Positive Psychology and Positive Neuroplasticity relate to the scientific study of the strengths that each of us inherently have, and the power of our minds. Science shows us that we can actually change our brain in ways that will promote more of the feelings we want to be experiencing, and allow us to respond more adaptively to uncomfortable situations, thoughts, and emotions. Through gained awareness and the cultivation of specific skills and practices, we can actually create permanent structural change in our brain, which can lead to an increase in desired feelings and behaviors. I find this an incredible resource for people who are feeling stuck in their efforts to overcome discomfort with themselves, their life experiences, and their emotions.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) is a specialized approach for treating trauma and compulsive behaviors. According to the EMDR International Association in 2016, EMDR accomplishes effective treatment of trauma and unwanted behavior by “setting up a learning state that will allow experiences that are causing problems to be ‘digested’ and stored appropriately in your brain. That means that what is useful to you from an experience will be learned, and stored with appropriate emotions in your brain, and be able to guide you in positive ways in the future. The inappropriate emotions, beliefs, and body sensations will be discarded.” Prior to being trained in EMDR, I felt that there was something missing in my treatment of trauma, addiction, and people’s distorted perceptions. In my opinion, EMDR fills this gap by allowing us to address the aspects of trauma and adversity that are stored in the body (sensory information) and often hidden from awareness.
Narrative Therapy focuses on separating people from their problems, allowing us to find hope in the realization that we do not have to be defined by our history, our emotions, or our thoughts. This approach assists us in developing a more balanced and advantageous view of our experiences and ourselves.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy combines acceptance and mindfulness strategies with behavior-change techniques in order to help us learn to better respond to difficult situations and feelings. We learn to not fear our emotions, and how to not react in undesirable ways in response to uncomfortable emotional states. This approach assists us in identifying our values (what is most important to us in life), and then moves us toward living a life in accordance with those values, rather than in accordance with our volatile emotions.
The Gottman Method is a therapeutic approach used with couples, which allows the couple to manage conflict more effectively, create ways to support one another’s dreams and desires, and become better friends through greater understanding and awareness of nine specific components of healthy relationships that research shows are present when romantic relationships are thriving.