Episode 100 – Integrative & Evidence-Based Therapy with Chris Haney

written by Chris Haney (Clinical Social Worker/Therapist) on 07/07/22

Conversations with Safe Harbour Therapy
Episode 100 – Integrative & Evidence-Based Therapy with Chris Haney
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Welcome to the team! Meet Chris Haney, Clinical Social Worker/Therapist

I have been a practicing social work for over ten years now, with five of those years in direct therapy. My experience has helped me develop a very deep appreciation for how important the body-mind connection is in our daily lives. When we are in distress either temporarily or chronically, we tend to shut down that connection. This break in our body-mind connection can lead to further pain and suffering. Our emotions take over; we dwell on thoughts in an attempt to control them. The resulting distress may be seen in such symptoms as anxiety, depression, addiction etc. However, if we are able to find ways to maintain our body-mind connection even in times of distress, we can open the door to so many more possibilities that in turn can help us whether its acceptance, taking action, seeking help from others, building resources etc. I have experienced success in finding ways to achieve and strengthen this connection using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), mindfulness, and trauma informed yoga.

Sometimes our memories, in particular the traumatic ones, can make it difficult for us to develop our body-mind connection. These memories, which are not processed (frozen in time due to their severity) tend to come back, time and time again, hijacking our thoughts and emotions at any given time. However, through EMDR we can take those traumatic memories and make them play a lesser role. This is achieved through Bilateral Eye Stimulation, which mimics REM sleep. As a result, memories that often trigger and force us to feel an incredible amount of pain and suffering, become something of the past with a beginning, middle and an end. EMDR has been recognized through research (RCT) to help those living with trauma to feel relief.

“Drop the tug-of-war rope.”

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy?

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)? In short, this therapy asks us to change the relationship we have with our thoughts, emotions, urges and memories. Instead of being hooked to them and following them around as though they are strict rules, we can step back and allow them to exist without judgement. Our mind doesn’t always act in our best interest and this is why our minds try to problem solve our internal struggles in the same way as they react to the external world such as fixing a broken engine or broken sink or sewing a pair of pants. Unfortunately, our internal difficulties don’t work like that. The more we try to control, dwell, avoid and fight, the more we experience it. For example, the more we dwell on the anxiety of not sleeping, the worse the anxiety is; or the more we think about our past mistakes, the more we become depressed.

Instead, we make room for our tough emotions, we loosen our grip on our negative and unhelpful thoughts and memories. We do this in order to follow the value-guided goals that lead to the fulfilling life that we desire. It asks such questions as, “What really matters, deep in your heart?

Treatment Approaches:

  • CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)
  • EMDR
  • ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)
  • Trauma Sensitive Yoga
  • Play Therapy
  • Strength Based
  • Relaxation strategies
  • Mindfulness based
  • General health and wellness coaching

Reaching out to seek relief from the pain and suffering is a crucial first step. It takes a lot of courage and energy to face this head on, but you don’t have to do this alone. Sometimes the trauma and the unbearable thoughts, memories and emotions can make us feel isolated and alone, but that does not have to be the case. Together as a team we can look for alternatives, build and create resources externally and internally, and look forward to what is yet to be discovered within ourselves.

Click here to learn more and connect with Chris Haney, Clinical Social Worker/Therapist.

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