February 2018

Well, it has been awhile!! I know, I know, so many people have asked why I have not sent out any newsletters.  Well, I had nothing to say…..just kidding, Hello, I ALWAYS have something to say. 

I have been reflecting, refocusing, and buying a building.  Wait, what? Yes, buying a building.  So as of Monday, I own our office. In less then 45 minutes, all my life savings and a bucket full of tears, I have signed my name to a shameless amount of eco-deficient repetitive papers to double my office space! YAY for the American way! Anyhoo, come Mid-March (total wishful thinking) but probably closer to April we will have the upstairs unit also! What does that mean? Well, that means I am moving upstairs.  Yes, if I am your therapist, my office will be upstairs. Unless of course, stairs are an issue then I will see you downstairs because we own it all!

Around this time, we will also have the energetic and vibrant Kat Furmin LICSW who will be working with teenagers.  Kat comes from a background of medical social work and residential care.  Already she has proven herself a dedicated worker and committed to the process of social support and assistance.  Kat is a much-needed asset to this office.  We are so happy to expand our services to the youth.  Please welcome her to the office! We are beyond excited to have her.

We also cannot leave out Katherine Fernandes, LMHC! Katherine joined our office a few short months ago accepting clients on Fridays and Saturdays.  She was welcomed with a waiting list of 6 people and did not hesitate to jump right in.  Her hope is to increase her hours to full time status and she is well on her way! She works with adults struggling with depression, anxiety, and relationship issues.  

We are continuing to offer individual, couple and family counseling.  We also have a Woman’s Relapse Support Meeting that is every Thursday at 7pm.  This meeting focusing around relapse prevention and meditation skills.  It is a great meeting for anyone new to recovery!

So, a little bit of housekeeping, we will be painting, cleaning, prepping, and primping the next couple of months.  Please be patient as we undergo a facelift, We will also role out a new name and an updated website for a more cohesive presentation and look. 

Thank you for all the continued support.  We are so happy to serve and bond with our wonderful supporters! You are all an inspiration to us.



The 411 of EMDR

I remember learning about EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) in Graduate School.  It was 2004, Simmons College, when I watched a video of Francine Shaprio, PhD. demonstrating her technique of holding two fingers in front of a client’s eyes moving her fingers from side to side. I can remember thinking, “This is crazy”.  It was not until 8 years later did I revisit this concept.   It took me that long to learn she was on to something. 

We have come to learn trauma is a whole different animal in the world of psychology.  Big traumas and little traumas are stored in our brains, creating pathways that affect the way we think about ourselves and the world.  Traumas and the emotions that develop from trauma change the way we navigate this world.  This is because trauma is stored in your amygdala, which is a central part of the mid brain, not easily accessed.  This is a central force of decision making, emotional reactions and memory.  This is part of our “instinctual” brain.  The part where logic doesn’t live.   This traumatic experience becomes a vulnerability, which then a story is created around it.  This story usually ends with some sort of self-criticizing thought, “I am weak”.  It is a big concept. A client remembers being bitten by a dog at 4 years old however he had no idea it would lead to a pervasive feeling that he is weak.  The neuropathway is created linking “fear” and “I am weak”.  Because this is shocking and significant, it is something that becomes hypersensitive, therefore every time he is confronted with the feeling of “fear” or “I am weak”, the pathway becomes stronger.  Either variable can trigger this pathway, making this vulnerability more susceptible for growth.    So, 15 years later he is still very sensitive to any message he interprets as “I am weak”, or an experience which results in fear.  His emotional response is that of a four-year-old child because this is where the vulnerability started. 

When clients experience these hypertensive emotions, they feel very out of control because their reactions are usually disproportionate to their regular feelings.  So, the emotional vulnerability is there, however the long distant memory if being bit by the dog is fleeting and thus the emotional turmoil is a mystery.   Most of the time these memories of our painful events are not “repressed” as some might think.  It is stored in a different part of the brain.  The client might know he was bit by a dog at 4 years old however he had no idea it would lead to this pervasive concept that he is weak.   Which is preciously why EMDR is so powerful.  Clients can go to therapy and talk about their feelings for a long time.  But if they can’t change the neuropathways that developed through the painful event to change the emotional connection, they are never going to resolve the negative emotions that governs their life.  

