Blog

  • Struggling with an eating disorder or living a life of unhealthy food habits can create a cycle of discouragement. Those who have experienced unhealthy nutritional habits know this well. The truth is it’s through creating healthy relationships with food, understanding what your body needs, and eating patterns that support wholesome consumption that create long lasting lifestyle habits. With the new year upon us, give yourself permission to release negative feelings associated with food and weight and commit to a new, healthy relationship with food. Tips to Form Healthy Relationships with Food Eat Mindfully Mindful eating means eating when you physically...
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  • 8 Tattoos that Represent Mental Health Struggles Tattooing has been practiced for thousands of years by cultures all around the world. In America, body art has risen in popularity since the 1970s. It is estimated that nearly 38% of young Americans have at least one tattoo. Tattoos are deeply personal. Creating a permanent image on the body is not usually an impulsive decision (usually). For those who struggle with mental health or love someone who does, body art can represent honor, pride, and it can be a reminder of self-empowerment. It can also represent encouragement and support for others’ struggles...
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  • We don’t know about you, but we find music very motivating. When we're stuck in our head, when we feel sucked into patterns of negative thinking and we need something to pull us out, we turn on music. We put in headphones or Bluetooth a speaker and crank up the volume to at least level eight. Sometimes, when coming out of that murky place and feeling particularly inspired, we even dance a little. Does music motivate you too? Here is a list of 10 motivating songs to turn your day around. I AM WOMAN was written by Helen Reddy and...
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  • Early this year, the White House employed a new policy intended to reduce the number of undocumented immigrants seeking asylum along the southern border. In May, the US attorney general Jeff Sessions announced that all immigrants crossing the border without documentation to do so would be taken into custody and face criminal charges. Any children traveling with them would be separated from their parents and placed in federal custody. Nearly 3,000 families have been cruelly and needlessly separated. Infants and children have been placed in federal shelters while their parents have been jailed. Family Separations at the Border In May,...
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  • This holiday season gifts of all kinds will be exchanged. Few of them will have as big an impact on someone’s life as the gift of sobriety. This year, consider the gift of recovery and give yourself the best gift you can: your sobriety. With all the benefits of recovery, healing from past trauma, and freedom from the damaging cycle of addiction for good, there is no better time for it than now. Here are eight reasons sobriety is the gift that gives you health, happiness, and a future that will reward you for years to come. Sobriety gives you...
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  • How to Navigate the Holidays When You Have Social Anxiety The holiday season has arrived. The grocery store is stocked with turkeys, our mailboxes are stuffed with sale ads, and Christmas tree tents are popping up on street corners. Your weekly calendar may already be freckled with holiday parties and events. Most folks look forward to holiday gatherings, but if you struggle with social anxiety, you might not be feeling so great right now. Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences from time, and it can trigger emotional and physical responses. For those with social anxiety disorder, holiday...
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  • Being sober during the holidays can be a challenging and rewarding accomplishment. You may face triggers, but you will also have the opportunity to own your strength, rely on those close to you and use the tools you’ve learned to overcome difficulties that come up during the holidays. To help you close out the year with a peaceful, fulfilling holiday season, we’ve put together a list of healthy, fun, and active ways to enjoy sober holiday celebrations. Staying sober and having fun during the holidays Enjoy outdoor holiday activities  The last few months of the year are packed full with...
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  • The holiday season is upon us. It is a wonderful time of year. We gather with friends, family, and community to share joyous parties, traditions, and religious celebrations. But for someone with an eating disorder, the holidays present significant challenges. Many triggers come with social gatherings and feasts that magnify her personal struggles, and there’s powerful emotions can derail recovery. If you love someone who is recovering from an eating disorder, here are a few things you can do to help make holiday season a little brighter for her and for yourself. Whether with family, community, or with our workmates,...
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  • Self love is defined the act of caring for one’s own well-being and happiness. It can be an intrinsic reminder to prioritize yourself or an act of gratitude and relaxation to reset your mindset and prepare you to face everyday challenges. Loving yourself is about accepting who you are, showing appreciation for the amazing woman you’ve grown to become, and rewarding yourself for making it through the ups and downs. Self love is a therapeutic approach that can come in many different acts, and should, in fact, so as to address your needs in that moment. It’s not selfish and...
