Silver Lake Psychology COVID Grief and Trauma Support Services
With the number of COVID cases at 1.6 million in Los Angeles, many family members are experiencing the stress and trauma of witnessing their loved ones suffer and some are experiencing the loss of a loved one. Because of the scale of this loss, our team of licensed clinicians will be offering a series of grief support groups and personal counseling for grief, trauma and stress.
How to Cope with Loss? Where to Begin?
Grief is a journey. Of all the human emotional experiences, grief is particularly disruptive. Grief is big. It is a tidal wave.
It is understandable that people try to avoid the experience of grief; not wanting to be subsumed by it. One client said to me, “I refuse to sit down and cry because I know I’ll never stop.”
Many people try to repress grief, so they get through daily routines or social interaction. Yet, grief wants attention. It pushes against our repressive tactics with insomnia, panic attacks, intrusive memories, and unbidden tears in the middle of your workday. If your repressive tactics prevail, you may settle into a teeth-clenching numbness.
What happens if you give grief the attention in longs for?
You will feel--deeply and profoundly-- the nuances of grief. You may feel sad, peaceful, loving, fragile, tender, angry, guilty or fearful. These feelings do not happen in predictable stages. There are sudden waves, unconscious triggers and lots of dreams. One day is painful and another is peaceful. This may sound like an out of control, roller-coaster kind of experience, but is possible to shape your experience with grief and intentionally pursue emotional and spiritual growth. The grief process in an opportunity to create meaning by exploring life’s biggest existential questions: what happens to us when we die, what is the nature of consciousness and how do I live my best life.
Of all human emotions and experiences, grief is one of the most worthwhile.
Here’s how to get started:
Create a physical space to allow yourself the privacy to experience this fullness of your grief. Make a refuge for yourself, a space to give grief attention and to honor your loved one. Bring a journal, a candle, photographs, or other items that will help you create meaning.
Approach your emotions from a place of curiosity. Investigate what the grief experience is all about—and notice the transiency of the myriad feelings.
To experience grief in its purest state, set aside your narrative about the death of your loved one. Take judgmental thoughts such as ‘It shouldn’t have happened to him’ or ‘she was too young’ or “If I had only,” and set them on the shelf for a bit. These stories add weight; they complicate the purity of grief experience.
Sit in silence. Allow creative expression through writing, song or movement. The goal is to give the feelings space to emerge and be seen.
Allow the heartbreak. Place your hand over your heart. Breathe and rest your awareness on your heart. Notice the connection between grief and love. Take a moment to appreciate that you love someone. Deeply. Feel the aliveness of your heart.
Extend compassion toward your own wound. One woman described it to me as “I felt like my soul was shot through, mortally wounded, as if I was walking around disabled even though I appeared functional on the outside.” Wounds need care. Imagine enveloping the wound in loving-kindness. Hugs also help. I’ve noticed that untended wounds can lead to irritability, anger and cynicism. The role of comfort in healing from any kind of emotional trauma is not to be underestimated.
Allow the emptiness---the absence of your loved one has its own sensation. One client described it, “a negative space, a black hole, of deep emptiness where there was once a great fullness.” This is one of the most difficult experiences of grief. I noticed that my clients would grasp at anything to avoid this gaping vacuum: manic busyness, alcohol, sex, etc.
Allow the emptiness. In a form of exposure therapy, sit with it for twenty minutes and observe how the emptiness rises, falls and then passes, often followed by a new sensation. Rather than be afraid, repeat to yourself, “This is what the universal experience of emptiness feels like. Other people feel this too.”
Allow distraction: Grief can be pre-occupying. Just as you create an intentional space for grief. Create a space for noticing what else is happening in the world. Notice your garden in the sunlight, the taste of good food, the sound of children laughing. Our daily routines are grounding.
Allow vulnerability. Conversely, grief can have a heart opening effect. Being in touch with the love you had for the departed, can fill you with the fullness of love. One of my clients shared that she felt more loving and kinder toward others. Another described feeling fragile and vulnerable—but she felt strangely more alive than ever in these moments.
