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The Silent Struggle: Unraveling the Mental Health Consequences of Infidelity

Infidelity is a complex and emotionally charged issue that can have profound effects on individuals involved in a relationship. While the impact on trust and the relationship itself is widely acknowledged, the mental health consequences of infidelity are often underestimated and overlooked. In this blog, we will delve into the silent struggle that many individuals face when grappling with the aftermath of infidelity and explore the psychological toll it can take.

  1. Betrayal Trauma: One of the most significant mental health consequences of infidelity is the experience of betrayal trauma. The discovery or revelation of a partner’s infidelity can shatter a person’s sense of security and trust. Betrayal trauma often leads to symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including intrusive thoughts, hypervigilance, and emotional numbness. The betrayed individual may find it challenging to rebuild a sense of safety and security, impacting their overall mental well-being.
  2. Emotional Rollercoaster: The emotional rollercoaster triggered by infidelity can be intense and prolonged. Feelings of anger, sadness, confusion, and despair may cycle through an individual’s mind, making it difficult to find stability and emotional balance. The constant oscillation between different emotions can lead to heightened stress levels, anxiety, and even depression.
  3. Self-Esteem and Identity Crisis: Infidelity can inflict a severe blow to one’s self-esteem and identity. The betrayed individual may question their worth and desirability, leading to a profound sense of inadequacy. This crisis of identity can trigger feelings of shame and guilt, further contributing to mental health challenges. Rebuilding self-esteem after infidelity requires a delicate and intentional process of self-reflection and self-compassion.
  4. Trust Issues and Fear of Intimacy: The breach of trust caused by infidelity can result in long-lasting trust issues. Individuals who have experienced infidelity may struggle to trust others, even in new relationships. The fear of intimacy and vulnerability can hinder the ability to form deep connections, perpetuating a cycle of isolation and emotional distancing.
  5. Coping Mechanisms and Unhealthy Behaviors: To cope with the emotional pain, some individuals may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse, overeating, or excessive work. These behaviors, while providing temporary relief, can exacerbate mental health issues and contribute to a cycle of self-destructive patterns.

Infidelity is not just a breach of trust within a relationship; it leaves a lasting imprint on the mental health of those involved. Acknowledging and addressing the psychological consequences of infidelity is crucial for individuals to navigate the path toward healing. Seeking professional help, fostering open communication, and practicing self-care are essential steps in rebuilding mental well-being after the tumultuous experience of infidelity.

Written by Catherina Rosen

Rapid Transformational Therapy

Are you curious about what’s the fastest way to achieve the life, relationship, and mental health you desire? Most of us spend years struggling with the same problems despite our best efforts to conquer them. There is a good reason for this which is more easily understood with the following explanation:

 

Our mind is separated into two parts; our conscious and our subconscious mind.

 

Our conscious mind is part of the mind that makes the “to-do list” for the day and helps strategize at work or write a paper for school. It is the critical thinking and problem-solving machine that we tell what to do and how to do it.

 

Our subconscious mind runs on autopilot for 95% of the day – it is the part that helps us mindlessly make our bed in the morning, gets us through the shower and other morning routines, and drives us to work while we listen to a podcast. But – have you ever arrived somewhere and realized you hadn’t been really paying attention to where you were going? Our subconscious mind automatically does our regular daily tasks so we can focus more mental capacity on the critical areas of our lives. Our subconscious mind is an extremely powerful tool we use daily to be more efficient with our time without even realizing it. However, this same tool can also inadvertently sabotage our relationships, careers, and mental health.

 

The subconscious mind contains a vast library of all of our past experiences, including the programming of what we felt we “are worth” at some point in our lives and what we “need to do” to be safe. It implements automatic programming to keep us in specific states it feels most familiar with, sometimes to the point of keeping us from what we want.

 

This is why we can literally write down on a piece of paper exactly what we want, but find it very difficult to achieve it. The subconscious mind that’s running 95% of our day is doing so on autopilot and is using outdated information from our past – keeping us right where we are.

