Welcome to the wonderful world of therapy where every session is a journey into the human psyche. But what happens when the journey is internal? When the therapist is also dealing with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)? ADHD is often viewed as an obstacle, but it can also be a source of strength, especially in a therapeutic setting. This blog post delves into the world of therapists with ADHD, exploring the challenges and triumphs of navigating this unique path.
ADHD doesn't just choose students or artists or entrepreneurs—it reaches into every occupation, therapy included. Having ADHD as a therapist is not a rare occurrence. It's a journey marked with a unique mix of struggles and advantages. With ADHD, therapists may find they have an innate ability to connect with clients on a profound level. Their tendency to notice the subtleties that others may overlook can give them an edge. However, it’s not without its trials. Struggles with organization and concentration—hallmarks of the profession—can turn into significant obstacles. Yet, understanding these realities is the first step towards turning potential stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
For a therapist grappling with ADHD, certain professional duties can sometimes feel like climbing uphill. Organizational skills, time management, and maintaining focus during sessions - these are some of the areas where ADHD may pose challenges. The innate complexities of the role can compound these struggles.
For example, tracking the growth and progress of clients, planning for future sessions, or dedicating time for research can become daunting tasks. The emotional heaviness that often comes hand-in-hand with therapy can amplify ADHD symptoms like impulsivity and restlessness. It's like trying to juggle while walking on a tightrope - except the balls keep changing shapes and the tightrope is swaying. But acknowledging these challenges is the first step in crafting a plan to manage them, turning them into an avenue for growth and resilience.
Imagine ADHD not just as a hurdle to leap over, but as a secret superpower within the therapeutic landscape. Yes, it's a reality that those with ADHD can bring a uniquely powerful perspective to therapy sessions. Let's start with hyperfocus. This is a common characteristic of ADHD, and it can morph into an incredible tool. It can help therapists maintain intense concentration, facilitating a profound and insightful exploration of clients' challenges.
Therapists with ADHD are often excellent at thinking outside the box. This penchant for innovative problem-solving can lead to creative and effective treatment strategies. This is particularly beneficial in therapy, where a one-size-fits-all approach is seldom the answer.
Empathy is another superhero cape that therapists with ADHD often don. Their firsthand experiences dealing with ADHD not only helps them connect with their clients but also equips them with a deep understanding of their clients' struggles. This can provide a sense of comfort to their clients, fostering a supportive environment where they can feel understood and validated.
It's not about dismissing the challenges; it's about recognizing and harnessing the potential strengths that come with ADHD. In the end, it's these unique traits that can enhance the therapeutic experience, creating a deeper, richer connection with clients, and helping them navigate their own journeys with renewed strength and resilience.
So, how can therapists with ADHD navigate their profession while leveraging their unique qualities? Let's explore a few strategies:
Remember, while ADHD may pose challenges, it also offers unique gifts. These strategies can help you not only cope with ADHD in your therapeutic practice, but also thrive and excel.
Seeking professional assistance and prioritizing personal well-being are essential aspects for a therapist with ADHD. Coaches and therapists specializing in ADHD can provide practical techniques to manage ADHD symptoms, helping therapists align their cognitive patterns with their professional responsibilities. It's like acquiring a personal navigation system, guiding you through your professional journey.
Meanwhile, it's essential not to overlook the vitality of self-care. See it as an act of refueling your mental and physical energy reservoirs, keeping you on top of your game. Regular exercise, for instance, can boost your cognitive function, improving focus and memory. A balanced diet nourishes your brain, enhancing mental agility. Sufficient sleep acts as a reset button, helping you wake up refreshed and ready to conquer the day. And don't forget mindfulness practices! Activities like meditation, yoga, or even simple deep breathing exercises can act as a salve to soothe ADHD symptoms and stress.
Together, professional support and self-care create a comprehensive strategy, fortifying you against the challenges ADHD may present. It's like suiting up in armor, ready to turn every challenge into a triumphant victory. Remember, self-care isn't a luxury—it's a necessity. And professional support isn't a sign of weakness—it's a pathway to strength. Cultivate these elements in your routine, and watch as they transform your professional journey, one session at a time.
As we close, let's reflect on the vibrant journey that is being a therapist who also has ADHD. Yes, it's an adventure punctuated by trials and victories. It demands a deep sense of self-awareness, abundant compassion towards oneself, and a well-equipped toolbox of coping strategies. But more than anything, it invites an embracing of ADHD, in all its multifaceted glory. Instead of viewing it as an impediment, see it as a stepping stone, a catalyst for growth.
As a therapist, you have the power to transform your ADHD into an asset, enhancing the quality of your practice and adding a distinctive flavor to your therapeutic interactions. After all, is there anyone better equipped to traverse the labyrinth of the human psyche than a therapist who courageously navigates it personally every day? By boldly owning your ADHD, you seize it as an ally, becoming a beacon of understanding, resilience, and hope for your clients.
Do you constantly feel like you don't belong or aren't good enough? Do you fear being exposed as a fraud and worry that your accomplishments are just luck? If so, you may be experiencing imposter syndrome. This common phenomenon can lead to intense anxiety symptoms and hold you back from reaching your full potential. But don't worry, relief is possible. In fact, with the right treatment, you could start feeling like a confident and capable individual in just a few days. Keep reading to learn more about how EMDR, TF-CBT, Mindfulness, and EMDR Intensive for Busy Professionals can help you say goodbye to imposter syndrome and its anxiety symptoms for good.
Imposter syndrome is a common phenomenon that can have a significant impact on mental health. It is characterized by a persistent feeling of not belonging, inadequacy, and a fear of being exposed as a fraud. People who experience imposter syndrome often believe that their accomplishments are a result of luck rather than their own abilities. This can lead to intense anxiety symptoms, such as panic attacks and persistent feelings of self-doubt.
