The Meadows Blog

Thursday, 27 January 2011 19:00

Shelly Uram, MD in Scottsdale, Az

Shelley Uram, MD, Senior Fellow at The Meadows, presented on January 17th Free Lecture in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was so inspired by the presentation, that I wanted to share a bit about my experience. I have one word to describe Dr. Shelley Uram's presentation at The Meadows' Free Lecture in Scottsdale last night: amazing! I am sure I am not the only attendee still inspired by the outstanding lecture on trauma, addiction, and the brain.

Dr. Uram's professional training and expertise were complemented by the nonthreatening and compassionate manner in which she delivered the information.

During the presentation, Dr. Uram discussed Pia Mellody's model of Developmental Immaturity, which is used as the main treatment model at the Meadows Treatment Centers. She presented the five core issues of codependency which include problems with boundaries, self esteem, dependency, reality, and moderation and discussed the ways in which trauma affects each of these areas. Many people have been exposed to information about these five core issues and have learned about the negative impact of trauma on development due to its incredible success in helping people heal.

Dr. Uram took this information a step further and presented the ways in which trauma effects the development and functioning of the brain. As I listened to her explain how traumatic experiences can affect the various parts of the brain, I looked around the room and saw people starting to have a greater understanding of why we do the things that we do. Dr. Uram continued in her presentation and gave us a sense of hope when she discussed how we are able to actually change the structure of our brains with bottom-up treatment approaches so that we may live happier and healthier lives. I learned a great deal from this event and anxiously await additional presentations by this knowledgeable and charismatic speaker.

Thank you, Dr. Shelley Uram!

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 18 January 2011 19:00

Notes From Tucson

Notes From Tucson

Debra L. Kaplan
M.A., CSAT-3, EMDR-II

It was a sad day in Tucson, Arizona, as a lone gunman made a foiled assassination attempt on the state's Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords while she was conducting a meet-and-greet at a local supermarket. On that Saturday, January 8th Tucsonans and the greater nation became aware of the tragedy as the day unfolded. As the events became known we learned that 19 people were shot and six people were left dead.

The lingering question for most people is, "Why- why did this happen?" That answer or a variation of the truth may remain unsolved. However, the answer, with or without the facts is that an unstable mind coupled with aggression can be, and in this case was, a dangerous coefficient.

The fallout from this devastation will linger, certainly for the lives of those affected. On a broader scale, however, the damage remains with the potential for secondary trauma as we look on from the sidelines and are left to ponder our own lives and human fragility.

In the days since this tragic event I have noticed a strong need for people to share their thoughts and feelings on the topic. Regardless of their political or personal persuasion, one thing is clear to me. As communities lay witness to these events both within our own backyards and around the nation's landscape, I see signs of psychological distress due to the increasing frequency of senseless violence against others and our loved ones.

In the helping profession we know this to be vicarious trauma. Vicarious trauma (or secondary trauma) is a trauma response that results from the cumulative effect of contact with and exposure to survivors of violence or disaster. This can occur over a period of time with delay after days, months or years of direct or indirect contact. Those of us who work with and treat psychological trauma know that we are vulnerable to this condition and therefore, take steps toward increasing self care on a regular basis.

So it comes as no surprise to me that as our society is increasingly exposed to acts of violence certain individuals who already struggle with their own internal distress, inch that much closer to an inability to cope. Still, for others who are on the cusp of emotional fragility, their ability to stay functional might become greatly compromised as a result of an event or a series of events such as this and move toward an emotional unraveling.

One's ability to handle a traumatic experience(s) is not formulaic. Further, no two individuals will respond nor manage the distress in quite the same way. For some, violent acts such as this, will elicit a healthy call-to-action in the service of political or social change. For others these events might induce an emotional decompensation rendering them emotionally unable to function as before.
In the aftermath of a crisis or crises, an already fragile emotional structure is likely to become more vulnerable to the duress and re-experience an old, but, unresolved traumatic response. As the unresolved and underlying trauma is triggered, the response in the here and now can be physiological, psychological or emotional in nature. A few of those moderate signs and symptoms include: sadness, anxiety, social withdrawal, increased signs of depression, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, and anxiety to name a few.

Just how an individual copes is based on several factors; their internal strengths, available family/social support, and/or learned coping skills. Those individuals who have worked through their grief and loss due to trauma will have an easier time moving forward past an event. That event becomes a momentary pause versus a roadblock beyond which one is unable to move. When an individual continues to struggle with unresolved trauma they could have a strong identification with current crisis such as the shooting event in Tucson. Others' grief and loss becomes the catalyst for a re-experiencing of one's old trauma wounding.

For those that are struggling with this event or others that are traumatic I encourage self care in the following ways:

  • Seek support from your identified support system whether that be family or friends.
  • Attend 12-step groups to ensure ongoing sobriety for those in recovery.
  • Make mindful connections to the positive influences in your world.
  • Remember your personal connection with others and the love and support that your presence in their life brings.
  • Be of service to individuals who are in need. Giving of one self helps ensure an empathic connection in a time of need, both to your self and to others.

