A bad dream is known as a nightmare and has been likened to watching a scary movie while you sleep. A nightmare is a disturbing event or frightening fantasy that impacts our sleep and the way we approach the following day.
A nightmare leaves us feeling emotionally out of sorts and the effects can remain with us after we have woken up, leaving us with negative thoughts and feelings.
The themes of bad dreams differ from person to person, but the most frequent ones are running or falling or feeling lost or trapped. Nightmares can induce various feelings, including fright and anxiety. Everyone who has had a nightmare recognises this. However, children under the age of ten have far more nightmares.
What are nightmares?
Parasomnia is another name for nightmare disorder. Nightmare disorder is a type of sleep issue in which distressing feelings may appear while you sleep. REM sleep phases are when nightmares typically occur. However, it's still unclear how they are induced.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has specific DSM-5 criteria for nightmare disorder are as follows:
Recurrent bouts of lengthy, severely unpleasant and well-remembered dreams frequently entail efforts to avoid threats to survival or security or bodily integrity. The nightmares generally occur in the second half of a major sleep episode.
What causes nightmares in adults?
There are a variety of issues that can trigger nightmares.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Nightmares
Many people who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience the distressing symptom of nightmares as a result of their traumatic memory or memories. Often the nightmares are directly connected to past distressing events they have experienced.
Adults can have recurring nightmares on occasion. They might also be linked to other issues and diseases. For example, people who eat late at night sometimes suffer from nightmares that boost their metabolism and stimulate their bodies to become more active.
What are the health effects of nightmares in adults?
Nightmares have an impact on you and how you feel. For example, a person who dreams may be considerably more stressed than they would have been otherwise, and the experience might even have a worse influence.
Talk with your GP about nightmares
Although no one can honestly explain the relationship, traumatic nightmares are linked to suicide. Because nightmares might have a significant impact on your health if you have them daily. For that reason, it's critical that you talk with your GP about them.
Sleep deprivation caused by regular nightmares has several negative side effects, including difficulty functioning throughout the day.
How do nightmares present?
The typical duration of a nightmare is two minutes. Nightmares are generally short or long in duration. Nightmares can impact sleep patterns and quality. The episode is usually brief, but it causes you to wake up, and resuming sleep may be difficult. Nightmares are particularly distressing for children and their families.
Frequent nightmares are sometimes seen more in people who have a family member with a history of nightmares sleep parasomnias. Adult nightmares are common, but it's not clear whether lack of sleep causes them or if they're a consequence of having them. While it's conceivable, nightmare disorder hasn't been verified as a by-product.
What do nightmares mean in psychology?
Psychology Today states a bad dream, on the other hand, can be a terrifying nightmare—a frightening collection of scenes that generate a little emotional reaction from the dreamer.
However, a nightmare might induce feelings of dread, terror, and anxiety; prompting the person to wake up and elicit distressing emotional reactions such as sleeplessness or other sleep problems or even daytime worry.
What causes nightmares?
Nightmares are usually the result of a variety of things. Sleep disorders that disrupt an individual's circadian rhythm, such as jet lag, can trigger nightmares. Sleep apnoea has also been linked to recurrent nightmares People who use drugs or other stimulants to increase their energy levels might also experience night terrors.
The link between nightmares and depression
Many people develop nightmares because of depression or other sleep issues, although some people grow out of them by the age of 20. Stress is another possible cause of nightmares in adults. A person can have a nightmare after eating a large meal before going to bed.
A person may also experience nightmares after experiencing something unpleasant in their daily lives. According to research, it has been found that people who have been through accidents or catastrophic events are more likely to suffer from night terrors than those who have not. In addition, nightmares are more common in women than men.
Does medication cause nightmares?
Medications and other drug use can also be linked to the emergence of frightening dreams. Non-psychological nightmare drugs include high-dose blood-pressure medicines. If you cease taking any medication or begin taking a tranquilliser, you could have unpleasant dreams as a result.
People who take certain medications may also experience nightmares when they go to sleep. These medicines include diuretics (water pills) and tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline (elavil), desipramine (norpramin), doxepin (sinequan), and nortriptyline (aventyl and pamelor).
Taking these medications can cause mild depression or excessive drowsiness. They may also have other unpleasant effects on the individual taking them.
In addition to seeing your doctor, if you experience night terrors, talk with your friends and family. Everyone close to you should know about it because nightmares can affect the dynamics of your social group. Speaking up about your nightmares is the first step to getting the support you need to treat them.
Treatments for nightmares in adults
Thankfully, your doctor may be able to reduce or even eliminate your nightmares. If a drug causes a nightmare, you can take a lower dose to prevent it. The treatment of insomnia, linked with sleep disorders, may help relieve the symptoms. Treatment such as talk therapy can be beneficial because it encourages the sufferer to talk about the parts of the nightmare that make them feel scared and the areas of their daily life where they experience stress or even traumatic stress. Do not worry if your night terrors are unrelated to medicine or disease, as this is the case with 70% of people who suffer from a sleep disorder such as nightmares.
How can eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) treat nightmares?
EMDR treatment is a phased and focused way to treat trauma in a safe and measured manner by reconnecting an emotionally affected person to images of trauma. It is a natural and effective treatment that focuses on psychological trauma. Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy was initially used to treat the effects of war, rape, assault and accidents. However, it has since been found that people who have experienced extreme shock or stress can also benefit from EMDR.
Standard benefits of EMDR therapy are:
Emotional benefits of EMDR are:
EMDR is a non-invasive treatment option for nightmares
One of the best things about EMDR therapy is that it's natural and non-invasive. The fact that you can use this method of treatment without compromising other treatments or medications, means it's very safe, especially for seniors, children, and those who may be on other drugs. This paves the way for a comfortable treatment that will hopefully lead you to a more pleasant life experience.
EMDR is proven effective for treating nightmares
EMDR treatment has been proven effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of PTSD symptoms, including nightmares because it can help your brain process your traumatic memories efficiently and effectively.
Does cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) help with nightmares
One of the most common methods therapists use to deal with nightmares is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of psychotherapy that allows a person to think and behave differently. The goal of this method of treatment is to help you understand why you're having nightmares, so you can change them from being frightening or stressful.
A disadvantage of using CBT for nightmares is that the patient needs to understand why they are having a nightmare in the first place, which can be challenging to work through. For this reason, CBT is not recommended for children.
EMDR treatment in Geelong West
At Create Balance Psychotherapy and Counselling, our practitioners use EMDR to treat a range of psychological health concerns, including sleep disturbances and nightmares.
Clients can feel reassured that their EMDR therapy will not affect any other treatments or medications they are receiving. EMDR is an innovative therapy that is safe, non invasive and risk free. Feel free to click on this link to learn more about EMDR at Create Balance. To make a booking please call us on 0434 415 575 or (03) 5222 1553 or use our online booking form.
Shannon Bowman is director of Create Balance Psychotherapy and Counselling is leading neuro- auricular methods for EMDR at his practice in Geelong. He has partnered with the Canadian Institute of Auricular Medicine (CIAM) to enhance the dynamic and highly effective treatment for mental health conditions. Shannon's passion is finding solutions to mental health issues through novel, innovative and complementary and alternative medicine.
But is it really the season to be jolly?
