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Appointments Available 

 
Call or TEXT us at:
541-868-2004
PortlandEugeneCorvallis and Bend Appointments
Most of our sessions continue to be telehealth-only.
Talk to your provider for more information.
Schedule an Online Appointment

Pro Bono Sessions for Those in Need


Several of our therapists are volunteering to provide pro bono and reduced fee sessions to people in need.

If you know of someone who has been negatively impacted by recent events, please encourage them to reach out to us at BLM@eugenetherapy.com or BLM@oregoncounseling.com so we can connect about the availability of sessions with our clinicians where cost is not a barrier.
 

Thank you for standing up for mental health, for social justice,
for equitable health and for a brighter, more secure future. 

In this issue:

Insurance Covers Telehealth


Most insurance companies are continuing to cover telehealth and will likely do so through at least the end of the year. Your safety and the safety of our staff and the entire community is of paramount importance. With few exception, our sessions continue to be via telehealth. Contact us anytime for questions or talk to your therapist. Contact us at info@eugenetherapy.com or info@oregoncounseling.com.

Thank you for working with us through these challenging times. We are honored and are always here to help.

Managing Somatic Anxiety


What is Somatic Anxiety?

We all manifest anxiety in different ways. For some people, anxiety is experienced mostly in the mind (for example, through feelings of fear or confusion, disturbing thoughts, or difficulty focusing). But for others, it is experienced mainly as physical symptoms. When anxiety affects your body more than your brain, it’s referred to as somatic anxiety


How Can I Tell If I Have Somatic Anxiety?

Usually, anxiety manifests in both mental and physical ways, but people generally experience more or stronger symptoms of either cognitive or somatic anxiety. Symptoms of somatic anxiety include: 

  • Pain (such as stomachache, headache, or muscle aches)

  • Nausea

  • Sweating

  • Shaking or muscle tension

  • Increased heart rate

  • Rapid breathing or hyperventilation


How Can I Manage Somatic Anxiety?

Not surprisingly, people with somatic anxiety often respond better to body-related treatments than to cognitive techniques. Here are just a few techniques you can use specifically for somatic anxiety. 

  • Massage can relax your muscles, relieve tension, and put you in a more relaxed state of mind. If you are unable to get a massage due to COVID-19, consider asking your partner or even try self massage.

  • Exercise has a proven positive impact on mood and contributes to the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which is known to enhance mood. Exercise has also been shown to reduce the risk of major depression.

  • Yoga can be adapted to nearly any level of fitness and flexibility. Gentle yoga promotes calm by keeping the heart rate low while still allowing you to stretch your muscles and relieve aches and tension. 

  • Meditation might sound like a cognitive treatment, but by focusing on your breathing, you can calm your body and teach yourself to breathe through anxiety and discomfort. 

  • Laughter is great therapy. Find a favorite comedian to listen to, or play with pets or young children—you’ll find that laughing is a quick way to reduce anxiety and boost your mood. 

  • Do something enjoyable with your hands, such as whittling, painting, or crochet, to bring your body into a calm, focused and relaxed state.  

 

While people with somatic anxiety tend to respond best to treatments that target the body, that doesn’t mean there’s no place for other types of therapy. Counseling and talk therapy can help you to identify your symptoms and learn new ways of dealing with them. Plus, having a counselor or therapist, even for a short time, can help you to stay disciplined in using somatic anxiety management techniques until they become a habit you can easily fall back on. 

Because anxiety often manifests in both the body and the mind, it’s useful to try several different techniques until you find the ones that work best for you to better manage anxiety.


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Improve your Relationship


Practical Advice from the Gottman Institute

Nearly every couple will go through a phase where it feels like their relationship is in trouble. Fortunately, repairing and strengthening your connection isn’t as difficult as you might think. Sharing life with another person requires certain skills. And many of us didn't receive 'relationship training' in school or 'relationship modeling' from our families of origin. Nevertheless, like any skill, learning to maintain your emotional bonds with each other is something that can be learned. Here are 7 ideas from the Gottman Institute that can help you improve your relationship.
 

Seek Help Early

Most couples who experience problems in their marriage deal with unhappiness for several years before seeking counseling. Nearly any relationship can benefit from professional counseling, so don’t wait until your marriage is in trouble before you reach out for help.
 

Practice Kindness

Being kind to one another is important for any successful relationship. Be sensitive to your spouse’s feelings, and practice being kind and respectful instead of critical. This may sound simple, but it's important to treat your partner with the very kindness and support you would like reciprocated. 
 

Learn How to Communicate

There will be arguments in any relationship, but disagreements can be handled in a mature way when partners learn how to bring up concerns without engaging in blame or being contemptuous of their spouse.
 