Last, it is always important to remember that reaching out for professional help when or if it is needed is an act of courage and strength. It takes a strong person to reach out for help and present oneself the gift of compassion, love and support.

Published in Blog

Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD

Trauma, Attachment and the Body
February 11, 2011

Universal City, California
In recent years there has been an explosion of knowledge about how experience shapes biology and the formation of the self. Within the disciplines of psychiatry and psychology, the study of trauma has probably been the most helpful in understanding the relationship between the emotional, cognitive, social, and biological forces that shape human development. Trauma research has revealed new insights about how extreme experiences can profoundly impact memory, affect regulation, biological stress modulation, and interpersonal relatedness. These findings, along with a range of new therapy approaches, have led to new and unexpected ways to help traumatized individuals. This lecture will present current research findings about post-traumatic responses at different developmental levels and in various domains, and will explore the treatment implications of these findings.

Learning Objectives
Participants will be able to:

  • Identify and discuss recent advances in the neurobiology of trauma.
  • Identify the ways in which somatic experience contains the imprints of the traumatic experience.
  • Discuss and demonstrate ways in which these imprints must be reprocessed for a successful treatment outcome.

About the Presenter
Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD, Clinical Consultant for The Meadows and Mellody House, is one of the world's foremost authorities in the area of post-traumatic stress and related phenomena. His research work has ranged from the psychobiology of trauma to traumatic memory, and from the effectiveness of EMDR to the effects of trauma on human development. He is professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and medical director of the Trauma Center in Boston, a Community Practice Site of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. The Trauma Center is one of the foremost training sites in the country for psychologists and psychiatrists specializing in the treatment of traumatized children and adults.

Dr. van der Kolk has published extensively on the impact of trauma on development, borderline personality and self-mutilation; cognitive development in traumatized children and adults; and the psychobiology of trauma. He's currently studying the effects of treatment on brain function, the effectiveness of EMDR, theater groups working with traumatized inner-city youth, and yoga. His most recent book is Traumatic Stress. He has taught in universities, hospitals and clinics on five continents.

Location
Hilton Los Angeles
Universal City
555 Universal Hollywood Drive
Universal City, CA 91608
818-623-1479
Self-parking at hotel is $9.

Schedule
Registration: 8:30 a.m. 9 a.m.
Lecture: 9 a.m. 12 p.m.
Lunch: 12 p.m. 1 p.m. (boxed lunch provided)
Lecture: 1 p.m. 4 p.m.

Earn 6 Continuing Education Credits

To register: http://www.themeadows.org/events/index.php?rm=event_details&param1=show&param2=144&

Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD
 

Trauma, Attachment and the Body
February 11, 2011

Universal City, California
In recent years there has been an explosion of knowledge about how experience shapes biology and the formation of the self. Within the disciplines of psychiatry and psychology, the study of trauma has probably been the most helpful in understanding the relationship between the emotional, cognitive, social, and biological forces that shape human development. Trauma research has revealed new insights about how extreme experiences can profoundly impact memory, affect regulation, biological stress modulation, and interpersonal relatedness. These findings, along with a range of new therapy approaches, have led to new and unexpected ways to help traumatized individuals. This lecture will present current research findings about post-traumatic responses at different developmental levels and in various domains, and will explore the treatment implications of these findings.

Learning Objectives
Participants will be able to:

  • Identify and discuss recent advances in the neurobiology of trauma.
  • Identify the ways in which somatic experience contains the imprints of the traumatic experience.
  • Discuss and demonstrate ways in which these imprints must be reprocessed for a successful treatment outcome.

About the Presenter
Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD, Clinical Consultant for The Meadows and Mellody House, is one of the world’s foremost authorities in the area of post-traumatic stress and related phenomena. His research work has ranged from the psychobiology of trauma to traumatic memory, and from the effectiveness of EMDR to the effects of trauma on human development. He is professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine and medical director of the Trauma Center in Boston, a Community Practice Site of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. The Trauma Center is one of the foremost training sites in the country for psychologists and psychiatrists specializing in the treatment of traumatized children and adults.

Dr. van der Kolk has published extensively on the impact of trauma on development, borderline personality and self-mutilation; cognitive development in traumatized children and adults; and the psychobiology of trauma. He’s currently studying the effects of treatment on brain function, the effectiveness of EMDR, theater groups working with traumatized inner-city youth, and yoga. His most recent book is Traumatic Stress. He has taught in universities, hospitals and clinics on five continents.

Location
Hilton Los Angeles
Universal City
555 Universal Hollywood Drive
Universal City, CA 91608
818-623-1479
Self-parking at hotel is $9.

