This week, we join millions across our country in celebrating that singularly American holiday, Thanksgiving. With all due respect to our northern neighbors, who have a wonderful celebration every October – it really all began here, nearly four hundred years ago.
So while we have visions of roasted turkeys, glazed hams, stuffing and pumpkin pie dancing in our heads, I wanted to take a minute to talk about the reason for this season: gratitude.
It can be truly difficult to practice gratefulness with world and local affairs plaguing our days with stories of woe and strife, injustices and pain. Moreover, we have our own personal challenges, from the mere annoying to the heart wrenching, bring-us-to-our-knees type. Add to that often frustrating family dynamics, or even missing family members – and anyone may find it hard to be thankful this holiday.
Actually not a question but a personal observation: I have several of your guided imagery/affirmation cds which I use often. They've been very helpful but for me, but there's too much suggestion. I guess it's the way my brain works.
When you suggest going to a place where I feel safe, etc., I can usually do that, but then I'm distracted by your various suggested alternatives and find myself mentally flitting from place to place.
Similarly when I'm in that place, your suggestions about seeing, smelling, hearing and feeling it, while helpful, get undermined by the varied scenarios you present.
It's Thanksgiving week, and I'm thinking about a colleague I met at a conference a while ago, who told me about the challenges she was facing from dealing with her traumatized husband while he was in the first stages of posttraumatic stress and probably TBI (traumatic brain injury) after a terrible accident that left him with broken bones, chronic pain and a state of constant fury.
They'd been married for 45 years and were totally devoted to each other, but his constant rages were hard for her to endure. She told me, "You know, I never for a minute considered divorce, but MURDER?? Definitely!"
We have many military families dealing with similar scenarios, taxed to the limit physically, emotionally and financially. It can be a heavy, exasperating, nonstop burden, infused with grief for all that's been lost.
Depression in family caregivers is rife. Some feel so trapped, they think about suicide.
I worked as an art therapist on a dialysis unit in Cleveland, Ohio for five years. A music therapist (who made individualized tapes for each patient) joined me, and together we were successful in uplifting the mood and environment of the unit, both for the patients and the staff.
We were certain we prevented blood pressures from dropping when people worked with us, and attempted a study to prove this. Unfortunately, statistics got in the way and we were never able to finish the study.
Nevertheless, we remain steadfast in our belief that art and music therapies benefit and improve the dialysis experience.
Sara Dickman, M.S., ATR with Marianne Kallen.
Researchers from the University of Siena in Italy and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital/Harvard Medical School studied the neuro-anatomical and psychological impact of an 8-week mindfulness based stress reduction program (MBSR) on 23 subjects who were new to meditation.
The investigators analyzed several morphometric indexes at both cortical and subcortical brain levels, as well as multiple psychological dimensions, before and after the 8-week training, comparing the meditators to age-gender matched subjects.
Your e-newsletter was recommended highly by a dear friend of mine, who is a hypnotherapist and part of the Verve newsletter and group. Recently my partner came down with CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome).
The rapid onset of this has put me in a tailspin of questions and wondering what to do. We have been lucky enough to get acquainted with a good doctor who specifically deals with this, but have found the majority of the medical profession turning the other way, because it is not curable with antibiotics and because they cannot tell what it is or where it comes from at this point.
Many people are curious about the birth of Health Journeys’ guided imagery, and they often ask us how the whole thing started. November recognizes National Lung Cancer Awareness and National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness, so it’s a good time to discuss Belleruth’s journey, beginning with her first guided imagery cassette tape created to help a woman undergoing chemotherapy.
Follow Belleruth’s journey from that first individualized tape to today’s array of audio programs, including the current version of A Meditation to Help You With Chemotherapy, which offers the central image of a lovely fountain of healing liquid, cleansing and clearing, and helping the body’s own natural defense system do its work.
Listen up, good people!
On Wednesday, November 19th, one of my all time favorite trauma experts – none other than the brilliant treatment innovator Peter Levine, creator of Somatic Experiencing - will be offering this week's free webinar for NICABM, as part of their new series, Rethinking Trauma: The Third Wave of Trauma Treatment.
Whenever I'm asked by a therapist which of the many new trauma therapies they should train in if they only have time for one, I answer that if they've got the time and money, Somatic Experiencing is the one. It's just such an elegantly effective protocol that makes the most sense, because it's body-based, just like trauma is, and because it's the least likely to create distress, activate symptoms or get clients stuck in ugly experiences of the past. (And by the way, it's superb for treating many conditions, not just PTS).
Again, it's free at the time of broadcast and you can sign up here.
We got this email from a beginning guided imagery practitioner working at a retirement home:
I am a student at a school for hypnotherapy and have contacted a retirement home to do guided imagery for residents. I am very excited to be starting my new career and have enjoyed getting my materials together for this exciting new opportunity. Books like Staying Well with Guided Imagery have been a great help to me in providing me with program material. [Ed. Note: Other books that offer fine guided imagery scripts for practitioners are Julie Lusk's two volumes, Andrew Schwartz's book and Marty Rossman's.
I want to say how very grateful I am for the available resources that are helping me launch my new career – especially at a retirement home with seniors as my clients. It is far more comfortable for them when I use the term, GUIDED IMAGERY, as opposed to calling what I do - hypnosis. Thank you for the opportunity to express my story.
Researchers from the Allina Health System in Minneapolis, MN and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health conducted a large, retrospective study to determine the use and effectiveness of integrative medicine therapies on pain and anxiety in cancer patients.
Data obtained from electronic medical records identified patients with an oncology diagnosis who were admitted to Allina, a large Midwestern hospital, between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012.
Outcomes examined were change in patient-reported pain and anxiety, rated before and after individual IM treatment sessions, using a numeric scale (0–10).
I was driving home from work tonight, and saw the old Cleveland landmark, Terminal Tower lit up purple. It's pink in October for breast cancer, orange for home Browns games, and changes throughout the year based on whatever awareness, events or causes are being highlighted. So this evening, I was certain the color was for Alzheimer's awareness. It rang a chord with me, since just a few short months ago, my mother was formally diagnosed with the disease.
I have no current conscious memory of PTSD but I have the symptoms of it. (I wake up in the middle of the night screaming and I have panic attacks during the day.) I read Invisible Heroes, your book about PTSD, but every survivor had some sort of memory or recollection of their trauma. How should I go about healing if I cannot remember anything?
Not every trauma survivor in the book had a clear memory of what caused his or her posttraumatic stress symptoms, and it is not at all uncommon for memory to be clouded or missing, due to the burst of pain-killing biochemicals that flood the bloodstream during a terrifying event.