Awkwardness and Social Phobia

0bigstock-Cow-And-Gate--5928923People with social phobia or social anxiety often worry that they are awkward or don’t fit it with everyone else. However, almost everyone has that worry to some degree. And, we are all awkward at times.

A few weeks ago, I got my hair cut at the same salon I’ve been utilizing for several years. I was in the waiting area, as my stylist was finishing up the appointment before me. A woman I do not know who works there came over as I was absorbed in my thoughts and called my name. I looked up and said, quite loudly, “yes” as I stood up. But it was more like “YES!” in the semi-busy salon. I was clearly heard over all the other conversations and was mildly embarrassed by my volume.

But what could I do? Apologize for being too loud ever-so-briefly? Explain that I was thinking and had to snap back to reality? Blow it off and figure everyone makes mistakes?

The woman looked shocked, but only momentarily. She said “Come on back to get washed.” I followed her back to the sinks and she made small talk, which I returned in my normal voice. I blew it off. No big deal. No need to make a thing when there isn’t any.

With social phobia or social anxiety, people often think they need to have contingency plans for their contingency plans. Blow that off. Skip that extra work. Live in this moment. That moment is already over.

As for me, if that was the story they told one another at the salon at closing time and had a good laugh, then have a good laugh on me. The world needs more laughter and stories.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Get Better Today

That’s me in a session, at my old office.

A little background: At this point, I’ve been specializing in clearing trauma for over a decade. I studied psychology for my entire 7-year college education. Point is: I’ve been at this awhile and am trained in making people well; but, I’m also trained in making people well, whole, happy, and doing it FAST!

I’m a Certified Practitioner in Rapid Resolution Treatment (RRT), which means that I have the ability to brush up my skills every few weeks, am always learning new techniques, and twice a year I attend an intensive training to get even more polished. RRT allows me to have a client talk about horribly painful events with no tears, no retraumatization, and be talking, laughing, and healing all the while. In a single visit, you feel better. Not just a little better like “oh, now that I talked about it, I kinda feel better”; that’s crap. Better like “I feel like all my problems are solvable and I can go live my happy life.” That’s the goal, and it’s easy – and it’s fun!

0Tissues1 (1)Let me get on an ego trip for a second and tell you that seeing a client’s problems resolved in a session or two is good for me. What used to take 6-9 months of weekly visits, or pouring through pain, of talking about it until it doesn’t hurt anymore, is done in about 5 hours, about 3 visits. Sometimes even less. And that’s just the trauma part. RRT is great for grief over a death or ended relationship, for anxiety and panic attack, depression, weight loss, changing bad habits, addiction, motivation, self-esteem, and nearly anything you come in with. And if it’s that good for me, imagine how good that is for you! You come less often, feel better faster, and we bankrupt the tissue industry that traditional therapy has been supporting.

0Koolaid man Oh yeahI hear you thinking, “oh, but surely you’re blowing this out of proportion. People don’t get ‘cured’ by this, do they? They don’t stay well?” Oh, yeah, Kool Aid!Lasting results from a visit or two. People are getting better through RRT and staying well. They’re coming back and saying “you know, I have this friend…” and referring people they love. That’s my hope for the future, that everyone will feel good, be well, and if they know someone who needs to get better, they’ll say “you know what worked for me? It’s good. Come get some!” And we’ll all be talking and laughing together. Isn’t that the whole point of this crazy life, anyhow?

For further proof, check out a testimonial of mine that was featured at Institute for Survivors of Sexual Violence.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

SPD in Adults

Am I Normal?I was never diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) as a child. Although Sensory Integration Dysfunction (it’s predecessor) was coined in 1972, I didn’t learn about it until 2013, while having dinner with two colleagues who work with children. Upon hearing about the symptoms, I identified with many of them, asked my colleagues many questions, and took a quiz to self-diagnose. Fascinating stuff. It explained many things about my childhood and adult life.

You can watch a video on what SPD is by clicking HERE.

Of the 4 types of SPD, I show symptoms of only one. Others may have symptoms from another cluster, or many, or all of the clusters. The 4 subsets are: Sensory modulation disorder, Sensory discrimination disorder, Postural ocular disorder, and Dyspraxia.

Sensory modulation disorder: I have the kind that causes an over-reaction (as opposed to an under-reaction) to stimuli. I hated having my hair brushed as a child, but am happy to brush my own hair. It would have been best to have taught me to take control of that behavior as soon as possible as I can control the pressure. I am sensitive to textures and only wear certain kinds of fabric (linen, cotton, rayon, silk), and am bothered by tags or seams inside my clothes. I am sensitive to light and sound: I experience loud sounds as pain and cannot tolerate bright lights. As an adult, of course, I brush my own hair, buy my own clothes, and can generally adjust the lighting and sounds in my home. However, I cannot control the volume of the outside world and do avoid certain situations (hockey playoffs, concerts). I can excuse myself from certain situations, like when the sound quality is poor on a training video, but not others, like being in a florescent-lit room in the workplace. I have learned to tolerate these experiences, probably by being repeatedly exposed to them throughout my life, and understanding that I need to make concessions to live in the world with others.