 

Using Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT), we are able to tap into this part of our mind to rapidly rewire our neural pathways for fast and permanent change. RTT is a pioneering therapy based on neuroscience that uses the most beneficial principles of Hypnotherapy, Psychotherapy, NLP, and CBT.

 

With the help of the counselor and while in a state of relaxation and reflection, you are able to look back at your old beliefs to see how they are affecting your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a negative way. Through a simple and highly effective process, it replaces our outdated belief systems and negative behavior patterns and creates new life-affirming beliefs as the transformational process begins.

 

If you are ready to release your past and move forward to the life you deserve in a powerful new way please contact Kellie Hatch  – Mental Health Graduate Student,
for more information.

 

Creating Everyday ‘Insta’ Moments with Nature

The old pond
A frog leaps in.
Sound of the water.
– Basho, (1644-1694)

In therapy, one of the things counselors like to share with clients is the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is something that everyone, even kids, can learn. It is bringing attention to the experiencing of the moment. The idea is sensual noticing, acknowledging thoughts and accepting feelings. But practicing mindfulness can also be incorporated into daily life, to uplift the moment. For this exercise, we will use the frog haiku poem as mindfulness inspiration.

Basho, a famous Japanese poet, wrote the above haiku in the fifteenth century. It recalls just one single moment of nature. The silence is part of it. The sound of the water is easy to imagine. When you think of it, can you visualize the moment? What do you see, hear, smell?

Here is an exercise in mindfulness that anyone can do. Pay attention to the details and experience of nature like Basho. Think of it like producing mini ‘Insta’ moments for your senses and mind. This can be done anywhere there are elements of nature. When you notice something beautiful or special, breath it
in deeply like you are smelling a beautiful rose.

Here are some ideas:
-Take a nature walk in your neighborhood and focus on the flora and fauna in all the yards, any nature sounds you hear and the state of the sky. Breath it all in.

-Go to a botanical garden and give yourself permission to soak up the beauty of each tree, flower and shrub. Breath it all in.

-Go bird watching. Take in all the splendor of the environment. Enjoy the movement of bird flight. Breath it all in.

-Sit or take a walk on the beach, noticing the sounds of the waves, the colors and shapes of the shells, the rocks, and the composition of the horizon. Watch the sun rise or set. Breath it all in.

-Buy a beautiful bouquet of flowers and take time to study them. Look at their textures and colors and smell each part of them. Breath it all in.

-Listen to the birds in the morning through your windows. Florida is a place with birdsong. Tune in to them like a radio channel. Breath it all in.

-Try kayaking or paddle-boarding and notice all the life under the water. Breath it all in.

-Grow a seed and observe each stage closely. This one is great for kids. Teach them to breath in the moment.

-Stare at the clouds. Notice subtle colors, the sky in in motion. Look for beauty. Breath it all in.

-Houseplants are also a reliable source of connecting with nature. Study the beauty of an orchid, or the smell of a basil plant.

The exciting news is that you can bring mindfulness to anything. You can do your dishes mindfully. You can play with your children mindfully and interact with your partner mindfully. You can bring it into the shower, and to yardwork. Mindfulness is kind of like magic because it transforms the moment. If you transform enough moments, your life will be transformed.

Written by Megan McKeon – Mental Health Graduate Student at University of the Cumberlands

Therapy Goals

We have all experienced moments in which we felt we were at a loss for handling a situation or a feeling. It is during these times we seek outside assistance, be it from friends, loved ones or with a therapist. Because these are difficult and stressful times, problem solving, positive thinking, or solution finding can seem impossible. However, in therapy this is exactly what we strive for in the midst of these chaotic moments.

This first requires an individual’s awareness they have exhausted their mental and emotional resources and acknowledge the need for professional guidance through this process. Finding a therapist with whom you can share this space continues this process through the sharing of these experiences, feelings, and struggles. It is through this exchange of honest and often difficult information the therapeutic alliance is formed. This alliance between therapist and client is the foundation on which therapy goals are created and refined.

