No place for beginners or sensitive hearts

Understanding and acknowledging the existence of highly sensitive individuals in our society can be a key element in cultivating empathy and compassion. Being highly sensitive isn't a flaw, but rather, it is a trait that should be embraced and understood. However, in a world that often values toughness and emotional durability, those who feel deeply and are highly attuned to their environments may sometimes feel overwhelmed.

Evolutionary Roots of High Sensitivity

The origins of heightened sensitivity can be traced back to the earliest roots of evolution, serving as a survival advantage across diverse species. This trait, common to numerous animals including humans, likely played a crucial role in our ancestors' survival.

Highly sensitive individuals possess an acute awareness of their environment, registering subtle changes and potential hazards that might elude others. These individuals, with their heightened senses, may have functioned as crucial members in early human societies. They may have taken on roles such as lookouts or healers. They utilized their heightened perceptions to enhance the group's safety and wellbeing.

Moving into our modern era, this sensitivity trait continues to offer many benefits but also presents unique challenges. The flood of information absorbed by these individuals results in deep reflection, empathy, and innovative thinking. However, without proper coping mechanisms and understanding, these qualities can transform into stressors, fostering feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.

It's essential to recognize that the world has changed drastically from the early days of human society. The pace of life, environmental noise, and social expectations have escalated. It has intensified the sensory overload that highly sensitive individuals often experience. This modern world, replete with its loud noises, bright lights, and relentless information flow, can indeed be daunting for those who process information more deeply.

In essence, the same trait that was a survival advantage in earlier times can feel more like a burden in our contemporary society. However, this doesn't negate the value of high sensitivity. It merely emphasizes the importance of developing strategies to manage it effectively in the context of our modern world.

Modern Day Cultures and High Sensitivity

Navigating the intricacies of modern day cultures can pose significant challenges for highly sensitive individuals. The continual hustle and bustle, the onslaught of digital notifications, and the demand for rapid responses can be particularly overwhelming. Especially for those who process information more intensively.

Modern society's emphasis on extroversion and constant activity can often make the highly sensitive feel out of sync. Encounters with vibrant sensory environments, even if positive, can trigger discomfort and distress. Everyday activities, such as navigating public transport during peak hours or enduring loud music at a party, may cause disproportionate stress.

Guy on motorcycle going to therapy in New York.

One of the contributing factors to these challenges is the societal misconception that equates sensitivity with weakness. There exists a prevalent cultural narrative that champions emotional resilience and disparages vulnerability. As a result, highly sensitive individuals often face undue pressure to 'toughen up' or 'get a thicker skin.' This pressure can come from external sources, such as peers, family, and societal expectations. However, it can also be self-inflicted, born from a misunderstanding of the highly sensitive trait.

These misconceptions and the resulting pressure can foster feelings of inadequacy and alienation among highly sensitive individuals. The cultural expectation to conform can often lead them to suppress their emotions. They can also deny their need for quiet and solitude.

Understanding the interplay between modern cultures and high sensitivity is the first step towards fostering an environment that respects and appreciates this unique trait. It is important to recognize that sensitivity is not synonymous with fragility. It is a sign of deep empathy and perceptiveness can help shift societal attitudes. After all, in a world that is often deafened by noise, the ability to listen deeply and feel profoundly is a rare and valuable trait.

We need to remember that being highly sensitive does not mean being weak. It signifies having a high level of emotional and sensory perception. It is a characteristic that, if recognized, respected, and properly managed, can bring immense benefits to the individual and society at large. By shedding the misconceptions and biases that associate sensitivity with weakness, we can create a more accepting and inclusive society that values the unique contributions of highly sensitive individuals.

Therapy for Highly Sensitive Individuals

Finding suitable therapeutic support can be pivotal for highly sensitive individuals. A therapist who specializes in working with this population can provide valuable tools. These include, coping strategies for managing overstimulation, establishing beneficial boundaries, and fostering a healthy sense of self-worth.

Therapy presents an opportunity for highly sensitive individuals to delve into their experiences and emotions within a judgement-free space. It can help validate their feelings, alleviate any sense of alienation, and foster a better understanding of their unique trait. This can result in a shift in perception, allowing them to see their high sensitivity as an asset rather than a hindrance.

Therapist in Smithtown, NY.

Therapeutic work can also provide strategies for managing and mitigating the impact of environmental noise and social pressure. Techniques such as mindfulness, relaxation, and cognitive reframing can be incredibly helpful. Mindfulness can help regulate emotional responses, relaxation techniques can counteract the effects of overstimulation. Cognitive reframing can help change the way a situation is perceived, turning potential stressors into more manageable experiences.

Furthermore, therapy can support highly sensitive individuals in establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries. This can entail learning to communicate their needs effectively, asserting themselves in interpersonal relationships. It also includes, identifying and removing themselves from situations that cause undue stress. This way, they can better protect their mental and emotional health, and foster more balanced, fulfilling relationships.

Therapy can also help highly sensitive individuals better understand and navigate their relationship with modern cultures. Through therapeutic discourse, they can develop a better understanding of societal expectations and pressures, and how these may impact their well-being. They can learn how to stay true to their sensitive nature, while at the same time functioning effectively in a fast-paced, extroverted world.

In sum, therapy can be a powerful ally for highly sensitive individuals. It provides them with the tools they need to understand and leverage their high sensitivity, empowering them to lead fulfilling, balanced lives.

Tools for Emotional Protection

Woman being mindful

Beyond therapy, there are several additional techniques that highly sensitive individuals can utilize to safeguard their emotional health. A critical element in this emotional toolkit is the practice of self-care. This involves engaging in activities that promote rest and relaxation to counterbalance overstimulation. Anything from taking a quiet walk in nature to and disconnect from the digital world is enough.

Mindfulness and meditation practices can also be particularly beneficial for many thing. Managing the intense emotional reactions often experienced by highly sensitive individuals is one. By focusing on the present moment and calming the mind, these practices can help to moderate emotional responses, reducing feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.

Expressing emotions through creative activities is another effective strategy. Writing, art, music, or any other creative pursuit can serve as a valuable outlet for processing complex emotions and experiences. These activities allow for the expression of thoughts and feelings in a constructive and cathartic way. This help to relieve emotional tension and promote mental clarity.

Setting and maintaining boundaries is another vital aspect of emotional protection for highly sensitive individuals. This can involve learning to assertively communicate their needs to others, allowing themselves to take necessary breaks, or reducing their exposure to environments that they find overwhelming. Establishing these boundaries can help to preserve their emotional energy, preventing burnout and promoting overall wellbeing.

Lastly, it's important to remember the role of positive self-talk and affirmation in safeguarding emotional health. Highly sensitive individuals may sometimes fall into patterns of negative self-judgment due to societal pressures and misconceptions. By consciously cultivating a positive internal dialogue, they can combat these negative patterns, reinforcing their self-worth and the value of their sensitivity.

Overall, these tools and techniques form a comprehensive strategy for protecting and nurturing the emotional wellbeing of highly sensitive individuals. By incorporating these strategies into their daily lives, they can better manage their heightened sensitivity and turn it into a strength, rather than a source of stress.

The Power of Acceptance and Self-Understanding

Embracing and accepting high sensitivity as an integral part of one's being can result in a profoundly transformative journey. For highly sensitive individuals, this means no longer battling their inherent nature, but rather, learning to harness it and transform it into a formidable asset.

It's a powerful realization to understand that being highly sensitive is not a shortcoming, but instead, a distinctive way of interacting with and interpreting the world around us. This recognition can be a catalyst for self-compassion, letting go of self-judgement and embracing oneself wholeheartedly.

Equally significant is fostering societal understanding of high sensitivity. Dispelling stigmatization and advocating for environments that celebrate rather than suppress high sensitivity can empower these individuals to flourish.

Our societal tapestry is woven from threads of diversity, and the richness of experience brought by highly sensitive individuals forms a key part of this vibrant fabric. By embracing and supporting these individuals, we can co-create a society that honors and values the contributions of all its members, acknowledging the strength in sensitivity and the profound depth of experience it brings.

Woman helping her friend with finding mental health resources in your new community

Moving to a new place can be an exciting journey with new opportunities and adventures. But let's face it, it can also be a bit scary and intimidating, especially when it comes to taking care of our mental health. Amidst unpacking boxes and exploring new streets, we must have access to evidence-based care and support for our mental well-being. Whether settling into a bustling city or a quiet neighborhood, finding mental health resources in your new community is a step towards feeling more at home. Less like you're navigating this big change alone.

Understanding Your Needs

Before you dive into Google searches or local directories, take a moment to think about what you need. Mental health isn't one-size-fits-all. The kind of support that works wonders for one person might not be the ticket for another.

