The research has shown that the type of counseling only accounts for a small percentage of the possible growth that can be the result from entering into a counseling relationship. We would like to give you the frame of reference which we use so you can start to develop an idea of the difference seen with Rising Phoenix Counseling Services, LLC. These modalities are the tools or lenses that we can use to explore your unique situation, but which tool we use will depend on your own comfort level and individual preference.
THE BACKBONE TO OUR LENS: THOUGHTS, FEELINGS & ACTIONS
Our therapeutic philosophy begins with the idea that every person has been raised by their family of origin and taught to use certain skills in order to handle the stressors of life or to make sense of how the world works. These skills become our default way of handling stressful situations because it is most familiar, but can often be dysfunctional and sometimes ultimately does the opposite of what we had originally planned for it to do. As we become adults, we then get to make the choice of which skills we would like to keep and which skills we would like to stop using. In order to do this, we will become very in-tuned with how your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interrelated. Even our most automatic reactions have a cause and effect dynamic which can be explored and in turn altered. By increasing your awareness of the relationship between these ideas, you can then increase your ability to intentionally choose how you would like to modify the ultimate consequences within your control. This tool is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. The benefit of using CBT is the development of measurable goals which can help to track the progress that is made during the course of counseling.
ANOTHER FACET TO OUR LENS: RATIONAL CHOICES
We also believe that we have inner dialogue which can be helpful or harming to our sense of self. During therapy we will look at the inner dialogue and analyze how rational (or resourceful) our thought process actually is. Once we have brought awareness to areas of our thought process which can hinder growth and balance, we can change our inner dialogue to reflect the kind of dialogue we want to have about our self and the world. The changes in our thought pattern then change the way we feel about who we are and what we think about the events that happen to us. Finally, our thoughts again shape our behaviors in order for us to maneuver through the world in the most rational way. This form of therapy is called Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy or REBT. This new rational way of looking at the world is considered our new sense of normal or what we aspire to as a result of counseling. The transition to the new sense of normal does take time and sometimes we do fall back into old patterns of functioning, and this is completely normal and expected from counseling. We want to stress that the back fall is not something to be ashamed of as when we start to grow again, we will have more knowledge and skills when compared to our first attempt. With every step forward, we increase our confidence to continue moving forward down the path of healing.
THE FACET OF RESPECT, EQUALITY & EMPOWERMENT
Another contributing factor to our therapeutic lens is the idea that we interact with our environment and experience different levels of power differentials. We experience these power differences depending on our age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, relational preference, job description, religious background, socioeconomic status, organizations in which we are involved with, and much more. By exploring the power differences in our lives we believe that we can start taking back our power through assertiveness, increased insight, and empowerment. Our ultimate goal is to give you the tools that you need in order to change your own life as we foster a healthy and differentiated relationship. We strive to creating and maintaining an equal relationship with you, for you are the expert in you. We trust in your own ability to keep yourself safe and to be resilient no matter what challenges you are faced with. We are also committed to including you in the process as much as possible through answering your questions and concerns by being as transparent as possible. We do not see the point in keeping secrets from the individuals that we work with. We always appreciate feedback for how the process if effecting you as well through daily session rating scales and verbal feedback. This form of therapy is called Feminist Theory.
UNDERSTANDING, INCLUDING, & WORKING FROM THE FACET OF TRAUMA INFORMED CARE
We have a very strong orientation surrounding trauma informed care. This means that we will never ask what is wrong with you, but try to understand what has happened to you. This allows us to see you as a person instead of a set of symptoms. This also includes an in depth understanding of working with trauma in a way which is not retraumatizing. Imagine that every time we have an instance which we feel is outside of our coping, it creates a new wound. If this wound is not handled properly, it can become infected, develop a scar, or ripped open for no reason. We take great care with these wounds to ensure that we gently clean it to allow for proper healing. In order to do this effectively, we stress the importance of knowing skills to handle the stresses associated with processing past traumas including a firm stance in being present while processing the past hurts. We never want to throw you into deep waters, without teaching you to use a life vest.
We want to stress that we will never ask you to open up that past wound without the intention of offering some relief from the past hurt. In most cases, we don’t know the details of a traumatic event until a few months of therapy when we are ready to process what has happened. The details are not as important as the way in which it is effecting you here in the now. We will explore that is not working in the present, giving you tools for your tool box, and allowing you to first regulate your internal world before embarking on any exploration of the past trauma.
