Post Traumatic Growth and Transformation-Dr. Arielle Schwartz

 Healing and Transformation

Post traumatic growth

Exposure to disturbing or traumatic life events is inevitable. Following these events, most people experience uncomfortable emotions and sensations such as grief, fear, anxiety, panic, anger, or depression. Initially, it is common to brace against these disorientating emotions. This is normal and with sufficient support it is possible to successfully navigate through these vulnerable emotions. In time, hopefully we can reframe our relationship to pain and discomfort as an invitation to enter into a transformational journey awakening post traumatic growth.

“Transformation involves the ability to feel and be changed by difficult life experiences. This process affirms our capacity to heal and connects us to the universal cycles of life, death, and rebirth.”
-Dr. Arielle Schwartz

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Parenting ADHD – Dr. Arielle Schwartz

 The Journey Continues

Boy Pilot with Paper Airplanes Flying in Sky

A school day morning, and we need to get out the door. “Please get dressed,” dad says. When he doesn’t come downstairs I go up to find him sitting on his floor, in his pajamas, playing with Legos. “Please get dressed,” I repeat but now I hear the sound of his ukulele coming from his room. He explains to me how he is making up a new song for his sister and can he please play it for me, right now! After a third reminder he comes downstairs for breakfast mostly dressed, somewhat disheveled, and without socks and shoes. After breakfast the routine is to brush teeth and hair and “don’t forget to please get your socks and shoes on!” I should know better than to request more than one action at a time during the morning routine…

Parenting a child with sensory processing disorder, ADHD, dyslexia, a trauma history, often presents a range of challenges for parents. Helping kids manage transitions, learn emotional self-control, and develop focus requires time, patience, and support.

“A child is not a diagnosis. A child is an individual with his or her own way of organizing experiences. It is important to allow children to teach us about the complex intricacies of their inner world.”
Dr. Arielle Schwartz

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Children, Emotional Regulation, and Polyvagal Theory-Dr. Arielle Schwartz

Supporting children’s emotions

Children, Emotional regulation, and Polyvagal Theory Dr. Arielle Schwartz

As parents, our responsibility is to help children process through their experiences. This is not an easy task. It is easy to feel triggered by children’s big emotions, whether it be fear, anger, or sadness; especially when the expression of these feelings comes out as disruptive behaviors. Polyvagal theory empowers parents to navigate your child’s intense emotional states.

Children may become defiant, refuse to go to sleep, start lying, or become aggressive with siblings or parents. As parents it is common to attempt to apply consequences or punish our children. However, this can devolve into a struggle of will, where parents don’t want to be the first to give in. While limit setting is necessary to keep our children and ourselves safe, it is essential that we help our children unwind their emotional dysregulation in the safety of a caring relationship.

“Polyvagal Theory provides a neurobiological framework for understanding the connection between the mind, body, and emotions. Empowered with deeper understanding, we increase our capacity to compassionately and successfully support children’s emotional regulation.” -Dr. Arielle Schwartz

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Climate Action, Ecopsychology, and Resilience -Dr. Arielle Schwartz

Dreaming the World into Being

Climate action, ecopsychology, and resilience Dr. Arielle Schwartz

Shamanic wisdom says that we dream our world into being. In each moment we have a choice of how we focus our attention, our feelings, and our behaviors. Over the years I have had a sequence of dreams that speak to my heart and perhaps will touch yours as well. These dreams whisper a powerful theme; one burgeoning in our collective awareness as we wake up to the reality of climate change. Appropriate timing given the Global Day of Climate Action and the People’s Climate Marches that occurred last weekend.

“When we are aware of how our deeply held beliefs, family legacies, and old energetic influences shape us we take responsibility for our actions. Ultimately we become free to choose how we shape our world.The earth is part of us; and we are part of the earth. What world are you dreaming into being?”
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Parenting, Attachment, and Healing Your Transgenerational Legacy-Dr. Arielle Schwartz

The Transgenerational Train

transgenerational train

When looking at generational influences in parenting you can think of a train with the youngest generation represented by the car in the front. There is a lot of energy, zest, and excitement in the front of the train. You are ready to move forward and you see the future. The cars behind you are your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on. For this train to function optimally you do not want too much friction in the cars behind you. In fact what you want is that the momentum of previous generations is able to support the whole train to move forward.

