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What is your “Why”? Core Values Exercises for Anxiety Resiliency

What is your “Why”? Core Values Exercises for Anxiety Resiliency

Anxiety often prompts us to steer clear of situations that trigger fear, causing many to shrink their lives to avoid such triggers. However, understanding and embracing our core values can provide a light through the darkness of anxiety and help us reconnect with a full, engaged life. In this guide, we’ll explore how to recognize and integrate our values using principles from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). By anchoring ourselves in our values, we can navigate anxiety with resilience and purpose.


Understanding Values:

Values are the guiding principles that define what truly matters to us in life. They represent our deepest desires and aspirations, guiding our decisions and actions. When anxiety strikes, it can be easy to lose sight of these values. However, by connecting with our values, we can find clarity and direction amidst the chaos. Here’s how to identify your values:


  • Reflect on Meaningful Experiences: Take a moment to reflect on past experiences when you felt most fulfilled and aligned with your values. These moments often occur during times of challenge or adversity, highlighting the importance of our values in guiding us through difficult times.
  • Clarify Your Priorities: In the face of anxiety, it’s essential to identify your priorities and align them with your values. What aspects of your life do you prioritize when making decisions? By understanding your priorities, you can ensure that your actions are in harmony with your values, even in the midst of anxiety.
  • Imagine Your Ideal Life: Envision a life where you are living in alignment with your values. What does this life look like? By visualizing your ideal future, you can gain clarity on the values that are most important to you and take steps to manifest them in your life.



Integrating Values into Daily Life:

Integrating values into your daily life is essential for building resilience. Here’s how you can incorporate your values into your daily routine:

  • Set Goals Aligned with Your Values: Identify goals that are aligned with your core values and take steps to pursue them. By setting goals that are meaningful to you, you can stay focused and motivated, even in the face of anxiety.
  • Take Values-Based Action: Commit to taking action that is consistent with your values, even when it feels challenging. By prioritizing values-based action, you can build resilience and overcome anxiety-triggering situations with confidence.
  • Practice Mindfulness and Acceptance: Cultivate mindfulness and acceptance of your internal experiences, including anxious thoughts and feelings. By practicing mindfulness, you can observe your thoughts without judgment and respond to them in a values-driven manner.


Embracing your values is a powerful tool for building resilience and managing anxiety. By connecting with what truly matters to you and aligning your actions with your values, you can navigate life’s challenges with clarity and purpose. If you’re ready to explore your values further and receive support on your journey, consider reaching out to a therapist on our team who can guide you through this process. Your path to resilience starts by embracing your values today.

Mindfulness Mastery: Your Ultimate Weapon Against Depression

Mindfulness Mastery: Your Ultimate Weapon Against Depression

Depression can feel like a heavy cloud hanging over your life, making it difficult to find joy or motivation. While therapy and medication are valuable tools in treating depression, incorporating mindfulness skills into your daily routine can offer additional support and relief. In this guide, we’ll explore how mindfulness can help combat depression and provide practical steps to integrate mindfulness into your life.

The Science Behind Mindfulness

Mindfulness isn’t just a trendy practice; it’s grounded in science. Research shows that mindfulness can reshape the brain, increasing activity in regions tied to emotional regulation while decreasing those linked to stress and anxiety. Moreover, it reduces cortisol levels, the stress hormone, promoting relaxation and improved mood. By understanding this science, you gain confidence in mindfulness as a proven method for managing depression and enhancing well-being.

