Election pop rocks!

Earlier this year, I referred to pop rocks in Coca Cola as a way that neural networks create change. As we go into an election day of dense fog in Austin, I feel that similar draw to know results AND need to self protect to avoid more stress. It’s election pop rocks! No shaking required.

I love this visual because it conjures a memory of sensory overload when we were kids. Your thoughts, emotions and behaviors actually come from a mental map that is built before you even have words or memories. This Map is the result of your DNA and how well you were Seen + Heard, as well as feeling Safe and That You Matter. This map can lose its GPS when we are stressed or feeling mixed emotions.

people holding banners
Photo by Rosemary Ketchum on Pexels.com

Do you feel you matter in the midst of ongoing political trauma and chaos? I call it trauma because it is a sense of being overwhelmed and alone, which is common in my clients and magnified by news, angst and worry.

Your sense of self worth and self-esteem depends on having a reliable anchor for your own mental mapping in relationships and career success, let alone to feel safe and heard in your city, state and nation during difficult news cycles.

On a day, week, month, year like this, you can try the pop rock in soda solution or take a stab at finding an important person to See + Hear you . Cheers to however “You do You”!
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The Emotional Impact of Chronic Illness

My colleague, Bridgett Wallace, PT had me as a guest on her Talk Tuesday show. We are seeking to create a bridge between trauma (things forced upon us by our parents, partners, careers or health) that creates understandable stress and the growth that is also possible with neuroscience and compassionate clinicians.

Forgive the first 20 seconds or so of audio challenges…

See Yourself Better

My gift to myself in 2018 was joining a bookclub on the Neuroscience of Counseling.  I know, I am a nerd! 🙂 We talk about how your mind works in order to help clients fast and easy. It makes my brain explodes like pop rocks in Coca-Cola. For those non-Gen Xers who are confused right now, these guys will help you out (“Yes, your stomach will explode but you will live forever.”)

Last week, we learned how our thoughts, emotions and behaviors come from a mental map that is built before we even have words or memories. This Map is the result of our DNA and how well we were Seen + Heard, as well as feeling Safe and that You Matter.

I am using Capital letters and BOLD since it is so important to create a reliable GPS for your own mental mapping in relationships and career success. This is what I do for you.

When you feel Seen + Heard by the important people in your life, you “feel Felt” to quote my favorite neuroscientist Dan Siegel. As a counselor to very awesome clients, I can literally see differences in those who have a strong sense of self-esteem and self-worth after being seen and heard in my counseling sessions.

Learning how to feel safe in counseling allows you to live your life easier with more success, find true love, leave your mark on the world. When you are off, you feel like empty, alone, numb and in trouble all the time!

My colleague, Dr. Janice Webb describes this well here.

If you are ready to change your brain as a gift to yourself this year, please reach out, ask me a question or set up an initial consultation. My heart and mind are ready for yours!


Post Traumatic Growth

I was honored to speak to a group of awesome Austin Career Coaches about Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG) last week. They understood their 1:1 work with individuals usually involves life transition inspired or thrust upon us by our bodies, minds, partners or trauma.

Our struggle is not our identity, it can just feel like it.

The resilience we desire is not just back to a “new normal” but beyond into PTG which can exist alongside PTSD (post traumatic stress). Below is my most recent take on PTG personally and professionally.

Message me or share with a friend or family if the message in this blog post could resonate or relieve stress for you or your loved one. Family 2020 2016

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” -Carl Gustav Jung


View at Medium.com

Summer School

If you are looking for an air-conditioned, cost effective alternative to therapy this summer (note: I will be traveling a bit in July so email me for exact dates if you need to schedule), check out this resource that closely fits my way of practicing. It is neuroplasticity as a self-paced, at home program. I can do an introductory session before you begin and then quarterly as you complete the program to keep your accountability and outcomes successful. It is great for health professionals as well as “normal” (ha!) people. Online Course for Emily Schottman clients

How does it work?

