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How Can Art Therapy Help Adults Address Childhood Trauma?

How Can Art Therapy Help Adults Address Childhood Trauma?

Here at Flourish Psychology, we believe that each individual deserves their own approach for addressing their mental health. For some, that is cognitive behavioral therapy. For others, it might be EMDR. Each situation is different.

There are situations where an individual may benefit from what’s known as art therapy, which involves communicating and addressing issues through various artistic mediums. Art therapy provides a unique approach for adults seeking to address and heal from childhood trauma.

This therapeutic practice integrates the creative process of art making with psychological treatment, offering a non-verbal pathway to explore and express feelings that may be too difficult to articulate with words.

How Art Therapy Can Help Us Uncover Hidden Emotions and Memories

It can be very difficult to express our emotions or experiences with words, no matter how hard we try. In addition, childhood trauma also often involves experiences that are buried deep within an individual’s memory, sometimes inaccessible through conventional verbal therapy methods. Art therapy allows individuals to:

  • Express Unspoken Emotions – Through the creation of art, individuals can express feelings that they cannot easily discuss or may not even be consciously aware of.
  • Revisit Memories Safely – Art provides a buffer or a ‘safe distance’ from direct recollection of traumatic events, enabling individuals to explore their past with less intensity and more control.
  • Process Emotions Slowly – Art takes time. By helping the person create or recreate their feelings, they are also tasked with processing it in a way that is slow, safe, and less emotionally charged.

Art therapy can also help us understand ourselves better as we go through these emotions. How we process and discuss the art can be revealing as a way to better understand ourselves.

The Process of Art Therapy

Art therapy is conducted by one of our experienced and trained art therapists, who ensures a safe and supportive environment. The process involves:

  • Art Creation – Individuals use various mediums such as drawing, painting, sculpture, or collage to create artworks that reflect their personal experiences and emotions.
  • Reflection – The therapist helps the client reflect on the artwork produced, discussing the possible meanings and associations elicited by the art.
  • Integration – Through regular sessions, insights gained from the art and discussions are integrated into the individual’s understanding of their trauma and self.

Art therapy is a highly regarded form of therapy, and one that requires special training. Flourish Psychology in New York City has experienced art therapists to help with this approach.

Benefits of Art Therapy for Childhood Trauma

Art therapy offers several benefits for adults dealing with the aftermath of childhood trauma. Creating art helps individuals understand hidden aspects of their feelings and reactions, leading to greater self-awareness and insight. Art therapy provides a safe outlet for the expression and release of complex emotions associated with trauma, such as anger, sadness, or fear.

Through art therapy, individuals learn coping strategies to manage emotional distress and build resilience against future stressors. The therapeutic process can facilitate a transformative journey from trauma-induced suffering to emotional healing and recovery.

Start Art Therapy in New York City with Flourish Psychology, Today

Art therapists are trained to handle sessions with a trauma-informed approach, ensuring that they are sensitive to the triggers and psychological states of their clients. At Flourish Psychology, we believe that our therapy must be tailored to the individual’s specific trauma history and emotional needs, acknowledging that each person’s path to recovery is unique.

Art therapy can be an effective standalone treatment or part of a broader therapeutic plan, including talk therapies like CBT. By engaging the creative process, individuals can unlock emotional blockages, revisit and reinterpret their past, and move towards a more integrated and wholesome future. For many, art therapy is not just a treatment but a transformative experience that provides deep personal growth and recovery.

If you’re interested in pursuing art therapy to address trauma that you’ve experienced in childhood or adulthood, please contact Flourish Psychology, today.

How Can Art Therapy Help Those Struggling with Infertility?

How Can Art Therapy Help Those Struggling with Infertility?

The journey to parenthood is not always straightforward. Many couples face challenges when trying to conceive, which can lead to a range of emotional struggles including stress, disappointment, and a sense of loss. Infertility can deeply affect one’s mental health, impacting both individuals and couples as they navigate this complex and often painful path.

Here at Flourish Psychology in New York City, we have several evidence based therapeutic techniques we can use to address a person’s mental health, such as CBT and DBT, and together we determine what modalities make the most sense for you.

