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Belleruth Naparstek

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.

A chemo patient likes the affirmations on the guided imagery program she listens to during her infusions, but wonders what is meant by the statement, "I know I can heal myself and live or I can heal myself and die: my physical condition is not an indication of my wholeness", and BR explains what she meant by it.

Question:

I have finally found the perfect affirmations for me, just one thing I am confused about In your Chemo disc, you say you can heal yourself and live or heal yourself and die......would you kindly explain what you mean by 'heal yourself and die'?

2780bIt would be nice if cancer survivors who've completed treatment and been declared "in remission" could stop worrying, but when it's time for that follow-up test, scan or lab report, it's not unusual for fear and worry to overtake an otherwise chill psyche– at least for a while.

Similarly, people who have cancer, but have come to see it as their chronic illness to manage (as opposed to a scary death sentence) do a great job of getting on with their lives most of the time, but they can dissolve into major worry when the time comes for a check-up.

So let's hear it for Peg Doyle, M.Ed, who clearly understands this scenario, and has created a terrific, 3-track, guided imagery audio called Beyond Cancer: Healing Meditations.

This is a wonderful teaching story about impatience and stepping back to see the larger perspective.

Even the most enlightened among us can get into a pressured, goal-directed state of mind and display what psychologists call "hurry sickness". A typical symptom of hurry sickness is when we press the button of an elevator multiple times – yep, like, that's really going to make a difference....:/

This story was shared by Sarah Owen Bigler on Facebook, who was in a Target with her two kids, waiting in the checkout line. She had a lot to get done, and she was supremely annoyed by an old woman ahead of her, who was paying for each item separately – with change, no less.

We got this query from the friend of a woman about to begin months of intensive chemotherapy. The friend who wrote felt she had benefited greatly from guided imagery during her own bout with cancer, so she wanted her friend to have the same experience. But her friend has severe hearing loss. She wondered how an audio intervention could possibly work.

Question:

First of all, thank you. When I went through chemotherapy, your meditation CDs were a lifesaver (or at least a sleep-saver). My oncology rehab program used them at the end of our exercise sessions, and after a few weeks, my brain was trained to get sleepy when I started the recording.

Now I have a friend about to enter intensive, months' long treatment, and I'd like her to have the same benefit. However, she has severe hearing loss, only hearing with the help of an implant -- and as a result, I suspect that something that is mostly auditory would not be relaxing for her.

Researchers from Leuphana University and Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany; VU University and University of Utrecht in the Netherlands; and the Black Dog Institute in Sydney, Australia, conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate whether Computer- and Internet-based cognitive behavioral treatments (cCBT) are effective as a treatment alternative for regular, face-to-face treatment for the symptoms of anxiety and depression in adolescents and young adults.

Lately I've been musing on the way the word "experience" is popping up all over the place, and what it means to be having an experience.

Before watching a film, a message on the screen from the theater management enjoins me to please turn off my cell phone to preserve the movie-going experience.

While wandering around a huge, visually arresting Uniqlo retail clothing store, an amplified voice hopes I'm enjoying my shopping experience.

Some tech experts recently reminded me that TV viewing is a lean-back experience, where people want to relax, turn their minds off and absorb easy entertainment, and this is why the second screen experience (looking at something on a mobile device while watching TV, or watching split screen) should never be too complex or demanding.

Sometimes healing a painful, chronic condition can become your day job, but if it works, it's well worth it. Hats off to this inspired sufferer from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (used to be called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or RSD), who has cobbled together a mix of standard and integrative techniques to remediate this difficult condition.

We found this post on Facebook, because BR was tagged – one of the interventions was guided imagery for pain.

We got this question from a Mom dealing with multiple stresses from all directions. She's a cancer survivor herself, with a disabled adult son who finds changes in routine difficult, and a husband probably facing bone marrow transplantation ....

Question:

Do you hve any materials for parents of children with disabilities? My adult son has a severe genetic disorder and his father is in chemo for multiple myeloma. The chemo appears to be working well at this point.

As you can imagine, my son is wonderful, but he cannot understand the implications or be part of a support system. As a bone marrow transplant becomes more and more a reality, I need to reassure him that things will be OK, but different.

My son has a chromosomal disorder. He is verbal, extremely intelligent, does basic math in his head, has an incredible memory and a dry sense of humor. He is the highest producing employee at his sheltered workshop and a joy to be with. Verbalizing feelings is very difficult for him, as are changes in routine.

I myself am a breast cancer survivor in my early 70's.

Thanks. Dorrie

Researchers from the National University of Singapore conducted a systematic review of the literature to determine the effects of relaxation interventions on anxiety and depression among older adults.

Their comprehensive literature search identified 15 published and non-published studies - 12 RCT's (randomized controlled trials) and three non-randomized controlled trials - undertaken between 1994-2014. Three reviewers selected studies, extracted data, and appraised the methodological quality.

The findings suggested that in most studies, older adults who received relaxation interventions experienced greater reductions in depression and anxiety than controls.

Researchers from Nova Southeastern University examined the impact of a one-week, at home, mindfulness meditation training, as compared to an active control condition, on improving working memory, decreasing mind-wandering and reducing the impact of stress on working memory.

The results suggest that mindfulness meditation does not increase working memory or decrease mind wandering, but it does prevent stress related working memory impairments.