The impact of imposter syndrome on mental health is significant. It can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders and depression symptoms. The constant fear of being discovered as a fraud can lead to a constant state of stress, which can manifest as physical symptoms, including sleep disturbances, headaches, and gastrointestinal problems.
Recognizing imposter syndrome and understanding its impact on mental health is the first step toward finding relief. By seeking appropriate treatment, individuals can overcome the negative effects of imposter syndrome and regain their self-confidence.
If you are experiencing imposter syndrome, there are innovative therapeutic approaches that can help. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), TF-CBT (Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and mindfulness techniques have shown promising results in reducing imposter syndrome symptoms. These therapies can help individuals challenge negative beliefs, reframe their thoughts, and develop coping mechanisms to deal with imposter syndrome.
In the following sections, we will explore the role of these therapies in combating imposter syndrome and how they can help individuals embrace their confidence and reach their full potential.
Imposter syndrome can be a challenging mindset to overcome, but there is hope. Fortunately, there are innovative therapeutic approaches that can help combat imposter syndrome and its negative impact on mental health. Let's explore these approaches and how they can empower individuals to embrace their confidence and reach their full potential.
One such approach is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Originally designed to treat individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), EMDR has shown promising results in alleviating imposter syndrome symptoms. This therapy works by helping individuals reprocess past experiences and negative beliefs that contribute to feelings of inadequacy and fraudulence. Through targeted eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation, EMDR helps individuals process and integrate these experiences, leading to a more positive self-perception and increased self-confidence.
Another effective approach is Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). This therapy focuses on identifying and challenging negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to imposter syndrome. By replacing these thoughts with more positive and realistic ones, individuals can begin to build a healthier self-image and develop effective coping strategies to manage imposter syndrome.
Mindfulness techniques are also invaluable in combatting imposter syndrome. Mindfulness involves bringing one's attention to the present moment and cultivating a non-judgmental awareness. By practicing mindfulness, individuals can gain insight into their thoughts and emotions, recognizing them as transient experiences rather than absolute truths. This can help individuals detach from imposter syndrome-related thoughts and instead focus on their skills, achievements, and strengths.
These innovative therapeutic approaches, such as EMDR, TF-CBT, and mindfulness, provide powerful tools for combating imposter syndrome. They offer individuals the opportunity to challenge negative beliefs, reframe their thoughts, and develop effective coping strategies to navigate imposter syndrome. With the right treatment, imposter syndrome and its accompanying anxiety symptoms can become a thing of the past, allowing individuals to step into their confidence and reach their full potential. Don't let imposter syndrome hold you back any longer - embrace these innovative approaches and start living your life with confidence.
Imposter syndrome can be a debilitating condition, causing individuals to doubt their abilities and constantly fear being exposed as a fraud. Fortunately, there are effective therapeutic approaches that can help combat these feelings and restore confidence. One such approach is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
Originally designed to treat individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), EMDR therapy has shown promising results in alleviating imposter syndrome symptoms. During EMDR therapy, individuals are guided through reprocessing past experiences and negative beliefs that contribute to feelings of inadequacy and fraudulence. This can be particularly helpful for those who have experienced trauma or have deep-rooted insecurities.
EMDR therapy utilizes targeted eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation to help individuals process and integrate these experiences. By doing so, it helps individuals reframe negative beliefs, reduce imposter syndrome symptoms, and increase self-confidence. The effects of EMDR therapy can be long-lasting and can lead to significant improvements in overall mental well-being.
In addition to reducing imposter syndrome symptoms, EMDR therapy has also been found to be effective in treating PTSD symptoms, anxiety attacks, and depression. It addresses the underlying issues that contribute to imposter syndrome, allowing individuals to heal and grow.
If you are struggling with imposter syndrome, consider exploring EMDR therapy as a powerful tool to help you overcome these feelings and step into your confidence. With the guidance of a trained therapist, you can reprocess past experiences, challenge negative beliefs, and embrace your true abilities. Don't let imposter syndrome hold you back any longer - take the first step towards a more confident and fulfilling life with EMDR therapy.
Embracing mindfulness can be a powerful tool to counteract imposter syndrome and its negative impact on mental health. Mindfulness involves bringing one's attention to the present moment and cultivating a non-judgmental awareness. By practicing mindfulness, individuals can gain insight into their thoughts and emotions, recognizing them as transient experiences rather than absolute truths.
Mindfulness can be particularly helpful in combatting imposter syndrome because it allows individuals to detach from negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to feelings of inadequacy and fraudulence. Instead of getting caught up in self-doubt and comparison, individuals can focus on their own skills, achievements, and strengths. This shift in perspective can lead to a healthier self-image and increased self-confidence.
Moreover, mindfulness has been shown to be an effective depression treatment and anxiety treatment. By practicing mindfulness regularly, individuals can reduce stress, enhance emotional regulation, and improve overall well-being. This can have a profound impact on combating imposter syndrome, as individuals are better equipped to manage their anxiety symptoms and negative self-talk.
Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine can be as simple as setting aside a few minutes each day to practice deep breathing exercises, meditation, or body scans. By making mindfulness a regular part of your life, you can cultivate a sense of inner calm and resilience that can counteract the effects of imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome can be a challenging mindset to overcome, but fortunately, there are effective therapeutic approaches that can help. One powerful tool in combating imposter syndrome is Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).
TF-CBT focuses on identifying and challenging negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to imposter syndrome. By working with a trained therapist, individuals can explore the root causes of their self-doubt and develop strategies to overcome them. This therapy helps individuals replace negative thoughts with more positive and realistic ones, building a healthier self-image and increasing self-confidence.
TF-CBT is particularly beneficial for individuals who have experienced trauma or have deep-rooted insecurities. By addressing these underlying issues, individuals can heal from past wounds and grow into a more confident version of themselves.
