More and more we’re seeing a spike in the use of self-administered therapies and wellness programs. Each week my cubby at the NIH library loads piles o’ new research abstracts testing the efficacy of various internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and guided imagery programs for conditions like anxiety, depression, caregiver stress, PTS, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and fatigue from MS, cancer treatments and the like.
It’s the same with the digital treatments – lots of research on various mind-body resources - meditation, guided imagery, relaxation and the like - when delivered electronically through iPods, MP3’s and mostly phones.
All this is a huge shift in emphasis that seems to have happened overnight, although not really – the Aussies were developing first-rate web-based programs in a serious way over a decade ago.
I wonder if there’s such a thing as “election stress” or “attack ad depression” or “chronic polling anxiety”. What do you think this overlong, overfunded, over-the-top battle is doing to the mental health of us citizens?
Please share your impressions about this - especially those of you who see lots of people in your practice.
How about the extended tension and suspense of months of waiting for a result, pumped up by the needs of the 24/7 news cycle? It’s become subtext for everything else in our waking day. Does it result in one big national stomach ache or migraine?
How many of us just want to withdraw from too many months of election stress and discomfort? What does it do to our sense of efficacy and well-being when, for hours, we’re passively listening to the same strident distortions of various bits of minutia, over and over again.
I recently had a conversation with the father of a 16-year-old, high school sophomore. He told me his son Michael has been suffering from the after effects of a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) since a collision with another kid at pre-season football practice last August. It’s been a slow, frustrating recovery for Michael, and there are repercussions on the whole family.
What’s been hardest on him, the dad says, is the nonstop headaches, fatigue and mental confusion. Michael has trouble remembering things, focusing his attention, making even simple decisions and organizing his daily tasks. He’s slower at everything, and of course that affects his confidence. And sometimes he gets so dizzy, he becomes nauseated – that’s about as pleasant as being seasick.
He’s improving but it’s slow going and it will be weeks - maybe even months - before he can go back to school.
We continue to be blown away by the reaction that Mimi Guarneri’s Scripps study is getting. This is the RCT (randomized, controlled trial) where 123 combat exposed Marines, newly returned and between deployments at Camp Pendleton, with symptoms of PTS, were assigned to either 6 sessions (over the course of 3 weeks) of treatment with Healing Touch plus our Healing Trauma imagery; or treatment as usual (which I think was individual counseling with EMDR).
Over the last several months, we at Health Journeys, have been struck by the increase in calls from people looking for ways to support the long term unemployed. We recently spoke with Dr Traci Stein PhD, creator of the new Health Journeys Self-Esteem imagery program, about the importance of maintaining self-esteem during periods of joblessness.
Healthy self-esteem is important for anyone navigating the job market. Recent graduates face the same challenges to healthy self-esteem, as do people who are currently underemployed (those working in positions that pay less than previous jobs, or offer little opportunity for career growth).
Okay, so here is your basic, worst nightmare scenario – losing a laptop with all manner of critical information – some of it due to be presented the very next day – at a crazy-busy airport. The only thing that’s worse is looking around and thinking you’ve lost your kid. (I’m familiar with that one, too.)
Now, some of you have already started hyperventilating out of sheer empathy. Thank you for that, but please keep breathing some nice, deep, belly breaths. There’s a happy ending in here.
I’m on my way to an invitation-only conference with a bunch of heavy hitters from all over the place. I’ve been helping to plan this thing since early June. It represents a really big opportunity for some terrific changes for thousands of people, and I care a lot about it going well and yielding good, useable results.
There is to be one kick-off keynote and I’m surprised to learn it’s been handed off to me. I give a lot of thought on how to focus this talk, to make sure it lines up with the goals of the meeting, and has some useful, hands-on lessons learned in it. So I take my time, think it through, check my ideas out with the people I’m accountable to, and write it and tweak it over the next several days.
Check out these benefits of mindful eating! They include stress reduction, better health, greater enjoyment of the food we eat and, in many cases, weight loss too. Stephanie Vangsness, R.D., L.D.N., C.N.S.D. of Brigham and Women's Hospital writes about how changing the ways we eat can have a tremendous positive impact on our health. “It may come as a big surprise to learn that "mindless" eating, or eating without awareness, can have negative health consequences. Overeating and obesity are perhaps the most significant health problems caused, at least in part, by mindless eating.”
“Eating while multitasking, whether working through lunch or watching TV while eating dinner, often leads us to eat more. On the other hand, eating "mindfully," savoring every mouthful, enhances the experience of eating and keeps us aware of how much we take in.”
The guided imagery for Traumatic Brain Injury is in the warehouse and we’re shipping out all the pre-orders, even as we speak. Many are going to military and V.A. destinations, rehab departments and sports clinics.
The imagery targets a wide range of symptoms - headache, issues with coordination, balance, memory, concentration, word retrieval, fatigue, and sensitivity to light, noise and touch. It also aims at typical psychological and emotional fallout: mood swings, depression and agitation; and works to generate hope, confidence and self-esteem. It’s useful for stroke, acquired brain injury, Parkinson’s and like conditions.
As is often the case, it comes with affirmations; but on this one, we segmented the narrative with ID markers that define each section of imagery. This for those who don’t have the patience or concentration for a full 25 minutes, and just want to go to their favorite part for 5 or 10 minutes. Check it out – we’ve posted sound samples here.
I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at Hospice of the Western Reserve’s annual Katie Dolesh Lecture this Thursday night, September 13th at Executive Caterers at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. My 6 pm talk - Gifts of the Imagination: The Healing Power of Guided Imagery - is open to the public at no charge, thanks to a generous endowment from the Dolesh Family.
For those of you who’ve never experienced the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music, there’s a workshop you should know about that will be held at the New York Open Center, given by Ginger Clarkson on December 15-16.
Unlike the kind of guided imagery that we create and publish at Health Journeys, where the narrative is the main event and the music underscores it, with GIM, the music is the driver and that’s what catalyzes the imagery. Carefully sequenced classical music programs are used to stimulate and sustain spontaneous inner journeys and images that often lead to insights on pesky emotional issues or elicit spiritual openings or clear blocks to creativity.
Hello and greetings. Summer seems to be whisking by so fast, I’m getting whiplash. Maybe that’s because there’s a lot going on around here!
For one thing, Traci Stein’s Healthy-Self Esteem imagery and its cousin, Self-Esteem during Sleep continues to fly off the shelves. This is clearly meeting a big need out there, and we’re getting great feedback on it from many of you, too.
We have a terrific, fun, energizing new presence in Akron, Jim Mosnot, our Client Relationship Manager, who’s generating all kinds of creative ideas and outreach to hospitals, clinics, HMO’s, patient advocacy groups, health and wellness divisions of corporations as well as the military and V.A.
He’s finding new ways to get guided imagery into the zeitgeist. He’s already had several discussions about private labeling our recordings, not to mention get them on websites, TV screens and phones. So if you’ve got some ideas for your hospital, organization, institution or agency and want somebody to run ‘em by, Jim’s your man.
Hooray! O frabjous day, callooh callay! The guided imagery for Traumatic Brain Injury is done at last. We have it available, even as I speak, in download format, and hard copy CDs will be in the warehouse by mid-September, if not sooner. (You can pre-order them now though, if you like.)
It feels good to have finally delivered this overdue baby, after so many, many interruptions and roadblocks in this interminable pregnancy! We’ve already had various Marine and Army providers asking about where the heck they are. And I suspect these will be welcome in sports venues and rehab units, too. Spread the word, please! We need to get more resources of all kinds out there for TBI, including this one.