Practical Mindfulness Tools

  1. Embrace Mindful Meditation: Mindful meditation is a powerful tool for managing depression. Find a quiet space where you can sit comfortably and focus on your breath. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths, paying attention to the sensation of each inhale and exhale. When your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your breath without judgment. Start with just a few minutes each day and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable.
  2. Engaging the Senses: Another practical approach to mindfulness is engaging your senses. Take a moment to notice the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and sensations around you. Whether you’re taking a walk in nature, enjoying a meal, or simply sitting in your backyard, pay attention to the details of your experience. By fully immersing yourself in the present moment, you can find moments of peace and joy even in the midst of depression.
  3. Cultivating Gratitude: Depression often causes people to focus on the negative aspects of their lives, leading to feelings of despair and hopelessness. Practicing gratitude can help shift your perspective and cultivate a sense of appreciation for the good things in your life. Take time each day to reflect on three things you’re grateful for, no matter how small. This simple practice can help train your brain to notice the positive aspects of your life, boosting your mood and resilience.
  4. Mindful Movement: Engaging in mindful movement, such as yoga or tai chi, can also be beneficial for managing depression. These practices combine physical activity with mindfulness, encouraging you to focus on your body and breath as you move through various poses or sequences. Whether you’re following a guided video online or attending a class in person, mindful movement can help alleviate symptoms of depression by promoting relaxation and grounding you in the present moment.

Guided Mindfulness Meditations:

  • Headspace (www.headspace.com) – Offers guided mindfulness meditations for beginners and experienced practitioners alike, with a variety of topics to address specific needs like stress, sleep, and depression.
  • Insight Timer (www.insighttimer.com) – Provides a vast library of free guided meditations, including mindfulness practices tailored for managing depression and anxiety.
  • UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (www.uclahealth.org/marc) – Offers free guided mindfulness meditations led by experienced instructors, backed by research from UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center.
  • Calm (www.calm.com) – Features guided meditations, sleep stories, and relaxation techniques designed to promote mindfulness and alleviate symptoms of depression.


Combating depression requires a multi-faceted approach, and mindfulness can be a valuable tool in your toolkit. By practicing mindfulness techniques such as meditation, engaging your senses, and cultivating gratitude, you can develop greater awareness of your thoughts and emotions, breaking free from the grip of depression. Remember, it’s okay to seek professional help if you’re struggling with depression. Our team of counselors is here to support you on your journey toward healing and wellness. Don’t hesitate to reach out and schedule a session today to explore how mindfulness and therapy can work together to help you reclaim your life from depression.

Grief is Not Pathology

Grief is Not Pathology

Grief and loss, whether person or place or part of self, are inevitable. Every one of us will lose someone or something, and every one of us will need to be cared for through it; yet, our culture has no shared language for loss. Grief is a collective experience that...

From Pain to Power: The Narrative Trauma Therapy Experience

From Pain to Power: The Narrative Trauma Therapy Experience

In the journey of healing from trauma, the power of storytelling is often underestimated. Yet, within the realm of mental health counseling, narrative trauma therapy stands as a profound method for fostering healing and resilience. By harnessing the narrative of one’s experiences, this therapeutic approach offers a pathway towards understanding, processing, and ultimately transforming trauma’s impact on one’s life.


Understanding Narrative Trauma Therapy

At its core, narrative trauma therapy is rooted in the belief that our experiences are shaped by the stories we tell ourselves. Trauma, whether stemming from childhood adversities, abuse, or other distressing events, can often disrupt these narratives, leaving individuals feeling fragmented, powerless, and stuck in a cycle of pain.

Through narrative trauma therapy, clients are invited to explore their past experiences within a safe and supportive environment. Guided by a trained therapist, clients embark on a journey of self-discovery, gradually unraveling the threads of their personal narratives. By revisiting and reshaping these narratives, individuals can reclaim agency over their stories, ultimately fostering healing and empowerment.


What to Expect in Narrative Trauma Therapy

During narrative trauma therapy sessions, clients can expect a collaborative and client-centered approach. Therapists work alongside clients, providing compassionate guidance and support as they navigate their unique healing journey.

  1. Exploration of Personal Narratives: Clients are encouraged to explore and articulate their experiences, emotions, and beliefs within the context of their personal narratives. Through techniques such as storytelling, journaling, and guided reflection, individuals gain insight into the ways trauma has impacted their lives.
  2. Identification of Negative Thought Patterns: Within the narrative therapy framework, emphasis is placed on recognizing and challenging negative thought patterns perpetuated by trauma. By identifying and reframing these beliefs, clients can cultivate a more compassionate and empowering self-narrative.
  3. Integration and Meaning-Making: Through the process of storytelling and reflection, clients begin to integrate their experiences into a coherent narrative framework. This process facilitates meaning-making and enables individuals to construct new narratives that honor their resilience and strength.
  4. Skill-Building and Coping Strategies: Narrative trauma therapy equips clients with practical coping strategies and resilience-building techniques to navigate future challenges. By fostering a sense of agency and self-efficacy, individuals develop the skills necessary to cope with adversity and cultivate a sense of empowerment.