Through TF-CBT, individuals also learn valuable coping skills to manage imposter syndrome in their daily lives. They gain tools to challenge self-sabotaging thoughts and develop healthier patterns of thinking. By integrating these new coping strategies, individuals can break free from the grips of imposter syndrome and step into their true potential.
If you're struggling with imposter syndrome, consider seeking out a therapist who specializes in TF-CBT. Together, you can embark on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. With the guidance of TF-CBT, you can overcome the limitations of imposter syndrome and embrace your confidence with open arms. Don't let imposter syndrome hold you back any longer - leap into a more fulfilling and authentic life.
Imposter syndrome can be especially challenging for busy professionals who are constantly juggling demanding work schedules and high expectations. However, there is a specific treatment option that can cater to the needs of these individuals - EMDR Intensive for Busy Professionals. This unique approach combines the benefits of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy with an intensive treatment format designed for those with limited time.
One of the main benefits of EMDR Intensive for busy professionals struggling with imposter syndrome is the accelerated pace of treatment. Typically, EMDR therapy involves weekly or biweekly sessions over an extended period. However, with the intensive format, individuals can experience significant progress in a shorter amount of time, such as a few days or a week. This is particularly advantageous for professionals who cannot commit to long-term therapy due to their demanding schedules.
Another benefit of EMDR Intensive is the focused and concentrated nature of the treatment. With longer sessions and daily practice, individuals can delve deeper into the root causes of their imposter syndrome and work towards resolving them. This targeted approach allows busy professionals to address their imposter syndrome more efficiently and effectively, leading to quicker and more noticeable results.
Additionally, EMDR Intensive provides a supportive and safe environment for busy professionals to explore their imposter syndrome. With a trained therapist guiding the process, individuals can openly discuss their challenges, fears, and insecurities. This collaborative approach helps busy professionals gain valuable insights and develop personalized strategies to combat their imposter syndrome.
By investing in EMDR Intensive for imposter syndrome, busy professionals can experience transformative changes in a condensed timeframe. They can break free from the grips of self-doubt, gain confidence in their abilities, and ultimately excel in their personal and professional lives. Don't let imposter syndrome hold you back any longer - take advantage of EMDR Intensive for Busy Professionals and step into a future filled with self-assurance and success.
Imposter syndrome can be a challenging and persistent mindset to overcome. It can make you doubt your abilities, constantly fear being exposed as a fraud, and hold you back from reaching your full potential. But here's the good news: you have the power to step into confidence and conquer imposter syndrome.
Remember, imposter syndrome is just that - a syndrome. It's not a reflection of your true abilities or worth. It's a mindset that can be changed. The first step is recognizing that imposter syndrome is common and that many successful people have experienced it too. You are not alone in this.
The next step is to seek appropriate treatment. Consider the innovative therapeutic approaches discussed in this blog post - EMDR, TF-CBT, and mindfulness. These therapies have shown promising results in alleviating imposter syndrome symptoms and helping individuals embrace their confidence.
EMDR therapy can help you reprocess past experiences and negative beliefs that contribute to imposter syndrome. It can help you let go of self-doubt and embrace your true abilities.
TF-CBT can help you identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs, replacing them with more positive and realistic ones. It can help you build a healthier self-image and develop effective coping strategies.
And mindfulness can help you detach from imposter syndrome-related thoughts, focusing instead on your skills, achievements, and strengths. By practicing mindfulness regularly, you can cultivate inner calm and resilience.
Remember, overcoming imposter syndrome takes time and effort. But with the right treatment and mindset, you can step into your confidence and reach your full potential. Believe in yourself, celebrate your accomplishments, and embrace the amazing individual that you are. Don't let imposter syndrome hold you back any longer!
First responders face highly stressful and risky situations every day. The life of a first responder is demanding, and the toll it takes can be profound. Living with the symptoms of unprocessed trauma, such as depression, stress, posttraumatic stress, suicidal ideation, and various functional and relational conditions, can feel like an unending battle.
The weight of these symptoms can make you feel:
Our team at Long Island EMDR provides specialized treatment for first responders dealing with the symptoms mentioned earlier. We understand what you are going through and know how challenging it can be. You are not alone, and we are here to help you find a path forward.
Picture a life where you:
Our evidence-based therapies are designed to help first responders move forward, no matter how challenging their past experiences have been. Our program utilizes treatments like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and EMDR intensives to help individuals make progress more quickly. By implementing more flexible scheduling options, we make treatment even more accessible.
If you're ready to take action and work on improving your life, then Long Island EMDR is here to support you. When you join our program, we provide you with a welcoming environment that caters to your specific needs. We offer tailored programs and individualized support, all in the name of ensuring that you can achieve the best possible outcomes.
Our treatment program begins by identifying your specific pain points and what you would like to work on during therapy. Afterward, our experienced clinicians create a customized treatment plan tailored to your needs. Your treatment may include EMDR intensives or other evidence-based therapies that help reduce symptoms like stress, depression, and suicidal ideation. By taking this approach, we can offer flexible treatment schedules, and get more rapid results.
First responders face highly stressful and risky situations every day. The life of a first responder is demanding, and the toll it takes can be profound. Living with the symptoms of unprocessed trauma, such as depression, stress, posttraumatic stress, suicidal ideation, and various functional and relational conditions, can feel like an unending battle.
Our evidence-based therapies are designed to help first responders from the invisible wounds of your profession. We offer the support and guidance needed to take that first step forward. By prioritizing our patients' mental health needs, we can help first responders get back on track to live the lives they deserve. With our innovative treatment program and compassionate approach, we are committed to your success.
If you're struggling with symptoms of stress, depression, or post-traumatic stress, we want you to know that help is available. At Long Island EMDR, we offer innovative and evidence-based treatment that has been shown to be effective for first responders. Our compassionate approach prioritizes our clients' needs and fosters a supportive environment that leads to healing and progress. If you're ready to take that first step forward, then contact us today and start your journey to healing.
