This is second in a series of articles describing common behavior problems and a counseling approach called Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The opinions and ideas presented are James Sheeran’s. This article first appeared in the Crestone Eagle.
By James Sheeran MA, LPC
Q. Why are addictions so hard to overcome?
A. The simple answer to this question is: Because it feels so good when the addict uses their drug of choice (alcohol is a drug). Now, because nothing is ever as simple as it seems, there are many opinions and policies focused on just this question. Some opinions express the idea that it is simply a matter of weak willpower or perhaps just plain willful misbehavior. Some are of the opinion that addicts just need ole’ time religion to snap them out of it. Still others believe that giving the addict so much of their drug of choice that they nearly die will do the trick. It can even get political. In the ‘80’s some Viet Nam veterans tried suing the U.S. government because they had been given limitless amounts of beer at base camp and consequently developed alcoholism later in life. The Pentagon came out with a retroactive policy stating that the military is not responsible for the effects of the willful misuse of alcohol by its personnel.
The real answer is more complicated, medically speaking. In 1956 the American Medical Association officially recognized alcoholism (later all chemical addiction) as a true disease, with its own symptoms. These include loss of control over the use of the drug resulting in one or more of the following 1) a failure to fulfill major role obligations, 2) recurrent drinking/using in hazardous situations, 3) recurrent alcohol/drug-related legal problems and 4) continued alcohol/drug use in spite of recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused by the effects of alcohol/drugs. In addition, the symptoms of 1) increased tolerance to the drug and 2) withdrawal effects when the drug is removed are required for a diagnosis of alcohol/drug dependence. It must also be noted that addiction is a progressive and fatal disease. The symptoms only get worse and there is no cure.
But wait! The answer is more complicated, chemically speaking. We’ve all heard of our brain’s chemicals called neurotransmitters. These include serotonin, epinephrine and dopamine, among others. The normal functioning of these chemicals is altered when a person uses alcohol/drugs. After an episode of use they usually return to normal functioning. If the use is continuous and/or excessive these chemicals may be depleted or the brain may make a chemical on its own that is addictive and a “tissue hunger” for the drug may then develop. One episode of use by an addict, then, may trigger a relapse into out of control use with the attendant symptoms.
But wait! The answer is more complicated, spiritually speaking. In his book, “Honoring Your Self”, local author, Hob, states, “Recovery from any addiction is a spiritual journey,’ …‘for addiction is basically a spiritual malaise – or, according to a German translation of the word, the search of the soul to awaken. [Recovery] calls for common sense, courage, humility, fortitude, self-love and the patience to tackle one day at a time. Similarly, our addiction looks over our shoulders, watching and waiting for anger, disappointment, humiliation or arrogance to open the hatch so it can slide back into our lives.” And that is why addictions are so hard to overcome.
This is the first in a series of articles which will describe common behavioral problems and a counseling approach called Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The opinions and ideas presented are James Sheeran’s. This article first appeared in the Crestone Eagle.
Q. What exactly is Behavior Therapy? Why is it different from other types of counseling?
A. Behavior Therapy or, more correctly, Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of counseling which aims to help people solve problems regarding dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and thoughts (cognitions). It is a goal oriented system of counseling that, at its core, is about changing thoughts in order to change behaviors and emotional states.
Most of us have been advised, at some time, that it is our thoughts about any given situation, not the situation itself, which causes our emotional and behavioral response to it. This bit of wisdom was developed into a complete theory of human behavior along with a psychotherapeutic approach to counseling known as Rational Emotive Therapy. RET deals with the ABCs of thought. A is the activating event, B is the belief that causes C, the emotional and behavioral consequence. Its originator, Albert Ellis, suggests that over time we forget the original belief and then simply react without knowledge of what is causing us to react.
