Nature Bathing

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Nature Bathing

“What is a good practice to help de-stress?”

Nature bathing is quite trendy now, but it’s been popular in Japan for decades with some high-stress companies demanding their key employees (in some cases, all employees) take some time off for it. This decades-old Japanese practice of forest bathing or shinrin-yoku (which means ”taking in the forest”) is used to provide stress reduction, relaxation and deeper insights into life.
Scientists have shown that nature bathing lowers cortisol and depression in adults and increases the activity of killer cells that fight off infection and cancer.
An ever-growing amount of research shows that spending more time in natural green spaces such as parks, woodlands, deserts, mountains, and beaches. Such places are said to possess healing properties which underscore the importance of nature on your mental and physical health along with general well-being.

I don’t know why we are suddenly catching on to this free, healthy activity since older studies have shown the benefits of vacations in nature. These studies also show and that even living in greener urban areas is linked to lower incidences of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, asthma, mental distress, and mortality rates.
Too many of us spend hours inside in front of screens. With winter upon us, we will be inside even more. The EPA sponsored a study showing average Americans spend 93% of their indoors.

Just being outside enhances creativity per the scientists at U. of Utah, while other researchers have shown it positively affects the prefrontal cortex which you use for critical thinking, executive functioning, multi-tasking and problem solving – in short making good decisions.

Those of faith report connecting with the Lord, while those who consider themselves spiritual say they connect with their true nature quite quickly and are able to remember who they are and who they want to be. While the scientists report heartbeat slows, healing and “feel good” endorphins are released, disease fighters are activated.
Sounds good. How do you do it?

In the U.S. it is now becoming common to pay certified guides to take folks for walks pointing out the need to slow down, to notice the smells of soil, plants plus the sounds of birds, insects and to take in the wealth of colors.

The simplest version of Nature Bathing (you can readily look up more info.) is when you go out in nature, by however you define nature, though seaside, desert or forest seems best. Many parks and nature preserves these days have something of these sorts.
Be alone as much as is safe and find a quiet place to sit or stand, take off your shoes and be firmly grounded on the earth’s floor and just breathe – deeply and calmly while you sit or stand without any talking for as long as you want.
And then you put on your shoes and go in peace.
Why not take some time and try this tomorrow?

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.

Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.com
e: hello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist

How to Feel Better Fast!

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How to Feel Better Fast!

“I get so tense when I’m going to meet my boss do you have any suggestions on how to calm myself?”

Everyone has days where you feel “off”, anxious or unsettled.
There are ways to connect mind-body, feel more in control of your reactions and be grounded.

I like to take a Tai-Chi class, which balances and reconnects left brain/right brain, but to be candid sometimes it is very hard to get up and get there when I work late on paperwork and online client needs.

There’s another, much faster way that works almost instantly and even better when you are about to have a tense or intense experience like asking for a raise, confronting a friend or spouse about behavior that isn’t working, dealing with a difficult, demanding boss, etc.

You can even do this in public – to a degree, depending on your comfort level.

Put your palms together and rub them very vigorously for 2 or 3 deep, calm breaths which connect the two sides of your body making you feel calmer and more balanced.
This works best if you are standing or sitting with good posture – no slouching.
Then shake both hands as if you’ve just washed them and the towels are missing to dry off.

I’ve learned this is actually an ancient yoga practice used to quickly calm and balance a person’s feelings/emotions and it also promotes good health.

Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.com
e: hello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist

Habits of the Rich that Mimic Good Mental Health Habits.

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Habits of the Rich that Mimic Good Mental Health Habits.

I saw an article about Thomas C. Corley, titled  “17 Habits of Self-Made Millionaires”, who spent 5 years studying 177 self-made rich people. I don’t know why it took him 5 years to do this but I’d read his book, “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life” a few years ago when it was the rage, so I read this article. This took me a bit longer to write up and condense it for you than I planned but I think/hope it is worth it.

I was struck by the habits that Corley claims are almost universal among the very rich because they are excellent mental health practices. Here they are. I wonder how many you practice now and how many you’d entertain starting to use on a daily basis?

