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Couple being intimate in black and white kissing

Relationship Help and How to Become Intimate Again

Over time, relationships can change, and a lack of affection may cause intimacy issues. There are ways to rekindle the intimacy that was once there. Intimacy is a profound closeness with another person that can be restored.

Getting back on track with your partner starts with the willingness to want to rebuild and rekindle the intimacy that has faded over time. Being open-minded and willing to listen to what your partner’s needs are, creates that bridge that connects you.

General Relationship Help

Communication is a critical factor in strengthening the bond between two people. This factor, along with empathy and understanding, as well as compassion, are must-haves for a strong foundation of the relationship itself.

Often, without knowing it, we bring expectations to relationships without expressing them to our partner. We end up expecting what we previously had the chance to learn, and we then make assumptions based on our relationship history.

Listening to your partner, not only with an open mind but also with empathy will reinforce the feeling that you care enough to take their thoughts and feelings seriously. Instead of focusing on how their words are affecting you, change your focus to them and their emotions, which will create a welcome atmosphere to help your relationship strengthen.

Intimacy fades for many reasons, but to rebuild it, besides communication, empathy, understanding, and compassion that we give to our partner, we must also work on not holding on to grudges and playing the “blame game” which only drives intimacy farther away from us.

Couple embracing at sunset

Talk Therapy and Sessions for Affection Issues

A very healthy way to help with all these components is through talk therapy and sessions with a therapist that can help couples connect the dots easier than if they were to try and do this on their own. Having a third-party professional assisting your relationship in a safe and supportive environment can help strengthen communication and emotional bonds.

Finding help for relationship intimacy issues can be done by utilizing qualified methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and hypnotherapy. With these powerful tools, intimacy issues can be worked through by addressing recurring patterns of behavior.

CBT works with the conscious part of the mind, and NLP works with the unconscious part, so utilizing both forms of therapy together helps create a balanced and complete treatment. While CBT focuses on the issues in the present, NLP helps to change the underlying patterns so the problems do not reappear. Both CBT and NLP believe our thoughts influence our emotions and behavior, so working directly with our innermost thoughts can help our behavioral affection issues.

Lack of affection in relationships may occur if a person doesn’t want to show love out of fear of rejection. This fear might stem from a particular memory as far back as childhood. Working through those fears by talking in therapy sessions will help alleviate and put those fears to rest, which further helps the relationship for both partners involved.

On the other hand, there are also those that don’t respond well to receiving affection which may stem from previous life experiences around rejection, or from deeper issues around childhood trauma, so being loved may trigger memories of painful childhood experiences.

Affection issues arise from a multitude of causes, and one of the key ways to work through these issues is to seek help, either with your primary care physician or with your therapist. A therapist can help your relationship, its ups and downs, and provide guidance, and tools, for both you and your partner to thrive.

Approaching Deeper Intimacy Issues Including PE

When approaching deeper intimacy issues, including premature ejaculation (PE), having a trained professional on hand, is imperative. As with all potentially medical issues, we strongly advise you to consult with your primary care physician in conjunction with your therapy sessions to help uncover any underlying health causes. Discussing deeper feelings and getting PE treatment involves dealing with potential anxiety issues as anxiety is a common feature of PE.

Anxiety creates a more excitable nervous system, thus making PE more prone to occur. A therapist will help shed light on the core causes of the anxiety that is causing the PE to occur. These core issues in the relationship can be addressed and resolved, which will lead to a freer and healthier sexual experience for both partners to enjoy.

At Miami Hypnosis & Therapy, we offer a variety of solutions to help relationships repair and rekindle the intimacy that was once there. Take the first step and reignite the flame that has diminished over time. Let us help give you the tools needed to transform your relationship, and deepen your emotional bond by booking an appointment today!

Mom and son having fun blowing rainbow bubbles

Divorce Counseling for Kids & Family Counseling After Divorce

Going through a divorce can be devastating for both parents and their children. Divorce means the end of a relationship and the beginning of a new life, which can be scary for many people to deal with, and strong feelings can occur that may lead to anger and irrational behavior. It’s normal to seek counseling for your family and your kids individually during and after divorce.

Divorce counseling helps teach coping skills that couples need when working toward making a new life on their own. Counseling provides a safe place to share thoughts and feelings, which is imperative when making a life-changing transition more manageable and less emotionally draining.

Divorce counseling helps the couple uncover the cause of any anger and resentment. Counseling is done in a neutral environment so the couple can freely express themselves in non-threatening exchanges.