Grief can be isolating. It’s not exactly dinner party conversation to bring up the flashbacks of watching your loved one suffer, or the guilt you feel for unsaid last words. It’s tempting to hide your grief and play normal. Yet, vulnerability helps others to connect to us. That raw, fragile feeling stirs a natural empathy in others and is likely to give people a sense of feeling close to you.
Don’t let your grief create a divide between yourself and others. Of course, you feel different than your seemingly happy, whole non-grieving friends, you’re in a radically different mindset, that’s why a grief support group is a good idea.
What are Grief Support Groups and Personal Grief Counseling?
A grief support group is a great space to share your unique experience and to witness the universality of grief. Connections with other grievers can bring back a sense of vitality to a beleaguered spirit.
Personal grief counseling is also a great idea. Personal grief counseling is an opportunity to have someone walk alongside you for the entire process of your grief experience. A grief counselor will be witness to every unique feeling, will seek to understand the complex relationships and family dynamics that contextualize your grief experience and will have an eye toward how you can grow and develop as a result of your experience with grief.
To make an appointment with a grief counselor or to join a grief support group, click here:
We are excited to announce our new location in Nashville, Tennessee.
Silver Lake Psychology has long history of providing therapy to creative professionals such as musicians, writers, art directors and creative executives in Hollywood, so Nashville was an easy choice. Our therapists understand the challenges of creative life: writers block, performance anxiety, self-doubt and living with the uncertainty of not knowing when you'll land the next gig. Many of our therapists are former writers, performers or visual artists that understand the unique challenges of the entertainment industry.
Why Choose Silver Lake Psychology?
We're big believers that the therapist-client match is the key factor in determining the success of therapy. When the therapy relationship feels like a good fit, clients are more likely to grow, heal and reach their goals. Psychologist, Brandy Engler, founder of Silver Lake Psychology, developed a matching system called Mindful Match, based on years of research into what clients want from a therapist. As a result, Silver Lake Psychology has a high rate of client satisfaction. Each client has unique needs and each therapist comes from a unique personal, philosophical and professional background. Our team of professional matchmakers personally curate the therapist-client match. This high-touch level of customer service helps Silver Lake Psychology stand out amongst the plethora of online therapist directories that ask people to do their own research without how to choose the right therapist for their unique needs.
Services we will offer Nashville
At our Nashville location, our therapists will offer the full-range of therapy specialties including relationship counseling, grief counseling, treatment for anxiety and depression. We also have therapists that specialize in substance abuse and the latest trauma treatments such as EMDR and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Silver Lake Psychology is a rapidly growing network of therapists and we plan to continue to increase our Nashville therapist areas of specialty. We accept most PPO insurance plans are planning to accept more HMO insurance plans in the coming months.
Everyone is welcome
Our mission is to provide a healing space for everyone. We're committed to offering a diverse range of clinicians. We offer affordable therapy so that weekly therapy sessions are not an exclusive service but accessible to all. We're committed to offering therapists of color, LGBTQ-allied therapists and therapists that speak multiple languages.
Our Nashville therapists are currently providing tele-therapy sessions until the office is safe to open. We are currently accepting clients from across the state of Tennessee for tele-health sessions.
Click here to speak with one of our Matching Experts
Break-ups are a common part of our relationship journeys—but they are uncommonly painful life events. Have you ever found yourself overcome by all-consuming intrusive thoughts? Insomnia, waves of unbidden tears? Unable to concentrate on work or school? Some people interpret this experience as a sign that you are still in love. Others are consumed by guilt or shame.
If your mind feels high-jacked by your ex, thinking about all the good times or obsessing about what went wrong, research suggests there is a reason for this temporary insanity…and it’s not weakness or a sign you should be together---it’s neurological.
Guy Winch is a psychologist, speaker and author of the book, How to Fix a Broken Heart, has dedicated much of his time researching romantic heartbreak. In his 2017 TED Talk, he shares research behind why breakups can be so painful and thought consuming. It turns out, brain scans of young adults who had experienced a recent breakup show that a breakup activates the same mechanism in the brain that is activated by drugs in someone who is experiencing drug addiction. Post-break-up obsessive thoughts are similar to cravings. It’s a withdrawal experience. During withdrawal, the brain amps up your emotional centers, increasing the intensity of all emotions and increases repetitive, OCD-like thoughts.
