Therapy is facilitated by a licensed professional with a master’s degree level of education or higher and is registered with the state of Colorado. Our counselors have a vast and diverse skill set to meet your individual needs.
Somatic Experiencing (SE):
Somatic Experiencing (SE) can be explored more on the website traumahealing.org. It can be defined as an approach to trauma by helping the body regulate it’s autonomic nervous system. Unresolved trauma can create a dysregulation of our fight/flight or freeze
mechanisms, and long term activation of being in fight/flight can cause psychological or physical symptoms. This technique is versatile, effective and works with the mind-body connection.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a multi-phased protocol which enables people to heal from emotional distress and other symptoms related to life experiences an individual finds disturbing or traumatic.
– EMDR is an evidence-based practice. In over 30 clinically controlled studies, EMDR was shown to effectively reduce or eliminate symptoms related to Posttraumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) as well as other types of emotional trauma. EMDR uses the organic and naturally occurring neuronal networks within an individual’s brain to reprocess memories to an adaptive conclusion by removing blocks or barriers to healing. Studies show that the brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health. EMDR is effective and efficient in cases where traditional talk therapy alone has not provided desired and optimal outcomes.
– While the earliest EMDR treatments used guided eye movement, subsequent studies have demonstrated that bilateral stimulation using audio or tactile stimulation can also be effective. EMDR is endorsed as an effective form of therapeutic trauma treatment by the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, and the US Department of Defense.
– Alex and Cristen have all completed basic and advanced training in EMDR. They will do a comprehensive assessment to determine if EMDR is an appropriate clinical tool. Clients are provided with education about the protocol as well as ongoing dialogue regarding what to expect during and following EMDR sessions. Clients are taught strategies for creating and utilizing internal resources for self-calming and emotional regulation. Trauma and other disturbing memories are not erased but the emotional “charge” around the trauma is effectively neutralized; replaced with an adaptive and often empowering emotional response.
– EMDR can be utilized for many mental health concerns: addictions, single incident trauma, complex trauma, grief and loss, and phobias. This is not an all-inclusive list. If you have questions, please contact Minds in Motion for more information.
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Mindfulness counseling is a gentle and tool based approach for counseling. Mindfulness is the concept of being present in your moment, without judgment, with kindness. This is easy in definition and difficult in practice. Counseling this way teaches clients how to use mindfulness to ease anxiety, depression, grief or trauma. In session, clients learn how to be more present in their bodies, through sensation and have a different relationship with their thinking. If you do mindfulness psychotherapy, you will learn tools of meditation, neuroscience, breathing techniques, calming techniques and over how to better control your body. Here are some more in-depth descriptions of how mindfulness counseling and meditation can help:
Thinking patterns: therapy will have you look at the varying types of thoughts and beliefs that you have and learn how to address them. Most of your thoughts come from your perception of life’s events, so it’s important for you to vulnerably look at your thought patterns and beliefs during this process. This is why meditation is not easy, and does not always feel good. You will be truly faced with the beliefs about yourself that you may have been hiding, suppressing, or numbing yourself to for a long time. You will spend a significant amount of time noticing your judgment and learning to create a non-judging mind. Once you feel a little more control over your judging mind, you will work on creating new thinking patterns. New thinking patterns and ways of seeing life are addressed through contemplative practices. You will learn how to use contemplative practices in a way that creates re-wiring of the brain to help battle self-criticism, low self-worth, or low self-esteem patterns.
Control: You need better control over and awareness of your thoughts, and to learn how to be more present in your life. If you have more control over your thoughts, you have more control over your actions. Meditation and mindfulness gives you the ability through a changed brain to be less reactive and more responsive in your thoughts and actions.Through all of this exposure to mindfulness and meditation, you will be learning what science tells us about how meditation can increase our sense of control in the brain.
Sensations: When you are actively in thought, you are missing out on the sensory world. You have a complete untapped world of sensation that is missed because you are so active in your thinking patterns. Vision, smell, taste, sound, touch, body awareness, relationship awareness, and connection to environment are all sensations that increase your sense of well-being, connection, and non-judgment and overall peace and contentment in life.
Meditation: Here you will not only learn to meditate in the basic mindfulness-meditation style, but you will also learn ways to make it easier and more accessible. You, as well as most all of us, need to work on ways that make meditation a little more approachable for you when you feel like it’s crazy busy up in the powerhouse that lives in your head. Meditation needs to be consistent, practical, and potent. For these reasons, you will need help with implementing it, even when it feels impossible to attend to your breath for even just a second.