Language is such an embedded part of this process and can truly change our thought process. For this reason, we will carefully choose the language that we use during the counseling process to ensure that we can develop a new dialogue for the way in which you see the world. Together, we will create the most comfortable way possible to help you understand what has happened in the past while creating a new story for you as you rise from the ashes.
BEING THOUGHTFULLY AWARE OF THE WHOLE YOU: THE BODY, EMOTION, SPIRIT, & BRAIN CONNECTION
During our work, we will be mindful of including your whole person in order to provide you with a sense of integrity as we rebuild your sense of being. We will include many different types of techniques in order to allow you to become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and body. There is really no way for us to only explore one of these facets of what makes us a complex being without looking at the others. There is much research that shows a strong mind/body connection, meaning that one affects the other. By integrating the body sensations, our mind, spirit, and thoughts; we can create a full picture of how you uniquely work as a person. This knowledge allows you to take back control over the sometimes overwhelming experiences by asking yourself what you need at a given moment.
Along with the increase understanding of how your body works, we can explore how the past hurts that you are experiencing could be manifesting in physical ways. For example, physical pain maybe a sign that some unresolved trauma is trying to stay in the subconscious. It could also manifest as the thoughts that we have affecting our bodies. We will explore both possibilities and look for ways in order to create a more integrated sense of self.
GETTING RID OF THE MONSTERS IN THE CLOSETS: ALLOWING THE BRAIN TO PROCESS WHAT HAS HAPPENED NATURALLY
Once we have created a new sense of stability, we can embark on a way to allow the brain to naturally process the past traumas without the use of medications through a therapy is called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy or EMDR. EMDR therapy uses the brain’s natural way of processing through REM sleep by mimicking the eye movements found in sleep. As we sleep, the rapid movement of our eyes allows for our brain to process over everything that has happened the previous day. This process works most of the time, however, this process does not have the ability to process traumatic memories. The types of events can be seen as major traumas ("Big T’s") or a sequence of little traumas ("Little T’s").
When we have trauma, the memories become frozen in our mind as our body shuts down unnecessary functions in the body via the fight/flight/freeze response. We can look at this process as our body’s way of channeling our energy in ways to keep us safe in order to survive. These memories become fragmented, are not able to be processed through the brain’s natural processing system, and eventually become improperly stored. Many of these memories may not be able to be recalled but come out in other forms. Some examples of unprocessed memories may include: body sensations, intrusive memories, triggers, nightmares, overall sense of not feeling good about ourselves, or physical pain.
These frozen memories causes triggers in which we associate a certain event with danger to our physical or emotional safety, even when we are not in a dangerous situation. EMDR therapy has been thought to unthaw these memories and allowing the brain to reprocess what has happened. The goal is to allow no more residual negative associations with the past traumas and instilling a more resourceful thought pattern. For more information surrounding EMDR, please check the EMDR National Institute website at EMDR.com.
CREATION OF NEW STRATEGIES: NEUROLINGUISTIC PROGRAMMING
Neurolinguistic Programing (NLP) is an ideology in which we can train our brain to act in a certain way in order to operate from the most resourceful state. This ideology stresses the use of strategies or “recipes” which have been proven to create a desired outcome. For example, if you wanted to change a certain type of relationship from having the same patterns in the future, you could implement the system to explore the current way of interacting. Through this new knowledge, you can see how we can change the way in which we show up in order to change the outcome of the interaction in the future. This ideology introduces a system in which we can live in the most helpful way for us to choose how we want to show up by increasing our compassion for our behaviors along with the behaviors of others, increasing our ability to face challenges in our life, change our perception of the challenges we face, reduce our reactivity towards triggers, working with resistances we might have, and even get past some of our strongest least resourceful beliefs.
Through NLP, we can better understand how your body processes information via submodalities and tailor the treatment to allow for the most impact. For example, if you orient with the visual submodality, we can tailor our interventions to work with this strength for a more rich experience. This ideology is a very holistic approach in which we use your mind, brain, body, language, and soul to create forward movement in a very intentional and thoughtful way.
FINALLY IN SYNTHESIS AND INCLUSION OF YOU
Although these facets are the different tools that we bring to the counseling room, but you get the chance to show me what works best for you. We value your individualism by creating a very personalized experience for you in a way that truly speaks to your way of thinking and is within your own internally natural process. We will always strive to see the world through your eyes, and never assume that we know what you mean without asking for clarification first. We hope that together we can create the best possible counseling experience for you as we explore your past hurts.