Lisa Heitmann, LCSW
Our bodies alarm systems (better known as our Fight/Flight Response) respond
to everything, from clearly traumatic events to what seems to be just "every day"
stress. Due to either prolonged stress or traumatic events, our alarm system gets
stuck on hyper-alert. It becomes over reactive. Because of this, seemingly normal
events can trigger intense reactions that don't really make sense to us. Sometimes, even
just contemplating making a change, for example, in a habit, can lock up our system in fear, despite our rational mind's reassurances that the change would be good for us. (Ever vow to eat healthier, and then find yourself inexplicably craving junk food?)
With this in mind, I frame my work with you on three levels- the first is on a practical level- how to fix, change, or deal with a problem that is interfering with your happiness. This might include goals or plans for change, and learning new skills, such as how to be assertive, get that job you've wanted, or to relate more lovingly to your family. The second level is to look at how you cope with and manage strong feelings that may overwhelm you in the moment (typically these are driven by our fight fight system). This usually involves learning ways to calm yourself in the moment, and get your emotional system regulated and soothed so you can think again. The third level is to identify and heal the underlying emotions or hurts that feed the intensity of your feelings- whether these wounds are the small hurts to our self esteem that can impact us greatly, or big hurts like physical, sexual or emotional violence. These wounds are what put our fight flight mechanism out of balance, and result in us feeling too much,and not being able to think very clearly. For this I use methods that approach the problem from the feeling level first, as straight "talk" therapy doesn't always reach this illogical, feelings driven part of our system. EMDR, EFT, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy are therapies that can effectively bypass our alarm system, and allow our deeper emotions to be processed and healed, so ultimately, we are no longer so reactive.
You may have tried therapy. And it likely was helpful.... but the feelings
may still be there, and still feel unpredictable. Despite your best efforts,
it may seem as if the problem will never go away.