Therapy Dog Thank You: Sammie Brings Joy to Schools

Every Tuesday morning this school year, Sammie and I have visited the kids at Terrace Park Elementary school. Sammie melts my heart as I witness her work her therapy dog magic with these sweet little humans. The idea of helping a child who is experiencing anxiety or feelings of overwhelm touches me on a soul level. I know how much small gestures of kindness and gentle acceptance meant to me as a child. That’s what helped me live through my hell and come out smiling. Sammie is helping me pay it forward with her gentle ways with kids.

Sammie therapy dog 104

Today these kids and the amazing staff at that school made my heart smile . . . and Sammie’s tail wag. A lot!! They gifted us with a new backpack (mine was falling apart and my menopause brain kept forgetting to switch over to another backpack!), bags of dog treats, much needed Dentastix (Sammie has stinky dog breath even though I brush her teeth), toys for Sam, even toys for our puppy Max . . . and noodles!!!

Sammie therapy dog 101

But, the cards. These hand-written thank yous teared me up and, again, had my heart smiling. To know my beautiful dog touches so many lives just by radiating love and giving stinky kisses and sharing hugs (she has started to put her head on a shoulder and push her head against the hugger’s head) . . . is fulfilling in ways I can’t really express in words. It’s like my soul is filled with light.

Sammie therapy dog 100

So I send out a thank you to the awesome staff who welcome us each week with smiles and dog treats in the office before we head upstairs, thank you to the amazing teachers who invite us into their classrooms, thank you to Tricia and Liz for helping me continue to learn the gifts contained in just listening and for offering Sammie a space to shine, thank you Jen Hrovat for introducing us all and giving an adorable hint on the rainbow tennis balls. And THANK YOU to the kids for loving my Sammie girl and brightening our Tuesday mornings.

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I love this dog. She’s a therapy dog. She’s The Doodle with the Noodle. She’s sweet. And snuggly. And funny. And overflowing with love. She’s my best friend. And my snuggle buddy. My hiking pal. And my calming presence.

But most of all, she is love. A lot of love in a furry body.

Sammie therapy dog 103

The Healing Place Podcast: Amit Janco – (Un)Bound Together

Welcome to The Healing Place Podcast! I am your host, Teri Wellbrock. You can listen in on iTunes, Blubrry, Spotify, or directly on my website at www.teriwellbrock.com/podcasts/. You can also watch our insightful interview on YouTube.

I so enjoyed this amazing conversation with Amit Janco (I found it fascinating to be talking to someone on the other side of the world who was already in tomorrow!), discussing her personal continued healing journey after falling from a bridge, the exciting release of her book (Un)Bound Together: A Journey to the End of the Earth (and Beyond), the healing aspects of nature and art, and so much more. Thank you, Amit, for sharing your brilliant insights (I love your ability to paint a picture with your words) and shining the light of hope.

Bio:

“Amit Janco is a writer, serial walker, labyrinth designer and yogi who has lived in Bali since 2011. As an artist, Young Living oiler and Narrative Therapy practitioner, she loves to design multi-sensory experiences that inspire creative expression. After falling from a bridge in early 2009, Amitset off, like thousands before her, on a journey of physical healing along the mythical Camino de Santiago. What was slated to be little more than a rehabilitative adventure of walking across the undulating terrain of northern Spain, would become an unexpectedly gratifying, comical, and, at times, emotionally tumultuous odyssey through physical and emotional recovery, into the very heart and soul of her existence. Part memoir and part Camino pilgrimage, Amit’s newly-released book, (Un)Bound, Together: A Journey to the End of the Earth (and Beyond), reveals how a quest for whole healing can unfold in unlikely ways and places.”

Amit Janco


Find out more about Amit’s inspirational work at https://amitjanco.com/ and follow her on her blog at https://healingpilgrim.com/.

Peace to you all!
Teri

Hope for Healing Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/9813e51db66b/hope-for-healing-newsletter-december-2018

Book Launch Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/unicornshadows/



Coping Strategy: Write an Unconditional Love Prayer

I want to share one coping strategy a month. These are strategies I use (or have used) in my own life as I travel the healing journey. I hope they bring you tranquility, as well!


 WRITE AN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE PRAYER


Write an unconditional love prayer for one person who has created difficulty in your life. Think only of their needs, pain, and heartache. Do not mention your own. This is about honoring that person’s journey and offering unconditional love in the form of prayer.

I did this in relation to someone I had considered my best friend for almost seven years before she *ghosted me. It was liberating. This prayer helped me to let go.

*Ghosting: the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication.