One that we may recommend for those that are struggling with infertility may be art therapy. Art therapy has been shown to be a helpful way to address infertility related issues, and is one of the many options that we have available here at Flourish Psychology.

Exploring Art Therapy as a Supportive Measure

It can be very difficult on both a couple and on an individual when they are struggling to conceive. It’s not necessarily a specifically diagnosed mental health issue (in the sense that it may not be a diagnosable condition, like depression or anxiety), but it is still extremely hard both emotionally and psychologically, and can cause substantial distress in a person’s life.

That is why art therapy is seen as useful. Art therapy is a processing and personal exploration tool. It allows an individual and their therapist to have guided conversations about worries, stresses, and other concerns related to infertility and parenthood, and then gives you strategies and tools to work through it. Advantages of art therapy include:

  • Emotional Expression and Processing – Art therapy provides a unique medium through which individuals can express and process complex feelings about infertility. Creating art can help articulate the sadness, anxiety, or frustration that often accompanies fertility struggles, offering a release and a way to work through these emotions.
  • Stress Reduction – Engaging in artistic activities is known to reduce stress levels, which is particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with infertility. Stress can theoretically negatively impact fertility, so finding ways to manage it is important. Art therapy offers a soothing, meditative practice that can help lower stress and promote a sense of peace.
  • Improving Coping Skills – Through art therapy, individuals can develop stronger emotional resilience and coping strategies. It teaches ways to handle setbacks and disappointments, which are common in the journey towards becoming parents.
  • Enhancing Relationship Dynamics – For couples, infertility can strain relationships. Art therapy can be a joint activity that helps couples communicate their feelings and strengthen their bond, making them feel more connected and supported as they face infertility together.
  • Support for Decision Making – Infertility often involves making difficult decisions regarding treatment options or considering alternatives such as adoption or surrogacy. Art therapy can help clarify thoughts and emotions, aiding in the decision-making process.

While art therapy does not treat infertility physically, it offers significant emotional support, helping individuals and couples navigate the psychological impacts of infertility. For those exploring therapy to help address infertility, art therapy is one technique that may be beneficial. For more information about infertility in NYC, contact Flourish Psychology, today.

Phone Addiction Therapy in NYC with Flourish Psychology

Phone Addiction Therapy in NYC with Flourish Psychology

Being present, happy, and productive is important for our mental health. At Flourish Psychology, our team of therapists is available to work with patients that struggle with this, whether it’s caused by anxiety, depression, or more recently: phone addiction.

Phone addiction can be a surprisingly challenging problem that affects relationships, parenting, and happiness. Flourish Psychology can support your “recovery” from phone addiction and help you reclaim control of your time. Based in Brooklyn, our therapists can address the causes of the addiction, what’s holding you back, the emotions created by too much phone use, and more.

If you are struggling with phone addiction in NYC, please contact Flourish Psychology today at 917-737-9475 or fill out our online form to get in touch with our team.

About Phone Addiction and Therapy

Most of us are on our smartphones too often. Based on our own analytics, about 75% of the people reading this are reading this from their phones. Most of the activities that we used to do in person or via computer now take place on small, handheld technology that we keep with us in our pockets.

But this type of technology is different.

Studies have shown that excessive smartphone leads to anxiety, depression, poor happiness scores, and – depending on what a person does online – issues like low-self esteem, eating disorders, and relationship difficulties.

Smartphone addiction is an addiction. People cannot seem to help checking their phones and spending time on there, and may experience withdrawals or anxiety if they put their phone away. Many also find that they get irritable when questioned about their cell phone use.

This addiction can have many causes and can also cause many additional difficulties:

  • Some people are overwhelmed by life and work and use their phone as a crutch to escape, without any other coping mechanisms.
  • Some people get addiction to scrolling social media, always looking for the next laugh, story, or “likes.”
  • Some people work too hard, and their phone becomes a tool they feel they need to be on at all times to manage their work life.
  • Some people find they crave the feedback and attention of likes, shares, and other engagement on social media in a way that occupies their time and thoughts.

There are any number of reasons that a person might find themselves become addicted to their phone, but the effects can be very real and very difficult. People may struggle with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, parenting difficulties – all while the time they do have in the day to care for themselves and enjoy life gets sapped away.

It’s easy to understand why many people would benefit from a therapist for phone addiction.

