The video below is one that I use with clients who find themselves emotionally overwhelmed at times. This DBT skill helps you to rapidly change your emotional state by dropping your body temperature.  In 30 seconds, watch the narrator demonstrate going from anxious to calm.  Try this if you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks.  Let me know how it goes!

Suggested Reading

  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel van der Kolk, 2015.  The author used fMRI machines to study the traumatized brain and, among his many groundbreaking findings, learned that the areas of the brain that process language - both understanding speech and producing speech - are offline when a person is frozen in fear.  Our memories of trauma and terror are not stored as narrative, but as scattered images, impressions, emotions, sounds, etc.  It is impossible to overstate how influential van der Kolk and his work on the traumatized brain have influenced the community of trauma researchers and therapists.

  • Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma, by Peter A. Levine and Ann Frederick, 1993. I decided to read this one after finishing Levine's 2015 book: Trauma and Memory.  The 1993 book is written more for consumers than clinicians and I think clients will find this book readable, although I think some people may be triggered by some of the exercises suggested.

  • Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self-Alienation by Janina Fisher, 2017. This is an incredible book for understanding how our bodies are impacted by trauma and how to pursue healing.  It is helping me change how I interact with my clients and helping them understand themselves better.

  • Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love,  Amir Levine, 2010. This is a great book for helping us understand our Attachment Style and how it impacts intimate relationships. In grad school counseling students were taught that attachment style is determined by one's relationship with one's primary caregiver.  The author challenges the notion that parent bonding determines attachment style across the lifespan and suggests that attachment styles evolve over time and are impacted by life events.  The book does a good job at addressing a key issue I see with my clients; that a person with an Insecure attachment style often finds themselves in a relationship with a partner who has an Avoidant attachment style, and feels rejected and hurt by this partner's lack of engagement.  The author provides strategies for improving the quality of such relationships so they become more satisfying for both partners.

  • The Little Book of Big Lies: A Journey into Inner Fitness, by Tina Lifford, 2012. one of my clients has been working through this with me and she's finding it incredibly helpful and self-empowering.

  • Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed, Lori Gottlieb, 2019. The author illustrates the journey of mental health counseling from the point of view of the therapist and client simultaneously, as she navigates the challenge of seeing vulnerable clients while also seeking therapy during a personal crisis.

  • There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate, by Cheri Huber and June Shiver, 1997. (still on a wait list for this one)

  • Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man