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Holding Hands

Anxiety disorders encompass a group of anxiety related conditions with distinct symptoms, but all sharing the common experience of excessive fear and/or worry. Anxiety disorders that are most common include Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety and Phobias. Anxiety can cause significant physical symptoms in addition to emotional distress. When working with anxiety, I initially focus on symptoms reduction working with the individual to reduce the most distressing symptoms using a number of coping tools including relaxation, meditation, mindfulness, cognitive behavioral tools, and grounding. Once the most distressing symptoms are better managed we explore causing factors, examine what is within our normal range of anxiety, and practice managing anxiety response in our everyday life. 


When experiencing such threat to sense of safety our bodies naturally go into survival mode, employing a "fight,-flight-freeze" response. This natural defense system initially meant to protect us can become dysregulated and leave a person in a heightened state of arousal even when no immediate threat is present. When this happens a person might experience difficulty with sleep, accelerated heart rate, shortness of breath, and feeling on edge. Other emotional impacts such as feelings of shame, powerlessness, disconnection from others, and dissociation are often present. Trauma therapy works to reestablish a sense of safety and empowerment so that one can live presently without being overwhelmed by events of the past. Trauma work can be conceptualized in a three phase approach. The first phase being a reestablishment of safety and stabilizing emotional regulation systems, phase two includes exploring and mourning the losses associated with the trauma, and phase three includes integrating trauma experiences with present life and reconnecting meaningfully with life with a new sense of self. 


EMDR therapy utilizes bilateral stimulation, often in the form of eye movement, while simultaneously bringing traumatic events briefly into focus. Bilateral stimulation elicits slow wave brain activity, much like REM sleep when our brain processes information and quiets the amygdala, the emotion center of our brain. The result is traumatic events are effectively processed, the distress incited by the event becomes distant, and the brain is able to resume its natural healing process. EMDR can benefit a range of difficulties including PTSD, C-PTSD, Anxiety Disorders, Phobias, Performance Anxiety, Depression, Dissociative Disorders, and Grief/Loss. 


Neurodivergent experiences can include ADHD, autism spectrum, and learning disabilities. Such neuro-types are a part of the human experience. As a neurodiverse-affirming therapist I approach neurodivergence not as a problem that needs to be fixed to fit into a specific social context, but recognize that neurodivergence can create challenges in a world designed to fit a much more limited neurological standard. I see each person as the expert on their own personal experience. I seek to increase self-insight, particularly insight regarding personal strengths, to help navigate areas of challenge. 

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