If you are wondering what great therapy looks like or how it might work for you, this article does a lot to describe the journey. https://drkellyflanagan.com/2017/05/09/this-is-what-therapy-cannot-do-for-you-says-the-therapist/

Dr. Flanagan talks about how traditional therapy works and reveals some life secrets to explain why the “work” we do in session can carry over to less “work” in your relationships and quest for happiness. I love that when we realize how to work smarter not harder in our lives, we learn more about (not just) how to be human but how to enjoy the highs and lows. The right counselor is your tour guide and author to the owner’s manual that is your unique life. It not only feels good, it makes sense!

PS Here is another great summary of how I help anxiety sufferers. The somatic experience in office quickly translates to better quality of life for clients asap!



Eye-Opening Experience

After 20 years as an Optometrist specializing in Vision Therapy and neurological symptoms, I am excited to find Counseling techniques that use the eyes and brain to achieve relief from anxiety, depression, panic, trauma & relationship concerns. In 2016, I finished my certification in Brainspotting and two levels of Emotion Transformation Therapy, both of which are zenith therapies to treat symptoms fast in children and adults.

My friend graciously volunteered to try out an emotional concern during the Austin-based training. She shared the following after only one session. (Note: she is not a client).

After color eye therapy ETT

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to the ETT color training. I felt very comfortable talking to Dr. Schottman about my anxieties. As we talked the colors changed in front of me. I didn’t think it was going to do anything, but I started to notice myself slowly relaxing. In 30 minutes I could barely even find words to describe what worried me. 

The feeling of relaxation lasted much longer than a yoga or meditation class. After a few hours I still felt relaxed and kind of tired. I was not worried about anything I would normally worry about. I slept very well that night and remained very relaxed for a few days. 

After a week, when I think of troubling situations, they don’t really seem that bad. I would definitely go back when things feel out of my control or I am worrying too much. 

I would recommend this type of therapy if you are looking for a natural way to treat anxiety.

Extroverts are Awesome (too!)

Throw back, Thursday…I got to guest blog at Therapy Austin with my friend, Claire L in 2015. She wrote about the Intrigue of Introversion  and I explored how Extroverts can be Awesome!


P.S. Follow up to the personality topic (btw, this is a great holiday gift…$2 listen/Kindle). If you have childhood trauma, divorce, major life change, your personality CAN change. Your ability to tap into natural extroversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, judging/perceiving is a direct result of your experiences of safety and nervous system regulation. Especially in clients with post-traumatic stress, one of the shocking side effects is a personality change, apparent to you and your loved ones. Brief treatment, such as ETT can go a long way to helping you get back to “yourself”. Kindly, Emily

My mind is already full!

Mindfulness has been a buzz word for so long, it sounds almost like “customer service”, what does that even mean anymore? Can our very full minds tolerate any more information (i.e. stress and emotions)?! I gave mindfulness lots of lip service until I saw it’s powerful effects during a medical procedure about three years ago.

Like most Austinites, I suffered from dreaded allergies which caused my eardrums to rupture not 1 or 2 (yes, I am an Optometrist, as well) , but 3 times! I needed to have tubes and plugs inserted in my ears so I can jump from one body of water to the next = Summer in Texas! Normally it takes my ENT and a strong nurse or two to hold me down and often an anti-anxiety prescription drug to calm my fight-flight response to the pain of putting in or adjusting a tube.

I began doing yoga and Brainspotting for different reasons and my very next ENT appointment yielded a difference was amazing. My doctor wanted to know why I was not my jumpy-stressed out self. He had never seen such a change in a patient before. I was able to calm my nervous system and my fear was conquered with my mindful practices.

There are different levels of mindfulness and just like relationships, it can sometimes be a huge benefit to have a professional teach you the basics to save a lot of headaches and misfires. Even worse than mindfulness that does not work is mindfulness that is harmful. Read more here! In fact, knowing our minds better…the good, the bad and the ugly…is the best way to create mental, emotional and physical health. *2020 Update why mindfulness can be harmful if not seen in bigger picture!