Christmas is meant to be a happy time, with parties to attend, family and friends to socialise with and gifts to give and receive. It’s a time when families and friends gather together to wish each other well and spend time celebrating the passing of another year.
But it’s not like that in real life for everyone, especially since Covid landed on our shores and restrictions on gatherings have been in place. Issues such as financial strain, family conflict ... where there are uncomfortable feelings present, and the lonely feelings associated with a sense of isolation, are common for many Australians at this time of year. For many, there is little to celebrate during the festive season, especially for those who have lost a loved one and this can lead to what's known as seasonal loneliness or the holiday blues.
A record number of calls to support services is forecast this year, with Lifeline Australia anticipating an increase in calls of 40 per cent. This reflects the kind of stressors, and the sense of loneliness during the holidays, that is so pervasive at this time of years.
Tips to keep you merry and bright if you’re doing Christmas solo
If you’re spending Christmas alone this year, there are things you can do to stave off those lonesome feelings and get through this festive time.
Make your own Christmas party
First of all, ask yourself this question: do I really need to spend Christmas alone? Chances are you know of others who are spending Christmas alone, so why not invite them to hang out with you for a bit, even if it’s just for a drink and some nibbles. They might be work colleagues, neighbours or someone in your community or friendship group. Get together and have your own special Christmas party. Check out some tips for organising your own “Friendmas” on the ReachOut website. Another way to have a festive party, if distance is an issue, is to organise a Zoom get together. I once participated in a Zoom Trivia Night that involved 20 guests and it was so much fun.
First things first ... sink into a relaxing bath
Start your day the way you plan to end it, with a sense of calm and relaxation. Take a hot bubble bath and listen to meditative music. Light a scented candle then sink into that warm, sudsy tub. Starting the day off feeling relaxed and refreshed will set you up for a day of filled with self-love and self-care.
The gift of self-love
Give yourself a present on Christmas Day. Choose something you really love or want, wrap it up and put it under the Christmas tree (or somewhere you can look at it with anticipation and excitement). If money is tight, buy yourself something small but meaningful or go to the $2 shop and buy a bunch of small, useful items you can open on Christmas morning. Giving to yourself in this way will really cheer you up and keep your spirits high before, during and after the big day.
Plan a fun day just for you
One of the upsides of spending time alone is that you can do exactly what you want without having to consider others’ likes and dislikes. How can that not be a good thing? Organise some fun activities just for you. Choose a couple of new movies, or a series to watch, or rewatch old favourites. There’s no end to the amount of times I can watch The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
Let the feasting begin
Plan a delicious menu for lunch and dinner. You can make a single portion lunch or dinner but if you cook for more than one, there’s the added benefit of having leftovers to live on over the next couple of days. Cook yourself a sumptuous lunch and set the table with candles and Christmas decor. Just because you’re spending Christmas alone does not mean you have to go without the feasting. Mind you, don’t over do it and leave yourself feeling like a slug for the rest of the day. Better still, factor in some exercise in the afternoon. A brisk walk will get your blood pumping and make you feel great.
It’s hobby time
This is a great time of year to indulge yourself in a new hobby, such as an art or craft you love. Or maybe you’ve been wanting to paint the laundry for years … now you have time to do that small but worthwhile project. You can use up many hours doing a puzzle or craft activity or reading that new book you just gifted to yourself. The great thing about hobbies is you can induce a meditative state while creating something and see an end result for all your efforts at the end.
Give to others
Helping others in need is a great way to take the focus off yourself and there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at this time of year. If you can’t find anything that suits you, you can always buy The Big Issue from a Big Issue sales rep on the street and give them a tip while you’re at it. Or you can deliver pet food to a person with a dog who lives on the street in your city or town. Small acts of kindness and giving help us feel good about ourselves and make us grateful for what we have.
This leads to the most important aspect we should focus on when we’re feeling a sense of holiday loneliness … and that is to practice gratitude. Mental health professionals with tell you that a person cannot experience depression when they feel gratitude. And there are many studies that prove this. So make a beautiful list of all the things you have in your life and all the aspects you're so grateful for. Put your pretty list on the fridge so you’re reminded everyday of all the wonderful things you have in your life and make this a time to celebrate them.
There are high expectations at Christmas but that doesn't mean you should get caught up in them because all they will do is make you feel more lonely during the holidays. Instead, this can be a time to focus on your own mental wellbeing. The key to getting through this time without feeling isolated is to take special care of yourself by tailoring the day to suit your needs and likes and making it as enjoyable as possible. This will take little bit of planning to ensure your mood stays buoyant. They say that Christmas is a time of giving. What better way to practice this sentiment than to give to yourself, especially if you're on your own. Yes, it's a time to feel connected, but feeling connected to yourself is a worthwhile pursuit and one we don't often get to practice. Now is your chance to enjoy spending time with yourself without experiencing feelings of loneliness. Merry Christmas to you!
Further support should you need it
If you've given it your best shot but you still can't shake those holiday blues, there is extra support you can draw on over the festive season. If this is the case, there is no shame in reaching out to to talk to another human being who will help you combat loneliness and isolation at this time. You might like to try one of the following services:
In the consumer mental health space, we are seeing a shift in the way clients are treated. Gone are the days where it's solely pharmacology or talking therapy.
The use of biofeedback, neurofeedback, photobiomodulation and virtual reality is growing because of the clinically measurable results and improvements in treatment benefits and outcomes where these technologies are used.
How technological breakthroughs are changing the future of mental health treatment.
This blog post will discuss some of these new treatments and how they can help you improve your mental wellbeing.
What can I expect from neurofeedback treatment?
Neurofeedback (NFB) and biofeedback (BFB) are two modern techniques for non-invasively influencing human physiological activity in combination with practical cognitive, emotional, and behavioural functions.
The first appointment of neurofeedback
The first neurofeedback therapy treatment (also known as mapping) takes 20 weeks. Every session is conducted using a computer EEG machine placed on the scalp. The EEG machine analyses the brain signal for information on a variety of wave spectrums. This software provides feedback to your brain and nervous systems via a video game.
Improve mental health with technology.
These programs show your brain activity, which aids in regulating the brainwave frequencies and helps to improve your symptoms. Brain frequencies influence states of arousal. If someone has a lot of 8-11 Hz (alpha waves) in the right hemisphere, they are most likely to feel calm. They are more likely to feel alert if they generate 15-18 Hz (beta) amplitudes in the left hemisphere.
Brain-focused treatment that sets us apart
Neurofeedback is being used in a wide range of settings and may treat various conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Clinical applications for neurofeedback are effective treatments for conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, headaches/migraines, insomnia, stress, and tinnitus. Neurofeedback has proven to be an effective treatment for pain management.
How does neurofeedback therapy work?
Neurofeedback is a type of brain training that determines whether neurophysiological processes may help us live better lives. This approach has been accomplished using computer-based learning sessions that teach our central nervous systems to avoid neurodegeneration, which is the process of aging.
Neurofeedback assesses how well you manage your brain in order to enhance physical and psychological health. Neurofeedback provides the immediate client information on their brain's electrical activity from various sites in the brain.
After receiving this data, the mind is forced to modify the brain waves it generates. The client is quick to improve the brain waves.
