Community Resources

Open Paths Psychotherapy Collective – low cost mental health options

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We just joined the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective in an effort to bridge the gap for affordable mental health services.  Check it out!  Heather’s profile is complete and offering 4 spots with 3 of 4 spots currently available.  Keep on the look out for other therapist’s from Art of Counseling on Open Paths.

“What Is Open Path?

Open Path is a collective of therapists who have generously agreed to provide in-office treatment for $30 to $50 a session. Open Path clients pay a one-time membership fee to work with an Open Path therapist at a significantly reduced rate. Because the rate is so low, clients gain back their membership fee after just one session. Open Path is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Many of our therapists also provide sessions online. Begin your search today.”

Other News

Pet Therapy: How Animals And Humans Heal Each Other – Reblog

NPR

Pet Therapy: How Animals And Humans Heal Each Other

March 05, 2012 3:44 AM ET

Those of us who own pets know they make us happy. But a growing body of scientific research is showing that our pets can also make us healthy, or healthier.

That helps explain the increasing use of animals — dogs and cats mostly, but also birds, fish and even horses — in settings ranging from hospitals and nursing homes to schools, jails and mental institutions.

Take Viola, or Vi for short. The retired guide dog is the resident canine at the Children’s Inn on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. The inn is where families stay when their children are undergoing experimental therapies at NIH.

Vi, a chunky yellow Labrador retriever with a perpetually wagging tail, greets families as they come downstairs in the morning and as they return from treatment in the afternoon. She can even be “checked out” for a walk around the bucolic NIH grounds.

Thelma Balmaceda, age, 4, pets Viola, the resident canine at the Children’s Inn on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. Families stay at the inn when their children are undergoing experimental therapies at NIH.

Melissa Forsyth/NPR

“There really isn’t a day when she doesn’t brighten the spirits of a kid at the inn. And an adult. And a staff member,” says Meredith Daly, the inn’s spokeswoman.

But Vi may well be doing more than just bringing smiles to the faces of stressed-out parents and children. Dogs like Vi have helped launch an entirely new field of medical research over the past three decades or so.

The use of pets in medical settings actually dates back more than 150 years, says Aubrey Fine, a clinical psychologist and professor at California State Polytechnic University. “One could even look at Florence Nightingale recognizing that animals provided a level of social support in the institutional care of the mentally ill,” says Fine, who has written several books on the human-animal bond.

But it was only in the late 1970s that researchers started to uncover the scientific underpinnings for that bond.

One of the earliest studies, published in 1980, found that heart attack patients who owned pets lived longer than those who didn’t. Another early study found that petting one’s own dog could reduce blood pressure.

More recently, says Rebecca Johnson, a nurse who heads the Research Center for Human/Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, studies have been focusing on the fact that interacting with animals can increase people’s level of the hormone oxytocin.

“That is very beneficial for us,” says Johnson. “Oxytocin helps us feel happy and trusting.” Which, Johnson says, may be one of the ways that humans bond with their animals over time.

But Johnson says it may also have longer-term human health benefits. “Oxytocin has some powerful effects for us in the body’s ability to be in a state of readiness to heal, and also to grow new cells, so it predisposes us to an environment in our own bodies where we can be healthier.”

Animals can also act as therapists themselves or facilitate therapy — even when they’re not dogs or cats.

For example, psychologist Fine, who works with troubled children, uses dogs in his practice — and also a cockatoo and even a bearded dragon named Tweedle.

“One of the things that’s always been known is that the animals help a clinician go under the radar of a child’s consciousness, because the child is much more at ease and seems to be much more willing to reveal,” he says.

Horses have also become popular therapists for people with disabilities.

“The beauty of the horse is that it can be therapeutic in so many different ways,” says Breeanna Bornhorst, executive director of the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program in Clifton, Va. “Some of our riders might benefit from the connection and the relationship-building with the horse and with their environment. Other riders maybe will benefit physically, from the movements, and build that core strength, and body awareness and muscle memory.”

On a recent day, one of the therapeutic riding program’s instructors — speech therapist Cathy Coleman — worked one on one with 9-year-old Ryan Shank-Rowe, who has autism.