Many individuals do not have clear therapeutic goals at the outset of this journey. Taking the time and making space to sort through uncomfortable situations and emotions brings clarity to one’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and therefore, their goals. Therapeutic goals can and will change throughout the process but having a goal on which to focus allows us to see solutions, successes, and areas of improvement. Therapy goals could be considered the mile markers on the journey to wellness.

Working with a therapist to achieve these goals requires individuals, couples, and families to join together, taking the information and insight acquired in sessions into their everyday lives. This day-to-day application solidifies new skills, new ways to view or assess problems, and ultimately achieve goals. Once the goals for therapy are achieved, the skills and benefits of these changes can be applied to future issues and concerns resulting in lifelong improvements in one’s well-being.

Written by April Daniel MS, NCC, LMHC – National Certified Counselor (NCC) and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor

 

Protecting Your Peace

Peace is often thought to look like a straw hammock on a sunny beach or a crackling indoor fireplace on a cold day. And as comforting as these moments are, what they represent is something deeper and more crucial for fortifying our mental health. How can we cultivate feelings of peace that carry over into our day-to-day lives?

In our era of 24-hour news cycles and constant smartphone notifications, it may feel like there’s simply no time for real peace. When free time arises in our busy lives, we have an instant abundance of bite-sized video clips, clickbait headlines, and social messaging to drown our attention in. And somewhere in the constant reach for pleasing distraction, we might occasionally wonder why we feel drained, strained, and burnt out.

Now more than ever it is up to us to be deliberate about cultivating peace. It starts with finding what practice works best for us – prayer, mediation, reading, walking, journaling, or other focused, lowkey activities. It should facilitate a shift from preoccupation to centered mindfulness, creating time for presence, reflection, and grounding. With enough consistency, practices like these can open up a new perspective quite different from the hustle mindset that colors modern life. But what happens when the practice ends, and we step back into daily life?

Just as peace is cultivated, it also needs to be protected. As a calm perspective helps us recognize the inner habits and outer noise that shake our focus, we can also find new approaches. This may look like restructuring a room to limit distractions, setting healthy boundaries in relationships, or challenging negative patterns of thinking or action. In doing so, we protect the restorative peace that prepares us to take on more of life’s challenges.

So, in those times when a vacation is still aways off and it feels like our responsibilities are piling up, we can always choose to be deliberate about cultivating and protecting our peace. When we set aside time for lowkey reflection and mindfulness, it can flow outward and refresh other areas of our busy lives.

Written by Louis Nicholas, IMH24151 – Registered Mental Health Intern

Walk + Talk Therapy by the Bay

Walk + talk therapy by the bay is one of my favorite approaches to mental health therapy. As a trauma-informed therapist, I utilize many different therapeutic techniques to best accommodate each client’s needs. I know that sitting on a therapist’s sofa doesn’t feel safe or comfortable for many people. That’s why I offer walk + talk. It’s just like going for a walk with a friend (if your friend was a highly trained mental health professional who knew therapeutic techniques that are clinically proven to improve your mood). ♡

For people who have experienced trauma, the idea of meeting an unknown person in a small office in a new building can feel paralyzing. With walk and talk, we are able to meet in a public park where we are surrounded with other people and beautiful views. While the name implies that we will walk the entire time, there are many seating areas along the route to enjoy the shade and the warm breeze from the bay.

Walk + talk therapy offers an opportunity to reduce stress, relieve body tension, improve circulation, breathe deep and clear the body-mind of intrusive, negative, and ruminative thoughts. These sessions can help you decrease anxiety, regulate mood, enjoy more restful sleep, and more. Additionally, you can receive the feel-good brain chemical benefits of exercise, mindfulness practice and eco-psychology. In session, you can enhance insight, release body trauma, and alter behavior patterns while verbally processing your authentic truth.

In urban planning, there is a concept of integrating waterscapes into cities called “blue spaces.