  1. They consistently read.
    The rich would rather be educated than entertained.
    88% of rich people “devote thirty minutes or more each day to self-education or self-improvement reading”. “The rich read to acquire or maintain knowledge,” he said.Corley found that they tended to read three types of books: biographies of successful people, self-help or personal development books, and history books.
  1. They exercise.
    “Seventy-six percent of the rich aerobically exercise 30 minutes or more every day,” Corley said. “Cardio is not only good for the body, but it’s good for the brain,” he wrote. “It grows the neurons (brain cells) in the brain.” He added: “Exercise also increases the production of glucose. Glucose is brain fuel. The more fuel you feed your brain, the more it grows and the smarter you become.”
  1. They hang with other successful people.
    “You are only as successful as those you frequently associate with,” Corley wrote. “The rich are always on the lookout for individuals who are goal-oriented, optimistic, enthusiastic, and who have an overall positive mental outlook.”
  1. They volunteer.
    To surround themselves with the above good people, many self-made millionaires turn to charity.
    “This is why so many wealthy people volunteer for charitable organizations, civic groups, or trade groups. It helps them expand their network of other success-minded people,” he wrote.
    Of the millionaires he studied, 72% volunteered five hours or more every month.
  1. They define their ideal lives.
    61% did this by imagining all their dreams coming true and then writing them down in around 500 words with the steps necessary to make that happen.
  1. They pursue their own goals rather than what is expected of them.
    And that is where they find their passion, energy, and drive.
  1. They sleep at least 7 hours a night.
    Sleep accomplishes so many things – repair and memory formation to name only two.
  1. They get up early.
    Nearly 50% of the self-made millionaires in Corley’s study said they woke up at least three hours before their workday actually began. It’s a strategy to deal with inevitable daily disruptions, such as a meeting that went too long, egregious traffic, or having to pick up your sick kid from school.
    “These disruptions have a psychological effect on us. They can drip into our subconscious and eventually form the belief that we have no control over our life,” Corley wrote. “Getting up at five in the morning to tackle the top three things you want to accomplish in your day allows you to regain control of your life. It gives you a sense of confidence that you, indeed, direct your life.”
  1. They have multiple sources of income.
    65% reported their goal was at least 3 streams of income and they created them before they attained their first million dollars.
  1. They find and check in with mentors.
    Find a mentor that puts you on a fast track with advice, wisdom and contacts.
  1. They help others succeed.
    Only help those who are positive and goal-oriented b/c you must spend your time wisely.
  1. They are positive.
    “If you stop to listen to your thoughts, to be aware of them, you’d find most of them are negative,” he wrote. “But you only realize you are having these negative thoughts when you force yourself to be aware of them. Awareness is the key.” This is where CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is so useful.
  1. They don’t follow the herd.
    They don’t conform to what others are doing or thinking and don’t worry about gossip.
  1. They practice good etiquette.
    Critical to success, they reported, was sending thank-you notes, acknowledging important life events such as a wedding or a birthday, eating politely and using table manners, and dressing properly for various social events. Anytime someone mentions their birthday, add it to your calendar to call or send a note next year.
  1. They dedicate 15-30 minutes a day to just thinking.
  2. They seek feedback.
    They do not fear criticism because it is essential to understand what might not be on the right track.
  1. They never give up.
    Enough said.
Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.comehello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist

Anxiety Self Test

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Anxiety Self Test

So many people these days are suffering from undiagnosed anxiety or are continually anxious, cranky, tired, etc. and don’t know why. It might be anxiety which is often fairly easy to treat holistically, medically or psychologically.

There are different kinds of diagnosable anxiety. Some are Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (NOS), Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety and more. 

