Exercises for when a Client appears “Challenging” – Group Therapy Skills Video, Set 5 of 12

Do you have a client that’s challenging for you? Here are three exercises to try to support in gaining empathy and understanding for this client:

In anticipation of my next Circle’s Heart workshop, an experiential group therapy and training for healers and leaders, I’m releasing a 12-week video series. These videos will highlight some of the central themes in Circle’s Heart workshop. Each week has a unique theme, and is the following:

The short videos contain snippet of insight for you to spark greater momentum in all of the circles you lead, from group therapy and beyond. If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter, Forethought Thursdays, just message me your email, and you will get links to these videos and other topics on Emotional Fitness. Please subscribe if you would like to see all the videos as they are released.

Techniques for supporting client that may appear “stuck” clients – Group Therapy Skills Video

Do you have a client that’s appears “stuck” to you? Here are three exercises to do with a client to support the client gaining insight and momentum:

In anticipation of my next Circle’s Heart workshop, an experiential group therapy and training for healers and leaders, I’m releasing a 12-week video series. These videos will highlight some of the central themes in Circle’s Heart workshop. Each week has a unique theme, and is the following: 

The short videos contain snippet of insight for you to spark greater momentum in all of the circles you lead, from group therapy and beyond. If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter, Forethought Thursdays, just message me your email, and you will get links to these videos and other topics on Emotional Fitness. Please subscribe if you would like to see all the videos as they are released.

Warm Up Exercises for Group Therapy Videos

Ready to get your group warmed up and willing to dive into doing deep work? These warm up exercises will support clients in looking inward and deepening in compassion for each other and themselves. Here’s three warm-up exercises to try in your groups:

In anticipation of my next Circle’s Heart workshop, an experiential group therapy and training for healers and leaders, I’m releasing a 12-week video series. These videos will highlight some of the central themes in Circle’s Heart workshop. Each week has a unique theme, and is the following: 

The short videos contain snippet of insight for you to spark greater momentum in all of the circles you lead, from group therapy and beyond. If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter, Forethought Thursdays, just message me your email, and you will get links to these videos and other topics on Emotional Fitness. Please subscribe if you would like to see all the videos as they are released.

Check In Exercises for Group Therapy – Video Series

Ready to find out what’s on the minds on members in your group and find out who is ready to work on an issue with vulnerability and openness, which will support all your group members in being more open? These check in exercises will support clients in looking inward and discovering what’s most important for them to address. Here’s three check-in exercises to try in your groups:

In anticipation of my next Circle’s Heart workshop, an experiential group therapy and training for healers and leaders, I’m releasing a 12-week video series. These videos will highlight some of the central themes in Circle’s Heart workshop. Each week has a unique theme, and is the following: 

The short videos contain snippet of insight for you to spark greater momentum in all of the circles you lead, from group therapy and beyond. If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter, Forethought Thursdays, just message me your email, and you will get links to these videos and other topics on Emotional Fitness. Please subscribe if you would like to see all the videos as they are released.

Empathy

In Essentialism, Greg speaks to the importance of seeing what matters by understanding the motives of all players involved in a situation and recommends role playing. Who are you having difficulty understanding today? What if you took the role play even deeper and paused after a piece that was harder to understand, and took a moment to guess at what could be an even deeper truth for that person. Then paused again and guessed what could be the deepest truth for that person. For example if someone says “That idea is ridiculous”, a deeper truth could be “I’m overwhelmed and can’t comprehend this idea right now”, and the deepest truth could be “I’m terrified of losing what I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life making, and when I’m terrified everything seems ridiculous”. How could taking the moment to pause and deepen in empathy effect your day today?

010 Spiritual Burnout and The Phoenix

This is an interesting conversation between Mary and myself. I would love for us to have a follow up conversation on this topic. Here are the show notes:

  • Possible Individual Symptoms
    • Losing Connection, Passion
    • Feelings of Synasism
    • Old practices, such as church or praying that seem to no longer fulfill connection to greater sense of self
  • Burnout in our Society – connection to the universal experience that’s happening in the world right now
    • Structures of Power, Privilege, Government, Finances
    • Feelings of burnout representing greater macrocosm
  • Feeling of burnout not a personal flaw that needs to be fixed
    • empathy for greater system & self
    • Tended to own suffering differently
  • What’s the effect of professionals treating people in fight or flight/sympathetic arousal, on the mirror neurons of the professional?
    • Example of being in the dentist chair with heightened heart rate
  • Disillusionment
    • Beliefs about life and how it all works were being dismantled
    • Beliefs about fair and being in a developed country and working hard will equal success
    • Recognizing how systems are unfair
    • Many people in the U.S. are seeing behind the curtain – unfairness, oppression, racism, structure of power and privilege to maintain success of some and oppression of others
    • Me too movement
      • Helping organizations grow better leaders – saw how organizations protected male leaders, lost faith
      • Larger awareness working ass off to alleviate suffering and support people in feeling, saw that amount of suffering in the world is still the same – heart broken
    • Media and it’s effect
  • Psychedelices & Spirituality –
    • Personal stories
    • Sense of connection and boundaried connection

