“Putting Myself First” – Another Episode of ‘Driving in Cars’

Driving a car can be a powerful symbol in the Unconscious of people who live in our culture. Many of us drive automobiles, and many of us have associations with the act of driving. I have written before about the dreams of two of my Clients whose driving dreams revealed key issues in their therapy. Now here is Ginny’s version.

Having grown up in a stressed family where, from a young age, she had duties far above those usually assigned to a child, Ginny had grown accustomed to being “essential” to others. She cleaned the house, did the laundry, and took care of her younger sister, protecting her from their father’s verbal abuse. She took care of her father when he was drunk and became her mother’s mainstay. From family of origin stress, Ginny inherited the tendency to consider herself responsible for every issue that might beset her own husband and her daughter. During her daughter’s addiction and the illnesses of many family members, Ginny felt overwhelmed and became depressed. Here is her dream:

I am trying to go to a doctor’s appointment, but I go the wrong way and get to my sister’s house. My car won’t start up again. My sister says I can use her car, and her friend, Mary Ann, insists on going with me. Mary Ann is the most dysfunctional person I know, both emotionally and physically. She has every problem in the world. The car I am driving breaks down, but I take my sister’s bike. I take the bike to go to my appointment, but the bike’s tire breaks. A bike shop fixes it, but the bike is then impounded. I can’t go to the doctor.

Ginny and I discussed the dream, and Ginny came to the realization that the trip to the doctor represented her own healing journey which she is not able to go on because of the cars, the bike, and the impounding of the bike. She just can’t seem to get there. Complicating the journey is Mary Ann, representing the many issues of other people that keep Ginny from being centered in her own life. A constant challenge for Ginny has always been, in her own words, “putting myself first.”

As a result of this revealing dream, Ginny was able to begin work on that most difficult of all therapeutic tasks: learning how to protect and value the self. After all, if anything happens to your “self”, how helpful can you be to the people you love? If you have a mental or physical breakdown, what then? Putting oneself first does not mean ignoring others. It means setting aside time for the care and nurturance of the person who is important to so many people.


Nutritional and Integrative Interventions for Mental Health Disorders: Notes from a Seminar by Anne Procyk, ND, Part 2

(Image Source: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/vital-minerals)

by Lane Gormley, LPC

Part II – Anxiety

Anne Procyk, ND outlined the possible underlying causes of anxiety and how to address them.

Sleep is, of course, vital. Anyone who does not sleep will be anxious. Eliminate caffeine or cut WAY back on it. You will see the difference it makes in the duration and quality of sleep. If you still cannot sleep, using Melatonin (1-10 mg.) can help. There is also an herb called Valerian that many people use. It is widely available.

daily. Walk a mile or two. Yoga is wonderful for anxiety because of its focus on linking the breath to each movement. If you don’t like yoga, take Pilates or a dance class or play basketball or soccer with friends.

Take vitamins and herbs for adrenal support. Adrenal issues are thought to be a primary cause of panic attacks. There are many good preparations for adrenal support available at Whole Foods, Health Food Stores, or online at Amazon.

If you are a woman, watch carefully to see if your anxiety symptoms are related to your menstrual cycle or menopause. If you think they are, see a naturopathic doctor for hormonal evaluation and support.

Try to eat a whole foods diet. See Michael Pollan on YouTube or read his book: In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. See Dr. Andrew Weil’s website on managing inflammation through a whole foods diet.

Take a daily B-50 complex vitamin: 50 mg of essential B vitamins plus varying amounts of all other B vitamins.

Anxiety is often caused by a magnesium deficiency. Take a therapeutic dose of magnesium (500 mg) daily at bedtime. This is such a powerful treatment in and of itself. It may solve the problem altogether.

Take 1200 mg of fish oil per day.

IF YOU ARE NOT TAKING A FULL DOSE OF SSRI medication, take 50 – 200 mg of 5-HTP (the activated form of tryptophan). If, with your doctor’s permission, you are titrating off SSRI’s, it can reduce withdrawal symptoms.

See your therapist. Understand why you are anxious and know your history of anxiety. Then you can learn to mitigate and to release the anxiety-producing thoughts. It takes practice, but it can be done.

Please contact me with any questions. I am not a Naturopath, but I will research possible answers.

