Meet Abby

Harmony US has a new intern we would love for you to meet, Abby.

Hello everyone, I am a master’s level student in Northwestern University’s clinical mental health counseling program. Having completed a practicum experience through which I provided supervised counseling to a variety of individuals, I am now in my internship year where I am able to provide counseling to individual adults, couples, groups, children and adolescents. My major areas of interest include working with the LGBTQ community, gender, sexuality, and healing from trauma. I am also a major advocate for the idea that counseling is for everyone, ranging from those who wish to heal from trauma to those who are experiencing the stress of every day life. I welcome the opportunity to work with anybody! My approach to counseling is very much relationship based as I believe that a truly safe, warm, collaborative and trusting environment can sometimes be the most powerful aspect of counseling. My hope is that the things you discover about yourself, and the things you learn through our counseling relationship can be applied to your life in order to empower you to become the best version of yourself.

Intern Spot Light

Harmony US is pleased to introduce you to one of our amazing mental health interns, Nattalie.

Hello Everyone. My name is Nattalie Roepke. I am a student at Northwestern University and have joined HarmonyUS to complete internship within my Master’s degree program. I am a Florida native and love calling Tampa my home.

I have worked as an educator and an education administrator for many years. I have my undergraduate degree in psychology and am excited to be completing my Master’s degree program and to be working within the HarmonyUS family.  

I have many areas of interest. I am currently working toward my certification in fertility counseling (which provides specific support for individuals and couples who are experiencing difficulties becoming pregnant, have had miscarriage(s), are seeking or currently using assisted reproductive techniques, or are building a family using egg donor, sperm donor, or surrogacy). I am also familiar with traditional psychoanalytic techniques, cognitive-behavioral therapies, and solution-focused therapies.

I am also familiar with the treatment of anxiety and PTSD with cannabis and can provide information and resources in this area.

I am available to see clients on a limited basis. I look forward to meeting you.

Self-care is not selfish

There are a number of ways, and reasons, to take care of yourself! It is not an indulgence, splurge or selfish to engage in an act of self-care. These little breaks allow us to be our best, for us and for those around us. Has it been so long since your last act of self-care that you don’t know what to choose? Check out this list:

134 Activities to Add to Your Self-Care Plan

Better communication applies to self talk, too

Here is one exercise to begin developing positive self-talk:

Write down some of the negative messages inside your mind.  Be specific, whenever possible, and include anyone you remember who contributed to that message.
Next, to those negative messages write down a positive truth in your life.  Don’t give up if you don’t find them quickly.  For every negative message there is positive,  keep looking until you find them.

For example, you might write, when you make a mistake, you think, “I can’t do anything right.” Right beside that negative statement, your positive message could be, “I accept my mistake and am becoming a better person.”

Positive self-talk is not self-deception, positive self-talk is about the truth, in situations and in yourself.  When negative events or mistakes happen, positive self-talk seeks to bring the positive out of the negative to help you do better, go further, or just keep moving forward.

Better communication applies to self talk, too

Here is one exercise to begin developing positive self-talk:

Write down some of the negative messages inside your mind.  Be specific, whenever possible, and include anyone you remember who contributed to that message.
Next, to those negative messages write down a positive truth in your life.  Don’t give up if you don’t find them quickly.  For every negative message there is positive,  keep looking until you find them.

For example, you might write, when you make a mistake, you think, “I can’t do anything right.” Right beside that negative statement, your positive message could be, “I accept my mistake and am becoming a better person.”

Positive self-talk is not self-deception, positive self-talk is about the truth, in situations and in yourself.  When negative events or mistakes happen, positive self-talk seeks to bring the positive out of the negative to help you do better, go further, or just keep moving forward.

Cuddle Therapy

What is it that you think of when you hear the term ‘cuddling’? Do you think of romantic excitement? Perhaps a warm feeling of security, safety, or contentment. It is probable that some would think of the term as strange, alien, or uncomfortable. But beyond that, what is cuddling?