These modifications result in an improved brain wave condition. Following this shift in brain waves, there was a behavioural change and enhanced emotional self-control.
Tech therapy for psychological health issues
Anxiety is generally associated with racing thoughts, feeling "on edge," and sleep disturbances.
This may be caused by an overabundance of fast-moving beta waves coupled with a deficit of alpha waves, typically associated with calm and concentration. Neurofeedback can aid in producing more beneficial brain wave activity and the reduction of fast-moving beta waves.
Neurofeedback may help with many issues because it corrects abnormalities in brainwave activity and returns it to optimal functioning.
What is biofeedback?
Biofeedback aims to teach people how to detect physical indications and symptoms of anxiety, such as a racing heart or hot skin, using visual or auditory feedback.
People who learn how to use biofeedback to manage both the physical and psychological effects of their condition may be able to relax their minds and bodies, as well as better cope with their symptoms.
The objective of biofeedback is to create subtle changes in the body that produce the desired result. by reducing:
This data is presented and supported by changes in thinking, emotions, and actions, which aid in the desired physiological adjustments.
These modifications may endure without the use of an instrument over time.
Every psychological treatment is based on the idea that mental illness is caused by something in the brain.
This data is presented and supported by changes in thinking, emotions, and actions, which aid in the desired physiological adjustments.
These modifications may endure without the use of an instrument over time. For example, EEG biofeedback has been shown to decrease symptoms in patients with PTSD or OCD who are not responsive to medication or talk therapy alone.
The benefits of this treatment are measurable and long-lasting - it's a scientifically proven way to treat mental illness.
Photobiomodulation for mental wellbeing
Photobiomodulation uses light to change mental states. It effectively treats conditions such as depression, anxiety, and addiction.
How photobiomodulation works is still being studied, but it is thought that light stimulates cells in the brain and enhances cellular function. This therapy will be discussed along with some of its therapeutic uses for conditions such as depression, anxiety, addiction, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Photobiomodulation and laser therapy for mental disorders
The photobiomodulation laser therapy technique works by directing infrared and near-infrared light at targeted regions of the body, which then stimulates, protects, repairs, and energises the body on a cellular level.
Systemic photobiomodulation laser therapy
A wrist laser is used in a systemic laser therapy treatment. The near-infrared light passes through your skin and targets circulation. It's a delicate process since all you have to do is sit back and relax for a few moments. Many individuals report feeling lighter and happier following a systemically administered treatment.
Transcranial photobiomodulation laser therapy
A transcranial laser therapy session is similar to a scalp massage, except that the laser is applied gently to your head. The infrared and near-infrared light penetrates the skin and skull of the head, targeting specific regions of brain tissue. After only 1-2 treatments, many individuals report an improvement in their psychological health.
Auricular acupuncture laser therapy
Auricular acupuncture is a type of acupuncture that focuses on the ear's acupuncture points. These spots are said to be linked to various body and brain sections as well as specific psychological conditions associated with trauma. The infrared and near-infrared lights enable the healing process for the impacted issues when targeted with a laser. Many individuals notice an improvement in their symptoms after 3-4 sessions.
Virtual reality (VR) mental health treatment
Virtual reality is a mental health treatment that uses immersive, computer-generated simulations to produce the desired psychological state. This treatment is often used to treat anxiety, addiction and PTSD.
Virtual reality therapy can be done in groups or individually, depending on the therapist's preference and the patient's needs. The use of virtual reality treatment is still being studied, and it has yet to be approved by the FDA as a mental health therapy.
However, many therapists currently use it with good results. Virtual reality therapy, and its therapeutic uses for mental health issues such as anxiety, addiction and PTSD, will be discussed further.
Virtual reality treatment for anxiety and PTSD
Virtual reality treatments allow the patient to interact safely while facing their fears or addictions (i.e., smoking cessation). VR treatment can help reprocess traumatic memories, practice new behaviours and skills in a safe environment, and manage emotions.
Virtual reality is showing great results in helping war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Therapists around the world are starting to see the benefits of including VR in the changing landscape of mental health treatment.
Virtual reality treatment is an innovative way to provide care for those experiencing psychological problems. VR treatments are being used more and more with good results.
The benefits of VR for PTSD treatment:
Innovation will be the leader in the mental health crisis
These innovative treatment technologies are being used to address mental health issues more holistically. Using these treatment technologies in conjunction with one another allows for mental disorders to be addressed at a deeper level and for people to recover from mental disorders much quicker.
Neurofeedback is a relatively new and innovative way to provide mental health care. It’s been used in the treatment of patients suffering from DHD, TBI, depression and anxiety and many other mental health issues. If you're looking for an effective alternative therapy that can help with your condition or if you know someone who may benefit from neurofeedback, then this blog post should be helpful. Subscribe to our blog to learn more about photobiomodulation treatments as well as virtual reality applications for mental health care.
Shannon Bowman is the Director of SJB Clinical Consulting Pty Ltd and Create Balance Psychotherapy & Counselling VIEW HERE.
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is an innovative and effective treatment for many mental health conditions and chronic physical pain conditions. EMDR is non-invasive, drugfree, risk free and has on side effects.
What you need to know about EMDR therapy
EMDR therapy has proven successful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by processing traumatic memories without the need to revisit and talk at length about their traumatic experience/s. The process of EMDR therapy is slow and methodical, where the therapist helps retrain the brain's responses related to the traumatic event.
EMDR therapy can also help with other mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, panic attacks and even addiction. Traditional therapies for mental health issues focus on teaching coping skills or talk therapy but EMDR therapy focuses on rewiring the brain through a series of bilateral stimulation that includes eye movements, hand taps or tones.
It uses an eight-phase treatment protocol that includes phases for preparation, history taking and assessment; education about post traumatic stress disorder; imaginal exposure; body scan; grounding/reality orientation; installation of adaptive information (self-help skills); and closure.
Organisations, such as the American Psychiatric Association, the Department of Defence and the World Health Organisation have conducted numerous studies into EMDR therapy and it is accepted as one of the most effective trauma-focused treatments for treating trauma and other distressing events.
EMDR therapy: adaptive information processing (AIP) model
EMDR therapy is based on the adaptive information processing (AIP) framework. When the original feelings, bodily sensations, and beliefs are kept, high levels of arousal can be an effect of disturbing life experiences and their memory.
A flashback, nightmare, or intrusive thought can be re-experienced in a setting that activates the memory. A wide range of adverse events have also contributed to varied symptomology, including the negative affective cognitive and somatic reactions.
The capacity to treat unprocessed memories has a wide range of applications in medicine since they are frequently associated with numerous health issues.
The goal of EMDR therapy
The goal of EMDR therapy is to assist the client to overcome the effects of a traumatic event or past traumatic experiences. This involves a set of standardised procedures that incorporates elements from a variety of treatment techniques and has helped millions of people from all walks of life overcome psychological trauma.
During EMDR therapy, the client focuses on what is distressing them while they receive bilateral stimulation or input that has nothing to do with those memories. For example, if someone was sexually abused as a child, they might be asked to tap their fingers in time to a specific rhythm while thinking about these traumatic memories.