Flashbacks are our brain’s way of processing traumatic events that we’ve experienced. Our subconscious taps into those important memories but they are not contained- meaning they tend to spill out everything related to the traumatic event. For many individuals, this experience can be just as terrifying as the initial event, and result in panic or anxiety.
Flashbacks usually happen without warning. Most result from a “triggering” that occurs by an external experience. Triggers are typically sensory-based experiences that manifest via smells, sounds, tastes, textures that remind the person of the traumatic event. The sound of fireworks or a car backfiring can remind a soldier of gunfire. I once had a patient who would have flashbacks around flower shops, as the overwhelming smell of flowers would bring him back to his sister’s funeral.
Living with flashbacks is very difficult, but with practice there are some ways you can work through these disturbing events:
Remind yourself that you are in a safe place and having a flashback. Use that self-talk and tell yourself, as many times as necessary, that these are only memories until you can feel yourself begin to calm.
Sometimes using your five senses can help you to be in the present moment. If one sense is causing the flashback use your other senses to place yourself in the actual current environment. The tactile experience of stamping your feet on the ground can remind yourself that you are free to get away from any situation that has become uncomfortable for you. See more here on mindfulness tips.
Fear and panic causes our breathing to become shallow and erratic. Shallow our erratic breathing exacerbates the stress we feel in that moment because our body is literally panicking from a lack of oxygen. In these fearful moments, when we slow our breathing and take deeper and deeper breaths, we actually signal to our brain and body that everything is okay. One of my favorite breathing tricks is to trace one hand with the opposite. When you go up a finger breathe in, then breathe out as you trace back to the palm of you hand. Repeat till you are calm and your breathing is regular. A meditation app such as Insight Timer can be very helpful too.
Going through trauma alone is not really advisable. I understand there may be feelings of shame, guilt, fear that are preventing you from feeling comfortable opening up. However, it is important for you to have supports.
It’s important that you let loved ones know about your to help you through this process. Opening up to trusted loved ones can allow for them to help you work through flashbacks and process what has happened. You may also want to open up to a mental health professional to gain a deeper understanding of what is happening to you, how to cope with flashbacks and triggers and work through those difficult memories and emotions.
People’s motivation to exercise can vary so significantly depending on their personal values, goals, hobbies, and ways they take care of themselves.
On one hand, there are people like me who struggle to get motivated to work out. I know it’s good for me, and I’ve seen amazing results in the past. My close friend Jessica Lopez is a personal trainer who helped me lose a significant amount of weight, tone up, and improve my overall mood, energy, and confidence after giving birth to my first child. I never felt better, and was so grateful to her for her guidance and expertise! But over time, I noticed that with additional responsibilities and a second baby on the way, I slowed down my exercise routine to the point of being out of commission for at least 2 years. My energy is always low, I’m always grumpy, and then I get all butt hurt by the fact that I’m fluffier than I prefer these days. And whose fault is that?!
But anyway, there are other people who dedicate their lives to exercise, not just for the desired physical outcomes, but because it’s like a high for them (ugh I wish I had that!). People like my friend Jessica base their lives around wellness rituals such as exercising, nutrition, and grounding to maintain positive energy in their lives.
As reflected by Jessica Lopez, Personal Trainer, “Reaching your fitness goals is such an excellent tool to see exactly what you’re capable of with unrelenting focus and dedication. Along the way you develop habits that will allow you to keep the results. Exercising and eating a healthy, balanced diet will boost your overall mood, it’ll positively affect your decision-making skills, and even raise your own standards and expectations for yourself”.
Multiple studies have shown that regular exercise can significantly improve overall mood as well as clinical symptoms of depression and anxiety. According to Mayo Clinic, ways that exercise improve mental wellness include the endorphin (a cannabis-like brain chemical) releases, distraction from stressors, improved self-confidence, socializing (meeting new people at the gym or having a consistent work out buddy) and promotes healthy coping rather than turning to substances or overeating.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information notes that with aerobic exercise, anxiety and depression symptoms decrease due in part to increasing blood flow to the brain, stimulating parts of the brain such as the limbic system, responsible for motivation and emotion; and the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory, mood, and motivation. This blood flow in the brain helps to foster improved mood, energy, and motivation to keep up with regular exercise and fitness goals for both physical and emotional wellness.
So why do mental health providers recommend exercise? It’s not just to torture you, I promise. It is because exercising, even just taking 30 minute walks out in nature with beautiful scenery 3 days a week not only gets your blood pumping, but it can be quite relaxing and grounding to have that self care. It helps you to be able to get out of your head for a little while and just focus on the present moment. You can notice your surroundings, how your body feels, and just observe your thoughts and let them pass without judgment. Incorporating these pieces of mindfulness alongside working out can be very emotionally empowering in addition to having improved self confidence.
So here, we need to get creative. Motivation is not a one-size fits all. We have to take a look at what our reasons for increasing physical activity are; whether that be to improve physical health conditions, bodybuilding and/or toning, losing weight in general, or coping with emotional symptoms such as those that come with depression, anxiety, grief, and/or trauma.
After establishing your motivator for working out, it’s time to create a schedule. Figure out how many days per week and at what times will be the most realistic for you so that you hold yourself accountable to your exercise goals. You’re doing this for a reason, so find ways to keep yourself in check and stay consistent. It gets easier and more routine when you maintain the consistency of making these new changes.
Next, it’s time to figure out what form of exercise your body and mind need to have the best possible self care. Whether that be 30 minute walks, jogging, zumba, weight training, crossfit, body lifting, yoga, barre, pilates, or whatever floats your boat. Find your groove and stick to it. Make sure that whatever form of physical activity you choose is something you actually enjoy, otherwise it's easy to come up with a million excuses on why “I’m too busy to work out today”.