The act of cuddling, when examined through a literal and secular viewpoint, is the physical, soothing contact between one and another. You can cuddle another person, a pet, an inanimate object, whatever soothes you the most, or a combination of it. There is, however, a certain emotional aspect to cuddling. When one ‘cuddles’ in a soothing way, the act usually generates a sort of inexplicable feeling. A natural comfort, or I could say a sort of contentment. But rather than just an emotional benefit, cuddling provides numerous little quirks and bonuses to those who do so happily.

The most physically visible effect of cuddling regularly, for the sake of enjoyment and contentment, is seen within the balance of a few different chemicals. An article byVanessa Van Edwards, written for the Science of People, explains these three in conjunctions. The main three effects upon hormones within the body are an increase in oxytocin, a reduction in serotonin, and an increase in dopamine. Strange words, so allow me a little of your time to explain.

Oxytocin is a hormone within the body researchers have been frantically researching for the past 20 years upon it’s beneficial effects to the human instinct of social interaction and ‘love’ when administered as a treatment. So far, researchers have concluded the chemical is a major influence upon someone’s proclivity to being social, to forming a bond, as well as the ability to pick up on social cues. Serotonin is a certain chemical that many would appreciate having less, however is still a necessary part of the psyche. Serotonin allows us to form anxious responses, and feel stress in times of… well… stress. Dopamine, a powerful substance, is responsible for pleasure; satisfaction of the self. When you generally feel a sense of having fun, you feel a release of dopamine. It is exciting, but too much for a harmful substance can form a dependance, also known as an addiction. It is best to obtain increases in dopamine through healthy activities such as exercise, cuddling, hobbies, etc.

Do not be ashamed of the desire to cuddle, even when an adult. Cuddling promotes safety, well-being, and good health for all, and even newborns or sick children. It aids in recovery, and helps mental health. When one inhibits the desire for contact, it suppresses these feelings into pent-up stress. This is no different than when told to ‘suck it up’, or denied the ability to release emotion. There is no shame to be had in the relieving contact with another, or another comfortable entity, for it is healing and allows you to perform your absolute best.

Talking to the Shadow

A topic was brought up briefly today and I want to explore it a little further in this blog post. Everyone has many facets to their personalities, different selves. One being the “dark side”, the dark passenger, or shadow self. In the Wiccan traditions, I have worked with getting in touch with the shadow self is essential to growing as a magickal practitioner. No, I did not spell magick wrong. Magick is different from magic. Magic is the stage show and slight of hand tricks. Magick refers to energy exchange, spell-work, and ritual work commonly found among Pagan religions.  Speaking from my personal experience if I did not work on my shadow self I would not be able to connect fully with myself, others, or the spiritual planes. We all think dark thoughts and we are all capable of dark things. Dark does not mean bad; when I say dark I am speaking of things like violence and death, which is not necessarily bad. Violence and death can be bad under certain circumstances like mugging and be killing someone for no reason. Violence and death can also be a blessing like if a police officer is stopping a domestic violence situation. Also, death is part of the cycle of creation and destruction. So to me, everything is on a spectrum, everything is gray, there is no black or white. To understand my higher self I need to explore my lower self. Exploring your shadow self or dark passenger can be scary and uncomfortable at the same time it is therapeutic to understand all parts of you. Once you understand something some of the fear goes away. Notice I said some fear goes away; it is good to have a healthy fear and understanding of the darker side of your being.This is a form of respect and acknowledgment of the power the shadow self-does have and is capable of if/when released out into the world.  It is healthy to meditate and have rituals of connection with all parts of your being (especially the darker parts) because if you can connect with yourself you have a greater chance and understanding of how to connect with others. In the sense that my weirdness understands and accepts your weirdness. If you would like to know more about connecting with your darker parts please feel free to contact me at 678-964-4739 or relationship.positive.therapy@gmail.com.

Book recommendation for rituals of connection with the Shadow Self:

Dark Moon Mysteries: Wisdom, Power, and Magic of the Shadow World  by Timothy Roderick

Link: https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Moon-Mysteries-Wisdom-Shadow/dp/0738747211?SubscriptionId=AKIAJ2F6RDUSIYCWQMFQ&tag=sa-b2c-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=0738747211

E31 – Polly needs a lawyer

Listen to “E31 – Polly needs a lawyer” on Spreaker.