So, how does EMDR work? It is easy, bilateral stimulation, that’s how.  Using bilateral stimulation, meaning that stimulating both hemispheres of a person’s brain will trigger other parts of the brain to work.  In everyday interaction most people are utilizing their frontal cortex, which is executive functioning such as planning, working memory and task completion.  Moving a hand in front of someone’s face, forcing their eyes to move from side to side, both hemispheres are stimulated, thus activating other parts of the brain which store some of these complex neuropathways.   We have advanced from 1987.  Today bilateral situation can be created through touch and sound also.  Tapper’s are a popular method of creating stimulating and a lot less work for the therapist.  This allows the client to hold a small device in each hand as it alternates vibrations, or allowing a client to wear headphones that plays soft music alternating in each ear.  The results can be profound. 

Is EMDR an amazing tool, yes.  Is it for everyone, no.  First, it is a learned skill, so the client must be ready to do it and the therapist must be EMDR certified.  They must also be prepared for the painful emotion that results from EMDR, which can be difficult for people to tolerate.  Through the treatment the client becomes able to control their memory, thus deactivating the intense vulnerable emotions.  People suffering with acute substance abuse issues, acute psychosis, suicidal thoughts, dissociative disorders, or some neurological issues need to be stabilized before proceeding with this treatment.  Also, people with pending legal cases should consult with their lawyer before having this treatment because it could affect their testimony.

EMDR opened the doorway to treating trauma in a multicomplex disciplinary way.  Through this method, other forms of reprocessing have developed, such as, Gentle Reprocessing (which is my go to), Brain Spotting and Tapping have become powerful tools to help clients heal from difficult situations.  Some might even call it a life changing. 

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"Tough Talks" Free Meeting for Parents May 22nd 7pm

We want to extend our services to the public by offering a free two hour meeting to learn about ways to talk to your children about addiction.  Do you get stuck on what to say? Are you unsure of how much information to provide? Are you scared your child might ask personal information and you do not know how to answer the question?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, this meeting is for you.  This meeting is for parents of children 7 to 12 years old to speak with Substance Abuse Therapists about the best techniques to start "tough conversations".  This meeting is open to the public.  Come get support for your family.  These conversations are vital to the development of our children.  Please call 774-222-3196 to reserve your seat.  "It takes a village...".

When is it ADD/ADHD or when is it something else...

Lately I have had many people question if they had attention problems.  Most people had wondered in silence for years, ashamed that "something" was wrong, however not knowing what that something was.  ADD and ADHD are treatable conditions.  With the right medical doctor and therapist most people can receive the help.  However, substance abuse, brain injury and trauma can also look like some of the symptoms of ADD and ADHD.  It is important to disclose all historical information when seeking assistance for this condition.  Below please find a list of questions that may be helpful in determining if you suffer with an attention issue  1. Do you get distracted easily? 2. Are you frequently late?  3. Do you daydream often? 4. Do you have multiple unfinished projects?  5. do you get bored with repetitive tasks? 6. Do you have to often times have to re-read material to understand? 7. Do you often get overwhelmed? 8. Do you interrupt people? 9.  Do you sleep well?  10. Do you use a medication or substance whether it is prescribed or not that affects the way you function? 11.  Have you experienced a significant trauma in your life which changed the way you thought about yourself, your loved ones or your safety?  

The Future

I want to thank everyone who has supported this mission of mine.  For many years I had this  idea to have a therapy office devoted to serving people with their drug addictions and trauma.  This would be a place where people would feel safe and comfortable.  I wanted people to feel as if they were cared for.   It has been a wild 10 months since I "hung a shingle" and called this place my own.  Since this time I have had a the pleasure of working with over 100 clients.  I have developed therapeutic support groups for people struggling with addiction issues, formed several mediation groups and hosted supervision meetings for providers. We are in the process of developing a Co-Dependency Group for family members of people who suffer with addiction.  This humble little office has surpassed my dreams and expectations.  As I grow I would love to hear the needs of the community.  If you are in need of support please do not hesitate to call, 774-222-3196.