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Addiction typically revolves around some type of harmful substance.
Yet, the most toxic part of addiction is equally as harmful as any substance—shame.
Commonly mistaken for guilt, shame is what can keep a person locked into addiction. In other words, it’s the nefarious force at work to keep you stuck—an arm’s length away from the reprieve of recovery.
Still, many people approach the topic of shame with a cavalier attitude. But it’s not an emotion to be ignored. Moreover, shame is nearly impossible to casually reckon with. In fact, running from, ignoring, or allowing shame to devour you only strengthens its negative impact on your life.
But you can change all that and open the door to recovery by developing resilience. Here’s how.
Uncovering the Harmful Depths of Shame
To build mental toughness, it’s important to know what shame really is. Although many theories about shame exist, the paramount focus should be the present. To put it plainly, shame is utterly debilitating to a person’s psyche.
Imagine a fishing boat constantly and mercilessly pummeled by the sea. For a few years, it may still function. Yet, if ill-maintained, one day the water will win and the boat will either sink or be bound to the land.
Shame is like the sea; you are the boat.
Unlike other emotions, shame can make you feel unworthy, innately defective, and as though you’ll never be enough. And that’s just for starters.
You may struggle with guilt, people pleasing, low self-esteem, and perfectionism as well. The negative emotions trickling down from shame tend to cause unhealthy habits to develop.
How Shame Impacts Addiction Recovery
Shame has one goal—to make you feel as low and unlovable as you possibly can. Once in the clench of this toxic emotion, it’s not always “you” at the helm anymore. More than likely, it’s a version of you simply trying to keep your head above water.
In essence, to recoup what shame stripped from you, it’s easy to fall into addictive patterns. Really, running from shame is simply often running into the arms of addiction.
But the pseudo boost of internal positivity substance use provides is temporary—a fierce rush of relief. However, it feels so good to rid yourself of shame—even for just a moment—that you keep returning to your addiction again and again. Shame is that powerful!
For this reason, recovering from addiction also means building shame resilience.
How to Develop Shame Resilience
To spring back from negative emotions, you will need to be strategic. It’s not impossible. But building resilience requires deliberate thoughts and actions.
Firstly, it’s vital for you to be in a place where you feel safe and secure. Surround yourself with people who support you, even in your lowest moments. Separate yourself from toxic people—those who either bring you down or simply fail to uplift you.
Next, and possibly most importantly, you have to “show up.” Meaning, in this safe place, commit yourself to vulnerability with the people you trust. Open up and be seen. This is the boldest stance you can ever take against shame.
As a Certified Facilitator for The Daring Way, I encourage people to show up, be seen, and live brave. Which, coincidentally, is motto of The Daring Way.
To delve into the Daring Way stream a bit: the reason vulnerability is so powerful is that it encourages you to express, acknowledge, and accept yourself for who you are. Furthermore, it gives you the opportunity to receive acceptance as well as practice empathy toward yourself.
If you’re ready to be free from the clutches of shame, please contact me today (07) 32825453. I can help you develop skills to aid in addiction recovery, empowering you to truly live the life you want.
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Trudy Jacobsen | Relationships | Family
Being a part of a family unit can be both rewarding and challenging, all at the same time.
On one hand, your family consists of irreplaceable bonds you’ll keep throughout your lifetime. On the other hand, there are days when the very same people drive you up the wall.
Such is family life. It’s sometimes beautiful and sometimes messy.
To improve your family relationships, it’s important to understand the dynamics of your family interactions. In other words, you need to know what emotions drive each family member to behave the way they do.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) can help you accomplish this. Here’s how it works.
The Goal of EFT
Most people participate in therapy to produce results. Some may want to handle their emotions more effectively. Others seek to improve their interpersonal relationships.
While each person has a unique goal, patients and counsellors have one aim—encourage positive outcomes.
When it comes to EFT, the goal is to motivate behavioural change by understanding patterns through attachment or bonding.
Some key elements in EFT include:
Examining relationship patterns
Understanding the motive behind those patterns
Developing skills to connect with others more effectively
Practising self-validation and validating others
Continuing to become more emotionally intelligent by honing in on emotions
Essentially, all family members have a need for connection and validation from the family. Furthermore, how we feel and express ourselves plays a big role in arranging and regulating relationships in a family.
In other words, we all impact each other. You impact each of your family members, and they each impact you as well.
How EFT Works to Improve Family Relationships
Knowing what EFT entails may help to wrap your mind around what it aims to do. However, how does this actually play out in a family unit?