Schedule
Registration:  8:30 a.m. – 9 a.m.
Lecture:  9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Lunch:  12 p.m. – 1 p.m. (boxed lunch provided)
Lecture:  1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Earn 6 Continuing Education Credits

To register:    http://www.themeadows.org/events/index.php?rm=event_details&param1=show&param2=144&

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 28 December 2010 19:00

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy & The Meadows

Upon arriving at The Meadows, many patients are charmed by the view of equine activities at nearby ranches. They frequently ask about having Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) as part of their primary treatment program. As a direct result of these requests, EAP is among the newest offerings coming to The Meadows. The initial challenge was finding a provider who was knowledgeable about both EAP and The Meadows' unique model of treatment. Molly Cook, LCSW, LISAC, has experience as a family and primary counselor at The Meadows, as well as at other addiction treatment centers; she also has been trained in EAP by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA). Working around horses since she was a teen, Molly has significant experience using EAP in her private practice. She now blends her EAGALA training and her experience with The Meadows' model into effective therapeutic sessions.

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy supports patients in recognizing the life patterns that create obstacles for them. By incorporating horses, EAP allows individuals to experience how those patterns play out with someone other than family or friends. Participants learn how to relate to others - and their own addictions - by interacting with horses. Horses are dynamic and living beings who have fixed roles within their herd, much like the roles in a family or group of friends. When humans are introduced to horses, they are incorporated into the horse herd and its social structure. In this joining, the horses start to recognize and reflect the unspoken emotions of humans, demonstrating exactly what human body language tells them. In this demonstration lie metaphors and lessons about the patients that can facilitate change. A healing bond encourages the recognition and change in behaviors. Because of the intimacy that can develop between humans and horses, positive results can start immediately.

For example, a recent patient was struggling with her role as a victim due to childhood traumas. By interacting with the horses, she was able to recognize her previous reality about herself and see that she was precious in her own right. Her role as a victim disempowered her; as she experienced EAP and gained more self-knowledge, her new confidence and skills enabled her to begin to see her own power. She was able to set boundaries, express her needs, share her feelings, and face her fears and anxieties - all without her previous coping mechanisms. Through interaction with horses, she gained the confidence necessary to use these new tools in her life. She gained a sense of self-trust and continues to use her newfound skills to build the self-assurance needed to face the issues of day-to-day life.

During treatment, new coping skills are taught to patients who need new ways to deal with past trauma and addictions. In EAP, these new coping skills are demonstrated, practiced, and reinforced. This experiential modality allows patients to utilize the knowledge gained at The Meadows. It then provides the opportunity to apply the tools learned in treatment to real-life situations. In addition, patients who are struggling with releasing old behaviors, ideas, patterns, and thoughts can be challenged with a new therapeutic technique that mirrors the reactions of those around the patient. The size of the horses allows patients an opportunity to overcome fear and develop confidence. While interacting with horses, patients have the ability to integrate boundary work and reinforce coping skills, such as expressing their needs or asking for help. They also develop intimacy with those around them. Patients who are resistant to letting go of old patterns or ideas can utilize EAP models to see the lack of control their old ideas bring into their lives. In treatment, patients gain information and knowledge. However, without practice, patients may not be able to make the necessary changes. EAP allows patients to enhance their new knowledge with experience that helps to solidify personal changes.

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is an experiential, interactive, hands-on mode of therapy that can help patients see any issues that have been blocking progress in treatment. With the dynamic medium of equine assistants, patients can see which ideas work and which don't.

Anyone can participate in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy; no prior horse or riding experience is necessary. It is completely safe; no riding is involved, and all activities are done on the ground under the supervision of equine professionals.

Published in Blog
Sunday, 26 December 2010 19:00

John Bradshaw: Discusses his work

The Meadows, America's premier center for the treatment of addiction and trauma, is pleased to present an 11-part video interview with John Bradshaw, senior fellow, world-famous educator, counselor, motivational speaker, author, and leading figure in the field of mental health.

In the 10th video of his series, Mr. Bradshaw talks about his long association with The Meadows and its people.

"When I was asked to come to The Meadows, I considered it an honor," he says. "They have some of the top people in the field."

He then describes some of those people and their contributions. Peter Levine, a pioneer on the impact of trauma on the body. Pia Mellody, whose intuitive genius and personal history helped make The Meadows’ treatment model accessible to non-professionals. Bessel van der Kolk, who shaped the field of PTSD. Maureen Canning, a leading expert in sex addiction and trauma.

"It's wonderful to be part of a class act," Mr. Bradshaw adds. "We give something to people, and they get something out of it."

Mr. Bradshaw has enjoyed a long association with The Meadows, giving insights to staff and patients, speaking at alumni retreats, lecturing to mental health professionals at workshops and seminars, and helping to shape its cutting-edge treatment programs. His New York Times best-selling books include Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, Creating Love, and Healing the Shame That Binds You.

Other videos in this series include interviews with leading experts in addiction and trauma, including Dr. Jerry Boriskin and Maureen Canning. View the videos at www.youtube.com/themeadowswickenburg.

For more about The Meadows' innovative treatment program for addictions and trauma, visit www.themeadows.org or call The Meadows at 800-244-4949

Published in Blog

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