Well, not really one on one. The co-therapist in this session was a speckled pony named Happy.

Cathy Coleman is a speech pathologist for the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program. She uses a horse named Happy in her therapy sessions with 9-year-old Ryan Shank-Rowe, who has autism.

Maggie Starbard/NPR

“Walk on” said Ryan, and Happy obediently did. “Excellent,” Coleman replied.

As the session progressed, Ryan made Happy trot, weave in and out of poles, and he even rode bareback, all the while answering Coleman’s questions and keeping up a continual back-and-forth chatter.

Coleman says she used to see Ryan in a more formal office environment. But since he started horseback riding, his speech has actually improved.

“I get greater engagement, greater alertness, more language, more processing, all those things,” she says. “Plus, he’s just really good at it.”

And Ryan’s mother, Donna Shank, says the riding has helped with more than just his speech.

“It’s helped his following directions, some really core life skills about getting dressed and balance — which really translate to a lot of safety issues, too.”

But not all the research is focused on the humans. “We want to know how the animals are benefiting from the exchange,” says Johnson of the University of Missouri.

Much of Johnson’s research, for example, has focused on the value of dog-walking by studying volunteers who walk dogs at animal shelters. She even wrote a book, Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound.

Those programs have clearly helped people get healthier, she says. Not only do they increase their exercise while they’re walking the dogs, “but it increases their awareness, so that they exercise more during the week.”

But it turns out the program was also helping the dogs.

“What we found was that they were significantly more likely to be adopted if they were in the dog-walking group,” she says, thanks to the additional exercise and socialization they were getting.

Johnson is now working on a new project with likely benefits for dogs and humans. Military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are providing shelter dogs with basic obedience training.

And while it’s still early in the research, she says, one thing seems pretty clear: “Helping the animals is helping the veterans to readjust to being at home.”

Now the research is getting an even bigger scientific boost.

The National Institutes of Health, with funding from pet food giant Mars Inc., recently created a federal research program to study human-animal interaction. The program, operated through the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, offers scientists research grants to study the impact of animals on child development, in physical and psychological therapeutic treatments, and on the effects of animals on public health, including their ability to reduce or prevent disease.

Johnson says it’s critical to establish the scientific foundation for the premise that animals are good for people, even if that seems obvious.

“The last thing we want is for an entire field to be based on warm fuzzy feelings and not on scientific data,” she says. “So it’s very important that now the NIH is focused on this … and it is helping scientists across the country like myself to be able to do our research.”

See more and the conversation!

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/03/09/146583986/pet-therapy-how-animals-and-humans-heal-each-other

Other News

Pets grieve too

Recognizing the symptoms of missing a departed owner or pal

July 23, 2013|By William Hageman, Tribune Newspapers
When a family pet dies, people grieve. But the reverse is also the case: When you go, your dog, cat or rabbit may grieve over losing you. And when a pet dies, a surviving pet may take it worst of all.

Pet grief exists. It’s not the same as the grief a person experiences nor is it as deep. It’s not present in every case. But it exists in ways recognizable to us.

The most evident manifestations of grief are a loss of appetite, social withdrawal or the frequent revisiting of places that were meaningful, according to Barbara J. King, a professor of anthropology at Virginia’s College of William & Mary who specializes in animal behavior.

King, the author of “How Animals Grieve” (University of Chicago Press), says that in some cases an animal’s response to a death can be explained by the pet being in tune with the surviving people in the house.

“We know with dogs, they’re so tuned in to our gestures and facial expressions,” she says. “There’s fascinating research that they’re more attuned than chimpanzees are, and chimpanzees are supposed to be the end-all and be-all of cognition. The problem comes in when some animal grief gets dismissed (on that basis). … The depth of an animal’s response and the length it lasts seem to go beyond responding to people in the home.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals did a still-quoted behavioral study in 1996 to gauge the degree of pet responses to the death of another pet. The survey asked about changes in eating habits, sleeping, vocalization, solicitation of affection and more.

In both cats and dogs, the survey found, the category showing most change was solicitation of affection. In dogs, 34 percent demanded more attention, 12 percent sought less, 24 percent became clingy/needy, 4 percent avoided contact with their human. Only 26 percent were unchanged. In cats, 38 percent sought more attention, 8 percent sought less, 20 percent became clingy/needy, 10 percent avoided contact, 23 percent remained unchanged. (Figures were rounded off.)