But this isn’t always the case. What if your Dad felt that he wasn’t good enough for his father? Maybe your mom was neglected. Perhaps there was the death of a child that was never grieved or the influence of large scale traumatic events such as the Holocaust or Hiroshima. What if the traumas of the past remained taboo subjects that you couldn’t talk about?  What if, as a child, you felt you needed to take care of your mother so much that you sometimes resent having to take care of your daughter because no one was there for you?  When previous generation’s traumas or role reversals remain unprocessed it can slow down or interfere with our forward focused energy leaving us feeling heavy or stuck.

“Raising a child is one of the most courageous and vulnerable actions we can take as human beings. Shadows of the past churn and turn towards the light asking us to pay attention to unexpected feelings of ambivalence, comparison, and inadequacy in parenting. Unearthing, and addressing these feelings when they arise unwinds shame and is an essential key to healing our transgenerational attachment legacies”
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Diversity Matters in Psychotherapy-Dr. Arielle Schwartz

Culture and Psychotherapy

culture and psychotherapy

What makes you unique? Perhaps you or your parents grew up in another country. You might learn differently or have grown up speaking a different language. Possibly you have two moms or two dads. Maybe what makes you different is the color of your skin or your religious beliefs. If you sometimes or often feel that you don’t belong you are in good company. One third of the people in the United States currently identify themselves as a member of a racial or ethnic minority, an estimated fifteen percent of the U.S. report being inter-culturally married, and approximately four percent of the U.S. identify as LGBTQ.

“Why address diversity in therapy? Because failing to acknowledge cultural differences in clients ignores critical information necessary for competent psychological practice. It is my responsibility as a person in a position of power to protect the rights and to be an advocate for people who may feel disenfranchised or marginalized. It is an honor that I take seriously.”
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Therapeutic Yoga-Dr. Arielle Schwartz

How do you wake up?

Therapeutic yoga Dr. Arielle Schwartz

We can all wake up on the wrong side of the bed sometimes. The other day I had one of those days. I woke up feeling irritable and agitated without even know why. If I launch into the world too quickly from this space I could stir up unnecessary reactions creating a domino effect of negativity. This is not the kind of “pay it forward” that I want to participate in.

Those who know me well are aware that I build my daily routine around my yoga practice. My morning looks something like this: wake up, eat breakfast, attend to my children, husband, and household, go to my yoga mat…and then go to work. The pause on my mat is like pressing the reset button on the morning and offers me a chance to reflect on what I am bringing with me into my day. I feel grateful to have the opportunity to design many of my days with a built in mindfulness break. On the days that I cannot set aside time for a class I build in 15 minutes to sit, move, and breathe. I can then set forth into my day with greater clarity and attention to my impact on others.

“It can be challenging to unveil ourselves from the socially conditioned masks that we wear to hide our emotions in the external world. In yoga we have an opportunity to ‘drop in’ and feel our experience from the inside out.”
-Dr. Arielle Schwartz

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Wilderness As Therapy-Dr. Arielle Schwartz

The Healing Power of Nature

Wilderness as therapy -Dr. Arielle Schwartz

When you feel overextended or have lost a sense of yourself, where do you turn?  A few weeks ago I had one of those times. I was tired from balancing the demands of being a mom, wife, friend, teacher, and therapist. I had nothing left to give and was tapped out. I know, from experience, that these feelings are a signal from my soul not to be ignored. I have burnt out before and am committed not to end up there again. Grateful to have some time to myself, I took the opportunity to head to the trails in the Colorado foothills and to tend to my weariness with a day of silence and nature.

“My take home message, embrace confusion, let yourself be disoriented; sometimes this is the only way to find your inner compass.
-Dr. Arielle Schwartz

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Psychotherapy Efficacy and Your Brain-Dr. Arielle Schwartz

Your Brain on Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy and your brain Dr. Arielle Schwartz

The use of psychotherapy has decreased in the last decade; meanwhile the use of prescribed medications has been on the rise (APA, 2012).  Now equipped with technologies that image the brain, the field of psychology is rising to the challenge to demonstrate that psychotherapy works.

“Research suggests that psychotherapy can produce changes in the brain that are comparable to those seen in drug treatments and that avoid the painful side effects”
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