All the Ways We’ll Beat the Winter Blues This Season – The New York Times

When you live in Omaha, NE – or the surrounding area – dealing with the gloom of an overcast sky or the drama of dodging the potholes on the roadway are a part of life we all understand. And, mostly, we deal with it, knowing that milder weather, sunnier days, and repaired streets will all come our way in due time.

However, some of us suffer a lot more. Not exactly hibernation – but a withdrawal from life. A deeper sadness, a lack of energy, maybe even a sense of despondency that weighs heavily on us – and our relationships. The question, then: what to do?

The linked article will bring lots of ideas – I especially like the idea of bringing home a plant. Maybe that’s why, every year, area events like the Cathedral Flower Show and the Omaha Home and Garden Expo are so well-attended. Can’t make those? Lauritzen Garden or the Doorly Zoo will fill the gap nicely.

Need more help with depression? Please give me a call – let’s talk it over.

Source: All the Ways We’ll Beat the Winter Blues This Season – The New York Times 

Hypnosis for GERD – Severe Acid Reflux

Is spicy food impossible to tolerate? Other tummy trouble?

Hypnosis for GERD

Sixty million Americans deal with this uncomfortable sensation at least once a month — heartburn. It’s not only painful, but can be life-altering, or even deadly if ignored. No wonder that heartburn and other gastrointestinal medications are among the most popular drugs on the market. But these “miracle drugs” are far from perfect; some patients report mixed results and long-term side effects.

see the original article here

Some readers may know that I’ve used hypnosis to help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome for several years. I recently received a cross-country referral from the psychologist who is featured in the above article, Laurie Keefer, PhD. She worked with the North Carolina therapist who developed the IBS protocol to extend his work for those who suffer with GERD.
She generously shared the protocol with me.


  • First, an assessment session for getting acquainted and questions. Then, 7 sessions, ideally spaced about 2 weeks apart. Hypnosis at every session – with a focus on deep relaxation and symptom change.
  • Solo/at-home hypnosis to be practiced everyday starting with the time of the 2nd session, through the end of treatment. And, hopefully, beyond that time, as well – to maintain comfort and support continued stress management.
Let me know if you have questions. Thanks!

Stress and GI Conditions

The normal stress of everyday life can aggravate certain GI conditions. And in a vicious cycle, worrying about or dwelling on severe pain, constipation, diarrhea and other GI symptoms can make the symptoms worse, which in turn increases the stress.


Read the full story from Science Daily


I have training in the use of hypnosis for the treatment of IBS. More information here. Please call or use my Contact Page for your questions.

Hypnosis May Be Effective for Cancer Pain, IBS, Headaches

Help for Medical Issues

Brain imaging studies demonstrate that hypnosis influences cortical areas and neurophysiological processes that underlie pain and emotions.

Are you open to a new approach to feeling better?

Having a chronic health issue can be stressful in and of itself. However, over time, suffering and loss of function can be especially discouraging. Simultaneously, we are starting to become aware of the trouble that can derive from the long-term use of opioid pain medications. They don’t always help the way we want them to; the danger of addiction looms for even cautious users after a very short time.

Medications can help with the symptoms of IBS; this can be combined with dietary changes suggested by your physician. Yet, many find that the result obtained are disappointing. Advancements have been made, too, for those who are troubled with migraine headaches. Biofeedback, medications, and trigger identification [allergies] all make for better adjustment.

Options are great

All of these treatment options are great, but I often hear that people’s response to care can be incomplete, or that medications have side effects that are challenging to manage. Is it time to consider clinical hypnosis?

The link below will take you to an online post that summarizes recent research and clinical findings. After reading, talk it over with your healthcare professional. Questions? Give me a call. 402-334-1122

Source: Clinical Hypnosis May Be Effective for Cancer Pain, IBS, Headaches

Is Hypnotherapy More Than Hype?

Hypnotherapy might be more helpful than you think. Consumer Reports fills you in what you need to know and explains whether this therapy is more than hype.

Source: Is Hypnotherapy More Than Hype?

The Source link will take you to an article from Consumer Reports – it does a nice job of outlining some of the things that hypnosis research has shown to be effective uses of the technique. If you have questions after reading the article, please contact me.

OCD Doesn’t Always Strike Alone

OCD’s Companions

The link will take you to an article on PsychCentral. The author makes the important point that rarely do we suffer in a unidimensional manner. Problems can show up in clusters.