Working out and engaging in wellness does not have to be a drag. We can find ways to fit this into our daily routines at least 3 times per week to have a noticeable change to our mood, energy, cognition, and productivity in our lives. I highly recommend hiring a personal trainer to help you assess your current needs to ensure your fitness goals are being properly and safely addressed as they have the expertise to help you reach your goals safely. You will feel a world of difference with a little added consistency and encouragement from others, such as personal trainers, or fellow work out buddies to improve physical health and have an emotional outlet.
By Jillian Martino, CAT-LP
So, what is self-love? We all talk about it and influencers constantly preach about it. But what exactly is self-love? Why do we all want it? Most importantly, how do we get there? Self-love is the practice of having a positive attitude towards yourself. The main ingredient of self-love is learning to accept and appreciate yourself for who you are and understanding your worth and value. When you are actively engaging in self-love, you are able to have a healthy relationship with yourself and take care of your emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing. Loving yourself is about being kind and compassionate to yourself, as well as recognizing and honoring your needs.
Finding, accepting, and loving yourself is the best thing you can do for your own growth and mental health. When you love yourself, you truly understand yourself. Learning to love yourself also helps us go after what we want, because we finally know what we deserve, making life more fulfilling.
For a lot of us this sounds great on paper but sounds as realistic to us as wizards and warlocks. So, this begs the question, how do we learn to love ourselves when we were taught against it from birth? This blog will explore that exact thing. Before we can make you a self-love master, we need to talk about what is blocking and making loving yourself so hard.
Loving yourself doesn’t come naturally to all of us. Even though it’s something we are all capable of, some of us find it harder than others to unconditionally love ourselves. I myself was one of those people, knowing firsthand how hard it can be. I have also learned also how to move through the high and lows that come with this journey.
Self-love can be difficult because we often have trouble accepting ourselves as we are and recognizing our own worth. It can be difficult to practice self-love when we are surrounded by messages from society that tell us that we are not enough or that we need to compare ourselves to others, not to mention the standards we set for ourselves or from our families. We cannot have self-love without acknowledging our own unique strengths, challenges, vulnerabilities-accepting ourselves in spite of our “imperfections”. It requires us to focus on our needs, and not feel selfish or guilty for taking care of ourselves. It's not easy, but with practice, self-love can become one of the easiest and most rewarding parts of our life. Let’s breakdown some of the common reasons people struggle with self-love:
Sometimes loving yourself is hard because we have an unrealistic definition of self-love. Have you ever taken a moment to think about what it means to you to love yourself?? If you are anything like me, you believe self-love is some giant overly indulgent act of kindness to yourself, and frankly who has time for that? Not me. Where was I supposed to fit in an hour of self-care with my schedule? I loved a “Treat-yo self” moment, but it fit better in Parks and Recreation than in my world.
The problem was I didn’t understand that self-love isn’t something I needed to carve time out for, but a mindset that I could carry throughout my day.
It’s not about blocking out an hour to have a bath or get a facial (although this is a great way to give yourself some love and care), but rather it is embedded in all of the actions you take throughout the day. Starting as early as the moment we wake up.
It can be hard to be positive, especially when we are used to being negative with ourselves. Trust me even, I’m still working on it, but you can begin to bring in more self-love by canceling out some of the negativity with positive affirmations. Here are a few affirmations that I love:
Some fun ways I like to include affirmations into my life is by writing them on my mirror or by setting reminders on your phone, so they pop up in the day. Setting them as your phone background is also another fun easy way to make affirmations a staple in your life.
Learning to love yourself is about being mindful of the choices we make throughout the day and paying attention to how our choices affect our wellbeing.
Most humans struggle with shame, which is one of the largest reasons we have trouble loving ourselves. Shame keeps us focused on the “should ofs”, “could ofs”, and “buts” of our life. Shame is the voice in our head saying we are never enough, and we can always do better. It keeps us focused on our past failures and not where we are right now. Shame’s main goal is to convince us we are not worthy of love. For a lot of us, shame can be very convincing.
We experience shame when we feel a sense of guilt, humiliation, and/or embarrassment around who we are. Oftentimes, it is connected to the belief that we are failing to meet social expectations or our own personal standards. It makes us feel unworthy or inadequate and can lead to a laundry list of negative feelings such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. It is important to recognize the difference between guilt and shame, as guilt is often a sign of healthy self-reflection and accountability, while shame can be damaging in the long run. Guilt is, "I'm sorry I made a mistake” while shame is, “I’m sorry, I am a mistake.”
The truth is that it is easy to fixate on all of the things we’ve ever done wrong and go over all the ways in which we wish it was different for the rest of our lives. However, our thoughts can’t change the past. All we can do is accept that we’re human and sometimes. We may not like who we were or things we have done. If anything, that is even more reason to send that little you love. In the wise words of Rupaul “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” Can I get a hell yeah?? Self-love means showing up and presenting yourself to the world fully without fear or shame. The truth is that it can only come from you!
For as long as I could remember I would look back to the decisions I made in my late teens and think “Girly what were we thinking?” I would berate myself for all that I was, and all of the things I thought I should have been that I clearly wasn't reaching. The truth is that I was powered by a whole lot of shame. No matter what I did, I was never enough, and my family was really good at reminding me of that exact thing.
It was easy for me to live in this space of shame. It was all I knew and was fed to me in so many areas of my life (but we’ll get into that in a further section). Shame is hard, but it took me actively choosing to make a difference, to change the narrative of what I had been telling myself, and finally seeing myself for who I am and not who I thought I was. Sometimes you have to draw a hard line in the sand and decide you deserve better than being your own bully. I needed to choose to love myself in every form- especially the parts that felt so impossible to deal with.
It can be hard for us to love ourselves because how we feel about ourselves is based on what others think of us. This can become our mentality for many reasons, such as:
We were all born worthy and loveable, however over time along the way we collect a narrative from other people that we aren’t all these things. As we experience negative situations/interactions, it can affect us and damage our self-worth.