The bilateral stimulation acts to help the brain to integrate these memories.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
When post traumatic stress disorder is triggered, it can be debilitating to everyday life for many people. Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms are often very distressing and difficult to overcome, but treatment options, such as EMDR can help to alleviate some of these symptoms in the short term.
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing as a treatment for post traumatic stress disorder
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing was developed by Francine Shapiro to treat traumatic memories and experiences. This multisensory input from EMDR therapy helps the brain reprocess distressing memories so they lose their emotional impact and can be integrated into the person's life without causing them the distress commonly associated with post traumatic stress disorder.
The traumatic symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder include flashbacks, nightmares, exaggerated startle reflex, hypervigilant and a range of other physical sensations.
When a person suffering from post traumatic stress disorder undergoes a successful course of EMDR treatment, they should be able to recover from these unpleasant and often debilitating symptoms enabling them to:
EMDR therapy relieves affective distress, reformulates negative beliefs, and reduces physiological arousal.
This takes place as the client engages in brief sequential doses of emotionally troubling material while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus during EMDR therapy.
Who can benefit from EMDR therapy?
During EMDR therapy sessions, clients are greeted by a highly trained and knowledgeable practitioner. The sessions are always designed to meet the needs of each individual client. EMDR is comprehensive and includes an eight-phase treatment approach with a treatment focus on past, present and future experiences. The therapist is there to help create a safe, comfortable, and relaxed environment where clients can express themselves freely throughout their treatment.
EMDR therapy is more than just trauma treatment
EMDR therapy is generally known as an effective treatment for post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, trauma and other mental health conditions, but it has also been used effectively in the treatment of other conditions, including addiction. Using EMDR therapy for addictions can help overcome cravings and desires to use illicit substances or engage in certain addictive behaviours.
It can also help people who are trying to recover from drug overdoses or withdrawal symptoms caused by detoxing.
If you would like to learn more about eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing treatment for post traumatic stress disorder, or another mental health condition visit HERE
To book your appointment for EMDR therapy
or call us on 0434 415 575 or click the button below.
Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and unease that causes physical changes in the human body, which impact the central nervous system. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the United States, with 40 million adults experiencing an anxiety disorder each year.
Signs and symptoms of anxiety
Anxiety can cause chronic stress and comes from many diverse sources, such as work stress or traumatic life events. Anxiety often leads to physical symptoms such as headaches, tightness in the upper chest, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, muscle tension and sleep problems. Therefore, it is important to recognise and decrease anxiety to avoid these, often debilitating, symptoms.
Anxiety causes your brain to be hyperactive
Anxiety is a stress response that triggers your brain to be on high alert and become hyperactive in response to potential dangers. When your brain and nervous system experience anxiety on a regular basis, your amygdala grows larger. The amygdala is a tiny almond-shaped structure located in the limbic system, the part of your brain that manages emotions and moods. The amygdala is the brain's lookout, always on the lookout for threats. When the amygdala detects a potential hazard, it sends signals to the hypothalamus, which activates a fight-or-flight response. In an anxious mind, this triggers a person to have anxious thoughts and 'feel anxious'.
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
GAD is characterised by excessive anxiety for no discernible reason. GAD, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), affects approximately 6.8 million Americans each year.When you have a moderate case, you should be able to go about your regular daily routines without difficulty. Severe cases of GAD will have a significant impact on a person's life.
Social anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder is an intense, chronic dread of social situations and being judged or humiliated by others. This severe social phobia makes one feel embarrassed and alone. According to the ADAA, 15 million US adults suffer from a social anxiety disorder. The typical age of onset is around 13 years old. More than a third of persons with a social anxiety disorder have experienced their symptoms for over 10 years.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
After witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event, a person can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Symptoms might appear immediately or take years to appear. War, natural catastrophes, and physical assaults are some of the most common causes. PTSD episodes can be triggered without notice.
A person with OCD may feel a strong urge to repeat particular behaviours (compulsions) excessively or have intrusive and unwanted thoughts or obsessions that cause distress. Common compulsions include excessive hand-washing, counting and checking something, fear of contamination, hostile urges, and a need for symmetry.
Some examples of phobias include a fear of the dark, skin irritation from bright light, fear of being alone, fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of spiders or snakes and fear of needles is another example. A person with a phobia will have a strong urge to avoid the feared thing or situation or feel an intense feeling of discomfort when confronted with it.
A person with a panic disorder may experience a panic attack, which is an extreme stress response that causes a sense of impending doom such as a fear of dying or loss of control, especially if it is linked to a specific event or situation. The physical symptoms associated with panic disorder can include heart palpitations and chest tightness, sweating or chills, shortness of breath and trembling. These episodes can strike at any moment. Panic disorder is sometimes accompanied by another type of anxiety disorder called agoraphobia, which is an extreme or irrational fear of leaving one's home, entering open or crowded places or being somewhere that is difficult to escape from.
Sympathetic nervous system and autonomic nervous system
The significant players in anxiety disorders include norepinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid in the central nervous system. The autonomic nervous system indirectly controls the sympathetic nervous system for autonomic failure. As stated above, anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and unease. However, anxiety can be helpful for some people who experience these feelings as a response to an impending challenge, such as before taking a test or exam, going to a job interview or on a first date. Anxiety can also signal that something dangerous might happen and encourage the person to take precautions, such prepare for extreme weather even or ensuring safety.
Anxiety becomes problematic when it lasts too long, is too intense, or includes physical symptoms besides fear.
The effects of anxiety on the body's immune system
Anxiety can stimulate your flight-or-fight response, which releases a surge of chemicals and hormones, such as adrenaline, into your system. This raises your heart rate and breathing rate in the short term so that your brain can get more oxygen and prepares you for a critical situation. Your immune system may even be temporarily strengthened as a result of stress. However, if you are constantly anxious and stressed, your body never receives the message to return to normal functioning. This can impair your immunological system, making you more susceptible to viral infections and acute illnesses. Furthermore, if you have anxiety, your usual vaccines may not be as effective.
Central nervous system anxiety
Anxiety results from an imbalance between the sympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for mobilising the body in response to stress or threat) and the parasympathetic nervous system (which is responsible for calming the body). Some of the major ways in which anxiety can affect your physical health are through its effects on digestion, the immune system, the heart, hormone levels and blood pressure (Yaribeygi, Panahi, Sahraei, Johnston & Sahebkar, 2017). Symptom severity changes when stress levels become excessive and anxiety levels increase, it may help you cope less efficiently. Panic attacks show signs of intense anxiety. Brain maps display high beta brain waves on the right brain lobe. Anxiety causes overwhelming hyperactivity, and it is harder to reason.
Ways to calm your central nervous system anxiety
Research shows there are many ways to calm your central nervous system and elicit a relaxation response to improve your mental well being and control your anxiety. These include stress management techniques you can incorporate into your daily life and include:
Anxiety is a normal human emotion
The good news is that it's important to remember that anxiety is a normal human emotion that we all experience from time to time and in one form or another. External and internal factors can cause anxiety but, moving forward, it is important to remember that anxiety is not always bad for your health. Anxiety is often an indicator of something more serious like life-threatening illnesses such as heart disease or cancer, so do not dismiss the feelings you are having if they persist over time.
