Bridget StJohn Therapy

"Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakes." - Carl Jung. 

Often, when we feel blocked by experiencing overwhelming negative thoughts and emotions, it can make one feel trapped with no way out. Anger, frustration, sadness and worry can easily pound down confidence and push away people we care about in our lives. My passion is helping you break free from what I call the "dictatorship" of anxiety, anger, depression, past hurts, and work with you to find your personal strength to start living your life on your terms and strengthen connections with others.

You don't have to do this alone. My goal is to help you find that wisdom within you so you can continue in your life experiencing the freedoms you deserve to live by. If you feel you are ready to take that next step towards freeing yourself from the things you feel hold you down, I would love to hear from you! 

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More Than Just Talk- How Psychotherapy Changes Your Brain

January 15, 2015 07:55 by Lisa La Rose, M.A., L.P.C. 
Excerpt from article... (for full article, click here)


Psychotherapy may seem to be just a client and therapist talking about the client’s problems and symptoms in a supportive environment, but much more is happening. Often, therapy focuses on recognizing and changing thought patterns and beliefs that cause suffering and problems with functioning and relationships. Sometimes, our thought patterns are so automatic and unconscious that we don’t even notice them. How often do we think about our thinking? Thoughts often lead to feelings which, in turn, lead to behaviors. Depression is an example. Depressive thoughts can increase depressive feelings, leading to the behaviors of inactivity and isolation. The feelings of depression tell us to stay in bed and pull the covers over our head. In cases of severe clinical depression, medication may be needed to help people get the most from counseling, but therapy can also work to change brain activity and imbalances that contribute to a depressed mood.

According to Marriage and Family Therapist, Dr. Athena Staik (2011), our subconscious and conscious mind and bodies are always in a state of either self-protection or learning –surviving or thriving. When we have toxic, anxious, depressive, or negative thinking, we tend to remain in more of a survival mode. These thoughts can become self-perpetuating because they create deeper and deeper “pathways” in the brain that get reinforced each time we entertain the toxic thoughts. Spending too much time in survival mode is hard on our bodies, and it limits our ability to learn and thrive. In counseling, clients learn that it is possible to consciously use language and practice self-talk that enable us to move from survival mode to learning mode. 

With the advent of non-invasive technology like positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed topography (SPECT), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we can now view the workings of the brain with minimal risk to the individual. These tools enable us to see changes in blood flow, electrical activity, chemistry, and brain structure (Linden, 2006).

We can now see what is happening inside the brain during counseling. In a study using neuroimaging technologies, D. Linden (2006) found that psychotherapy interventions can change the brain in ways that are similar to the changes caused by selective serotonin reuptake medications (SSRIs).