Fear and Anxiety With Dr. Jeff Brandler

 

This podcast was recorded as an episode in the “Friends in Recovery Podcast” series

The Podfather Mike Miles is away in Fiji leaving Jeff Zeizel and Ed Chionchio Sr to interview Dr. Jeff Brandler about his practice, podcast, and blog at www.changeIsPossible.org. Dr. Jeff uses many tools to help his clients deal with fear and anxiety like hypnosis, acupuncture, and bench marking “What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?” and “How does this situation compare with that?” He reminds his clients that things are “inconvenient not tragic” and that Action alleviates anxiety. Remember you or your loved one do not need to hit rock bottom to get help. Thought stopping Remember you or your loved one do not need to hit rock bottom to get help. If you or a loved one needs help reach out to our panel at Help@FriendsInRecoveryPodcast.com. There are also many ways to help someone that is suffering from addiction. There are professionals here to help you from staging an intervention to getting counseling as a family member. This and every Friends in Recovery Podcast is recorded live at the Studio 21 Podcast Café, is hosted on the United Podcast Network and is brought you by Genesis House.

 

 

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Coming Soon! New Year New You Hypnosis Group

With the New Year approaching, it’s a good time to take stock of last year.

  • Did you have a good and healthy year?
  • Did you make all the changes that you hoped to make?
  • Did you follow through on the  goals that you  had planned?

If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, let me introduce you to something which may help you answer “yes” to the same questions for 2018.

HYPNOSIS

Through the use of hypnosis I have helped people make the following changes:

1) Anxiety–dramatic decrease.

2) Sleep–more restful.

3) Sexual Performance–A dramatic increase.

4) Depression– significant decrease.

5) Physical Pain– significant decrease in the intensity.

Many of these changes occurred in just one or two sessions.

Hypnosis is an amazing and powerful treatment.  For some people it has been a great addition to the “tools”  that they needed to be better.  For some people, it was their only treatment .

I would like to introduce you to this powerful change agent.  On the first Saturday of every month, starting on January 6, 2018, I will be facilitating a small group demonstration of hypnosis. You will get to see if hypnosis can work for you. The cost is $20 per group session.  Registration is required since space is limited.

To register go to: http://www.changeispossible.org/event/new-year-new-you/.  You can pre-pay at the Pay Pal link on the website.

If you  are not much of a group person, but are interested in discovering the benefits of hypnosis, feel free to contact me and we will schedule a  private consultation.

This can be your year of change–it can be a New You, New Year!

Change is indeed possible!

 

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What’s Going On

In memory of “Paula” for sharing pain, joy, and this song with me

Whenever I hear this song, I get an instant memory of Paula who played this song for me in my office one day. She strongly identified with the line “I scream at the top of
my lungs “what’s going on”- it was her tag line of the frustration with her life, her frustration with her lengthy to do list, her sense of being out of control.

Music does this. It evokes memory. Good times, bad times, happy times, sad times.
Think of a period of time in your life, there’s probably a song (or several) that are associated with that time. Think of something positive that happened in your life- wedding, graduation, or other life cycle event. Now think of the song that’s connected to it. That was pretty easy (and maybe fun). Now think of something painful, find that song……..
It’s the songs of our pain which are the ones we hear the loudest and the ones we grow from.

As we head towards the holiday season, some songs will be hardest to hear. The music amplifies our pain. I have noted this in a prior post . We recognize that our tables may have empty seats, may not have the same chatter or laughter as in years past. It’s painful to recognize this after working through loss. These families will have a “bittersweet symphony” . That symphony has its expectations built in: “It’s the holidays and I should be happy, but I’m not”. It’s the sadness of the season that gets to us.

Some families however may have joy and laughter at their tables over this holiday season. There may be great changes since last year’s holidays. These families may reflect back on the miracles of the past year. Tables may have new members, or have new and improved relationships. The songs heard in these households will have a bounce and rhythm all their own. They are in the moment, not reflecting back on past or worrying about the future. They are enjoying what they have; they have the gratitude of the season.

Whether you are sitting at the “happy” table or the “sad” table, remember that you have a seat. You are at this table, and will experience your feelings. It’s part of how we change. For people like Paula, their holidays ended. “What’s going on” is an anthem of awareness, it’s a statement of “trying to get up that hill for a destination”. To Paula, thank you for giving me a lasting memory. I hope that all families experience their lasting memories during the holiday season.