Woman sitting on concrete stairs and thinking
Before you dive into Google searches or local directories, take a moment to think about what you need. Mental health isn't one-size-fits-all, and the kind of support that works wonders for one person might not be the ticket for another.

Are you looking for a therapist to chat with weekly? Or maybe a support group where you can share experiences and meet people facing similar challenges? Or perhaps exploring art therapy could be your creative avenue to managing stress. Identifying your needs is like setting the destination in your GPS. It can make finding mental health resources in your new community much easier.

Starting Your Search

Okay, so you've got a good idea of what you need. Now, where to find it? Start with a simple online search or check out local community boards. But remember, not all heroes wear capes—some might be your new neighbors or coworkers. Don't shy away from asking for recommendations.

Local healthcare providers, like doctors and clinics, can also be a goldmine for referrals to therapists, counselors, and support groups. And let's not forget about social media; it's not just for cat videos and food pics. Many communities have Facebook or WhatsApp groups where you can get leads on local mental health resources.

Leveraging Local Resources

Your new community might be holding onto some amazing resources waiting to be discovered. Community centers often host workshops and events focused on well-being and mental health. The best part is that these centers are present everywhere, from the busy streets of NYC to its calming suburbs. Hospitals and local mental health clinics further contribute to this network. They provide direct access to counseling and therapeutic services that cater to individuals and groups alike.

Online and Virtual Support

Let's face it: we live in a digital age, and finding support online has never been easier. Online therapy platforms, for instance, bridge the gap between you and mental health professionals, allowing for flexible scheduling that fits into your life, not the other way around. Consider the benefits of mental health apps that promote mindfulness and stress management, providing tools and techniques at your fingertips anytime, anywhere.

Person having a video call and talking about finding mental health resources in your new community
Online therapy offers a flexible way of finding mental health resources in your new community without leaving your home.

It's essential, however, to ensure the resources you turn to are reputable. Look for platforms with verified professionals and check out user reviews to gauge their effectiveness. Engaging with virtual support groups can also offer comfort and connection, breaking down geographical barriers and creating spaces where open, honest conversations can flourish. The goal is to build a support system that is accessible, reliable, and tailored to your needs, ensuring no one has to navigate their mental health journey alone.

Building a Personalized Support Network

Crafting a personalized support network is like assembling your team of superheroes. They're there for you, ready to lend an ear, offer advice, or just hang out when you need a break. This network can include close friends, family members you’re comfortable contacting, neighbors, and even coworkers.

Engaging in community activities or hobbies you love can also be a fantastic way to meet like-minded individuals who can become part of your support system. But don't rush - taking your time building these connections is okay. Genuine relationships grow from shared experiences and trust, and they can become one of your most valuable resources.

Navigating Insurance and Financial Considerations

Figuring out insurance and how to afford mental health care can be tricky, especially in a new place. First, get to know your insurance plan's coverage for mental health services. That might involve a bit of detective work—like reading through your policy details or making a call to customer service—but it’s worth it to understand what kinds of support are accessible to you financially.

If your insurance puzzle seems tough to solve, don’t fret. Many therapists offer sliding scale fees based on income, and nonprofit organizations provide affordable services. The key is to keep asking and exploring until you find the right fit for your budget and needs.

Engaging with Support Groups

Sometimes, the best way to navigate a new chapter in your life is by connecting with people on the same page. Support groups offer a unique space where you can share your experiences, challenges, and triumphs with others who truly understand. Whether you’re dealing with anxiety, adjusting to life in a new city, or exploring paths like art therapy for emotional expression, there’s likely a group for it.

Two people hugging during a support group session.
Support groups play a crucial role, providing a space to share experiences and feel understood by others.

Whether moving to busy Brooklyn or charming Hoboken, there are plenty of group meetings in cozy cafes, community centers, and even online. In Brooklyn, especially, finding a support group that resonates with your experiences can make a significant difference. These gatherings are not just about sharing and listening. They're key steps in helping you feel at home in Brooklyn after your move, offering emotional support and practical advice that cater specifically to the unique vibes and challenges of the city.

Stepping Stones to Well-being

Finding mental health resources in your new community is more than just a task to check off your moving list; it's a foundational step toward building a fulfilling life in your new home. Whether navigating the lively streets of Manhattan or settling into a quieter locale like Weehawken, remember that support is out there. From traditional therapy and innovative approaches like art therapy to support groups and online resources, a world of help is waiting for you. And don't forget, whether you're dealing with complex post-traumatic stress disorder or just seeking someone to talk to, reaching out is a sign of strength.

A person eating oatmeal and drinking coffee while reading a magazine.

In a world where adult depression is increasingly prevalent, finding effective ways to manage
this condition becomes crucial. Embracing lifestyle changes for managing adult depression is not
just about treating symptoms. It's also about transforming our daily lives to cultivate happiness
and well-being
. So, let's embark on a journey of self-improvement and positivity together.

1 The Impact of Diet on Mental Health

One of the most important lifestyle changes for managing adult depression is related to the food
you consume. A balanced diet, rich in essential nutrients, significantly influences mood and
mental health.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts, are known to
enhance brain function and may help alleviate symptoms of depression. Complex carbohydrates
in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provide sustained energy and help regulate serotonin
levels, a key neurotransmitter in mood regulation.

A woman eating healthy as an example of lifestyle changes for managing adult depression.
Eating a balanced diet full of nutrients is key to elevating your mood and overall well-being.

It's essential to avoid high-sugar and high-fat foods, which can lead to energy crashes and
mood swings. Including probiotics and fermented foods in your diet can also support gut health,
which is increasingly linked to mental health. Remember, the aim is to create a diet plan that is
sustainable and enjoyable, forming a part of your lifestyle rather than being seen as a restrictive
dieting regime.

2 Fostering Strong Relationships

Strong, healthy relationships are vital in combating adult depression. A supportive network
comprising a caring partner, understanding friends, and close family offers emotional comfort
and practical assistance. Open communication and shared activities in a relationship are key.
They foster mutual support and understanding.

Moreover, couples therapy or relationship counseling can be invaluable. It addresses conflicts,
which is not unusual when one of the partners is suffering from depression, improves
communication, and deepens emotional connections. Seeking help for these issues strengthens
individual well-being and the relationship.

Also, it's essential to cherish these relationships. After all, they play a significant role in
supporting a depressed loved one - you. This support is a gift, contributing immensely to your
journey towards managing depression. It reinforces the importance of empathy and patience,
especially when depression is a shared struggle.

3 Quality Sleep: A Pillar of Mental Health

Sleep is a critical element in managing adult depression. The relationship between sleep and
mental health is bidirectional – poor sleep can lead to mood disturbances, and depression can
make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.
Creating a sleep-conducive environment, establishing
a regular sleep schedule, and engaging in relaxation techniques before bed are key strategies for
improving sleep quality.

Avoiding stimulants like caffeine and minimizing screen time in the evening can also contribute
to better sleep. Sharing a bedtime routine with your partner can foster a sense of togetherness and
support, further aiding in relaxation and stress reduction. Good sleep hygiene benefits not just
individual well-being but also the health of your relationship, as both partners are better rested
and more emotionally available.

4 Professional Help: A Strong Ally in Managing Depression

Seeking professional help is a crucial aspect of managing adult depression, especially when
lifestyle changes alone are not sufficient. Experts like those at
highlight the potential for depression to lead to addiction, underscoring the importance of
professional intervention. Therapy, counseling, and, in some cases, medication can provide
the necessary support and guidance.

A person talking to a therapist about lifestyle changes for managing adult depression.
Seeking professional help can complement lifestyle changes for managing adult depression, providing
essential support and guidance.

These resources can be particularly helpful in understanding and managing the underlying causes
of depression, including recognizing the signs of trauma and addressing them effectively.

Professional help can also offer new perspectives and strategies for coping, complementing
the lifestyle changes, and providing a more holistic approach to managing depression.

5 The Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness practices are essential in managing adult depression. These techniques, including
deep breathing, guided imagery, and meditation, help foster awareness. Importantly, they
break the cycle of negative thoughts that often accompany depression. Mindfulness reduces
stress, improves focus, and enhances emotional well-being.

Furthermore, these practices can positively impact relationships. They promote empathy,
patience, and active listening. Practicing mindfulness with your partner can strengthen your
bond. It supports you both in moments of stress and anxiety. However, in some situations,
mindfulness reveals deeper anxiety issues. Here, it's time for specialized anxiety therapy. This
therapy can address more complex concerns, complementing your mindfulness journey.

