PTSD is widely referenced in culture but often poorly understood. It begins in trauma and resonates in the emotional corridors of the mind for years, sometimes decades.The trauma can be a single cataclysmic event or a succession of deeply wounding but seemingly inconsequential emotional bruises. They can begin in early childhood, during our pre-verbal years when we lack the tools to even name the pain.
PTSD can manifest in the present in hyper-vigilance, nightmares and night terrors, unshakable despair, a spiking, irrational anxiety and host of other deeply disruptive symptoms. Efforts to cope -excessive drinking and drug use among them- often exacerbate the problem and can lead to family destruction and personal collapse that can spiral into suicide.
Medication alone, however, serves primarily as a symptom suppressant. The most effective treatments combine a level of medication necessary to bring the most dangerous symptoms under control, combined with counseling.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has a long history of success in treating a variety of disorders. The central thesis of CBT is that our behaviors -our experience of our lives and how we interact with the circumstances of our existence- is governed by our beliefs, and psychological disturbance is a result of mistaken, confused or dysfunctional beliefs. Change the beliefs that govern your life, and change your life.
EMDR is, in the history of behavioral care, a relative newcomer. Once considered radical and fiercely resisted by the guardians of orthodoxy, EMDR has emerged from perhaps the most rigorous and sustained research to be universally recognized as an effective, transformative treatment protocol.
EMDR works by stimulating in the brain a process that is believed to mimic that by which memories are processed. When properly processed, memories retain what is valued and useful, and the less useful components -primarily the experience of the emotion associated with the event- recede. We don't forget the emotions associated with a particular memory; we just don't experience them in the presence of the memory.
Trauma memories are not stored this way. Trauma memories retain their emotional toxicity. The pain, the fear, the hurt are fully present in every recollection of the memory and every trigger that recalls the memory.
While remaining safely aware in the present (many people mistakenly believe EMDR is a form of hypnosis or other control surrendering protocol), EMDR allows the client to reprocess the traumatic memory of the trauma, accomplishing the healing work that was not done when the memory was created. Clients often report significant relief from and even the resolution of pain that has haunted them for years.
PTSD is a complex disorder, and care can draw from both disciplines, as well as other tools available to the experienced clinician. My experience has been that EMDR is most effective when employed with minimal medication, as medication can have a blunting effect on the experience of emotion. For some clients, a more traditional "talk therapy" approach, while more time consuming, is appropriate.
A counselor needs to know this.
ADHD is over diagnosed and medications intended to treat ADHD are over prescribed. There is near universal consensus on these two points. This has been particularly devastating to boys, whose youthful exuberance and joy has too often been pathologized and chemically suppressed. The results are evident in declining academic performance, increased family and social disruption and damaged lives.
It is present in children and adults, and requires a sustained, coordinated effort that can include medical as well as behavioral tools. The best response to ADHD is a comprehensive, coordinated, systemic response. It does no good for you or your child to learn effective coping strategies only to have them thwarted at home or in school by others who don't recognize them as such.
Medication may be necessary, but medication should be seen as a minimal support to be employed for a limited time in order to afford you and your family a window of opportunity to develop more effective attentional, organizational and affect management skills. If these skills are embraced and internalized, the necessity for external, artifical interventions is radically reduced or even eliminated.
This should be the goal of every person struggling with Attentional issues.
Every person, every couple, every family is unique. Humans are infinitely complex creatures. That is our joy, and sometimes our burden.
Relationships are perhaps the most enriching manifestation of the human experience -and yet we find ourselves functioning in a culture that has little regard for the values that will sustain a relationship.
The pressures that strain and break a relationship often come from outside the relationship and inside ourselves. Many relationships would flourish if it weren't for these pressures. This is why many experience repeated relationship failures, and failures that seem remarkably similar. We aren't having the same relationship, but we are our same selves, and we do the same things.
Change yourself, and change your world.
For couples who have decided to part, the process doesn't have to be wrenchingly hostile. The "why" of a breakup is separate from the "how" of a breakup, but untangling them can be enormously challenging. Effective, pragmatic counseling can be effective in understanding the "why," which can be very different for the parties involved, and the "how," that has to be uniform.
If you are ending a marriage, are hopeful of doing so amicably and can meet certain criteria, I can guide you through and produce the separation agreement that the court will require for the completion of an uncontested divorce.
This service is separate from and is not counseling. It is structured and priced differently from counseling, and it is not covered by insurance.
It is a specific service that yields a document that will form the structure of your divorce, answering more than a dozen specific questions the court will ask, in a way that is acceptable to the court.
Copyright © 2018 Larry Ouellette, LPC S - All Rights Reserved.