Phone Addiction Therapists for Mental Health

Therapy is about addressing our mental health to live happier and emotionally/psychologically healthier lives. It’s about reclaiming our time and our happiness, and not allowing anything to stand in the way. That is why it can be helpful to speak to a therapist about phone addiction, and why it is so valuable to know that you have someone that can help you get your time back.

Through therapeutic approaches, like CBT, we can work on helping you find ways to put the phone down and keep it down. Our therapists also specialize in conditions like trauma, anxiety, relationship difficulties, and disordered eating – all the issues caused by phone addiction. We can make sure that not only are you no longer on the phone as often, but you’re also feeling happier again and finding yourself free to pursue passions and be present in your life.

Start Today with Flourish Psychology

Phone addiction causes issues, and can also be a symptom of other problems. If you’re someone that feels like you’re on the phone too often and would benefit from a therapist to help you re-claim your time again, contact our therapists at Flourish Psychology today.

Examples of What the Art in Art Therapy Might Tell a Therapist

Examples of What the Art in Art Therapy Might Tell a Therapist

Art therapy may sound like it’s about the art itself. But it’s not about so much more than that. Art therapists undergo extensive clinical training to be able to read and understand a person’s artistic expression in ways that can say so much about what a person is feeling, what they’re struggling with, and so much more.

You’ve likely heard that art is a form of expression. One of the reasons it’s capable of doing that is because there are themes in what a person’s psychology says about them in their art. It’s why, while much art is open to interpretation, most of us can get similar feelings about a piece of art if we see it and recognize themes if we know where to look.

What are some examples?

We want to limit the number of examples we share because we do not want it to influence a person’s art. We want everything to flow from you genuinely. However, some examples might include:

  • If a person uses bright colors in certain types of paintings, it may mean that they’re showing signs of anxiety and agitation. However, in other settings, it may be a sign of contentment and excitement.
  • Recurring symbols may have meanings. For example, if a person consistently adds fences to a drawing, it may indicate that they’re feeling trapped or guarded.
  • Lines that are more unnecessarily jagged might indicate a person is feeling frustrated or angry, while lines that flow more might indicate that the person is thoughtful and calm.

Because we want the art to be genuine, we are careful to not direct you. While art therapy is guided AND we discuss the art together, it is meant to be your expression and come naturally, so we encourage anyone considering art therapy not to look up meanings too much before their sessions.

Nevertheless, it’s important to understand that this type of therapy and interpretation is extensively studied, and your art therapists deeply know how to assess and understand what you create. If you are struggling, and would like to explore an alternative approach to more widely known mental health options might benefit you, contact Flourish Psychology, today!

How Can a Psychotherapist Help with Chronic Pain?

How Can a Psychotherapist Help with Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is a pervasive issue that affects millions, significantly impacting quality of life and overall well-being. While traditional medical treatments focus on the physical aspects of pain, it is often psychotherapists that can play a key, important role in the patient’s ability to manage pain.

A psychotherapist, through various therapeutic approaches, can offer substantial support in coping with the emotional and psychological dimensions of living with chronic pain.

The Link Between the Mind and Body

Chronic pain is not just a physical experience. It is an emotional and cognitive one as well. The mind-body connection plays a crucial role in how pain is perceived and managed. Different emotions can increase pain. Pain can also be exacerbated by thoughts and attention, and can be worse when a person has mental health struggles as well.

A psychotherapist can help unravel this complex interplay between the brain and body, providing insights into how psychological factors like stress, anxiety, and depression contribute to the amplification of pain sensations and giving tools and strategies to patients whose pain is impacting their quality of life.

Therapeutic Approaches in Pain Management

Psychotherapists employ a range of therapeutic techniques to address chronic pain. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is a widely used approach that helps individuals identify and modify negative thought patterns and behaviors that exacerbate pain. By fostering a more positive outlook and adaptive coping mechanisms, patients can alter their pain experience.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques – Techniques such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation can reduce stress and tension, which are often linked to increased pain.
  • Biofeedback – This technique involves training patients to control physiological processes such as muscle tension, heart rate, and blood flow, which can contribute to pain levels.