CBT sees these “automatic thoughts” as cognitive distortions and uses techniques to bring about “cognitive restructuring”, including behavioral homework, modeling, cognitive rehearsal, journaling, systematic desensitization and validity testing. CBT can be employed in any situation in which there is a pattern of unwanted behavior accompanied by distress and impairment. By understanding our belief system we can alter our behavior .
Whereas other therapies may help gain insight into the past or develop and obtain socially useful goals, CBT is simply focused on changing behavior. This can be especially useful in dealing with obsessive/compulsive and mood disorders, social phobias, anger management and alcohol/drug problems. When seeking cognitive behavioral counseling the patient must first ask themselves, “Am I willing to take an active role in the treatment process?” If the answer is “Yes”, then change can begin.
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When it comes to questions of how to respond to traumatic events it is important to know that when we are “traumatized” our reality tends to be influenced by fight/flight, freeze responses. We might get stuck in trying to protect ourselves even if the threat is no longer there. This is not bad, or a lack of spiritual evolution, it is a natural response that beckons our awareness so that we may begin to heal.
When trauma occurs, our protective instincts are thwarted. For instance, we are unable to stop a moving car, or we freeze in terror when threatened so we cannot fight back. This immobilization is a very primitive response that serves to numb the overwhelming pain. It is our oldest nervous system response that dates back 500 million years and has served us well.
The next evolutionary nervous system response is Sympathetic. This is where our ability to fight back or run away occurs. Because the primitive immobilization response might hijack the fight/flight responses during a traumatic event, this arousal might not surface until later. So we see individuals defend against a threat that is no longer there externally, but is still internally running the show.
When a being moves out of a frozen response they might experience fierce aggression, rage, or a need to escape. In order to release the trauma it is necessary for these energies to be felt and expressed. Unfortunately in our society we tend to mistake aggression as bad and dismiss its healing properties. In other words, when rage is experienced without a seeming external threat present then the person will either find a threat and act out, or stuff it down and internalize it. Some trauma theorists believe that this may be why we see so much irrational violence in society. Still, it is no easy feat to feel these strong sensations, thus it helps when a person is in a safe, nurturing, and nonjudgmental environment when this occurs.
Our most evolved nervous system is the Parasympathetic Social Engagement response, our ability to connect and comfort one another. It’s our compassion, our empathy, the way a mother smiles and coos at her young. It is this response that comforts and soothes the nervous system. Because the previous two less evolved defensive responses can override this newest social engagement response, the way we respond to ourselves and those who have recently survived a traumatic event is absolutely essential to how we heal.
When we feel our lives are threatened or are exposed to extreme stress the desire to attach to someone else increases. We look for comfort, seek out a smile, and need the more evolved responses of our fellow travelers to help hold our suffering.
These three nervous system responses inherent in our bodies are a source of wisdom that reflects the goodness that already exists at a time that may sometimes feel hopeless.
Jennifer Hotchner is a practicing psychotherapist in Salida and will be offering a workshop on Trauma May 19th in Salida.
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Create Flow
Detox is not about following rules and having all the right supplements…it’s ALL about flow!!
The object of the game is to dislodge and stir up the toxins that are lurking in your fat cells and flush them OUT of your body, once and for all.
The special combinations of herbs and whole foods recommended in Whole Body Detox Diet
cleanses are designed to generate flow. When combined with lots of water, fiber, exercise, bodywork and sweating, it all starts flowing! Detoxing this way is fun, easy and lovingly gentle on your body. 2. Slow down
Your detox is an excellent time to give yourself some space and time out from the fast pace of life.Your body will be working hard to clear out the old stuff and you may feel tired or spacey.
Waking rest and plenty of sleep will help you release your t oxins more ease-fully.
Postpone appointments and projects that can wait until after your detox. This will give your body a break from all those toxic stress hormones and you’ll have greater energy, inspiration and clarity to get back in your game after you’ve cleansed. 3. Pay attention
Detoxing is an amazing opportunity to get to know yourself better. As you release old toxins, your new present moment self will emerge.
