Therapist resources for discussing and teaching about Magical Thinking

Magical Thinking

Magical thinking is a normal phase in childhood in which we think that our thoughts- or totally random, unrelated events- can change the future. Lots of us hang onto just a bit of magical thinking into adulthood and that’s not necessarily a bad thing (confession: I’m calling myself out a bit on coffee mug magic!).…

Things Trauma Survivors May Need: A Messy Visual

. Messy. Accurate. People are often surprised to learn that most of trauma therapy isn’t actually talking directly about trauma- it involves getting to know ourselves and our needs without judgment, learning to extend genuine kindness and care inward, and growing skills to advocate for what we need to thrive. The concept behind this doodle…

the impact of stress on window of tolerance - Illustration by Lindsay Braman

The Impact of Stress on Emotional Window of Tolerance

  Our window of tolerance refers to how much we can handle, emotionally, before shutting down or blowing up (Emotional states called “hypoarousal” and “hyperarousal” by brain researchers.) Healthy brains in optimal circumstances have a big arch that helps us stay present to listen, learn, and grow even when difficult stuff is happening. The normal…

A Flowchart for Getting to Sleep – A Playful take on Sleep Hygiene

A flowchart for getting to sleep. We all know how elusive sleep can be, but quality sleep is essential for physical and mental health. When sleep feels hard to come by, “sleep hygiene” the go-to remedy. While some sleep and insomnia related issues need specific treatments including medication or longer-term psychotherapy, psychoeducation about sleep hygiene…

Pyramid of Crisis Response & Planning – A Visual

  The nature of crisis is that it’s (1) overwhelming, and (2) inevitable. Whether you are a clinician in the helping professions or a person in relationship with other persons, crisis will show up eventually. When it does, we can all be a little more ready to handle potentially overwhelming experiences by planning how to…

How We Tend to Cope with Anxiety Falls on a Spectrum

Everyone has a different “default” way of coping with anxiety- and many of us will experience a shift from one extreme to the other at least once during our lifetime. While our culture praises the “brave” approach and shames the avoidant, both approaches are equally harmful ways of avoiding the discomfort of being present to…

Routine Matters – Even for Adults, and Especially during the Holidays

  Routine matters – especially in emotionally loaded seasons like the holidays. It’s widely understood that routine is important for children- but its value is often understated for adults. In fact, routine- an internal sense of what to expect and when it expect it- helps humans of all ages get grounded, self-soothe, and reduce anxiety.…

Urge Surfing, Alternatives, and Harm Reduction

To follow my post earlier this week on developing (new) coping skills rather than attempting to just desert our old ones, here are a few examples of ways to practice new skills (like asking for support, distraction, or alternative behaviors) when there is a desire for self-harm. Instagram recently removed a different version of this…

Understanding The Help Rejecting Complainer Mindset

Most of us know one or two help rejecting complainers. It can be tempting to get frustrated, give up, or get “even,” but when we react out of frustration instead of responding with kindness, we actually reinforce the beliefs that support the behavior. Complaining is the only type of support-seeking some people know. Complaining engages…

Illustrated Embodied Grounding Exercise – Free Printable

  Get a free PDF copy of this art:   Social media can be a dark, divisive place sometimes. On the other end of the spectrum, depending on the accounts you choose to follow, it can be really easy to find yourself surrounded by toxic positivity. Toxic positivity is the sort of blind optimism that…

Red Flags for Early Stage Schizophrenia- an Infographic

  Schizophrenia is among the most debilitating mental health disorders- so much so that there is still a lot of stigma around the diagnosis. The problem is stigma is especially harmful when it comes to this diagnosis. Here’s why: about 75% of people with schizophrenia have months or years of subtle symptoms (called a predromal…

Adult Attachment Styles – Illustrated Spectrum

  Mos psychological measures and scales tend to make us think in black-and-white terms, but I like how this adaptation takes the attachment style grid and transforms it into a spectrum for adult attachment. A spectrum allows space for everyone and each of our unique experiences: experiencing more or less relationship-related anxiety, with a greater…

Disclosing Trauma in New Relationships 101

In a culture where “vulnerability” can sometimes feel like relational currency, it’s easy to fall into a trap of sharing trauma stories before a new relationship has the roots to support it. Especially when we’ve had trauma in past relationships, it can be tempting to “test” new relationships in order to justify leaving or to…

How we Give Language to Traumatic Events Changes how we Heal

For a while now, the terminology of both “victim” and “survivor” has sat uneasily with me. Both terms center the traumatic experience as part of a person’s identity. Although (and please hear me on this) we can do real harm by minimizing someone’s trauma, one way we can support people in maintaining or building an…