Welcome to our blog, featuring posts by the Karuna team. Check back often for insights and information on various topics.
June 27, 2023
I am reminded today of something I often discuss with clients. When an animal experiences threat, they react (fight, flight, freeze), hopefully survive, and then go back to laying in the sun or whatever they were doing before. They give themself a shake, which literally resets their nervous system back to a normal, non-activated state. When it’s over, it is OVER for them. When humans are fortunate enough to survive a threat, the emotional brain doesn’t necessarily let go and move on so quickly. Getting the nervous system to de-activate is not an automatic part of our process.
April 19, 2023
When children grow up with experiences of trauma or deprivation, it is not uncommon for them to feel an inner emptiness. Confronted with what may be overwhelming negative emotions (sadness, hurt, fear, unworthiness,) and never having had the opportunity to learn healthy “self-soothing,” these individuals adapt by finding or developing more unhealthy coping strategies, including various forms of addiction.
March 20, 2023
The tortoise is a favorite in African folklore and appears in many East African tales as “Mzee Kobe” (mzee – “old one”; kobe – “tortoise”). African tortoises live to be over 100 years old and represent longevity and endurance. Mzee Kobe is depicted as old and wise, loyal and unwavering in the face of obstacles or challenges.
May 25, 2022
We are holding in our hearts the community of Uvalde, Texas. We send healing energy to those who lost their lives, their families and loved ones, and to all who today returned or sent someone they love – adult or child – into a school building. We pray for an ending to these horrific acts of terrorism and violence and for all people to experience safety and harmony in this world.
May 20, 2022
Our hearts at Karuna join with all those holding the hearts of those directly impacted by the recent violence in Buffalo – and all those attempting to process the collective suffering that continues to ripple from these repeated acts of hate and aggression.
January 7, 2016
As the end of 2015 approaches, many set goals for 2016. New Year’s resolutions are a common practice yet are met with varying degrees of success. Some find resolutions to be a powerful step toward positive change. Others put energy into setting them but do not achieve them. And still others do not even bother with the process, as time has shown their past resolutions to be unsuccessful.
October 15, 2014
Years ago, as a budding mental health professional, I took a job at a residential treatment center for emotionally and behaviorally challenged youths. I lived and worked alongside teens at a rural camp, where we slept in cabins.
March 26, 2014
A few days ago I had an experience that has become quite familiar to me. I was reading Brené Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” and she made the following statement: “Shame is universal and one of the most primitive human emotions.” While she quickly moved on to talk more in depth about shame, I was stuck on her initial declaration and immediately wondered “Why?"
October 8, 2012
“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” This quote, widely attributed to Richard Bach of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” fame, conveys the meaning of a proverb that appears in many cultures and languages.
July 17, 2012
“Mind, body, and breath complete the circle of life.” This is what my yoga instructor stated last week as we were moving into Savasana, or the meditation portion of the class. This observation gave me pause for a moment and then quickly resonated as true. I was immediately aware of how much more time my mind spends actively thinking compared to the miniscule amount of time that I spend just “being” in my body and with my breath.
June 28, 2011
We live in a stressful world. Anxiety is a part of the human condition. Many people complain of feelings of anxiousness, ranging from occasional mild worrying to full-blown anxiety disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, or a specific Phobia.
Book Review: “Taking Antidepressants: Your Comprehensive Guide to Starting, Staying On, and Safely Quitting”
April 29, 2011
I am pleased to have found a book that I can recommend to clients, family, and friends who are dealing with depression and wanting to better understand their treatment options. While the title of the book indicates the subject matter is that of antidepressants, Dr. Banov does a thorough job of discussing various alternatives to traditional medication therapy, including psychotherapy, supplements, exercise, healthy eating, light exposure, yoga, meditation, and more. The fact that the discussion is not limited only to antidepressant medication makes this book much more worthwhile, in my opinion.
July 8, 2010
While the physical practices of yoga have enjoyed increased popularity in the west over the past several decades, yoga is, in fact, an ancient philosophy and spiritual approach to being. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means “to yoke,” and is often translated as “union.”
April 22, 2010
Change is an inevitable part of life. Transitions are all around us – births, deaths, graduations, anniversaries, moving to a new residence, marriage, divorce. Beginnings and endings are occurring constantly. Some are small and mundane: the ringing of the alarm clock to signal the start of a new day, or the finishing of a good book. Some are major and catastrophic: the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings, or the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.
February 13, 2010
The information in this article comes from a book by the same title “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts” by Gary Chapman. As I was reading this book, I found myself going back and forth in my response. One second I was thinking “this seems to be surface level sort of stuff – how profound of an impact can it really have?” The next minute, I was truly blown away by the depth of what could be communicated and healed by speaking one another’s love language.
March 3, 2009
Trauma is a word that we use and hear often, but what is trauma? It is usually defined as the experiencing or witnessing of an event(s) that is threatening or dangerous and out of one’s control. Trauma usually involves a feeling of helplessness. Many people serving in the military experience trauma, as do individuals who survive a natural disaster, serious accident, or personal assault. While these are common examples of trauma, experts generally agree that what makes something traumatic to a person is determined by their response to it, rather than whether someone else considers it “traumatizing”.
May 20, 2008
Though so many of us fear it and judge it negatively, both in ourselves and in others, anger is a normal human emotion. It does, in fact, serve a purpose, as do all emotions. Our experience of anger tells us that something is wrong and needs our attention; it is a natural response to a perceived threat. It is there to protect us. Anger also helps motivate and provide the energy for change, both on individual and larger socio-cultural levels.
November 10, 2007
The holidays are an emotional time and often a time of overeating. As family and friends come together, food is often the focus of celebrations. We offer some tips to think about during holiday dining. Allowing yourself to enjoy food during the holiday season is a great option when it is a conscious choice.
September 4, 2007
When making a career choice, you must have knowledge of both yourself and the world of work. When you allow for exploration of both of these areas, you will be more likely to make an informed choice, select a career that is a good fit for you, and have greater work and life satisfaction.
August 20, 2006
All life forms have boundaries and each part of our bodies has physical limits, from the skin to the membranes covering nerves and muscles. When our physical boundaries are invaded (when we are cut or scratched) we are vulnerable to infection. Therefore, our physical boundaries promote health and safety. My physical boundaries are defined by how close I let people get to me. My emotional boundaries are defined by how I allow others to interact with me – whether I tolerate abuse and hostility or whether I demand respect.