3/11/20 When life stress gets larger than life, I tend to go back to the basics. Staying well from COVID-19 and global, let alone local, paranoia and pathology can be exhausting. I see an uptick of clients wanting to figure it all out, or better yet, make it all go away!
My basics include anything written by Drs Brene Brown and Kristin Neff, now both on staff at University of Texas. Kristin shared these Myths of Self Compassion which I found timely this week. The most shocking thing I had to learn about trauma (as a client and therapist) was how critical self-compassion is to healing. Since when do I have to be freaking kind to myself to get over it? Ain’t nobody got no time for that!
If you are sheltering and spinning out on news and worry, take a moment to invest in global self-care that starts with you. Neff’s free, 5 minute Self Compassion meditation is a very good start. These are the times to be nice to your head and heart while it is protecting your body from illness. It is not selfish, self-pitying, or narcissistic; it will not make you weak or complacent. It will simply help you be…well.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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 usby our bodies, minds, partners or trauma.
Our struggle is not our identity, it can just feel like it.
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
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!
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.
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
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”!