Daring Greatly

I am currently re-reading the wonderful book Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown. If I only had a single therapeutic tool or paradigm, Dr. Brown’s work may be the one. Dr. Brown examines yucky problems like scarcity, shame, and defense mechanisms with finesse and humor. For those of you who have not seen her first viral video, here it is: vulnerability .

Trauma and Restoration

When you experience a negative memory, do you experience an inability to move or take action? These “stuck” or “frozen” states are indicative of trauma. The trauma may be related to a single overwhelming event and/or it may be from a developmental disturbance, like childhood abuse or neglect. Trauma is about powerlessness, not being able to DO something helpful within the original situation. A traumatized person’s challenge is to re-train their mind AND body to take calm action when they are triggered into these states. Sometimes, traumatized people over-react to situations, understandably not wanting to be revictimized. Some interventions that help relieve (rather than re-live) trauma are: meditation (noticing disturbing mind/body cues while regulating breathing and heart rate); identifying and using self-soothing stimuli (perhaps a comforting smell, texture, visualization); and articulating the trauma experience within a safe and responsive context.

I recently completed a continuing education training with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score.

Lessons from Improv

I am currently taking an introduction to Improvisation Comedy class. Improv is a fun way to practice…

  • awareness: it’s hard to keep people’s attention if your own attention is wandering
  • listening: respond to a group story rather than one’s own preoccupations
  • acceptance: in improv, you working as a team–and other people have some weird ideas
  • healthy risk-taking (AKA healthy vulnerability): it gets the dopamine going; it builds competence and resilience

Play Time

I attended an InterPlay workshop recently, based on the principals of Interpersonal Neurobiology. We experienced firsthand how “mindfulness” can be fun. And “playfulness” is not an escape from reality. In this workshop, we played (connected, laughed, moved) and built (inter)personal awareness. Intentional play is an antidote for depression and anxiety.

Low-Cost Mental Health Resources

Here’s a list of 81 Mental Health Resources, including apps and community support groups.

Each program has it’s potential benefits. Taken as a whole, this list points out that MANY people are working individually and collectively to make this world a more accessible, responsible, and peaceful place. If you try one of these programs, I’d like to hear about your experience.

Trauma Stewardship

In addition to other healthy life practices, I find great resiliency in a self-book: Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others. This book provides a framework for managing vicarious trauma. The text outlines 16 possible imbalances within a caregiver or service provider–such as cynicism, deliberate avoidance, hypervigilance, and an inability to embrace complexity. Readers can self-assess their experience and make adjustments. This collection of research and anecdotes relates to various human services, including social work, law enforcement, education, and medical fields.

Live Through This

A powerful photo essay collection that promotes awareness, care, and transparency: Live Through This is a collection of portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors, as told by those survivors.” This project was initiated by someone challenged her suicidal thoughts and behavior. She invited other suicide attempt survivors to share their experiences of suffering and moving forward.