Positivities of Persistence Series: A Checklist of Positive Outcomes & Habits and Hurdles

Positivities of Persistence


Grab that journal or note pad and let’s get our positivity on! This month we will address the following two Positivies of Persistence areas together:

  1. A checklist of positive outcomes.
  2. Habits and hurdles.

A Checklist of Positive Outcomes

Stop for just a moment and reflect upon your desires. If there were no hurdles to overcome (such as financial restraints, fears, health concerns, spiritual uncertainties, etc.), what would your “perfect life” look like? Where would you live? Who would be in your close circle? Would you be working? If so, doing what? What would you do for fun? What goals would you be achieving? 

When I was working on my undergrad in Psychology, my goal was to continue on to graduate school, with the dream of pursuing my PhD in Child Psychology. My husband at the time even gifted me a car for my graduation and had the license plate PHD2BE on it. Life, however, had other plans and that goal was derailed. But, that dream is still on my to-do list. I might be 80 when I make it a reality, but it will happen.

Exercise: Create YOUR checklist of positive outcomes. Spare no detail. As a matter of fact, the more details that are included, the more you can envision that outcome coming to life!

Exercise: Choose one of your outcomes and break it down into smaller outcomes. For instance, my own – Obtain PhD (main outcome): research school options, find out application deadlines and fees, reach out to admissions, research scholarship options, choose school, complete application, etc. Obviously my broken down list would be more inclusive, but this gives you an idea.

Exercise: Choose ONE of those smaller outcomes and determine if you can break it down even smaller. Baby steps. Baby steps. Then do so.

Exercise: Finally . . . choose one of those mini-goals and do it. 

Habits and Hurdles

One of the books I read and reference when giving speaking presentations is The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. Habit formation is key to change. I had created a habit of avoidance behaviors as a way of dealing with my panic attacks and certain triggers such as driving over bridges. I started to create new response habits, new anticipatory habits, and new “cheer myself on” habits. These changes in habits then resulted in new neuron pathways in my brain. 

Our brain is malleable (changeable) and the way we can positively change it is through positive habit formation. Think about wanting to tone our body. Obviously, we cannot think ourselves fit. We must do the work to sculpt our bodies in the way we envision. Leg day. Cardio. Hiking. Swimming. Biking. Whatever it is that we use to create positive body changes. That same philosophy applies to our brains. A brain workout is in order if we are to create positive changes.

Exercise: Write down (or voice record) positive thinking patterns and responses you would like to implement. Do you want to be calmer and not quick to anger? Do you want to notice God’s gifts/the beauty of the universe surrounding you throughout your day? Do you want to reduce your anxiety symptoms? (These are just a few ideas that popped into my head as I have worked on these exact habitual responses myself) 

Exercise: After completing that list, write down (or record) ways you can begin to change your current habits. For instance, instead of screaming at fellow drivers on the road, can you turn on happy music (whatever is happy for YOU) and focus on the lyrics, melodies, messages in the songs instead of the skills of other drivers (or lack thereof!). 

Realistically, you will encounter hurdles. Habits are difficult to break. The key, however, is persistence. Ah, the theme of this series. Persistence. 

One skill I want to you to practice as you come upon hurdles is gentleness. Remind yourself gently that you are working toward change and it’s fine to fall back into old patterns. Be easy on you. Give yourself a pep talk. Then try it again. And again. And again. We cannot lift weights one day and expect our arms to be ripped. Right? The same goes with brain change and new habit formation. Keep at it. And be sure to give yourself props when you start to notice a new habit forming. You deserve the praise.

Exercise: Record hurdles you are experiencing along the way. How are you overcoming them? What can you do to avoid them? How long did it take to no longer consider something a hurdle, but simply a reminder to re-direct? Keep track of progress you are making along your positive habit formation journey. 

Coming up next month: Accountability 

The Beauty of a Broken Heart

When interviewing a recent podcast guest, the subject of everyday heroes in a child’s life came up. And their powerful impact of helping build resilience in the lives of vulnerable children.

I had 4. My Grandma Kitty. My 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Corken. And my BFF’s parents, Mr. & Mrs. Tonnies.

Today I want to share a story about that teacher. I don’t remember her classroom. Or what she taught me in that classroom. But I do remember her caring about me, asking if I was okay when I would cry in school, holding my hand when we would walk the halls, and inviting me to sit on the front porch of her little white house on Wayside Avenue.

I would walk the 3 blocks, crossing a busy road (in the same crosswalk where I saw a girl get hit by a car and killed a few years later when I was 10 . . . golly, 10 was a rough year!), just to spend time with this gentle soul.

I can’t remember her face. But I remember her heart.

She gave me this ceramic Holly Hobbie heart as a gift. I can’t recall why. My birthday maybe?

It reads “Happiness is having someone to care for”.

She told me to keep my treasures in it. For years it held a hand-written note from her and a key to a small cedar box I kept other notes in. To this day I treasure hand-written notes.