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  • The holiday season is upon us. For those who struggle with an eating disorder or body image issues, the joyful holiday dinners, time-honored traditions, and religious celebrations can bring increased anxiety. The holiday season may feel like the two-to-three months out of the year that are almost completely centered around food and come loaded with triggers, but it is possible to get through the holidays while maintaining your recovery from an eating disorder. How can you get through the season and enjoy it in the process? Here are some important things to remember. Stick to your eating disorder program Structure...
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  • Everyone, regardless of gender, who drinks alcohol to excess faces potential risks to their health and wellbeing. Long-term or excessive consumption of alcohol can result in damage to and diseases of the heart, liver, pancreas, brain, and others. Alcohol abuse is associated with risks for many types of cancer. It can contribute to or aggravate mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and phobias. For women, there are additional alcohol-related health risks that impact them as well as, potentially, their children. Women who consume large amounts of alcohol increase their risk for breast cancer. Drinking while pregnant creates...
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  • A Gateway to Eating Disorders Gone are the days when we worried about getting caught at the grocery store in sweatpants with unwashed hair. These days, social media plays a central role in how we are seen by the world. Thanks to continued advances in communications, some of us are seen virtually as much, or more, than we are actually seen in person. Will the image you upload bring enough likes? Will it earn more followers? Social media platforms offer numerous, creative camera filters to soften and refine our image. Photo and video editing software is standard on smartphones. At...
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  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was invented by the psychologist Francine Shapiro in the 1980s. It is a form of psychotherapy that helps relieve the effects associated with trauma. Accessing and processing the memories of a traumatic experience enables people to heal their symptoms and relieve emotional distress that stems from difficult, disturbing experiences. For those who have suffered a traumatic experience, it may seem impossible to overcome the deep-rooted, long-term symptoms. However, many people have found significant relief from symptoms. Over the last twenty-five years, EMDR has helped millions of people heal permanently....
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  • Just as trauma can originate from various experiences, triggers and the overwhelming responses to them can impact our lives in different ways, at any time, and be brief or challenging for some time. One certainty with the effects of trauma is that there are vehicles in which you can ease your pain and struggle. From internal reminders, to routine self care, here are 20 healthy tips to cope with trauma from experts around the web who live it and know it well. Affirmations “Use it often, recite or read it periodically, even several times a day. A good time is...
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  • Laxatives: Use vs. Abuse Periodic use of laxatives isn’t unusual. Constipation and intestinal upset can surface for many reasons, and appropriate, short-term use of laxatives can provide much-needed relief. But the use of laxatives for weight loss is dangerous and it can contribute to physical complications and even life-threatening illnesses. Sadly, laxative abuse is rarely discussed or discovered, even as part of medical or psychological intake and treatment. Abuse of laxatives is quietly very common among those who struggle with bulimia. Many physicians do not question their patients about their use of over-the-counter laxatives and, perhaps out of shame or...
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  • It’s been more than thirty years since President Richard Nixon launched the “war on drugs” campaign, an attempt to reduce illegal drug trade in the United States. We wonder what Mr. Nixon would think about marijuana now that it is legally accessible, medically or recreationally, in thirty states. Is marijuana still The Gateway Drug? Changes in marijuana policies across the United States suggest that Americans are gaining acceptance for this drug, and some experts suggest that within the next generation, marijuana consumption will spread and previous apprehensions about the drug will normalize, consumers viewing marijuana in a similar social category...
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  • Reaching out for help can feel overwhelming. How can you know which program is the right one for you? As you contact facilities, it’s helpful to know what questions to ask. Here are a few to get you started. 1. What type of issues do you treat? Facilities may treat addiction, mental health, eating disorders, trauma, and many other issues. Sometimes facilities treat more than one or all of these challenges. 2. What levels of care do you provide? Treatment may be outpatient, intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, or residential. Outpatient refers to one-on-one therapy with a clinician. Intensive outpatient and...
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  • What Not to Say to Someone With Anxiety It can be challenging to watch someone you love struggle with anxiety. Even more difficult can be the challenge of figuring out what to say. Sometimes, the language we use, although it's coming from the heart, can actually make someone with anxiety feel worse. If you're struggling with what to say to someone with anxiety, this infographic is for you. If you or a loved one are in need of treatment for anxiety, please give us a call - we can help.