SPD is often linked to certain populations and disorders: autism spectrum disorder (ASD), premature babies (throughout their lives, not just during infancy), schizophrenia (perhaps as a constant annoyance that is intolerable, perhaps as a dysfunction of the vestibular system which may be linked to temporal disturbance), and anxiety (correlated to the vestibular system making the person hyper-alert). But think, also, of how other disorders may be impacted, such as PTSD or depression. Or what is it like for a toddler who is diagnosed with ASD, who is constantly lacking control of the temperature of their bathwater and unable to communicate that desire? Could it be that the toddler is having a tantrum at bath time each day because that is their only way of communicating the desire to change the water temperature and they are misdiagnosed?

SPD needs to be taught in the broader learning environment. In graduate school, we should be talking about SPD as a differential diagnosis, potentially ruling out certain clusters of symptoms. Therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and occupational therapists need to be working together to teach children, and adults, to tolerate and work around the symptoms of SPD to have the most functional life possible.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.


Overcome Test Anxiety

0pencilOf the most common fears, test-taking ranks one of the few that we are legitimately made to face. We can avoid heights, spiders, and death for a time, but in order to get through school, get into college, or finish an advanced degree, test-taking remains one of the fears we have to repeatedly face. Continue reading “Overcome Test Anxiety”

Being Calm in Depression or Anxiety

DandelionI’ve been going through a depressive episode for some months now. I’m taking antidepressants because it feels chemical, like PMS, as symptoms come on in waves. I’ve been steadily seeing my doctor and we have upped my dosage once, about a month ago. It feels relatively stable, or it did, until the election, which put me into somewhat of a tailspin.

This morning, I was watching Netflix, and began to feel as if I could not get enough breath. I knew, logically, that I was breathing and was fine. But the underlying feeling of despondency was giving me that physical feeling. It felt different than anxiety (and I’ve had just 2 panic attacks in my life time), but had similar features.

Ever the scientific-minded me, I said, “What would you tell a client who came in with this item?” Continue reading “Being Calm in Depression or Anxiety”

Entrepreneurs face Anxiety, Fear

0plateIn September, 2013, Inc. Magazine‘s Jessica Bruder discusses the issues that entrepreneurs face with regard to mental illness. They often suffer from depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or bipolar disorder. Entrepreneurs are often swept up in new ideas and bouts of creativity that are actually mania or can mirror the symptoms of mania or hypomania. When followed by doubt in their business or product, failure to see growth, failure to make certain incomes, or not achieving certain markers of success, there can be depressive feelings. If these phases cycle, it can mimic bipolar disorder, or be an expression of bipolar disorder. Anxiety is often found in the entrepreneur as he/she worries about product launch, deadlines, and if the business is “good enough” to be a hit. The tendency to jump form one part of the project to the next is often a marker for ADHD and adults with ADHD will gravitate toward work that allows them to function in time with their brain chemistry. Continue reading “Entrepreneurs face Anxiety, Fear”

Entrepreneur Success

0clEntrepreneurs are faced with stressors that are uncommon among the rest of society. There is an ebb and flow of fear and excitement, worry about project failure and success, a feeling of being an impostor, anxiety over being in over your head, self-assuredness and self-doubt.

When explained to a 9 to 5 employee, these things make no sense as a pattern for every day living. People will wonder if you’re crazy for this emotional roller coaster – and so will you. It only makes sense that those who are up late and up early with ideas, who are perceiving the pressures of time and deadlines differently will be seen as different. You even see yourself as different.

Continue reading “Entrepreneur Success”

The Chiropractic Model of Therapy

0brainTherapy is best served in a model like that of chiropractors.

Imagine you’ve strained your neck.

  1. When you are in acute physical pain, you come in for several sessions close together until relief is gained, usually over a week or two. Let’s say this is 3 times the first week and 2 times the second week.
  2. Now that your pain is moderate, but no longer limiting your range of movement, you come once a week for a few weeks until the pain is minimal. Let’s say this is 3 sessions over 3 weeks.
  3. Once that neck pain is minimal, but still present, you come less often until it is gone. Maybe this is a visit every 2 weeks twice and then every 3 weeks once.
  4. Once the pain is gone, the injury may still be present in the form of swelling or a ligament out of place or some misalignment in the vertebrae, so you come once a month twice and then every 3 months twice to finish the adjustment.
  5. The body is adjusted, and you follow up every 6-12 months just to check that all is well, provided nothing new is hurting the neck. Of course, if you have a new injury, you begin again on that area of the body.

Continue reading “The Chiropractic Model of Therapy”