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Effective Communication Matters For Improved Relationships

Effective Communication Matters For Improved Relationships

Do you ever feel misunderstood? Do you ever find it hard to get through a conversation with someone? It may feel as if the lines of communication were jumbled, leaving you puzzled. No one is at fault if communication modes are not understood and making a conscious effort to improve those interactions is possible. It helps to be aware of the various dynamics that can play out when interacting with others.

There are diverse and unique communication styles. As individuals, we approach one another from a different point of reference based on every stage and every encounter of life. These approaches are a result of how our consciousness moves us through the world, creating analytical, intuitive, functional, and personal communicators, to name a few. 

The greatest challenge in any relationship comes down to communication. The difficulties of people relating to one another are universal, and not restricted to interpersonal relationships. All encounters that are filtered through our personal experiences, shaped by our social, and cultural variations, make us unique. This individuality complicates our modes of interaction, increasing the need for improved communication channels. 

Clear communication and mutual respect are the cornerstones of any healthy relationship. Often, we are unaware of these varied differences between relationships, which can strain our professional and personal lives. 

  • Business relationships require open lines of communication, respect, and trust. Based on the setting and the mode of communication, the tone of the conversation may need to be revised and adjusted to ensure the successful transmission of your message. From personal interactions and formal written correspondences, effective communicators are able to build relationships, share ideas, delegate tasks, and manage their workload productively. Set personal goals, be intentional in your nonverbal language, and strive for simplicity when working to improve communication in business relationships.
  • Friendships and family relations require varying levels of vulnerability, which can only be established through clear modes of communication. Making a daily effort to become a better listener and improve talking skills can avoid stifling connections. 

These key features need to be fostered throughout our development into adulthood. In today’s social climate, honing our communication skills are central to a balanced approach to healthy living. Consider the challenges that we face at various stages of our development regarding how we communicate our needs and desires to others. Now, these difficulties can be compounded by language barriers, personality traits, and mental health conditions that may delay many aspects of clear communication.

Despite the challenges that all relationships face, it is possible to enjoy a healthy dynamic with others, even as one manages a significant mental health illness. The key, which becomes crucially important within the dynamics of mental disorders, is to establish clear boundaries. This ensures that all parties have a clear understanding of those boundaries through unimpeded lines of communication, a two-way process. From reflective listening with the goal of understanding to effective expression ensuring messages do not turn into background noise, communication is crucial to ensure sentiments are heard and feelings are understood. 

It is helpful to understand more specifically how a particular illness may complicate communication. It may not be possible for an individual experiencing mental illness to articulate their range of emotions, or to do so in a manner that makes full sense for the person they are trying to communicate with. Language in these instances falls short and perspectives are not clear. Often communication is affected by our emotions and motivations, but by using concise sentences and allowing proper processing time – the information is less likely to get jumbled with the already existing thoughts. 

Ketamine Health Centers recommends using the LEAP system when collaborating with someone with mental illness: 

  • Listen to understand.
  • Empathize with how the person feels. 
  • Agree on goals for both parties. 
  • Partner to work towards those goals.  

Additionally, a mental health professional can help you or loved ones find effective ways to learn or establish new modes of communication within relationships facing mental health challenges. Ketamine Health Centers’ team of counselors and medical professionals offer a wide array of mental health solutions and treatments to assist individuals facing a variety of communication-based challenges. Schedule a free consultation at any of our based clinics today. We are available via virtual, phone, or in-person visits. Our leading mental health team across Florida and Mexico can help you establish clear goals with specific options for alternative modes of treatment. Contact our team today – we are ready when you are. 

Spectrum of Mental Wellness

Spectrum of Mental Wellness

Processes usually move along a spectrum. Mental health is no different. Our individual mental health changes throughout our life as we develop and experience living in all its variety. We traverse the expanse of mental wellness as we move through the spectrum of mental health, changing as our experiences and coping skills shape us.

Currently, there is a wave of stress that is challenging even the most experienced mental health professionals, as we cope with the enormous changes that we face globally with Covid-19 still on the rise. Without even a chance to prepare for such moments, the required changes to how we behave have also left us with fewer buffers to ease the onslaught. That wave grows in intensity with social and financial stressors, and in many parts of the world, a failure of political leadership. But by recognizing the fluid nature of mental health, we can help mitigate some of the more difficult waves we encounter. Understanding mental health as a spectrum of wellness and illness is a first step towards actively shaping our individual wellbeing and providing support for our loved ones.