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  • Anxiety is something all of us experience from time to time. Feelings of worry, nervousness, or unease are a normal part of the human experience. But when severe, chronic anxiety interferes with one’s ability to function, to maintain a job or perform academically, to find happiness, or to create and nurture relationships. Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting nearly 40 million adults every year. Symptoms of Anxiety Some symptoms of anxiety are intense worry, irritability, insomnia, sweating, upset stomach, rapid or strong heartbeat, muscle tension, frequent urination or diarrhea, and shortness of...
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  • Every year, millions are affected by depression. People experience symptoms of depression differently, and high-functioning depression, sometimes called dysthymia, often goes undetected. Depression symptoms often inhibit one’s ability to function – to complete basic tasks and self-care, much less to set, follow through, and achieve any goals. There are some individuals who, though driven to press forward, wrestle with symptoms of depression. High-Functioning Depression - An Internal Struggle The struggle with a mental health condition is usually internal one. With high-functioning depression, you may hold a job, care for a family, engage in social and community activities, or thrive academically,...
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  • Mindfulness is defined as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something – a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment. Mindfulness has long been part of spiritual practices and holistic approaches to wellness and healing, which makes it a great option for helping with depression. Depression, the most common mental illness, affects millions of Americans every year. Many mental health professionals introduce mindfulness for depression to their clients as part of cognitive therapy. Intentionally focusing on the present, applying the practice of mindfulness can help improve cognitive symptoms of depression. Individuals note...
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  • We all get sad sometimes, but these feelings pass within a couple days. This is not depression. Those unfamiliar with depression might assume that a depressed person walks about with a long face, doesn’t say much, or cries all the time. In reality, depression is a mood disorder marked by a persistent feeling of sadness and a loss of interest in regular activities. You may have difficulty completing activities of daily living, getting enough sleep, and holding interest in relationships, work, education, and self-care. Explaining Depression is Different from Person to Person For some, depression begins as a feeling of...
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  • Struggling with Social Anxiety? Cognitive behavioral therapy can help. Though it has been experienced by many people throughout time, social anxiety disorder was officially introduced and defined in 1980. Now, more than 15 million Americans (7% of the population) suffer from social anxiety disorder (SAD). Social anxiety causes apprehension, fear, and stress in many areas of a person’s life. And though she may recognize that her fears are excessive or unreasonable, the person struggling with SAD avoids social situations in which she feels in danger of being judged by others or she is concerned that she may embarrass herself. Social...
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  • An anxiety attack is a sudden rush of anxiety and fear that causes intense emotional and physical responses. Triggered by a situation, person or memory associated with deep feelings of fear or danger, the brain’s natural fight or flight response clicks into gear. Whether there is any real, present danger or not, the person who suffers from anxiety is in crisis. How do you recognize an anxiety attack? How can you help? Symptoms of an anxiety or panic attack include: Intense fear or worry Sense of doom Ruminating thoughts Fear of losing control Feelings of shame or guilt Heart palpitations...
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  • We all experience anxiety sometimes, but when someone suffers from a diagnosable anxiety disorder, this normal human experience intensifies and anxiety becomes debilitating. How do we help when some things that we say can be triggering? Here are some examples of what not to say, and why. What Not to Say to Someone with Anxiety Did I do something wrong? We feel bad when someone we care about is suffering from anxiety, and it is our impulse to wonder if we’ve said or done something that contributed to their suffering. However, this question makes the other person’s suffering about you....
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  • Coping with trauma from sexual assault can be scary, isolating, and difficult. At Haven Hills, we specialize in treating women who struggle with trauma and the effects that arise. The infographic below was adapted from our blog, "Sexual Assault Trauma: Dealing with Triggers." If you or a loved one are in need of help in dealing with sexual assault trauma, or any kind of trauma, please contact us. We are here for you.  
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  • Mental illness is not the result of failure, weakness, or a lack of willpower. Mental illness can sometimes be hereditary, and it can also result from trauma, stress, and chemical imbalances in the body and brain. Depression affects nearly seven percent of Americans and 300 million people worldwide. Depression can be a perplexing condition for those who suffer from it as well as for the people who care about them. It is very often difficult for people who don’t experience depression to really understand, which is why many well-intended family and friends sometimes say the wrong thing. Most of us...
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  • Whether you are healing from trauma, or know someone who is, reading is a great way to transform perspective, experience, and thought. Our very own Reya Kost, Psy.D. has shared her favorite books that help shape our understanding of trauma and promote healing from within.   The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma Book by Bessel van der Kolk, MD View on Amazon         The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Cruel Parenting Book by Alice Miller and Alan Jenkins View on Amazon         The Boy...
