Mind Over Matter

Mind Over Matter – Happiness or Discontent

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When it comes to over coming addiction, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be a very effective and useful method for fighting and not giving into cravings.

Research shows that CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is the fastest and most effective for many conditions my clients are frequently describing.

Here’s some information on the STOP method 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):

List 3 reasons why it might not be true (or why it would not be good for me):

What could you do to improve or eliminate this situation:

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.

CBT generally makes liberal use of worksheets to help quickly pinpoint the thoughts that are troubling you which saves time and speeds up therapy.

Visit the below sites for a great deal of helpful information about a variety of subject.
Author: Sharon Valentino, LMFT
Valentino Therapy – CA LMFT, RAS, ChT, CATC IV (#51746)
Visit my web: www.valentinotherapy.com
Facebook: Valentino Therapy and Ask This Therapist
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist

Grief and Loss

Grief and Loss

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When a person suffering from addiction loses a loved one it can be devastating and difficult to process, let alone assimilate.


There are many ways to deal with a loss.
It’s likely that more than one method may be useful to get through it.
Therapy can certainly help people avoid Complicated or Prolonged Grief and it can also help with Grief and Loss.
Nearly all helping tools and methods have to do with honoring what you had and not what you lost – being glad you had the person, not that you lost them.

Part of our self-identity comes from the relationships we have with other people. When someone you care for dies, your self-identity, or the way you see yourself, naturally changes. You may have gone from being a “wife” or “husband” to a “widow” or “widower.” You may have gone from being a “parent” to a “bereaved parent”. Maybe you are no longer the close friend, son or daughter, etc. – sometimes even an employee, if you’ve lost a needed job. The way you define yourself and the way society defines you is changed.
A death or great loss sometimes requires you to take on new roles that had been filled by the person who died, or you may now find a painful void in yourself that the lost one had filled.
You confront your changed identity every time you do something that used to be done by or with the person who died.
And you grow as a person when learning to fill your own void.
Many people discover that as they must adjust, they ultimately discover some positive aspects of their changed self-identity. You may develop a more caring, responsible or kind and sensitive part of yourself. You may develop an assertive part of your identity that empowers you to go on living and thriving even though you continue to feel a strong sense of loss.

Stages of Grief and Loss
A good starting place is read the Stages of Grief and Loss, readily available on the internet, to determine where you are on that list so that some of your feelings can perhaps feel normalized and the next Stages expected, making them more manageable.

Making Meaning
Making meaning will be as varied as personalities are.
A positive approach is needed to leave your personal feelings of loss or regret and focus and what that person gave you.
How are you different from having known them?
Did they make you feel safe and accepted?
Maybe they gave you or enhanced your sense of humor?
Perhaps they introduced religion or spirituality or Buddhism or meditation or Forest Bathing or other ways of learning to self soothe.
Were they a success in some way that inspired you?
What was special about them that you’d like to emulate?

Some people find comfort with planting a tree or bush in the memory of the person who has left.
Others prefer to donate to a group that would resonate with him/her.
Some write letters to help them come to acceptance and burying them when putting a special plant in the ground.
A letter that is burned so that the smoke goes up to the heavens is not uncommon.
I know a person who went to Iceland to see the Northern Lights feeling her loved one was there.
Some Latin countries celebrate The Day of the Dead once a year to honor those dear to them that have passed.
The Chinese also celebrate once a year in April. On this holiday China’s cemeteries are more densely populated with the living than the dead. Millions of people of Chinese descent visit the graves of their ancestors to burn paper money or other paper made into cars, houses, boats, hearts, etc. and believe that if you burn paper money and other offerings at the graves of your ancestors, they will receive them in the afterlife and, thinking kindly of you, put them to use. The graves are cleaned before candles and incense are lit. Often, messages to the deceased are also spoken out loud. This holiday of remembrance has become a bit commercialized, as has our Christmas, but it is about joy and love – not loss.
What could you do that could give you peace and meaning?

Many find solace in quiet reading.
I very recently bought these books for someone very close to me and she said they helped a lot.
-Please Be Patient, I’m Grieving
-Getting Thru What You Can’t Get Over
-Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief

Visit the below sites for a great deal of helpful information about a variety of subject.
Author: Sharon Valentino, LMFT
Valentino Therapy – CA LMFT, RAS, ChT, CATC IV (#51746)
Visit my web: www.valentinotherapy.com
Facebook: Valentino Therapy and Ask This Therapist
Pinterest: Ask This Therapist

Journaling Proven to Boost Self Esteem.

Journaling Proven to Boost Self Esteem.

Could that be true?

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When it comes to recovering from an addiction, journaling can also be an effective tool.

Journaling records go back all the way to 10th century Japan.

Successful people throughout history have kept journals. Presidents have maintained them for posterity; other famous figures for their own purposes. Oscar Wilde, 19th century playwright, said: “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.” Why not try it?
Though clinicians make that claim quite often, and more and more research backs it up. Some feel that a journal is an excellent way to get negative experiences and thoughts out of you and onto the paper so you can write about your feelings, reactions, anger, hurt and, ideally, conclude that entry with an action plan for the future to deal with similar situations differently.
Many journalists report a release of tension, anxiety and generalized unhappiness immediately after journaling a negative interaction or event. My clients have found this to be very useful.
Setting goals for happiness or achievement and the steps planned to attain them are particularly useful too.
Other professionals advise a journal to be used solely to compliment yourself daily on conducting yourself in an estimable manner, helping others, accomplishing tasks and highlighting your good qualities. Everyone has positive traits, behaviors and accomplishments that are forgotten or that go unnoticed. Paying tribute to these can boost both self-esteem and self-respect over time.
Writing about gratitude is proven to fight both depression and anxiety.
Cursive writing uses your left brain, the base of analytical and rational thought so you can clarify your thoughts but leaves the right brain free to create, imagine, feel, and clarifying what really makes you happy and satisfied.
Writing about disagreements and unpleasant encounters helps to come up with sensible solutions if you first just let all the emotion out.
If you are right handed, cursive writing is slightly more effective than for left handed persons, but highly beneficial for all.
There is no right or wrong way to journal, except it is highly advisable to do at least just a bit every day, any way you want, not worrying about spelling or how upset you may be with someone. I do advise finding a way to keep your writing private though.

I’ve found that tremendous value can be had by reading your entries at the end of every month. You’d be amazed at how much you’ve accomplished, grown, decided on – or whatever was the theme of your writing over that month-long period.

Visit the below sites for a great deal of helpful information about a variety of subject.
Author: Sharon Valentino, LMFT
Valentino Therapy – CA LMFT, RAS, ChT, CATC IV (#51746)
Visit my web: www.valentinotherapy.com
Facebook: Valentino Therapy and Ask This Therapist