Who Can Benefit from Narrative Trauma Therapy?

Narrative trauma therapy is a versatile approach that can benefit individuals grappling with various forms of trauma, including:

  • Childhood Trauma Survivors: Adults who experienced adverse childhood experiences, such as abuse, neglect, or household dysfunction, can find healing through narrative trauma therapy.
  • Survivors of Abuse or Assault: Those who have experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, as well as survivors of assault or violence, can benefit from exploring and reframing their narratives.
  • Individuals with PTSD: Narrative trauma therapy can be particularly beneficial for individuals diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), offering a holistic approach to healing and recovery.


Changing Negative Thought Patterns

Narrative trauma therapy serves as a powerful tool for challenging and transforming negative thought patterns perpetuated by trauma. Here are some examples of negative thoughts that narrative trauma therapy can help change:

  1. “I’m to blame for what happened.”: Many trauma survivors grapple with feelings of guilt and self-blame. Narrative therapy helps individuals reframe these beliefs, recognizing that responsibility lies with the perpetrator, not the victim.
  2. “I’ll never be able to trust anyone again.”: Trauma can erode trust in others and the world at large. Through narrative therapy, individuals can explore their beliefs about trust, challenge distorted perceptions, and cultivate healthier relationship dynamics.
  3. “I’m broken beyond repair.”: Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness are common among trauma survivors. Narrative trauma therapy emphasizes resilience and strength, helping individuals recognize their inherent worth and capacity for healing.


In conclusion, narrative trauma therapy offers a transformative approach to healing from trauma by harnessing the power of storytelling. Through exploration, reflection, and reframing, individuals can reclaim agency over their narratives, fostering resilience and empowerment in the face of adversity.

If you’re looking for a narrative therapy specialist, Nhu An Lam, LMHC and Ellen Bass, LMHCA are available to help! Contact us to schedule an appointment today.




How to Help a Loved One Process a Miscarriage

How to Help a Loved One Process a Miscarriage

Experiencing a miscarriage can be an incredibly challenging and emotionally overwhelming time for individuals and couples. In this blog post, I will outline four ways you might help someone process their miscarriage. Remember, every person’s experience is unique, so it’s important to approach this process with sensitivity and empathy.


Acknowledge the Grief

If your loved one is opening up about their loss, slow down and listen. Acknowledge the depth of the grief and allow space for them to feel the emotions that arise (perhaps pain, sadness, anger, powerlessness, confusion, and/or numbness). Remind them that it is normal to grieve and that there is no set timeline for how long this process should take. Understand that this was not just a physical event but an emotional one as well, involving dreams, hopes, and expectations for the future.

  • Phrases like “I’m here for you” and “Your feelings are valid” can be supportive during this time.
  • Avoid comments about “trying again” because this can feel invalidating and minimize the significance of their loss.
  • Keep in mind that having a miscarriage can be a traumatic experience. Focus more on supporting them in their feelings and less on probing for details about what happened.


Provide Information and Resources

Empower the individual with knowledge about the grieving process and the physical and emotional aspects of miscarriage. Offer resources such as books, support groups, and online communities where they can find solace and connect with others who have experienced similar losses. Encourage them to seek professional help if they feel it would be beneficial.

Here are some great resources:

Encourage the individual to explore these resources at their own pace, emphasizing that they are not alone in their experience and that there are supportive communities and expert guidance available to them.


 Encourage Self-Care and Compassion

Grieving takes a toll on both the mind and body. Encourage the individual to prioritize self-care activities that promote healing, such as gentle exercise, journaling, meditation, and spending time in nature. Remind them to be patient and compassionate with themselves, acknowledging that healing is a gradual process.


