Infertility. Those who find themselves in the midst of this challenge consider it a scourge. Just as couples feel ready to start a new phase of life, they feel at the end of life in the mainstream now their peers have moved on to parenthood. They feel lost. Traversing through the infertility challenge ranks way up there as a major stumbling block. The flow of life feels frozen in time and space.
Mind/Body/Spirit. The unity of mind/body/spirit is not the first thing that people think of as a way to address the inordinate stress of this stumbling block. But mind/body/spirit coping skills can convert this stumbling block to getting on with life into a building block.
How, you might ask? Let’s start with the concept of what I call “The Three A’s.” Nothing can change without Acceptance. Most people assume that they will conceive and find it hard to believe that it’s not happening. Once the situation is accepted, Awareness can expand as to how you react rather than respond to stressful situations. As awareness builds, options for Adaptation can become clear. Here’s where mind/body/spirit coping skills can go far to teach people to survive and even thrive through this challenge—eventually entering the land of parenthood, by hook or by crook, as a new, improved version of themselves.
So what are these adaptive skills? The tendency is to want to run from adversity. It is counter intuitive to go into what feels like a minefield. Yet, the key to health and healing is to honor what the body, mind and spirit (intuition) communicate to us. We either ignore the messages of body or mind, or we don’t quiet ourselves sufficiently to listen to our inner wisdom.
Nature loves the truth. And the truth is that we have a built-in tranquilizer called our breath. The heart of mind/body/spirit techniques involves paying attention to our breathing. Letting go of the frenzy of life and just being with our breath is a simple concept, but in this fast-paced world, many find it difficult. It’s a skill worth developing (reclaiming would be more accurate) because it will break the physical and mental spasm of stress, providing reprieve.
Other mind/body/spirit skills involve doing things that also have the potential to put distance between frenzy and relief. Seeking social support, distraction with a predictably pleasant pastime, yoga or tai chi or mindfully engaging in creative endeavors are just a few examples. It is important to know that it may feel impossible to enjoy life in these ways, but you have a choice about letting the voice of negative prediction pull you down, or deciding to invest in positive activities which have the power to provide an attitude adjustment.
As a psychotherapist, I’d be remiss if I left out the power of self-reflection in the face of adversity, which is often difficult if not impossible because of the subjective involvement. A trained professional can help to unearth stumbling blocks that are rooted in past experiences or in underlying belief systems.
Infertility creates an enormous need. It is important to know that no matter how lost you feel, the way out is through. Sooner or later, everyone arrives at a place in their lives where what they need to cope exceeds their coping repertoire. And it can be sweet to know that what else you need to know is available, as are people who can figuratively hold your hand through this difficult time. Mind/body coping skills can make all the difference in getting to feel competent in the face of life’s most challenging tribulations.
(Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD, the author of this blog will be joining the Mind Body Medicine Network for her webinar on “Finding the Fertility in Infertility” on Sunday, December 16th at 7:00 p.m. EST. For more information and to register for Helen’s webinar, please go to: http://www.mindbodymedicinenetwork.com/Webinars.html
Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC
Owner and Principal Clinician
Mind Body Medicine Network, LLC
Five Fundamental Principles of Mind Body Medicine: An Integrative Approach for Optimal Psychological and Physical HealthNovember 29, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Posted in Insomnia, Migraine Headaches, Mind Body Medicine, Pain Management, Pain Relief, Sleep Health, Stress Management | 4 Comments
Published on November 29, 2012 by Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC
There are five fundamental principles that account for the effectiveness of using an integrative mind body medicine approach in teaching people how to self-regulate symptoms associated with numerous psychological and physical conditions. So much of what I have learned about mind body medicine comes from my mentor and friend, Mark Weisberg, Ph.D., a well- known health psychologist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Whether you are a clinician, client, patient or just interested in the power of mind body medicine in bringing healing to health related issues, you will be pleasantly surprised to discover how learning and applying just a few of Dr. Weisberg’s five fundamental principles in mind body medicine can affect the power of your mind to confidently self-regulate and even alter pain and distress pathways.