Eating habits showed considerable change, with 36 percent of dogs and 46 percent of cats eating less than usual following the death of a housemate. The observed decreased appetite lasted from less than a week to six months.

In their conclusion, the researchers wrote, “we can assure pet owners that signs of grieving are not uncommon in dogs and cats.”

“I don’t want to say dogs grieve, cats grieve, horses grieve,” King says. “I say some dogs grieve. Sometimes people contact me and say (they) had two dogs and one died and the other didn’t grieve — why not? It’s animal individuality … the survivor’s relationship to the dead, the survivor’s personality. Sometimes animals recover quickly or do not grieve at all, but I think they grieve for us.”

Grief isn’t limited to cats and dogs, King found. “It was very surprising to me how much rabbits grieve. Ducks too. There was a duck rescued from a foie gras factory who had a duck friend die, and it didn’t survive the friend’s death. There can be a slow decline and death.”

If you suspect a pet is grieving, provide extra attention and love for your pet. King also suggests letting the survivor see the body if possible.

“Lots of animal people on farms and in homes do this now,” she says. “Sometimes the survivor seems to get a sense of closure. You have two close pets, friends, one goes to the vet and … doesn’t come back. … If it’s possible, let them smell the dead animal, see it. It might help. Or get a clipping of fur from the animal at the vet and let the survivor smell it.”

Bringing a new animal, a young animal, into the home has been shown to rejuvenate an older pet. But in the case of grieving, it might be best to let things run their course.

“Animals do love,” King says, “and we know one of the risks of love is grief.”

bhageman@tribune.com

Chicago Tribune Article

Art Therapy, Other News, Psychology

Color Therapy & Healing – An Introduction

From Art Therapy Blog

It is everywhere you look, and everywhere you don’t look. You delight in its marvels both consciously and sub-consciously. You see color all the time, but how often do you think about its origins and effects? In a series of articles, we are going to explore this topic further. With this first article, we’ll go over some basics of color therapy and healing. You can read the next 2 articles here: 1) Color Meanings and 2) Color Psychology. You can also download our color meaning and symbolism charts.

Topics covered in this article:

  1. What is Color?
  2. An Introduction to Color Therapy
  3. A Brief History of Color Therapy

What is Color?

As most of you know, color is light and energy. Color is visible because it reflects, bends, and refracts through all kinds of particles, molecules and objects. There are a variety of wavelengths that light can be categorized, producing different types of light. Visible wavelengths fall approximately in the 390 to 750 nanometre range and is known as the visible spectrum. Other wavelengths and frequencies are associated with non-visible light such as x-rays & ultraviolet rays. Most people are aware of the effects of non-visible light, so it makes sense that visible light would also affect us.

One example of the way light can affect us is a mild form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which causes many people suffering during winters.

An Introduction to Color Therapy

Color therapy and healing (also known as chromotherapy or light therapy) is a type of holistic healing that uses the visible spectrum of light and color to affect a person’s mood and physical or mental health. Each color falls into a specific frequency and vibration, which many believe contribute to specific properties that can be used to affect the energy and frequencies within our bodies.

While it is common knowledge that light enters through our eyes, it’s important to note that light can also enter through our skin. Given the unique frequencies and vibrations of various colors, people believe that certain colors entering the body can activate hormones causing chemical reactions within the body, then influencing emotion and enabling the body to heal.

Colors are known to have an effect on people with brain disorders or people with emotional troubles. For example, the color blue can have a calming effect which can then result in lower blood pressure, whereas the color red might have the opposite effect. Green is another color that may be used to relax people who are emotionally unbalanced. Yellow, on the other hand, may be used to help invigorate people who might be suffering from depression. (We’ll dive deeper into specific colors in a future article.)

Alternative therapies also believe that a person’s aura contains different layers of light which can be used for cleansing and balancing. Knowing the colors in your aura can help you better understand your spirit, and thus help you better understand how to heal. Additionally, the colors surrounding you can also have various effects.