Similar to the neurology of an addict, the brain’s reward system and the neurotransmitter, dopamine are implicated. Each time we experience feelings of intense love when our partner walks in the door and gives us a hug, dopamine is released. Dopamine is a feel-good brain chemical. But what happens when that feeling is suddenly taken away? We want that rush of dopamine again, so we think about our ex-partner. We try to solve the mystery of what could have possibly happened to cause the breakup by obsessively thinking about it, looking at old pictures, or looking up our ex-partners on social media, but this behavior is feeding the reward system in the brain and reinforcing feelings of love. This in turn makes it even more difficult to recover from the heartbreak and will prolong the amount of time it takes to heal. Allow yourself time for grieving the loss and reflection on the relationship so you can learn and grow---but once you recognize that you’re experiencing non-productive thoughts such as the repetitive replaying of euphoric or painful memories, don’t reinforce this neural pathway. Divert your attention. Distraction is warranted here. Over time, your brain will return to normal.
Dr. Winch found that our mind is more likely to remember the positive aspects of the past relationship and therefore idealizing it. So, you may be inclined to focus on positive memories but not the fights that made you upset. To get yourself on the road to healing heartbreak, Guy suggests making a list of your ex-partners shortcomings. Write down those things that made this person not an ideal partner for you. The next time your brain tries to play tricks on you, pull up the list and read it yourself. This may sound painful, but it is worth it to heal from heartbreak.
Finding a therapist that specializes in relationships will help you to focus on post-break up growth and learning, understand the nature of your historical relationship patterns, overcome co-dependency and to put your happiness first in the next relationship.
To find a therapist in Denver look no further than Silver Lake Psychology! We’re a diverse therapist group with hundreds of therapists and specialties. No matter your needs, we know that you can find a therapist in Denver that you can trust!
Silver Lake Psychology is dedicated to working with clients from all walks of life. We’re pleased to offer therapists who specialize in trauma, anxiety, relationships, and depression as well as hundreds of other specialties. If you are looking for a trauma therapist in Denver, we can help.
How to find a therapist that takes insurance in Denver
Dealing with insurance can be hard too! If you are looking to find a therapist who takes Anthem Insurance for example, we can help! We believe that accepting insurance leads to more access to mental health care. The Denver location will offer therapists who take Anthem insurance, Tri-Care insurance, Beacon insurance, Cigna insurance and Aetna plans. Currently, we are accepting all PPO plans. We love PPO insurance plans because patients have unlimited choice, no gatekeepers or required referrals from your general practitioner. If you are looking for a therapist that takes insurance in Denver, Silver Lake Psychology is the therapist group that you can trust!
Tips to find a therapist that takes Anthem in Denver
Silver Lake Psychology is happy to announce that our therapists are taking Anthem Blue Cross insurance plans. We have therapists that take Anthem HMO and Anthem PPO plans.
We know that finding a therapist who takes Anthem Blue Cross in Denver can be difficult. You may have noticed that most therapists in private practice don’t take insurance.
Therapy is a big investment in yourself and worth paying for—but we believe that therapy should be widely accessible. The best way mental health professionals can be accessible is to take insurance.
So what is the proper way to find a therapist who takes Anthem?
On way to find a therapist who takes Anthem is to check the Anthem website for a directory of providers. However, the directory includes many individual counselors that may be full. Just give us a call and we’ll take care of the details to help you get in to see a therapist in Denver quickly.
Group therapy practices like ours often take Anthem and have plenty of available therapists.
Things to consider when you find a therapist in Denver
Insurance should not be the only factor in choosing a therapist. Research indicates that the ‘client–therapist fit’ is the best indicator of therapeutic outcome. The fit is both a match in personality and expertise.
If you have an anxiety disorder, you will need to find a therapist who specializes in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy which is the best treatment for anxiety.
