Nicki Ditch LMHC CCTP

Mental Health and Counseling

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    I'm Not Fragile!

    "Fragile" is an adjective that not many of us like to use to describe ourselves. We like to think of ourselves a strong and durable and we are! We have withstood the pressures and injuries in life to be here today so of course we are strong and durable! But aren't we also delicate at times and meant to be handled with tenderness even when we are strong and durable? What if you were only durable and as a result, you were only handled with carelessness? I mean, it's fine! You won't break! What would it be like to honor your fragility and invite the opportunity to be handled with tenderness?

     

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    How Will You Care For You Today?

    Two common immediate reactions following a tragedy are feeling as if a prior loss or traumatic experience is happening again and re-evaluation of priorities. While the first immediate reaction is generally very emotionally and sometimes even physically painful, the second reaction can be helpful. It is so easy to get lost in the overwhelm of the current crisis and despair has a way of taking over if we are not intentionally fending it off. It is during the immediate aftermath of tragedy when we should find ways to be self-caring, determine our own values, and identify at least one behavior we can do now that align with our values. In doing so, we allow ourselves to continue to heal our older wounds and begin to heal the newest wounds.  So, how can you be self-caring right now? What do you promise yourself to do today to take care of you? What do you value TODAY and HOW COME? Is it because you’ve been told you should value it while wondering if you truly do? Is it because you had a life experience that either instilled or reinforced that value? Is it because it’s just been a habit to value it; something you’ve always done without really giving it much thought? Can you imagine cleaning the closet out? Can you dump all the values, opinions, shoulds, shouldn’ts into a pile and sort through them, deciding what you want to toss, what you want to give back to its rightful owner, and what you want to hold onto and place neatly back in the closet? After you’ve done that, can you take it one step forward and do one thing today that aligns with the values that you have decided are yours to keep? 

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    What is Trauma Therapy and What Can I Expect When I Do the Work?

    My hope is that by watching this video and others like it, you have a baseline understanding of what Trauma Therapy (or "Trauma Work") is, why we might decide to do Trauma Work, what we hope happens as a result of the work, and what you might expect during the work if you work with me. I use Ego State therapy with Gestalt and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy interventions when I work with my clients to address their past experiences and it is important to know that this video only explains how that therapy with ME would look. I do not speak for other therapists although most would agree with the main tenants of the work. I hope you find this helpful!

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    Fear Versus Anxiety

    Fear is NEVER rational by its very definition. It is emotional.
    FEAR FITS WHEN you are faced with an ACTUAL IMMEDIATE threat.True, actual fear is adaptive; it aids in our survival and reproduction. Example: "There is a man in my office with a gun pointing at me."In fear, all of the following behaviors are appropriate and should be utilized based on what will most help you survive: fight, flight, freeze.
    Anxiety is NOT fear! Anxiety is NOT rational, it is not a true emotion, or adaptive. It does not aid in our survival; it contributes to ill health, suicide, and unnecessary violence! It can lead to our death!!!
    ANXIETY IS MANAGEABLE even when it is overwhelming.
    ANXIETY FITS WHEN we imagine or perceive a threat. Example: "I worry that a man will come in my office and kill me."
    Sometimes what we are anxious about becomes a true fear and often it does not!!
    To manage anxiety, take these steps:
    1) Recognize that this is anxiety, this is not true fear and remember that you can manage your anxiety skillfully if you want to. Even if it has a possibility to become true fear in the future, recognize that it is NOT true fear now, in this very moment.
    2) Recognize that you are catastrophising.
    3) De-catastrophise!!! 
    3a) Identify the specific "catastrophic what-if." such as "What if a man comes in my office with a gun and kills me?"
    3b) Turn the what-if into a declaration of fact such as "A man will come in my office and kill me."
    3c) Challenge the validity of the statement in 3b by answering the following questions BASED ON LOGICAL EVIDENCE, NOT ANXIETY: Has this ever happened to you before? How often has this happened to you before? Although it is a possibility, is it LIKELY to be COMPLETELY true? It is not likely a man will just walk in my closed office now, it is less likely that if one does, he will have a gun. It is even less likely that if a man with a gun comes in my office, he will actually shoot me, and even less likely that if a man comes in my office with a gun and shoots me, I will die. Is there ANY reason at all to doubt that this will ACTUALLY happen?
    3d) For every catastrophic what-if from 3a, come up with AT LEAST THREE positive what-ifs. What if a man does not come in my office with a gun and kill me? What if I can call for help? What if I can de-escalate the man and talk him out of shooting me? What if I can take proactive steps to increase security at my place of employment? What if other people in the office become aware of a disturbance in my office and they call 911? What if I actually do get shot and the wound is not fatal? 
    If you get through all of this and your anxiety has not lessened, DISTRACT yourself. Stop playing the catastrophic thought loop that is contributing to your anxiety.
    ***Try this now. I promise you, if you truly want to feel less ANXIOUS right now and you really honestly engage in these steps and challenge yourself to answer all of these questions, you do have the power to reduce your anxiety.*** God bless you as you continue to work through your struggles today and every day! 


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