly escape (in a healthy way) from the realities of your experience. 
  • It's tempting to self-soothe with unhelpful behaviors, but this is a good time to take efforts to engage in healthy behaviors. This will help you better cope with stress, fatigue and emotional dysregulation. Sleep, rest or nap when you can. Create healthy, well-balanced meals and avoid substances such as drugs and alcohol that can interfere with sleep, reduce resilience and even increase anxiety and depression. If you suffer from insomnia, relaxation techniques can ease sleep problems. 
  • Allow yourself to grieve any losses that you have experienced. Processing and mourning loss can evoke strong emotions. With time, the intensity will decrease. 
  • When you are ready, find someone to talk to. It can be a community, such as a church or synagogue, a trusted friend, a family member, others in a similar situation, support groups or a counselor or therapist. Groups can be incredibly healing as individuals communicate about shared experiences and provide support and helpful feedback.
  • It's temping when traumatized or stressed to move into action mode, but it's really important to avoid making major life decisions when your going through times that challenge mind, body and spirit.

There are many kinds of therapists and counselors that offer different kinds of help for individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, trauma, loss and transitions. EMDR therapy, Somatic Experiencing or SE, CBT or cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness, meditation, art therapy and acupuncture/bodywork are just a few examples of expressive and somatic therapies that can help clients move forward and release trauma. Trauma therapists understand the neurobiological effects of trauma on the body and nervous system and can provide clinically effective interventions for healing and releasing. As a mind-body therapist with a focus on well-being, my favorite modality is EMDR therapy. It is a powerful, evidence-based intervention that helps clients see disturbing material in a new and less distressing way. It leads to deep psychological healing, with less talking, greater emotional regulation and safety and heals the nervous system.

To learn more about trauma, PTSD, therapy and counseling read this article on GoodTherapy.org

 

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

Holiday Boundary-setting Mantra
I’m afraid that’s not possible right now.
— A Dear Friend

The holiday season is one time of year that leaves many of us feeling vulnerable to stress and feelings of overwhelm. The season brings windows dressed with cheer and reminders of other people who appear carefree and happy, while many face the reality of family dysfunction, unrealistic expectations, loneliness, dark days and seasonal affective disorder, poor eating and drinking habits and loved ones who are no longer with us. Social media now contributes a new platform for us to compare our own lives with the experiences of others leading to even more isolation and despair. It is also a time when we may do less self-care than usual--at a time when we actually need a little more TLC. Which brings us to boundaries. It's a good time to learn and practice self-protection. Boundary-setting is very much a learned skill that takes practice and often permission. First, it's important to know your needs and to identify your own physical and emotional limits. Overload cues present to us in different forms. For some, it's a feeling or nudge of what "feels" right or wrong, while others may experience actual physical symptoms such as pain or tension in the body. Tuning-in to "what's happening" with our thoughts and body is key. What follows are some helpful tips to assist you with learning to set boundaries for yourself during this long season of holiday demands.

  • Practice tuning-in to feelings and emotions that you typically deny
  • Notice when/if you begin to have feelings of resentment or feel drained by situations or interactions with others
  • Identify important limits before you feel stressed or angry
  • Learn to be clear, direct and assertive with others and notice what this brings up for you
  • Prioritize self-care even if they are small acts of self-kindness
  • Know your triggers and past especially as people tend to fall into familiar roles with family and when stressed
  • Ask for help or support from someone who is better at setting limits than you 
  • Give yourself permission to say "no" and begin with small steps if this is a new skill for you
  • Use this mantra: "I'm afraid that's not possible right now."

When you take care of yourself by learning to set healthy boundaries you actually create a path for a fuller and more satisfying life.

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

Depression News

It's the time of year when individuals vulnerable to mood difficulties begin to experience symptoms of depression. Therapists who treat depression and anxiety see an increase in requests for psychotherapy evaluations and treatment as the days become shorter and there is less available sunlight. If you're considering medication for depression, you've likely tried other things, including: psychotherapy or talk therapy, exercise, sunlight, anti-inflammatory diets, supplements (SAMe, St John's Wort), extra B vitamins, fish oil and meditation or mindfulness, yet you're still struggling with symptoms. Depression is a complicated matter because there are many reasons people become depressed and different expressions of depression including: major depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), bipolar disorder, psychotic depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and postpartum depression, as examples.  

Because depression can be a challenge to treat, it's unlikely that one form of treatment will address all the symptoms of depression. For instance, individuals with a milder form of depression may respond positively to lifestyle changes such as exercising several times a week, yoga, meditation, supplements for brain and gut health, dietary changes, education about depression, connecting with friends and families and taking steps to avoid isolation. Working with a depression expert can help you develop skills to cope better, in addition to the connection that you develop with another human during the psychotherapy hour. Counseling offers emotional support and may be an opportunity for you to explore suppressed feelings of loss, grief or even abandonment. Unexpressed emotions and thoughts, when given the opportunity for exploration, may provide clues about the nature of your depressive symptoms and even chronic pain and body symptoms. The previously mentioned strategies for mild depression may not require medication. However, sometimes a combination of approaches will provide help for you If you're still depressed after working with a therapist and making lifestyle changes. It may be time to consult with a psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist.

We've established that depression is complicated, we also have some understanding of the many factors that contribute to depression, they are:

  • genetics
  • drug use (recreational, prescribed, over the counter)
  • alcohol abuse
  • medication side effects
  • stress
  • social isolation
  • sexual and physical abuse
  • trauma
  • nutrient deficiencies (B6, B12)
  • loss and unresolved grief
  • life challenges
  • RA
  • infections
  • sex hormone deficiencies and imbalance
  • physical conditions such as cancer, thyroid disease, heart/arterial disease, kidney disease, diabetes, strokes, Parkinson's Disease, MS and chronic pain.

Many are reluctant to seek treatment. They suffer in silence, feeling hopeless and resigned to living with depression. A licensed mental health provider who has experience with mood disorders is a good place to start for an evaluation, treatment plan and the support you need to feel better. A licensed psychiatrist, psychologist or psychotherapist is in the best position to evaluate the nature of your depression and help you with important next steps. It's important to know that It's not your fault. Many are caught in a cycle of self-blame.   

Exactly how complex is depression? Our brains communicate via chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters allow the chemical transmission of signals from one nerve cell to another nerve cell. You may have heard these chemicals referred to as serotonin, dopamine or norepinephrine. Serotonin is found not just in the brain but in the gut and blood platelets. Many scientists believe that serotonin is the body's primary neurotransmitter responsible for mood regulation, and an imbalance or lack of this chemical contributes to depression. Many researchers believe that trauma, stress and other factors lead to a disruption of the normal amounts available for the function of this complex system. We believe that depression is caused by excessive, deficient or disordered neurotransmitters.

What about antidepressants? There are different types of antidepressants that help with serotonin and other neurotransmitters. You might already know about SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. SSRIs are thought to reduce depressive symptoms by increasing levels of serotonin, more specifically, making sure that serotonin stays between the neurons and is not reabsorbed to quickly by the nerve cell. Antidepressants block the "reuptake" system so that serotonin or other targeted neurotransmitters remain available for cellular use. It is this mechanism that is believed to decrease depression and improve emotional wellbeing. SSRIs can take weeks to produce results. Mental health experts and psychiatrists can explain side effects and benefits as well as monitor your progress. For many, antidepressants are ineffective or could work better leading some clinicians to experiment with supplements such as Deplin, which is essentially folate. Depline delivers the B vitamin folate in a form that has already been converted to L-methylfolate, so it can automatically be used to create serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. Many are having good results using medical food supplements. 

Some treatments that help with depression in addition to medication are: EMDR therapy, CBT, interpersonal psychotherapy, corrective nutrients and supplements and mind-body therapies. A book that I find helpful and recommend to clients who prefer a holistic treatment approach in the treatment of their mild to moderate depression is the The Mood Cure by Julia Ross, MA which entails a 4-step natural approach to treating depression. Please do not stop taking medications without the support of your prescribing physician.  

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

EMDR THERAPY FOR LASTING HEALING: RESOLVING SEXUAL, EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE

The recent presidential election, toxic rhetoric and divisiveness has activated or triggered many individuals who have unresolved trauma(s). As a Psychotherapist and trauma therapist with a private practice in New York City, I can share that many men and women have sought counseling to deal with trauma symptoms that have recently surfaced as a result of the accusations of sexual assault and boundary violations revealed during this recent election cycle. Clients state that they now feel empowered and sufficiently supported by others and the community at large to begin to tell their personal stories of rape, assault and inappropriate behaviors. Some have never shared their stories--not with trusted friends or even family members. For many, being in the presence of another, to receive their experience, help hold their fear and terror and help sort out confusion and reality can be extremely healing. Some who have suffered in silence will need more support. EMDR therapy is a therapy modality that can successfully heal these experiences from a neurological standpoint, as well as reduce the impact of painful memories, distorted self-concepts and further support healing the body. 

Many patients seek EMDR therapy following slow progress with traditional psychotherapy or when they feel they have not benefitted from talk therapy, hypnosis or CBT. As a licensed psychotherapist in New York City, EMDR has become my technique of choice to treat a variety of concerns. After years of integrating it into my practice, I've experienced extraordinary success with this technique and feel honored to have witnessed healing, change and growth with my clients. Whether it's trauma(s) related to developmental and relational trauma, a dysfunctional childhood, an accident, addictions, alcoholism, eating disorders, performance problem, crippling anxiety, relationship betrayal, healing from an affair, negative thoughts and patterns or poor self-image, EMDR therapy is a powerful, short-term treatment that reduces distress, suffering and relieves symptoms. 

As a clinician trained in traditional psychotherapy, I have great respect for the supportive nature of the therapy process. Therapy helps clients gain important insight and self-awareness as well as unearth feelings, conflicts and emotions that create obstacles to living a satisfying life. Additionally, the corrective emotional experience that occurs between therapist and client provides healing for those who have not experienced healthy relationships in the past. Psychotherapy also helps patients process minor and major traumas and provides the necessary processing and stabilization that individuals need so that they can begin to move forward with their lives. Many individuals leave psychotherapy feeling that the healing process is incomplete. We now know that talking about trauma is not the best solution for recovery. After years of psychotherapy, patients report that they still struggle to feel healed and well. 

If negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors are still driving you today, EMDR therapy might provide you. In addition to trauma resolution, EMDR treatment can help you resolve negative feelings, emotions and beliefs about yourself that interfere with success and the quality of your life. What follows are some typical cognitions or beliefs that people struggle with even after years of counseling and psychotherapy:

  • I'm not deserving
  • I'm not lovable
  • I'm not capable
  • I'm not good enough
  • It's not safe for me to be regulated and stable
  • If I heal and move forward, I lose connection
  • I always lose or get hurt 
  • Nothing works out for me
  • It's my fault

Because some of these deeply-felt feelings and beliefs are rooted in the past, they are stored in certain parts of the brain and body. The nervous system has been impacted in ways that create disturbance in the here and now. It's common to be triggered and react to situations in the present that unconsciously remind you of past events. This is why people repeat and even continue to engage in negative patterns and relationships. The EMDR technique works in two important ways: it unlocks the negative emotions and feelings that have been stored in the nervous system, brain and body, and it helps the brain successfully reprocess experiences that have been trapped, frozen or repressed. As negative experiences and memories are processed, patients are guided to experience new self-concepts, knowledge and perspectives that allow for healing at the level of the nervous system and feelings of control and mastery.

I frequently integrate behavior and thought-challenging therapies such as CBT and skill building treatments such as DBT to help clients develop coping skills to use in life, in addition to EMDR processing. EMDR therapy helps moves individuals quickly from emotional distress to a peaceful resolution and understanding of the issues involved. In my experience, a combination of therapies skillfully integrated yields the best results for patients and can lead to lasting, successful treatment results.

EMDR therapy, and the many specific protocols can help resolve the following problems and issues:

  • Negative thoughts, memories, feelings and emotions
  • Distressing thoughts and images related to events
  • Low self-esteem
  • Addictions to drugs, alcohol and gambling
  • Eating disorders
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Dissociation
  • Fear of abandonment or being alone
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Loss related to death, divorce, status, physical belongings
  • Injury to a loved one
  • Accidents and injury
  • Medical diagnosis, illness, change of health status 
  • Natural disaster
  • Assault and robbery
  • Rape and sexual issues
  • Witness to violence
  • Victim of a crime
  • Social anxiety, general anxiety, panic, phobias, obsessions, compulsions
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feeling isolated, misunderstood and alone
  • Overwhelming fears and worry
  • Depression and chronic sadness
  • Childhood sexual, emotional physical abuse
  • Stage fright and performance anxiety
  • Anger and rage
  • Acting out
  • Attachment issues
  • Childhood neglect
  • Repeating negative patterns
  • Self-sabotage
  • Insomnia, nightmares and sleep problems
  • Relationship problems and interpersonal difficulties 

To ensure client safety, only licensed mental health experts such as licensed psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists are qualified to receive EMDR training and use this technique in practice. These are the only mental health professionals qualified to use EMDR therapy with clients. To ensure patient safety, a clinical background is required, in addition to EMDR training and the requisite hours of professional supervision from an EMDRIA approved consultant. The EMDR Institute offers two levels of training: Level I (Introductory) and level II (advanced training). Many EMDR practitioners are also members of EMDRIA. Kimberly Seelbrede is a level II advanced-trained EMDR therapist and continues to receive additional training in the use of specific EMDR protocols for a range of applications.

kim seelbrede

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

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 and EMDR Therapy. As an integrative psychotherapist, I have great respect for many of 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 as a root cause and to 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 to give them. The pleasurable aspect becomes the "target" in the EMDR treatment process. The exact "feeling state" and behavior is identified during sessions and the fixation on that feeling is the focus using a specific protocol. When the fixation is broken, urges and cravings no longer need to be managed with the substance or behavior. Treatment also includes sessions that focus on other aspects of client functioning-support and goals that don't involve EMDR in addition to the focused EMDR protocol therapy.