This blog is for those interested in eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, who wish to use cutting edge methods to relax their bodies. Auricular techniques activate the same mechanisms, which help with associative memory recall, through EMDR and restoration of dual attention, bypassing any requirement for cognitive involvement (e.g., prefrontal cortex).
The most valuable tool required for this technique, and one that every client has easy access to, is their ears.
The client's brain maps their somatic and emotional experiences onto the ear.
EMDR practitioners can read the client’s ear and gain access to their somatic and emotional experiences.
Auricular therapy gives the therapist a 'window into the brain’
Auricular therapy gives the therapist a 'window into the brain' and provides a dynamic and up to date neurological map of specific brain areas including the client's sensory body experiences, the somatic unconscious, somatic memory networks and associated emotions.
Auriculotherapy creates a therapeutic alliance with the client. It has powerful effects on brain function, which facilitates retrieval of information normally inaccessible by other means.
Facilitating access to emotions: the neural signature of EMDR stimulation
Clinical evidence theorises that EMDR stimulation triggers the brain to produce an electrical signal. The observed mechanism is not fully understood, but it is hypothesised to be related to rapid eye movement (REM) sleep inconsistency.
This neural signature of EMDR stimulation was observed in both healthy and clinical populations.
Positive outcomes for auricular based PTSD treatment
Successful studies show that auricular acupressure treatment can reduce symptoms of mental disorders, particularly anxiety disorders. Mental health implications auricular acupressure treatment for This includes generalised anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
and social phobias.
Auricular acupressure treatment has also proved beneficial in the management of conditions like insomnia and depression. Auricular therapy for anxiety disorders includes the use of auricular acupressure treatment with an ear candle, single needle acupoint injection, auriculotherapy with ear drops, auriculotherapy with electrotherapy, or auricular acupuncture.
The use of auricular therapy to treat anxiety disorders
Treating mental disorders, such as anxiety, with auricular therapy is very safe with no known side effects or contraindications. Since auricular therapy does not require any medications, this form of treatment is a great alternative treatment compared to medications or treatments that involve surgery.
Auriculotherapy can be practiced by trained therapists and auriculotherapists without the requirement of advanced medical licensing. Auriculotherapists and auricular acupuncturists can practice auricular therapy in states that do not require licensure to practice auriculotherapy.
Auricular therapy is a non-invasive treatment for anxiety disorders
Since auricular therapy is a non-invasive, well-tolerated treatment for anxiety disorders, the technique is an effective solution compared to conventional medical treatments such as chemical medications. This treatment is beneficial in providing symptom relief, without the side effects associated with benzodiazepines or other medications. Auricular Therapy is also a non-invasive and cost-effective treatment compared to other non-talk therapy-based interventions such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
Improve EMDR treatment with your ear
The ear is a microsystem scientifically validated for assessment and treatment via neuroauricular modulation [13-15], by acupressure, acupuncture, electro-stimulation, laser, and transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation or tVNS [12-15].
Over 30,000 medical doctors worldwide use neuro auricular modulation, and that number is fast growing. Auriculotherapy, also known as ear acupuncture, is a common treatment in Germany, where it is part of the national health care system.
This technique of somatic therapy emphasises the importance of re-establishing energetic flow/regulation/dual attention when blocked.
Auricular treatments are drawn from auricular medicine, a medicine developed in France by the physician Paul Nogier and advanced in Europe by the research of Dr Frank Bahr, MD, and colleagues.
Effectiveness of neuromodulation techniques
The effectiveness of neuromodulation techniques performed through the outer ear have been scientifically proven. This is because of the capacity to identify therapeutic specificity of auricular points, as linked to the somatotopic representation of the body and its ailments, as well as the ability to stimulate these points to influence specific aspects of the central nervous system.
From a health care professional’s perspective
The use of ear-based auricular stimulation in mental health services, including the US Department of Veterans Affairs, for the treatment of pain, addiction, and trauma, is most evident in the validation of neuromodulation via the ear through therapeutic electrical transduction devices. These special applications are particularly relevant to psychology because scientists recognise that everything is energy. The use of ear-based auricular treatment provides direct feedback on what is keeping traumatic stress-related symptoms stuck.
Using auricular acupuncture treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder
PTSD symptoms can impact a person's life in a dramatic way. A research study found that acupuncture can help treat PTSD. Auricula acupuncture, combined with usual treatment methods, was found to reduce PTSD symptoms. The use of auricular acupuncture in conjunction with eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing treatment can also be an effective way to decrease PTSD symptoms and improve general psychological status.
Acupuncture for PTSD
There are a multitude of auricular acupuncture points that specifically focus on different areas of the brain. For instance, there is a point located at the base of the ear, where the ear lobe attaches to the side of the head that is labelled the limbic point.
Improving mental health
There are techniques that therapists can use in the treatment of mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Auricular acupuncture, also known as Auriculotherapy stimulates specific points on the ear that help relieve symptoms associated with each mental disorder. Auriculotherapy is a safe, drug-free, and painless form of treatment with no side effects. Auriculotherapy provides the most dependable, clinically effective methods for treating various mental health disorders.
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing EMDR Geelong West
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing is a one-of-a-kind therapy that is particularly successful in the treatment of trauma. It can, however, help with other mental health problems including:
How does eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing work?
The goal of eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing is to assist people with post-traumatic stress disorder by helping them re-experience past events without the associated emotional or physical distress. In these cases, the use of EMDR improves their mental health dramatically.
As the person focuses on a traumatic event, EMDR bypasses the trauma memory's stored neural circuit by activating an alternative circuit through lateral eye movements. This activation of new neural circuits interrupts the out-of-control nerve impulses that maintain anxious or fearful thoughts.
Auricular techniques, as adjunctive therapy for EMDR, are used to activate the same mechanisms, shown to help with associative memory recall, through EMDR and restoration of dual attention, bypassing any requirement for cognitive (e.g., prefrontal cortex) involvement.
Shannon Bowman is director of Create Balance Psychotherapy and Counselling and leads neuro-auricular methods for EMDR at his practice in Geelong West.
He has partnered with the Canadian Institute of Auricular Medicine (CIAM) to enhance this dynamic and highly effective treatment for mental health conditions. Shannon's passion is finding solutions to mental health problems through novel, innovative, complementary, and alternative medicine.
Shannon Bowman is the Director of SJB Clinical Consulting Pty Ltd,
Do you suffer from anxiety?
Do you experience chronic and debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
If so, then infrared laser treatment may be able to help. Infrared light therapy is a non-invasive procedure that has been proven to reduce the effects of PTSD and anxiety when used for appropriate lengths of time. This blog gives an overview of infrared laser treatments--what they are, how they work, where they're available, and more.
Read on for more information about this promising new technology
Mitochondria were reactivated by infrared light, which subsequently triggered second messengers, DNA transcription and growth factors. The end result was the formation of new synaptites and the regeneration of existing pathways as well as the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into neurons.
Intramural photobiomodulation, or infrared light source treatments, may offer significant improvements in mental health to people with mental health conditions.
Photobiomodulation: encouraging results for mental health conditions
When compared to traditional therapies, such as medicine or psychotherapy alone, the beneficial effects of photobiomodulation have been encouraging. It also promotes neurogenesis, which can reduce long-term brain damage caused by inflammation.
