The Meadows Blog

The Meadows, one of America's leading centers for the treatment of addiction and trauma, presents an ongoing series of videos featuring leading experts in the field of mental health, including Dr. Jerry Boriskin, Maureen Canning, and John Bradshaw, among others.

In the first installment of this series, Dr. Jerry Boriskin, senior fellow at The Meadows, introduces himself and discusses his 30-year career as a licensed psychologist and educator working in the fields of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co-occurring addictive disorders. (Co-occurring disorders exist in an individual who has one or more addictive disorders and one or more psychiatric disorders.)

"My passion is teaching about how PTSD and addictions work together," he explains.

Dr. Boriskin is an author, lecturer, and clinician with expertise in treating trauma, PTSD, and addictive disorders. He was an early advocate for the use of extended care and has developed two extended residential treatment programs for co-occurring disorders. He has authored several books, including PTSD and Addiction: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Counselors and At Wit's End: What Families Need to Know When A Loved One is Diagnosed With Addiction and Mental Illness. He currently is working on a book focusing on Complex PTSD, the most complicated type of post-traumatic stress disorder. The working title is Dancing With Demons: Why People With Complicated Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Live in the Past, Dread the Future, and Live in the Moment.

"I think that title captures the essence of a lot of what I'm trying to teach," he says.

To view Dr. Boriskin's video - and other videos in the series - see www.youtube.com/themeadowswickenburg. For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for PTSD and other disorders, see www.themeadows.org or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

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The Meadows London Free Lecture, Understanding Trauma and the Brain, presented by Dr. Shelley Uram on Wednesday 18 May 2011 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at The Cadogan Hotel 75 Sloane Street, Knightsbridge, London, SWIX 9 SG.

Join The Meadows' Senior Fellow, psychiatrist Dr. Shelley Uram for this fascinating and entertaining look into how our brains’ survival functions often interfere with our Authentic Self. It is through aligning with our Authentic Self that our capacity to experience life to the fullest is derived. Dr. Uram will help you discover "blocks" to your Authentic Self and show you what to do with them.

No registration required. For information on The Meadows or its London-based activities, please contact Jenna Pastore,National Community Relations Representative (eastern United States and international),at 001-815-641-2185 or email jpastore@themeadows.com.

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Free Lecture Series - Phoenix, Arizona - May 23, 2011

Charlie Atkinson, MA, MSW, LCSW will be speaking at The Meadows Free Lecture on May 23, 2011, at 7pm at the Scottsdale Chaparral Christian Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. Mr. Atkinson is a well known therapist who has been in private practice in the valley for many years, specializing in the treatment of trauma and anxiety disorders. Mr. Atkinson will present the topic of Understanding and Healing Your Pool of Pain. During his presentation, Mr. Atkinson will discuss the development of trauma as well as the grief process. He will present effective methods of working through pain and grief. Through this healing process, an individual will be able to find a sense of wholeness within themselves.

Contact The Meadows Arizona Community Relations Representative, Meagan Foxx, LPC, LISAC at 602-531-5320 for more information. No registration required. We look forward to seeing you.

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The Meadows, America's premier center for the treatment of addiction and trauma, is pleased to present an ongoing series of videos featuring the most prominent names in the mental health field, including Maureen Canning, John Bradshaw, and Dr. Jerry Boriskin, among others.

Maureen Canning is a clinical consultant and senior fellow at The Meadows. She also is a clinical consultant at Dakota, The Meadows' extended-care facility dedicated exclusively to the treatment of sexual addiction and trauma. In her introductory video, Ms. Canning discusses her relationship with the Meadows and her work treating sexual disorders.

"I came by this work honestly," she explains. "I'm a recovering person myself, and I have a lot of passion for the work that I do."

She continues, "There's a lot of stigma around this particular disorder, especially for women, so I feel blessed to support people around the recovery process and to see people make progress and move toward healthy sexual expression."

