2018: Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You!

You matter. You make a difference. You are worth it. 

This year you get to take back your life. You get to show up in a way you have never shown up before. You get to live boldly, bravely, and passionately as your authentic selves free from every single burden that has ever held you back. We are all destined to fly free dear ones. All of us. We are the ones who stand in our own way. We may point the finger at our partners or loved ones or bosses or coworkers or parents or whomever and want to blame them. But we keep ourselves locked in a cage holding the key to our own freedom.  

The world has been waiting for you to be bold and brave. All the lessons that have led up to this year have shown you that your fear is just an illusion and you are more than capable of being the beautiful, successful, man or woman or non-binary person that your heart so desires. 

Embracing Another's Perspective in Sexual Recovery

I have always loved kaleidoscopes, especially since each time you turn them, the shapes change to form new images-new perspectives.

The changing shapes and design of a kaleidoscope remind me of the importance of being open to another's perspective in sexual or other type of recovery. 

Let me start by acknowledging that therapy is hard. It takes a lot of courage and bravery to commit to one's own recovery. With that said, I liken our therapy for sexual recovery to going to a cardiologist; you think you are having chest pains only to find out that you have actually had a heart attack. Meaning, clients often come in thinking their problematic sexual behavior or addictive behavior isn't "that bad" only to learn a different perspective from us, especially once we understand all of their symptoms including the impact, duration, frequency and intensity of their acting out.

Aromatherapy in Sexual Recovery and Trauma therapy

Why is it that when we smell certain scents we suddenly feel the emotions associated with a past event? You smell chocolate cookies baking in the oven and are instantly flooded with memories of Grandma’s house when you were young. You smell the delicious aroma of turkey cooking for Thanksgiving and start laughing because you remember the funny joke your uncle shared that made your dad spray his beverage all over the table because he was laughing so hard. Or, at other times,  you may find that a smell reminds you of something traumatic or scary in your life. Whatever the situation may be, scents and aromas play an important role in remembering past events in our lives as well as how we heal and recover.

Scents and The Brain: When we breathe in a scent, the scent travels through our nose straight to the Olfactory Bulb in our brain. The Olfactory Bulb then sends the information to different structures that play an important role in processing the information, including the amygdala (responsible for controlling our emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation). The amygdala is part of the limbic system. The limbic system houses different structures, including the hippocampus (responsible for long-term memory), the hypothalamus (responsible for the autonomic nervous system and releasing hormones), and the cingulate gyrus (responsible for blood pressure, heart rate, and attention). So when we smell chocolate chip cooking baking in the oven, we are instantly reminded of Grandmother’s house as a child and start to feel happy, excited, your heart rate increases, and you may even start to salivate in anticipating of eating a chocolate chip cookie. The smell of baking chocolate chip cookies activates the memory of being a small child at Grandma’s house and brings up the emotions associated with that event.

Phase 3 of Sexual Recovery: From Sexual Disconnect to Sexual Bliss

I have worked in the field of recovery with all ages and populations for close to twenty years. Throughout the years, my amazing clinical team and I have had the honor of healing generations from sexual and other addictions and aversions; women, men, couples, their parents (grandparents), along with their children. 

As our mission states: "At Namasté Center for Healing, we assist individuals in learning how to recover their true selves, their relationships, and their lives." Similarly, "Our vision is to help individuals, couples and families in achieving lasting recovery from addictions, aversions, and trauma so much so that the course of their lives are changed for generations to come."

One of the realizations I have had throughout the years is that if we only help people stop individuals addictive sexual behavior but don't have a phase in our program where we teach couples about healthy intimacy, sensuality and sexuality, we are only treating part of the whole person and coupleship. 

Tips for Couples to have a Healthy On-Going Relationship Detox

I tend to dislike food detoxes/cleanses because of my love of food as well as my tendency to get really cranky when I am hungry.  I also often feel tired and sick for the first 5 days of the process.  Yet, I admit, when I surrender to it, what I love about doing a food cleanse or detox is that after the yucky (body/emotional withdrawal) symptoms pass, my skin begins to glow, my mood improves, I feel mentally clearer, and I have a lot more energy. It resets my entire body, mind, spirit, and energy system. 

What if a food cleanse/detox had similar benefits as a relationship detox? First, when we hear the term "relationship detox" we tend to think it's related to a past relationship. Examples of comments people have made to describe their experience of a "post" relationship detox include,  "I am going to take a break from dating [my marriage, relationships]" or "I am only going to date myself for awhile" or "I need to focus on self care and figure out who I am before I am with anyone else." Interestingly with those individuals I have worked with  I think two out of hundreds were able to actually do this for a year (both were women and watching them transform was REALLY beautiful!).