If you're struggling with addictions (substance or process addictions--gambling, drugs, food, spending, alcohol) anxiety, negative thoughts and images, abuse, betrayal, trauma and PTSD, "feeling stuck" in your life, relationship problems, grief, and other troubling behaviors, contact me to learn more about psychotherapy combined with EMDR therapy.

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

Therapy And Counseling: Finding The Right Fit

Finding a therapist can be difficult especially if you don't have the benefit of a referral, and you're likely unsure of the type of counseling that would best serve your needs. Sources such as Psychology Today can provide profiles of therapists in your area, as well as list the specific issues addressed by the counselors, psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. Professionals have expertise 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. Below are some typical types of psychotherapy modalities that psychotherapists and psychologists use with their clients.

COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY OR CBT

CBT is a short-term, goal-oriented treatment modality that aims to shift negative patterns of thinking as well as change problem behaviors. Therapist and client work together to identify faulty thinking patterns that contribute to symptoms such as depression and anxiety and create an action plan for change. Homework may be an integral part of this treatment modality and may consist of keeping track of feelings, thoughts and behaviors between sessions. Therapists who practice other forms of therapy may believe that CBT is less effective because it doesn't address the root cause of suffering. Proponents of CBT feel that this form of treatment is superior to other forms of talk therapy in that it provides clients with new skills to use as symptoms arise and it exposes clients to challenges, such as phobias, thus allowing them to become desensitized to the feared object. CBT is used for depression, anxiety, panic, phobias, worry, eating disorders and more. You can find a cognitive behavior therapist on sites such as Good Therapy and Psychology Today.

PSYCHODYNAMIC PSYCHOTHERAPY

Psychodynamic therapy is all about talking, specifically, the patient is asked to speak freely about his or her thoughts, emotions, feelings and concerns. What happens in this form of therapy is that unconscious dynamics and patterns of behavior surface, and with the help of the analyst or therapist, the client is able to develop insight and self-awareness of the underlying dynamics that drive problem behaviors. In a collaborative manner, conflicts can be brought to light and change can be explored. Dynamic therapy is helpful for conflicts that create anxiety, panic disorder, self-defeating patterns, feeling "stuck," blocks and inhibitions, depression, and other difficulties that interfere with optimal functioning and a more conflict-free and satisfying life. Sessions may be conducted once or twice weekly. It's important to find a therapist who has training in psychodynamic or psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

INTERPERSONAL THERAPY

People often struggle with relationships and feeling connected to others. Interpersonal therapy is an attachment and communication-focused therapy that is typically used to treat clients with depression. The focus is on the individual's significant relationships with others and how depressive symptoms have impacted their ability to connect and relate to friends, family and significant others. Initially patient and therapist assess the problem areas of one's life then create a plan to focus on and improve their interpersonal skills which will generalize to more fulfilling and satisfying personal relationships. Improved relationships have been demonstrated to reduce symptoms of depression.

DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY OR DBT

Originally developed to treat individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD, client symptoms included suicidal thoughts, unstable moods, transient paranoid ideation, distress symptoms such as fear of abandonment, panic and anxiety, DBT has been demonstrated to be a useful treatment for other concerns such as eating disorders, addictions and substance abuse. DBT helps clients gain validation for their feelings and learn to understand the extreme nature of their thoughts and feelings, as well as learn more adaptive coping and interpersonal skills that lead to a more balanced, rational and moderate way of being. This therapy is helpful for those who experience rapid mood shifts, emotional reactivity, black and white thinking, feelings of emptiness, problems related to abuse and trauma, ED's, OCD and substance abuse or addictions. Patients can work with individual therapists, and many find group settings to help them address skills, problem-solving and interpersonal deficits. Homework and monitoring is an important part of this treatment.

EMDR THERAPY

EMDR Therapy or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a therapeutic technique that is effective for removing performance blocks, changing negative thought patterns, emotional reactions, entrenched habits and even physical discomfort that people can’t “think" or "talk" their way out of. EMDR is one of the most successful treatments for PTSD and for resolving troubling emotions, negative thinking and thought patterns linked to painful past experiences, ongoing trauma or traumatic events such as a medical trauma or accidents. Information processing theory reveals that multiple elements such as thoughts, feelings, sounds, body sensations and images of experience(s) are stored as memories in accessible and useful forms in the brain. However since emotions and cognitions are stored in different places in the brain, the lack of integration leads to psychological symptoms and suffering. EMDR psychotherapy, eye movement or other forms of bilateral stimulation facilitates healthy integration within the brain leading to lasting healing and resolution at the level of the nervous system. During EMDR treatment, negative cognitions, images, feelings, emotions, sounds, smells and body sensations that are often linked with negative experiences are replaced with positive, accurate and more helpful, healing information. During the EMDR session, the therapist uses the information provided by the client to help them correct and free the "stuck" material. Eye movements or any form of bilateral stimulation (tactile or auditory) is used to neurologically stimulate both sides of the brain so that images, feelings, negative cognitions become desensitized and experienced differently. EMDR is a technique used as a primary therapy, integrated into traditional psychotherapy sessions or as an adjunct form of treatment to facilitate the progress of psychotherapy sessions. 

FAMILY THERAPY

Family therapy considers the family unit to be a system with its own unique dynamics--members are identified as having specific roles. People seek family therapy for specific problems such as an addiction in the family, mental illness, eating disorders, abuse, financial concerns, a crisis with one or more members, communication problems and dysfunction patterns within the relationship between family members.

COUPLES THERAPY, RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING AND MARITAL THERAPY

Some psychotherapists and marriage and family counselors have received specialized training to help clients seeking relationship counseling address concerns such as: problem dynamics; communication challenges, work life balance, mental health issues, loss and grief, transitions, attachment deficits, betrayal (emotional or physical affairs), sexual concerns, intimacy, divorce and separation.and more. Additionally, relationship counseling can support other types of significant relationships such as siblings and colleagues.   

 GROUP THERAPY

Group therapy involves psychotherapists or psychologists leading a group of individuals seeking help, meeting weekly for 1-2 hours and may range from 5-15 members. Groups are designed to address a specific problem, examples include: depression, anxiety, social anxiety, panic and phobias, OCD, ADD/ADHD, autism spectrum, trauma, abuse, eating disorders, habit control, LGBTQ, obesity, chronic pain and substance use/abuse. Some groups may focus on improving social skills and self-esteem, loneliness, parenting, postpartum depression, loss and grief, single/dating, divorce support and anger and rage. Many group members also participate in their own personal therapy, although group therapy alone can be incredibly healing and supportive. 