6 Exploring New Experiences for Personal Growth

Trying new activities and embracing new experiences play a significant role in managing adult
depression. Stepping out of your comfort zone and engaging in new hobbies or learning new
can provide a sense of achievement and joy.

These experiences can invigorate your life, offering fresh perspectives and breaking the
monotony that often accompanies depression. Whether traveling to a new destination, taking up
a new sport, or attending a workshop, these experiences can revitalize your outlook on life and
contribute to your overall mental wellness.

7 Enhancing Well-being Through Exercise

Regular exercise is a cornerstone in the management of adult depression. It's not just about
maintaining physical health; it's a vital component of mental well-being. Physical activities,
whether a structured gym workout, a soothing yoga session, or even a simple daily walk, trigger
the release of endorphins
, natural mood lifters.

A group of women doing yoga.
Regular exercise boosts endorphins, improving mood and energy levels, which are crucial in the fight
against depression.

These activities also help reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and boost self-esteem.
Incorporating regular exercise into your routine improves your physical health and cultivates a
more positive mindset.

Engaging in these activities with a partner or a friend can be particularly beneficial, as it provides
a shared goal and mutual support, which strengthens the bond in a relationship. This joint pursuit
can be especially uplifting as you both witness and celebrate each other's progress and

Finding Joy in Every Step

Having all of the above in mind, it's safe to conclude that lifestyle changes for managing adult
depression require a holistic approach that involves nurturing the body, mind, and soul. By
implementing these lifestyle changes, you're not just combating depression but creating a
foundation for lasting happiness and well-being. Remember, every small step counts; together,
we can walk towards a brighter, more joyful future.

Man playing guitar thinking of anxiety treatment on Long Island.

Performance anxiety is a common struggle that affects individuals in various areas of their lives. Whether it be in school, work, or personal relationships, the fear of not meeting expectations can be overwhelming and paralyzing. For some individuals, this fear may stem from past traumas and experiences, leading to a condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fortunately, there are effective treatments for PTSD that can also help alleviate the symptoms of performance anxiety. In this blog post, we will explore the role of PTSD treatment in overcoming performance anxiety and unlocking one's full potential.

Understanding Performance Anxiety and Its Impact on Your Potential

Understanding the impact of performance anxiety on your potential is crucial in finding ways to overcome it. When we constantly worry about performing well, we become hyper-focused on our perceived failures and shortcomings, rather than on our strengths and abilities. This negative mindset can hinder our progress and prevent us from taking risks and stepping out of our comfort zones.

Performance anxiety can be particularly challenging for individuals who have experienced past traumas, leading to the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The symptoms of PTSD, such as anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, can intensify performance anxiety and make it even more debilitating.

However, it's important to remember that there are effective treatments for both PTSD and performance anxiety. Seeking therapy, such as trauma counseling or anxiety treatment, can provide tools and strategies to help manage and overcome these challenges. One evidence-based treatment for PTSD is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which can help individuals process traumatic memories and alleviate symptoms.

By understanding the impact of performance anxiety on our potential and seeking appropriate treatment, we can break free from self-criticism, embrace confidence growth, and unlock our full potential in any field or area of our lives. It is possible to achieve inner calm and focus, set and achieve goals, and find balance in managing our self-expectations and dealing with pressure. Let's explore how to overcome performance anxiety and unleash our true potential.

Embracing Confidence Growth: Breaking Free from Self-Criticism

A man giving a presentation in front of a crowd. Find therapy for anxiety near Oakdale, NY.

To overcome performance anxiety, it is crucial to embrace confidence growth and break free from self-criticism. Many individuals who experience performance anxiety are often their own worst critics, constantly questioning their abilities and berating themselves for any perceived shortcomings. This self-critical mindset can be detrimental to our self-esteem and hinder our progress towards reaching our full potential.

To embrace confidence growth, it is important to challenge these negative self-beliefs and replace them with positive and empowering thoughts. Recognize that making mistakes and experiencing setbacks are a natural part of growth and learning. Instead of dwelling on perceived failures, focus on your strengths and past achievements. Remind yourself of your unique talents and capabilities that have led you to where you are today.

Additionally, seeking support from others can be incredibly helpful in breaking free from self-criticism. Whether it be through therapy, counseling, or talking to trusted friends and family members, sharing your anxieties and fears can provide a fresh perspective and valuable insights. Consider exploring trauma treatment, such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which has shown promising results in alleviating anxiety symptoms and promoting confidence growth.

Remember, confidence is not about being perfect or never making mistakes. It is about recognizing your worth, embracing your unique abilities, and believing in your capacity to grow and overcome challenges. By breaking free from self-criticism and embracing confidence growth, you can unlock your full potential and thrive in whatever field or area of your life you desire.

Goal Setting: The Pathway to Success

Sign saying never give up. Reach your goals with therapy near Smithtown, NY

Setting goals is a crucial step in overcoming performance anxiety and unlocking your full potential. Goals provide us with a clear direction and purpose, allowing us to focus our energy and efforts on what truly matters. When setting goals, it is important to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). By following this framework, you can create goals that are realistic and attainable, increasing your confidence and motivation.

Additionally, breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps can help reduce feelings of anxiety. Celebrating each milestone along the way will boost your self-esteem and keep you motivated to continue striving for success.

Remember, goal setting is not about perfection or comparing yourself to others. It is about personal growth and progress. By setting goals that align with your values and aspirations, you can navigate through performance anxiety with purpose and determination. Keep in mind that it is okay to adjust your goals as you learn and grow. The most important thing is to stay focused, stay motivated, and stay committed to unlocking your full potential.

Mastering Inner Calm and Focus: The Essential Ingredients to Excel

Mastering inner calm and focus are essential ingredients for excelling and unlocking your full potential. When we are overwhelmed by performance anxiety, our minds become cluttered with self-doubt and negative thoughts, making it difficult to stay focused and perform at our best. By practicing mindfulness and developing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, we can cultivate a sense of inner calm and clarity.

Additionally, exploring therapeutic approaches like EMDR therapy can help individuals address past traumas and reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. EMDR therapy is a highly effective treatment that uses eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation to help individuals process and heal from traumatic experiences.

By incorporating these strategies into our daily lives, we can quiet the noise of self-doubt and anxiety, and create a space where we can focus and perform at our peak. Remember, mastering inner calm and focus takes practice and patience, but the rewards are well worth it.

Overcoming PTSD as a Step towards Self-confidence and Unleashing Potential

Person doing a handstand at a beach. Find therapy for PTSD near Westhampton, NY

Overcoming PTSD is a crucial step towards gaining self-confidence and unlocking your full potential. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can intensify performance anxiety, making it even more debilitating. The symptoms of PTSD, such as anxiety attacks and depression symptoms, can hold you back from reaching your goals and embracing your true abilities.

Seeking appropriate treatment, such as EMDR intensive therapy, can help individuals process and heal from traumatic experiences, reducing the symptoms of PTSD and enhancing overall well-being. This therapy focuses on reprocessing traumatic memories, allowing you to release the negative emotions associated with them. As you heal from past traumas, you will experience a newfound sense of self-confidence and resilience, enabling you to overcome performance anxiety and unlock your full potential.

By taking the necessary steps to overcome PTSD, you are paving the way for personal growth and success. Remember, it is never too late to seek help and reclaim control of your life. You have the power within you to overcome PTSD and unleash your true potential.

Achieving Balance: Healthy Self-expectations and Dealing with Pressure

Achieving balance between healthy self-expectations and dealing with pressure is a crucial step in overcoming performance anxiety and unlocking your full potential. It's important to recognize that while setting high standards for yourself is beneficial, setting unrealistic expectations can be counterproductive and contribute to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.

To achieve balance, start by being kind and compassionate towards yourself. Remind yourself that it's okay to make mistakes and that setbacks are a part of growth. Focus on progress rather than perfection and celebrate small victories along the way.

Managing pressure is also essential. Break tasks into manageable chunks and prioritize self-care. Find healthy coping mechanisms like exercise, journaling, or spending time with loved ones to reduce stress. Setting boundaries and learning to say no when necessary can also help manage external pressures.

Remember, balance is about finding harmony between striving for success and taking care of your well-being. By maintaining healthy self-expectations and effectively managing pressure, you can navigate performance anxiety with grace and confidence, ultimately unlocking your true potential.

Many of my clients have difficulty living the life they want and need to feel truly happy. They struggle with expectations placed on them by others, feelings of guilt if they put themselves first and most days feel like they cannot catch their breathe. Trauma therapy, like EMDR for example, can help you to end old patterns and put yourself first. Self-care isn't selfish- I know it's a clique but it is true. You need to take care of you to be your best self for your family, friends and career. If this is speaking to you, strap in- I have some Pro-tips for you.