Transitioning from married life to single life can be difficult for both parties, but especially for their kids. Having family counseling will help all family members during and after divorce.

Family Counseling During a Divorce

A divorce takes an emotional toll on all parties including children who may feel they need to choose a parent to side with or be loyal to, and other feelings can include confusion, guilt, anger, pain, and loss. Children may also blame themselves for the divorce, causing them to react in anger or retreat into their rooms.

It can be difficult for kids to share their feelings with their parents, so getting divorce counseling for kids can help children develop tools to express their thoughts and feelings openly and in a safe and supportive environment.

During a divorce, both parents may find themselves arguing over finances, custody, and living situations. When parents argue, it can hinder children’s adjustment, so counseling is critical in creating a peaceful co-parenting situation.

Family Counseling After a Divorce

Research has shown that the first two years after a divorce are the most rocky for the majority of families, which is why divorce counseling for kids is vital for their emotional wellbeing. Once the divorce is final, children spend time with their parents separately and may lose that daily interaction they once had with both parents. This decreased contact affects the bond between parent and child, which can be rebuilt during family counseling.

Engaging in family counseling creates that unity for the kids that they once had and helps to maintain an emotional connection together as one family unit. Since family counseling is done in a safe and supportive environment, kids can then feel at ease and are more apt to open up about their innermost thoughts and feelings.

Family Counseling Components

Family counseling consists of therapy sessions that allow the broken emotional connections to be restored so that amicable communication can take place. Co-parenting counseling provides both parents the tools to peacefully coexist by looking forward rather than backward so they can address issues involving their children.

Other forms of psychotherapeutic techniques that may be utilized in divorce counseling for kids include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and hypnotherapy. These highly effective non-invasive techniques can be monumental in helping all parties deal with emotional issues such as divorce.

CBT works with the conscious part of the mind, and NLP works with the unconscious part. Both CBT and NLP are based on thoughts influencing our emotions and behaviors. The difference is that CBT helps to make sense of the issues experienced in the present moment, and NLP helps to change the underlying patterns, so the problems do not reappear.

NLP also helps to regulate emotions, control impulses, and improve relationships with others. NLP relates thoughts, language, and patterns of behavior which were learned through prior experience that created a specific outcome. NLP produces fast and lasting results.

CBT helps show how to replace the habitual patterns that do not work well with techniques that do work, which gives family members a feeling of having more control over their lives.

Behavioral therapies such as CBT and NLP give each partner a set of tools to assist them in managing the relationship moving forward. By thinking differently, our thoughts are no longer exaggerated, distorted or unrealistic, and a more positive approach can be achieved.

At Miami Hypnosis & Therapy, we offer a variety of therapies, including divorce counseling for kids. Our therapies can be utilized together to further assist in mending emotional scars that can occur during and after divorce.

By integrating treatments such as CBT, NLP, and Hypnotherapy, you will receive a complete form of emotional and mental support in a safe and supportive environment. Take that first step in making a positive change for you and your family by contacting us today.

Woman sitting relaxed by the ocean meditating

Find Peace Instead of Panic: 5 Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety

Anxiety is stress dialed up to 100, and it is a condition that everyone faces — when it seems impossible to shake off that stress and anxiety, it may be time to consider reaching out to a professional for help, and finding practices that help soothe your mind. Coping with stress can be done with a few relaxation tips that will leave you feeling at peace instead of filled with panic.

There are various breathing exercises along with mindfulness meditation that are powerful relaxation techniques for anxiety relief. But first, we need to understand how the breathing process works and how it affects our bodies.

How the Quality of Your Breath Affects Your Central Nervous System

Breathing is vital for life, and it has a powerful influence over the functions in our body. Breathing in a specific way can be a calming technique for the body, but can also contribute to elevated stress levels, some of which may or may not be beneficial.

Our nervous system consists of two opposing systems, the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), and the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).

Parasympathetic. This is the heart rate modifier and is the “brake” which slows down our system through the Vagus nerve. The PSNS is triggered when we exhale, especially when we breathe out through our mouths.

When you exhale, blood goes back to your body from the lungs. Your heart rate slows down as the PSNS “brake” kicks in and calms the system down. This is why sighing feels so good.

Sympathetic: This is the “gas” which revs up our system and is triggered with each inhale. Have you ever found when you do cardio exercise, that you tend to want to gasp in air through your mouth? When you inhale, blood is taken from your heart and put into your lungs which takes it away from the rest of your body. “Gasping” or inhaling rapidly through your mouth is your body’s stress response manifesting.