My dad threw something at me in a fit of rage soon after I received my gift. I ducked and it missed me, but shattered my heart. The ceramic one. And in some ways my own.

I cried silently as I glued the pieces back together. Somehow the top piece remained intact. I think it landed on my pillow.

I pulled this out of my memory box today after being reminded of Mrs. Corken during my podcast conversation. So incredibly symbolic of my life.

Jaz told me during our interview that survivors are like Kintsugi bowls . . . their breaks are repaired with gold so the scars make them beautiful. I read upon researching Kintsugi that “your scars and imperfections are your beauty”.

My little ceramic heart, glued back together, yet missing a piece I never found after that violent outburst, represents the beauty of my healing journey. Broken, then mended. Scarred, yet beautiful.

As are we all 💜

A gift from Mrs. Corken – 2nd grade

The Healing Place Podcast: Jim Sporleder – Trauma-Informed Consulting & Paper Tigers

Welcome to The Healing Place Podcast! I am your host, Teri Wellbrock. You can listen in on iTunes, Blubrry, Spotify, or directly on my website at www.teriwellbrock.com/podcasts/. You can also watch our insightful interview on YouTube.

I am so very grateful to have had the opportunity to sit down with this compassionate soul whom I personally consider to be a trauma-informed guru in the trauma movement. Thank you, Jim Sporleder (I now know how to properly pronounce your name! Ha!) for all you have done and continue to do to spread awareness about the critical need of becoming trauma-informed individuals so as to meet the growing need in our schools and society.

Bio (per his website):

“Jim Sporleder retired in 2014 as Principal of Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA.  Under Jim’s leadership, Lincoln High School became a “Trauma Informed” school, gaining national attention due to a dramatic drop in out of school suspensions, increased graduation rates and the number of students going on to post-secondary education.   These dramatic changes at Lincoln caught the attention of Jamie Redford, who spent a year filming the documentary, Paper Tigers, which tells the Lincoln story.  The documentary was released at the May 2015 Seattle International Film Festival and received positive reviews.

Jim is currently working as a trauma-informed coach / consultant as well as a trainer with the Children’s Resilience Initiative, based in Walla Walla.  His travels as a consultant, keynote speaker, presenter and trainer have taken him all over the United States.

Jim is married, has three daughters and six granddaughters.  In his spare time, Jim enjoys fishing, hunting, but most of all spending time with family.”

Find out more about Jim’s inspirational work at https://jimsporlederconsulting.com/.

Peace to you all!
Teri

Hope for Healing Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/9813e51db66b/hope-for-healing-newsletter-december-2018

Book Launch Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/unicornshadows/

The Healing Place Podcast Interview: Jim Ellis & Dr. Sara Gilman – Keeping the Peace

Welcome to The Healing Place Podcast! I am your host, Teri Wellbrock. You can listen in on iTunes, Blubrry or directly on my website at www.teriwellbrock.com/podcasts/. You can also watch our insightful interview on YouTube.

What a hope-infused conversation with Jim Ellis and Dr. Sara Gilman regarding the soon-to-be-released educational film, Keeping the Peace.

“A 30-minute educational film – titled Keeping the Peace – will be gifted to police agencies across San Diego and then the nation for in-house training of officers. The purpose? To bring awareness to the stresses and traumas experienced by officers and law enforcement personnel while on duty in order to empower them to normalize their emotional and mental responses to on-the-job experiences and to take action in alleviating, diffusing and treating the symptoms of trauma (PTSD), so that they can retain wellness in all areas of their lives.”

Jim’s Bio:

James Anthony Ellis is an award-winning playwright and reporter who owns Legacy Production, a San Diego production company that in 2012 produced the acclaimed “Indoctrinated: The Grooming of our Children into Prostitution.” An author of eight books and producer of 100 video presentations, Ellis is now working on a new educational film “Keeping The Peace” supporting law enforcement officers in their mental and emotional wellness.

Websites:

Company: http://www.LegacyProductions.org

Contributions: https://chuffed.org/project/keepingthepeace

“Keeping The Peace” – direct to page http://legacyproductions.org/keeping-the-peace-for-the-peace-keepers/

I Have Seen montage – YouTube https://youtu.be/ZOoY0CAvlBY

Dr. Sara Gilman’s bio:

Dr. Gilman, is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, and has a doctorate degree in Psychology, with a certification in Sports Psychology. In 2017, her doctoral dissertation focused on the effects of cumulative traumatic stress exposure in first responders and the use of EMDR as an early intervention. For the past 32 years, she has specialized in the areas of Traumatic Stress, Addictions, and Peak Performance. She is the co-founder and President of Coherence Associates, Inc., an individual & family counseling corporation, with offices in Encinitas & Rancho Bernardo. The CAI team of counselors is dedicated to expanding human potential through the coherence of mind, body & spirit through clinical excellence, integrity, and compassion. Additionally, Dr. Gilman holds certifications in EMDR Therapy, CISM, NLP, Hypnosis, Coaching, and HeartMath.