Laser therapy: an alternative mental health treatment
It is a myth that mental health is not real. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, mental health conditions are the leading cause of employee absenteeism. Mental ill-health affects one in four people, yet the topic is taboo for a considerable number of Australians, with shame and stigma preventing those who need help from seeking it.
People with mental health conditions often do not receive adequate treatment because they are unaware of laser therapy as an alternative modality or do not have access to care due to lack of insurance coverage or cost-prohibitive treatments.
This could eventually change once more mental health providers start using innovative therapies as viable options for treating mental health conditions.
Targeting brain metabolism
Studies have shown hypometabolism in specific areas of the brain, especially those involved with regulation and emotional processing. In patients with major depressive disorder, positron emission tomography scans show disrupted glucose metabolism in several regions of the brain. Near infrared reflectance photons absorb cytochrome c oxidase in the mitochondrial respiratory chain.
This mitochondrial stimulation does not only increase the production of ATP but actively activates a signalling pathway through a brief burst of ROS. This signalling activates antioxidant defences reducing total oxidative pressure. Consequently, inflammation can reduce to levels of proinflammatory cytokine and neuroinflammation. The brain derived neurotrophic factor is upregulated.
Chronic stress can damage the dentate gyrus dg, which is responsible for learning and memory. The stress-induced inhibition of neural development in the dg is the brain's primary neurochemical axis of depression or stress. Major depressive patients tend to have significant hippocampal atrophy. In animal models, photobiomodulation protected mitochondrial membrane potential.
Brain derived neurotrophic factor
Near infrared reflectance also promotes neurite outgrowth through nerve growth factor, which may have positive implications for nerve protection. Near infrared reflectance (810nm) was beneficial in the animal model of traumatic brain injury. It appears that by enhancing neurogenesis and synaptogenesis in the brain, neurogenesis and synaptic synthesis is also improved.
Mild traumatic brain injury
There is preliminary evidence suggesting the effectiveness of low-level laser therapy, shining light for treating major depressive disorder with comorbid anxiety problems, suicidal ideation, and traumatic brain injury. Based on the data so far, PBM appears to be a viable treatment for depression that is both safe and well-tolerated.
Low-level laser therapy
Laser therapy uses red and near-infrared light to stimulate the mitochondria in cells, which triggers cellular activity that can promote mental health benefits such as improved mood or reduced pain levels.
The effects of laser therapy are similar to those found when someone exercises their muscles - but because mental health conditions are invisible, it is not always easy for mental health sufferers to get out and exercise or socialise.
Near-infrared light, photobiomodulation, phototherapy, LED therapy, LED light therapy, infrared therapy, low-level laser therapy, or low-level light therapy.
Near-infrared light improves bodily functions
Laser therapy is a type of light treatment that affects the whole body and works on many levels.
The cell's primary energy source is adenosine triphosphate atp. The maturation of the mitochondrial membrane potential occurs through retrograde mitochondrial signaling, which reactive oxygen species control. This reaction requires water, opsins, chromophores, and cytochrome c oxidase.
Mental health conditions and the central nervous system
In addition, mental health conditions can have a significant impact on the central nervous system due to changes in neurotransmitters. These are chemicals that help send signals from one nerve cell to another so it is important for mental health providers to understand how near-infrared light, photobiomodulation works with mental illness so they can work together to provide mental health sufferers with the best treatment results.
Can photobiomodulation help anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental health disorder that can be hard to treat. The mental health industry has been slow to adopt new treatments, but this could change soon if more mental health providers start using photobiomodulation as a viable option for treating mental health conditions.
Health providers have used laser therapy since the 1960s to treat physical conditions such as pain. It is only recently that mental health practitioners have begun using laser therapy to treat mental health conditions.
Treating mental health conditions with laser therapy
Post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury are the most common mental health conditions that mental health providers treat using laser therapy.
Laser therapy can improve sleep
Laser therapy can help reduce pain, increase energy levels, improve sleep patterns, and boost memory function so people suffering from mental illness feel better able to cope. Researchers continue to explore the evidence of laser therapy in treating mental health conditions. Mental health professionals and those with mental health issues are becoming more aware of PBM and its beneficial effects.
Non-invasive mental health treatment
Laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment option with few side effects, meaning there are no risks associated with laser treatments. This form of alternative medicine is one of the safest treatment options available. Most people who access treatment with laser therapy notice beneficial effects on their mental health.
Auricular acupuncture laser therapy
Laser auricular acupuncture is a type of acupuncture that stimulates ear acupuncture sites. Specific bodily and psychological systems, as well as various mental health disorders such as trauma, are said to be linked to these sites.
The infrared and near-infrared light used in laser therapy stimulates the healing process for any associated problems. A considerable number of individuals notice an improvement in mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Laser therapy is a non-invasive procedure that is painless with no downtime required for recuperation. This means most mental health sufferers can receive laser therapy easily and conveniently during their daily routines or at work.
Research into the benefits of laser therapy/photobiomodulation
According to new research, low-level laser light therapy photobiomodulation may help with a variety of mental health conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, addiction, sleep problems/nightmares, neurodevelopmental disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (Cassano et al., 2015).
Learn more by watching a YouTube clip with Shannon: HERE
Laser therapy is a revolutionary therapy that uses light to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. Laser therapy uses red and near-infrared light to stimulate the mitochondria in cells, which trigger cellular activity that can promote mental health benefits such as improved mood or reduced pain levels.
At Create Balance Psychotherapy and Counselling we are leading the way in the use of laser therapy to support people with mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, all with impressive results. We believe light therapy will be a vital part of mental health treatment in the future.
Round, R., Litscher, G., & Bahr, F. (2013). Auricular acupuncture with laser. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine: eCAM, 2013, 984763. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/984763
Cassano, P., Petrie, S. R., Hamblin, M. R., Henderson, T. A., & Iosifescu, D. V. (2016). Review of transcranial photobiomodulation for major depressive disorder: targeting brain metabolism, inflammation, oxidative stress, and neurogenesis. Neurophotonics, 3(3), 031404. https://doi.org/10.1117/1.NPh.3.3.031404
Cassano P, Cusin C, Mischoulon D, Hamblin MR, De Taboada L, Pisoni A, Chang T, Yeung A, Ionescu DF, Petrie SR, Nierenberg AA, Fava M, Iosifescu DV. Near-Infrared Transcranial Radiation for Major Depressive Disorder: Proof of Concept Study. Psychiatry J. 2015; 2015:352979. doi: 10.1155/2015/352979. Epub 2015 Aug 19. PMID: 26356811; PMCID: PMC4556873.
Shannon Bowman is the Director of SJB Clinical Consulting Pty Ltd,
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD
ADHD, is a neurological condition that affects how your brain processes and pays attention to information. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is considered a developmental disorder.
People with ADHD have difficulty staying focused on specific tasks or activities, are easily distracted by other stimuli, and are often hyperactive.
Some people with ADHD may seem hung up on certain ideas or thoughts because they have difficulty shifting their focus and regulating emotions.
Adults with ADHD
Adults tend to struggle the most with: finishing tasks, staying on task (focused), remembering details, being attentive, and lack of drive or enthusiasm.
The reason for this is that adults are often distracted by other things. For example, it's easy for them to be tempted away from their tasks by social media or television.