The heart compensates by increasing in rate to pump more blood to the rest of the body. This triggers a stress response in the body. While not always bad, the shortened breath encountered during an episode of anxiety is largely caused by this process.

At Miami Hypnosis & Therapy, we strive to offer you the tools to find balance between both of these natural states. Here are a few breathing and relaxation techniques for anxiety that can help achieve this calmer state of mind.

Technique #1: Easy Counted Breath

This exercise is a powerful calming technique for the body that allows the heart rate to slow because the emphasis is on the exhale instead of the inhale.

  1. Inhale from the nose for a count of four.
  2. Exhale from the nose for a count of six. See if you can relax your jaw and notice any tensing in your abdominal muscles. If there are, soften that effort.
  3. Repeat six times before returning to your normal, everyday breath.

After a week or two of practicing this breath, try to increase the increments, without strain.

Technique #2: The 3-Part Breath

This breath moves your breath from the belly, through the diaphragm, and into the upper chest, gently and incrementally, to help you find ease and increase your capacity for deeper breathing.

Part 1

  • Start by either lying on your back, or you can be seated in a comfortable cross-legged position.
  • Relax your face and body. Notice the state of your thoughts, and see if you can focus a little more on the quality of your normal breath
  • On the inhalation, fill the belly area like a balloon.
  • On the exhalation, see if you can expel all of the air from your lungs slowly, noticing how your navel and core muscles draw inward in this process.
  • Repeat five times.

Part 2

  • In this part, you will add a little more air by including the rib cage area as well as the belly area.
  • On the inhalation, fill the belly and then include a little more air expanding into the rib cage area.
  • On the exhalation, let the air leave the rib cage area followed by the belly area last.
  • Repeat five times.

Part 3

  • In this part, you will add a little more air by including the upper chest area.
  • On the inhalation, fill the belly, then the rib cage, and finally the upper chest to the collarbone which will cause the area around the heart to expand and rise.
  • On the exhalation, let the air leave the upper chest, then the rib cage and finally the belly.
  • Repeat ten times.

This type of breathing is a great relaxation technique for anxiety and can be done anywhere.

Technique #3: Mindfulness Meditation

When it comes to relaxation techniques for the body, mindfulness meditation is high on the list. This form of meditation encourages focused breathing while keeping your attention in the present moment.

  • Find a comfortable position, either lying down or seated.
  • Begin doing any breathing type exercise including those mentioned above.
  • Staying mindful is merely observing the breath without trying to change it which will keep you aware of the present moment.
  • If your attention starts to wander, bring it back to the breath itself.
  • Different thoughts, including anxious and nervous ones, can occur. This is normal! Notice them for what they are, take a feel-good sigh, and see if you can refocus.
  • This process helps you to learn how to notice what causes your anxiety to rise before it escalates and can help you get closer to finding balance.

These types of breathing exercises are other calming techniques for anxiety that can be done at home or work and will help ease daily stressors.

When practicing any breathing technique to soothe or manage your anxiety, it is always a good idea to work with a professional to guide you. Therapy that can be utilized to help navigate your anxiety, using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a modality based around that our thoughts create our behaviors, and if we change our thoughts, we can change the outcome of our actions. Each thought creates a feeling, and that feeling then creates our emotional response through our behavior. Working with our therapists in this way teaches you a personalized coping plan so you can understand and work with your individual stressors.

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

Neuro-Linguistic Programming works the actions of our mind that are previously learned behaviors and helps us build new patterns of thought that are healthier. These new behaviors can be learned to help the patient develop new patterns of thought and provide tools to work with negative thought patterns moving forward.

If you or a loved one needs help finding a little more ease in life, consider reaching out to our primary practitioner, Anna Marchenko (LMHC, M.A. Ed.M) to take the first step toward feeling better. For more information on relaxation techniques for anxiety, contact us today.

The head of a blonde woman lying in a field of grass

What Is Holotropic Breathwork?

Breathing: The Gateway to the Unconscious Mind

Therapists are continuously looking for new and effective ways to help their clients recover from trauma while minimizing the amount of emotional pain experienced in the process. One tool that has been reviewed in literature as a possible approach in counseling and therapy is holotropic breathing.

What is the goal of holotropic breathwork? The idea of using altered breathing patterns or breathwork in therapy can allow the clients to tap into parts of the brain and central nervous system that are usually inaccessible. In fact, altered breathing (such as that experienced during sleep cycles) can even change the speed of our brain waves!