👫Studies have found that short, frequent walks along waterscapes (blue spaces) are good for your mental health.

👫There is a significant improvement in well-being and mood immediately after a person goes for a walk in a blue space, compared with walking in an urban environment or resting.

👫Waterscapes have healing effects that enhance psychological resilience to promote mental health.

👫Walk + talk therapy by the bay gives clients an opportunity to enjoy some blue spaces while boosting their mental health.

Similarly, when urban architects add nature elements to cities such as trees, plants, and grass, these are called “green spaces.

👫 Green spaces provide fresh, healing air to the body

👫 Some mental health benefits of green spaces include: lowered stress levels, reduced rates of depression & anxiety, reduced cortisol levels, and improved general well-being

👫 Enhance your cognitive functioning, improve your sleep, and increase your levels of physical activity.

👫Walk + talk therapy by the bay gives you an opportunity to spend some time outside connecting to nature while working on your mental health.

If you’re joining me for walk + talk therapy, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

👫We don’t have to walk the whole time!

👫There is plenty of seating along the route should we choose to sit by the water and/or stop to talk in the shade.

👫Walking shoes or comfy sandals are recommended.

👫Please bring a water bottle—we’ve got to stay hydrated!

Written by Kalli Portillo, IMH24576 – Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern, EDMRIA-Approved EMDR Therapist, Certified Prepare/Enrich Couple Counselor

To learn more, review the following open access research studies or google “blue and green spaces mental health benefits.”

Benefits of walking psychotherapy:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8892051/

Waterscapes for mental health:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8618438/

Importance of greenspace: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5663018/

The Marvel of EMDR Therapy

Research shows that the brain has up to 70,000 thoughts per day, and most of them are negative! It is just the way that the brain has been wired through our collective evolutionary experiences, but now we have this wonderful tool, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), that can allow for the engagement of the part of the brain that looks for creative solutions and adaptive thinking-the cerebral cortex. So, if you’re wondering why some thoughts and unpleasant emotions stick around much longer, no need to ruminate, try EMDR. Many people are not aware that EMDR can be used for many unhelpful thinking patterns and not just what we define as traumas. If something has affected you, and it is still on your mind in the present day and guiding or influencing your, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, that too can be accessed and processed in an efficient manner and bring you relief. What may create a trauma for one person, may not for someone else, but distress can be a very subjective matter. Don’t hesitate to consult with an EMDRIA-approved therapist to assess whether EMDR is right for you, as unhelpful thinking can cause unnecessary suffering. Through EMDR, you can truly have a more balanced brain.

Written by Michelle Gissendanner – Registered Mental Health Intern/EMDRIA-Approved EMDR Therapist/Certified Integrative Mental Health Professional

Follow the Pattern

As a therapist or even someone on the receiving end of therapy, looking for and following patterns is a concrete way of making sense of ourselves. How we handled or reacted to situations in the past can be a great indicator of how we will approach them in the future, as well as allude to how we learned to get by before. Patterns and tendencies act as a road map of sorts that we subconsciously follow to get us to a place that is comfortable and familiar. This concept can be broken down into two parts: (1) the pattern and (2) the destination. As aforementioned, the pattern is the behaviors and thought processes we follow that are seemingly inherent to us, while the destination is the end goal or result we hope to gain or accomplish. If the pattern is the treasure map, then the destination marks the treasure. Let’s put this into context! Suppose you are in an argument with a friend. If tension tends to make you extremely uncomfortable and you want to get to a place of peace quickly (destination), you might succumb to their demands and agree to whatever you need to in order to restore said peace (pattern). Within the same situation, suppose your aim is to prove that you are right and impose that you have your way (destination), you might interrupt your friend, speak loudly over them, and be unwilling to explore their point of view (pattern). In the final example, suppose you want to maintain your friendship and find ways to reach a mutual understanding of one another (destination), you might ask questions and respond with compassion while also presenting your case (pattern). The takeaway here is that when we are aware of our patterns, through the assistance of therapy and self-reflection, we can better identify ways to change the unhealthy and strengthen the healthy tendencies. Additionally, we can wind up with more satisfying and sustainable destinations.