We end up being a perfectionist and start comparing ourselves to others, asking ourselves why we aren't thinner, prettier or smarter. In some areas, being a perfectionist can be a good thing, but when it comes to ourselves, it’s a losing battle. You’re not a project, and ‘perfectionism’ doesn’t exist. However, many of us get stuck on feeling as though we need to be perfect by society standards, or unrealistic standards we or our families have set for us. For many of us, our parents, teachers, or other significant people around us have told us who and what we should be from a young age. You might have thought that you’ve needed to be financially stable, a certain weight, or in a relationship in order to be worthy.
It can become very easy to get stuck in the loop of comparing ourselves to others, especially with the unattainable perfectly photoshopped bodies we see on social media and the external expectations that have been set for us by society. All these comparisons do is keep us stuck in an endless cycle of not fully seeing ourselves and accepting ourselves for who we are.
Okay so let’s talk about one of the biggest misconceptions around self-love.
Self-love is entirely selfless. Loving yourself does not harm anyone, but what it does is make you a better friend, partner and colleague. Why? Because when we love ourselves, we are happier. We show up for ourselves, go after what we deserve, and never accept anything less.
After I was able to stop telling myself that I was selfish for loving myself, a change happened. People in my life started to comment on how I seemed lighter, happier, and more me. I started attracting healthier friends and partners. I finally not only knew who I was but loved who I was, and the right people noticed.
It may sound narcissistic to focus on loving yourself first. But it’s not. The point isn’t to believe you’re better than others, or to accept things about yourself that you really do need to change. It’s about developing a healthy and nurturing relationship with you!
The act of loving ourselves is our birthright and brings you to the life you are dreaming of. We are the key to having everything we want, but first we have to believe we are deserving of it. Like the saying goes, “Love yourself first and everything else falls into place.”
Self-love is essential for a healthy and balanced life. It means understanding your needs and feelings, and responding to them in a positive, adaptive way.
Learning to love ourselves is an ongoing process. It takes time, effort, and lots of patience. But it’s worth it and mostly you’re worth it. Self-love will bring you more joy and happiness in life, and it’s something that we all deserve. I know it may feel impossible, but you are capable! <3 Jillian Martino, CAT-LP
We all go through unenjoyable experiences, which can be unpleasant all the way up to a full-blown crisis. At the mild end of this spectrum, it could be the cat seriously stunk up the litter box, you forgot to put out the garbage before the collection time, or someone left just a quarter-cup of milk left in the carton – you know, enough for them to lazily put it back in the refrigerator, but not enough for you to do anything with it. These are all a series of annoyances but generally they are not enough to disrupt our entire day.
There are also those times in our lives when we will experience far more severe circumstances, such as the death of someone we cared about, the end of a relationship, or financial hardships. Sometimes these events can be compounded, too, further adding to the burden. For instance, perhaps you were the caregiver to the person who died. During the caregiving journey, your romantic partner became fed up with your anxiety about the person’s illness and oncoming death, and so they broke up with you. That exacerbated your stress further, and you found yourself recklessly spending to cope with all the stressors. But then you fell behind on paying your credit cards, utilities, and other bills. As a result, you feel as if you are drowning from all the pressures.
However, some people, such as those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) feel the distress of these situations more intensely than others. Furthermore, their psychological pain can be seemingly out of nowhere, as if driven only by internal factors – it can be difficult for them to identify the source or reason of the pain, and only know that it hurts.
It is important to learn effective, healthy, long-term skills to properly cope with intense psychological pain, thereby surviving crises. For those with BPD or other disorders where emotional pain can be especially sharp, if they have not learned the right coping skills to tolerate these issues and the emotions, they may end up coping through dangerous or impulsive means for an immediate “fix” to the situation (i.e.., self-harm, substance abuse, promiscuous sex, overspending, etc.). These behaviors may feel helpful in the moment because they take the edge off, but in the long term they are only making things harder for the individual.
And why is this pain more intolerable? Consider the following. Dr. Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., ABPP, who developed a renowned therapy for BPD called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), said, “people with borderline personality disorder (and those like them) are people with third-degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement.”
Through DBT, people who experience severe emotional turmoil can learn distress tolerance skills that will let them endure painful situations and cope with the urges to surrender to harmful behaviors. Dr. Linehan splits distress tolerance skills into three groups: crisis survival techniques, sensory body awareness, and reality acceptance. Please note as this article is meant to be a simple introduction to DBT, the skills listed below all pertain to crisis survival skills; it is not meant to be an exhaustive, final list of all the distress tolerance skills!
DBT is a subform of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Originally, it was designed for people with BPD and/or suicidal ideation – essentially, the people in the greatest emotional turmoil. Over time, research found that DBT can be effective in the treatment of other mental health diagnoses, too, such as depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of the skills are useful regardless of if a person has a mental illness or not, and simply need a better way to cope with a situation.
DBT is especially beneficial for people with a highly sensitive temperament.
DBT is taught in four modules: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. This article will only focus on distress tolerance as the writer plans to cover the other modules in future articles.
According to Dr. Linehan, the point of the distress tolerance skills is the following:
The crisis survival skills are considered skills of last resort. They should not be executed for coping with minor frustrations, or changing a situation or emotion, as those issues are better for the emotional regulation skills. Rather, the crisis survival skills should be employed for the following cases – anytime there is an actual or perceived crisis:
Below are three of the distress tolerance skills for crisis survival.
The skills listed above are not the typical “psychology 101 self-help” skills, but rather are ones that are meant to be utilized only after being fully understood to thus prevent misuse that could end up making the situation backfire. Without context and more background, it can be difficult to know when, why, and how to properly use the skills. This writer emphasizes the importance of working with a DBT-informed therapist for DBT skills. Contact Long Island EMDR today if you are interested in such help!