Sleep States and Psycho-Emotional Healing

What is holotropic breathwork’s relationship to sleep and healing? Consider this example: Have you ever felt anxious, upset, or indecisive about something in the evening and then woken up with a new sense of clarity in the morning? This may have to do with altered states of consciousness and processes that take place in our neurons during sleep.

A mouse study out of John Hopkins University explored the behavior of synapses (connections) in the brain during sleep in a group of mice. What they found was that during sleep, around 80% of the synapses in the brains of the normal mouse group shrunk during sleep, with the strongest synapses remaining unchanged. This study suggested that the altered brain-wave activity (and state of consciousness) during sleep helps us to integrate new experiences and forget information and memories that we no longer need.

Sleep States and Altered Breathing

What is the relevance of holotropic breathwork to this sleep study? In the context of psycho-emotional therapy, using an altered, dream-like state during therapy sessions could help clients integrate and heal from traumatic experiences more easily.

Dr. Stanislav Grof and Holotropic Breathwork™

One of the researchers who explored this possibility in depth is the Czech psychiatrist Dr. Stanislav Grof. In the 1960s, Dr. Grof set about studying the potential for trauma healing during trances induced by the psychedelic substance LSD. However, wanting to find a safer way to achieve a trance-like state without the negative side-effects, he started using altered breathing patterns (known as breathwork) to induce these trance-like states instead. Eventually, Dr. Grof, together with his wife Christina, developed what is known as Holotropic Breathwork™.

The word holotropic comes from the Greek words “holos” (whole) and “trepein” (moving in the direction of something). Put together, we can understand “Holotropic” as meaning “moving toward wholeness.”

What Is the Process Used in Holotropic Breathwork?

In a holotropic breathwork session, a group of participants close their eyes, lie down, and alternate a series of quick breaths with a series of long breaths for periods of time between one to three hours while listening to evocative, rhythmic music.

What is the Goal of Holotropic Breathwork According to Grof?

According to Dr. Grof, holotropic breathwork enables the participant to access unconscious experiences that include their conception, gestation, and birth. By experiencing the perinatal period more fully, the subject is said to be able to experience a birth-death-rebirth experience and achieve inner transformation faster as a result. Due to the focus on reliving these early experiences, holotropic breathwork is also known in some circles as “rebirthing” and “transformational breathing.”

What Is the Benefit of Holotropic Breathwork?

Professional opinions on holotropic breathwork are still somewhat divided. However, research indicates that it could have benefits for reducing death anxiety and increased self-esteem. The practice may also reduce avoidance behaviors that prevent people from facing uncomfortable thoughts and feelings and overcoming trauma.

What Is the Safety of Holotropic Breathwork?

The primary concerns about holotropic breathwork relate mainly to its similarity to hyperventilation. Hyperventilation occurs when the amount of C02 in the blood drops too low due to rapid and uneven breathing and the person can begin to feel sick.

While holotropic breathing does alter the levels of C02 and oxygen in the bloodstream, it does not seem to present the same dangers as hyperventilation or hyperventilation syndrome—as long as the breather keeps their inhales and exhales even.

What is the suitability of holotropic breathwork for people with asthma? Clients with asthma or another respiratory condition should only attempt holotropic breathwork under the supervision of a trained practitioner. Those with heart or retina problems are advised not to attempt this kind of breathing. Please consult with your primary care physician before introducing breathwork therapy into your lifestyle if you have a history of respiratory issues.

Discover the Benefits of Holotropic Breathwork at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy

If holotropic breathwork sounds like a tool that could help you experience a personal breakthrough, our primary practitioner Anna Marchenko can guide you through the process in a safe and professional setting.

Anna is a professional counselor and Holotropic Breathwork™ practitioner with experience helping clients through clinical hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Contact us to book a consultation today.

Age regression in a young woman

Understanding and Managing Trauma With Age Regression Therapy

Traumatic experiences can happen to any of us, and they affect each person differently. In particular, traumatic events in which severe physical harm or death was imminent or occurred can trigger feelings of stress and panic that last for weeks, months, even years afterward.

When the aftershocks of the trauma continue to cause distress, pain, and anxiety for more than one month following the incident, the phenomenon is referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Often, trauma we experience in our youth may be completely locked away in our minds, depending on its severity, and manifests later in life through mental health issues or physical health issues.