Other videos in the series by Ms. Canning deal with the nature of healthy sexuality, shame and sex addiction, what partners of sex addicts need to know, and other critical issues relating to the treatment of sexual disorders.

An internationally recognized lecturer in the fields of sexual addiction and trauma, Ms. Canning, MA, LMFT, has extensive experience treating sexual disorders. Her clinical experience includes individual, couples, and family counseling; workshops; educational trainings; and interventions. She is a level II EMDR-trained therapist, a certified hypnotherapist, and the author of Lust, Anger, Love: Understanding Sexual Addiction and The Road to Healthy Intimacy.

To view this and other videos in this informative series from The Meadows, see www.youtube.com/themeadowswickenburg. For more about The Meadows’ innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, see www.themeadows.org or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949.

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"It's enough," said the 64-year old.... "Something has changed. The world feels strange now. Even the way the clouds move isn't right." (Excerpted from an article on the 7.1-magnitude aftershock in northeastern Japan, USA Today, April 8, 2011.)

Dissociation: Personal Transition in a Chaotic World

Traumatic events set off a chain reaction of biological, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, and spiritual changes that can disrupt your entire sense of self and how you view things going forward. When your world is shaken and you no longer feel safe, you can lose your sense of identity. The resulting shifts in perspective and perception can cause a disintegration of your baseline ego.

Survivors of traumatic events say things like:
"I was so frightened, I stopped feeling. It was like I reached a point where I didn't care anymore if I lived or died."
"Once I got through this and accepted my own death, my fear went away. I was able to get through."
"It is odd; I would look at myself, look at my hand, and it was like it was no longer attached. Everything shifted from three dimensions to two; it is like colors disappeared, yet everything was intense. I can't really describe it; I just went numb. I became disconnected from my body."

Such shifts in perspective and dimensionality are a core component of dissociation, which tends to follow in the wake of absolute fear or panic. Permitting one to detach from emotion, it can be very adaptive. For instance, it can help soldiers to act as a team and follow orders. In Vietnam, many soldiers would recite a simple chant while doing horrible tasks: "Just another day, no big thing...." This helped to desensitize them, reinforce dissociation, and establish the numbness required for survival.

Dissociation also permits emergency room personnel to disengage from the horrors they see and do their jobs. ER workers who are “in touch with their emotions” may not be able to act as efficiently in a crisis as a focused, emotionally dissociated team. Optimally, rescuers need to perform first and process their emotions later.

Soldiers, healers, and survivors encounter problems if they cannot reattach to their bodies or emotions after the intensity diminishes. If they remain in a state of constant arousal, it negatively affects their sense of balance, communication, self-awareness, and connection to loved ones. Once your core is shaken, it is difficult to resume a "normal" perspective. Everything feels different. On one hand, things that upset others might not set you off. New crises are familiar, almost expected; they may even be welcomed or become "the new normal." Survivors often adapt well to overload. They feel comfortable, perhaps even comforted, within new arenas of challenge or intensity. This, in part, is why so many soldiers devastated by war would enlist again if offered the option. They get used to functioning well at the edge; it almost becomes addictive.

Paradoxically, little things can cause overreaction. A partner's complaint about a failure to clean the kitchen, for example, might result in a temper tantrum, a fit of righteous indignation, or a violent clash. The big things become little, and the little things become big. The new normal is numbness, punctuated by fits of rage or terror. In this "fifth dimension," everything is scrambled. You are numb and detached; nothing hurts. It's "just another day, same old thing...." Yet everything is different - even the clouds.

Dr. Jerry Boriskin is a Senior Fellow at The Meadows. He is an author, lecturer, and clinician with expertise in trauma, PTSD, and addictive disorders. Dr. Boriskin is a licensed psychologist and addiction specialist who recently resumed working with traumatized soldiers at the V.A. of Northern California. He is the author of "PTSD and Addiction: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Counselors" and co-authored "At Wit's End: What Families Need to Know When A Loved One is Diagnosed with Addiction and Mental Illness."

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