Accept Influence from Each Other

Effective relationships require give and take from both parties. Be willing to listen to the other person, offer help and encouragement, and make adjustments to please each other. Accepting influence doesn't mean disregarding your own needs, it simply means demonstrating to your partner that you are an ally who is willing to live a life of connection -- which sometimes includes reasonable compromise.
 

Hold Each Other to High Standards

People tend to rise to what’s expected of them, so have high expectations of one another. If you both have low levels of tolerance for unkind behavior, it’s more likely that both of you will rise to higher standards and commit to nurturing your relationship and each other.
 

Create Plenty of Positive Interactions and Dwell on Them

For every one negative interaction, a healthy relationship needs five positive interactions deposited into its emotional bank account. These interactions can be small things like a smile, a kind word or acknowledgment. But research has shown that these positive interactions actually inoculate a couple from the impact of negative interactions.

Intimate partnerships can be challenging, but it’s both possible and rewarding to build a meaningful life together, and to establish a relationship based on mutual trust, love, and intimacy.
 

 Please be sure to check out the video below that succinctly summarizes Gottman's The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. 

 
Here is a helpful video summary of the Gottman's 7 principles. 

Pandemic Parenting

Resources for parents


Being holed up at home is not easy. Here are two concise articles with ideas for managing the stress

Managing the Sea of Uncertainty

 

There is an old axiom from family therapy quarters: 'The way in which you are trying to fix the problem actually contributes to more problems.'  

This is especially true for how we often attempt to manage uncertainty. In other words, when it comes to uncertainty, sometimes the way we try to manage it IS the problem. Let's face it, not knowing something can elicit fear and anxiety and a nearly unending attempt to 'figure things out'. During this current time of health, social and financial concerns, the not knowing -- or uncertainty -- is plaguing many of us.

Unfortunately, the well-intended way we try to manage the anxiety of things like: "Will there be a vaccine? Will I get sick? Will schools re-open? Will I lose my job or health benefits? Will I be discriminated against? Is my family in danger?", often results in more of the same (understandable) feelings of unease and worry. 

As challenging as these times are, uncertainty isn't something we can solve, but it is something we can manage. There are ways to 'hack' our response. There is no guarantee that the following ideas will be 100% effective, but there is a likelihood that not following them will could to continued distress.
 

Act on the Outcomes you Can Reasonably Anticipate

​We don't know if or when there will be a COVID-19 vaccine, but we can reasonably anticipate it won't be within 120 days. We can also reasonably anticipate that social distancing, handwashing and mask wearing will be with us for some time. While our brains would like to have exact dates and exact information, we don't need the exact information as much as we think in order to take care of ourselves, and demanding this information of ourselves is bound to contribute to internal distress (because we just don't know yet). This isn't to say we can't advocate for public health improvements, but it's important to our daily mental health for us act to on things we can reasonably anticipate and reasonably control.
 

Cut Back on News Consumption

The 24 hour news cycle is often just an advertisement for the 24 hour news cycle. ​Not all, but much of the commercial news is designed to sell products and services (commercials). We need far less news updates than we have been lead to believe and limiting news and media consumption can allow us to put things in perspective and limit worry.
 

Practice Mindfulness

There is no doubt that there are many legitimately concerning things going on today, the COVID pandemic, racism, oppression, school uncertainty, economic inequality; to name a few.  Practicing mindfulness techniques won't cure these societal ills. But mindfulness will help train your brain to notice that in this moment 'you are okay'. Worry about serious topics can lead to your mind generalizing that concern into an immediate flight or fight response. And as serious as these issues are, mindfulness can help train your mind to notice that in this moment, you are safe. Our website offers lots of articles on simple ways to be more mindful. Here are a few:

Insert and Give Yourself Plenty of Breaks

In physical exercise, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is based on the idea that ​your body can handle bursts of intense exercise better than you think, as long as you mix it up, and move from one circuit or muscle group to the next. Similarly, inserting even small breaks in your day can help you break out of dwelling on uncertainty, ground you and increase your daily emotional tolerance. Taking a walk around the block, listening to music, stopping what you're doing to do 10 pushups or jumping jacks, phoning a friend, are all simple ways to use a brief break to take your mind off the stuck track of dwelling on uncertainty. 

You don't need to be perfect and you don't need to solve every problem today. ​Sure, you can certainly get motivated and activated to engage in community change projects, voting rights, racial justice or other advocacy causes. But all change must start with self-awareness and self-kindness. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. You are worthy of kindness and happiness. Here are some reminders of ways to practice self-kindness:

 

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Call or TEXT us at (541) 868-2004
for Portland, EugeneCorvallis & Bend Appointments
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