Helene Beddingfield, RN, ATR, LMFT
Individual, Couple and Family Counseling
Treatment Methods

"When we become aware that we do not have to escape our pains, but that we can mobilize them into a common search for life, those very pains are transformed from expressions of despair into signs of hope.”
~ Henri Nouwen
The approaches I use are a variety of individual, couple and family therapy techniques including Art Therapy, Bader-Pearson's Developmental Model, Family Systems Theory, Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and Resource Tapping. Therapeutic approaches are only used as guidelines. Throughout the course of therapy, techniques  are used to enhance the work you are doing, but since your active participation is essential in the therapy process, your input and feedback will guide the planning and goal setting to make your therapy a worthwhile and a life changing experience.  

Art Therapy

     Art Therapy uses art as a visual language. It does not require talent or any training. Through the formation of images, sculpture or collage, thoughts and feelings are projected into a visual form that can be viewed from an observer's perspective. Feelings that are free-floating or hard to pin down can frustrate our abilities to explain what is going on.  Anxiety, fear and depression are a few examples of situations that sabotage our efforts to express what is being felt. Expression through an art modality allows for a flow of information that is usually not as censored as we commonly do with thoughts that we suppress or deny. In this form of therapy, art adds a visual dimension, but there is also talking and listening communication using the art as a springboard to delve deeper into therapy issues. 
Malchiodi, Cathy  The Art Therapy Source Book

Bader-Pearson's Developmental Model of Couples Therapy

     Couple counseling has come along way since I graduated with my counseling degree. I am currently in the advanced training program at the Couples Institute in Menlo Park  developed and directed by Ellyn Bader, PhD and Peter Pearson, PhD. This method of looking at healing relationships is a wide and varied approach. The participants in the training come from all over the country and the world. It is not unusual during discussions to hear an Irish, British, Canadian or Turkish accent along side the varying accents we have here in the US. Invited speakers giving lectures have included Harville Hendrix, Dan Siegel, Diane Heller, Marty Kleine, Esther Perel, and many other current experts in the field, so the information available covers many topics and the newest and innovative ways of looking at what works best in couples counseling. An added benefit of this course is that it is ongoing and provides consistently available support and consultation. There is a blog for couples on the website www.couplesinstitute.com where you will find information on a wide variety of subjects in which you will be sure to find something that will be of interest and beneficial to you. Included on this website is an article that you will find helpful written by Ellyn Bader, PhD and Peter Pearson, PhD called How to Get the Most Out of Couples Counseling. There is also an article, Considering Couple Counseling and the Next Step available for download in the Client Information section of this website.
Website:  www.couplesinstitute.com
Bader, Ellyn, PhD and Peter Pearson, PhD  In Quest of the Mythical Mate
Bader, Ellyn, PhD and Pearson, Peter, PhD  Tell Me No Lies

Family Systems Theory 

     This mode of therapy looks at the interactions of family members and how these interactions affect behaviors of each individual.  Ideally all family members attend sessions and typically individual sessions are also scheduled during the course of treatment. The goal is to assist each family member to work together to solve problematic dynamics within the family. Each member is crucial to the functioning of the whole and this interdependence is examined in a way that allows for understanding about how certain ways of interrelating sustains certain behaviors. Roles are played by each member and this can be a result of personality, sibling position or situations in the family that define how each member functions. A few examples of this are when a family member has a disability or develops an addiction or there is a change in the hierarchy of the family as a result of birth, death, divorce or remarriage.  Relationships between family members are complicated and varied. Think of how different your relationship was with your mother, father and siblings and then combine all the overlapping ways of relating. These variations can enhance or complicate communication.
       Allowing this communication to play out in session using talking, art or role playing can make obvious the cause and effect of these interactions. Once recognized, that awareness can pave the way for making changes that are beneficial not just to the family as a whole, but to each individual member
Sexton, Thomas L.  Handbook of Family Therapy: the Science and Practice of Working with Families and Couples