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The Traffic Light

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future,

but from wanting to control it

Kahlil Gibran

 

If you live in NJ and commute you know that you will drive in traffic. You will stop and go and stop and go. If you have to do one of those jug handle turns in order to turn left, you typically race to make the light. Did you ever think what would happen if you didn’t make the light? What would you miss? Would you get a better song to listen to, would you make one more phone call?

One day I got stuck at the traffic light. (For the record, I listened to more music) I waited and waited and waited for the light to change to green. As I made the turn on to my next street, I saw a police car, lights flashing, zoom past me. I kept on driving. I saw where the police car ended up. There was a serious car accident right down the street. I thought, “Wow if I had made that light could that have been me in that accident?” The thought shook me and I continued my commute.

After arriving at my destination, I began to think about recent world events. What would have happened if I was on that New York street the day the bombs went off in Chelsea, or I had been on the platform the day the NJ transit train crashed in Hoboken? How do you explain the randomness of these bad things happening? How do we deal with this? If you think too much about these questions, you will never leave your house again. Your motto will be “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”

Staying home however isn’t the answer. I mean bad stuff happens in people’s homes everyday—accidents, falls, fires, robberies. That doesn’t sound any better, in fact it sounds worse.

What is the answer to the craziness of our world, a world where tragedies happen to both good and bad people? I mean we smile and smirk when karma comes back around and the bad people get it, but at the end of the day it’s hardly a victory. When the tragedies happen to good people, we are stuck, we are without words, we are without anything. There is nothing left to say or do.

Our lack of control in our life is frightening. We desperately want control. We want to know when people will die, so we can say our goodbyes at the right time. We want to know when we will be laid off so we can get our resumes out to land that new job. We want to know when our houses will sell so we can find the new house that we want. We never know any of these things in advance. We get upset, we get frustrated, and we get angry when we have no control.

We need to figure out how to handle our lack of control and how we can live our lives in a healthier, less anxious way. Here is a musical example of our fear and anxiety. The band Incubus, released the song “Drive” in 2000. It appears on their third album Make Yourself. Enjoy the song.

“Drive” gives us a clue for handling this fear and anxiety “I should be the one behind the wheel”. We’ll address this topic in greater detail in part 2 of this blog.

Remember change is possible.

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What is Sexual Addiction

In this episode, we examine the most shameful of all addictions, sexual addiction. We will define addiction, identify how addiction impacts family members, and the addicted person. A case example is presented to highlight these issues

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The club

There are many clubs in the world. In a world with many self unaware people, here is a club that you wouldn’t want to belong to– the -100 club with a special section reserved for people with narcissism. Learn about narcissism and how it effects others. Also on the show, a special communication technique called “And Stop”

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Happiness or Misery

It’s either sadness or euphoria

Billy Joel

 

It’s a new year. People make all kinds of resolutions. People will say “this is the year that I get into shape, or lose weight, or improve my self-esteem, or improve my marriage. People make these plans in order to make themselves happy. Many of these resolutions fall off of the table early in the year. This lack of success indicates to me that people are apparently content with their misery.

One of the leading causes for misery is expectation. An expectation, according to Webster’s dictionary, is “a belief that something will happen in the future” If it’s garbage day and my partner is in charge of garbage I expect that he or she will take out the garbage. When this occurs, everything is great. The problem occurs when I expect my partner to do something and it doesn’t happen. This expectation often leads to a variety of negative feelings. Let’s look at the following example:

Marie and Steve are married for 10 years. They have two children. Steve has an episodic alcohol issue—He doesn’t drink regularly, but when he does, he binges for days at a time. Marie has communicated her frustration, anger, hurt, disappointment to Steve about his drinking. She assumes that her communications will lead him to “get it” and he will stop drinking. Marie and Steve are having family over on Saturday night. She expects that after all of her conversations, that there is no way that Steve will drink. When she wakes up Saturday morning, she sees Steve passed out on the couch with a bottle of vodka nearby. She is livid, and screams at him at concert hall volume.

There is no doubt that Marie’s feelings are valid—hurt, anger, resentment, disappointment, fear, embarrassment. The problem however lies in Marie’s expectation—“we are having a family party, I’ve spoken to Steve many times, he shouldn’t be drinking” It is the expectation that creates her feelings.

