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Hello and Welcome!
 
Nourishing Therapy offers the following online therapeutic support groups; "Living With & Surviving Cancer" and 
"Complex Trauma and Dissociative Disorders Skills Group." 
 
 
Living With & Surviving Cancer Therapeutic Support Group
For some people, a cancer diagnosis causes them to question their spiritual beliefs. For others, their faith becomes a source of strength. Whatever your perspective, cancer brings one face-to-face with key questions about life. Sharing how cancer has impacted your spiritual life can be a helpful and healing experience.

Group:

  • Provide cancer-focused support

  • Reduce feelings of loneliness, anxiety and distress

  • Help increase feelings of hope and empowerment

  • Assist you in learning new ways of coping

  • Help you improve communication with your medical team and loved ones

  • Provide you with practical information about treatment

  • Provide you with resources in your community

 

Start Date

This support group meets biweekly on Saturdays from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. MST.

This group will utilize a secure video platform.

 

Register

Space is limited and pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Heatherly Gardner, LCSW, at (435) 650 - 1249 or Heatherly@nourishingtherapy.org 

 

Adult Complex Trauma and Dissociative Disorders Skills Group
 
This group focuses on neuroeducation of trauma/dissociation, strengthening body/heart/mind awareness, developing coping and grounding skills aimed to reduce distress, and improved understanding of the neurological processes underlying mental functioning. 
 
Goal of Group: Replace internal self-judgment with increased compassion and curiosity. Increase awareness and connection with parts of self. Build skills to creatively manage trauma triggers. Group members are encouraged to only share as much as they feel safe while staying within-group guidelines. To keep this online group emotionally safe we will not be processing traumatic events and talking is optional. We are all on individual journeys, not everyone chooses to hear another's trauma story.
 
This is a 90 min group held Bi-Monthly on Saturdays at 6:00 PM MST
To join just text (435) 650-1249 or
email heatherly@nourishingtherapy.org
Dissociative Disorders are characterized by an involuntary escape from reality characterized by a disconnection between thoughts, identity, consciousness, and memory. People from all age groups and racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds can experience a dissociative disorder. We will dive into this more during group, it is a very complex subject as an individual to each person as our fingerprints.  
Dissociative seizures: A psychological condition in which emotional stress is "converted" into physical symptoms that look a lot like epileptic seizures.  

Markus Reuber, professor of clinical neurology at the University of Sheffield, UK, and an honorary consultant neurologist at nearby hospitals, describes PNES as a learned reflex that the brain uses to avoid distress. “The seizure successfully moves the person from that moment to another moment when they may be exhausted and uncomfortable, but the trigger has gone away,” he said.

“They are an avoidance mechanism,” agreed Lorna Myers, psychologist, and director of the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group’s psychogenic non-epileptic seizures program in New York City. “The seizure becomes a well-worn path of response to anything that’s distressing.”

The average delay between an initial epilepsy diagnosis and the eventual identification of PNES is 7 to 10 years. Over that time, patients take anti-epileptic drugs—which sometimes seem to help, which further muddies the waters—and manage drug side effects, as well as doctor visits and continued seizures. About 7% are misdiagnosed with status epilepticus and subject to hospitalization, procedures and tests for a condition they don’t have. Jobs are lost; school is impossible; families fall apart.

 

One study estimated the cost of misdiagnosis at $100,000 per patient.

The seizures go by many names: psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, non-epileptic attack disorder, dissociative seizures, stress-induced seizures, pseudoseizures. Many of the names are confusing, or imply that the seizures aren’t real. Though PNES do not appear on EEG, they are not fabricated. And like epilepsy, PNES can put employment, education, relationships, and independence in jeopardy. In 2011, an international consensus clinical practice statement ranked them among the top three neuropsychiatric problems worldwide.

Trauma and PNES: The Body Keeps The Score

Myers estimates that about 90% of people with PNES have a history of trauma, though some can’t remember it or aren’t comfortable talking about it. The remaining 10% may not have experienced trauma, but they have difficulties handling stress. “They’ve often had years of chronic, smaller stressors – it’s worn them down until they crack,” she said. “The seizures are like a stress fracture.”

Besides a conscious or unconscious reminder of past trauma, PNES can be triggered by a stressful event, undergoing surgery, recovery from general anesthesia, hyperventilation, or physical trauma. Many people say they can feel a seizure coming on; one study found that experiencing at least 5 panic symptoms before a seizure predicted PNES (rather than epilepsy) 83% of the time.

“PNES are just as disabling as epilepsy,” said Myers. “It’s frustrating to hear patients say that they’ve gone to emergency rooms or seen different doctors and they get pushed out the door with ‘This is not a real condition’ and told they’re misusing resources.”

Many people with PNES are accused of faking their seizures. Occasionally it’s family members or friends who are the accusers, but often it is medical professionals. Whether the accusations stem from fear of the unknown, cynicism or protecting a professional ego, they lead to anger, disappointment and delays in treatment.

Discovering Differences

 

Previous diagnoses of anxiety disorders or mood disorders are common in people with PNES, and that they are more likely to describe emotions as being shameful, overwhelming, uncontrollable and damaging.  Compared with the general population, people with PNES tend to have higher cortisol levels and lower heart-rate variability, both markers of chronic stress.

But while their bodies may be in perpetual fight-or-flight mode, people with PNES are not consciously aware of it.  One study illustrated this by comparing self-reports of anxiety to objective measures of anxiety (using reaction times) in people with PNES, epilepsy, or neither condition. People with PNES tended to report less anxiety than the objective measures showed they were feeling.  A few small fMRI and scalp EEG studies suggest that the brains of people with PNES have reduced connectivity in certain areas, including those responsible for emotion processing, executive control, and movement. 

“It doesn’t make sense to think about the PNES process as something that doesn’t involve the brain,” said Reuber. “There is going to be a process in the brain, just as there’s a process that triggers panic attacks or that is involved in flashbacks in post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Better understanding of the processes that lead to PNES may help to provide more effective treatment. Currently, only about half of people with PNES achieve seizure freedom, after varying types of psychological intervention.

PNES are thought to be as common as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, yet underrecognized, misdiagnosed, and mistreated by many health care professionals. Neurologists are uniquely positioned to address this unmet medical need; though they cannot provide treatment, they can be a crucial part of treatment success.

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