Continue reading to learn what we believe is the best treatment combination for adults with ADHD.
Children with ADHD
Children with ADHD usually have similar symptoms as adults. Sadly, if left undiagnosed, they may be labelled as 'not interested in school' or 'the class clown'.
Education settings can pick up ADHD
More and more schools and teachers are aware of ADHD and often recognise children who may have this disorder.
Children with undiagnosed ADHD are frequently bullied in school because of their focus or attention problems, which then leads to low self-esteem and depression.
This is an important detail that we'll address in more depth later, but if you think you or someone close to you has ADHD, please seek a treatment evaluation. The correct treatment can be life changing for individuals and families.
You've heard of ADHD
Do you have a friend with ADHD?
We all know a person with ADHD. They might be our best friend, family member or co-worker. They may have been diagnosed at an early age or only recently in adulthood.
It's not always easy to figure out what treatment is best for someone with ADHD but there are many options available today that can offer relief and hope.
In this post we'll explore the different treatment options available and how each might work to help manage symptoms of ADHD. We'll also discuss some of the pros and cons associated with those treatments so you can make better decisions about your own life and future based on reliable information!
ADHD treatment option diagnosis
There are different treatments for ADHD in adults. You'll first need to get a diagnosis from a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist who assesses your symptoms against the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).
Treatment for ADHD mostly involves medication, education, skills training, support groups and counselling from a health professional. Sometimes a combination of these is the best treatment.
These treatment options can help manage many symptoms of ADHD. But they do not cure it. You may have to try a few things before you find what works best for you.
Talk with your doctor about whether you should take medications for ADHD. He or she will tell you about the benefits and risks of each medicine.
Some ADHD medication is addictive and can have side effects, which is why regular follow ups with your doctor are vital.
How does ADHD medication work?
ADHD medications help the neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals, work better in people with ADHD. Medicines called stimulants improve these brain chemicals. Stimulants are thought to function by boosting dopamine levels in the brain.
Dopamine the 'feel good' hormone & neurotransmitter
Dopamine also known as the 'feel good' hormone. It's an important part of your brain's reward system. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that promotes motivation, pleasure, attention, and movement. Stimulant medications enhance focus and concentration while reducing impulsive and hyperactive behaviours for many people with ADHD.
Sometimes people need stimulant medicines like methylphenidate or amphetamine, but other medicines may be prescribed too. The stimulants help balance chemicals in the brain which make a person feel better.
Long and short acting simulant medication
There is a variety of medication options including long acting options such a Lisdexamfetamine, sold under the brand name Vyvanse or Ritalin LA Methylphenidate hydrochloride which can help control ADHD symptoms throughout the day.
Some people also use non-stimulant medicine like Atomoxetine Hydrochloride, sold under the brand name Strattera to help with symptoms of inattention and impulsivity.
Are there side effects to ADHD medication?
Some people will experience side effects from stimulant ADHD medication, which is why your doctor will monitor how you respond to the medication and adjust the dose accordingly.
An holistic approach, which includes medication, talk therapy, peer mentoring, nutrition, exercise, and education on how to handle symptoms is better than relying on one strategy. An holistic approach also provides someone with ADHD with a wide range of important life skills.
Some people do better on a combination of psycho-stimulant medication, which is why you doctor may recommend this approach. Taking long acting medication and short acting medication for example.
Consult with you doctor regularly about you ADHD treatment
You doctor will carefully consider the pros and cons of combining these medications, including how these medicines might affect your health over time. However, it's important to understand that there is no one-size fits all treatment plan.
You and your doctor should discuss all the options and choose a treatment strategy that works for you.
There is no one medication that's been proven to be more effective than another. So if you've tried one medicine and it didn't work it's possible a different one might.
Treatment outcomes for ADHD
It is not simple to treat ADHD. Remember to keep your doctor updated on your progress so they can assist you in managing the problem effectively.
Your doctor may also recommend other treatments, such as behavioural therapy or a support group to help you improve your quality of life.
Alternatives to tradition ADHD treatment options
Adults who have not been successful in reducing their symptoms using traditional methods should consider an alternative strategy to manage their symptoms, such as diet, exercise, brain training neurofeedback, and occasionally supplements.
Research on treatment outcomes for ADHD
A systematic review of 351 studies were done on children with ADHD. Some of the outcomes measured were: an academic outcome, antisocial behaviour, driving outcomes, obesity rates, occupation outcome, services use outcome and self-esteem.
Long term treatment outcomes for those with a diagnosis of ADHD
The following was found: (1) without treatment people with ADHD had poorer long-term outcomes in all categories compared to people without ADHD
The researchers found: (2) that psychotherapy, combined with medication for ADHD (ADHD + therapy), resulted in improved long-term results when compared to untreated ADHD. However, these improvements did not cure the person of ADHD symptoms.
Adult ADHD counselling includes:
Cognitive behavioural therapy
This is a type of counselling that teaches you skills to help you manage your behaviour and change negative thinking patterns into positive ones. It can help you deal with life challenges, such as school, work or relationship problems, and it can also help address other mental health conditions such as depression or substance abuse.
Are you struggling to focus in your work or daily life?
It may seem daunting at first, but this course will provide you with insight into what your specific needs are as an individual who has been diagnosed with ADHD.
The course will teach you about different tools and strategies that are just right for improving your focus and attention span- all while managing other responsibilities such as taking care of kids or working full time.
Take action to succeed
This course will help you learn to manage symptoms, set goals, and make changes that will keep your focus where it belongs - on the things most important to you. If this sounds like something worth investing in then click on the link below and enrol today.
ADHD Symptoms and struggles
Inattention: Can be defined as the lack of attention to a task or action. This is often displayed in symptoms such as forgetting things, losing items, and not listening when spoken too directly. People who have this condition tend to make careless mistakes during work or other areas of life.
Hyperactive or Impulsivity: There are many symptoms that could lead to a hyperactive or impulsive person. Some of the common ones include:
It's scary, most people never know they have ADHD
ADHD support in an online format
Now it's your turn
By applying these techniques daily, you can transform your relationships, career, mental health and overall happiness...all while living a more fulfilling life than ever before.
The ADHD Ambition course is a powerful resource for anyone who needs help getting their priorities straight so they can stop procrastinating and start taking action toward their big goals.
Shannon Bowman is the Director of SJB Clinical Consulting Pty Ltd,
and Create Balance Psychotherapy & Counselling VIEW HERE.
Shannon has a clinical interest in treating trauma, PTSD and ADHD.
He has a lived experience of ADHD and is a passionate advocate for those affected by it.
He is accredited as an Mental Health Social Worker AMHSW,
psychotherapist and registered EMDR practitioner.
Australian Association of Social Workers
EMDR Association of Australia .
Psychology Today Profile
Towards the end of this period of unfortunate luck, Shannon decided to set time aside for self-care and go for a hike with friends in Gippsland. He was so looking forward to it. But the weather was wild and the track was steep. Shannon slipped and twisted his ankle and knee, requiring him to hobble 6km, including two deep river crossings, back to the car in the pouring rain.
Over the past few months, the bad luck began to lose its surprise. It was almost expected. But he continued on with his responsibilities - from running the business to supporting his family. So, how did he do this when every day was a struggle and there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel?
