Dr. Robert Heller’s Mind-Body Newsletter
“Life Skills for Better Living”
Welcome to my occasional newsletter featuring tips, strategies news and information from the world of psychology and my experiences in applying them to improve myself and the lives of others.
In addition to my private practice in Boca Raton, Florida, I have taken on the new role of being a consultant to an intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment center in Pompano Beach, Florida. My role is to aid clients in recovering from past traumas that are thought to trigger relapses when they leave treatment. I use EMDR to process past traumas and hypnosis to strengthen and reinforce healthy coping skills.
I will also be a part of a “concierge” type in-home treatment program that provides comprehensive treatment to individuals in the safety, convenience and comfort of their natural living environment.
I continue to work with athletes, performers and business people in developing “peak performance skills” and to provide clinical services to those suffering from anxiety, depression and related emotional and life stressors.
As I grow in my knowledge and practice of Eastern practices such as yoga and tai chi, I am able to provide my clients a holistic approach to well being.
Hypnosis continues to provide clients suffering with stress related medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, tinnitus and bruxism, hope and help in returning to a pain free and more normal life.
Look for blogs on my website in the coming months.
THE ROLE OF TRAUMA IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE RELAPSE
The high relapse in those seeking freedom from drugs and alcohol abuse has led to the realization that many individuals get into drugs and drinking due to experiencing trauma in their lives. Often times, this issue has not been recognized or adequately addressed by treatment centers. As a result, individuals leave treatment “appearing” fixed but are still in reality, “broken”.
More recently, treatment centers are recognizing that trauma needs to be evaluated and treated concurrently with treating the substance abuse. EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is known to be one of the most effective treatment strategies for trauma. As a result, more facilities are offering this modality to their residents. To be effective, EMDR must be given by someone who is certified and experienced and sessions must be offered long enough and often enough for the process to be successfully completed. Brief or too few sessions are not likely to resolve complex traumas.
THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT
Often times, clients turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to deal with physical and/or psychological pain. For example, many male substance abusers are socially anxious and use drugs and alcohol as a way to feel more comfortable with others and to “fit in”. Initially, I focus on helping clients learn to relax through hypnosis and then recognize and modify their negative thoughts that lead to the anxiety in the first place. Hypnosis can often assist in strengthening newer and healthier ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.
PRO TENNIS- THE U.S.OPEN
Great lessons from watching the men’s matches: The great Roger Federer, down 2 match points against a young Frenchman who was on fire and playing “in the zone”: Never give up and don’t let down. Federer fought back to win the third set and then took the next 2 to win the match. Remember the words of the New York Yankees famous catcher, Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
The other lesson from the open is. “ Don’t be intimidated by someone’s reputation or what the ‘oddsmakers’ are saying.” Just ask the lessor known player who outplayed Federer to win the semi finals in 3 straight sets or the Japanese kid who took down the world’s number 2 player, Novak Djokovic in a tough but convincing 4 set victory. These guys have learned the lesson to be “confident in yourself, play your hardest, stay focused and enjoy the ride!”
RELAXATION TIP- 5-COUNT BREATHING
One of the best ways to relax is to do 10 rounds of 5-count breathing.
Start by exhaling out the air completely.
Begin a long, slow, deep inhalation through your nose while counting up from 1 to 5 at the rate of a count per second.
Hold the breath for 1 second.
Exhale through the nose for a count of 5.
Repeat 9 more times.
Do this 3 times a day and notice the difference in your body and mind.
Until next time,
If you know someone else who’d be interested in receiving these mailings on mind-body skills and peak performance trainings, please encourage them to sign up through my websites, http://www.mentalskillstennis.com, http://www.cognitivetherapy.cc or send an e-mail to email@example.com with the subject heading, “ATTN: add to e-mail list”.
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Dr. Robert Heller’s Mind Body Newsletter
“Strategies for Improved Performance in Sports and in Life”
Athleticism, Talent and Mental Toughness Win at the SONY Tennis Tournament
No surprises this year: Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and the Bryan brothers; all winners this tournament with their lethal combinations of skill, experience, physical and mental strengths. Most athletes, even world class, don’t train hard enough or smart enough mentally and emotionally to develop the winning edge in tough matches. Remember, it is not practice that makes perfect, but Perfect Practice that makes Perfect. Include mental skills training in whatever you do and you will improve your chances for success.