Nutritional and Integrative Interventions for Mental Health Disorders: Notes from a Seminar by Anne Procyk, ND

(Image Source: https://www.thedoctor.pk/health/women-health/top-10-vitamins-women-aurato-ke-liye-behtreen-vitamins/)

by Lane Gormley, LPC

Part I – Depression

Psych Meds
My Clients who take psychiatric medications for Depression frequently complain about them. Some say they don’t work. Others say they don’t work well. Some of my Clients are unhappy with side effects like emotional numbness, weight gain, loss of effectiveness over time, and the astronomical cost of being medicated. The medications are often prescribed in combinations so when something needs to be adjusted, it can take time to figure out what the problem is.

My personal belief is that psych meds are too widely prescribed and too often by people who are not specialists in the field of mental health. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t like them… BUT I also have Clients who, without medication, would have died. Many of my Clients have tried to commit suicide. Medication can stabilize someone in crisis and make it possible for them to benefit from therapy.

Nevertheless, I am always looking for alternatives. Last week, I took a required Continuing Education class on nutritional ways to deal with mental health disorders. It was given by a Naturopath, a doctor of Natural Medicine, who treats her Clients using nutrition and non-pharmaceutical interventions. Her area of specialization is Mental Health Disorders.

If you are currently on psychiatric medication, ask your doctor if any of the following information from Dr. Anne Procyk could help.

If you take no medication, think about trying a natural approach FIRST, and consulting a doctor only if a natural method doesn’t help.

Blah Blah Blah
For years you have been rolling your eyes as I lecture on and on about diet, sleep, and exercise. You know what you need to do to be healthy, so I am skipping the part of Dr. Procyk’s lecture in which she discussed sleep and exercise.

Besides That… Other Alternative Therapies Suggested by Anne Procyk, ND for Depression

Take a probiotic first thing in the morning.

Eat real food. No junk food. Check out Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto.

Read labels. Look for hidden additives in food. Dr. Procyk cited the case of a 10-year-old boy with anger outbursts and behavioral issues who was greatly helped by eliminating food dyes from his diet. Who would have thought that something as innocent as food dyes could be such a problem!

Cut back or avoid when possible caffeine and sugar.

Use “good” oils: start moving toward olive oil, avocado oil, walnut oil, almond oil, and flax oil.

IF YOU ARE NOT USING BLOOD THINNERS, supplement with a high-quality Omega-3 fish oil.
Adequate Omega-3 can prevent psychosis.

Eat 50g of protein per day, distributed among your meals.

IF YOU ARE NOT TAKING A FULL DOSE OF SSRI MEDICATION, take 50-200 mg of 5-HTP (the activated form of Tryptophan) per day.

Take Vitamin B-50 Complex: 50 mg of critical B vitamins plus varying amounts of all other B vitamins. The results can be dramatic for Clients with Depression. Dr. Procyk cited the case of a 43 year old Social Worker who had been first hospitalized for Depression and suicidal ideation as a teenager. Shortly after beginning daily doses of B-50 Complex, she called and asked Dr. Procyk, “Is this what normal people feel like?”

Take Vitamin D3. Over 50% of the population is deficient in D3.

Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of filtered water.

Stay Tuned…
Part II will be about Anxiety. Some people say that Anxiety and Depression are two sides of the same coin.

Questions? Leave me a message!!!

The Spirit of Passover and the Healing of Trauma

Written by Lane Gormley, EdS, LPC, NCC

Image: www.tifereth.org

Image: www.tifereth.org

“Why Is It Different?”
Each year in early spring, many people of the Jewish and Christian traditions join together to commemorate the Israelites’ escape from the Babylonian Captivity and the miracles of their long and perilous journey to the Promised Land. Passover, or Pesach, is the yearly remembering of a people’s hard-won healing from trauma. As in most trauma cases, this healing is not, itself, without cost.

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Practicing Therapy, Practicing Yoga

By Lane Gormley, EdS, LPC, NCC

image source: www.bombayroomyoga.com/what-is-yoga

image source: www.bombayroomyoga.com/what-is-yoga

The Practice of Therapy

You are already engaged, or are thinking about engaging, in a practice called therapy.  I am impressed and touched by your willingness to do this most difficult thing – to look within yourself in a conscious attempt to face and to release pain.  I never asked you and would never ask you to do it.  It is too difficult.  I am grateful, though, for your courage, transparency, patience, honesty, and humor.  Sitting with you enables me to engage in one of my own practices, that of the clinical therapist.  Being your therapist is not simply my profession.  It is my purpose and, of course, my challenge.  You interest and exhaust me, make me laugh, try my patience, and push buttons I didn’t know I had.  You are my truest teachers, and I have great reverence for you and for your practice.

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