Pay close attention to your experience and notice what’s happening in your body. This is the perfect time to learn how to listen to your body. You’ll discover what it likes, what it doesn’t like, and what it really needs to thrive.
With the “white noise” of all those toxins out of the way, you’ll hear your body’s true messages more clearly.
To make this level of self-love and self-care a reality for you, join cleansers from around the country in this year’s Whole Body Detox Diet Guided Spring Cleanse.
With two live teleclasses, easy to follow guidelines, and continuous online support, we’ll guide you in creating a truly loving detox experience. We will be there to answer your questions every step of the way so that you can be certain to have all the knowledge you need for a successful detox! You’re invited to schedule a Free Initial Consultation with me to receive loving guidance and practical support for your personal health and wellbeing. Jo delAmor, Holistic Health Counselor, Radiant Balance
I thought I'd talk a little bit about The Journey, and what it's meant in my life. By the time I had encountered The Journey, I had an existing energy healing and herbal medicine practice for quite a few years. I had been on my own healing path for even longer. I thought I had done a significant amount of "work on myself". And then I hit menopause. For two years my emotions were out of control. I found myself crying or being depressed almost every day. It began suddenly, and just as suddenly it stopped two years later. It was then that I encountered The Journey. Three friends had told me about this healing work, and that it dealt with emotions. I saw myself on a fork in the road. One fork went towards being a vital, healthy, empowered older woman. The other fork went towards being a scared, frail, depressed old lady. I took the first fork, and went to a Journey Intensive.
What I learned through this work was profound. I learned for the first time how to work with my emotions. How to walk towards them, open into them, feel them fully, and drop through them into openness. I learned how to work with old memories of hurts. Some of these I consciously remembered. Some came up in the course of a process. I learned how to express my feelings and let them go. I learned how to forgive people who had wronged me, not because I was such a great forgiving person, but because it was no longer worth it to me to hold on. And believe me, I could hold on. And as I released the old emotions, and dropped the stories that had defined my life and how I saw myself, I found myself becoming freer. I found a lightness begin to arise in my being. I found myself more willing to step outside my comfort zone and do things I had never been able to do before. And I stopped having the migraines that I had been having 3 times a week for years. My energy improved. This didn't all happen overnight. I went through the Journey practitioners program, and did many Journeys in the course of that year. And I kept doing them. It's a transformational tool. I have met people who have healed from cancer, chronic fatigue, chronic depression, and much, much more doing this work.
I now offer this work to others. I can't promise you that one Journey process will cure all of your ills. But if you make a commitment to healing, and to doing this work over time, I believe you will see dramatic change. In late summer or early fall of this year, I will be facilitating a Journey Intensive in Crestone, Colorado. This will be taught by Brandon Bays via live streamed TV, and hosted by myself. This is an excellent way to learn this work. The weekend will include two Journey processes and the information you will need to be able to do Journey swaps with other participants afterwards. Let me know if you are interested and I will contact you when actual dates are available.