Three Types of Thinking
This month, I worked with athletes from golf, tennis and baseball. What they all had in common was an excess of negative thinking and a deficit in positive and self-instructional thinking. Negative thinking, “I stink, I can’t believe I missed that,” “What’s wrong with me,” etc., just leads to getting further down on yourself and becoming more helpless and less focused. Positive thinking provides energy with a “can do “ attitude. “It’s OK. I can play better, come back and win this game.” Self-instructional thinking provides “focus”. “Keep your eye on the ball. He likes to serve to your backhand so look to run around it and pound the forehand cross court.”
Changing your thinking can change your mindset, mood and performance. Practice it both on and off the playing field and see results with the positive change of how you feel and behave.
Last month I attended an interesting program by Dr. Jared Pingleton, the author of “Making Magnificent Marriages”. The author brings 37 years of marriage counseling to the table as a licensed psychologist and priest. The product of a divorced family himself, he has been married for 27 years and raised four boys in the process. The book is written from a heavy conservative Christian perspective and many references and quotes from the bible are interspersed with psychological research and activities geared to improve a marriage such as caring, commitment and communication.
A proponent of pre-marital counseling, a requirement for couples getting married from his congregation, Dr. Pingleton quotes that studies indicate those who complete pre-marital counseling are 80% less likely to get divorced. However, there is no distinction made among those who remain married as to the level of satisfaction within those marriages or if they stay together for various reasons but are far from happy or satisfied. (The current divorce rate in the US is about 50%. )
CEO’s Secret to Decision-Making: Total Silence
This was the title of a recent article in the Wall Street Journal which chronicles the transformation of a wealthy successful but type A personality to one who embraces yoga meditation, periodic retreats at a monastery and a vegetarian diet. According to the article, “Throughout his company’s growth, Mr. Keledjian made time to run, take spin class and kick box. I was burning calories and releasing endorphins but none of those activities brought me inner peace.” Can you say “Namaste”?
I admit I have not yet jumped on the “meditation” bandwagon although I do practice yoga regularly and teach/practice forms of deep breathing throughout the day. I also eat a plant-based diet about 80% of the time.
Heading to New Mexico next month to explore some of the Indian culture and perhaps visit the famous Ghost Ranch, a retreat near Taos. I think it’s great to plan time to get away from our normal routine and expose ourselves to different cultures and experiences.
In May, I will be presenting a talk on “Public Speaking” to the members of the Florida Division of the United States Professional Tennis Teachers Association. Public speaking is a vital skill in improving confidence and performing well in school and in many jobs and careers. My previous talk on this topic to Palm Beach Psychological association was very well received, so off I go to Port St. Lucie to carry on!
Until next month,
Dr. Robert Heller
If you know someone else who’d be interested in receiving these mailings on mind-body skills and peak performance trainings, please encourage them to sign up through my websites, http://www.
Please forward all questions, feedback and comments to Dr. Heller at email@example.com
Spread the knowledge: Share this newsletter with family, friends and colleagues (http://cognitivetherapy.cc/
Dr. Robert Heller’s Mind Body Newsletter
“Strategies for Strengthening the Mind and Body”
Quote of the Month
“Men are disturbed not so much by things as by the view they take of them” – ancient Greek Philosopher This quote became the cornerstone for one of the most important psychotherapies ever developed, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy or REBT for short. REBT was the brainchild of the late, great psychologist, Dr. Albert Ellis, who founded REBT more than 60 years ago. Now, REBT and CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) are among the most effective therapies of all time for relieving psychological suffering. I recently visited the new home of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City located just 20 blocks from its former location. No longer housed in the magnificent old brownstone building, the new facilities still provide 9 treatment rooms for clients, train 6 post doctoral fellows each year and a lecture room for workshops and the continuing tradition of Dr. Ellis’s public Friday night workshops. I have continued to practice REBT for almost 40 years in addition to offering hypnosis, EMDR and yoga related practices to provide a holistic experience for my clients to not only feel better but to get better and stay that way. In Memoriam: Dr. Arnold Lazarus Dr. Lazarus was one of the pioneers of the Behavior Therapy movement. He recently passed after a 6-year struggle with illness. I had the good fortune to attend a number of workshops by him over the years, which greatly formed my therapeutic approach with clients. I still use his “multi-modal” assessment ideas in my work with client and am strongly influenced by his 1981 publication, “The Practice of Multi-Modal Therapy”. Dr. Lazarus wrote a number of very readable self-help books that I still use with clients today. A gentle, soft-spoken man, he was a giant in the field of psychology and although he will be sorely missed, his great contributions to the field of psychology will surely live on. What’s the play of ACT? ACT stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Originally introduced by psychologist Dr. Steven Hayes some twenty plus years ago, ACT seems to have borrowed a lot from the Eastern traditions and philosophy of yoga and mediation and blended it with a number of traditional cognitive behavior methods. The essence of ACT is about being in the present moment with your thoughts and feelings rather than trying to avoid or change them. Rather than dwelling on them, the individual learns to non-judgmentally observe them and let them pass by without reacting to them. I use parts of ACT in my clinical work with particular clients and have found it to be a helpful approach in a number of situations. The Worry Epidemic Seems to me that more and more of us are worrying about more and more things. In my self-help pocket sized guidebook, “Dealing with Worry”, I list 23 common worries along with tips and methods that you can use to both reduce worry and be less bothered by it. “ Dealing with Worry” and my other self-help guidebooks help you and other’s better understand common life problems and provide useful ways to better cope with them. They make great gifts for the holidays. For details, visit the products section of www.cognitivetherapy.cc Happy holidays! Dr. Heller If you know someone else who’d be interested in receiving these mailings on mind-body skills and peak performance trainings, please encourage them to sign up through my websites, http://www.