Dr. Weisberg is one of the leading experts in the United States in the fields of mind body medicine, clinical hypnosis, and health psychology. He is currently in private practice as a health psychologist and operates an integrative pain clinic in partnership with physicians in the Minneapolis, Minnesota area. Dr. Weisberg has published scholarly articles, books, and presented at many national and international conferences on integrative mind body medicine, clinical hypnosis, and health psychology. Being able to have Dr. Weisberg as one of my primary supervisors as I worked on and received a certification in both mind body medicine and clinical hypnosis was one of the most valuable learning experiences of my professional life as a clinician. It was due to Dr. Weisberg’s outstanding affirmation and guidance that eventually led me to establish the Mind Body Medicine Network, an international online educational webinar provider for clinicians and the lay public.
I believe that you and the people you would like to share these mind body medicine principles with will discover effective and easy to use tools for self-regulation that can contribute significantly to life-long health, vitality and wellbeing. Dr. Weisberg often cites the following five fundamental principles as the foundation for mind body medicine practice.
First: Believe in the power of mind body medicine and your ability to heal. We all have the internal healing resources necessary for healing or to significantly lessen any suffering that comes from many health related conditions.
Second: Our internal healing resources can be found both within and outside of our conscious awareness. We can access these resources through the visceral belief and confidence in our capacity to heal by tapping into experiential and evidence-based mind body medicine principles. Dr. Weisberg states that a mere cognitive understanding of these mind body medicine principles is not enough to bring about healing. To heal, we need an internal experience of change that is experienced experientially, emotionally, and viscerally. A neurobiological explanation that affirms this deeply felt experience is demonstrated by both understanding our brain architecture and confidently engaging the parts of our brain that will bring about mind body healing. When we experience a novel and visceral experience, the pre-frontal cortex of our brain fires up and allows us to over-ride the amygdala that often triggers emotional suffering and physical discomfort including inflammation. We can all benefit from an understanding of the tremendous capacity of the power of the mind to influence the healing of the body. Further validation of these mind body medicine principles comes from exploring the latest research that documents the neuroplasticity of the brain and the burgeoning field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI).
Third: Each of us has our own unique set of psycho-physiologic triggers that communicate early warning signals that distress or illness is approaching. Being mindful of our intrinsic power to recognize and heal these triggers as they arise early on can help us to more confidently and effectively bring down symptoms of distress or pain.
Fourth: Focus on noticing the little changes of improvement to our health to gain more confidence along the way. Even if the minor improvements are temporary or the pain or illness manifests in another part of our mind or body, we can see how to self-regulate. This will play an important role in changing pathways from pain and illness to resilience and confidence. We all have the capacity to be mindfully aware of all the subtle ways to self-regulate and slowly titrate down any physical pain or psychological discomfort. If we can appreciate even the smallest improvements to our health issues, we will eventually be on the path to significant healing.
Fifth: From Dr. Weisberg, I learned the efficacy of honoring each person’s unique path to healing. The notion of allowing people to heal in their own time, in their own way, and at their own pace gives both clinicians and people who suffer with pain and illness the freedom to discover their own terms for healing and at the right time. This individual perspective alleviates the pressure on the clinician to be the expert in picking the “perfect” time, way, and pace for their patient’s healing to occur.
In my own clinical practice, I do my best to honor all of these fundamental principles of mind body medicine practice that I learned from Dr. Weisberg. Whether I am engaged in talk therapy or sharing any experiential mind body medicine modality like clinical hypnosis, I am consistently reminded of the beauty and healing power found within each client to heal in their own time, in their way, and at their pace.