Foster a Sense of Hope and Meaning

While it may seem difficult to imagine at this moment, helping the individual find hope and meaning in their experience can be a powerful step toward healing. Encourage them to explore ways to honor their loss, such as creating a memorial, planting a tree, or participating in a charity event. This process allows them to transform their pain into something meaningful and positive.


Processing a miscarriage is a deeply personal and complex journey. By acknowledging the grief, validating the experience, providing information and resources, encouraging self-care, and fostering a sense of hope, you can guide the individual toward healing and growth. Remember, your role is to offer support, and it’s okay to seek professional advice or refer them to specialized support groups if necessary. Together, you can navigate this difficult journey towards a place of greater understanding and peace.

If you are looking for a therapist that helps folks that have experienced miscarriage, infertility struggles, or postpartum depression, Stephanie Doig is now taking new clients. Reach out now to schedule with Stephanie today!

Empowering the Self: An Introduction to Internal Family Systems Therapy

Empowering the Self: An Introduction to Internal Family Systems Therapy

Understanding the Internal Family Systems Model


Developed by Dr. Richard C. Schwartz in the 1980s, Internal Family Systems Therapy draws on a unique perspective that views the human psyche as a family system. Just as a family consists of different members with their own roles and characteristics, our internal system comprises various “parts.” These parts can be categorized into three main types:


  1. Exiles: These are wounded parts within us that carry unresolved traumas, pain, or memories from the past. Exiles often hold intense emotions and vulnerability.
  2. Managers: These parts take charge and work diligently to keep the exiles suppressed. They strive to maintain control, avoid triggers, and ensure our daily functioning remains intact.
  3. Firefighters: When the managers are overwhelmed or fail to protect us, the firefighters step in to manage crises. They adopt impulsive coping mechanisms such as substance abuse, disordered eating, self-harm, or other destructive behaviors to numb or distract us from the pain.

The goal of IFS therapy is to foster harmony and integration within this internal family system. By establishing a compassionate and safe space, individuals can develop a relationship with each part, understand its role, and ultimately foster healing and transformation.


Key Principles of Internal Family Systems Therapy


IFS therapy operates on several key principles that guide the therapeutic process:


  1. Self-Leadership: The central principle of IFS is the belief that within each person exists a core essence referred to as the Self. The Self embodies qualities such as wisdom, compassion, and curiosity. Through self-leadership, individuals can connect with their Self and guide the internal system towards healing and wholeness.
  2. Non-pathologizing Approach: IFS views all parts of the internal system as valuable and necessary. Instead of pathologizing or attempting to eliminate certain parts, therapists encourage clients to develop a compassionate and non-judgmental attitude towards themselves.
  3. Unburdening Exiles: IFS recognizes that emotional wounds and traumatic experiences can create inner exiles who carry the weight of these experiences. Through empathy and understanding, therapists help clients engage with these exiles, provide them with the support they need, and help them release their burdens.
  4. Healing Inner Conflicts: By facilitating open communication and negotiation between parts, IFS aims to resolve internal conflicts and foster cooperation. This process helps parts recognize their shared goals and enables them to work together harmoniously.


Benefits of Internal Family Systems Therapy


  1. Emotional Healing: IFS provides a powerful framework for accessing and healing deep emotional wounds. By establishing a compassionate relationship with our exiled parts, we can address unresolved traumas and find emotional resolution.
  2. Increased Self-Awareness: Through IFS therapy, individuals gain a deeper understanding of their internal system and the dynamics between their various parts. This heightened self-awareness allows for greater self-compassion and the ability to make conscious choices aligned with personal values.
  3. Integration and Harmony: The ultimate goal of IFS therapy is to foster integration and harmony within the internal system. By developing a compassionate relationship with each part, individuals can restore balance, facilitate cooperation, and enhance overall well-being.
  4. Long-lasting Transformation


Are you interested in working with a therapist that uses parts work? Sherese Cordova, LMHCA is currently taking new clients age 16+. Reach out today to schedule an appointment!