As the old paradigm of reality, based on separation, greed and competition, gets more and more dysfunctional, it becomes imperative for each of us to commit to co-creating a New Reality, both collective and personal, based on love, collaboration and unity.Facing this challenge can feel impossible and overwhelming. But if we realize we are creating this new reality moment by moment, with each intentional thought and each choice we make, it begins to feel both more possible and more real. It does begin with us, with loving ourselves and honoring both where we are now and our potential for the full realization of our divine nature.At the same time we can only create this New Reality by working together. The goal of Resonance Alchemy is to be of service to co-creating this New Reality, one person at a time. We are here for each of you committed to this path, whatever that looks like for you; to heal, to uplift, to inspire, and to assist you in transforming your own inner and outer reality. Through individual sessions, classes and trainings Resonance Alchemy offers powerful and effective tools and resources for healing and assisting you in awakening to your divine potential. The Resonance Alchemy work is based on a series of Sacred Syllables which are used as thought-mantra’s to create a Higher Vibrational Resonance. I would like to offer to you this set of syllables to use in meditation: KRI LEI AMMA -WE ARE LOVE!! Many blessings, Katherine Parker303-406-8725
My gratitude to the Crestone Healers Group for the arena to: Teach and Share Learn and Grow
In 1989 I began my studies in bodywork and metaphysics in Texas. I feel most fortunate to have attracted impeccable teachers along the way that really live the practice. I’m also blessed to be able to present WiseWomen workshops in New Mexico, Colorado and Montana. I currently live in the Baca with my most beloved, Scott. Our dog Cupid, and kitties Lil' Miss Wonder and Swami Ru Ruby are settling in to our new digs. Scott and I love the energy of the circle…and guess what? In September we moved off the grid into a round straw bale home on 6 acres. We are living next to a wetlands with a running creek and glorious amounts of wildlife. Being out on this land has been what my heart needs. I take daily hikes with Cupid and explore the region. I became Certified in Reflexology in 1992. Foot work creates a space for each client to unwind and re-connect. So often our very foundation lies in need of assistance. I am also a certified and licensed massage therapist. Often a session will be solely on the FEET. This work seems to be a calling and I find great results. I offer many other modalities as well. My business Footworks, Massage and Wellness provides nurturance and intuitive guidance on many levels. With a health history intake, we begin to create a balanced treatment plan. The work I do may include deeptissue, neuro-muscular, myofacial, JROM, motion palpation, acupressure, zoku shin do, structural integration, essential oils and more. Using guided breathing meditation the heart opens, mind calms, and Universal Flow brings the wholeness we all seek. Breathing in fresh clean energy as clearings resolve and a deep letting go is awarded. Re-charge is achieved at the deepest level *^*^^*^ I enjoy expressing my creativity through film and video, photography, crafts ie feathers, leather and beadwork, acrylics, chalk, dance, drumming, guitar, piano, and song writing.
Scott and I provide children's art camps with audio/visual classes using a hands on approach to video making. This is such a great expression for youth to tell their story and find empowerment. Divine Design Productions is our shared video business endeavor. It is a fun way to make BIG difference. Yoga~Chi for adults and children is a joyful and friendly way to open, clear and re-charge. Each class includes techniques from many disciplines such as tai chi, chi kung, kripialu and hatha yoga. Blending the art of movement within a challenging yet playful environment is at the heart of Yoga~Chi. I provide individual water therapy sessions that allows the fluidity internally as well as externally. Some recent history of Footworks, Massage and Wellness includes: creating a massage and wellness program at 2 different locations. In 2002, with the gracious help of the Health and Wellness Director of the Schlessman Family YMCA in Denver I created and ran the massage therapy program for four years. This was such an honor to assist three generations of Y go-ers in a healthy and caring environment. Working with youth, adults and seniors to provide education, exercise and fitness goals, along with consistent body work was so rewarding. This was the epitome of a self-motivated clientele. My experience shows the Ymca opens many, many doors. It was 2006 when Scott and I chose to move to the pristine lands of north west Montana and leave a mortgage and busy traffic. As I awoke one morning my partner said “Cyn, there are over a million people in metro Denver. There are less than a million people in all of Montana”. And we were off to see the World~ We owned a home in Centennial, Colorado but felt that Spirit was with us in creating a new home. We found our home for 4.5 years in Hot Springs, Montana which you might not find on a map. Just a few hours south of Canada on the Flathead Indian Reservation