That’s why it’s so important to get a thorough assessment that guides treatment. Make sure you tell your therapist all the symptoms you are experiencing and how they impact on your functioning.

Clusters are pretty common!
Clusters are pretty common!









Source: OCD Doesn’t Always Strike Alone | Overcoming OCD


Book Review: The Storm of Sex Addiction

The Storm of Sex Addiction: Rescue and Recovery
Connie Lofgreen, MSW, CSAT

I recently sat down with Connie Lofgreen’s 2012 book: The Storm of Sex Addiction. The book masterfully weaves together Lofgreen’s clinical perspective, research data, case vignettes, and ideas for family, couple & individual growth. It’s clear from the start that the author cares deeply for her subject area, and for the people and families who are are impacted by sex addiction.

stormEach of the four parts of Lofgreen’s book has something to offer for the reader, whether a worried partner, a therapist wanting to expand his or her understanding of this area of intervention, or an individual struggling to understand the forces that drive addictive behavior within sexual encounters.

Section One sets the context for the remainder of the book. The prevalence of the problem, and its destructiveness are delineated. Repeatedly, we see the personal, relationship, career and family impacts.

Section Two lays out the context and environment that contributes to the development of high-risk behaviors – that lead, over time, to addictive patterns, rituals, and the disruption of a healthy life. Lofgreen draws together several important threads: trauma & attachment theory, the easy availability of internet sources of sexualized communication and imagery, and the progressive and destructive decline of mental and physical health that results. This is a useful and thought-provoking overview!

Section Three addresses a number of critical elements focusing on treatment and recovery. The reader will come away with an understanding of Lofgreen’s own Starpro intervention program that she conducts in her Omaha, NE outpatient office. Addtionally, she sketches out a realistic collection of therapy and support that anyone who suffers sex addiction should anticipate to use in his or her recovery. You’ll come away knowing that there are no shortcuts.

Each element is explained for its value and benefit to the client. Of particular note, the partners and spouses of the sex addict receive valuable input to assess their own needs, and the viability of the relationship with the addict. Safety, and personal growth, is emphasized. Lastly, there is a chapter in this section that highlights the special category of the clergy – the needs of the addict, the addict’s family, and his or her congregation.

Section Four reprises the societal and technological realities that we face today – the same ones that allow us to work remotely and communicate across the world instantaneously also bring us the potential of isolation, avoidance, false intimacy, addictive responses and patterns, along with the degradation of self, career, and relationships we all need. Lofgreen outlines a framework for child growth, development and safety through engaged, thoughtful, intentional parenting.

The book closes with a useful collection of resources for anyone wanting to go deeper into the subject. For the addict and family, additional books and sources of help. For the clinician, the reader will find additional sources of material related to addiction, attachment, and training.

This book is very readable, interesting, and draws you in to learn more. Those struggling with understanding their own addictive behavior, family members of the addict, and therapists who encounter sex addiction in their own practices would all do well to open up this volume. The ideas are useful and digestible – I found them reprised in my thoughts as I saw clients while in the midst of reading. I’m sure that this will continue, as well.

Find the book on Amazon here.

What’s Wrong with Me? – Autoimmune Disorders

What’s Wrong with Me? – The New Yorker.

 Chronic Fatigue

The link will take you to a compelling and informative article about one woman’s journey to find answers about her lingering chronic fatigue, sense of unwellness – and the difficulty of finding answers.

This is a long article, but worth your time.

Clearly, the author had a network of friends and family that stayed in touch with her throughout her long search for answers. As I read, I kept waiting for mention of a support group or a therapist. The author did spend a lot of time on the Internet looking for information and guidance – but didn’t seek out [it appears] mainstream counseling or psychiatry. Not a problem – but I can’t help but thinking that this might have been an added dimension to her recovery. To not feel so alone, to have a place to air out her thoughts and feelings.