She is a former Firefighter/EMT and served on the San Diego Critical Incident Stress Management Team for over 10 years. She was awarded Fellowship status with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress for her extensive work in utilizing EMDR with first responders following critical incidents. She was elected to serve on the EMDR International Association Board of Directors, is a former EMDRIA Past-President, and contributing author in 2 books addressing treating trauma in 911-Telecommunicators with EMDR Therapy. Sara is an invited speaker nationally and appears on radio and TV discussing the topics of stress, trauma, addiction, and mental toughness. Counseling for Individuals, Families, Couples, Children Peak Performance & Mental Toughness Training; First Responders, Athletes, Performers

Sara G.Gilman, Psy.D., L.M.F.T., President/Owner www.CoherenceAssociates.com

Peace to you all!

Teri

Hope for Healing Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/999ad011495f/hope-for-healing-newsletter-february-2019

Book Launch Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/unicornshadows/

The Healing Place Podcast Interview: Joyelle Brandt – Parenting with PTSD

Welcome to The Healing Place Podcast! I am your host, Teri Wellbrock. You can listen in on iTunes, Blubrry or directly on my website at www.teriwellbrock.com/podcasts/. You can also watch our insightful interview on YouTube.

I am grateful to have had the chance to sit down with Joyelle Brandt to discuss her mission of helping those who are parenting with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Thank you, Joyelle, for sharing your personal story and the beautiful work you are doing helping others along their parenting and healing journey. What a gift for those families and the children who will benefit from the steps their parents are taking to heal.

Bio:

“Joyelle Brandt is a self care coach for moms. She specializes in working with mothers who are survivors of abuse, to help them develop a personalized self soothing toolkit for stress management. As aspeakermothering coach, and multi-media creator, Joyelle works to dismantle the stigma that keeps childhood abuse survivors stuck in shame and self-hatred.  She is the author/illustrator of Princess Monsters from A to Z and co-editor of Parenting with PTSD, the groundbreaking anthology that breaks the silence about the long-term impact of childhood trauma so that parents can break the cycle of abuse.

When she is not busy raising two rambunctious boys, she is most often found playing her guitar or covered in paint at her art desk. You can keep up with Joyelle at www.joyellebrandt.com

Parenting Coach to survivor mamas, Healing trauma through creativity.Buy your copy of Parenting with PTSDon AmazonSign up for Joyelle’s newsletter to get the first chapter free!

From Joyelle’s website:

“As a speaker, mothering coach, and multi-media creator, I work to break the silence that keeps childhood abuse survivors stuck in shame and self-hatred. I believe that our stories possess the power to transform our greatest pain into beautiful works of art.

Find out more about Joyelle’s mission and works of art at www.joyellebrandt.com.

Peace to you all!
Teri

Hope for Healing Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/9813e51db66b/hope-for-healing-newsletter-december-2018

Book Launch Team: https://www.facebook.com/groups/unicornshadows/

Coping Strategy: Stop and Be

Coping Strategy

From my Hope for Healing monthly newsletter Coping Strategy section:

I want to share one coping strategy a month. These are strategies I use (or have used) in my own life as I travel the healing journey. I hope they bring you tranquility, as well!

STOP AND BE

This is a strategy I utilized along my own healing journey. STOP AND BE. At first it was . . . well . . . terrifying. Trying to simply allow and notice the panic symptoms was difficult for someone, like me, who has a propensity for avoidance of feeling scared, anxious, or uncomfortable. Learning to feel comfortable in my own body was a challenge. But, I used my learned coping skills and very quickly developed the skills necessary to simply “stop and be”.

The Positivities of Persistence Series

Positivities of Persistence


Introduction

This series will focus on the benefits of being persistent along your healing quest. I will, again, be speaking from experience. Some practical advice mixed with sprinklings of raw truth (those “This sucks and I really want to give up” moments).

This will work best if you have a journal, pad of paper, or Word doc dedicated to this exercise as I will be asking you to keep notes which you will need to refer back to as we progress.

Subtopics will include:

  1. What does persistence really mean? 
  2. How do we define positivities?
  3. A checklist of positive outcomes. 
  4. Habits and hurdles.
  5. Accountability. 
  6. Celebrating goals.
  7. Encouraging one another. 
  8. Final checklist.

I look forward to embarking on a Positivities of Persistence journey with you!

Join me on this Positivities of Persistence journey by subscribing to my Hope for Healing Newsletter.