Most adults, and sadly more adolescents, live in an almost perpetual state of stress or stimulus overload. Our cultural climate (especially if consumed through social media), and the technology by which we consume it, generate their own levels of stressors. Even before the pandemic, and even if not already stretched by the responsibilities of making a living or supporting others – often experiencing lack of restorative sleep – day to day life has often been overwhelming. We know that we need to follow certain wellness practices to help relieve the pressure, ranging from exercise to meditation, as well as eating a healthy diet, and ensuring restful sleep. Especially in these extreme moments of change, we need to rely on all healthy modes of stress relief and create new modes of human interaction as many have been able to do. But not everyone can find alternative methods as easily. Left unchecked, high levels of stress will move one along the spectrum in the direction of mental illness – towards depression and other physical and emotional conditions. Find a way that works for you to channel that stress into an activity that brings you pleasure to maintain a more balanced mental wellness.

Traumatic life experiences that are left unresolved can also quickly move an individual along the spectrum to PTSD, or towards developing a substance abuse (or an excessive, risky behavior) especially if there is a predisposition to addiction in one’s family history. There are also mental illnesses that do not make themselves evident until a particular age is reached, often around late adolescence to early adulthood. Spotting changes in behavior can help us see early signs of mental health crises that need to be addressed.

The best care we can provide ourselves or our loved ones is to read the signs for help and seek the professional support needed. Social isolation, or changes in mood or energy levels might be easy to spot and may often be the first signs. For introverts, look for changes in behavior towards beloved activities. If you notice a decrease in productivity or activity for some time there may be more serious reasons than burn-out or disinterest. Also consider erratic behavior or distorted thinking as clear signs for help.

Ketamine Health Centers offers a myriad of procedures and therapies to help address the wide gamut of the mental health spectrum. We invite you to review our services to learn about the various therapeutic treatments and wellness options that Ketamine Health Centers provide. We are dedicated to helping our clients reach a balanced state of wellness.

Holistic Therapy and Healing for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Holistic Therapy and Healing for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Many of us experience trauma in our lives. In some respects, hardships are what help us create our character strengths as we grow. Life is hard. Full of great losses and unforeseen events that shape us along the way. But not everyone can overcome every situation as a learning experience, nor with time, reflection or even one’s character armor. Post-traumatic stress disorder may intervene in one’s ability to heal if trauma memories become entrenched and, for a myriad of reasons, block one’s ability to move past the experience. PTSD requires a multifaceted, yet targeted, approach to help an individual process the trauma and move beyond the crippling triggers that impede their healing. 

 Ketamine infusion therapy and trans-cranial magnetic stimulation treatment (TMS), along with the meditative arts and other holistic therapeutic approaches, offer the best way to help individuals who experience the debilitating consequences of PTSD finally heal. According to a 2016 study, only 59% of those afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder find relief from traditional medications, thus alternative methods are required. The study, published in the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, highlights that “many existing treatments…do not directly target trauma memories that lay at the core of the PTSD pathogenesis. Notable exceptions are medications like ketamine,” among other treatments such as TMS, SGB (Stellate Ganglion Block) and using yoga and mindfulness. 

 It is important to pair PTSD treatment with yoga, tai chi or some type of movement meditation, which allows the body to release pent-up energy, that visceral body tension that helps trigger an individual. Releasing the energy throughout the body is very important. Muscles are controlled by the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, and the sympathetic system produces our fight or flight response. Releasing tension in the body is directly tied to healing the body’s nervous system at the muscular and molecular level. Stretching allows for healing at the physiological level with the release of endorphins. Releasing tension also helps one reach deeper sleep states which is necessary to fully process the experience at the subconscious level. Mindfulness and focusing on breathing allow for the release of healing chemicals such as serotonin, “the feel-good” neurotransmitter, thus working at the emotional level by helping strengthen neural connections. This is precisely the site of treatments such as Ketamine, which aims to dislodge entrenched trauma pathways. And Stellate Ganglion Block treatments which directly target the Stellate Ganglion of nerves that are mainly responsible for the fight or flight response.

Ketamine Health Centers offers these new mental health tools such as Ketamine infusion and ketamine assisted psychotherapy, TMS, and SGB treatments; especially important alternative methods for patients with treatment resistant PTSD (TR-PTSD), but also effective for a wide range of mental health concerns. The meditative arts help enhance these targeted treatments. A holistic approach allows trauma patients to dislodge old neuropathways and create new connections, working through various levels in the body matrix. The key to lending efficacy to these deeper healing methods. 

The meditative practices that should accompany these various alternative treatments are numerous and should be tailored to an individual’s disposition. Contact one of our clinics today to learn more regarding new PTSD treatment options, and a specialist will help you create a treatment plan that best fits your needs. Treatment can be initiated via telemedicine services. Ask about available insurance options at our Coral Gables clinic. We are here to help you, or your loved one, create a path to mental health and wellness.