Expectations are the things that we have the most control over, yet the thing that we want to change the least. It is way more fun to have a “you fest” …”you did this, you did that, you always do this etc”. It is much harder to look at our thoughts, our feelings, and our behaviors. We live in a world that we think is governed by the ways things should be. People should always stop at stop signs. People should wait on lines in grocery stores, airports, department stores. People should be courteous drivers. People should follow all of the rules of our society. We know however this doesn’t happen all the time. We get upset when these rules are bent, broken or destroyed. In relationships, we have the same rules. We expect our partners will follow these rules. (In the above example, Steve should not drink when Marie is having company) When partners don’t comply with OUR EXPECTATION, then we are justifiably hurt, angry etc. [pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”#00008b” class=”” size=””]We then then blame our partner. It is MY expectation that is the problem, not my partner’s behavior![/pullquote]

In order to change expectations we are going to invoke my favorite six letter word, “accept”. For more on acceptance (manny being manny blog. Acceptance gives us power over our thoughts, feelings, and behavior and produces the ability to let things go. If I accept the fact that people will not stop at stop signs, will cut lines, and will drive erratically, I will be less upset. Since no one decided that I was in charge to enforce these infractions (a scary thought if I was), I can just accept that people will not always act in ways that I like. They can break all the rules they want. In relationships the same concept applies. In our earlier example, If Marie accepts the fact that Steve drinks episodically, and that in spite of all of her lectures and discussions, he will drink again, she will not be as angry. (In fact if she changes her behavior, she’ll be more compassionate, and won’t take his drinking personally, but that’s another blog entirely!)

Marie gets to choose if she wants happiness or misery. If she looks at life with high expectations and very little acceptance, she will be hurt, angry, and resentful. She will have a great deal of misery which she is causing for herself. If Marie decides to make changes and work on being happy, she can have few expectations, and lots of acceptance. She has the power to do.

Change is possible.

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No Detours

Dedicated to LC who didn’t live very long but inspired many

Many years ago Linda was a client that I was working with. She was a very complicated young woman. She had chemical addictions, eating disorders and an assortment of other significant issues. Her chemical addictions were getting out of hand and she needed to go to detox. Linda agreed and assured me that she would go on Monday. On Monday, after she didn’t arrive at the detox, I called her and the conversation went something like this:

Me: What happened?
L :  You know
Me: You took a detour?
L:   Yes
Me: Ok, (pause, pause, pause,)but really you need to go to detox
L:   I know
Me: How about tomorrow
L:   Ok
Me: So you’ll call them now so you can get in tomorrow?
L:   Yes
Me: So you are going tomorrow?
L:   Yes
Me No detours?
L:  No detours

Linda did arrive at detox the next day, she looked like, someone who was on the highway to hell. She completed detox, but soon her multiple issues and continued detours led her to her final highway. She died way too young, unable to deal with many issues that she could not even speak about.

Linda’s detours sadly led to her undoing in a permanent way, but many people that I see don’t listen to their internal gps settings. They appear to be on the verge of getting better only to get off of “Healthy Road” and make several turns on to “Self-Defeating Avenue” or “Self-Destructive Boulevard”. These detours tend to last way longer than necessary and ultimately lead to lots of guilt, shame, remorse, and self-loathing. When people drive back and find “Healthy Road” they generally have to clean up the messes they made from their detour. As people start to clean up those messes they begin to ask themselves the following questions:

• Why did I do that?
• What’s wrong with me?
• Why can’t I succeed?
• Am I doomed to always do this?
• Can I be healthier?

When people bring these questions to my office, we need to do some probing for the answers. We need to look at how their detouring behavior is “wired”— that is what causes this behavior? Is it something from their past? Is it a long standing issue with their self –esteem? Is it from some traumatic event that has occurred? There may be hundreds of hypotheses about the reasons this behavior exists and the mechanisms that keep this behavior going. Once we have an idea about why a person may detour, then we need to identify how to change this. This can be a very painful process because some the issues have never been addressed. It takes great courage, patience, and trust to work through the pain.

Linda never got the opportunity to do this. Her detours to hell, ultimately led to her demise. Her fear and shame led her to take her secrets with her to her death.

As we head for the New Year, we can work to stay on “Healthy Road” with frequent turns towards “Self-Improvement Street” and “Feeling Better About Myself Avenue”. Whatever the issues are, they can be identified, and healed. No one needs to keep detouring from the right path.

Change is possible

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