What are some of the most commonly asked questions about the LGBT+ community? Ranging from the coming out process all the way to questions about LGBT+ marriage, there’s curiosity surrounding the curious. However, in this case we will keep it so that curiosity does not kill the cat. It’s okay to be uncertain, uninformed, puzzled, perplexed, anything when it comes to a topic that you have not heard much about. Being ignorant towards a particular subject does not make you an ignorant person; however, speaking out of ignorance can lead to further ignorance. Below are some commonly asked questions about the LGBT+ community.
What is the coming out process like?
For me it was a process, my friend. It was something that I was juggling around in my head, self-doubting, felt shameful, it was something that I kept secret for too long. For some, the coming out process does not start with the individual telling friends or family about how they identify, the process starts at the very first inkling of curiosity. I had to come out to myself first, I had to figure out who I am before I made myself vulnerable. I think it can be really hard for some people to come out because of their families beliefs or morals, but what is most important is that you do what is healthiest for you; which is living your true self.
For me, the hardest people for me to “come out” to were myself, my father, and my sister. This is not because of our values or beliefs, because deep down I knew that my family would be accepting. However, you do have those thoughts that try to prove you wrong. I have had a great relationship with my dad and my sister, which is why I think it was harder for me to bring myself to speak my truth. I think it was harder for me to initiate the conversation because I was still afraid of the reactions for some reason.
I will say that now that I have come out, I have been happy with living the life that I always thought I would deny myself of.
How should I know what pronoun to use if I’m unsure?
If you’re not sure, that’s okay! Usually the rule of thumb is that if you are unsure of someone's pronouns, you can either ask them or use “they/them” until you are sure. It’s not a shameful thing to be unsure, the fact that this is a question you may have shows understanding as well as effort towards being compassionate. If it is your first time meeting someone and you are unsure of what pronouns they use, asking the question of “What are your pronouns?” can open a lot of doors.
Asking this simple question can allow the individual to become comfortable, may reduce their social anxiety, may reduce their worries about discrimination, as well as allows the individual to be referred to in a way that feel ostracized.
Did you choose to be LGBT+?
I think this is a very commonly asked question by society. The question is being LGBT+ a choice or is it something that is genetic? If you ask around the LGBT+ community, you may get several different responses depending on who you ask. For me, I think a lot of people neglect the history of LGBT+ people before there were terms for sexual orientations and gender identities. There have been some historical depictions of LGBT people in rock paintings as well as medical texts; which shows how this has carried on through generations.
Epigenetics are a part of our gene expression in our DNA. To be a little scientifical, gene expression can be altered throughout generations while the genetic code itself can remain unaltered. These changes can occur during development and can be passed down through generations. There has been some talk that some of these changes in gene expression can be linked to same-sex attraction.
If you ask someone who is LGBT+ if they chose to be that way, you may be met with a response along the lines of “Yes, I chose to live a path filled with discrimination.”
Are those who identify as LGBT+ a danger to children?
Simply, no. There is no evidence attached to the thinking that LGBT+ people may be a danger to children. It is this kind of thinking that continues the stigmatization of the community. If it is your preference as a parent to restrict anything relating to LGBT+ to your kids, that’s fine because that’s your parental choice. However, if you are restricting your children in fear that they will become gay, that’s just not how it works. Portraying LGBT+ people as dangerous to your children is offensive, inaccurate, and just damaging to those children figuring out their own sexual orientation or gender identity.
What kind of human rights violations are LGBT+ people exposed to?
There are a lot of human rights violations that people are subjected to on a daily basis, simply because of who they are. Across the world, there are active human rights violations occurring. For those who are a part of the LGBT+ community, some are physically attacked, some are kidnapped, some are sexually assaulted, some are murdered for who they love. There are some countries where same-sex relationships can result in jail or worse. There are violations that can be experienced in the workplace, out in public, in schools, at home, anywhere.
LGBT children will often be met with bullying, teasing at school because of their identity and it may not end at school; oftentimes the home life of these children are much tougher. It may get to the point that the LGBT child does not feel safe enough to go to school, and therefore cannot get the same education as all the other students. For those who identify as transgender, they may even be denied their identity papers for their process of changing their identity to their preferred identity.
There is a lot of work to be done as a society to avoid all of this!
Is it possible to change someones sexual orientation or gender identity?
Again, simply no. Someone’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity cannot be changed or altered. Conversion therapy has been disproven plenty of times, although some still believe in its supposed effectiveness. Conversion therapy is a human rights violation in of itself because of the severe trauma that can be inflicted. It is very uncommon to see conversion therapy around now, although it still is legal in some states. Also, I think a more important question that should be asked is why would one want to even change someone else's identity?
Like it was said in the beginning, there is nothing wrong with being curious about something! It is always better to ask questions rather than to just make up assumptions about something, no matter the subject area. You may have some other questions relating to the LGBT+ community, and my advice to you is to do your research! Doing your own research and learning is a great way to be well-informed, which in result may even help others become more informed.
In the groundbreaking self-help book Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect, Webb and Musello introduce the idea of emotional neglect – an inconspicuous force from childhood that cannot be easily detected or noticed but may be significantly affecting someone in the present. It is so profound that it shapes our perceptions of ourselves, our families, and even the world. And because it happened in our earliest years within our families, without proper role models to educate us on how to regulate our emotions, many of us will not even recognize we struggle. Instead, we wade through the murky waters of life with a sense of uncertainty. We may have great difficulty with emotional regulation, feel distanced from our parents or other primary caregivers, and have turbulent relationships with others.
Emotional neglect is the most common form of child maltreatment. It is also the most hidden. Adults who experienced emotional neglect in our childhoods were usually not neglected in the broadest sense of the word (that is, our basic needs met. Also, we likely did not experience or witness physical or sexual abuse. On the surface, it may seem like we had the “normal, cookie-cutter” childhood. And because of this sense of normalcy, we truly may not know we went through emotional neglect.