If you are seeking treatment for trauma, you will need to find a trauma therapist with a specialization in trauma treatment such as EMDR, TRIM or TF-CBT (all research supported trauma treatments).
If you are grieving a loss, it will be important to find a grief counselor. At Silver Lake Psychology, our intake team takes the time to match each client with the right specialist based on your unique needs.
Silver Lake Psychology: How to find diverse therapists in Denver
We are pleased to announce that we’ve now added a group of therapists in Denver that are full of diversity. We also offer LGBTQ-therapists in Denver and therapists of color. As we continue to grow, our goal is to be an inclusive group that welcomes clients and therapists from diverse backgrounds.
Our company mission is to make quality mental health care more affordable by taking insurance and offering reasonable rates. Contact us today, we’d be happy to help!
Do I Have Postpartum Depression?
Bringing a new child into the world is a huge life change and all life changes alter your emotional landscape, sometimes in ways that are unwanted or unexpected. After childbirth, it's common for a mother to experience a period of sadness, feelings of hopelessness and emptiness. Yet, most of these baby blues go away within the first week or two. Post-pregnancy—mothers who continue to have these feelings for more than two weeks may be suffering from postpartum depression.
“Postpartum” refers to the time after childbirth, but that doesn’t mean every mother should be on a specific timeline when it comes to their feelings after delivery. Experiencing some of the following symptoms for an extended period is normal, and it doesn’t determine your worth, future, or potential to be an excellent mother. Informing yourself about postpartum depression will help you understand how all of these physical body changes are impacting your thoughts. Understanding the symptoms and how mothers develop postpartum depression can be a first step in letting go of the secondary feelings of embarrassment, guilt, or shame you may have in reaction to the depression.
How common is postpartum depression?
Studies show that one in nine mothers suffer from postpartum depression, which is just over 10%. Seventy percent of mothers experience the short term “baby blues."
What causes postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a biochemical reaction that can be linked to several factors, and while every mother is different, here are some of the most likely causes:
Family or personal history of depression – Mothers that are genetically predisposed to postpartum depression are more susceptible to the illness. This means that women who have one or more family members that have suffered from postpartum depression are at a greater risk of developing it.
Also, mothers who have a history of mood disorders, anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder, are 30-35% more likely to develop postpartum depression. Mothers who have already experienced it from previous childbirth are also more likely to experience it again.
Increased stressors and environmental factors - Major life changes after childbirth impact new types and levels of stress, from emotional to physical. High levels of stress negatively affect sleep levels, too, which can determine how a mom feels, and the level to which she can take on the responsibilities surrounding caring for her child. In this way, the lack of consistent sleep exacerbates and triggers other symptoms of postpartum depression. Inconsistent sleep and inadequate nutrition, along with different strains, can also lead to physical aches and pains.
Hormonal changes - A mother experiences record-high levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy. But after birth, both of these levels quickly drop, which is the reason mood swings occur. This shift in hormone levels also contributes to anxiety, irritability, and sadness.
Oxytocin is the “bonding hormone” released after birth, but it also triggers maternal behaviors, causing moms to sense any present danger in their child’s life, thereby increasing anxiety. Progesterone, on the other hand, is meant to help combat some of the stress, but with the decrease in progesterone after delivery, anxiety becomes more difficult to manage. Even if you are suffering from postpartum depression for an extended period, these hormones will eventually find balance again.
What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?
While the symptoms for postpartum depression can be mild to severe, depending on the mother, it is a serious mental illness that impacts mental health, behavior, and physical health. It can interfere with your ability to connect to and care for your baby.
Seek professional help from your doctor, midwife, or nurse, if you experience any of these symptoms for more than two weeks:
Our nation is experiencing a pandemic, social isolation, economic anxiety and natural disasters. Anxiety and depression are at an all time high, especially for mothers. From worry of exposure to COVID-19, to bringing a child into the world at a time when the future holds more unknowns than it already did, the fear for new moms has been exacerbated.