Dr. Robert Heller’s Mind-Body Newsletter
“Strategies for Practical and Emotional Problem Solving”
Quote of the Month “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Seuss One of the most common sources of distress is caring too much about what other people might be thinking of you. Basing your feelings of self worth on the opinions of opinions or approval of others is giving away your power. Consider taking your power back and when you judge yourself judge only your behaviors and actions and not your entire self worth. Cultivate the art of self-acceptance! Book of the Month “Getting Past Your Past” by Francine Shapiro, Dr. Francine Shapiro Dr. Shapiro is the creator of EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, one of the most powerful methods for helping individuals overcome serious trauma. This is the first book devoted to presenting EMDR directly to the pay person and is a great addition to anyone considering seeking professional EMDR therapy for trauma and related issues. Caution: Trauma and post-traumatic stress are complex conditions and should be evaluated and treated by a professional. No self-help book should be used alone without consultation with a mental healthcare professional. Article of the Month What Maintains Angry Behavior? Anger is a normal emotion that can be helpful or hurtful. When anger is experienced or expressed excessively or inappropriately, it is important to understand what maintains angry behavior and what you can do to change it. Anger, like all emotions is based largely on the perception or interpretation of events. For example, if you have a strong belief that others must treat your “fairly”, when they invariably don’t treat you as you feel they “should,” you will likely experience anger. Learning how to recognize negative beliefs and disputing them is an effective method for reducing anger. Anger is also maintained by the consequences of its actions. For example, suppose you have a rule that your child can only have his or her ice cream if he eats his dinner. Your child doesn’t eat his dinner and you say no ice cream. Your child yells and screams and you give him the ice cream. You have now trained your child to get angry and throw a tantrum to get what he wants. In this case, parents need to apply principles of learning to reduce rather than increase anger. A third factor that maintains angry behavior is being overwhelmed with a chronically high level or stress. Such individuals have a very small cushion of resiliency and are easily overwhelmed. Learning stress management strategies can better insulate them to tolerate stress and be less overreactive. For more tips and strategies on understanding and managing anger in yourself and others see my guidebook, “Anger Management” available on the products section of my website, www.cognitivetherapy.cc . News and Events There are several new blogs posted on the website and for those interested in sports my sports website, www.mentalskillstennis.com has been updated with new articles including a posting on Sports Parenting. Next month I will be attending a 3-day symposium featuring some of the top psychologists and therapists in the world. I believe in lifelong learning and look forward to continuing to grow and improve as a professional, for the benefit of my present and future clients.
