Effective communication is based more on how you say things rather than on what you actually say. A conversation can go very well or wind up in a lot of anger and upset, depending on the communication style used. Our means of communication impacts all facets of life.
"We cannot love others until we love ourselves"
This saying has been a cliché statement that has been thrown around as a way to encourage self-care or even used as a convincing statement to those who find it hard to love themselves. What does this statement truly mean?
It means that someway, somehow we must find, within us, love. This must mean that love is an innate ability and we all possess the ability to love ourselves without the assistance of others.
Personally, I do not believe this to be true. Can we truly have an innate ability to love ourselves without any help from others? If we truly cannot love others until we love ourselves, we have to be able to love ourselves without help, right? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Which comes first, our innate ability to love? Or is love taught to us from our caretakers, partners, peers or a higher power?
What if, “We cannot love others until we love ourselves” becomes “We cannot love ourselves and others until we have been loved.” My argument is that in order to learn to love others, we must first be loved. We must learn how to love and what love is.
Imagine a child who is neglected by their caretaker. This child never truly learns love. Instead, to them, love means neglect. Later on in life when meeting new people, how will they love them? If all this older child has known is that love is neglectful, they too will neglect those that they love.
Compare the first child with someone who has a loving caretaker who has shown interest in who they are. This child will grow up with the idea that love is showing interest in others and will love in this way. These examples may not be true for all, but it is something to think about. The child in the first scenario may
learn somewhere how to truly love but this will not come as easily as the child in the second scenario.
We need to learn what love looks like towards us and we also need to learn how we love. We may love by giving others gifts or our time. We may show our love through compliments or by offering a shoulder to cry on. We all have a unique way to show love. In order to practice our ways of loving, we need people around us to accept our love. If our unique way of showing love is rejected, we learn that we are not good at loving, or our way of loving is wrong.
Let’s say you show love with your time but your partner becomes annoyed and tells you they just want space. Your way of loving has been pushed away. We need other people around us to affirm the way we love. While the statement, “We cannot love others until we love ourselves” has a good message at the core, it can be damaging for those who have never learned how to love themselves.
We all need love whether it is from other humans on earth (maybe even from a pet) or a supernatural love. Then we can truly love others’ authentically and comfortably.
Mikala has an intensely compassionate and unique way of connecting with you to help you identify and express your feelings and your deepest sense of self. She is persistent and encouraging in the face of hopelessness and despair. She especially loves working with women to provide tools to alleviate anxiety and depression. Mikala has a wealth of experience and is skilled in the mental health field working with domestic violence, food & body issues and addiction. If you're struggling to tolerate your emotions and you're looking for a guide to help you get to know yourself better, give her a call now at 570-412-4516.
The Main Line of Philadelphia
is a very special place to live. If you already live here, you know how unique this place is - if you don't live here, you are in for quite a treat. The suburban area to the west of Philadelphia has been referred to as The Main Line because of the main train line that connects Philadelphia to all the beautiful towns built up along the train tracks: Lower Merion includes Overbrook, Merion, Bala Cynwyd, Wynnewood, Narberth, Ardmore, Bryn Mawr and Rosemont. Further out we have Radnor, Villanova, Wayne, St. Davids, Berwyn, Paoli, Malvern, Exton and Frazier. Each town is unique and has it’s own spin on charm.
Finding an expert trauma therapist on the Main Line of Philadelphia
seems harder than it should be. With Bryn Mawr's Graduate School of Social Work close by, Villanova University, Rosemont College, Saint Joseph's University, Widener, Immaculata, Cabrini, Ursinus and not to mention University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore and LaSalle, we have so many talented therapists, social workers and counselors. So, how do you find the therapist who knows just how to help you manage your post-traumatic stress symptoms? How do you find the counselor you can click with and trust to guide you through an evidence-based method of healing your past traumatic memories? Choosing a therapist is a very personal decision. You can have three great therapists, but if you don’t feel safe with them, what’s the point? If you are looking for a counselor, psychologist, life coach or therapist - I'd like to help you find someone who can help.
Here are some ways to search
Educate Yourself About Methods that Work for PTSD
When you have PTSD, there are only a few ways of treating your symptoms that have been studied and proven to effectively reduce or eliminate symptoms. Those nightmares you’ve been dealing with, the heightened startle response, hypervigilance, and avoidance of triggering situations – those are the things that get in the way of your life. These are the issues you’ll want to be sure your therapist knows how to help you manage and heal, not just talk about. One of the top researched methods for eliminating these symptoms is a method called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
EMDR has been studied and proven as an evidence-based treatment method. You can learn more about EMDR and how it works here. Here is a short explanation: when we have traumatic memories, the memories tend to get stuck on one side of the brain and our body tries to heal it by re-playing it over and over, but it stays stuck. EMDR is a technique that stimulates each side of the body alternately while the patient processes the traumatic material. This technique helps the brain move the traumatic memory from one side of the body through to be able to process it so it’s not stuck on a loop any longer. You can find therapists who are trained and certified to utilize EMDR by going on the EMDRIA.org website or asking people who know therapists in the area. Think about asking friends who have or know therapists, your doctor or someone at your school. Therapists that come highly recommended and are known to work with PTSD through EMDR methods are a good way to make sure they have a good reputation.
Type into Google your town and the issue you are looking for help with. For example, "Bryn Mawr and PTSD" or "Rosemont and Trauma" and see what comes up. In the top listings that come up in your search, you will hopefully see some links to therapists that specialize in your particular need and are trained in EMDR.
