Monthly Archives: July 2013
Posted: July 29, 2013Categories: Guided Imagery
As our fleeting summer vacations come to a close, we are deluged with back-to-school ads, commercials, flyers, coupons and news items. Back-to-school is a major retail sales event, second only to the winter holiday shopping season. As we rush to prepare ourselves and our children for the upcoming academic year, the frenzy over bargains, what to buy and what to pack often eclipses the psychological side of this preparation.
Whether you are preparing for grad school or helping your child get ready for their first educational experience, the transition can create an emotional upheaval for prospective students and parents. Those heading off to college or entering kindergarten experience a kind of excitement, mixed with a little anxiety and an empty feeling most of us would call home-sickness.
For the little ones, waiting until the afternoon to see their loved ones can seem like an eternity. For college students, it might take months before they can go back home for Thanksgiving or the winter holidays. Not only are they facing new academic challenges, they miss their families, friends, pets and familiar surroundings. Their self-esteem can take a major hit, just when they need it the most.
Parents experience their own emotional roller coasters. When I dropped my daughter off at her college dorm in downtown Chicago, I was amazed at the emotional turmoil I experienced. In addition to worry, fear, second-guessing my decision to let her go there, excitement for the experiences she would have, pride that she made the choice to take this major step into an unfamiliar world and curiosity about the next stage of my own life, the overwhelming feeling was just plain missing her.
BR recently found this condolence note sent to her years ago by an old boss from thirty years ago.
It reminded us of how far a light touch, a little humor and some sensitive whimsy can carry you…. and how rare a treat it is to get a sympathy note that looks like this one.
We hope some will take a page from her boss’s book the next time there’s a need to write a note of comfort to somebody. It doesn’t always have to be leaden or patronizing or loaded with overwrought drama. Some of us – most of us - hate that.
But it’s not so easy to write a note that actually comforts. That’s why we’re posting this one.
For sure most grievers are loathe to hear, "Well, at least she’s not suffering any more" – that seems to be the comment that gets top prize for Most Annoying. However, “God never gives you more than you can handle” is right up there, too.
Investigators from the Clinique du Mail in La Rochelle, France, conducted a randomized, prospective, controlled study, comparing the efficacy of hypnosis on patients receiving embryo transfer, to measure impact on pregnancy rates and degree of anxiety, as compared to the efficacy of Diazepam (Valium).
Previous research by Levitas et al (2006) showed in a cohort study that hypnosis during embryo transfer (ET) increased the pregnancy ratio by 76%.
In order to evaluate hypnosis during ET in a general population, the authors compared the impact of diazepam (usual premedication) administered before ET plus muscle relaxation, versus hypnosis plus placebo, in 94 patients.
I would like to get a tape for a friend who has had a series of health issues after having a cardiac event, which in the end turned out to be nothing serious, although she was quite scared.
She was healthy and vibrant before the event. Now it seems like there is non-stop health issues (digestive issues, odd pains, hypervigilance, fear everything is cancer, etc.), some of which are likely psychosomatic in nature.
What tape would you suggest for her to recover her past health and well being? Thank you!
Posted: July 28, 2013Categories: Update from Health Journeys
A couple of summers ago, a talented MVTV broadcaster on Martha’s Vineyard named Ann Bassett, with the help of her video guy, Jonathan Revere, did an interview with me about posttraumatic stress for her show, placing some extra emphasis on the usefulness of guided imagery for our military.
It was a good interview, with some new information in it at the time, so we got the footage and chopped it up into seven manageable video segments and just put it out there in YouTube Land.
Lately we’ve been hearing a lot from people who’ve watched parts or all of it, and we’re now doubly grateful to Anne for doing that show. You can find the first segment here and just take it from there.
Posted: July 22, 2013Categories: Hot Research
Researchers from the Phoenix VA Health Care System explored alternative delivery methods for interventions for insomnia, designed to help OIF/OEF veterans who have experienced blast-related injuries and other trauma.
Although there is strong evidence for the efficacy and durability of CBT treatment for insomnia (CBT-I) in the general population, the motivation, attention and adherence CBT requires may be difficult for patients with mild traumatic injury. Therefore, modifications to these protocols and alternatives were explored, to ensure effective implementation and positive outcomes.
The team interviewed 18 OIF/OEF Veterans who screened positive for mild traumatic brain injury; and 19 healthcare providers to determine the acceptability of insomnia treatments and preferences for the interventions and treatment delivery.
