Now that we have our new website in place, and it seems to be clicking along, doing what it's supposed to, with shockingly few complaints, I've been looking back at how this company evolved, and all the help we got to help get guided imagery into the ears of people who could use it.
It's hard to believe it's been nearly 25 years since I was first introduced to my business partner, George Klein, and we started Health Journeys.
At the time, I'd recorded 14 guided imagery cassette tapes that focused on major illnesses or procedures (cancer, stroke, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, surgery, chemotherapy, etc etc). I'd first created some imagery for chemotherapy, requested by the oncology nurses at University Hospitals of Cleveland for patients in the waiting room.
Harriette Rovner-Ferguson, LCSW, is a gifted psychotherapist with a private practice in Smithtown, NY, where one of her specialty areas is fertility. In fact, she's been treating patients trying to get themselves pregnant for over 20 years now. Harriette was one of the clinical experts who provided input to Belleruth when she was writing the narrative for her Help with Fertility guided imagery audio program.
Here, Harriet recounts how guided imagery helped one of her clients recalibrate her attitude and sense of self after struggling with a sense of failure that was threatening to take over her whole identity. Some of the identifying details have been changed to protect this client's privacy.
Our new landing page is here! We honestly thought we’d be up and running with it last week, but glitches were found, incoherent text needed rewriting, screen sizing issues made right and other tech anomalies set straight. Check it out! Let us know what you think. We’re going to need to rely on your feedback to fix whatever else we missed.
Infertility Awareness Week is coming up next week, and a terrific parenting blog called My Baba posted a short piece I put together on how to handle all the associated stress, pressure, disappointment and distress that shows up when facing this challenge. I also wanted to make the point that, some of the things people do to manage the stress may also improve their fertility outcomes. Either way, it's a good idea to adopt some of these tips, and I offer seven of them.
If you think it could be useful, please pass this along to any friends, bloggers or organizations that might be interested. It's at http://www.mybaba.com/7-ways-to-manage-stress-to-help-fertility/.
Oh, and dare I say, Happy Spring? Hope so. I believe we may be done with the snow in Northeast Ohio. But, as with our long anticipated landing page, you just never know...
Well, after a lot of testing, discussion, teeth-gnashing, pondering and data analysis, it became pretty clear that we needed to have a more user-friendly Health Journeys landing page.
You may remember that about 6 months ago we'd begun a whole, new initiative, to try and introduce guided imagery to a fresh array of people who don't have a clue what it is or what it can do for them.
So, thanks to some changes in search engine optimization and ad words and a lot of back end analysis, we've now got a ton of new people visiting our site for the first time. But a substantial proportion are unable to figure out how to navigate our pages, and end up wandering around in circles, like the Hebrews in the desert, although not for forty years.
We think we've got an improved design, less complicated and more explanatory of mind-body techniques and guided imagery for the newbies, but who knows? We'll be launching it as soon as we work out the few remaining bugs.
But we'll be heavily dependent on feedback from you all, as to whether this new landing page and navigation system is user friendly or not. So please, do not hold back! When this thing goes live, and you've got a few minutes, please tell us, not just if it works for you, but, if you can imagine being somebody who knows nothing about guided imagery, and if it would work for you as well.
Thanks as always for keeping us straight and true.
Well, after going through nearly 200 responses – from our blog, Facebook and an avalanche of emails – to the question about how people felt about our affirmation line that says, "I know I am held in the hands of God and I am perfectly, utterly safe", we learned that we'd underestimated the number of people – survivors of childhood trauma especially – who felt surprised, distressed, betrayed and sandbagged by that line.
Many trauma survivors reported that they felt hearing that line undid the good that the audio program was doing for them, and sent them back to a very dark place that was all too familiar. Where was God when I was being molested? is pretty much where their thinking went. Some just didn't care for the line but were able to ignore it.
I recently had a conversation with the father of a 16-year-old, high school sophomore. He told me his son Michael has been suffering from the after effects of a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) since a collision with another kid at pre-season football practice last August. It's been a slow, frustrating recovery for Michael, and there are repercussions on the whole family.
What's been hardest on him, the dad says, is the nonstop headaches, fatigue and mental confusion. Michael has trouble remembering things, focusing his attention, making even simple decisions and organizing his daily tasks. He's slower at everything, and of course that affects his confidence. And sometimes he gets so dizzy, he becomes nauseated – that's about as pleasant as being seasick.
I need to check in with you on a hot issue that resurfaces for us now and then. Here it is: On many of our audios, there's a line toward the end of our affirmations segment that says, "I know I am held in the hands of God, and I am perfectly, utterly safe."
In the feedback we get, this is the line most often mentioned as especially comforting, meaningful and reassuring, and we get a lot of grateful thank you's for it – even from people who had terrible things happen to them when they were kids, who never felt safe growing up.
A couple weeks ago, my doc scheduled a routine CT scan to check out my lungs – only because I once was a heavy smoker, way back in the day. The results were fine, but I learned something important I'd like to pass along.
A couple days before I was to show up at the hospital radiology department, my insurance company called to ask if I knew that the scan at the hospital would cost somewhere between $1200-$1600, and I could have the same scan done at a free-standing radiation clinic for $275. What?
Like many people, I don't pay for these things out of my own pocket, so it had never occurred to me to ask about cost. Between my primary insurance coverage and Medicare, this stuff just gets paid.
I just read an article in Spirituality & Health by Traci Pedersen. She reports on recent research out of UC Berkeley showing that immersion in the beauty of nature, art and/or spirituality – in other words, becoming awestruck or bowled over by a sense of wonder - is associated with lower levels of inflammatory cytokines.
Cytokines are proteins that prod the immune system to crank it up a notch, which is generally a good thing, especially for dispatching infections or cancer. But we also know that chronic inflammation from an overproduction of cytokines can wreak cumulative havoc on health and longevity.
So, this study of 200 subjects suggests it wouldn't be a bad idea to deliberately seek out activities that catalyze your feelings of awe.
Forgot the name of that great movie you just saw and want to heartily recommend? Proper-noun challenged in general? Welcome to my world.
But before I launch into the ten brain tips, first set forth by AARP a couple of years ago, I want to call your attention to Chris Northrup's latest book, an intriguing discussion of how to grow older without fear, loathing and dread, but instead, enjoying a greater sense of pleasure, freedom, happiness, energy and self-esteem.
I confess I'm not crazy about my friend's book title, or what it implies (it's called Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality,and Well-Being) and we had a good, honest interchange about it.