Center For Brain Mental Health Service

In my review of Center For Brain Mental Health Service on Facebook, I posted:

I’m incredibly grateful to have discovered the Center for Brain, thanks to conducting internet research on PTSD in an effort to help someone I love. That led to Ted and I attending an informative seminar, where we met the wonderful Michael Cohen and his amazing staff. At that point, I felt skeptical and hopeless about our chances of restoring my fiance, whose PTSD stemmed from early childhood trauma (abuse) and military service. But after listening to Mike’s presentation, chatting with him afterwards, and seeing the remarkable changes in my guy after a few sessions, I’m a believer.

Everyone at the Center for Brain cares deeply about their patients — as evidenced by the welcoming atmosphere and the pride they take in their work. I cannot thank Michael and his staff enough for all that they have done for both of us. I am thankful to have discovered neurofeedback and the Center for Brain and highly recommend them to anyone suffering from PTSD and their caretakers.

I’m looking forward to experiencing neurofeedback myself for better creativity and productivity in my work and business. In the meantime, a heartfelt thank you to everyone there for helping someone I love dearly to reclaim his life. You are THE BEST!

Michael Cohen, Director.

In my review of The Body Keeps The Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma, I mentioned someone had recommended the book to me. That person was Michael Cohen of The Center For Brain the evening we attended his free, informational seminar in Jupiter Florida. After his presentation, I told Mike a bit about Ted’s background of horrific child abuse and his combat experiences in the Navy. That’s when Mike recommended Dr. Bessel van der Kolk’s book and assured me that neurofeedback would work, along with the caveat that it might be a longer term process, given Ted’s history. Thankfully, Ted remained open to the help and started treatments shortly thereafter. And I went on Amazon.com to order the book at my earliest opportunity. You can read my book review here.

As noted in my Center for Brain review, I cannot recommend them highly enough — especially for people coping with PTSD and those who love and care for them. Without going into detail, it hasn’t been a straight line to transformation since he and I got back together – a la Water Signs – but I can now fully understand the real-life significance of the word “renewal” in the subtitle, because this is has truly been “a story of love and renewal.” I’ve developed more patience and compassion (definitely a good thing!) as I’ve learned what love truly means.

Once I complete some major projects currently in production, I plan to write a nonfiction sequel to Water Signs, which I hope will be helpful for everyone affected by PTSD. Aside from Center For Brain and recovery coach Don Prince (who has been an incredible source of support), the book will also include the spiritual aspect of Ted’s healing journey, thanks to Ima Sumac Watkins and DC Love, whose insights helped me more than I can ever express.

If you live in Florida –  or even outside of the state but are willing to travel to gain relief from a multitude of mental/brain issues, check out Center For Brain.com. And discover for yourself that renewal and healing are truly possible, even for the worst cases of trauma.

 

Share

Book Review of ‘The Body Keeps The Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma’

My book review of The Body Keeps The Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk is now posted on Amazon.com. It seems fitting to publish it during PTSD Awareness Month, now with the perspective of someone with first-hand experience in dealing with this problem in a loved one. In my free time, I’ve spent the past few months educating myself and exploring every valid treatment option.

While some of the case studies Dr. van der Kolk includes in the book are difficult to read (horrible child abuse in every possible form), they also prove that with the right approach, even the worst experiences can be overcome. He also offers an understandable description/distinction between traumatic memory and normal memory — helpful in recognizing why it’s not possible for people with PTSD to simply “get over it” without the proper treatment (which usually means a combination of therapies).

In their justifiable reaction to helicopter parenting, coddling, and the “everybody wins a trophy” nonsense, I find that some (not all) conservatives seem to dismiss the real problem of PTSD caused by early childhood trauma and the fact that actual child abuse does exist. Now I cringe when I see memes about how being beaten with a belt as a child helped someone grow into a responsible adult.

When I reunited with my guy after two decades, I had no idea that his background included horrific abuse from both parents (physical beatings, emotional torture, and ZERO affection), compounded by subsequent combat experience in the Navy. I met him right after his service in 1992 and after reading this book, I understand why those memories were suppressed 26 years ago.