Group therapy is useful for patients who want to explore the conflicts and challenges he or she regularly experiences at work, in life and with relationships. The group setting is therapeutic because the group members struggle with similar issues and benefit from feedback. Dynamics begin to surface within the group setting and can be worked out, as well as the supportive nature of the group experience can be healing. Group therapy is helpful for people struggling with loss and bereavement, anxiety, depression, trauma, abuse, eating disorders. Group therapy is less expensive and therefore a better option for those on a budget.

 

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

Mindfulness And Eating Disorders: What Helps?

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 impose on 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. Because mindful eating is used to help clients attend to feelings of satiety and hunger, many in early treatment are unable to do this because their "cues" are impaired. The goal is to get ED clients eating again in a supportive way. Eventually and with time, mindfulness can play an important part of life after an eating disorder.

That said, mindfulness-focused treatment may be more helpful for BED or binge eating clients who may find themselves binging to relieve painful emotional states such as anxiety, anger, shame and feelings of worthlessness. The binge is a means of relieving tension or numbing negative feelings and emotions. A mindfulness-based approach can help clients learn to connect with the feelings and emotions that drive a binge episode. 

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

Holiday Survival Tips For Couples

As a therapist who enjoys providing marriage and couples therapy, I've made the observation that partners struggle to work as a team during the busy, stress-filled and conflict-ridden holiday season. Feeling torn with competing interests such as family needs, travel and extra demands on time and energy can bring many to exasperation and exhaustion. If you tend to suffer because of your "people pleasing" nature and an inability to say NO, protecting your boundaries or creating healthy boundaries for yourself (perhaps you're new at this?) can be a real challenge. Many couples and partners enter marriage and family counseling after the holidays because they feel disconnected, hurt and misunderstood, in addition to a range of other experiences, including once-enjoyed intimacy. Being in the company of family and friends can trigger feelings of resentment, reignite old wounds as well as family of origin issues--leaving even high-functioning couples feeling de-skilled and in need of support.  

So, how do you reconnect after fighting, communication problems and hurt feelings? Having some simple couples tools at your ready can help you avoid the downward spiral. What follows are relationship skills that successful, connected couples practice regularly:

  • Be extra kind to yourself if you are prone to becoming depressed and anxious during the holiday season. It's the season and time of year for increased mood and anxiety problems, and for many reasons! Acknowledge and accept your losses and loneliness. It can be a lonely time and also a reminder of people who are no longer with us as well as other endings such as break-ups, broken families and the lost hopes and dreams that accompany these changes. Find a compassionate and understanding person to share your feelings with, so that you feel less alone. It is likely that others are experiencing similar feelings. It can be really painful forcing smiles through the pain.
  • It's a time for people who struggle with alcohol and drug abuse to feel triggered and to fall off the wagon or up their use. Alcohol and many drugs actually make depression worse. Attend meetings such as AA if this is a helpful solution for you, or reach out to a trusted buddy or trusted family member to support you.
  • Not everything needs your attention. Sorry to say. Slack off where you can to reduce your stress and anxiety. Ask for help! This may not be your identity, or a style that you naturally default to, but consider making small changes.
  • Prepare in advance for the difficult people. They are what they are and likely haven't changed. So greet them with the awareness of what is, and be open to whatever may be. Roll with it and avoid defensiveness or getting "sucked in" to their drama. Don't engage, walk away if necessary, find some compassion and empathy and don't let them bring you down. Be the one who rises above the noise. If you're an adult, you may find it better for YOU to avoid these people altogether or make other plans. Try something different.
  • Good spirit may include laughter. This helps, and lots of it! Look for the humor in the predictable or even new situations. 
  • Watch distorted thinking during the holidays. Some top of the list favorites are: All or nothing thinking, mind reading, overgeneralization, jumping to conclusions and I "should" be doing this or that.
  • Do something for someone else. Acts of kindness can ease your own misery.
  • If you've overwhelmed yourself, take a break and pause--just breathe. The super simple four part breath can be done anytime and anywhere. Inhale for a count of 4, pause for 4 counts, exhale for a count of 4 then rest for 4 counts. Remove yourself from a situation and breathe. This strategy helps even if you do it for minutes at a time. It will help remove holiday stress toxins and help you feel centered (or more centered).
  • Check-in with your partner. A simple "how are you doing" can help you reconnect and convey love and care. Gestures such as touching can offer support as well. Have a "time out" hug.

Compassion and empathy, even when tempers flair, can help you stay aligned with your partner during the holidays. Successful couples learn to consistently practice teamwork.  Remember: It's not a time to storm out during a heated moment--this leaves your partner feeling abandoned and will create additional problems later. Already sensitive as a result of other stressors, abandonment can be difficult to repair during times of stress, so be mindful. It's also not the time to try to "win" an argument or exercise your need to be "right." I hope you have an easy and compassion-filled holiday. 

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

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 DBT cheat-sheet to have handy when: life happens, you feel overwhelmed, and you can't seem to remember what to do in the moment! 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, interpersonal effectiveness, stress and strong emotions. With the holiday season comes 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, one goal is to 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 (as they often don't), remember to move to Distress Tolerance and take a Vacation from whatever you're experiencing. Practice Radical Acceptance, Self-Soothing techniques and use Distractions. Therapy clients can use diary cards to keep track of the invalidating thoughts and behaviors that create ongoing problems. Diary cards can also be used to record helpful coping mechanisms. Remember: personal success, effectiveness, positive feelings and change is possible when you practice. If you are new to Dialectical Behavior Therapy, you can learn more about DBT Treatment here...

Quick reference list of skills for DBT users. Here you go...

Mindfulness

What skills...

  • Wise Mind (intuition & a "felt sense")
  • Observe
  • Describe
  • Participate

How skills...

  • Non-judgmentally
  • One-Mindfully
  • Effectively

Distress Tolerance

Crisis survival and using Wise Mind Accepts...

  • Use ACCEPTS: Activities, Contributing, Comparisons, Emotions, Pushing away, Thoughts, Sensations
  • Use Self-Soothing with the five senses: Sight, Sound, Scent, Touch, Taste
  • Use IMPROVE the moment: Imagery, Meaning, Prayer, Relaxation, One thing at a time, Vacation, Encouragement

Using Accepting Reality...

  • Willingness
  • Pros and Cons
  • Radical Acceptance

Emotion Regulation

Using Reduce Vulnerability...

  • PLEASE: Treat Physical iLlness, balance Eating, Avoid drugs and alcohol, balance Sleep, Exercise daily
  • Build Mastery
  • Build Positive Experiences
  • Be mindful of current emotion
  • Opposite-to-Emotion Action

Interpersonal Effectiveness

  • Use DEAR MAN: Describe, Express, Assert, Reinforce, stay Mindful, Appear confident, Negotiate

Using Relationship Effectiveness...