If you are a mother living with postpartum depression, remember that you have done nothing wrong. You are not a bad mother; you are just one of many mothers who also feel this way. We recommend a circle of support; your physician, a support group, a psychiatrist and a therapist who specializes in working with new mothers.
Feedback-Informed care is a research-based system of mutual feedback designed to empower patient voices. The national drop-out rate for therapy is 47%. Research indicates that when there is an active dialogue between client and therapist, satisfaction dramatically improves. The therapeutic relationship can be a learning space for negotiating for what you want out of any relationship; romantic, family or the workplace. Many of us haven’t experienced a safe space to assert ourselves, to ask for what we want or to speak up when we are not satisfied, to practice vulnerability or to gracefully express uncomfortable feelings like disappointment, anger and fear. Our therapists are trained to help you practice authentic, empowered communication styles.
What to expect in a first session?
The first session is an assessment. Your therapist will listen to your story and ask a series of questions.
Your therapist will gather this information and develop a personalized approach to meet your unique needs.
Therapy begins at the second or third session.
Our therapists practice evidence-based care, meaning that our treatment methods are rooted in research and years of clinical training. However, research also indicates that the best outcomes happen when your relationship with the therapist feels like a fit. We hand-pick therapists based on their warmth and compassion---yet there is a diverse range of therapist personalities and personal backgrounds that inform their approach.
What is feedback-informed care?
You should expect to feel that your therapist gets you. You should feel heard, respected and deeply supported.
We invite you to share your expectations and preferences for your therapy experience.
Let your therapist know if your not sure what to talk about, prefer the therapist take the lead or if you would rather explore your relationships and life patterns. Share your preferences with your therapist directly. You are also are welcome to reach back out to your intake coordinator for a re-match.
The person ahead of you just went into their audition. You’re next in line, and you feel frozen with fear.
They’ll know you’re a fraud the minute you step in the room. Your throat feels tight, and you aren’t sure you can speak now.
The door finally opens, and they’re calling you in. Next.
Audition anxiety can feel like you’re being choked from the inside. Paralyzing fear can make your performance robotic, like you’re a ghost outside your body. Instead of giving up on auditions, shut down your inner casting agent. Take these tips for overcoming performance and audition anxiety for actors.
Do not try to repress, deny or fight anxiety. These defenses tend to make it worse. Instead, label the anxiety and allow it. Here is an example internal dialogue:
“I feel anxious. This is a normal response. It’s allowed to be here.”
Avoid over-identifying with the anxiety---don’t collapse into it. Zoom back and notice anxiety is a small, fleeting part of your experience, but not the total of you or your experience.
“I notice some anxiety, Nevertheless, I am still going to access the joy and passion of my craft.”
Use any of these techniques bleow when you need to calm the butterflies. Even better, put a few of your favorite techniques together. Train your body to stay grounded by creating a calming pre-audition ritual.
Mental rehearsal - Visualize a successful auditionIt’s tempting to describe a successful audition in negative terms, like “not screwing up,” or, “not sweating and shaking.” Instead, flip the script and do a positive reframe. Imagine the entire setting including the casting agents. Then, imagine yourself fully immersed in the character. Imagine yourself “in the flow” of your craft. Imagine yourself feeling satisfied afterwards. Repeat this visualization multiple times per day. Use empowering words to paint a picture in your mind.
Mental escape - Visualize your calm placeAnxiety can make you feel ‘out of body.’ You may spend more time self-spectatoring rather than feeling grounded and at ease. Take control of your nervous system several hours before an audition by spending 20-30 minutes getting relaxed. This will make it harder for your nervous system to get hyper-aroused and increase your chances of remaining centered.
Imagine a calm, soothing location. This could be a place in real life or something from your imagination. Daydream about this place in detail, getting down to scent, color, sounds, and physical sensations.
Create this full scene and allow your mind to experience it. The more details you add, the more realistic it will be in your mind. Visiting this place several times will help you bring it up easily when you really need it. You can also use one of the many guided meditations on Youtube.