Chalk on street saying you got this. Find trauma therapy near Plainview, NY

1. Evaluate Your Values

What is most important to you? List 3 things. Could be family, honesty, integrity, compassion, trust etc. Then you need to start seeing if your actions actually align with your values. Those that do keep at them- those that don't make an effort to change them. For example, if you choose "family, compassion and health" and you are offered an additional work shift. Is taking this shift detracting from your family time? Do you need a mental health break or day off to take care of you? If so say no. If it's to help a colleague who is going through a rough time and you feel you have enough time on another day to take care of you and spend time with family and you want to honor that "compassion" value you can also say yes. Seeing how our actions are in align with our values helps us to begin living a life that makes us happy- not a life that is spent trying to appease or please others.

2. Set Some Boundaries

In set with setting those values is setting up some boundaries with those around us. When we have no boundaries- meaning we having difficulty saying no or often do things out of pleasing others even if it's not what we want- we continue to feel exhausted, unhappy and overwhelmed. Boundaries despite what childhood may have taught you are actually healthy.

A person saying no with their hands. Find anxiety treatment through EMDR therapy near Bethpage, NY

Saying "No I'm sorry I can't go out tonight", "No I won't be able to take on that extra project with my current workload as it stands" or "I would appreciate if you refrained from "xyz" in front of my children" is the first step to reducing our triggers, reducing your stress load and giving yourself the time to focus on you and do what makes YOU happy.

3. Let Go of the Guilt

Often times my clients struggle with boundaries because of the guilt they feel in saying no to others. They feel responsible to take on the problems of those around them. They are accustom to the role of "fixer". Those around them, often family members but sometimes even colleagues or bosses sometimes push back on boundaries set and plead or ridicule them if they don't get what they want. I'm not going to say setting boundaries is an easy task when you are accustom to saying "yes" to everything because your role has always been to put others before you. But I will say the more you stick to your boundaries, the less others push back over time. It helps to see if keeping those boundaries is in alignment with your values or the type of person you are aspiring to be. Simple answer might look like "yes, I value helping others." With a closer look though it's easy to see it is hard to be our best self for others when you are running on empty.

A man looking unsure. Find therapy for depression near Sayville, NY

As I often tell my trauma therapy clients, and as they say on the air plane "put your mask on first" before you help those around you. It also helps to make a list of the short term positive gain of letting others violate your boundary and the long term consequences. For example, lets say you have difficulty saying no at work and are constantly taking on additional tasks asked of you.

Short Term Positive of Not Holding My BoundaryLong Term Consequences of Not Holding My Boundary
-Don't feel guilty-I am overwhelmed and burning out
-My boss is happy-It's hard to complete additional work assigned in my work hours so I am constantly bringing work home
-I get positive praise-I am working so hard that when I am done I have no energy to engage meaningfully with my husband and kids
-I feel taken advantage of and under appreciated
-My workload will never decrease if I do not voice concern with the disproportionate work I get in comparison to colleagues

After making this list you may decide to have a conversation with your boss and say "I would love to be able to help with that project but I already have 3 other projects I am currently working on. I will need to finish those first before I can take on any more. It's important to me that the quality of my work meets the standard and I am afraid I won't be able to complete all projects to our client's expectations." Starting an honest dialogue can help you feel more in control and will likely make you a better employee. Same with friends and family, when you are happier and more relaxed you can be your best self for your spouse, children, parents and friends. If this seems daunting, trauma therapy can surely help you work through your fears and doubts.

Need Help?

If this sounds daunting, you may need some extra support in navigating beginning to set boundaries and taking back control of your life. This is really common with clients who have trauma, are children of alcoholics, were parentified children (children that functioned more as parents), and those with low self-esteem and attachment difficulties (as they often fear boundaries will push others away). Trauma therapy can help! Just like my clients you can take back your life, begin to feel in control, less overwhelmed, more peaceful and joyful. You deserve happiness too. If you need the extra support in getting there give our office a call.

Sending love & light,

Jamie Vollmoeller, LCSW

Person reflecting on his life in nature. Learn how to take better care of yourself. Find PTSD treatment near Oakdale, NY.

Have you ever wondered how childhood trauma impacts adolescents or adults? Do you find yourself asking yourself how much your childhood has a impact on your relationships today? Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have major impact on our emotional development and how we continue to interact in the relationships around us. 

Childhood is where our attachment styles are developed and our parents are our primary attachment figures. The way they respond to us in childhood shapes our worldview, or perception of the world, and how we expect others to respond, relate and interact with us. This is the foundation of whether or not a child will feel the world is safe and whether or not those around them will accept them.

Erikson called this our view of “trust or mistrust”. Is it a safe place to venture out and take emotional risks? Are all people generally good or are they out to hurt us and therefore untrustworthy? Can we trust others to support us in times of emotional need or crisis or do I need to rely on myself?

Complex trauma refers to the prolonged exposure to a stressful event, or repeated traumatic events layered on top of another. This would include children, who have grown up in physically, sexually, and/or emotionally absent or abusive households, as well as children who grew up in unsafe communities, an incarnated parent or a parent with mental health or substance use concerns.

How Childhood Trauma Continues to Effect us into Adulthood

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Without the safety net of a secure attachment relationship, children experiencing childhood trauma grow up to become adults who struggle with poor self-esteem and difficulty with emotional regulation. They continue the unhealthy relationship patterns of their childhood with partners, friends and family members. These adults also have an increased risk of developing depression and anxiety.

The following are the four basic attachment styles. Please keep in mind that these descriptions are very general; not everyone will have all these characteristics. Attachment styles are relatively fluid and can be ever-changing depending on your partner’s own attachment style and the adaptations you make as you grow and learn.

Secure Attachment in Adults

These individuals usually grew up in a supportive environment where parents consistently responded to their needs. Securely attached individuals feel comfortable in their own skin, easily share feelings with partners and friends and seek out social support. These individuals have a generally positive outlook on life and seek physical and/or emotional intimacy with minimal fear of being rejected or overwhelmed.

Securely attached individuals, much like their parents were to them, are generally consistent and reliable in their behaviors toward their partner. They also tend to include their partner in decisions that could affect their relationship or life goals. 

Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment in Adults

Children develop this attachment style when their primary caregivers are not emotionally responsive or are rejecting of their needs.

Children learn to pull away emotionally and be overly self-reliant, as means to avoid feelings of rejection. As adults, they become uncomfortable with emotional openness and downplay the importance of relationships.

These adults tend to place a high priority on their own independence from others and tend to be extremely self-reliant. They develop techniques to reduce feelings of being overwhelmed and defend themselves from perceived threats to their “independence.”

These techniques include, shutting down, sending mixed messages, and avoiding. These coping techniques end up becoming detrimental to their adult relationships.

Fearful-Avoidant Attachment in Adults

Children who have developed this style of attachment may have been exposed to prolonged abuse and/or neglect. Their primary caregivers are a source of hurt, rather than fulfilling their vital role of providing support and comfort. 

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These children grow up to become adults who depend on others but avoid intimacy in their relationships due to fear of rejection. As adults they have lower self-esteem and high anxiety in relationships. 

As adults they see the value in having close relationships but due to the abuse they received have a difficult time trusting others. Due to this distrust, they avoid being emotionally vulnerable with others and have difficulty clearly expressing their wants and needs, as they fear it will lead to more hurt and rejection.

Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment in Adults:

Children with anxious-preoccupied attachment had caregivers who did not consistently meet their needs, as in their responses to the child were not consistent or predictable. Their parents were nurturing, caring and attentive at times but this was alternated with cold, rejecting or emotionally detached behaviors. 

This alternation between love and rejection makes it difficult for a child to know what to expect from day to day. These children then grow up to be adults who require a lot of connection, closeness and attention within their relationships, sometimes to the point of being “clingy.”

Individuals who have this attachment style may need more validation and approval from loved ones than the other attachment styles.

Neurobiology of Attachment and Childhood Trauma

Neuro pathways and brain function. Repair neuro pathways with EMDR therapy in Bethpage, NY.

As products of our own environments, adults will often find themselves repeating the same behaviors witnessed and experienced in childhood. This is because the neural pathways developed from childhood traumatic experiences shape keep us stuck in these unhealthy patterns and ways of relating.

As products of our own environments, adults will often find themselves repeating the same behaviors witnessed and experienced in childhood. This is because the neural pathways developed from childhood traumatic experiences shape keep us stuck in these unhealthy patterns and ways of relating.

To say all of this is not meant to place blame on caregivers for the types of relationships formed in your adult life. However, increasing awareness of your own attachment style can help you take those first steps towards recognizing patterns and improving your relationships as an adult. With newfound awareness you can move to form securely attached relationships with your partner and with your own children. 