  • Use GIVE: be Gentle, act Interested, Validate, use an Easy manner

Self-Respect Effectiveness...

  • Use FAST: be Fair, no Apologies, Stick to values, be Truthful

 

#coachsays, Addictions + Compulsions, Anger + Rage, Balance + Lifestyle, Change + Growth, Change Your Life, Control + Mastery, DBT + CBT, Dealing With Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Effective Communication, EMDR Therapy, Emotional Health, Empowerment, Fear + Worry, Feeling Stuck, Feelings + Emotions, Healing Inside Out, Intuition + Knowing, Intuitive Nudge, Letting Go + Acceptance, LifeFix Rx, Managing Pain, Mind Clutter, Mood Rx, Moving Forward, Negativity, Nerve Tonic, Nice + No, Obstacles + Blocks, Overcoming Adversity, Problem Personalities, Psych Ed, Psychology + Theory, Psychotherapy + Therapy, Recovery + Sobriety, Reflective Self, Relationships + Couples, Saying No, Self Development, Self Expression, Self-Esteem + Self-Worth, Self-Help Tips, Simplify Your Life, Skillfully Coped, Spiritual Counseling, Style + Lifestyle, Success + Fullfillment, Transformation + Evolving, Transforming Pain, Adolescents + Young Adult, #shrinkthinkskim seelbredeKim Seelbrede, LCSW EMDR Expert New York City, NYC Psychotherapistanxiety therapy nyc, addiction psychotherapists nyc, triggers, relationship coaching, dbt coaching, dbt therapy nyc, trauma healing, depression therapist nyc, surviving the holidays, mindfulness therapy, stress management, holiday stress, relationship and marital help, couples therapy and conflict, stress reduction therapy manhattan, health and immune support, meditation therapists, eating disorder therapy treatment, substance abuse, add, self harm help, ptsd therapy, therapists new york city

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

Engage Your Vagus Nerve: Breathing Techniques For Relaxation And Insomnia Relief

Concerns about the long-term impact of chronic stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia is a topic of concern for many of my coaching and therapy clients. A few stressful, sleepless nights can easily spiral into a regular problem as clients begin to develop a negative relationship with bedtime and sleep. Many will seek the help of a psychiatrist to obtain prescription medications in an effort to break the cycle. This is reasonable for many in the short-term, but less than ideal as a long-term solution. I always recommend lifestyle modifications and attempts at simple changes in the environment first. In addition to dimming the lights and reducing evening electronic stimulation, some helpful evening rituals include: meditation, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, restorative yoga, gentle stretching to release tension in the body, a warm bath, tea, herbs and homeopathic support. You may not be aware that throughout your busy day, your breathing has become shallow. Your thoughts likely contribute to this process as well. When you are having negative thoughts or feeling demands and pressure, you create tension in your body by inhaling longer than you're exhaling. The goal is to help you become more mindful of this process throughout your day and create greater ease in your body. 

Breathing keeps us alive, but you may not know about the importance of enlisting your diaphragm and lungs to relax your nervous system. As you go about your day, you need your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) to help with metabolism and keep you alert and managing the stress and demands of the day. All good, and just as it's meant to be! However, as you move towards evening, your body needs to power down -- it's time to relax, unwind, conserve energy, and allow for the cellular renewal and healing that occurs with sleep. This is when the parasympathetic division (PNS) becomes your restoration ally. Both aspects, the SNS and PNS are divisions of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which has the job of regulating and maintaining vital organ function. 

With every inhale, you activate the SNS -- It's an energizing function, speeding up the heart rate and allowing you to prepare for activity and alertness. When you exhale, the PNS is turned on which then activates the vagus nerve, thus slowing the heart rate. What's the point of all of this? When you exhale, and especially when you consciously lengthen your exhale, this calms your nervous system and creates a natural sedation. Thats right -- natural, organic, drug-free sedation that you can learn to activate on your own, as needed! If you already have a regular yoga, meditation or pranayama practice, you know that deep inhalation energizes and invigorates, while the process of exhalation calms, de-stresses, and grounds the body and nervous system. 

Yoga practitioners can choose to emphasize relaxation or energizing, depending on the particular needs of the mind and body. If you're trying to manage conditions such as anxiety, insomnia and depression, it's helpful to know how to focus your breathing efforts. With respect to general health, lack of stimulation can contribute to depression, while over-stimulation can lead to anxiety and insomnia. Certain medications, recreational drug and alcohol use, sugar, uncontrolled stress and poor lifestyle habits can contribute to emotional health challenges. Whether you're struggling with anxiety or depression, it's good to know that you may be able to support positive health changes by focusing just on your breathing! 

I frequently suggest the following simple breathing technique... 

  1. Once you're in bed, your room and surroundings should be free from distractions, light and noise -- settle in and allow your body to relax into the comfort of your bed. 
  2. Take even, relaxed breaths. When you're ready, take deeper, even breaths. Initially, you can mentally count, allowing the inhale to equal the count of the exhale. Most are comfortable with an inhale of 3 counts, and an exhale of 3. You can also connect to the body by placing a hand on your chest or belly, noticing the rise and fall of your body.  
  3. You might observe your thoughts, sounds in your environment and various sensations in the body, as you do this. Gently bring your awareness back to the steady rhythm of the breath. 
  4. As you become comfortable with the six count breathing technique 3/3, begin to focus on lengthening exhalation. The shorter inhalation will be followed with a slightly longer exhalation. The goal is to experience a deepened relaxation in mind and body. 

When the sun greets you in the morning, you can consider lengthening the inhalation, as needed, throughout the day to activate the SNS, giving you the necessary energy to move through your day. 

Cheat sheet...

  • Longer inhale for energy and alertness
  • Longer exhale to activate the vagus nerve and relaxation response  

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

EMDR: Voice Of The Patient

If you're curious about how EMDR psychotherapy can help you resolve trauma, negative experiences and other challenges, please enjoy this short YouTube video that includes the voices of patients who now experience freedom and hope as a result of their EMDR treatment. Not just for trauma resolution, EMDR psychotherapy is an effective treatment for a variety of concerns including: eating disorders, addictions, compulsions, phobias, guilt, depression, anxiety, shame, negative self-concepts and more. You can learn more about EMDR, or find an EMDR therapist by visiting EMDRIA and by watching this video.

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

You Were Meant To Love

"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

~Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

I Scream For Chocolate: Raw, Healthy Goodness
All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.
— Charles M. Schulz

It's good to try new things, especially if you're focused on creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself or your family! I'm not a fan of punishing and restrictive diets and food plans, however many are now being told that they must eliminate gluten, added sugar and dairy, because of health concerns and food sensitivities. If this is the case for you, I believe that you'll be happier and more successful if you find ways to continue to enjoy eating by finding creative ways to work around problem foods that contribute to autoimmune problems, inflammation and other health concerns. Restriction tends to be a recipe for relapse. 