Written by Cindy-Joy Rosado – Graduate Student in Mental Health Counseling

An Effect of Alcohol on Neurofunction

Generally speaking, we think of chronic alcohol drinking as being associated with alcohol addiction or alcoholism. This is far from the truth. Chronic consumption of alcohol refers to a consistent intake, be that weekly or daily, and could mean one drink or many drinks on a consistent basis. This is much more commonplace than we may realize. Think of folks who enjoy one glass of wine or one beer after work five days a week. Think of those who drink heavily every weekend. Chronic is not necessarily problematic, however, from a neurological perspective, chronic alcohol consumption has shown distinct and definitive changes in the neurocircuits and neurochemistry of the brain. Those who chronically drink show higher stress and anxiety when not drinking and decreased mood and overall wellbeing when not drinking. This means that chronic alcohol consumption actually changes the chemistry of the brain in a way that causes these increases and decreases even when drinking has stopped. So, in order to get back to baseline, a person is then compelled to drink even more and the cycle continues (Huberman, 2023). This is an important thing to note for those who regularly consume alcohol, as these changes are dramatic ones that have an overall negative impact on health.

Sources

Huberman, Andrew (Host) 2023. The Huberman Lab [podcast]

Written by Nicole Geddie – Graduate Student in Mental Health Counseling

 

 

Tips for Planning for Self-Care

Reaching the point of burnout is, unfortunately, an all too common experience for many. Given the fast-paced, productivity-based work culture that exists in America today, burnout has essentially become the marker by which we measure success. The message we receive is this: “If you feel like you have exhausted your limits, then you are doing something right!” There is this tendency to equate how much we produce to whether or not our lives are worthwhile, but this could not be more untrue. Similarly, rest is often portrayed as something you earn once you have put in the work, but this is also false. Rest is not something we need to work toward, it is something our bodies and minds require in order for us to make it through life. With this in mind, I have compiled a list of helpful tips to utilize when planning for self-care. While I wish I could tell you I picked this up without error, the only reason I am able to make such a list is because I have tried and failed many times… And this is what I have learned!
1. Identify the difference between things that make you feel rested versus what makes you feel fulfilled. Some activities might fall into both categories, but it is helpful to distinguish between the two. Restful activities often alleviate stress and induce a sense of tranquility. Fulfilling activities are things one enjoys and are often fun. For example, meditating or going on a walk might help one feel rested, whereas painting or gardening might be fulfilling.
2. Identify the people and things that hinder your ability to unwind. For instance, if you are a parent and being around your child is stressful in that you focus solely on their needs, you may need to find someone to care for your child during your self-care time. Similarly, having your work phone on you while you attempt to rest might prevent you from being able to relax as your phone might go off or you might feel compelled to check it regularly.
3. Review your weekly schedule and identify spaces of time in which you are able to engage in self-care. Whether your schedule is wide open or packed with commitments, making time for self-care is something one has to be intentional about planning because it will not always “just happen” or “work itself out.”
4. Once you have decided on a restful or fulfilling activity, have ensured you will not be distracted by certain people or things, and have chosen a date and time for self-care, make sure all of your regular responsibilities are tended to prior. As an example, one might handle all of their house chores, clear out their inbox, and predetermine dinner plans in order to set themselves up for nothing but rest on the day of their self-care. This is important because “past you” is taking care of “future you” in a way that will make you feel even more taken care of.
5. Finally, make sure you plan for self-care at least once a week. While there are ways to find rest and fulfillment in small ways throughout the week, it is imperative that you care for yourself and separate blocks of time. If you are able to give so much to others (i.e. work, school, family, etc.), you need to be able to give yourself much as well.
Written by Cindy-Joy Rosado – Graduate Student in Mental Health Counseling