B Is for Balance – By Andrea Wachter, LMFT

We live in such a fast-paced culture with such high expectations that it’s no wonder so many people are struggling to find balance. I often ask clients in my psychotherapy practice to take a realistic look at their schedules and see what can be deleted, shortened, or shifted, and we laugh at the irony of them having to find the time to even look! It’s an art, this “finding balance” thing… Not too busy, not too idle. Not too full, not too empty. The good news is: We don’t have to do it perfectly, and a little change can make a big difference. I find myself more and more frequently working with people who are overworked, overstressed, overly unhappy, and overly medicated. When I dive into the reality of their day-to-day schedules and expectations, their distress makes perfect sense. Students who are overburdened by demanding class schedules, homework assignments, and… Continue reading

Essential Oil Aromatherapy for Relaxation during Recovery

Stress and anxiety can be a trigger for relapse, which is why aiming to achieve a mindful, relaxed state is so important during recovery. In one study published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing, it was found that a 15-minute aromatherapy massage significantly reduced anxiety in study participants, who chose from different essential oils, including lavender, bergamot, and patchouli. There is no doubt that fragrant smells can lift our mood and please our senses, but can they go further than this? Can essential oils/aromatherapy help provide those in recovery with a welcome sense of peace and calm? Aromatherapy and Cravings According to studies carried out by RJ Buckle Associates, aromatherapy can help quell cravings and ameliorate withdrawals. Essential oils used in the study included angelica, helichrysum, and lavender. Indeed, studies have long shown that there is a strong link between smells and food cravings, or a desire for alcohol and substances. These studies show… Continue reading

Not Your Classic 12th Step Call; Grrr-Attitude Problem – By Mark Masserant 

Some are sicker than others and Crazy Paul’s first name was a heads-up for the newcomers in the rooms. No other warnings were necessary—as soon as they listened to him babble for a couple of minutes, they knew his tip didn’t go to the top. Crazy attended meetings in our neck of the woods while he sweated out another court date, the by-product of the latest of a handful of DUI’s he collected around the Midwest. The prior cases he picked up forced him into a few geographics, but they produced the same results. Accordingly, wherever he went, there he was—geography wasn’t the problem. He swore it was a conspiracy, of course. They were all after him.  Hence, his travelling drunk-driving show had swerved into our town, seeking refuge. To nobody’s surprise, he infracted again and spent a grueling night in our county jail, or the “Hooterville Hotel” as he… Continue reading

Sometimes Adults Need Tantrums, Too! – By Andrea Wachter, LMFT

When I was studying to become a psychotherapist, a professor told me that people generally seek therapy for one of two reasons: They are either having a tantrum or they need to have one! I have actually counseled people for many additional reasons but the tantrum tip has stuck with me over the years. And as I have worked with clients’ issues (as well as my own), I have recognized the importance of an occasional adult tantrum. Tantrums are usually associated with children and are often considered unpleasant and unwanted. But what about a healthy, grown-up tantrum? What about making a conscious decision to welcome up our emotions rather than stuff them in or lash them out? We all experience bumps in the road that trigger emotions. These bumps can range from minor irritations to challenging hardships to major traumas. A flat tire, a root canal, lost luggage: not fun, but likely something you’ll… Continue reading

Addressing Emotional Abuse in Addiction Recovery – By Lee Weber

  There are people who try to control other people’s actions by behaving in an abusive way. Often, the abuse manifests through humiliation, fear, guilt or feeling of embarrassment. So, how can we deal with current or past emotional abuse in recovery? We explore the issue here. Then, we invite your questions ro feedback at the end. What Is Emotional Abuse, Exactly? Emotional abuse is defined as is the ongoing emotional maltreatment or emotional neglect of a child or person. It is mostly expressed verbally by: critisizing disapproval of another person’s action(s), or constant expression of dissatisfaction This type of behavior, especially when it appears in primary relationships with loved ones, can destabilize self-confidence and sense of self-worth. Emotionally abused individuals see no way out, experience a growing fear of being alone, and ususally tend to accept the abusive situations and behaviors as normal. But, how can you recognize if… Continue reading