The following dessert recipes are packed with "super foods" that actually hit the sweet spot. Your palate, brain and body will love these. Additionally, sans all the simple sugars and unhealthy ingredients that you'd find in a classic restaurant dessert, these ingredients also maintain stable blood sugar and keeps your insulin low. Blood sugar spikes are hard on the body. We now know that sugar lights up the same receptors in our brain as cocaine? Yes, you read that right! Eating high-sugar foods lights up your brain on an MRI “like a Christmas tree,” according to Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., functional medicine doctor in this HuffPost Live interview. The part of the brain that lights up is the very same part of the brain that’s triggered by cocaine or heroine, according to research by Dr. David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D. As with any "high," a cranky crash is sure to follow.

What to do? Healthy, raw fats like coconut oil and avocado helps your body manage sugar better. We get the pleasant experience of sweet, with significantly less crash. Nature's exquisite elixir honey, in addition to raw cacao, both contain an abundance of B-vitamins, antioxidants and essential minerals--all natural immune system boosters. Your body will bless you with stable blood sugar and reduced inflammation--both supporting enhanced mental health including help with depression and anxiety. Enjoy these "guilt-free" and very satisfying, healthy raw and yummy desserts. 

Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse:

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh, ripe large avocado
  • 4 heaping tablespoons of raw cocoa powder (I like Navitas)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • About 8 medjool dates (depends on desired sweetness)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
  • Some water until you get a consistency that appeals to you
  • Extras: peppermint extract, coffee, cardamom, fresh coconut, orange extract, cayenne, cinnamon, banana, peanut butter 

Blend until smooth in a high speed food processor, Vitamix or other blender, scrape container as needed You can play around with this recipe, substituting medjool dates with banana and adding some of the suggested ingredients listed above. Refrigerate, or not.  If you are going low-glycemic, skip the dates and add a bit of stevia to taste.

And this superfood dessert recipe uses raspberries and coconut oil, and is adapted from MindBodyGreen.com

Raw Chocolate Avocado Raspberry Mousse (vegan):

Ingredients:

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup raw cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk or almond milk
  • Stevia to taste or raw honey (or other natural sweetener)
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • Optional extras: toasted sliced almonds, chia seeds, frozen mixed berries, almond butter, cocoa nibs, coconut flakes, pecans

Combine in a blender or food processor avocado until smooth. Add your cacao, coconut milk, oil, honey,and berries. Blend until smooth. You will probably need to mix it up once or twice with a spoon, because it is quite thick. This is a dark chocolate recipe. If you prefer milk chocolate, add a bit more honey to taste as well as coconut milk.

Practice acceptance, compassion and change what you can. Take care, KS

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

EMDR Therapy - "Stuck" And Moving Towards Becoming "Unstuck"

As a psychotherapist and coach in Manhattan, I treat clients with a range of concerns from stress and life challenges to recovery from addictions and trauma. Many have suffered developmental trauma or single incident trauma and now have symptoms of PTSD which impacts many aspects of their lives including personal relationships and work. In order to understand EMDR, one needs to be clear about how trauma can affect the brain. When an individual experiences a traumatic event or multiple traumas they may develop what is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD as a response to the overwhelming event(s). When this occurs, the brain fails to successfully process the trauma leaving it "stuck" or "frozen" in the central nervous system. This often leads to numbness, dissociation, severe anxiety, depression, insomnia, addictions, physical complaints and an inability to experience "safety."  In everyday life, in the here and now, the body fails to recognize that the person is now safe and it reacts as though the danger is current and in present time, leaving the individual in a state of emotional and physical arousal.

EMDR therapy as a treatment, is unique because it facilitates the processing of trauma information that has become "stuck" in the central nervous system. The various elements of EMDR therapy serves to rewire the brain, calm the nervous system and lessen anxiety and symptoms. It "uploads" a more corrective experience, moving the client from pain and danger to "I survived," "It wasn't my fault" or "I did all that I could" as examples. Brain scans have actually captured information transferring from one side of a brain to another as a person experiences an EMDR session. The same cannot be said for other forms of therapies such as CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Historically, we have used talk-based therapies, CBT or medication to ameliorate the symptoms associated with PTSD. EMDR can be viewed as a form of CBT, and medication can be used to provide symptomatic relief while undergoing EMDR treatment. 

Talk therapy and a trusting relationship with the therapist is absolutely necessary and supportive for the duration of the treatment, but often, the brain will begin to loop back into the trauma with traditional talk therapy, and the cycle will begin again. We now know that individuals with PTSD have limbic systems that are more active then non-PTSD therapy clients. Psychotherapy or talk therapy may not de-condition the limbic system in ways that provide optimal healing. Clients experience extreme frustration as they work diligently in sessions and experience little symptomatic relief. Additionally, the retelling of their trauma experiences often leaves them feeling re-traumatized and even more vulnerable.

More information about EMDR Treatment...

Regarding the neurobiology of trauma we now know that early childhood trauma causes "synaptic pruning" which predisposes a person to developing PTSD.  A traumatic event "freezes" the integrative processes of the brain; the information is then stored in a fragmented form in the right side of the brain. Many individuals with trauma histories have lost the capacity to analyze and categorize arousing information because they can't always "talk" about it and the left hemisphere is then "locked out" of the process. In short, the person attempting to talk their way to healing cannot utilize language in a way that allows them to gain the necessary distance from the painful stimulus. EMDR uses specific protocols to create distance so that the trauma can be reprocessed and fully integrated into both hemispheres of the brain. The grip of hyper-arousal and body tension is then decreased for the client and the nervous system can ease into a new calm.

After successful EMDR treatment the original trauma targets are less activating for clients. In short, their brains are not as geared to traumatic stimuli and better able to attend to more neutral stimuli going forward. In my opinion, the real beauty of EMDR treatment lies in its ability to provide the nervous system with calming, supportive experiences and images that serve the recovering client well after treatment has ended. The client is empowered with an enhanced capacity to self-soothe and call upon nurturing and supportive images, which creates a sense of safety. Feelings of terror and helplessness are replaced with positive emotions and the new belief that one has power and efficacy in the here and now, and in their lives. When it comes to un-freezing trauma, the powerful combination of a supportive therapist and the wisdom of mind/body integration may provide superior treatment, helping "stuck" clients become "unstuck."

EMDR successfully treats trauma-related symptoms, as well as performance issues, addiction, substance abuse, depression, nightmares, fears, anxiety, panic disorder, eating disorders, health concerns, health fears, insomnia, sexual abuse and trauma, emotional abuse issues, bullying, neglect, abandonment, relationship problems and breaking negative patterns and dynamics.

New York City Therapist Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a skilled licensed Psychotherapist, Relationship and Stress Reduction Expert in New York City. She provides therapy, EMDR & Coaching to individuals and couples. With a holistic approach to health, healing and wellness, her psychotherapy practice is integrative and creative. 