Finding X: One Family’s Solution to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Paperback

Recommended Reading –

Finding X: One Family’s Solution to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

by Joni St John (Author) , Ray St John (Author)
Finding X is the sequel to Ray St. John’s first book on OCD – The Ray of Hope. You can see my review here:
Finding X refers to the process of working through all the personal variables that OCD can manifest in one’s life, and coming to a set of responses that represents the solution that works for you – X. In this second book, Ray teams up with his mother, Joni, as co-author. She reveals her own observations about how a personal experience with  OCD has infiltrated her life – and how her own mother was likely suffering similarly in her lifetime. It takes some bravery to come forward like this.
Part I – The Author’s Personal Stories
The takeaway message in this early section: correct diagnosis is critical to recovery.
The first part of Finding X takes the reader through how OCD invaded Ray’s life and the life of the family over the course of time. It is noteworthy that Ray’s trouble with OCD started in childhood, and returned repeatedly over time to confound everyone. The reader is introduced to the phenomena of triggers, compulsive responses and the interpersonal aspects of the disorder. Clearly, Ray and his mom got caught up in the all-too-common pattern of anxiety generation, avoidance, and reassurance seeking. Of course, loving parents persist in giving reassurance freely. Only later did everyone realize how counterproductive this can be. Of course, everyone was doing their best to deal with the situation. Later, once Ray and Joni learned how to use Exposure & Response Prevention strategies, things got better. However, even as their book went to press, they were dealing with yet another round of symptoms.
Part II – Understanding the Nature of OCD
One of the toughest things for those who have never experienced OCD is to imagine what the experience is for those who do. Joni and Ray contribute passages to try to answer this question. Yes, it is pain. And, yes, it is [or can be] a continuous stream of thoughts internal to a person that interferes with the quality of life. It does so by devious means: introducing a sense of personal responsibility, danger or vulnerability, and the uncertainty of just about everything. Can I trust my senses, my memory, my actions – all these and more are part of the mix.
Ray and Joni reflect on the role of genetics and environment in the development of OCD. While research continues in this area, there seems to be a consensus that genetics is the foundation for the disorder. Both authors wonder about the influence of home life. While being willing to consider whether there is anything tangible to grasp onto, I think most families will likely come up empty on finding a definitive answer here. From what I can tell, most families cannot avoid OCD if the predisposition is there. No one to blame.
From there, the authors turn to the topic of co-morbidity, how this increases suffering, and how this complicates treatment. Joni grapples with the question of whether she influenced the sexual obsessions that her son developed; Ray has decided to live without knowing definitively. In the end, that is likely the better approach. I hope Joni can get there someday, too.
Part III – Exposure & Response Behavior Therapy
I appreciate the co-authors efforts to describe the process of ERP therapy. Generally, when people are dealing with an anxiety-based problem, they look for relief: antidepressant and/or tranquilizer medications, relaxation exercises – just about anything to reduce the distress in the mind and body. Medications can help reduce some symptoms, but is rarely the whole solution. When told that ERP therapy requires people to face trouble, to intentionally trigger discomfort, any number of my clients have wondered if I knew what I was doing. Fortunately, I attended training with the OC Foundation [] several years ago – and now have an accumulation of treatment successes to share with clients. But some people drop out after one session – not ready to try this approach. The authors bear this out vividly.
What impresses me in this part of the book is the toughness and courage each person demonstrated. It is impossible to know in advance whether you are pushing too hard or nudging too little. You find out over time, and adjust as needed. The nice thing here is that both Joni and Ray are able to report progress, right from the beginning. It’s hard to say whether others could get the same results in the same time. But the validation of the process is the important message here.
Part IV – additional resources
We discover how Ray and Joni found creative ways of relating to one another and to OCD. They found ways to externalize the problem that worked for them. I bet this was one of the keys to their success. Yes, there is little doubt [though I could be wrong] that the tools of ERP were fundamental to progress. But, I can’t help but think that the ways they brought tenderness and humanity into their process made a huge difference.
Next, the authors share their thoughts on medications, and their potential role in treatment for OCD. The main message here: to use them is a big decision, it takes a while to find out if a particular medication will ease suffering – and no single medication will likely be perfect.
This section comes to a close with a useful review of ideas that assist with overall coping: engagement at school; exercise; making time for friends and family.
Part V – Wrapping Up
In this final section, Ray and Joni reflect on their relationship to one another, to OCD and to others who seek information on its nature and treatment. It’s clear that OCD has left its fingerprint on each of their lives. This section is thought-provoking and the reader will find their insights into media/TV/movie portrayals of OCD to be of value.
Of special importance, the book comes to a close with a thorough list of the resources that the authors used in Ray’s treatment – and a resource list for further learning.
This is not a textbook; not a treatment guide. On the other hand, you will be able to learn something about the interior of the experience of OCD and the hell it can create for sufferers and their families. Perhaps it will also offer inspiration and hope to those who are considering ERP therapy, but are holding back – thinking that it might be too hard or take too long or not work well enough. I recommend it to you, and hope you agree.
To purchase: or [print and Kindle versions available] or