  • Is it difficult to maintain your involvement in work, family or social activities without avoidance or dread?
  • Do you avoid certain situations because you are afraid or embarrassed to be judged by other people?
  • Do you suffer from excessive and/or unrealistic worry that is difficult to control, occurring more days than not for at least 6 months about a number of events or activities?
  • Do you continually think about negative situations or events in your current life or the past?
  • Are you experiencing motor tension (restlessness, tiredness, shakiness, muscle tension, etc.)?
  • Do you worry excessively about your job, school, relationship(s), health, or money?
  • Are you having panic attacks?
  • Is it hard to let go or forgive and forget?
  • Are you easily frightened, or surprised?
  • Do you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep?
  • Are you using substances or OTC drugs to cause sleep?
  • Do you have a pessimistic, fearful view of the future?
  • Do you often think about how unsatisfied you are with your life?
  • Are you having autonomic hyperactivity (heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dry mouth, trouble swallowing, nausea, diarrhea)?
  • Do you avoid certain situations, people or places that increase your anxiety?
  • Are you hypervigilant (feeling constantly on edge, experiencing concentration difficulties, having sleep problems, and/or exhibiting a general state of irritability)?
  • Is it hard to concentrate or make decisions?
  • Do you suffer from indigestion/ stomach problems?
  • Do you throw up when you are tense?
  • Are you afraid of crowds, being left alone, the dark, of strangers, or of traffic?
  • Do you have difficulty concentrating or remembering things?
  • Have you recently lost interest in activities you enjoyed in the past?
  • Do you often have nightmares?
  • Do you feel tense or extremely jumpy?
  • Do you occasionally feel that you are losing control?

If you answered yes to five or more items, please discuss this with your health care professional.

DISCLAIMER:
This Site Does Not Provide Medical Advice. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional psychological psychiatric or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult with your physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or another qualified health provider without delay to gain more information regarding your specific medical and/or psychological condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.

Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.comehello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Research shows that CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is the fastest and most effective for the conditions most of us deal with today – being unkind to ourselves and inviting negative, constant thinking to sabotage our happiness.

A large part of the effectiveness of CBT comes from the worksheets which are designed first very simply so you get a very good feel for the basic premise and then become more specific. The idea is to give you insights which we can then discuss, if appropriate, and use those to effect change. They are not designed to be raced through but rather to give some thought as to exactly when and in how many areas they apply to you. I urge you to daily incorporate the STOP method into your life, a small part of which I helped develop and I promise you it works.

The first thing is to catch an unhelpful thought (meaning you have to be mindful and breathing deeply enough for your brain to get enough fresh oxygen to make great decisions), then vividly imagine a red, octagonal STOP sign and shout STOP! If you are around others, I’d advise you to shout silently, but w/some emotion. That should short-circuit your problem thought for 2 to 6 seconds, so you need to immediately substitute it with an entirely different, positive thought, or even a problem such as, “Where did I leave the keys to ___?”

Why don’t you take your most troubling thought right now? When you have troubling thoughts it is often a great opportunity to practice CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). Originally introduced to treat depression it is now used for a variety of issues, such as negative thoughts, anxieties, fearful thoughts, unnecessary worry and a host of other troublesome automatic thinking patterns. The thought record is one of the fundamental tools in CBT.

The underlying principle can be summarized as “what do you believe, and why do you believe it and are you aware of the feeling/emotion in your body when you think this thought?”. A columned thought record can be used to:
•identify negative automatic thoughts (NATs)
•help clients understand the links between thoughts and emotions
•examine the evidence for and against a selected NAT – is it true, what can be done about it

In therapy clients often need assistance and practice in identifying the link between thoughts and emotions before they move on to challenging thoughts and substituting more helpful thoughts for less helpful ones. Some clients might find it helpful to practice identifying NATs using a Simple Thought Record before introducing the complexity of evidence-gathering and thought challenging. The principle stems from Socratic Reasoning (is it true, is it always true, then is it false, is it always false)

The simplest version is:
What is your core belief (negative thought)?
List 3 reasons why it is true (or why I want it):
1.
2.
3.
List 3 reasons why it might not be true (or why it would not be good for me):
1.
2.
3.
What could you do to improve or eliminate this situation:
1.
2.
3.

Our thoughts control how we feel about ourselves and the world around us. Positive thoughts lead to us feeling good and negative thoughts can put us down. Sometimes our thoughts happen so quickly that we fail to notice them, but they can still affect our mood. These are called automatic thoughts. They are often negative or at least not useful. They can even apply to ruminations about romantic partners lost or present.