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

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:

  • Take a walk or brief run
  • Stretch or do yoga
  • Use a guided meditation tape
  • Dance to music
  • Cooking
  • Start a puzzle
  • Paint or draw
  • knit, sew or crochet
  • Write in your journal
  • Watch a movie or television show
  • Play a video game
  • Read an engaging book
  • Call a trusted friend

CRISIS PLAN

Many Therapist suggest having a crisis plan when you feel overwhelmed with strong feelings or emotions. What might this look like?

  • Call a family member or friend
  • Reach out to your psychotherapist or psychiatrist, or make notes for your therapist to discuss at your next session which can help you to feel more connected during distress
  • Call a hotline, 911 or go to your local ER if you're in distress

PRACTICE EMOTIONAL AWARENESS

Practicing emotional awareness helps you identify important triggers, feelings and emotions in an effort to disrupt a potential downward spiral. Identifying what may be going on for you sooner rather than later builds personal competency and supports healing and emotional growth. Some examples to help you include: using a journal to express yourself, drawing your emotions and feelings, movement that describes how you're feeling. If you're not sure what you are feeling (this happens!) look at a chart that describes or lists a range of feelings.

BECOME MORE MINDFUL

While some find that being in the body increases anxiety to unbearable levels (guided meditation is a solution for this), many are able to learn to tolerate feeling grounded and being in the present moment. You may not know what works for you which is okay, so experiment with the following: meditation, restorative yoga, breathing exercises, relaxation recordings and focusing on an object that can ground you such as crystal. 

OPPOSITE ACTION

Whatever your impulse or act of self-sabotage may be (binge eating, cutting, drugs, alcohol or any form of "acting out" which evokes shame and later causes self-loathing and guilt, try something different that's more in line with a positive emotion. It's always easier to do the thing that you do and it takes great effort to make a different choice in the moment. Opposite action includes:

  • Walking away from a situation when you are angry
  • Distracting yourself with something pleasant instead of punishing yourself
  • Instead of staying in bed, get up and do something that will lead to more positive feelings
  • Tackle something you're avoiding (organizing a closet, cleaning, calling a friend, taking first steps to start a project)
  • Do something that has caused you shame in the past (which is a message you likely learned in the past but does not need to be in your life now) such as: practice self-care, get medical care, get a massage, eat something good or nourishing, buy a dress and so on. You will find that the more you practice this, you will become desensitized to feelings of shame.

It's important to know that the goal here is not about trying to suppress your emotions, rather, it's using that anger, sadness or anxiety to take a different action. With time, you can create more resilience, increased self-esteem, better coping mechanisms and an increase in positive emotions. 

 

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

How To: Easy Mindfulness

There is an art to being "present" especially in a stressed-out culture of distractions, hyper-productivity and social media, however you can learn to think differently and even rewire your brain. Many therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists prescribe Mindfulness and MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) to help cope with anxiety and depression. What is the goal with mindfulness meditation? To learn to give your attention fully to whatever you may be doing -- eating, loving, working, parenting, exercising, doing chores, as examples -- its application is limitless, and it may very well be the key to your survival, good health and emotional well-being. 

It's easy. Heres how to begin:

  1. Find a comfortable seat. Keep your back straight, soften and drop your shoulders. You can close your eyes, or keep them open. Take a deep breath.
  2. Notice your breathing, without changing it. Focus on the sensation of air moving in and out of your nostrils, notice your lungs expanding and contracting.
  3. You will have thoughts that distract you from your focus on breathing. Acknowledge these thoughts and then return your focus to your breathing. Keep doing this.
  4. Don't judge yourself, simply notice any distractions, sounds in the environment and that the mind wants to wander.  A new thought comes into your mind, notice it, then return to your breathing. (adaptation from Full Catastrophe Living

Do this 10 short minutes per day. If you enjoy technology, or you just need a little supported guidance, many of my clients prefer to use one of the many apps found on iTunes or Google Play. One of my personal favorites is an app called Headspace, developed by former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe, it is a simple and elegant way to learn. Watch Andy Puddicombe teaching "doing nothing" on TedSalon.

Interesting in learning more about the benefits of Mindfulness? Empirically supported benefits of mindfulness include:

  • reduced anxiety and rumination
  • decreased negative affect and depression
  • decreased somatic distress 
  • reduces psychological distress
  • boosts to working memory
  • increases attention span
  • less emotional reactivity
  • increases cognitive flexibility
  • enhances relationship satisfaction
  • enhances self-awareness
  • improves immune functioning 
  • increases information processing speed 
  • improves social relationships
  • increases happiness and well-being
  • increases empathy and compassion 

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

Yes, Sex Is Important

When you work with couples, the topic of sex is likely to surface at some point. If it doesn't, that becomes interesting, and something worthy of exploring during relationship counseling. Sex is complicated! It's an area that suffers when other problems and conflicts arise within the relationship. Sex, or lack of it, can be impacted by stress, anger, illness, hormones, parenting and other life challenges. Some people use sex to reward or punish their partner. Individuals certainly have varying levels of interest in sex. We know that one's ability to enjoy their sexuality can be impacted by many factors including: family of origin, culture, religion, media messages, past experiences and sexual trauma. People get lazy, especially in long-term relationships.

Yes, sex is important, and great sex is even better. It helps if you can see your partner, and your partner's body as a source of pleasure. You should see your body as a source of pleasure, because it is. People who are connected to their sexual energy are attractive and interesting. The intimacy and release of the bonding hormone oxytocin that occurs during sex helps keep you close. Oxytocin feels good, and makes you glow all over.  Sex is a form of communication -- It's important to be curious about your needs and the needs of your partner. Your sensuality can make your life richer and fuller. Your sexual energy can keep you engaged in your life and spark your creativity and productivity. Having satisfying sex can help keep your relationship alive, fun and vibrant. You can also turn to sex and intimacy during challenging times as a source of comfort. You can even have sex in your eighties (it might be a bit different than it was in your thirties, or not). While I believe it's important to talk about issues that may be negatively impacting your life and relationship, sometimes it's important to just have sex. Touch your partner. It's a good place to start  

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

#shrinkthinks - How To Connect To Your Dark Side

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."  ~Carl Jung

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com

Lifestyle Changes To Reduce Chronic Pain, Inflammation And Depression

As a holistic psychotherapist in New York City, I'm always curious about the exquisite interplay between the mind and body, especially when clients present with symptoms that overlap. Both women and men who seek therapy or consultations frequently report symptoms that seem to overlap with depression such as: fatigue, lethargy, insomnia and sleep disturbances, decreased social activity, lethargy, decreased libido, appetite changes, and anhedonia. The picture, and the treatment plan, is not always immediately clear. As a society, we are quick to prescribe an antidepressant or medication ignoring the root cause of suffering. Psychotherapists, when they are oriented to a mind-body connection, are in a perfect position to take a comprehensive approach to helping clients improve both emotional and physical well being. 

What do we know about depression and chronic inflammation? Studies show a link between depression and inflammation that is bidirectional, that is, depression contributes to inflammatory responses in the body and inflammatory processes promotes depression. Inflammation is present in a number of disorders and systemic diseases, including: diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, asthma, chronic pain, and psoriasis. These chronic health conditions also put individuals at an increased risk for depression, according to The American Journal of Psychiatry

What causes inflammation? Inflammation can occur in response to illness, trauma and stress, in addition to less-than-desirable lifestyle habits. Inflammation is the response that you want your body to mount when you have an injury or trauma. It helps the body heal. Chronic inflammation, also known as low-grade or systemic inflammation is like an ever-present flame in your body that leads to serious health problems down the road. 

If you struggle with depression and anxiety symptoms, chronic pain, autoimmune disorders or your blood tests such as C-reactive protein (CRP) or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) come back out of range, it might be time to seriously work towards lowering the heat in the body by making important lifestyle changes. Many of my therapy and coaching clients find that attending to the physical body, in addition to addressing emotional concerns, trauma and relationship struggles leads to a more balanced and thorough approach to healing. What follows are some important health concerns linked to chronic inflammation, pain, depression and autoimmune disorders:

  • Periodontal disease 
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Hormone imbalance 
  • Allergies
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • RA or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Fibromyalgia
  • MS or Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lupus
  • Crohn's disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Autism
  • Heart disease
  • Alzheimer's
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cortisol (excess)

In addition to helping clients address psychological concerns such as thoughts, patterns and obstacles, I also encourage them to explore and optimize the following: stress management, self-care, exercise and healthy food options and lifestyle changes such as: 

  • Lifestyle positives - Proper exercise, sunlight, sleep, blood sugar regulation, dietary changes, proper nutrition, improved gut integrity, meditation, guided imagery, positive social interactions, feelings of love and appreciation, gratitude, positive thoughts, play and hobbies.
  • Lifestyle negatives - Stress, high cortisol, obesity, blood sugar dysregulation, over-exercising, lack of exercise, high sugar intake, foods that trigger autoimmune responses, hormonal imbalance, social isolation, anger, negative emotions and unresolved trauma.

What follows are lifestyle changes and supplements that support healing:

  • Exercise - (I know you know this one!)
  • Anti-inflammatory diet - Eat whole foods, high fiber, and if possible, a plant-based diet which is anti-inflammatory and full of phytonutrients. Reduce or eliminate trans fats, sugars, processed and refined foods. Dr. Weil has sound and simple-to-follow information on his website www.drweil.com
  • Vagus nerve - Learn to actively engage your vagus nerve, the powerful nerve that promotes nervous system relaxation and lowers inflammation, by practicing meditation and breathing techniques, doing yoga, deep breathing, Qigong or taking a hot bath.
  • Probiotics - Take daily to help your digestion and improve the healthy bacteria in your gut which reduces inflammation. 
  • Food allergies - If you suspect food allergies, find out what they are and stop eating them.
  • Hidden or chronic infections and toxins - These include viruses, bacteria, yeasts or parasites, hidden allergens from food or the environment.
  • Fish Oil - Fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital to good physical and brain health. Eat healthy fats from nuts, avocados, olive oil and omega 3 fats from small fish like herring, sable, sardines and wild salmon.  DHA, in particular, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects that reduce cytokine levels and promote gut health. 
  • Ginger - Ginger root reduces inflammation and is also commonly used to treat indigestion and nausea. C-reactive protein or CRP, insulin and HbA1c levels can be decreased significantly with regular ginger use.
  • Curcumin or Tumeric - This super root can decrease inflammation in diabetes, heart disease and cancer as well as improve symptoms of metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes), osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Curcumin can also reduce inflammation markers such as CRP and MDA. Curcumin is poorly absorbed when taken on its own, but is boosted by black pepper.
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid - Alpha-lipoic acid is a fatty acid that reduces inflammation. Studies show that it reduces the inflammation linked to insulin resistance, liver disease, heart disease, cancer and other disorders. 
  • Vitamins - A good vitamin and mineral supplement that includes: vitamin E, selenium, mixed carotenoids, folic acid, magnesium and supplement with vitamin D, vitamin C, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and calcium for women.
  • Low Dose Naltrexone or LDN - Regular dose Naltrexone (not low dose) is used for heroin addicts, opiate withdrawal and alcoholism. The low dose version of the same drug made by a compounding pharmacy works differently and has profound applications for pain syndrome, chronic infections and autoimmune conditions. The very short version of how LDN works is as follows: T reg cells ensure that inflammatory chemicals are secreted as needed to heal you when injured, and then they chill. If the switch stays "on" and you continue to crank out cytokines then your body begins attacking everything in its way -- pollen, dust moving on to your thyroid, joints, adrenals and your nervous system which can lead to RA, MS, Hashimoto’s, Graves, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s, Sjogren’s, Lupus, Parkinson's, Asthma and other chronic health concerns. (It's even being used to boost immune function when fighting cancer). Low dose Naltrexone acts as the "boss" and helps regulate your immune system. LDN reduces inflammation in your nervous system too, so if you struggle with Fibromyalgia, Lyme, depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or neuropathic pain, LDN reduces symptoms by blocking microglia in the CNS, that when hyperactive, produce pain-causing chemicals, insomnia, fatigue, mood issues and cognitive problems. Increased endorphins are one aspect of LDN as it relates to decreasing pain, but it's a complicated, yet elegant process, so you may want to really understand it by reading here... LowDoseNaltrexone.org LDN may be a more superb option to high doses of immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone and methotrexate. Your doctor may know about LDN, but just hasn't shared it with you, or doesn't fully understand it. Expensive and powerful drugs seem to be the way for many mainstream MD's. Do your research, become your own health advocate and ask for help, or find a new doctor.

Always check with your doctor first, especially if you have a medical condition or take medication. Some doctors are holistic and practice complimentary and alternative (CAM) treatments. In general, it’s best to get your anti-inflammatory nutrients from whole foods. However, in the case of excessive or chronic inflammation, supplements can help bring things back into balance. Psychotherapy and counseling or "talk therapy" can help clients manage negative thoughts, anxiety and other problems that contribute to less-than-ideal emotional health.

Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a licensed Psychotherapist, Couples, EMDR and Coach with a private practice in New York City. Kimberly practices mind-body, integrative psychotherapy blending psychoanalytic psychotherapy, EMDR therapy, CBT, DBT, mindfulness, crisis counseling and coaching with expertise in anxiety, depression, pain management, wellness, eating disorders, addictions, trauma, relationship challenges, women's issues, hormone imbalances, sex therapy, performance blocks, self-defeating behaviors, grief, loneliness, work/life balance, self-esteem issues. Via Skype, Kim Seelbrede provides life coaching, executive, personal and stress-management coaching in NYC and worldwide.

If you are a fan of social media find Kim Seelbrede on: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, EMDRIA, Psychology Today, Good Therapy, Urban Zen Foundation, EMDR Therapist Network, and KimSeelbrede.com