David Hoffman was born and raised in Tampa, Florida, where he currently lives with his wife, two dogs, a cat and a hedgehog. Hoffman Law Firm, P.A. opened on February 14, 2014, serving clients throughout the Tampa Bay area in areas including divorce, child support, custody, dependency, and estate planning. It is the mission of Hoffman Law Firm to provide clients with affordable, personalized service. David is an active member of the Tampa community. He serves on the Board of Directors for the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce as their Consulting Attorney. Through the South Tampa Chamber, David volunteers his time to projects and events benefiting local businesses as well as military families and veterans. He is also a member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, the LGBT Bar Association of Tampa Bay, and the Tampa Bay Inn of Court. David is currently in training to become a Kink Certified Professional. He works with kink, lifestyle and poly families to meet the unique their needs and offer a welcoming and inclusive experience.

Hoffman Law Firm 813-712-8713

david@hoffmanlawfirm.us

Facebook @Hoffmanlawfirmpa

New Hotline for Abused Men in Ireland

Europe continues to be the leader in Mental Health and Trauma awareness.

From The Journal.ie :

“A NATIONAL HELPLINE for men and boys who are victims of domestic abuse has been launched today by the Waterford group Men’s Development Network.

The new advice line can be accessed on 1800 816 588 at the following times:

  • Monday: 10am-6pm
  • Tuesday: 12pm-8pm
  • Wednesday: 10am-6pm
  • Thursday: 12pm-8pm
  • Friday: 2pm-6pm

Counsellors will man the phones and provide an outlet for men, who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse in their relationship, to speak confidentially with professionals who are trained to advise on domestic crime.”

Although this service is only available in Ireland, I encourage you to support a local movement to help abused men and boys in your area.

As always if you are in need, remember that YourHopeStore.com is here for you.

 

Unprecedented Domestic Violence Study Affirms Need to Recognize Male Victims

This is a reposting from 2013 Source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/5/prweb10741752.htm New York, NY (PRWEB) May 21, 2013 The most comprehensive review of the scholarly domestic violence research literature ever conducted concludes, among other things, that women perpetrate physical and emotional abuse, as well as engage in control behaviors, at comparable rates to men. The Partner Abuse State of Knowledge project, or PASK, whose final installment was just published in the journal Partner Abuse, is an unparalleled three-year research project, conducted by 42 scholars at 20 universities and research centers, and including information on 17 areas of domestic violence research. “Over the years, research on partner abuse has become unnecessarily fragmented and politicized,” commented John Hamel, Editor-in-Chief of Partner Abuse and PASK Director. “The purpose of this project is to bring together, in a rigorously evidence-based, transparent and methodical manner, existing knowledge about partner abuse, with reliable, up-to-date research that can easily be accessed by anyone. PASK is grounded in the premises that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not to their own facts; that these facts should be available to everyone, and that domestic violence intervention and policy ought to be based upon these facts rather than ideology and special interests.” Among PASK’s findings are that, except for sexual coercion, men and women perpetrate physical and non-physical forms of abuse at comparable rates, most domestic violence is mutual, women are as controlling as men, domestic violence by men and women is correlated with essentially the same risk factors, and male and female perpetrators are motivated for similar reasons. “Although research confirms that women are more impacted by domestic violence,” stated Hamel, “these findings recommend important intervention and policy changes, including a need to pay more attention to female-perpetrated violence, mutual abuse, and the needs of male victims.” Hamel also argues that men are not only disproportionately arrested in domestic violence cases, but sometimes arrested for arbitrary reasons, citing, for example, that police often arrest the bigger and stronger party in cases where the perpetrator is unclear. “Such policies are not only ineffective but violate people’s civil rights,” Hamel concludes. “People in the domestic violence field say that ‘it’s all about the victims.’ Well, the victim is not always the one hit, but sometimes the one arrested.” Read more about the Partner Abuse State of Knowledge Project, or visit the world’s largest domestic violence research database at http://www.domesticviolenceresearch.org for free access to thousands of pages summarizing 1,700 peer-reviewed studies. Watch an interview clip with John Hamel discussing PASK’s key findings and policy implications. For more information or to schedule an interview with John Hamel, contact Dara Salem at dsalem(at)springerpub(dot)com, or at 212-804-6236.