What Is Regression in Psychology?

Age regression therapy is an approach that aims to shift the way that you recall painful or traumatic memories. Under the guidance of a professional therapist, you’ll be guided into a state of hypnosis and taken back mentally to the age at which the trauma occurred so that they can change their perception of the events that transpired and experience healing.

The Aim of Age Regression Therapy

Reaching into the past with age regression therapyWhat is the purpose of regression in psychology? The goal of revisiting earlier ages and time periods in our lives is to help uncover the root thoughts and feelings may be causing imbalance and/or negativity in the present.

The way these earlier stages are experienced and the level of emotional intensity felt depends on the level of hypnosis used in your age regression therapy session. Here is an overview of the levels of therapy you can expect in a session:

  • Light Level or “Revivification”

In this stage, you’ll be guided into a state of light hypnosis that is somewhat similar to relaxation or meditation. While in this relaxed state, you will be prompted to try to recall events from the past. Often, people remember details in this state better than they would have in a state of full consciousness. While in this state of recall, you’re still aware of your present moment and aware that you are in a session with your therapist.

  • Medium Level or “Pseudo-Regression”

While in a very relaxed state of consciousness, your therapist will help navigate your awareness to a younger age, with the intent to safely revisit events from that time. Picture it like viewing a movie of your own past. The experience can be more intense at this level, and you may be asked to notice details like the tastes and smells that accompanied the event. However, as in the light level, you’re still conscious of your surroundings, you have full control, and you’ll have awareness of your surroundings.

  • Deep Level or Complete “Age Regression”

What is complete regression in psychology? The deepest level of age regression therapy is much more physical and emotional than the other two levels. In a complete age regression session with an experienced and qualified therapist, you’ll be safely guided into a safe space where you can completely detach from your present surroundings. In these sessions, you’ll experience the childhood event again as if it were actually happening, along with the accompanying movements and emotions.

This level of age regression therapy can be the most confrontational and takes time to achieve after many sessions with your therapist. In our holistic approach to age regression therapy, we hope to help you reframe the event and transform the way the memory is recalled, and how it may manifest itself.

Importance of Working with Qualified Therapists in Age Regression Therapy

What is the risk of regression in psychology? The risks lie in inexperienced therapists who do not have the credentials and make false claims about their practice. This could lead to the accidental introduction of false memories by the therapist. The other risk is that emotional harm may be caused if you are not ready to confront your childhood memories.

There is a reason the human mind locks away traumatic memories like this, and it takes time, patience, and compassion to safely release trauma. It’s essential to work with a professional, licensed mental health counselor and qualified hypnotherapy practitioner who can safely assess your unique needs.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Journaling as a part of cognitive behavioral therapy and age regression therapyIn cases of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), age regression therapy is not the only way to help you manage symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can also be used to help increase personal resilience and gain a new perspective.

What is CBT, compared to regression in psychology? As a solution-focused approach, CBT aims to identify potentially negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and to modify them so that you can experience and react to life’s ups and downs in a more reflective, less reactive, way.

In the case of PTSD, there are three main strategies used in CBT for helping mend past traumas:

  • Exposure Therapy

In contrast to age regression therapy, this strategy involves being exposed to the past event in a safe and controlled way through writing, mental imagery, or visiting the place where the incident took place. The therapist can observe your beliefs and feelings in connection with the event and help you modify the ones that are causing them distress.

  • Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring helps you gain perspective about a past event and make sense of the experience, with the aim to see it in a new light. In contrast to age regression therapy, this technique is used while in a state of full awareness. This process helps work through guilt associated with past trauma, especially.

  • Stress Inoculation Training

Through step-by-step exercises, your therapist will work with you to manage how you react to the stressor. This strategy can also help you view your experiences more positively and feel more empowered and in control.

Face the Past Safely at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy

If you would like to face past trauma and find relief from post-traumatic stress disorder with cognitive behavioral therapy or age regression therapy, it is essential to choose a qualified and experienced therapist to help you.

Anna Marchenko—the primary practitioner at Miami Hypnosis and Therapy—is a board-licensed hypnotist and counselor. As a highly trained therapist, Anna has a number of research-based therapeutic tools that can help you make a breakthrough in a shorter period of time.

Take the first step by calling us to book an appointment. It’s never too late to reach out for help. We’re here to help you get started on a brighter path.

Looking for inspiration to do some self reflection at home? Check out our favorite books for self care and self improvement that complement your journey to find balance.

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