Processing those difficult childhood memories of abuse and neglect can help you to make new neural connections with more adaptive experiences in your life and thus alter that inner-voice that keeps your stuck in poor patterns of behavior. 

Where to go From Here?

At Long Island EMDR, we understand how complex childhood trauma affects you as an adult, which is why we specialize in EMDR and trauma-focused therapies. We are here to help guide and support you through your journey of processing past hurts and forming healthier connections.

Keep Shining,

Jamie Vollmoeller, LCSW 

Parenting is a challenging journey on its own, but it can become even more difficult when the parent has ADHD. The constant struggle to stay organized, focused, and on top of responsibilities can take a toll on both the parent and their child. However, there is hope. EMDR therapy, a unique and effective form of therapy, has shown promising results in helping parents with ADHD better manage their symptoms and become more confident and capable in their role as a parent. In this blog post, we will explore the struggles of parenting with ADHD and how EMDR therapy can be a valuable tool in navigating this challenge.

Understanding ADHD in Parents

Parenting is a challenging journey that requires patience, focus, and organization. But what happens when the parent themselves has ADHD? Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. It is characterized by difficulties in maintaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. When a parent has ADHD, it can add an extra layer of complexity to the already demanding role of being a caregiver.

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Understanding ADHD in parents is crucial in order to navigate this unique challenge. For parents with ADHD, the struggle to stay organized and focused can make even the simplest tasks feel overwhelming. Time management becomes a constant battle, leading to feelings of frustration and guilt. The ability to juggle multiple responsibilities can become incredibly challenging, leaving parents feeling overwhelmed and inadequate.

Additionally, ADHD can also impact a parent's ability to provide structure and consistency for their child. The lack of organization and planning can lead to inconsistency in parenting styles, which can be confusing for the child and create additional challenges in their development.

It's important to recognize that ADHD is a real and valid condition that requires understanding and support. By acknowledging and addressing the specific challenges that parents with ADHD face, we can begin to develop strategies and interventions that can help alleviate some of the burdens they face. In the next section, we will explore the struggles of parenting with ADHD in more detail, shedding light on the daily obstacles that parents with ADHD must overcome.

Struggles of Parenting with ADHD

Parenting is already a challenging task, but when a parent has ADHD, it can become even more overwhelming. The daily struggles of managing ADHD symptoms while also trying to meet the needs of your child can take a toll on both the parent and the child.

One of the main struggles for parents with ADHD is the difficulty in staying organized and focused. Simple tasks that seem easy for others can feel insurmountable for someone with ADHD. Time management becomes a constant battle, and feelings of frustration and guilt can easily arise. Juggling multiple responsibilities can be incredibly challenging, leaving parents feeling on edge and not good enough.

ADHD can also affect a parent's ability to provide structure and consistency for their child. The lack of organization and planning can lead to inconsistency in parenting styles, which can be confusing and unsettling for the child. This can create additional challenges in their development and may cause the child to struggle with routine and expectations.

Furthermore, the impulsivity that often accompanies ADHD can also be a struggle for parents. Impulsive reactions and decision-making can lead to unintended consequences and can make it difficult to maintain a calm and controlled environment for the child.

Overall, parenting with ADHD is a daily battle. However, it's important to remember that you are not alone. There are strategies and interventions available to help parents with ADHD navigate these challenges and become more confident and capable caregivers. In the next sections, we will explore the benefits of EMDR therapy, how it works, and finding a therapist to guide you through this unique form of therapy.

Benefits of EMDR Therapy for Parents with ADHD

EMDR therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, has shown promising benefits for parents with ADHD. This unique form of therapy can help alleviate the struggles that come with parenting while managing ADHD symptoms. Here are some of the benefits of EMDR therapy for parents with ADHD:

1. Reduction of ADHD symptoms: EMDR therapy has been found to be effective in reducing the symptoms of ADHD, such as difficulties with attention, focus, and impulsivity. Through targeted eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation, EMDR therapy helps reprocess traumatic memories and negative beliefs that may contribute to ADHD symptoms.

2. Improved executive functioning: EMDR therapy can enhance executive functioning skills, such as organization, planning, and time management. By addressing underlying emotional issues and working through past traumas, parents can develop new coping strategies and improve their ability to stay organized and focused.

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3. Enhanced self-confidence: Many parents with ADHD struggle with feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. EMDR therapy can help parents develop a more positive self-image and improve their self-confidence as a parent. By reprocessing negative experiences and beliefs, parents can gain a greater sense of their strengths and abilities.

4. Improved parent-child relationship: EMDR therapy can also benefit the parent-child relationship. By addressing and resolving emotional issues that may contribute to parenting challenges, parents can develop healthier and more secure attachments with their children. This can lead to improved communication, trust, and overall family dynamics.

5. Long-lasting results: EMDR therapy has been found to have long-lasting effects. Many parents report continued improvements in their ADHD symptoms and parenting abilities even after therapy has ended. This means that the benefits of EMDR therapy can extend beyond the therapy sessions and have a positive impact on parenting in the long term.

How EMDR Therapy Works

EMDR therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a unique and effective form of therapy that has shown promising results in helping parents with ADHD. But how exactly does EMDR therapy work?

EMDR therapy is based on the understanding that traumatic or distressing experiences can get stuck in our brains, causing negative beliefs and emotional distress. These unresolved experiences can contribute to ADHD symptoms and difficulties in parenting. EMDR therapy works by targeting and reprocessing these traumatic memories, allowing the brain to process them more healthily.

During an EMDR therapy session, the therapist will guide the parent through a series of eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation. This bilateral stimulation helps stimulate the brain's natural ability to heal and reprocess traumatic memories. As the parent follows the therapist's hand movements or listens to sounds alternating in each ear, the brain's attention is split, allowing the distressing memories to be processed more effectively.

As the parent reprocesses these traumatic memories, they can experience a reduction in ADHD symptoms and an improvement in executive functioning. Negative beliefs about themselves as parents can be challenged and replaced with more positive and empowering beliefs. This leads to improved self-confidence and a stronger parent-child relationship.

EMDR therapy is a collaborative process, with the therapist providing a safe and supportive environment for the parent to explore their experiences and emotions. Each session builds on the progress made in the previous session, allowing for a gradual healing process.

Finding a Therapist for EMDR Therapy

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Finding a qualified therapist who specializes in EMDR therapy can greatly benefit those managing ADHD symptoms and navigating the challenges of parenting. To find the right therapist for you, follow these tips:

1. Research online: Begin by searching online directories and therapist listings in your area. Look for therapists who specialize in EMDR therapy, have experience working with individuals with ADHD, and possess relevant credentials and experience. Read any reviews or testimonials from previous clients. The EMDR International Association website is a good start!

2. Seek recommendations: Reach out to your personal network for recommendations. Ask friends, family members, or support groups who have undergone EMDR therapy or know someone who has for their experiences. This can provide valuable insights and help you find a therapist who suits your needs.

3. Consult with professionals: Consider seeking recommendations from mental health professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists, who specialize in ADHD or trauma. They may be familiar with therapists who utilize EMDR therapy and can provide referrals.

4. Take advantage of consultation sessions: Many therapists offer free consultation sessions or phone calls to discuss their approach and answer any questions you may have. This can give you a better sense of the therapist and whether they are a good fit for you.

5. Trust your instincts: It is important to trust your instincts when choosing a therapist. Find someone you feel comfortable with and can build a strong therapeutic relationship with. Don't be afraid to ask questions and voice any concerns you may have during the consultation process.

Remember that finding the right therapist is a personal and individual process. Take your time, do your research, and trust that you will find the right therapist who can support you in managing your ADHD symptoms through EMDR therapy.

Other Resources and Coping Strategies for Parenting with ADHD

Parenting with ADHD can be a daily battle, but there are resources and coping strategies that can help alleviate some of the challenges and help you feel better connected with your family. Here are a few additional resources and strategies to consider:

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1. Support groups: Connecting with other parents who also have ADHD can provide a sense of community and understanding. Support groups can offer valuable advice, tips, and a safe space to share experiences and frustrations. Look for local support groups or online communities specifically for parents with ADHD.

2. Parenting classes or workshops: Many organizations offer parenting classes or workshops specifically tailored to parents with ADHD. These classes can provide valuable strategies and techniques for managing ADHD symptoms while still being an effective parent. Check with local community centers, mental health clinics, or online resources for upcoming classes or workshops.

3. Time management tools: Utilize tools and apps that can help with time management and organization. There are various apps available that can assist with setting reminders, creating schedules, and breaking tasks into manageable chunks. Experiment with different tools to find the ones that work best for you and your family.