Oftentimes, our automatic thoughts are negative and irrational – sometimes not but can still be intrusive and unwanted. Identifying these negative automatic thoughts and replacing them with new rational thoughts can improve our mood.

Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.comehello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist

How You Attach to Others and Why

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How You Attach to Others and Why

Why is an attachment style important?
Attachment refers to the way in which you relate to other people. Your style of attachment was formed at the very beginning of your life, during your first two years. Once established, it is a style that stays with you and plays out today in how you relate in friendships, intimate relationships and in how you parent your children. Understanding your style of attachment is helpful because it offers you insight into how you felt and developed in your childhood. It also clarifies ways that you are emotionally limited as an adult and what you may need to change to improve your close relationships and your relationship with your own children.

Why should you care about which attachment style is yours, or that you may impart on your children? Well, a person with a working model of anxious/preoccupied attachment feels that in order to get close to someone and have your needs met, you need to be with your partner all the time and get reassurance. To support this perception of reality, they choose someone who is isolated and hard to connect with.

The person with a working model of dismissive/avoidant attachment has the tendency to be distant because their model is that the way to get your needs met is to act like you don’t have any. He or she then chooses someone who is more possessive or overly demanding of attention. In a sense, we set ourselves up by finding partners that confirm our models.

If we grew up with an insecure attachment pattern, we may project or seek to duplicate similar patterns of relating as adults, even when these patterns hurt us and are not in our own self-interest.

Our style of attachment affects everything from our partner selection to how well our relationships progress and to, sadly, how they end. That is why recognizing our attachment pattern can help us understand our strengths and vulnerabilities in a relationship.

Early Attachment Patterns
Young children need to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for their social and emotional development to occur normally. Without this attachment, they will suffer serious psychological and social impairment. During the first two years, how the parents or caregivers respond to their infants, particularly during times of distress, establishes the types of patterns of attachment their children form.  These patterns will go on to guide the child’s feelings, thoughts and expectations as an adult in future relationships.

Secure Attachment:
Ideally, from the time infants are six months to two years of age, they form an emotional attachment to an adult who is attuned to them, that is, who is sensitive and responsive in their interactions with them. It is vital that this attachment figure remains a consistent caregiver throughout this period in a child’s life. During the second year, children begin to use the adult as a secure base from which to explore the world and become more independent. A child in this type of relationship is securely attached. Dr. Dan Siegel, an expert in this field, emphasizes that for a child to feel securely attached to their parents or caregivers, the child must feel safe, seen and soothed. Securely attached adults tend to be more satisfied in their relationships. Children with a secure attachment see their parent as a secure base from which they can venture out and independently to explore the world. A secure adult has a similar relationship with their romantic partner, feeling secure and connected while allowing themselves and their partner to move freely.

Secure adults offer support when their partner feels distressed. They also go to their partner for comfort when they themselves feel troubled. Their relationship tends to be honest, open and equal, with both people feeling independent, yet loving toward each other

Avoidant Attachment:
There are adults who are emotionally unavailable and, as a result, they are insensitive to and unaware of the needs of their children. They have little or no response when a child is hurting or distressed. These parents discourage crying and encourage independence. Often their children quickly develop into “little adults” who take care of themselves. These children pull away from needing anything from anyone else and are self-contained. They have formed an avoidant attachment with a mis-attuned parent.

Fearful Avoidant Attachment – A person with a fearful-avoidant attachment lives in an ambivalent state of being afraid of being both too close to or too distant from others.  They attempt to keep their feelings at bay but are unable to; they can’t just avoid their anxiety or run away from their feelings. Instead, they are overwhelmed by their reactions and often experience emotional storms. They tend to be mixed up or unpredictable in their moods. They see their relationships from the working model that you need to go towards others to get your needs met, but if you get close to others, they will hurt you. In other words, the person they want to go to for safety is the same person they are frightened to be close to. As a result, they have no organized strategy for getting their needs met by others.

As adults, these individuals tend to find themselves in rocky or dramatic relationships, with many highs and lows. They often have fears of being abandoned but also struggle with being intimate. They may cling to their partner when they feel rejected, then feel trapped when they are close. Oftentimes, the timing seems to be off between them and their partner. A person with fearful avoidant attachment may even wind up in an abusive relationship.