The relationship between spirituality and burnout among medical students

Medical student burnout has been associated with depression, loss of empathy, and suicidal ideation. Spirituality has been identified in previous studies as a protective factor in coping with the stress but has not been examined as a factor in medical student burnout. An internet link to an anonymous survey was sent via email to medical students at a public northeastern medical school; 259/469 (55.2%) completed it. The survey included measures of spirituality, burnout, psychological distress, coping, and general happiness. A Pearson-r correlation showed significant inverse correlations between measures of spirituality and measures of psychological distress/burnout (r’s ranging from -.62 to -.14; p’s <.01). In contrast, a positive correlation was found between life satisfaction and spirituality (r’s .53 to .12; p<.05). Using hierarchical multiple regression with demographics (Step 1), mental health variables (Step 2), and satisfaction and Adaptive coping (Step 3), burnout remained significantly related to lower scores on both spirituality measures (FACIT-SP p<.00 and DSE p<.05). Students having higher levels of spiritual well being and daily spiritual experiences described themselves as more satisfied with their life in general, while students with low scores on spiritual well being and daily spiritual experiences had higher levels of psychological distress and burnout. Spirituality may therefore be a protective factor against burnout in medical students and future studies should explore potential causal relationships.

008 Physical Burnout & Restorative Activities

This podcast looks at the Burnout and how it affects us physically. Below are the show notes:

  • Moral Injury and Burnout
    • Societies desire to not go deep and address top layer issues instead of root cause, sometimes could include Solution-focused (brief) therapy (SFBT)
  • No Energy yet difficulty with Sleep
    • Sleep deprivation is being shown to increases amygdala activation.
      • A study showed that while both groups expressed significant amygdala activation in response to increasingly negative picture stimuli, those in the sleep-deprivation condition exhibited a remarkable +60% greater magnitude of amygdala activation, relative to the control group
      • A sleep deprived person may see an event as an emergencies (due to activated amygdala) that needs to be urgently addressed, when in fact those that have had more sleep interrupt what’s needed differently
    • Loneliness and Withdraw due to sleep deprivation
      • A study demonstrate that a lack of sleep leads to a neural and behavioral phenotype of social withdrawal and loneliness; one that can be perceived by other members of society, and reciprocally, makes those societal members lonelier in return. We propose a model in which sleep loss instigates a propagating, self-reinforcing cycle of social separation and withdrawal.
    • Cognitive abilities, behavior, and judgment
      • Multiple studies have been done to determine the effects of total sleep deprivation; more recently some have been conducted to show the effects of sleep restriction, which is a much more common occurrence, have the same effects as total sleep deprivation. Each phase of the sleep cycle restores and rejuvenates the brain for optimal function. When sleep is deprived, the active process of the glymphatic system does not have time to perform that function, so toxins can build up, and the effects will become apparent in cognitive abilities, behavior, and judgment.
  • Feeling tired & wired
    • A combination of physical exhaustion or low physical energy while simultaneously feeling anxious or wired, stressed
    • Being unable to feel rested even if you are getting enough sleep
    • Body confused about not getting enough light and enough darkness; circadian rhythm
    • Body and stomach pains. Gut hurting when stressed and eating
    • Chronic exhaustion
    • Some people experience aches and pain
      • When people feel emotional pain, the same areas of the brain get activated as when people feel physical pain: the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex. A study on social rejection seemed to demonstrate this.
      • The body isn’t getting enough natural light or enough natural darkness
      • We live in man-made boxes of artificial light
  • To go deeper into the sleep studies, please see Rhonda Patrick, PhD & Matthew Walker PdD
  • Practices – Physical
    • Breathing – Breath of Fire
    • Eating well-balanced meals
    • Sleep – 7-9 hours, before 10:00 pm; sleep hygiene and artificial lights
    • Exercise, gentle
    • Sex
    • Touch, Massage, Self-Massage, Cuddle – serotonin and oxytocin
    • Play, Dancing, Coloring, Drawing – engaging a younger or more carefree part of yourself
    • Get outdoors and touch the ground
  • What is it you need? And how are you going to implement this?