He prioritised self care. One of the methods he identified as a relief from his stress was by walking his dog around the neighbourhood for 40 minutes each day. The fresh air, the time alone and the exercise helped to calm his body and mind and to give him energy to face the next challenge.
Another strategy for dealing with his stress was by talking to his partner and a friend. By sharing his worries, he shared the weight of these concerns and relieved himself of the mental and emotional burden he was carrying. Talking to others helped him to process his experiences and gain new insights into his circumstances, his options, his plans and his goals. Talking to a friend was particularly helpful, as an objective third party. Shannon would not have hesitated to talk to a professional if he felt that he needed further support, as he knows all too well the life changing power of therapy.
Shannon is passionate about laser therapy - both for the relief of pain but also for the relief of mental health challenges. When injuring his ankle and knee, he immediately started treating himself with laser and noticed a rapid rate of recovery. His physical health was important to his mental health, as his injury was preventing him from engaging in the therapeutic walks that he needed daily. Shannon also utilised the laser therapy to support his overall mental health, by using a systemic treatment and some targeted auricular therapy.
If you are going through a hard time, know that it most likely won’t be forever. Simplify your life by limiting anything unnecessary and focussing on the things that lift your spirits and energy. If everything continues to overwhelm you, reach out for further support, from a friend or a professional. Perhaps even look into laser therapy to see how it could improve your current wellbeing.
There are many, many different therapies out there. Most therapeutic approaches can be broken into four categories.
(1) Behaviour therapy
Perhaps the most widely known therapy is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). It views mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, as the result of faulty thinking and cognitive distortions. By correcting those distortions and by adapting our behaviour, symptoms will decrease and our goals can be achieved.
CBT does not prioritise the client, but rather the issue, which CBT would see as faulty thinking. CBT is often seen as the gold standard of treatment for anxiety and depression. During treatment, the therapist will take a very active role in achieving short-term goals, as agreed upon with the client, to prevent relapse and overall symptom management. This is done through a process of psychoeducation, regular homework tasks and goal setting.
However, CBT is far less effective for treating issues relating to emotional regulation, attachment, trauma, addiction and relationship issues, where a more in-depth approach is needed. An approach that prioritises the client-therapist relationship to create deeper level change.
Psychodynamic Therapy & Psychoanalysis
This therapeutic approach comes from the work of Sigmund Freud and other psychoanalysts. It is rooted in the unconscious and in understanding the past to manage more effectively with the present.
In psychodynamic therapy, the therapist takes on more of a role as an observer, rather than a facilitator. The work is long term and the relationship between the client and the therapist is emphasised. Psychodynamic and psychoanalysis is concerned with a deep rooted change in thoughts, feelings, and behaviour by linking into the unconscious and subconscious mind, rather than short-term goals and symptom reduction. It is therefore an appropriate therapy for longer-term concerns, including trauma, attachment and personality issues.
Humanistic Therapy (Person-Centered and Solution-Focused)
Humanistic therapy focuses on the positive attributes that a person has, including their personal characteristics, their strengths and their overall drive to self-actualisation. The therapy focuses on the here and now and on the client being able to take an active role in the therapy process. It is an approach that is heavily based on the work of Carl Rogers.
The most contemporary therapy approaches are integrative and combine elements of all or some of the above. By combining these elements, integrative approaches create a stronger whole and are effective treatments for more complex problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder, addictions, emotional regulation and attachment issues.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Schema Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are integrative approaches.
Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) commonly involves the rapid movement of a client's eyes, taxing their working memory and enabling them to reprogram their brain. It is a form of psychotherapy that was recognised as an effective way to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but has since been adapted to treat a range of other concerns.
EMDR is a unique approach, as it uses bilateral stimulation. This is often achieved through the therapist using their fingers or a pointer to guide the client’s eye movements back and forth. Therapists may even utilise a light travelling side to side across a bar. As well as visual bilateral stimulation, EMDR can also use tactile and auditory stimulation. Clients may be facilitated to feel different sensations that bounce within their hands or hear different sounds that are bounced within their environment.
EMDR is an integrative approach that combines elements from CBT, humanistic and psychodynamic therapies in a unified whole. It focuses on the client as the centre of the process. Much like in psychoanalysis, there is also an element of free association. For example, during an EMDR session, the therapist will often ask the client, “What are you noticing now?”
The main idea behind EMDR is that when someone experiences trauma, that trauma memory goes into an isolated part of the brain and to a separate memory network. When a trauma memory is successfully processed in EMDR, it then becomes fully integrated and joins another memory bank network. In essence, the idea behind EMDR is that unprocessed and unintegrated memories can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Schema therapy is long-term psychotherapy that was created out of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for the treatment of personality issues and borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Schema therapy combines elements from attachment theory, psychoanalysis, humanistic therapy, as well as CBT. The core idea behind schema therapy is that everyone has needs as a child and when those needs go unmet, often chronically, then ‘schemas’ develop. Schemas are a way in which we view the world and other people. They contain beliefs, feelings, thoughts, emotions and sensations.
In response to not wanting to feel the emotions that these schemas trigger, we develop coping styles or survival methods that are effective when we are a child but have become less effective as an adult. Schema coping is often most notable in relationships or in response to relationships and interpersonal situations.
Schema therapy, similarly to psychodynamic therapy, is focused on deep level change and a connection between understanding and working through the past to better cope with the present.
The therapy relationship in schema is central to the treatment and blends between humanistic and attachment. During schema therapy, the therapist meets the unmet needs of the client. This is achieved through the therapy relationship, as well as through a range of experiential techniques, including chair dialogues, parts work, imagery work and behaviour pattern-breaking.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
Dialectical Behavior Therapy or DBT is a treatment that was designed specifically for borderline personality disorder and highly suicidal clients. It is used in both group and individual therapy. DBT is a behaviour therapy, in that it works on the client having the skills and the tools to be able to deal more effectively with an environment that is triggering and often pulling them into crisis. DBT is a skills-based therapy and highly psychoeducational, as well as combining elements of Buddhism and existentialism. Two of its core principles include acceptance and change as principles that co-exist. DBT is a highly structured therapy, similar to CBT. It utilises an active and engaging therapist, similar to a teacher, and is split over four modules: distress tolerance, mindfulness, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy or ACT is an integrative Cognitive Behavior Therapy. One of the core ideas in ACT is building psychological flexibility. ACT in essence is about embracing our difficult thoughts and our feelings, instead of trying to get rid of them or feel guilty for experiencing them. ACT uses many elements of mindfulness, as well as cognitive techniques to illustrate how our thoughts only have meaning once we give them that. ACT uses six processes to build psychological flexibility: defusion, acceptance, contact with the present moment, the observing self, values and committed action.
When looking to start therapy, it can first help to understand a little about some of the main approaches that are out there and which ones you feel may be best suited for your needs. You may also consider whether you think therapy might be a long or a short term process and any barriers you might have that hamper your ability to commit to therapy. A typical length of therapy in Australia is for ten sessions with a Medicare subsidised Mental Health Care Plan. However, therapy will often extend beyond this in order to address deeper change. Create Balance utilises a range of therapeutic approaches to suit your needs and prioritises integrative treatments such as EMDR.