It is an honor to host our next Mind Body Medicine Network webinar with Mark Weisberg, Ph.D. on Sunday, December 9th at 7:00 p.m. EST during a 90-minute interactive experience where all of us can engage in a deeper learning of these mind body medicine principles for change and healing. For more information on Dr. Weisberg’s webinar and to register, please go to:
Ed Glauser, M.Ed., N.C.C., LPC
Owner and Principal Clinician
Mind Body Medicine Network, LLC
Healing the Mind in Order to Heal Chronic Pain in the Body (by Howard Schubiner, MD and Ed Glauser, LPC)November 5, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Posted in Migraine Headaches, Mind Body Medicine, Pain Management, Pain Relief, Stress Management | 10 Comments
An epidemic of chronic pain and related disorders is occurring in the United States and around the world. Investigators estimate that 113 million individuals have chronic pain in the United States, and this number is increasing.
The traditional biomedical model attempts to identify an underlying local and structural cause of pain. The efficacy of this approach has not been demonstrated for these chronic painful conditions however, as is clear when one considers the number of people who suffer with these conditions on a regular basis. The disorders considered in this article exclude those with objective evidence of structural disease, such as cancer, fractures, and inflammatory and infectious conditions.
Little doubt exists that genetic predispositions occur with many conditions, such as migraine, anxiety and depression. However, studies have shown that life events are required to trigger these conditions, that is, to cause expression of underlying genetic predispositions. Because of the inability to identify and treat the underlying cause, attention has shifted to pain management. However, biomedical approaches to pain management, including pain medications, injection techniques, and surgical and chemical ablations, have also not been shown to be efficacious. Clearly, a new model for these disorders is needed. This article will describe a mind-body model in which these disorders are considered to be related to individual reactions to stressful (and even traumatic) events and unresolved emotions.
Clear evidence indicates that pain can originate in the absence of a tissue disorder in the area where pain is being felt as seen in phantom limb syndrome. A study by Derbyshire et al confirmed that pain initiated by the brain is identical to pain originating in peripheral tissues.
Learned pain pathways can develop after an injury (even a mild one) or can be created during times of significant stress and emotional reactions. Although most injuries heal within a reasonable amount of time, pain pathways can persist (become “wired”), thus creating chronic pain that is often refractory to medical therapies. These pain pathways are often very specific and can involve discrete or large areas of the body. Pain induced by psychophysiological (PPD) processes frequently moves or changes, as opposed to the pain caused by a specific injury or disease process.
Once a biomedical condition has been ruled out, the next step is to understand the linkages between priming and triggering (bio-psycho-social) events and the onset of PPD symptoms. Howard Schubiner, MD, who is the author of the article this blog is recreating, as well as his book, Unlearn Your Pain provides an evidence-based protocol that can assist clinicians and the lay public to become educated regarding the nature of PPD’s. The Unlearn Your Pain program consists of a mixture of cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness, and emotional expressive techniques. The author’s program has been shown to increase an internal locus of control (i.e. participants begin to believe that their thoughts and actions are capable of reversing their PPD symptoms). Finally, individuals who have endured significant childhood and adult stressors and who have suffered with chronic pain often have a negative view of themselves and low levels of self-esteem and self-efficacy. Therefore, an overarching theme for guiding individuals with PPD to health is the development of love and kindness toward oneself. This can be accomplished by positive affirmations, by meditations and visualizations, and by encouraging participants in the program to stand up for themselves and take time to do things for themselves.
Dr. Schubiner’s webinar on the Mind Body Medicine Network, LLC entitled “Chronic Pain and Associated Symptoms: Healing the Mind in Order to Heal the Body,” on Sunday, November 11, 2012 will be an ideal way for clinicians and the lay public to more specifically learn and apply these effective chronic pain reduction (and in many cases, pain eliminating) and life enhancing techniques in an interactive format. For those people that register for the webinar, a free audio and video recording will be available as an unlisted URL link on YouTube. To get more information and to register for the webinar with Dr. Schubiner, please click on the following link at:
(Blog was taken from excerpts from Dr. Howard Schubiner’s article in the Expert Consult Book, wwww.expertconsultbook.com, Chapter 100 – Emotional Awareness for Pain, In Rakel, Integrative Medicine, 3rd Edition, 2012. Ed Glauser, LPC developed blog from this article)