Telemedicine Services for your Wellbeing

Telemedicine Services for your Wellbeing

Ketamine Health Centers is dedicated to your wellbeing in these extremely challenging times and now offers telemedicine services for your wellbeing . We are here to provide the support that you need as we adjust to a different rhythm of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are unprecedented times where all that we know for certain is that we do not have answers to most of our questions. An unnerving prospect for us all. There are subtle ways to help gain some semblance of control in these restrictive moments, such as maintaining the same meal times each day. Set a routine for your weekdays that differ from your weekend days to help maintain your sense of time, or days may begin to run into each other. Make it a point to get outside daily, if possible, and move and stretch – or sit & listen to nature. For emotional health, carve out a space to meditate, or reflect on what you are thankful for. Don’t just let yourself get caught up in home projects and remote work or eLearning. Use this as an opportunity for self-growth.

Thankfully, with all challenges come opportunities. There are many ways to see the positives that this mostly global shut-down has highlighted. I think of the lives of individuals cut off from the daily hustle and bustle. I see two wonderful things occurring as we are forced to slow down. The creative muses have been called from all corners, providing newfound joy and stress release for many individuals. And many family connections have been reestablished, bonds strengthened, and friendships rekindled through a call or text to finally check-in and say hello. There are, however, still so many vulnerable individuals, the poor, the homeless, the elderly who have been cut off from their loved ones; vulnerable to the physical risks, but even more so for most, to the mental health challenges that this new normal presents. Yet, even in the face of physical isolation, many are blessed with the capabilities to connect through technology. Yes, this of course further highlights the digital divide in our society, just as the crisis highlights many insufficiencies in our lives. The optimist in me sees this wake-up call as a gift to make the structural changes necessary to correct some gaping deficiencies. But these changes will come slowly.

For the moment, I am grateful for the resources available to us to remain connected through these challenging times. Ketamine Health Centers, as always, is fully committed to your health and well-being. We know that you need to find a delicate balance between receiving mental health support and staying home and healthy through the duration of this pandemic. Our clinic will provide telemedicine support fully covered by all insurance plans. We can provide your initial consultation, evaluation, and follow-up sessions via live chat Telemedicine sessions (or still by phone if preferred). Our West Palm Beach and Miami clinic locations are still open for scheduled treatment sessions. We can provide teletherapy services as well. Contact us today and let us tailor your treatment sessions with our freely available telemed services. Know that Ketamine Health Centers can support you in various ways to help establish and maintain your mental and physical health, especially during these uncertain times.

Reducing Anxiety During Times of Uncertainty

Reducing Anxiety During Times of Uncertainty

Anxiety is often defined as fear of uncertainty. As a therapist, I often find myself helping my patients understand the legitimacy of these fears. Through hard work and a strong alliance with my patients, we face the fears, question its validity and as a result, reduce the anxiety. But times today are different. Our world is now full of real uncertainties; uncertainties about what Covid-19 means for us as a society, as a family and as an individual. Many of our patients with preexisting anxiety disorders are describing a sense of “legitimized anxiety”. Recently, I had a patient who told me that his OCD is helping him keep his family safe as his previously “over the top” hygiene practices are now being regarded as approaches to minimize contamination. Anxiety can be productive as it propels us to take action and make the necessary changes to stay safe. None-the-less, many of us struggle in an age of anxiety and now our fears have grown to unsurmountable levels. Covid-19 has pushed us to the next level of legitimized anxiety. How do we get through these trying times where answers are often elusive and uncomfortable?

Some answers can be found when we identify how we view control over our lives or what control means to us. The current uncertainty that Covid-19 represents is leaving us feeling helpless and without control. How long will this last? Will it impact my family or my loved ones? How will our day-to-day life change? Many may already be experiencing the changes that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused. We have children home from school or maybe some of us have lost our jobs. Uncertainty has affected our “life as usual”. Our lives are different and we just want some sense of the familiar and some sense of hope. A helpful way to address this sense of helplessness and lack of control is to consider how often we apply possibility thinking versus probability thinking. The likelihood of being affected is greater in certain areas of our world than in others and through certain actions. Consider all the variables and what this specifically means for your individual situation and then put into perspective your individual risk.

Regardless of your degree of risk and preexisting anxiety disorder, there are a number of things we can all do right now to regain a sense of control over our lives and the consequent sense of hope for the future that results when we feel empowered. As we face this unique crisis we can manage and control our runaway anxiety and overwhelming fears. Following are some suggestions.

Know your information

  • Know what is real news and what is rumor. It is very important that we stay informed in this continuously changing environment. However, there are many rumors running around. Just earlier this week, my 19 year old daughter home from college announced that our community had begun enforcing an 8:00pm curfew. I am enrolled in my town’s Community Newsletter which I receive through email. I had just received a recent newsletter that very day and noticed where they specifically stated that news of a curfew in our town was only a rumor. I felt empowered for knowing where to go to find the information I needed.
  • It is important to always stay aware of the sources of your news. Only consider news coming from reliable sources such as Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), White House briefings, local public health and community government information sites.
  • Do not check your phone or television for news every ten minutes. This limit is unique to each person but consider it a good idea to limit your news exposure to the same times of day, each day.