Meditation sometimes can feel like “brain boot camp" – because it is difficult or, at times, impossible to work on establishing control in your thinking world. Meditation and mindfulness are not easy to learn, and take consistency and dedication. What you get in return is a brain that is less reactive, more aware of what you are thinking, and more aware of how you are getting triggered. You will therefore experience more calm and peace in your daily life. Even 20 minutes a day of meditation can create changes that follow you for the rest of your day.
Let’s break this down a little. I view mindfulness as the umbrella over many other practices. Here are the basic definitions:
|Mindfulness – To kindly attend to your present moment, whatever it is, without judgment.|
|Meditation – To concentrate and focus upon an object, sound, visualization, breath, or movement in order to increase awareness of the present moment. The symbolic “clearing out the messy room in your brain.”|
|Mindfulness Meditation – A type of meditation in which distracting/incoming thoughts and feelings are not ignored but rather acknowledged and observed without judgment so as to create detachment from them and gain insight and control.|
|Being Present – To be aware of your moment.|
|Contemplation-Based Practices – Practices that you think about and try to “feel” in your body to help re-wire the negative bias of your brain. If meditation is the “clearing out the messiness,” then contemplative practices are the symbolic “making the room in your brain a nicer place to live.”|
|Body and Sensory Awareness – To non-judgingly address the sensations around you and in you to create a “here and now” experience rather than having your brain try to associate with something of the past.|
|Neuroscience – The science of studying the brain and mind connection. We use neuroscience to explain how powerful mindfulness is and how it physically alters and changes the brain.|
|Basic Meditation Practice:
Sit comfortably with your posture erect but not rigid. You may close your eyes or keep them open and focus on an object directly in front of you. Turn your attention inward to your breath. Notice the sensation of your breath, the feel of the air coming into your nose, feeling it at the tip of your nose, a little cooler and dryer. Notice the air moving down your throat, and also the sensation of your chest or stomach moving in and out or up and down. You can pay attention to all the sensations of your breathing, or you can focus on just one part. Try to notice when your attention drifts away from this focus and you get distracted. Notice the distraction, let it go, then shift your attention back to the sensation of your breath. The point of meditation is to notice your distractions and let them go, rather than to not have distractions and have a quiet mind. Do not try to have any other type of mind than the one you are having right now. Do not force thoughts out of your head or try to be thought-less; this will not work and will only frustrate you. Think of meditation as working a spotlight. The spotlight is where you are paying attention at any given moment. For meditation, the spotlight is lighting up the experience of breathing. You
can’t block out or ignore other sensations and distractions around you, but you aren’t putting the spotlight of attention on them. When your spotlight of attention drifts off to a thought, gently shift the spotlight back to your breathing, letting that thought go. Try to keep your attention on your breath as long as you can until your meditation ends.
Yoga and Psychotherapy
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There continues to be a growing body of evidence for the therapeutic benefits of practicing yoga to promote health and alleviate psychological symptoms. Yoga tools such as breath work, meditation, and mindfulness of the body can be taught and practiced in a therapy session and then be safely used in daily life.
How does yoga help support us in healing trauma:
Following trauma, acute, chronic or complex, the brain and body can continue to react as though trauma is still happening. The nervous system can become dysregulated, and often the body is no longer perceived as a safe place.
Yoga can support us in developing interoception, understanding the sensation and messages of the body, and rediscovering safe places in the body, which can all be used as resources for healing.
Practicing yoga can remind the nervous system how to be flexible. When paying attention to our breath and movement in a deliberate and compassionate way, we learn how to workwith our nervous system rather than feel trapped when the nervous system reacts. When there is an ability to flow productively from fight or flight, action and doing (sympathetic nervous system) to rest, digest, and restore (parasympathetic nervous system) we can begin to feel more grounded, centered, and in the present moment, able to navigate through the dance of life with more grace and ease.
The flexibility of the nervous system, more awareness and interoception has a direct impact on our ability to manage emotions, change unhealthy thought patterns. We can become less reactive to minor stressors, which we may have previously responded to as threats. By becoming aware of our somatic/body experience we can learn to feel the capacity of the situation and respond productively. We can train the body and mind to become less reactive and more present.
Practicing Yoga Can:
- Cultivate awareness of the present moment
- Allow one to focus on the body, and a re/connection and trust with the body and it’s wisdom
- Provide an opportunity to exercise choice
- Provide a sense of empowerment over one’s body, thoughts, and actions
- Open one’s awareness, and support nervous system and emotional regulation
- Offer an opportunity to feel grounded, centered and in present time, with access to one’s breath
- Support one in safely discharging traumatic stress
- Cultivate kindness, compassion and acceptance
- Help one learn how to tolerate discomfort
- Build one’s resiliency
- Provide a space to reconnect with sensations in a safe way
- Excellent resources for learning more about yoga in a therapeutic setting: