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You can change your bad habits.
Do you feel like your compulsive behaviors are controlling you?
Is a habit, such as overeating, drinking, or shopping causing you distress?
Do you feel shame about a habit or compulsive behavior?
Do you hide or downplay this problem from people in your life?
Have you tried to change on your own, but feel powerless over it?
Are you worried about your physical, financial, or mental health?
Often, this battle with changing habits leaves you feeling like a failure.
But let me assure you, that you are not. You are human. With help, you can change these patterns.
Understanding the reward system in the brain can help you overcome bad habits.
The reward system in your brain is very complex involving structures and neurotransmitters (especially dopamine) that are inherently linked to our survival. This system developed with evolution to reward essential behaviors such as eating, drinking, sexual behavior, and social interactions. This system is what kept us alive, feeding ourselves and our children since the beginning of humankind. So, yeah, it is powerful.
The good news is, you can use the reward system to your advantage when trying to overcome compulsions and change habits. Good habits use the reward system to develop, too. With awareness, intention, support, and a plan change is possible.
We can provide the structure, connection, and tools to help you change your habits in a safe, nonjudgemental way. You do not have to face this alone.
Life's problems can make bad habits worse.
When life gets tough, these compulsions can get worse. Difficult emotions, such as loneliness, sadness, anxiety, or insecurity sparks the desire for "reward". We basically want to escape distress as quickly as possible. So, it makes since that when life gets tough, compulsions get worse.
Often, we are taught as children to "get over it and be happy". Likely because our own parents were struggling with their own ability to handle distress. We have learned as a society that if you are not "happy", something must be wrong with you. This is even more reinforced with social media, where we only see happy, perfect images. This feeds our intolerance of difficult emotions. It is no wonder we lean on the "reward system" to make us feel better as quickly as possible (even though the long term outcomes make us feel worse.)
Our counselors can help you learn new tools to tolerate distress, and help you relate differently to your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. Instead of living in shame and loneliness, reach out to us today for compassionate help.
It is hard to get started. (We are all afraid of failing.)
There are many stages of change. We need to acknowledge all of the stages. Otherwise it is easy to fall into feeling like a failure. Where are you on this spectrum? (Since you are reading this, you have already gotten past the first stage!)
Pre-contemplation: You have no intention of taking any action.
Contemplation: You have intentions to take action and hope to do so in the near future.
Preparation: You have intention to take action and some steps have been taken.
Action: You have changed the behavior for a short period of time.
Maintenance: You have changed the behavior and maintained it for a long time.
Termination: You have no desire to return to prior negative behaviors.
Thinking about changing behavior in this way, allows us to give ourselves grace. You may fluctuate between steps for a while. That is ok, you are making progress!
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Counseling can help you tap into your own power to change.
At Wise Mind Therapy, we know how to help you get control. We use evidence based modalities that have been proven to work in order to make real, lasting change. We understand how hard it is. We have compassion and take things step by step so it does not feel overwhelming. Our therapists have years of experience dealing with compulsive behaviors such as, drug/alcohol use, binge eating, food restriction, sex/porn addiction, obsessive thoughts, and other repetitive behaviors.
Some programs that help with behavior change encourage you to "accept your powerlessness". We believe the opposite... that only you have the power to change. We help you uncover the underlying reasons for the behavior, recognize how the behavior is meeting a need, heal from the past that influences the behavior, overcome ambivalence about changing the behavior, and set achievable goals for yourself based in your truth.
Every single client is different. We take the time to get to know you, truly understand all the circumstances, and meet you right where you are. There is not one way to treat compulsions. We have a lot of tools in our tool-belt. We work with you to find what works. Here are just a few tools that we use to address compulsive behaviors.
Motivational Interviewing to address your ambivalence about changing
EMDR (DeTUR protocol) in order to desensitize your triggers and reduce urges
EMDR (standard protocol) to heal from your past trauma
CBT in order to change the way you think about yourself and the behavior
Ego State therapy to help integrate different parts of you that are in conflict over the change
You have the power to change, but you do not have to do it alone.
It can be scary to face your problems, and reach out to a therapist. Even if you are not sure you are ready to schedule an appointment, I encourage you to take the first step and call us. We understand that calling for help can feel like a big step. We are here to connect, answer questions, and see if it "feels right". At Wise Mind, we understand that this connection is the most important step towards healing. This is why we offer a free phone consultation.
You can call us anytime at (314) 643- 8224. If we can not answer the phone, we try to return calls within 24-48 hours. If you prefer communication over email please email Kelly@YourWiseMind.com, or click the button below. We look forward to connecting with you.
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