Somatic therapy is also an approach that we use here at Flourish Psychology. Somatic therapy specifically addresses the mind/body connection, and provides tools and techniques to help them both communicate and function properly.

Addressing Emotional and Psychological Causes of Pain

Living with chronic pain often leads to emotional distress, including feelings of anger, sadness, or hopelessness. A psychotherapist can provide a supportive space to explore these feelings, offering strategies to manage emotional responses and improve mental health. This emotional support is integral to holistic pain management, increasing resilience and enhancing quality of life.

Effective coping strategies can then play an important role in managing chronic pain. A psychotherapist can help individuals develop and strengthen these strategies, including:

  • Pain Acceptance – Learning to accept pain as a part of life, without letting it define one’s identity or dictate life choices.
  • Activity Pacing – Teaching patients how to balance activity and rest to avoid pain flare-ups and maintain functionality.
  • Social Support – Encouraging the maintenance and development of supportive relationships to provide emotional support and reduce feelings of isolation.

Chronic pain is a multifaceted issue that requires a comprehensive approach to management. A psychotherapist can play a vital role in addressing the psychological and emotional dimensions of pain, complementing medical treatments. Through various therapeutic techniques, psychotherapists help individuals navigate the complexities of chronic pain, promoting coping strategies, emotional well-being, and an improved quality of life.

If you’re struggling with chronic pain, consider exploring how psychotherapy could be part of your holistic pain management plan. Contact Flourish Psychology today to get started.

Why it is So Important Not to Self-Diagnose in Psychology

Why it is So Important Not to Self-Diagnose in Psychology

We live in a world with considerable information right at our fingertips. We can find information on nearly anything, especially in the medical field, where we can find the symptoms of the most obscure diseases or learn details about treatments otherwise only provided by those with Ph.Ds.

But this information can cause its own challenges. Most of us are familiar with what was once called the “WebMD Effect,” where a person convinces themselves they have a rare disease because their symptoms match what they find online, only for it to be something like the common cold.

Mental health can be similar, though the risks are different. Depending on your symptoms, you may be able to figure out what condition you struggle with – for example, if you have panic attacks, and the symptoms match, you probably have panic disorder – but self-diagnosing carries its own unique risks, which is why it is so important to speak with a professional.

Risks of Self-Diagnosis of Mental Illness

It’s first important to realize that, while it may be loosely possible to understand your mental health challenges, it’s also possible to be wrong. Depression, for example, can be triggered by anxiety where anxiety is the primary mental health challenge, not the depression. Some conditions, like binge eating disorder, can also be misunderstood.

But even if you can generally tell what mental health challenge you have, there are other issues that make it less ideal to self-diagnose. These include:

  • Meaninglessness of Labels – Labeling something “anxiety” or “depression” can be useful for insurance agencies, but for each individual it is often too broad a label to specifically describe their symptoms. Labeling yourself with that type of condition misses the wide range of symptoms and experiences people have, and potentially cause you to misunderstand parts of yourself.
  • Adopting the Identity – Some people also fall into the trap of adopting a mental health challenge as an identity. They see they have “depression” and they view the rest of their behaviors as though their depression defines them. They try to understand more about themselves through the depression and through other things they read rather than truly take the time to better understand their own behaviors.
  • Trying to Self-Treat – Self-diagnosis can also lead to self-treatment, which is typically not the best idea. Remember, even within specific disorders, an individual’s experience can vary considerably, and the way you address treating the disorder may be dramatically different from someone else’s if you hope to have real breakthroughs.
  • Treating One But Not Others – Many people struggle with more than one condition, known as “comorbidity.” But many people stop diagnosing themselves after they’ve discovered the first condition, and try to treat it without addressing other, concurrent conditions.

In our work, we also often find that people that self-diagnose will also delay treatment, treat themselves using incorrect beliefs, or otherwise look for someone to treat them based on what they read rather than what they need.

Remember, a “condition” like anxiety or depression is just a broad name for a number of unique experiences. Symptoms may have similarities, but causes, expressions, challenges, and solutions can vary so much that a self-diagnosis doesn’t necessarily provide you with what you need to move forward.

Instead of self-diagnosing or worrying about the name of your mental health challenges, the most important thing is to recognize that you can benefit from help. Once you make that determination, give Flourish Psychology a call today.

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