006 Emotional Burnout & Support

Mary Kuentz and Laura Wade explore their journeys through emotional burnout, some of the research about burnout symptoms.

  • Definition of Burnout
    • Mechanical – When there’s nothing left to combust, no more energy in the system
    • Emotional “burnout” was coined in the 1970s by the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger. Emotional burnout describes the consequences of severe stress and high ideals in “helping” professions. Doctors, therapists, coaches, and other healers, who sacrifice themselves for others, would often end up being “burned out” – exhausted, listless, and unable to cope. It’s the shadow side of self-sacrifice. We will be looking at how to support without sacrificing and what to do when you’re already sacrificing.
  • Mary and I are passionate about taking Holistic views, so we will be discussing how issues affect us on an emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual levels.
  • Today we will be looking at the Emotional side of Burnout, and including how to know when you’ve entered the spectrum of burnout and what to do about it.
  • Emotional Signs of Burnout
    • Reduced Performance (difficulties in maintaining boundaries)
    • Emotional Protection/Isolation – Flat Affect Feels, nothing to look forward to, joyful things from the past no longer seem joyful in the present
    • Hopelessness about the state of the world and being unable to affect the issues of the world. Suffering is still happening in the world. What’s the use?
  • Practices to Heal Emotional Burnout: 3 practices, 2 and 1 of micro and large
  • Self-Empathy – begin to practice self empathy that you would give a friend client or loved one
    • Journaling – stream of conscious writing, to give it a place to vent
    • Take a Break, a day, a week – Emotional Well-being Day
      • May be different from a SPA DAY!
  • What’s the one shift, easy and doable, that would make the biggest difference?
  • How can you begin integrating that shift into your life, even in a small way?
  • Stop Blaming yourself for feeling burnt out
    • Many people keep pushing, internally and externally to overcome burnout in the early stages, i.e., “If I can just finish this project…” “If I can just get to Friday…” “If I can just push through this pain…”
      • Pushing to keep up
      • Punishing themselves to be who they have been in the past
  • Informed Health Online [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Depression: What is burnout? 2012 Dec 5 [Updated 2017 Jan 12].Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279286/
    • Listed 3 main symptoms of Emotional Burnout:
      • Exhaustion: People affected feel drained and emotionally exhausted, unable to cope, tired and down, and do not have enough energy. Physical symptoms include things like pain and stomach or bowel problems.
      • Alienation from (work-related) activities: People who have burnout find their jobs increasingly stressful and frustrating. They may start being cynical about their working conditions and their colleagues. At the same time, they may increasingly distance themselves emotionally, and start feeling numb about their work.
      • Reduced performance: Burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work, at home or when caring for family members. People with burnout are very negative about their tasks, find it hard to concentrate, are listless and lack creativity.

Feeling discomfort when trying to relax is part of the process

The scientific model tells us that nothing is proved as true, it’s just not wrong yet. Here’s Dr. Feynman brilliantly explaining the scientific method.

I come across many models that don’t seem to hold up when I compare them to different studies or how I see them working with my clients.

One model that seems to keep proving it’s worth is Dr. Saj Ravzi’s Stress Response Hill, shown below. Check out his entire video, it’s worth the investment of time. The one point of his I want to highlight, is that most of us are operating at the “1”, we are slightly activated most of the time, and when we try to do mindfulness or relaxation exercises to get to the “0”, we may actually fell more agitated. It’s common to then think the exercise must not work, when actually the agitation in the body increases before it fully relaxes, so the increase in agitation means it’s working. I find this model extremely helpful to explain to clients prior to beginning relaxation exercises, as it helps them understand the increase in anxiety is part of the process.

New Experiences & New Healing

New experiences can bring up opportunities to examine childhood wounds and begin healing them. A common new experience I see people having is their first child or their first child that’s the same gender they identify with. Seeing the child grow to be ages the parent was when different traumas happened can bring up old childhood pains. While it can be very challanging, the experiences can also be a blessing allowing us to see parts of ourselves that need love, understanding, and forgiveness.

If you or a client is going through a new experience and has a response that exceeds the circumstance or seems like it belongs to a younger self, take the time to examine that response. What’s its’ message? What is it needing to heal? Provide the piece of the self that responded in this way with compassion.

What new and challanging experience can you try this week? Be mindful while doing it and see what emotions or sensations arise. If any parts of yourself are uncomfortable, take the time to comfort them, and be thankful to the new experience for showing you this piece of yourself to heal.