and home of the best darn mineral waters, anywhere….I believe. We lived and worked at Alameda’s Hot Springs Retreat. The four owners were in need of caretakers and we found residence in a small, (itsy bitty) cabin there for several years. Footworks, Massage and Wellness flourished. I met so many folks traveling or finding Hot Springs, Montana as "a place that forgot time". With the Internet one can find a hot springs retreat from any part of the world. We even had my cousins from Denmark make a visit out one summer. I once told someone Montana was like Colorado…before the tsunami of people hit>>>>I miss the boldness of people, the great golden eagles, kayaking the raging rivers, sweat lodge and the big open sky. I will return each year to bring the WiseWomen classes and to breathe the freshness of this place. What a glorious adventure as a hands on healer and healing artist. Well, this is about all off the top. I am filled with delight as the seasons are making transition – again – and we are tucked away on 6 acres on a wetlands off the grid in our home of Colorado ^^^^^ Keep the fires going. Cynthia 719.256.4796
So let's talk about wholeness and the 'healed' reality for a moment. Almost every "healer" I have done sessions for, at some time or other over the past 15 years, has said "but if healing can be instantaneous, then my fear is that 'I' would be out of business!" None of them meant that consciously, of course! ;)
It is a way of holding onto what has, consciously or unconsciously, become the 'status quo', the ' M.O.', the accepted accommodation of a reality that most "healers" intuitively, instinctively, kinesthetically KNOW is false. The idea that there can actually exist a 'disease', let alone the myriad forms of same, the idea of 'terminal'... when we also KNOW that everything is vibration! How can this be! Something must be done! And so, the 'healer' archetype is achieved. The desire to be of service by choosing the vibration of wholeness. And yet the body, the emotions, the mind... the way these aspects of self are conditioned, patterned, parameterized, imprinted... is the baseline of every and anything that 'requires healing'. So, what 'we' really do is adjust frequency. Some of us are more aware than others ~ and we each are, in our own way(s). When the frequencies of the body are in harmony, we embody 'wellness'. When the frequencies of our lives are in harmony, we radiate wholeness. And to this end, we live our lives and have our practices.
The flow of source that moves through me adjusts frequencies directly. Core vibrations. The vibratory signature of an embodied soul. We can bring in pieces of soul not currently embodied (fragments, retrieval, or just bringing something 'left behind for safe-keeping). Together, we observe the various vibrations in the body, emotions and mind, and Source brings about a state of harmony from that shared observance. I used to call this practice "Spiritual Root Cause Analysis" because the inquiry gets right to the core and quickly, bringing in elements, physiology, and soul history. Then, it became "Matrix Processing" because what these sessions do is shift the individual's reality matrix... sometimes out of patterns that have been there since original emergence into embodiment. What almost always occurs is that the person receiving the session is initiated into being held in the Heart of the Divine, in the embrace of the Heartspace, an alchemical gift from the Divine Feminine for these times of Great Transition. A way of allowing Spirit to navigate for us, even as we choose our vibrational direction day by day.
In answer to the question: What would you do if you didn't get paid for it (and didn't have to make money) has always been 'further the evolution of consciousness'. I know that when the initial 'root cause' information was downloaded to me, I was asked by Source "are you sure? because the information and ability to shift core essence, for instantaneous shifting of deep recurring lifetime orientations, will flow through you!" My first response was "Well of course!"... and when the "are you sure?" question was asked of me three more times, I began to listen... "you will steward the synthesis of these healing modalities, only so that you can speak their language to others" ~ "and you will harmonize, adjust, fine-tune and re-align the healers who will bring about the balancing". I am privileged to be one of many such 'helpers' to assist in the re-balancing of our world.
And yes, we get out of balance. All of us. I have known a few enlightened ones, two of them 'up close' and they, too, succumb in the areas of body/mind/emotions. So wholeness may be the true exception to any kind of hierarchy... teacher/student, parent/child, practitioner/patient. When the wholeness vibration is present, it is shared by all who are, in fact, present.
I really like the concept of 'wellness' centers, where the information, education and practitioners are available to support, and render service to the idea that the natural state of our being is WELL-being.
When we can support one another in wellness... which of course is the whole idea behind this group of collaborators... we will be in true harmony with our beloved Mother Gaia and with one another. All of us. The world over. Let's be in the healed reality NOW! (aren't you tired of waiting?)