4. Prioritize self-care: Taking care of yourself is essential when parenting with ADHD. Make time for self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, or engaging in hobbies that bring you joy. Remember, when you prioritize your well-being, you are better able to show up for your child.

5. Seek professional help: In addition to EMDR therapy, consider other therapeutic interventions that may benefit parents with ADHD. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication management can also be effective treatments for managing ADHD symptoms. Consult with a mental health professional who specializes in ADHD to explore the best treatment options for you.

Remember, managing ADHD as a parent is an ongoing journey. It's essential to be patient with yourself, practice self-compassion, and celebrate your successes along the way. With the right resources and coping strategies, you can navigate the challenges of parenting with ADHD and thrive in your role as a loving and capable caregiver.

Do you have a child struggling with test anxiety? If so, you’re not alone. Test anxiety can be debilitating and is a common problem among school aged children. Fortunately, there is a treatment for test anxiety that can help your child transform their test results - EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). EMDR is an evidence-based treatment for test anxiety that can quickly and effectively reduce feelings of panic and fear associated with exams. EMDR treatment for test anxiety offers parents, teachers and tutors a powerful tool to help their child overcome test anxiety and reach their full potential. With the help of EMDR intensives, your child can fast track their results and improve their test performance.

Understanding Test Anxiety and its Impact on Academic Performance

test anxiety emdr

Test anxiety is a common problem among school-aged children and can have a significant impact on their academic performance. When a child experiences test anxiety, their stress levels rise, and they may feel a sense of panic or fear leading up to and during exams. This anxiety can make it difficult for them to concentrate, remember information, and perform to the best of their abilities.

The impact of test anxiety on academic performance is multi-faceted. It not only affects a child's ability to recall information but also hinders their problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities. When children are anxious, they may struggle to think clearly and make decisions effectively, resulting in poor test performance. Furthermore, test anxiety can lead to a lack of confidence in their abilities, which can further hinder their academic performance.
Test anxiety can also have long-term effects on a child's academic success. If left untreated, it can become a recurring issue, leading to a cycle of poor test performance, increased anxiety, and decreased motivation. This cycle can ultimately have a detrimental impact on a child's self-esteem and overall academic achievement.
It is essential for parents, teachers, and tutors to recognize the signs of test anxiety in children and take proactive steps to address it. By understanding the impact of test anxiety on academic performance, they can provide the necessary support and guidance to help their child overcome this challenge.
In the next sections of this blog post, we will explore the signs of test anxiety in children, traditional treatments for test anxiety, and introduce a highly effective treatment option - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of test anxiety and its impact, you can equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to help your child overcome test anxiety and achieve their full potential.

Signs of Test Anxiety in Children

Test anxiety can manifest in different ways in children. It is important for parents, teachers, and tutors to recognize the signs and symptoms of test anxiety in order to provide the necessary support and intervention. Here are some common signs of test anxiety in children to watch out for:

  1. Physical symptoms: Children experiencing test anxiety may exhibit physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, rapid heartbeat, sweating, or even feeling lightheaded. These physical manifestations are a result of the stress and fear they experience before and during exams.
  2. Emotional distress: Children with test anxiety may become visibly anxious or agitated leading up to exams. They may experience feelings of irritability, restlessness, or even sadness. It is not uncommon for children to cry or have difficulty sleeping the night before a test.
  3. Avoidance behaviors: Some children with test anxiety may go to great lengths to avoid exams or situations that trigger their anxiety. They may try to skip school on test days, feign illness, or make excuses to avoid taking exams. These avoidance behaviors are their way of coping with the anxiety they feel.
  4. Negative self-talk: Children with test anxiety may have negative thoughts and beliefs about their abilities and performance. They may express self-doubt or say things like, "I'm stupid," or "I'll never do well on this test." These negative self-perceptions can further contribute to their anxiety and impact their test performance.
  5. Perfectionism: Children with test anxiety often hold themselves to extremely high standards and have a fear of failure. They may strive for perfection in their schoolwork and become overly stressed if they make even minor mistakes. This perfectionism can create additional pressure and anxiety during exams.
  6. Difficulty concentrating: Test anxiety can impair a child's ability to focus and concentrate on the test material. They may have difficulty paying attention or staying focused during the exam, leading to mistakes or missed questions.
    Recognizing these signs of test anxiety in children is the first step towards helping them overcome this challenge. By being aware of these symptoms, parents, teachers, and tutors can provide the necessary support and guidance to help children manage their anxiety and perform to their full potential on exams.

Traditional Treatments for Test Anxiety

emdr for test anxiety

Traditional treatments for test anxiety often focus on strategies to manage stress and improve test-taking skills. These treatments aim to help children develop coping mechanisms and build confidence in their abilities. While these methods can be helpful for some children, they may not be effective for everyone. It's important to explore alternative treatments, such as EMDR therapy, to provide the best possible support for your child.

One traditional treatment for test anxiety is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps children identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about exams. By replacing these negative thoughts with more positive and realistic ones, children can reduce their anxiety and improve their test performance. CBT also teaches children relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and visualization, to manage stress during exams.
Another traditional treatment for test anxiety is gradual exposure therapy. This involves slowly exposing children to test-like situations, starting with less stressful scenarios and gradually working up to full exams. By gradually increasing the difficulty level, children can become desensitized to the anxiety-provoking aspects of tests and develop confidence in their ability to handle them.
Furthermore, some children benefit from working with a tutor or academic coach who can provide targeted support in areas where they struggle. Tutors can help children develop effective study strategies, improve their time management skills, and build confidence in their knowledge and abilities.
While these traditional treatments can be helpful, they may not address the underlying causes of test anxiety. This is where EMDR therapy can offer a unique and powerful solution. EMDR therapy focuses on processing past traumatic experiences and their associated negative beliefs and emotions. By targeting the root causes of test anxiety, EMDR therapy can provide long-lasting relief from anxiety and improve overall well-being.

What is EMDR Therapy?

EMDR therapy, also known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, is a highly effective treatment option for individuals struggling with test anxiety. Developed by psychologist Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s, EMDR therapy has gained recognition as an evidence-based treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and phobias.
So, what exactly is EMDR therapy? EMDR therapy is a comprehensive and integrative approach that combines elements of different psychotherapeutic modalities. It incorporates techniques from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, and bilateral stimulation to help individuals process and reframe traumatic or distressing experiences that contribute to their test anxiety.
The therapy works by targeting the root causes of test anxiety, such as past traumatic events or negative beliefs about exams. During an EMDR session, the individual is asked to recall the distressing event or negative belief while simultaneously engaging in bilateral stimulation. This bilateral stimulation can be achieved through eye movements, tapping, or auditory tones.
The bilateral stimulation activates both hemispheres of the brain, allowing the individual to process the distressing memory or belief in a more adaptive and less emotionally charged way. This helps to reprocess the negative emotions associated with the memory or belief and replace them with more positive and realistic thoughts.
EMDR therapy is highly individualized, meaning that each session is tailored to the specific needs and experiences of the individual. The therapist works closely with the individual to identify the core memories or beliefs that contribute to their test anxiety and collaboratively develop a treatment plan.
Research has consistently shown that EMDR therapy can significantly reduce test anxiety symptoms and improve overall well-being. Many individuals report feeling a sense of relief, increased self-confidence, and improved test performance after completing EMDR therapy.
If you are considering EMDR therapy for your child's test anxiety, it is important to find a qualified and experienced EMDR therapist. Look for therapists who are trained and certified in EMDR therapy and have experience working with children. It is also essential to establish a good rapport with the therapist and ensure that your child feels comfortable and safe throughout the treatment process.
In the next section of this blog post, we will explore how EMDR therapy can specifically help individuals overcome test anxiety and improve their test performance. Stay tuned to learn more about the transformative effects of EMDR therapy on test anxiety.

