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Wellness with stronger roots. While this can work for healthy neural connections, emotions, and behaviours, in these cases it can also reinforce unhealthy ones, causing even further dysregulation in the nervous system. SRT® is a strength-based approach that works with where the person is in this moment—what has helped them survive and get through the events of their life so far. We use these resources along with specific therapeutic methods to increase resiliency, decrease symptoms, and ultimately bring a person into a regulated state where they experience hope, purpose, and joy. In working with depression and anxiety, it is apparent these two states often hold hands and appear in tandem. Feeling low or anxious is uncomfortable but not abnormal. It is normal and healthy to experience sadness when something emotionally painful happens, just as it is normal to sometimes experience anxiety. Where we want to start work is when a person is unable to return to a neutral baseline after a reasonable period of recovery. Often with depression, we might begin with looking back at a time when they weren’t depressed or imagining a time in the future when they aren’t any longer. As with retelling our painful experience, when we remember positive ones, or imagine future ones, our brain lights up in those areas, releases those chemicals that make us feel soothed, and starts to build new neural pathways around those when we connect it with sensation in the body. With anxiety, we are working with a brain that’s lit up in the areas prepared for a fight, flight, or freeze response, even when we aren’t in a life-or-death situation. The brain has lost its ability to differentiate something new or benign from a true threat to survival. In working with anxiety, we are looking for places in the body that are regulated, relaxed, connected, and supported. As we bring awareness to the areas where breath moves easily or the sense of connection with the chair we are sitting in, there is often a settling that occurs and those fired-up areas in the brain start to be quenched. When we find resource within the body, the mind follows. We can work through significant events or trauma that occurred prior to feeling depressed or anxious; SRT® even allows us to work simultaneously to help repair developmental ruptures. For both depression and anxiety, we are always bringing the content they are working on back to the felt sense. If a trauma like a surgery, major illness, car accident, or relationship incident preceded their depression or anxiety, we work through those to uncouple those experiences, often seeing symptoms improve. My practice philosophy is designed to support the whole person in a holistic and collaborative way. I recommend my clients have a recent check up with bloodwork to rule

Lifestyle Recommendations Exercise: Thirty minutes of exercise every day (particularly in nature) has been shown to be one of the single best things you can do for overall brain health, but particularly for overall mental health including depression and anxiety. This is in part because exercise promotes neurogenesis (the growth of new neural cells in the brain). Where areas of the brain shrink with depression, exercise provides a counter effect. Probiotics: Most of our serotonin is made in our gut, which is referred to as our second brain. Our gut is connected via the vagus nerve to the brain in our head and the health of our gut impacts the health of our brain through the gut-brain axis. In a recent study, women who consumed probiotics every day for two weeks showed over 50 percent improvement in their depression. Omega 3s: Quality omega 3 supplementation has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and support overall brain health. I have clients see significant improvements from probiotics, omega 3s and exercise alone in addition to the work we do in session. Diet: Reducing sugar, refined carbohydrates, and gluten can reduce inflammation in the body and brain. Ensuring regular meals that include a protein, carbohydrate, and healthy fat can help control blood sugar and the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis in the brain and reduce symptoms of anxiety, making it easier to regulate. out deficiencies that can give symptoms of depression and anxiety including anemia, low B12 (which often occurs with low iron), and problematic thyroid levels. From there we look at creating healthy, sustainable lifestyle practices including self-care, adequate sleep, good nutrition, and sometimes supplementation and referral to other, complementary health professionals when beneficial. With SRT® the goal is not to keep someone in therapy forever, nor do we need to work with every overwhelming event of their lives. The goal is to create enough room in their container for them to be able to experience life, with its ups and downs, and return to a regulated state on their own. We want to work beyond just symptom reduction and really help clients begin to experience joy in their lives. n

Counselling & Psychotherapy Self Regulation Therapy (SRT®) | Accepting New Clients voicemail 250-801-8272 Summer ‘15 - Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine


Okanagan Health & Wellness Magazine Summer 2015  

Welcome to our Summer 2015 issue. Find relevant articles to help keep you healthy and well!