Dr.Robert Heller’s Mind-Body Newsletter
“Strategies for Peak Performance in Sports and Life”
Quote of the Month
“The memory has to be used as a springboard from which you can ask yourself what more can you do than you did yesterday?” B.K.S. Iyengar This quote from the 94 -year old yoga master highlights the importance of looking forward and following a path of continuous self-improvement. Book of the Month Light on Life by B.K.S.Iyengar This book shares the wisdom of a revered yoga master and the founder on the Iyengar style of yoga followed by millions of practitioners the world over. The book is part autobiographical, part an interpretation of the ancient yoga sutra’s and in large part a philosophy and path towards leading a healthy life, physically, mentally and spiritually. Not a quick or easy read but an interesting one. I found I got more out of it the second time around than I did the first. Overcoming Fears and Phobias This past week I administered myself a dose of “exposure based therapy” to get through a long-standing “fear of heights” that I have had for many years. To be more accurate, it is a fear of “falling” from a very high place. Most of the time, it is not a problem for me at all. I am reminded of my discomfort when I am riding a horse up or down a steep mountain side, climbing or walking across a narrow path on a tall hill, looking down from a window on top of a skyscraper or riding in a car as it goes around hairpin turns ascending or descending a steep, narrow road with ample ruts and few guardrails. The feelings get triggered as I share with my taxi driver my plans to visit a nature preserve in the North. He tells me he would not go himself because the roads are so bad. I get more anxious as I read the description of the tour and zeroed-in on the part that says the trip is “not for the faint of heart”. To counter the growing fear and anxiety, I breathed deeply, reminding myself that if was such a dangerous trip, most people would not go and you would likely have to sign waivers and disclaimers. I speak to several people who have done the trip who assure me that it is “not bad”, the tour drivers are experienced and do it every day and everyone has come back in one piece. Having prepared myself for the worst, I was pleasantly surprised to find the narrow and windy roads in good shape, the driver skilled and appropriately cautious and a fair amount of guardrails at key points along the way. I find I don’t have to engage in deep breathing or distract myself with music or by talking excessively to the driver, but can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the ocean from high above and the spectacular canopies of green trees around us as we make our way to our tour destination. While I don’t see bungee jumping in my future plans, I do feel less anxious and more encouraged for my next adventure in the mountains. News and Events I recently attended the state convention of the Florida Psychologists Association to keep up with my skills and connect with old and new friends and colleagues. We take at least 40 hours of lectures and workshops every two years to keep up with the latest research and methods to help clients improve their mental and emotional health and well-being. As a specialist in helping people with social anxiety, I am honored to have been chosen as a referral source for the Andrew Kukes Foundation for Social Anxiety, an organization dedicated to help the public better understand the seriousness of social anxiety disorders and serving as a resource educating professionals in this area. For additional information, go to www.akfsa.org. Since Andy Murray, this year’s winner of Wimbledon has indicated that part of his success was due to his work with a sports psychologist, I am offering a special deal for coaches and athletes wanting to improve mental and emotional skills. Order 1 copy of my mental conditioning training program at the regular price and get a second copy for free! Available for this month only on the products page of my website, www.cognitivetherapy.cc. Until next time.
Dr. Robert Heller’s Mind- Body Newsletter
“Strategies for Healthy Bodies and Emotional Well Being”
Quote of the month
Yoga Therapy Research and Practice Psychology has drawn upon certain yoga principles and practices for a long time. More recently yoga is seeking to go beyond it’s traditional focus on helping us become more flexible through exercise and more comfortable through relaxed breathing as practitioner’s seek to develop specific sequences of poses, breathing techniques and imagery strategies designed to combat heavy duty feelings of anxiety and depression. As I recently attended an international conference in Boston, Massachusetts on the subject, I was struck by how different yoga traditions are seeking to gain “credibility” by attempting to obtain grants, run studies and publish articles. This is understandable considering by some estimates, there are over 20 million Americans practicing some form of yoga. While some of the presenters at the conference were psychologists and other trained mental health professionals who were also skilled in yoga practices, there were also yoga therapists who were not mental health professionals seeking to teach and work with clients having serious emotional problems. This was quite troubling and is similar to practicing medicine without a license. BEWARE: If you or someone you know is having major stress related issues in their lives, be sure to work with a licensed psychologist or mental health provider in addition to any other alternative health treatment you might be considering. Acupuncture and Mental Health Even though acupuncture is a proven method to aid in the relief of pain, it’s usefulness in treating mental/emotional problems is sketchy at best. For example, if you are depressed because your spouse in gambling away your finances, how is lying on a table with needles in you going to give you the strategies, options and resources you need to resolve the problem that is causing and maintaining your depression? Lay on the table and you may feel better temporarily but unless you change your depressing situation, you will likely continue to feel depressed. Psychology coaches clients on changes they need to make not only to feel better, but to get better. Wimbledon Woes The American men were all eliminated early in this top professional tournament. In spite of spending huge sums of money in player development, the U.S. continues to fall short in developing world class players. Also, in this year’s big event, the mighty have fallen. The World’s number 2 player, Rafael Nadal lost in the opening round and the great Roger Federer was dispatched in the second round as well. The bottom line, you are only as good as your last performance. Having a small physical or mental let down can prove costly. At the top, small differences result in big changes in the outcome. The takeaway for the “underdogs” might be “Don’t underestimate your chances or overestimate your opponents”. Playing tough, hard and until the end can pay huge dividends in today’s sports. Also, not a bad philosophy to live by in life either. Upcoming Events Later in July, I will be attending the Florida Psychological Conference to keep on top of cutting edge approaches to mental health. In September, I will be attending the United States Professional Tennis Teacher’s annual conference to participate and learn from top coaches topics that will include strategies for performance enhancement at every skill and age level .