How EMDR Can Help Overcome Test Anxiety

Test anxiety can be a significant obstacle for many children when it comes to their academic performance. Fortunately, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy offers a powerful solution for overcoming test anxiety and achieving success in exams.
EMDR therapy is specifically designed to target the root causes of test anxiety, such as past traumatic experiences or negative beliefs about exams. By engaging in bilateral stimulation while recalling distressing memories or beliefs, individuals can reprocess these experiences in a more adaptive and less emotionally charged way. This helps to alleviate the negative emotions associated with test anxiety and replace them with more positive and realistic thoughts.
One of the key benefits of EMDR therapy is its individualized approach. Each session is tailored to the specific needs and experiences of the individual, ensuring that they receive the most effective treatment for their test anxiety. Through collaborative work with a trained and experienced EMDR therapist, children can explore and address the underlying causes of their test anxiety, leading to lasting relief and improved well-being.
Research has consistently shown that EMDR therapy can significantly reduce test anxiety symptoms and enhance test performance. Many individuals report feeling a sense of relief, increased self-confidence, and improved concentration during exams after undergoing EMDR therapy.
The transformative effects of EMDR therapy on test anxiety are undeniable. By addressing the root causes of test anxiety and reprocessing negative beliefs and emotions, children can overcome their fear and panic associated with exams. This enables them to approach tests with greater confidence, clarity, and focus, ultimately leading to improved test results and academic performance.
If you're considering EMDR therapy for your child's test anxiety, it's important to find a qualified and experienced EMDR therapist. Look for therapists who are trained and certified in EMDR therapy, with specific experience in working with children. Building a strong rapport with the therapist and ensuring your child feels comfortable and safe throughout the treatment process is essential for a successful outcome.
EMDR therapy provides a unique and highly effective solution for children struggling with test anxiety. By addressing the underlying causes of their anxiety and reprocessing negative beliefs and emotions, EMDR therapy can help children overcome their fear and achieve their full potential in exams. With the power of EMDR, your child can transform their test results and excel academically.

How to Choose an EMDR Therapist for Your Child

When it comes to choosing an EMDR therapist for your child, it is important to find someone who is qualified, experienced, and specializes in working with children. EMDR therapy can be a highly effective treatment for test anxiety, but finding the right therapist is key to ensuring its success.
One of the first things you can do is to ask for recommendations. Reach out to your child's school counselor, pediatrician, or other mental health professionals in your area. They may be able to provide you with a list of EMDR therapists who have experience working with children and treating test anxiety.
Once you have a list of potential therapists, take the time to do some research. Look for information about their training, certification, and experience in using EMDR therapy. You want to ensure that the therapist you choose has the necessary credentials and expertise to effectively treat your child's test anxiety.
It is also important to consider the therapist's approach and philosophy. EMDR therapy is a highly individualized treatment, and each therapist may have their own unique style and techniques. Schedule a consultation or initial appointment with the therapist to discuss their approach and see if it aligns with your child's needs and preferences.
During the consultation, ask questions about the therapist's experience working with children, particularly those with test anxiety. Inquire about their success rates and what specific strategies or techniques they use to address test anxiety. It can also be helpful to inquire about their availability and scheduling options to ensure that it fits with your child's academic schedule.
Lastly, trust your instincts and your child's instincts. It is essential for your child to feel comfortable and safe with the therapist. They should feel heard, understood, and supported throughout the treatment process. If you or your child have any reservations or concerns, it may be best to continue your search for a therapist who feels like the right fit.
Choosing the right EMDR therapist for your child is an important decision that can significantly impact their experience and outcomes. By doing your research, asking the right questions, and following your instincts, you can find a qualified and experienced EMDR therapist who can help your child overcome test anxiety and reach their full potential.

EMDR Intensives and their Benefits

EMDR intensives are a specialized form of EMDR therapy that offers a unique set of benefits for children struggling with test anxiety. Unlike traditional weekly therapy sessions, EMDR intensives involve concentrated and extended treatment over a shorter period of time, typically spanning a few days or a week. This condensed treatment format allows for deeper and more focused work, resulting in faster and more significant improvements in test anxiety symptoms.
One of the primary benefits of EMDR intensives is the accelerated pace of progress. With regular therapy sessions, it can sometimes take weeks or months to see significant results. However, with EMDR intensives, children can experience noticeable improvements in a matter of days. This rapid progress can be highly motivating and provide a much-needed boost in confidence for children struggling with test anxiety.
EMDR intensives also allow for a comprehensive and immersive therapeutic experience. During an intensive, children can fully immerse themselves in the therapeutic process, focusing solely on their test anxiety and related challenges. This concentrated approach can help children quickly identify and address the underlying causes of their test anxiety, leading to more lasting and transformative change.
Another benefit of EMDR intensives is the opportunity for intensive skill-building and practice. Children can learn and practice specific techniques and strategies to manage their anxiety in real-time, both during therapy sessions and in-between. This intensive skill-building allows children to develop a strong foundation of coping mechanisms and tools to use during exams and stressful situations.
Furthermore, EMDR intensives provide a supportive and nurturing environment for children to explore and process their emotions. The extended treatment format allows for more in-depth and comprehensive exploration of past traumas, negative beliefs, and emotions that contribute to test anxiety. This deeper level of emotional processing can lead to profound healing and a greater sense of empowerment for children.
While EMDR intensives can be highly effective, it is important to note that they may not be suitable for everyone. Each child is unique, and the decision to pursue EMDR intensives should be made in consultation with a qualified EMDR therapist who can assess the child's specific needs and circumstances.
In summary, EMDR intensives offer a powerful and accelerated treatment option for children struggling with test anxiety. The condensed and immersive nature of EMDR intensives allows for faster progress, comprehensive skill-building, and deep emotional processing. By considering EMDR intensives as a treatment option, parents, teachers, and tutors can provide their child with the best possible support to overcome test anxiety and reach their full potential.

Tips for Parents, Teachers and Tutors to Help Children with Test Anxiety

Parents, teachers, and tutors play a crucial role in supporting children with test anxiety. If your child is struggling with test anxiety, here are some tips to help them overcome their fears and perform to their full potential:

  1. Create a supportive environment: Foster a safe and supportive environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their anxiety and seeking help. Encourage open communication and listen to their concerns without judgment. Let them know that their feelings are valid and that you are there to support them.
  2. Teach relaxation techniques: Help your child develop relaxation techniques to manage stress and anxiety during exams. Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization techniques can all be helpful in reducing anxiety levels. Practice these techniques together and encourage your child to use them during test situations.
  3. Set realistic expectations: Help your child set realistic expectations for themselves and their test performance. Emphasize that exams are a way to assess their knowledge and growth, rather than a measure of their worth as individuals. Encourage them to focus on their effort and improvement, rather than solely on the outcome.
  4. Teach effective study strategies: Work with your child to develop effective study strategies that suit their learning style. Help them create a study schedule, break down the material into manageable chunks, and use techniques such as flashcards or mnemonic devices to aid in memory retention. Teaching them effective study skills can help reduce anxiety and increase their confidence in their abilities.
  5. Encourage a growth mindset: Instill in your child a growth mindset, emphasizing that intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort and perseverance. Teach them to view challenges as opportunities for growth and to embrace mistakes as learning experiences. By cultivating a growth mindset, your child will be more resilient in the face of setbacks and better able to manage test anxiety.
  6. Seek professional help: If your child's test anxiety persists or becomes overwhelming, consider seeking professional help. A qualified EMDR therapist can provide specialized treatment to address the root causes of test anxiety and help your child overcome their fears. Work with the therapist to develop a personalized treatment plan that suits your child's needs.

By implementing these tips and providing the necessary support, parents, teachers, and tutors can help children manage their test anxiety and perform to their full potential. Remember, overcoming test anxiety takes time and patience, so be sure to celebrate even small victories along the way. With the right support and strategies, your child can overcome their test anxiety and thrive academically.

Sending Love & Light,

Jamie Vollmoeller, LCSW

Are you considering therapy near you, but not sure what approach to take? If so, you're not alone. Many people are interested in investing in themselves by seeking therapy, but may not know the difference between top-down and bottom-up approaches. Understanding these differences can make a huge impact in how effective your therapy is, so it's important to do your research. In this blog post, we'll discuss the difference between top-down and bottom-up approaches in therapy, as well as the magic in bottom up approaches.

Understanding Top-Down Approach to Therapy

When it comes to therapy, there are various approaches that therapists can take to help their clients navigate through their challenges. One such approach is the top-down approach. This approach focuses on addressing thoughts and behavior as the primary factors influencing an individual's well-being.

In a top-down approach to therapy, therapists often start by exploring their clients' thoughts and beliefs. They help clients identify any negative or irrational thinking patterns that may be contributing to their struggles. By challenging these thoughts and helping clients develop more positive and realistic thinking, therapists aim to bring about lasting change in their clients' behavior and emotions.

This approach emphasizes the importance of cognitive restructuring and cognitive-behavioral techniques to promote change. Therapists may use interventions such as cognitive reframing, thought-stopping, or problem-solving skills training to help their clients gain insight into their thought processes and make healthier choices.

While the top-down approach can be effective for some individuals, it may not be suitable for everyone. Some clients may benefit more from a bottom-up approach, which focuses on the mind-body connection. This approach recognizes that our bodies can store unresolved trauma and emotional experiences, leading to various psychological and physical symptoms.

