Christine Vazquez, LPC-A, ATR-BC verified by GoodTherapy.org
Art Expression
Deep Breathing
Meditation
Guided Imagery
Journaling
Mindful Eating
Genogram
Biofeedback & Autogenics

Creating art gives you an opportunity to use your imagination, discover more about yourself, and then integrate your discoveries.  Studies have shown that expressive exercises can lower stress hormones, decrease pain, and improve chronic health problems by helping you to experience, express, and release thoughts and feelings.  The more you express yourself, the more aware you become of what’s happening inside you. This moment-to-moment awareness makes it easier for you to use your imagination, your intuition and your mind to answer questions about your health, your well-being, and the direction of your life.

With the stress of daily life, many of us tend to breathe shallowly, which raises blood pressure and heart rate and increases anxiety. Deep breathing (either slowly in meditation or fast when dancing), on the other hand, improves your body’s ability to bring in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. Deep breathing calms the mind and relaxes the body.  Such breathing also lowers blood pressure, slows heart rate, and improves cardiac function.

Meditation creates a relaxed state of moment to moment awareness which is critical to stress reduction and self­-awareness.  The awareness you develop in meditation helps you identify the circumstances and conditions that cause you stress, which is the first step in learning to manage your stress.

 

Mindfulness meditation involves being relaxed and aware of thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they arise, without focusing on a particular object.

 

Expressive meditation includes movement and breathing techniques.  Though different from mindfulness meditation it helps to induce the same kind of relaxed, aware state.

 A form of deliberate and directed daydreaming, guided imagery is a powerful, time-honored method for understanding yourself, healing your body and mind, and maintaining your overall well-being.  It has been used successfully to treat high blood pressure, speed wound healing, reduce pain, lower blood sugar, enhance immunity, and treat many other conditions.  Guided Imagery reduces stress and anxiety, increases relaxation and strenghthens one's capacity to draw on one's own emotional resources.  With soft music, I will read from a "script" that will guide you through a meditation.  Guided imagery can be either passive or active; for simple relaxation or for a specific purpose like preparing for a job interview or for forgiving a loved one. 

Journaling can help you access unconscious thoughts and feelings and discover things about yourself that you didn't know before.  When you write down ideas, thoughts, and feelings, or dreams you recall on awakening, you can gain some relief from emotions that have remained bottled up inside you from emotionally charged events.

Meditative eating means giving your full attention to your experience of food. No TV, reading, driving, talking, or walking down the street. Mindful eating is a reward in itself because for those few minutes you’re living your life fully. It can also provide you with important information about which foods make you feel energetic and happy and which make you feel tired, anxious, depressed, or uncomfortable.

The patterns of behavior you learned growing up can have a profound impact on your physical and emotional well-being. Because so much of who you are comes from what you observed or were taught as a child, creating and examining your genogram provides you with the opportunity to identify your vulnerabilities and draw on your strengths to make new and different life choices. Studies suggest that genograms can be effective in revealing the complex, intertwined limiting or counterproductive thoughts, feeling and behavior created by your family relationships and history.

Biofeedback is the use of an instrument to tell the brain what is going on in the body.  When your eyes see the temperature going up, your brain is learning how to tell your body to relax.  With practice, you will be able to do this without the instrument.  Autogenics is a technique to evoke the relaxation response and to enhance the biofeedback process. The use of imagery and the repetition of simple phrases assist the body in mobilizing the parasympathetic nervous system which balances the sympathetic nervous system, and the fight or flight response.

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