We love it when active and retired military personnel find some benefit from our imagery recordings. We still hear from those who serve(d) in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they’re also really useful for transitioning service people.
Being newly civilian can make a person feel like a fish out of water. Naturally, it’s weird to go from functioning within a fairly firm structure, with lots of rules and regs, guidance and accountability, authority and support (for whatever the mission or task at hand is), to then be awash in the relative freedom and loosey-goosey chaos of civilian life.
It’s natural to lose confidence and self-esteem when we don’t yet know the ropes – especially when we’re used to knowing what we’re doing. Sometimes a little support is just the ticket.
So it was great to read what Donna posted on our feedback page under our imagery for Self Confidence and Peak Performance.
I hope you are doing well. We met at one of your workshops years ago.
A few weeks ago, I ended up being a first responder for a tragic accident. The young man lived but is not doing well, has significant injuries.
I am having a great deal of difficulty dealing with this.
I saw a trauma counselor, who told me what I need to do (let go), but not how to do it.
I thought perhaps one of your guided imageries would help. Can you suggest which one? Thank you.
Posted: July 22, 2013Categories: Update from Health Journeys
Being a somewhat obsessive sort, I take undue pleasure pulling together information from disparate sources and organizing it into some semblance of coherence.
Given the fact that we’ve been declared a nation of sleep deprived zombies by the CDC, I thought it would be time well spent to put together a Sleep Report, with all the latest recommendations and research-based interventions that we now know can help people get past their sleep insufficiency (yes, that’s the current term of choice for this).
We announced the report last week and got a terrific response, so I’m announcing it again for those of you who didn’t open that email.
Please check it out, print it out, email the link and discuss it with friends, colleagues and clients. Even following a few of the recommendations (there are 27 of them) in it can make a big difference to someone, and it’s a good reference document to have handy.
Posted: July 15, 2013Categories: Guided Imagery Success Stories
Many people who experience panic attacks don’t call them by that name. Often, people think they are dying, losing their minds or experiencing heart attacks. It has been estimated that more than six million people in this country have experienced panic attacks, but most sources say that statistic is actually higher. From the number of people who contact Health Journeys with questions or comments on the subject of panic and anxiety, we can assume that a large number of people of varied backgrounds are troubled by symptoms of panic and anxiety that interfere with their daily activities.
We have received letters from people whose panic and anxiety prevented them from passing exams, flying, driving, engaging in relationships, working and numerous other routine activities. We even had a letter from a woman who obtained her PhD, but experienced paralyzing panic that prevented her from moving forward in her career.
On the up side, we have also received letters of thanks and comments from survivors of panic and anxiety disorders, who point out that guided imagery played an important part in their recovery. One law student, who had failed the bar exam on past occasions, due to anxiety, wrote Belleruth to thank her when he passed the exam with the help of guided imagery. Some of the titles people have used include: Health Journeys’ Panic Attacks, Erin Olivo’s Free Yourself From Anxiety, and Dr. Emmett Miller’s Freeing Yourself From Fear. Health Journeys’ Healthful Sleep is also a staple for those experiencing panic or anxiety.
In her blog post, How I Overcame a Panic Disorder, author Priscilla Warner writes, “While I was flying across the country on an extended book tour, trying not to panic, I’d listen to Belleruth’s CD’s. I was one of the people Belleruth describes as not having the ‘oomph’ to do mindfulness meditation, but I trusted her to transport me to a safe, calm place. In fact, I called her my gateway drug, and I became hooked on the feeling that I could calm myself down.”
On several recent occasions, Belleruth has mentioned Warner, who co-authored The Faith Club, which made the New York Times Bestseller List. Warner contacted Belleruth after overcoming her own panic disorder, exacerbated by her two-year book tour for The Faith Club. Read about it in Belleruth’s article, Learning to Breathe: The Book that Takes You from Panic to Peace.
Warner’s recent book, Learning to Breathe—My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life, was written about her journey to overcome her 40-year panic disorder. “My goal was to change by brain from that of a neurotic Jewess to a serene Tibetan Monk,”
Warner wrote in her e-mail to Belleruth about that journey and writing the book, which explains some of the many modalities she used to overcome her panic disorder.
From Warner’s book and the many letters we receive from survivors of panic and anxiety disorders, we know there is hope and healing for those who feel they are in the grip of terror that can strike out of the blue at any moment. “The six million people in America who suffer from panic disorders and the millions more who suffer from a variety of anxiety disorders should know that they are survivors,” Warner writes in her blog post. “Perhaps over-survivors.”