If you are looking for therapy near me, it is important to consider which approach aligns best with your needs and preferences. Remember that therapy is a personal journey, and finding the right fit with a therapist who utilizes an approach that resonates with you is crucial for effective treatment. Whether you opt for a top-down or bottom-up approach, therapy can provide you with the support and tools you need to navigate life's challenges and achieve a sense of well-being.

Contrasting Thoughts and Behavior vs. Mind-Body Connection

When it comes to therapy, there are two primary approaches that therapists often employ: focusing on thoughts and behavior or exploring the mind-body connection. Both approaches have their merits and can be effective depending on the individual and their unique circumstances.

The traditional top-down approach to therapy emphasizes the importance of thoughts and behavior in influencing one's emotions and well-being. Therapists using this approach may help clients identify negative thought patterns, challenge distorted thinking, and develop more adaptive behaviors. This approach can be highly effective in helping individuals gain insight into their thoughts and behaviors and make positive changes.

On the other hand, the bottom-up approach to therapy emphasizes the mind-body connection and the importance of addressing physical sensations, emotions, and bodily experiences. This approach recognizes that emotions and traumatic experiences are stored not only in our minds but also in our bodies. Therapists using this approach may incorporate techniques such as body-focused therapies, somatic experiencing, or mindfulness practices to help clients become more attuned to their bodily sensations and work through past trauma.

Both approaches have their place in therapy, and the choice of approach often depends on the individual's needs and preferences. Some individuals may benefit from a more cognitive-focused approach, while others may find that exploring the mind-body connection brings about deeper healing. It's essential to find a therapist who offers both approaches and who is invested in understanding and supporting your unique healing journey.

If you're considering therapy and wondering, "Is there therapy near me that offers both top-down and bottom-up approaches?" it's important to do your research. Finding a therapist who is experienced in both approaches and has a genuine investment in yourself can greatly enhance your therapy experience. Remember, therapy is an investment in yourself, and finding the right therapist is crucial for your healing journey.

The Magic in Bottom-Up Approaches

When it comes to therapy, there is something truly magical about bottom-up approaches. These methods recognize the undeniable connection between our minds and bodies and use it to facilitate healing and growth.

One such approach is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which has gained significant recognition for its effectiveness in treating trauma and anxiety. EMDR works by targeting the underlying emotional distress associated with traumatic experiences and reducing the intensity of triggering responses. This therapy encourages individuals to engage in bilateral stimulation, such as eye movements or tapping, while simultaneously recalling distressing memories. Through this process, the brain is rewired, allowing for adaptive resolution of traumatic events.

Research has shown that EMDR can result in a decrease in responsiveness to triggers, reducing symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This bottom-up approach emphasizes the importance of engaging the body's natural ability to heal and reprocess traumatic memories.

Investing in yourself through therapy can be a life-changing decision, and finding the right therapy near you is crucial for your well-being. Bottom-up approaches, like EMDR, offer a unique and effective way to address underlying emotional distress. By focusing on the mind-body connection and targeting the root causes of distress, these approaches bring about lasting change and growth.

If you are struggling with trauma, anxiety, or any other mental health issue, consider exploring bottom-up approaches like EMDR. The magic lies in the ability to tap into your body's innate healing capabilities and find true relief from distress. Remember, therapy is an investment in yourself, and the right therapy near you can lead you on a transformative journey towards healing and well-being.

Why invest in a specialist?

Investing in a specialist for your therapy needs can make a significant difference in your overall well-being and long-term success. Research consistently shows that specialized care leads to better outcomes compared to generalist approaches. 

Why settle for a therapist who may have a broad understanding of various issues, when you can see someone who specializes in your specific concern? Whether it's sexual abuse, postpartum struggles, imposter syndrome, people pleasing, or childhood trauma, seeking out a specialist ensures that you receive targeted and effective treatment.

The impact of specialized care extends beyond your mental health. It can enhance your overall functioning as an employee, improve your earning potential, strengthen your relationships as a friend, parent, and spouse. By addressing your specific issues through specialized therapy, you can experience transformative healing and personal growth.

Another crucial consideration is the time factor. Why wait to feel better and begin your journey to true healing? By seeing a specialist, you can get results more quickly, allowing you to start feeling better and living a fulfilling life sooner.

Finding a specialized therapist is easier than ever with the help of technology. Simply search "therapy near me" online, and you will be connected to a wide range of professionals who specialize in your specific concern.

Investing in yourself through specialized therapy is a decision that can change your life. Don't settle for a generic approach when you can receive personalized and impactful care from a specialist who truly understands your unique needs. If you're ready to accelerate your healing and begin living the life you deserve to have give our office a call today.

Sending Love & light,

Jamie Vollmoeller, LCSW

Do you have that pesky voice in your head constantly shutting you down? Maybe you hear it say, “be a man”; “just do better”; “suck it up and deal”; “talking about your feelings makes you weak”; or “dude, no one wants to hear about your problems, just push through”. Seems familiar? 

You are not alone. Men across multiple cultures to include the United States of America are constantly told to bottle up their emotions and not talk about their feelings because vulnerability is seen as weakness. This is not only a cultural norm, but something that families instill in young boys growing up, in professional career settings, and in interpersonal relationships throughout our lives. But it’s all bullshit. If you want to know the truth, allowing yourself the space and strength to be vulnerable and discuss what you are going through makes you a man with courage; the courage to help yourself when you need to in a healthy way. 

The defining stereotyped image of whats makes someone a “man” includes expectations to use aggression (verbal and/or physical)  to solve their problems, suppressing emotions and never talking about their problems, isolating themselves and withdrawing (“because no one wants to hear your problems”), expected to be effortlessly attractive and/or in shape, value sexual conquests over emotional intimacy, homophobia, and be tough/intimidate others to get their way and/or defend themselves. 

Because our culture tells us that men should just sit down and shut up about their vulnerabilities, this often leads to self-destructive means of coping in men. Whether that be alcohol and/or substance misuse or abuse; or sabotaging personal and/or professional relationships with terrible communication skills and next to no problem solving abilities.

According to Benita N. Chatmon, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, “Depression and suicide are ranked as a leading cause of death among men. Six million men are affected by depression in the United States every single year. Men (79% of 38,364) die by suicide at a rate four times higher than women (Mental Health America [MHA], 2020). They also die due to alcohol-related causes at 62,000 in comparison to women at 26,000. Men are also two to three times more likely to misuse drugs than women (Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, 2017). These statistics are troubling because they reinforce the notion that males are less likely to seek help and more likely than women to turn to dangerous, unhealthy behaviors.” (

So, how can we help challenge the negative stereotypes men are expected to live up to? How do we break the stigma so that men can achieve the felt safety in asking for help from others, whether that be trusted loved ones or professionals?

First, it is essential to normalize the idea of seeking mental health treatment. When we have a medical condition like Diabetes or Hypertension, there's no shame in going to the doctor and/or dietitian for guidance and/or medication management. So, why should there be shame in seeking out help for issues like Depression, Anxiety, or Trauma? I feel that the reason this happens all too often is that we can’t just look inside the brain anytime we want to see what’s going on from a chemical or physiological standpoint. So, because we can’t physically see and/or measure exactly whats going on or why we feel the way we do, it becomes stigmatized as “a figment of our imagination” or “over-exaggerating”. This is beyond infuriating because mental health concerns are just as legitimate and can potentially become just as, if not more devastating than some medical conditions. 

In my career, I’ve seen lives destroyed by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychosis, Depression, and Anxiety. Although such conditions don’t always lead to debilitation and/or significant decrease in functioning, they sometimes do and this is pathologized by cultural norms in America, especially for men. As noted above, men are expected to sit down and shut up, and not talk about their feelings because…”who cares, just deal and push through”.

In addition to normalizing the idea of seeking help, it is also important to be able to talk with trusted loved ones about what you are going through. Also, find ways to educate yourself about your mental health issues, maybe even do your homework about what condition you’ve been diagnosed with and what to expect in therapy. A wonderful resource for learning more general information about mental health diagnoses and treatments is National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Please see the link for their main website listed here. Talk with your mental health provider openly about your diagnosis, what to expect in treatment, and any negative feelings that come with attending therapy. Your therapist is there to help. Try to use the time and calm space in therapy sessions to explore the negative stigmas around men seeking mental health care and how this has affected you and your relationships to yourself, others, and the world. This helps the therapist understand your world and your experience so that they can provide the appropriate tools to help. It is also beneficial to outreach others who are having the same or similar experiences as you; this can build compassion for others and feeling more understood and grounded in knowing that you are not alone. 

Men, just know that we all have baggage and you are not broken. You deserve to have the felt safety of seeking mental health care and addressing the concerns you have in a productive and healthy way. 

- Jackie Martinez, LMSW (NY), LCSW (NC)

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