To begin with, a counsellor will observe your family’s interactions. The point of this is to access the underlying key emotional drivers, influencing certain behaviours.
As you may have imagined, these behaviours impact family interactions. Thus, affecting the quality of relationships.
When we understand and validate the emotions causing us to act in a particular way, it helps us to make necessary changes to improve our interactions.
What you’ll likely discover is a sort of “aha” moment when you realize why a negative pattern exists in your family. As a result of this moment of revelation—understand each other’s needs more—you’ll be motivated to respond accordingly.
Becoming Accessible and Responsive
As alluded to before, the goal of EFT is to change the family dynamic. This is accomplished by encouraging each family member to be more emotionally accessible and responsive.
The best part? This approach creates a secure attachment for young people to grow, develop and explore the world. Furthermore, improving your family relationships typically trickles down into other areas of life—friendships, co-workers, teammates, etc.
Why EFT Actually Works
Confidence is touted throughout the world in sports advertisements, makeup commercials, and clothing line pitches. Yet, most of us have realized by now that confidence isn’t a result of what you put on your body. Rather, this idea of confidence grows from the inside of a person.
A family unit works to plant the seed of confidence, nurturing it until that individual family member has deep roots and strong limbs. As in nature, however, this doesn’t always go as smoothly as planned. Life happens that way.
EFT actually works because it focuses on present-day issues. It takes the tree—no matter how big, small, gnarled, or twisted—and encourages it to take root again.
In real life, the more secure a young person feels in their relationship with caregivers, the more confident they are to expand and explore their world. You can see how security equates to strong roots and can almost picture swaying branches exploring the horizon.
Consider that securely attached children are more self-confident and independent. They are also more resilient and able to deal with life stressors.
If you’re feeling disjointed in your family life, I would like to help. Improving your family relationships is possible. Please contact me today to learn about how I can support you.
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Joy doesn’t always come to us naturally.
Some days, it feels like joy and happiness seem to take a hike… and forgotten the way home.
For those struggling with depression, chasing down a slither of happiness can feel more like swimming against a strong current. It’s downright gruelling!
What can make sense in those moments is to give up, to forgo any kind of joy in life because the depression is simply too heavy to manage.
Yet, regaining joy in life is possible. And moving away from depression doesn’t have to paralyze you.
Here are three keys to successfully overcome depression and regain that much-needed joy in your life
Key #1: Use History to your Advantage
Depression can slowly creep up on you. Starting as a simple negative emotion – one that we all experience, such as sadness – it can take root and start to strangle out any other positive part of life.
You may begin to lose interest in things that once brought you joy. And as you avoid possible rejection and other painful experiences, your life starts to spin on a meaningless axis.
To take back your life, pull out your personal history books. Examine those activities that once made you feel happy—hobbies, adventures, relationships, etc.
Keep in mind, depression will tell you that nothing makes you happy now and nothing ever will again. That’s okay. Let it talk.
Focus on your pre-teen days and young adult era, especially the times of joy. By reflecting back on these moments, you can confirm that joy once existed.
Plus, you can begin to re-establish those activities in your life little by little. The more you acknowledge the once-existing joy, the more naturally that joy will reemerge.
Yes, the first and most important step is simply to do your history homework.
Key #2: Set Yourself Up for the Win
As you may know, depression can make everyday life incredibly difficult. Things such as taking a shower, sleeping, or putting on nice clothes may seem like impossible chores. However, these are also some of the things keeping depression grounded inside of you.
To regain your joy in life, you’ll want to set yourself up for success. But, what exactly does this mean? After all, the term “self-care” is recklessly tossed about nowadays.
Here’s a pro tip: start small.
Self-care is practical, and you can do it effectively. Begin by taking stock of your personal hygiene. Do you shower or brush your teeth every day? If not, make those two things your very first steps.
Build from there. Move on to doing the dishes each day. Then, read a chapter of your favourite book each day.
Soon, you’ll find that dedicating yourself to a foolproof self-care regime is like the sun when it warms your skin on a crisp day. Essentially, you make room for joy again. And it feels good!
Taking care of yourself is basic, but it’s so undeniably powerful. Your body remembers the words you say to it and the way you treat it by the emotional energy you release.
Remember, within a self-care regime is unrivaled power. Harness it!
Key #3: Say “Yes” to Acceptance and “No” to Avoidance
When you struggle with depression, you may often feel like you need to avoid painful emotions or even situations that could possibly be uncomfortable. Soon, you’re missing out on everything, leaving no space for joy whatsoever.