A Brief History of Color Therapy

It’s no mystery that the sun and its source of light (or lack thereof), can have a profound effect on us. Thousands of years ago, some countries began exploring color and its healing capabilities. Egypt, Greece and China are known for their forays into color healing and therapy. A few examples include:

  • Painting rooms different colors with the hopes of treating certain conditions.
  • Utilizing colors in nature in their surroundings (blue from skies, green from grass, etc.)
  • Healing rooms that utilized crystals to break up sunlight shining through.

There is evidence of people attempting to use color for healing and therapy from as far back as 2000 years. And it has gained in popularity throughout the years, with numerous books being written about it, including Johann Wolfgang Goethe who studied the physiological effects of color. As we mentioned though, many people are skeptical about using color and light for healing or therapy.

Stay tuned for upcoming articles over the next few weeks where we’ll introduce color meanings and symbolism, how we see color, and the various effects of specific colors.

Does color affect you? Let us know in the comments.

Other News, Psychology

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently – ReBogg

By Carolyn Gregoire

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.

Read more about “18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

Community Resources

NAMI | Advance Directives

Advance Directives

by Ronald S. Honberg
National Director for Policy and Legal Affairs


Jane, a 36-year-old woman suffering from schizoaffective disorder, is very frightened. In the past, her experiences in public psychiatric hospitals have been very traumatic. The last time she was hospitalized, the psychiatrist responsible for her treatment could hardly speak English. When she tried to explain that she didn’t want to take certain medications because they exacerbated her tardive dyskinesia, he either didn’t understand her or dismissed her as someone who was not capable of speaking in her own behalf. He prescribed Haldol to her, which, in fact, was one of the medications she didn’t want to take. She describes her hospitalizations as terrifying, dehumanizing experiences. “It’s not that I’m opposed to psychiatric treatment”, she says. “I know that I need treatment for my brain disorder. But, I’m not willing to accept treatment when I am given no say in how I am going to be treated. I would rather go to jail or become homeless again than to have to go back to the hospital.”

Mr. and Mrs. Smith have seen this happen so many times before. Their son, John, who suffers from schizophrenia, has stopped taking his medication. This, they know, will lead to gradual decompensation, with potentially horrendous consequences. Each time, they must stand by and watch their son deteriorate until he becomes so ill that he meets the state’s criteria for involuntary commitment and forced treatment. Each time, they worry that their son may not survive this episode. They worry that he will commit suicide or will be hurt by someone else because of bizarre and unpredictable behaviors stemming from his untreated severe mental illness. They also hate having to go to court to involuntarily commit their son. These periods of decompensation are particularly agonizing because their son, when he is doing well, has expressed on numerous occasions his understanding of his need for treatment and his appreciation of his parents for intervening when he is helpless and unable to help himself. Yet, when he goes off medications, he shuns his family, denies his illness and his need for treatment. “There must be a better way,” Mrs. Smith sighs. “I can’t bear to stand by and watch John suffer this way.”

These vignettes describe two scenarios quite familiar to persons with severe mental illnesses and their families. Consumers frequently experience situations in which they are given little control over important treatment decisions. Families just as frequently are frustrated by having to stand by and watch their loved ones deteriorate and suffer.

Psychiatric advance directives have recently emerged as potentially helpful tools in resolving these problems. There are essentially two types of advance directives. Instruction directives”, such as living wills, provide specific information about treatment and related wishes of individuals drafting them (declarants) should they lose capacity to make these decisions on their own. “Proxy directives” assign “health proxies” or “health care powers of attorney” to individuals entrusted to act as substitute decisionmakers should declarants lose capacity to make their own decisions. Frequently, advance directives combine both of these forms, blending specific instructions about healthcare preferences with identification of individuals assigned “health proxies.”

Continue reading….

NAMI | Advance Directives.

Other News

OPEN HOUSE: Invigorate Life Counseling Office

Invigorate Life Counseling

Please join Melanie Vinton, Katie Mohr,
Karin Regan, Heather Matson, and
Kathleen Beddow to celebrate our
new office space, network and socialize
with fun people!

Tuesday, June 18
4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
@
Invigorate Life Counseling, pllc
651-983-3879
1154 Grand Ave Suite 2

St Paul, MN 55105