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  • Developmental trauma is a term that refers to trauma that occurs during childhood. Examples include exposure to overwhelmingly stressful situations such as neglect or chronic abuse. Neglect may be physical or emotional, and abuse may be physical, emotional, or sexual in nature. Developmental traumas are sometimes called adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs. ACEs result from exposure to dysfunctions in the home, such as mental illness, substance abuse, divorce, incarceration, domestic violence, or abandonment. The family may face serious financial hardship, homelessness, or they may be affected by crime or natural disaster. It is estimated that nearly 20% of Americans experienced...
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  • In today’s world of mass communication and access to information by credible sources, it is puzzling to realize that our society and culture hold tight to myths and stereotypes around alcohol and drug abuse and addiction. Below are ten most common myths of substance abuse, debunked. 1. All addicts are criminals. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that 50 percent of all inmates are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and up to 80 percent abused substances. However, outside of jails, 75-90 percent of those with substance abuse problems are functioning, holding jobs, and raising families. 2. You cannot...
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  • For those who have suffered sexual assault trauma, a “trigger” is something that reminds you of an intensely upsetting and dangerous event in your life. You might be triggered by witnessing a situation, visiting familiar locations, hearing certain words or phrases, seeing images or videos, or you might have been triggered in a moment of intimacy. For some survivors, triggers can cause a remarkably intense experience, causing them to react or behave much like they responded when the event actually happened. Learning to cope with triggers of sexual trauma: Completely avoiding triggers is impossible but learning to cope with triggers...
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  • A Need for Trauma Treatment Symptoms of traumatic stress began with military populations after the Civil War, known then as soldier’s heart. After the advent of heavy explosives in World War I, the term shell shock became well known. Medical perspectives toward trauma remained that if a person suffered shell shock, and because severe symptoms were not seen in every soldier, shell shock implied there may be a flaw in the soldier’s character. He just couldn’t hack it like another soldier could. Near the onset of WW2, recruits were screened to identify signs of moral weakness, assuming some men would...
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  • Trauma Therapist Tips for Self-Care Most of us feel we live pretty busy lives and, more often than not, we wish we had more “me time.” We are all different, so self-care means different things to different people. Self-care includes actions and activities that help us reach balanced health, emotionally and physically. Since denying self-care can lead to physical and emotional unbalance, it’s important to find what works for you. For those who have suffered trauma, this is particularly significant. As any many trauma therapists, or therapists in general, would tell you, mental health challenges sometimes separate us from self-care,...
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  • We recently had the pleasure of hosting A New Outlook Counseling for a tour of our rehab for women and it was an absolute pleasure! They provide marriage, individual, couples, and family counseling, including specialized substance abuse counseling in Colorado. Stop by their website and take a look at the counseling services they provide and don't miss the lovely write-up they did about our facility!
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  • An intricate relationship between eating disorders and culture Most of us lead media-saturated lives. We can try to control our exposure, but in today’s world of technology and communications, we cannot help most of it. Some of us have sold our televisions and turned off cable access in trade for media streaming. We’ve cut costs, sure, but we’ve not reduced our exposure to the influence of media. Most of us use a smartphone – about 77% of Americans do – and marketing experts estimate that, depending upon how we access information and use social media, we may be exposed to...
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  • Do you love someone who is struggling with an eating disorder? Have you approached her with your concern? How did it go? Sometimes, even the most loving and supportive attempts to help someone go terribly wrong. Resistance to getting help isn’t unusual, especially if the person struggling hasn’t yet faced severe physical consequences. She might agree that she has a problem, but she isn’t ready to let go. She might flat-out deny there’s a problem or minimize it, making numerous excuses for the behaviors that others have noticed. She might be angry and unapproachable. So, how do you help? It...
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  • A Dietitian’s Prescription for Health, Wellness, and Improving your Relationship with Food By Tianna Smith, MS, RD “I had two cookies... I was really bad today.” “Today is the last time I’m going to eat this fattening food.” “If only I didn’t have to watch my weight, I could eat what I want.” These are common statements I hear from clients, friends, family members, and even strangers on a regular basis.  In our diet-obsessed, food abundant, fast-paced culture, eating can become a mindless, and often guilt-inducing experience rather than a time for enjoyment, nourishing our bodies, and connecting with others...