I offer Brainspotting , a mindful visually based counseling over 1-3 sessions that requires little talking and lots of healing. It is a beautiful beginning to treating old trauma, new heartache, anxiety, depression, feeling stuck and grief from loss. Some clients qualify for “self-brainspotting” which is a mindful practice that can be done at home+work to calm an overly full limbic (your emotions) and cerebral (thinking) brain.


You may schedule Brainspotting in the few weeks before your next “puff of air” test at the eye doctor or to test drive a new type of counseling that is fast, effective and fascinating, as testified by the “[eye] doctor who heals thyself”!

Secrets! (Mental cancer?)

I have to admit one of the reasons I loved working in a doctor’s office (as a Neuro Optometrist) was the reception room magazines. My staff would hide People from me so I wouldn’t be able to steal them on my breaks. Then, as a cancer patient, they were an escape during chemo and other treatments. Now, as a counselor, I read People with a new set of eyes.

An article about Jackie Collins, the famous author, days before she died, stayed with me (10/5/15). She kept her breast cancer an absolute secret for six years, from friends, family and the public. She thought about it (& actually felt it physically) daily but also claimed to have mentally erased it from her mind, choosing to live “happily, happily!” in denial.

She knew but she didn’t know.Secrets

She wants other survivors to know that they should get screened and treated; that she had a choice, however recommends to not pick her choice.

That confused me a bit.

Until I started thinking about the mental cancers that we all live with on a daily basis, alone in our heads. Our deep, dark secrets…the break-ups and break downs we think about first thing in the morning and last thing before bed…the hoarded time and energy we spend on those we resent, detest and cannot stand…obsessing over what we don’t want vs what we do…how we try so hard to “get over” things versus look them straight in the eye in the way that we do when we are in a counseling chair or face-to-face with someone who can finally help us because we cried “mercy!” and let down our guard.

Jackie was queen of creating romance novels full of adventure and plot lines for her most famous heroine, Lucky Santangelo, even writing five more books AFTER she was diagnosed with cancer. Her sister, Joan, was an equally glamorous TV star from the 1980s. Clearly they valued attractiveness, popularity and success (See my Riddle of Self Esteem blogpost) over any other obstacles to their fame and fortune. Maybe high self esteem kept Jackie alive, living well after cancer. Maybe it was how she talked to herself vs what she showed the world that helped her mind-body connection, even during treatments that she endured privately.

We may never know.

What I do know is true (a la “Oprah!” said in her bellowing ringtone) is that we all have growths in our bodies and brains that we can choose to feed or ignore, share or not share. Sometimes outside our own consciousness, we pick the individual path that fits the picture we want to be true, even if it costs us dearly.

And that is okay.

It is alright to be driven by your desires and even the things you detest (because cancer and negative thoughts are no picnic!).

However, I think Jackie’s take home message is that we cannot hold the inside pain and outside world at bay forever. At some point, we must take off our public faces and face our inner countenance that is scared, worried, sad or alone. No feeling is worth losing your life and facing your feelings will not cost you nearly as much as blocking them out. Ultimately, she did that by letting people in.

Jackie and Joan Collins remind me of a sisterhood that we share, whether we know of each other’s personal pain and suffering or not. While Jackie wanted to protect her sister, it prevented Joan from being there for her, which could have helped them both. Of course it is Jackie’s choice to not share her diagnosis, but I wonder how much mental burden she experienced alone without a confidante, in order live a public life that was privately excruciating.

If you are hiding from your family or yourself in order to deal with your inner demons, I welcome you to see if counseling is a good fit for gaining the guts and grace to trust yourself and another person to face your fears together.

I do not need to know the intimate details of your inner agony to know that sharing it with a trusted counselor is the way we begin to heal and survive, no matter what the truth we face together.