Comforting touchTouching a soft or soothing object can calm you quickly, like a child with their favorite blanket. Find something that’s physically comfortable to touch, like a soft blanket to wrap yourself in. The calming effect can be even greater when it holds emotional meaning. When you pet a dog or cat for several minutes, your body releases hormones that help you feel relaxed. Your blood pressure drops and the amount of cortisol in your bloodstream decreases.
When your audition time draws near, find a smaller comfort object to keep with you. Stay in touch with your body by focusing on how the object feels next to your skin.
Get grounded with deep breathingDeep breathing is about more than just air. Taking several slow breaths will:
Feel the shoes on your feetWith this technique, pay attention to physical sensations you normally ignore. Start by consciously focusing on your toes and how they feel. Wiggle them around and notice how the rest of your foot feels in your shoe. How tightly is your shoe on your foot? How much can you shift your foot around? Squeeze your foot as hard as you can for a few moments, then release it.
Repeat this for your ankles, knees, and up the rest of your body. Also, try starting with your head and go down to your toes. See which direction helps you feel more relaxed or grounded.
Get Grounded and PerformUse these tried-and-true tips for overcoming performance and audition anxiety. Make your next audition authentic, confident, and grounded. For further techniques, pre-audition role-plays and a deeper exploration of your blocks, Silver Lake Psychology can connect you with a therapist that specializes in working with actors and entertainers.
THE SELF-ESTEEM ROLLER COASTER
Self-esteem is not static for most people. It often shifts from thoughts of inferiority and shame to grandiosity and euphoria.
Humans often evaluate themselves with universal appraisals: I am smart. I am beautiful. I am thin. I am talented. These broad, idealistic generalizations are followed by assumptions of social value. I am talented; therefore I am worthy and people will like me.
When we lack confidence, we try to boost our self-esteem with even more evaluative statements, repeating “I am beautiful” over and over again, hoping to internalize the statement. Perhaps you try to elicit this feedback from other people, posting photos of yourself on Instagram and other media platforms for likes and validation.
It feels good to make these statements. We experience a burst of positive self-regard. The euphoria is far from permanent, however, and many people who struggle with self-esteem notice that this high quickly deflates.
To end the roller coaster of fluctuating self-esteem, the key is not to focus on appraisal at all.
THE KEY TO LASTING SELF-ESTEEM
True self-esteem is built on an ongoing relationship with yourself, a relationship of self-support, an internal dialogue that says, “I see you exactly where you are, and I support you.”
Rather than seeking affirmations, try radical self-acceptance. It’s a completely different orientation of self. Radical self-acceptance is about recognizing your true self and accepting that person. You may notice qualities that you want to improve, and you allow yourself to be a work in progress. Rather than feeling shame that you aren’t perfect, you feel at ease with your imperfections. You are happy spend time nurturing your growth rather than perpetually striving for perfection.
Outcomes, such as your weight and your achievements, are less important than the process of relating to yourself. You are there to support yourself in any state. The feeling that comes with radical self-acceptance is not ego euphoria; it is a quiet peace and comfort in your own skin.
Self-acceptance requires a commitment to being true to ourselves each day.
An affirmation could be, “Today, I am committed to being exactly who and what I am.”
When we actually see ourselves (rather than evaluate ourselves through societies lens), the truth of who we are is nuanced rather than simple. You will notice the fine details of your personality rather than trying to fit into monolithic categories, such as “beautiful” or “smart.” You are working with whatever you are right now, in this moment. It is a humble position; you may be a work in progress, but the ongoing commitment to authenticity and radical acceptance creates a more sustainable self-esteem, a rock-solid foundation that allows you to feel peace within yourself, even when the world pushes against you.
Dr. Engler's Articles on the Huffington Post:
Should You Get Pre-marital Counseling?
Women's Health Magazine interviews Dr. Engler on the factors to consider.
Why Moving in Together Kills Your Sex Life, and What to Do About It.
Men's Health Magazine interviews Dr. Engler about how to improve your sex life, and reviews her book, "The Men on My Couch."
11 Things That Actually Surprised This Sex Therapist.
BuzzFeed reviews Dr. Engler's new book, "The Women on My Couch."