Ambivalent/Anxious Attachment:
Some adults are inconsistently attuned to their children. At times their responses are appropriate and nurturing but at other times they are intrusive and insensitive. Children with this kind of parenting are confused and insecure, not knowing what type of treatment to expect. They often feel suspicious and distrustful of their parent but at the same time, they act clingy and desperate. These children have an ambivalent/anxious attachment with their unpredictable parent.

Anxious Preoccupied Attachment
Unlike securely attached couples, people with an anxious attachment tend to be desperate to form a fantasy bond. Instead of feeling real love or trust toward their partner, they often feel emotional hunger. They’re frequently looking to their partner to rescue or complete them. Although they’re seeking a sense of safety and security by clinging to their partner, they take actions that push their partner away.

Even though anxiously attached individuals act desperate or insecure, more often than not, their behavior exacerbates their own fears. When they feel unsure of their partner’s feelings and unsafe in their relationship, they often become clingy, demanding or possessive toward their partner. They may also interpret independent actions by their partner as an affirmation of their fears. For example, if their partner starts socializing more with friends, they may think, “See? He doesn’t really love me. This means he is going to leave me. I was right not to trust him.”

Disorganized Attachment:
When a parent or caregiver is abusive to a child, the child experiences the physical and emotional cruelty and frightening behavior as being life-threatening. This child is caught in a terrible dilemma: her survival instincts are telling her to flee to safety but safety is the very person who is terrifying her.  The attachment figure is the source of the child’s distress. In these situations, children typically disassociate from their selves. They detach from what is happening to them and what they are experiencing is blocked from their consciousness.

Dismissive Personality:
Those who had avoidant attachments in childhood most likely have dismissive attachment patterns as adults. These people tend to be loners; they regard relationships and emotions as being relatively unimportant. They are cerebral and suppress their feelings. Their typical response to conflict and stressful situations is to avoid them by distancing themselves. These people’s lives are not balanced: they are inward and isolated, and emotionally removed from themselves and others.

Dismissive Avoidant Attachment:
People with a dismissive-avoidant attachment have the tendency to emotionally distance themselves from their partner. They may seek isolation and feel “pseudo-independent,” taking on the role of parenting themselves. They often come off as focused on themselves and maybe overly attending to their creature comforts. Pseudo-independence is an illusion, as every human being needs connection. Nevertheless, people with a dismissive-avoidant attachment tend to lead more inward lives, both denying the importance of loved ones and detaching easily from them. They are often psychologically defended and can shut down emotionally.

Preoccupied Personality:
Children who have an ambivalent/anxious attachment often grow up to have preoccupied attachment patterns. As adults, they are self-critical and insecure. They seek approval and reassurance from others, yet this never relieves their self-doubt. In their relationships, deep-seated feelings that they are going to be rejected make them worried and not trusting. This drives them to act clingy and overly dependent on their partner. These people’s lives are not balanced: their insecurity leaves them turned against themselves and emotionally desperate in their relationships.

Fearful-Avoidant Personality:
People who grew up with disorganized attachments often develop fearful-avoidant patterns of attachment. Since, as children, they detached from their feelings during times of trauma, as adults, they continue to be somewhat detached from themselves. They desire relationships and are comfortable in them until they develop emotionally close. At this point, the feelings that were repressed in childhood begin to resurface and, with no awareness of them being from the past, they are experienced in the present. The person is no longer in life today but rather, is suddenly re-living an old trauma. These people’s lives are not balanced: they do not have a coherent sense of themselves nor do they have a clear connection with others.

 Developing an “Earned Secure Attachment” – Can an attachment style that’s not working for you be corrected? Certainly.
The good news is, it’s never too late to develop a secure attachment. The attachment style you developed as a child based on your relationship with a parent or early caretaker doesn’t have to define your ways of relating to those you love in your adult life. If you come to know your attachment style, you can uncover ways you are defending yourself from getting close and being emotionally connected and work toward forming an “earned secure attachment.”