Furthermore, every time you avoid a situation, you embrace a pseudo sensation of safety and security. It’s not real, but it feels good at the moment. But that behaviour is problematic because it only buries you into a deeper state of depression.
This third key is likely the most difficult: practising acceptance.
What it means is that you stop telling yourself that you’re okay and you make peace with being “not okay.” This is the part where you get to look depression in the face and say to that nasty abyss that you’re no longer running away from it.
But it doesn’t always come easy.
For starters, instead of ignoring the intrusive thoughts, acknowledge them and let them pass. Rather than bottling up your anger, acknowledge you are angry. Saying you are angry will help you to regulate your emotions and it also helps others to understand what is happening for you. Gradually, you’ll begin to start feeling a sort of peace wash over you. This peace or tranquillity will help to reset your sleep/wake cycle, allowing you to think more clearly.
Plus, your mind won’t be bottlenecked trying to avoid all the negative thoughts. Joy will have the space to return again, and you will safeguard your mental health from depression.
If you’re struggling with depression, please contact me today. I would like to help. Together, we can find meaningful solutions to any issues that you face.
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It’s not that long ago, we didn’t fully understand what was making great relationships so successful, and struggling relationships so difficult to turn around. thanks goodness things have changed! we now have a very clear understanding of the strategies to help all relationships thrive.
Relationship counselling can benefit any couple, no matter if you’re dealing with seismic issues or not.
In fact, you really don’t have to be experiencing any problems to participate in relationship counselling. Though many couples tend to wait until bad gets to worse before making the call.
Because we each are unique individuals with our own set of experiences influencing us, coming together in a romantic partnership can be challenging.
Relationship counselling can help to smooth out these relational wrinkles, encouraging a deep bond between partners.
Here are some benefits that may help you decide if it’s right for you.
- Improves Communication
As you may know, communicating your perspective to another person may seem impossible at times. This is where mind-reading would come in handy. But, alas, this superhuman power eludes most of us.
Nevertheless, relationship counselling can help you both to slow things down and better understand each other, empowering you with empathy and compassion.
Moreover, knowing how to communicate saves couples from a great deal of heartache due to misunderstandings and mistaken rejection. Rather than react, you’ll be able to respond to your partner. These are skills that don’t come naturally. After all, we’re humans and we are hardwired to protect ourselves.
- Resolves Ongoing Conflicts
Unfortunately, our hardwired self-protection strategies don’t always serve our relationship! In fact, the strategies we use to protect ourselves, develop into patterns, which cause the emotional distance we feel during conflicts.
The pattern is now the problem! As a result of this pattern, you may feel as though you keep having the same fight over and over. Or you simply never truly come to a resolution on an issue.
Relationship counselling helps you to resolve these ongoing conflicts. After years of dealing with certain issues, surface problems tend to cover the real issues. Counselling helps you to develop skills to get to the heart of these problems.
It may take a bit of digging and searching, but addressing core issues in a relationship helps increase relationship satisfaction.
- Deepens Understanding
It’s not uncommon for couples to be together for a long time and still not truly know one another. Keep in mind, it’s normal for people to change and transform with age.
So, when someone says their partner isn’t the same person anymore, it’s probably true. But this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Change can be good. It’s just hard to keep up with sometimes.
Relationship counselling can help you to understand each other, even during life’s natural transformations. With the assistance of a counsellor, you and your partner can develop strategies that support continual growth, development and connectivity.
- Fortifies Commitment
Whether you said your official “I dos” or you are simply dedicated to one another, relationship counselling can help strengthen this commitment.
Not only will your counsellor encourage you both to review and renew your commitment, but they can also help you to set goals together. Relational goals have the potential to keep couples on track.
Most of all, establishing your commitment in various ways tends to add a dash of zest to your love life as well.
- Revives Romance
A vibrant love life is what we all desire, isn’t it? That feeling of a great connection is unrivaled. And relationship counselling supports that need for passion and romance.
A lot of times—even in the most dedicated relationships—the glory of passion fades away. Meaning, sex can get dull and you may become bored with each other’s company.
Relationship counselling empowers you with little tricks to keep the romantic flames burning. You’ll learn things like how to establish relationship habits that encourage romance. And you’ll be encouraged to use your calendar to schedule some of these moments as well.
- So, what do you think? Is relationship counselling for you?
As you can see, even when the world isn’t crashing down on your love life, relationship counselling offers many benefits. Contact me today if you would like to learn more about how it can benefit you.