You may know that you should be doing these things but somehow have gotten out of the practice, or maybe depression and fear are holding you back. We will explore all of these areas in your life and implement strategies to increase healthy activities where possible and appropriate.
In critically ill patients the best aid to recovery is strong social support. Other people are part of our support system.
We will talk about the social net, and our responsibility to utilize it when needed. Laughter, intimacy and empathy are all experiences that help foster healing and resilience. Resilience means that we have the ability to weather difficult circumstances.
You may need to work on skills in developing and maintaining healthy relationships, or perhaps just learn how to better draw upon the supports that are already present in your life. We will explore these avenues in our work together.
You may be practicing a specific diet, or perhaps you don’t have a great deal of awareness as to the effects of food on your emotions and mood. We will explore this connection.
Simply paying attention may be enough of a practice to generate positive change. Many people struggle with body image, and suffer under the tyrant of perfection, food then becomes something to fear, rather than to enjoy.
Practically speaking, food is your body’s fuel and we want to make sure that fuel is working for you, not against you. Emotionally, we will explore what drives you to make unhealthy choices. This work is done with a sense of deep compassion, respect, and understanding for the choices you make regarding food.
You will get a “Green Prescription.” A green prescription is a behavior that you do as directed. Most of us are aware of the benefits of physical exercise. When our emotions, or our lifestyle interfere with our physical well-being we need to pinpoint how to change this.
Our goal is for you to do something, everyday, I promise we will find what can work for you. Continuous action creates the opportunity for sustainable change. I don’t like to tout TV commercials, but Nike was onto something right with the “Just do it”ads. We will figure out the “it” together. Even the smallest effort counts in the big picture.
You may suffer from insomnia, or interrupted sleep. This can be especially problematic because sleep is a restorative process, it allows us to regain the physical and mental strength we need to go out into the world. We will explore your sleep patterns, and explore what strategies can help. Basic sleep hygiene is an important part of the healing process.
People often ask me about their dreams. I think that investigating our dreams can enhance our understanding of how we feel. Though not a mainstay of our work, dream analysis can be a useful process. If helpful, you may even keep a dream journal for us to work with.
Writing about emotional issues in our lives appears to improve physical and mental health. Self-reflection promotes transformation.
You will be provided with opportunities to pursue ideas we discuss in our sessions. Often times this will be writing in a journal which can be a useful tool to continue the process of inquiry that we begin in session. I will ask you to write on specific topics, and perhaps to practice seeing other people’s perspectives.
By maintaining the momentum of the work we do in our sessions, you can really start to gain leverage against the struggles which brought you to therapy.
This is another tool that you will take with you to aid you throughout your life. This is based on the work by James Pennebaker, (Pennebaker, James W. (1997). Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotion. NY: Guilford Press) and you may find it helpful to reference his work.