What you will most likely see is a result that links to a Psychology Today profile for therapists in your area that have indicated these specialties. Psychology Today is a great site that is most commonly used for therapists to post their profiles and for clients to find a therapist nearby. It’s very helpful that you can refine your search by specialty. The unfortunate thing is that therapists can indicate that we specialize in as many topics as we'd like. Although a therapist might indicate that they specialize in PTSD, if it's really something we know a lot about, we obtain specialized training in evidence-based methods specifically for PTSD and we will often note areas we are trained in on our websites, so don’t stop with Psychology Today, make sure you read through the clinician’s website as well.
Check out the websites of potential therapists. If you are looking for help with flashbacks and the website you are visiting talks a bunch about flashbacks, that's a great sign! If you are looking for help with a heightened startle response and you're on a website that doesn't mention this symptom, you might want to keep looking.
Some therapists offer a free 15-minue phone consultation which is a great service and an excellent opportunity for you to interview your potential trauma therapist. You are going to be spending a good amount of time and finances on effective therapy, it is very important that you find the right fit for you.
Here are some questions to help you navigate your phone consultation:
1. What methods do you use to treat PTSD?
2. How do you help your clients manage overwhelming emotions while they work on traumatic memories?
3. What do you do to treat the symptoms versus the root of the problem?
4. How long does it usually take before your clients start to see relief from their symptoms?
5. How effective are the methods you use?
6. Given my specific set of symptoms and needs, do you think you can help me and have you helped many others’ with my specific symptoms before?
In an ideal world, you would find a therapist who has special training and expertise in the methods that show the best results and someone who has tons of experience working with eating disorders and trauma. Unfortunately, this is not an ideal world. So you'll need to search a bit further. You'll be searching for someone that you connect with, who you feel comfortable talking to, someone who will be honest with you and you'll know you can be honest with them.
I hope this helps you in your search for the right therapist on the Main Line of Philadelphia. If you want some tools to help now, sign up for my newsletter to get some tips and tools for managing PTSD and eating disorders. If you are still feeling stuck, feel free to call me at 610.314.8402 for a free 15 minute phone consultation. I am available to listen to what's happening and help direct you to the right person. If you are looking for help with eating disorders or PTSD, you can read more about how I can help here.
College sounds so glorious at the start – getting away from parents and rules, living on your own or with friends, getting to party all night or just being able to do whatever you want WHENEVER you want. It’s gona be AMAZING!!
And then you get your syllabi! The work starts to pile up. You’re exhausted and strangely malnourished even though you think you’re eating alright. You’ve watched the sun come up one too many times this week and your body is starting to give out.
So how do you manage to juggle the whole ‘being an adult in college thing’?
Tools you will need:
- Paper Calendar
- Highlighters in various colors
Here are some tips that can help:
Paper calendars are your friends!
I know you love your smart-phones and nifty electronic apps that can do all sorts of fancy things, but the problem is they can be too neatly tucked away and forgotten about. Like vegetables in the vegetable drawer, if you don’t see your schedule, you will forget it’s there and it will get moldy! So a nice big calendar that has whole months you can look at, all at once - that's what you need.
Once you've got your calendar, then take your syllabi and start plugging in the TURN IN assignments ONLY!
This means papers, tests, essays, projects – things you need to actually hand in - to the teacher. Write each assignment in the date that it is due. Select your pink highlighter (or any color, really, this is just an example). HIGHLIGHT each TURN IN task in pink.
Next, look at the weekend BEFORE the project or paper is due and write in the assignment in that weekend.
THAT is your target due date. So for example, if the paper is due on Tuesday the 15th, your target due date is Friday, the 11th. Here’s the rule I implemented for myself that worked very well through grad school: IF I finish my assignment by Friday the weekend BEFORE it’s due, THEN I can play and relax the rest of the weekend. If not, I target Saturday to finish it, then I can play Sunday, etc. I made my target due dates the weekend before so it gave me time during the week to edit or catch up on any other assignments, readings, etc and not feel like I was rushing to get the assignment done.
So highlight the TARGET DUE DATE for each assignment in another color.
Now that you have things that you actually need to turn in scheduled, you can write in reading assignments and other “passive” tasks and highlight THEM in yet a 3RD color.
Once you've plugged in these due dates, target dates and reading assignments, you’ve got your priorities scheduled and color coded.
Make school your “job”
One of my favorite high school teachers told us as seniors that if we just made college our “9-5 job”, we’d be successful. What she meant was this: when you are in high school, you have a structure GIVEN to you. You must be awake by a certain time and go through each class at a certain time and be home by a certain time (typically). So when college freshmen enter school, it can sometimes look like a free-for-all and people who are pre-disposed to anxiety or depression can find themselves struggling to keep up because of a lack of structure. So you can look at it this way:
College work is a full-time job:
Work on your assignments and reading and classes from 9-5 every week-day, even when you’re not in class. Get your stuff done before it’s due, that way your evenings and weekends can be fun times for parties, relaxing with Netflix or hanging with friends.
If work is left uncontained, people with anxiety tend to feel like they can never relax.
You’ll find, as you move into adulthood, that ‘work’ is never done. So, if you don’t contain your work into ‘work-time’ and contain your free time into ‘play time’, then you’ll never truly be able to relax and never truly be focused on work.
What does ‘play-time’ look like?
For some extroverts, play-time comes naturally and easily. They enjoy socializing in the hall of the dorm, on campus, at frat parties, etc. For others’, it may provoke anxiety and insecurity. If you’re introverted or shy or haven’t been exposed to many social situations that you feel comfortable in college can be a difficult experience. Here are some tips on finding ‘your people’ and your version of play time.
For more information, contact me now at 610.314.8402