One essential way to do this is by making sense of your story. According to Dr. Dan Siegel, attachment research demonstrates that “the best predictor of a child’s security of attachment is not what happened to his parents as children, but rather how his parents made sense of those childhood experiences.” The key to “making sense” of your life experiences is to write a coherent narrative, which helps you understand how your childhood experiences are still affecting you in your life today. In an online course I’ll be leading with Dr. Dan Siegel, we will walk you through the process of creating a coherent narrative to help you to build healthier, more secure attachments and strengthen your own personal sense of emotional resilience. When you create a coherent narrative, you rewire your brain to cultivate more security within yourself and your relationships.

You can also challenge your defenses by choosing a partner with a secure attachment style, and work on developing yourself in that relationship. Therapy can also be helpful for changing maladaptive attachment patterns. By becoming aware of your attachment style, both you and your partner can challenge the insecurities and fears supported by your age-old working models and develop new styles of attachment for sustaining a satisfying, loving relationship.

Because our attachment ability is broken in a relationship, it can also be fixed in a relationship. One of the proven ways to change our attachment style is by forming an attachment with someone who had a more secure attachment style than what we’ve experienced. We can also talk to a therapist, as the therapeutic relationship can help create a more secure attachment. We can continue to get to know ourselves through understanding our past experiences, allowing ourselves to make sense and feel the full pain of our stories, then moving forward as separate, differentiated adults. In doing this, we move through the world with an internal sense of security that helps us better withstand the natural hurts that life can bring.

Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.comweb: www.valentinotherapy.comehello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.comweb: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist

 

Book Review: This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol: Find Freedom, Rediscover Happiness & Change Your Life, by Annie Grace

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Book Review: This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol: Find Freedom, Rediscover Happiness & Change Your Life, by Annie Grace

No, it is not a catchy title but it is a good book for anyone struggling with alcohol and for those in the healing professions.

Annie Grace writes clearly and details how alcohol and the constant advertising for it plays such a major role in our society, noting how the messages you receive into your conscious and subconscious minds about stopping are far overrun by the millions already received that it is cool, calms and relaxes you, the fun people are using it and so on. She spends a lot of time explaining how the conscious and subconscious are at odds when it comes to drinking…and how to change your subconscious to fall in line with your conscious desires, which is extraordinarily difficult without the understanding she brings to this problem.

While she strongly presented facts and statistics of other authors and researchers quite well, fully documenting them, she made her case clearly in a very readable fashion.
There was repetition of ideas and concepts which can help cement an idea but also turn off a reader. Hang on until the end. It is worth it.

She doesn’t support a couple of the AA beliefs in the beginning and could have better acknowledged the critical help found in groups, social media, treatment professionals and the power of sponsors and fellowship more. Personally, I feel any tool that helps others should not be discounted – in fact, all should be supported.

Still, “This Naked Mind” is definitely worth reading and should help alcoholics quit or seek treatment. What the book does well is help make the case for sobriety and gives understanding with tools that assist.

Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.

Sharon Valentino, MA, ChT, CA LMFT, Psychotherapist, Behavioral Health
Calif. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MFC51746
Masters Level Registered Addiction Specialist (MRAS) & Level IV Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC IV), Masters Counseling Psychology
Addressing: Stress, Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, PTSD, Trauma, Pain, Memory Issues, Addiction, Adult Children of Alcoholics/Substance/Anger Abusers (ACA’s), Tech Execs & Engineers, Creatives & Designers – Private Online Therapy (Telemedicine) is available via HIPPA provider’s security.
Ph: 415.215.5363, e: sv@valentinotherapy.com, web: www.valentinotherapy.comehello@sobercoachandfamilysupport.com, web: www.sobercoachandfamilysupport.com
Social Media: Google My Business – Valentino Therapy
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist & Valentino Therapy
Instagram: Ask This Therapist & Sharon,Valentino.MFT, & sobercoachandfamilysupport
Facebook: Valentino Therapy, Parenting With Help, and Ask This Therapist
Blogs at WordPress: Valentino Therapy & Sober Coach-Addiction Hurts & Ask This Therapist