After multiple emotional conversations with him, I find myself thanking God even more for my upbringing in a loving, stable home. At first, I even felt a twinge of guilt for being blessed with two good parents and four siblings. Home was a haven for me — not a place I feared to return to after school. But his entire childhood and adolescence was rooted in fear.

Sure, my parents disciplined and raised my brothers, sister, and me to be responsible, productive people. But it didn’t involve prolonged beatings with objects like bats and belts. That’s something I wish more conservatives and people in general would acknowledge.

Read my Amazon review here.

Share

Midweek Meditation: Ash Wednesday

For Christians worldwide, today marks the beginning of the season of Lent — initiated by the somber of observance of Ash Wednesday — with its reminder that we are all children of God and as such, spiritual beings who happen to have a physical body, one that will return to dust once our purpose on the physical plane is fulfilled. Ash Wednesday also invites believers to spend the next 40 days (46, including Sundays) drawing closer to Him through acts of faith, self-denial and service to others. But why do Christians receive ashes on their foreheads as an external symbol of their faith on this significant day? Catholic.org explains:

Following the example of the Nine vites, who did penance in sackcloth and ashes, our foreheads are marked with ashes to humble our hearts and reminds us that life passes away on Earth. We remember this when we are told

 

“Remember, Man is dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

 

Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church, and they help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice.

The distribution of ashes comes from a ceremony of ages past. Christians who had committed grave faults performed public penance. On Ash Wednesday, the Bishop blessed the hair shirts which they were to wear during the forty days of penance, and sprinkled over them ashes made from the palms from the previous year. Then, while the faithful recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the church because of their sins — just as Adam, the first man, was turned out of Paradise because of his disobedience. The penitents did not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday after having won reconciliation by the toil of forty days’ penance and sacramental absolution. Later, all Christians, whether public or secret penitents, came to receive ashes out of devotion. In earlier times, the distribution of ashes was followed by a penitential procession.

While many people view Lent as an opportunity to lose weight by sacrificing fattening goodies like cake and candy, or to “give something up” (e.g. a favorite activity like going to the movies) — neither of which is wrong — it seems to me we should also balance that out by being proactive. Meaning, we should all engage in a genuine effort to actually do something that inconveniences us such as waking up a half-hour earlier in the morning to pray, driving an elderly neighbor to a doctor’s appointment, or reading to sick children in a hospital. All of these acts simultaneously involve “giving something up” — possibly time spent watching TV or indulging in your favorite hobby — in order to be an earth angel for someone who needs our help.

Perhaps there are relationships within your family or your circle of friends that need some extra care. If it’s not possible to make amends for whatever reason, lift that person up in prayer. If they’ve hurt you deeply, forgive them — whether in your own mind and heart, or in person. As I’ve learned, forgiveness does not mean excusing someone else’s bad deeds; it just means releasing the hurt and anguish and setting yourself (and the offender) free. I’ve practiced this with many who’ve been a part of my life, whether short-term, long-term, for a season or for a lifetime, and believe me it works. From former classmates who teased me through my school years to old boyfriends who disappeared without a trace, to close female friends who were like sisters one moment, then strangers the next — I have practiced forgiveness. And it has been a very freeing experience as I’ve learned to let go of the old and embrace the new.

Finally, for Christians Lent is a time to reflect on the things we’re humbled by and grateful for, most especially, God’s willingness to send his only begotten Son to earth for our salvation — and to do our very best to follow his example. Of course, we’ll stumble and fall but we are always saved by forgiveness, as long as we seek it out with  authentic, heartfelt remorse.

When I reflect upon Lent, it also reminds me to give thanks for the woman who made it possible for Jesus to inhabit an earthly body — Mother Mary. With one act of obedience borne of faith, she helped to change the course of humankind forever.

If you commemorate the Lenten season, I hope it is a time of profound introspection and spiritual renewal that culminates in a joyful Easter celebration.
Share