Emotional neglect is not about what happened in our childhoods. It is about what did not happen, what was never spoken, and what cannot be remembered.
Are you ready to foster yourself with love by overcoming the burdens of emotional neglect? Reach out to any of the talented therapists at Long Island EMDR. We all have a thorough education in emotional neglect as a requirement of being trauma therapists. You can reach us at 631-503-1539 and explore our team of clinicians here!
Webb, J., & Musello, C. (2019). Running on empty: Overcome your childhood emotional neglect. Morgan James Publishing.
Valerie Smith, LMSW, CFTG, is a therapist, social worker, and certified forest therapy guide at Long Island EMDR under the supervision of our clinical director, Jamie Vollmoeller, LCSW. Valerie possesses a bachelor and master’s degree in social work from Adelphi University and Fordham University, both from which she graduated summa cum laude. Valerie is also a certified forest therapy guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy (ANFT), where she trained in the Rocky Mountains to master sensory-based, mindful activities through a biophilic perspective. Valerie is passionate about the health benefits of a plant-based diet as well as holistic wellness. Valerie is trained in EMDR and TF-CBT, with experience in DBT-informed skills. She focuses her treatment on adolescent girls and young women with C-PTSD and PTSD. Additionally, she helps people with life-threatening disease and their caregivers. Finally, she works alongside those experiencing grief and bereavement, especially young adults who lost one or both of their parents/guardians.
So your child has “Come out”? You may be feeling a lot of feelings right now, anger, confusion, upset and so on. Whether your child comes out as gay, bisexual, nonbinary or transgender, it can be a impactful moment for everyone involved.This experience can be surprising and may leave you will a lot of feelings to process. Even parents who are allies of the LGBTQIA+ community may struggle at first to express their feelings in a helpful way, or feel a sense of loss for the future they have imagined for their child. However while this may be difficult I encourage you to remember, your child “Coming out” means this may be the first time your child feels comfortable enough to share with you who they truly identify as. This moment is a gift and can lead to a beautiful connection between you and your child even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. So let’s discuss how we get there.
As you begin to move through this new parenting journey with your child, it is important to remember the emotions you may be feeling are likely ones your child has also been experiencing and most likely for a much longer time. Some of the feelings your child may have been experiencing before coming are guilt, denial, fear of rejection, depression and uncertainty. These feelings are all normal.
Your child coming out is an opportunity where you can help your child feel things they may have never thought they could: unconditional love, acceptance, pride, and hope for the future. Below are some helpful tips in order to help you feel more comfortable in your childs new identity as well as ways for you to show your queer child support.
One of the first things you can do to support your child is to learn about their community. It can be helpful to learn common terms in the queer community in order to communicate properly while being respectful. So what does LGBTQIA+ stand for?
Queer or Questioning;
Asexual or Ally; and,
And a spectrum of other identities and orientations are represented by the +.
It is important to remember that a person does not choose to be gay. A person’s sexual orientation and gender identity is natural instinct, and not a result of parenting or other outside influences. This has also been proven through both medical and scientific research.
Research has shown that children begin to develop a sense of their gender orientation as early as preschool or kindergarten.This means our child can know who they are by the earliest age of 5 years old. At this time it is not uncommon to start seeing signs of your child realizing they are “different.” It is important at this time to listen to your child without judgment or reservation no matter what age they come out at. Your child may also express feelings surrounding the concept of them questioning their sexuality or gender. I know this may be difficult but it is important to remember this is not just a phase, but likely something your child has been struggling to understand from a very young age.
This process can be confusing and your child may move through multiple identities throughout this process, however it is crucial to support your child through all these changes as this can lead to resentment, guilt, depression and so on from your child in the future. Some children may never go through a process of multiple identities, there is no right or wrong way for your child to discover who they are. There is no specific way someone who identifies as a part of the community should look or act.
Unfortunately even though we are beginning to live in a world more accepting of the LGBTQIA+ community many people still view hetro relationships as the standard. Due to this, there has been a long history of violence and hateful treatment of LGBTQIA+ individuals. In many communities and religious groups to this day, people who are openly queer are unwelcome.
School-age children who identify as queer are at-risk for bullying and now with social media much of this harassment has moved to online. Teens who are struggling to understand and accept their LGBTQIA+ identity without support from loved ones face a unique set of challenges.
According to research done by the Trevor Project:
Due to this, mental health concerns for teens in the LGBTQ community are something that must be acknowledged. However, your support and unconditional love can drastically improve a child in this position’s mental health.
In other words: Offering your support and love can be one of the easiest and most powerful ways you can help your child feel more comfortable through this journey.
Tips on How to Show Support to an LGBTQ Loved One:
As I have continually stated throughout this blog, THIS IS NOT EASY, at times you will feel overwhelmed, lost, confused and so many other emotions. Due to this it is important to also take care of you here, consider seeking mental health support not just for your child but also for you. Seek out support groups, it can be helpful to speak to other parents also moving through this experience. Family therapy with your child can also be helpful in order to move through whatever heavy feelings may be coming up for both of you with a trained professional.
If you or your child are looking for LGBTQIA+ affirming counseling, Long Island EMDR is a wonderful resource. We offer various types of therapy such as Art therapy, EMDR, Family Therapy, Trauma Therapy, Telehealth and so many other resources. Our culturally competent staff are trained to provide all our clients the tools to navigate through whatever experiences they are going through. We want to help you not only to feel good in your skin but to also feel supported and heard throughout this journey.
Read more about our clinicians taking on new clients here or call us at 631-503-1539 to speak with one of the members of our team!
We are wishing you a beautiful experience of discovering the beauty that is your child and we hope to offer you support in whatever way we can!
-Jillian Martino, CAT-LP