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  • Trauma is an important topic that affects the lives of millions of Americans. Trauma is the result of an overwhelming stress that exceeds one's ability to cope, or to integrate and manage the emotions involved with that experience. Psychologists are learning more and more about trauma and how it affects a person’s ability to function, relate, feel, and think on a daily basis.  Neurobiologists are exploring the effects of trauma on the brain as well as practices and techniques that can reverse the harmful effects of trauma. Still, there are many misconceptions. This piece explores and attempts to eliminate some of...
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  • On the heels of a particularly deadly span of mass shootings/violence in the United States, Americans and the rest of the world are searching for answers. Some think it’s a gun control issue, some believe it’s a mental health issue, some believe it’s a generational and parenting issue. While we are greatly divided as a nation on what seems to be the problem, it is safe to say that there is a problem, and we need to figure out the solution before more lives are lost. As a center that treats women who suffer the effects of trauma, we are...
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  • Trauma Defined Historically, the word trauma has been used to describe violent and tragic human experiences like war or natural disasters. Today, we define trauma as a behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional distress or physical injury. Though we once thought few people faced trauma, advances in behavioral health science and treatment suggest that trauma is more widely experienced and varied than we once thought. People of all ages, races, and genders suffer from trauma. From combat missions to abusive relationships, to car accidents and cyberbullying, trauma is, unfortunately, a somewhat common experience. But nature provides us a...
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  • If you or a loved one are in need of treatment for trauma or PTSD, please give us a call. We are here to help.
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  • "So often, trauma happens in relationships, but it is also in relationships that healing occurs.” - Dr. Bruce Perry   Post-traumatic stress disorder contains a big word, trauma.  Many feel they cannot identify with trauma or they associate the word with combat veterans or assault victims.  What if we could experience trauma from our family systems or bullying?  I will speak for myself and share that the word trauma sounded scary to me for a long time.  “I don’t have trauma, so many others have experienced much more hurt than me."  How has your childhood affected your adult life?  Were...
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  • by Jessica Yaffa, BA, CPC Often when we think of the word trauma we imagine a gory scene from a movie that includes significant violence, injury, and direct physical harm. The fact of the matter is that trauma can be anything that the individual who has experienced this challenge(s) identifies as unmanageable or overwhelming. For the purposes of this article, we can define trauma as an experience that outweighs a person’s ability to cope.  Some examples of trauma might include: Abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, psychological) Domestic violence or intimate partner violence Severe mental illness Medical events (illness, invasive treatments) Homelessness...
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  • by Reya Kost, Psy.D. Beginning with an article published in Biological Psychiatry (2015), epigenetic inheritance of trauma has become a much-discussed concept.  Rachel Yehuda and colleagues claimed that they had found a genetic explanation for children of Holocaust survivors being likely to experience symptoms of trauma. Their work explained that the experience of trauma causes changes to DNA and those changes are then passed on to biological offspring – or are epigenetically inherited.  In the two-plus years since the publication of the article, the concept has exploded in popularity and is even included in the work of the famed Deepak...
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  • by Jessica Yaffa, BA, CPC Many of us relate Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to soldiers who have experienced combat and the profound aftermath of war. However, PTSD doesn’t only affect our heroes coming off the battlefield. It is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to any traumatic event, such as sexual assault, domestic violence, severe physical injury, witnessing death, or other perceived threats on a person's life. Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues, attempts to avoid trauma-related cues, alterations in how a...
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  • by Karolyn Johnson, MA, LMFT Trauma is a buzz word that is used frequently these days. It has a negative connotation for some, evokes empathy from others, but what we don’t often consider is the impact unresolved trauma has on our everyday life. Unfortunately, so many people have experienced something that made a deep impact on the way they think, act and feel, and have not yet processed that experience(s). While you may not think of those experiences as trauma, the suggestion is that trauma is a wide and varied category. In a nutshell, trauma is an event(s) that results...
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  • Our family at Haven Hills Recovery is thrilled to announce the opening of our treatment center and the launch of our new website! We invite you to explore our many pages of who we are, how we approach treatment, and the exceptional program we have to offer. Orenda is a treatment center for eating disorders, substance abuse, and trauma. We warmly welcome co-occurring psychological disorders like depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder as well. Haven is a term which describes the a place of safety and refuge. We are here to help individuals learn how to change their lives and...
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Haven Hills Recovery – Trauma Informed Care for Women