      All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Hypnosis has gotten a bad wrap from the circus show type of demonstrations that depict tranced individuals crowing like roosters or helpless and having no  control over their actions. Contradictory to this amusement-centered depiction, you cannot be hypnotized without your cooperation, nor can you be coerced into doing anything that you would not choose to do. The trance state is similar to when you find yourself driving and realize that you have zoned out. You are very relaxed, but  aware and if something were to happen you would be jolted out of that state into doing what you need to do.
     Hypnosis today has a wide variety of uses:  pain control, anxiety reduction during medical and surgical procedures, bed wetting, insomnia, smoking cessation and weight management to name a few. 
     My training is using the Solution Focused Hypnotherapy Model with Bill O'Hanalan. This approach focuses on the solution rather than problem, so that the emphasis, rather than being problem centered shifts to a solution focused mindset. I use hypnosis or trance work to enhance my clients ability to relax and stay focused.  As mentioned, it is all self hypnosis, so essentially this is a self-training that takes your full cooperation with motivation, relaxation, concentration and the ability to focus contributing to its success.
O'Hanlon, Bill   Solution-Oriented Hypnosis
O'Hanlon, Bill   A Guide to Trance Land

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy

     Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been around since the 1960s and has proven to be effective in helping to recognize how our thinking affects our emotions and ultimately our behaviors. MBCT is used in group work, but also can be beneficial for helping individuals to make postive changes. It includes the time-tested cognitive behavioral approaches with the additon of a mindfulness practice.  If we are going to change our reactions then there must be a way to pause between our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. That essential pause allows for the slowing and stopping of the train of thought that usually leads to our knee-jerk reactions. The pause allows for conscious awareness and and the opportunity for a choice about what our next step will be.  How often do our feelings direct certain behaviors before we even realize we are heading in that direction?  Slowing down that sequence:  thought-emotion-reaction allows  a clear space to get our thinking process (instead of the reactive one) working again. This gives us an opportunity to recognize and connect thoughts and feelings to bodily sensations so that we can accept distressing thoughts without self-criticism or judgement and learn to see these urges for what they are--only thoughts and we do have choices about how we respond.
An excellent resource to provide you with more information is MBCT is http://mbct.com. 

Resource Tapping

      Resource Tapping is one of the techniques used with EMDR, but it has its's origins from the practices of NLP, guided imagery and hypnosis. Although no firm scientific conclusions have been made yet on how any of the bilateral stimulation techniques work, multiple studies are showing that it is effective. EMDR requires special equipment and training, but Resource Tapping is a simple and easily taught technique to assist an individual to get to a calm state.
     Bilateral stimulation hypothetically functions in a similar way as our Rapid Eye Movements (REM) during sleep. It is during the REM cycles that  our eyes can be detected to move rapidly and our brains are most active and it is during this time that  we do most of our dreaming.
     One conjecture about the purpose of REM is that our brains are trying to relocate fragmented pieces of memory to a more user friendly place. When we are traumatized, memories fragment and instead of being stored in our Prefrontal Cortex (PFC), traumatic memories locate to the limbic system which has been called our reptilian or old brain. Unlike the PFC, the limbic system is pure reaction and functions with the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) to alert us when danger is present. So recalling a memory stored in  the PFC usually makes logical sense to us, while recall from the limbic area is usually more visceral--we feel it and it can be difficult to explain with words because it is missing the sequence of logic. Many times limbic stored memories can be frightening because they tend to hold emotions, but without a logical interpretation and if the origin of these memories was a frightening experience that raw emotion can be felt without a logical (PFC) explanation.  Especially disconcerting is that some of the events causing these reactions occurred years and even decades ago, but during recall it can feel as if they are happening again. 
     If you can't identify why you are feeling upset because the memory is stored in the limbic area, then it makes sense that talking therapy without a fully functioning PFC is not going to be very successful. Think about a baby upset and crying. Infants do not have mature functioning PFCs, that baby is using his/her limbic system to survive by crying and getting more and more upset as he/she tries to communicate that there is a problem. Talking to that baby (similar to trying to rationalize with someone who is really upset) is not going to assist much with calming, but picking that baby up and rocking him/her back and forth usually does the trick. Being calm yourself and humming a gentle tune helps too. This sequential, rhythmic back and forth motion is calming to an overreacting nervous system. Similarly, bilateral stimulation  works as a repetitive back and forth sequence of motions that can be soothing and can bring us to a calm place within ourselves.
Christrip, Jim     Resource Tapping for Emotional Healing
Parnell, Laurel   Tapping In