 Stay aware of what you can control.

  • Follow the directions of the CDC on how to reduce your chances of getting the virus and protecting your family.
  • Take care of your wellbeing. Set aside time to meditate. You can start this with 5 minutes a day of mindful breathwork. This is where you imagine breathing out stress and anxiety and breathing in peace and relaxation. If 5 minutes seems like too long, take in 7 breaths/exhales. Start a stretching routine, read the book you’ve been wanting to find time to read, buy art supplies and learn a new craft or practice an old one. Go for a walk and take pictures with your phone of images that stand out. Share with friends on social media. Try new recipes with all the groceries you’ve stocked up on.

Reach out for help.

  • Reconnect with friends through phone calls and social media. Set aside a specific time during your day for “distant socializing”. It can be very enjoyable to watch the same movie at the same time with a good friend while in separate physical spaces. Afterwards call each other and share thoughts about the movie. We become more insightful and consider the meaning of things that in the days prior to Covid-19 we might have rushed right by.
  • Talking to a mental health professional can help you identify any distorted thinking or other thoughts that can be making this difficult situation even more hard to cope with. At KHC, we are expanding our mental health programs to include telehealth so you can reach one of our licensed mental health therapists from your own home or work. Most insurance companies are currently covering this benefit. Talk to one of our patient care coordinators in Miami, WPB, Weston or Orlando and schedule an appointment.

Whether you have a preexisting anxiety disorder, depression or just find yourself overwhelmed by the uncertainties of our current world, within us we have the tools to work our way through these difficult times. Eventually our world will become more predictable again. For now, lets stay well informed with accurate information, increase our sense of control by letting go of what we can’t control and focusing on the things we can and lets connect and never hesitate to reach out for help.

Dancing Away the Blues: Soul Therapy & Brain Booster

Dancing Away the Blues: Soul Therapy & Brain Booster

Losing yourself in a dance trance provides a freeing sense of self. While the joy and social connections that foster feel good moments on the dance floor provide fuel for our souls. There is great healing power in the rhythmic movement that exercises the body, as well as through the music that melds mind and spirit to the energy that surrounds us. Dance, especially movement to rhythmic percussions, forms a foundational ground for spiritual worship and an excellent source of emotional release, as experienced throughout human history. Music also constitutes one of the primordial forms of energetic connection to the pulse of life. No doubt when you loosen up and allow your bodies to follow the groove, and truly allow yourself to be guided by the musical rhythms, your soul rejuvenates and energy flows more freely. 

Multiple layers of healing permeate and boost the body when we use dance as a form of exercise and therapeutic release. More importantly, for the millions of Americans who suffer from depression and anxiety each year, the increase in synaptic activity that accompanies cardiovascular exercise can help reverse the effects of depressive brain states. As we exert physical exercise, we also enhance activity in our prefrontal cortex providing a brain boost. Dance increases brain connectivity leading to better working memory, reducing stress and increasing levels of serotonin, as recognized through current research in neuroscience. A wonderful resource, the Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute highlights some of the beneficial neurophysiological changes that dance can bring about, on their page Dancing and the Brain.  

As scientists try to understand the neurophysiology of depression through brain morphology, animal models provide some revealing findings. One such study connects the atrophy of dendritic spine density in regions of the prefrontal cortex to depressed brain states.  Research into the antidepressant effects of Ketamine highlights how Ketamine reverses depressive neurophysiology by “increasing dendritic spine density in the prefrontal cortex, reflecting structural remodeling” and at times the creation of new neuropathways. Providing more acute effects than dancing can for individuals in need of more targeted therapeutic treatments, Ketamine infusion can provide immediate and sustained benefits to brain-based behavioral changes. 

A recently published study, this one focusing on Electrophysiological Biomarkers of Ketamine on individuals with depression, reviews “markers of synaptic potentiation…[including] gamma oscillations and long-term potentiation.” The study points to “changes in long-term potentiation as a promising measure of synaptic [restructuring] following ketamine administration” leading to changes in synaptic activity that helps loosen entrenched neuropathways. In fact, the full effects of Ketamine infusion may not be felt immediately, as reported by some patients, but instead may become more apparent a few days following treatment, and up to about 10-14 days after, as increased synaptic activity and rewiring takes place.  

Along with other therapeutic activities such as dancing, Ketamine infusion treatments establish neuro and electrophysiological restructuring in the brain that potentially lead to behavioral changes, and often an enhanced outlook on life. Contact Ketamine Health Centers today to discuss your specific needs and one of our specialists will help tailor your treatment options. We are dedicated to helping you or your loved one boost mental and emotional wellness to healthy living.

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