Building and Sustaining YOUR Private Practice

21 May

If you are looking to start and maintain a meaningful and profitable practice then allow me to help you save thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of sweat…I have done the dirty work for you! 

Over the next 10 days I will offer a brief outline of what is found in my workbook and in-person workshops I offer. I will review the following 9 Simple Steps:

1. Navigating the Legal Side

2. Determine Your Optimal Location

3. Letting the Community Get to Know YOU!

4. Business Name Matters- How to Choose Your Name

5. Sharing Who You Are While Setting Boundaries

6. Tapping Into Real Referral Networks

7. Social Media and Blogging World – Do’s and Dont’s

8. Getting Paid For The Worth of Your Work- Reality of Insurance and Others Payors 

9. Looking Sharp and Professional While Cutting Overhead

Hoping for the Worst- Thunder Rock 100

14 May

I am, by nature, an optimistic thinker so it feels a little awkward sharing these thoughts… but in the end it lends to positive thinking- maybe :)

As teenagers it seems  as though we were  always trying to look tough. The idea was to radiate a  vibe of “ain’t nothing stronger than  me.” Well, I do not share the following thoughts in that same light :).  I am not attempting to look tough and rugged. Rather, I am sharing my thoughts on why I am hoping for the worst case scenarios in tomorrows race. 

Our brains are constantly changing, adapting, and overcoming. I have a lot of all three of those to do before mid-July’s Hardrock 100 race. I need to face more anxiety on the trails. I need horrible weather to strike. I need to twist my ankle and endure with it. I need to get lost and find my way back on path. I need this so as Hardrock comes I am better able to bend but not break. 

No, I don’t believe you have to experience every adversity in life. However, if you know adversive situations are to come shouldn’t you do something about it?  I am not going out to Hardock hoping for the best racing conditions, both internally and externally. Instead,  I  am going knowing I will take a great hike through heaven and hell. This is not a way of  focusing on the negative. In contrast, it is a way or recognizing the reality that I do have a certain amount of control in preparing for the mess I might find myself in!

All of that said, I am not going to create a bad situation on the race tomorrow. I mean… 100 miles is 100 miles. What I am going to do is show gratitude for the rain, thunder, lighting, mud, pain, strong emotion, hallucinations, and maybe a scratch or two. I am not necessarily inviting this but I am accepting it. After all, I made a last minute decision to run this  race and that brings about its own challenges! 

One of my biggest annoyances in life is when I hear the phrase “It is what it is.” That seems far too closely related to learned-helplessness, which is disempowering and leaves too much room for  pathetic excuses. I believe this saying can be better stated as, “It is what it is and I can do ___________ in this situation.” Now, why in the world did I go on this tangent? Well… I can choose to  show up to the San Juans in July and just say “It is what  it is” when it gets difficult, or I can show up and say “it is what it is and I HAVE ALREADY done much to endure the situation”. That is what I am choosing to do- be prepared to endure! I won’t fall victim to unfavorable circumstances.

I am well aware that we cannot adequately prepare for every specific adversity we will face in this life. However, we can either  fall in to a powerless mentality or empowered mode when things get rough. It is  my hope I can keep myself together enough to create an empowered mindset as I become humbled by the trails in Tennessee tomorrow. May the worst come and may I continue to walk… for Saturday I can sleep :)

Wishing you the best!

Drew 

Looking Forward: One Way to Stay Motivated. A Little Panic on a Mountain. 

25 Apr

                 (Quandary Peak)

 What impedes your motivation? I’m sure you can come up with a few responses. For some, it’s fear, time, confidence, or so much more. I often work with people on moving past the impediment of looking back or standing still. What better way to gain confidence and motivate your motivation than taking one step at a time? Well, early this morning in the astounding mountains of Colorado I caught myself in this conundrum on Quandary Peak (14, 265 ft elevation).


Bears, Mountain Lions, Buffalo, Moose, and a few more… these are animals I have ran across in the wilderness. I have had the opportunity to hike, and sometimes run, many tall peaks on technical trails. Sure, from time-to-time during these experiences my adrenaline was spiked, but I have not had true panic during those moments. The last actual panic I endured was in 2007 while skiing. It was the first time back on the slope after breaking my back while skiing in 2006. Since then, I have not had panic. Something changed this morning…

My great friend,Todd, and I met at the Quandary Peak Trailhead at 3:45 am. It was obvious we needed poles and spikes to make this jaunt, as the snow was deep just at the trailhead. We took off and I found the first hour or so very enjoyable as I maintained a decent pace up the mountain. Todd had been up on the mountain backcountry skiing a few weeks prior and pointed out that we would have to go off trail because of the snow. It was fun for the first 20 minutes or so of going straight up. After all, going straight up is a great workout! I then noticed my heart was beating faster then it ought to be. I noticed that as I looked behind me, my headlamp was catching the blowing snow going over the edges. Suddenly, I felt that same feeling I did in 2007-PANIC. This caught me by surprise! Todd is a vey trusted friend and so I kept grounding myself with him. I knew my thoughts were irrational, and thankfully he remained calm. I told him how unfortunate it was to be with his shrink friend who is all of a sudden in a panic. Having realized this, I also began to notice that the panic would come and go and that I actually had control… 

I began to notice that when I was focused on just the next step, my heart was calm and my mind was clear. I immediately felt tranquility and peace, as I normally do while in the mountains.   Still, when the winds would pick up and blowing snow would catch my eye and I would lose my vision causing me to focus on the route behind me. The panic kept wanting me to stop and catch my breath, but when I stopped my heart would only beat faster. It became very clear to me… looking back and standing still completely reversed my motivation. In contrast, as I took one step forward and only looked shortly ahead I was motivated and calm. Making sure I didn’t get  too hung up on the big picture kept me calm, as well. 

So, why do I share this? We are all vulnerable human beings. Sharing our struggles while focusing on how to overcome them helps us and others. Furthermore, I want to highlight the important principles derived today. 

First, motivating motivation is something that needs sustaining. Keeping one foot going forward and not becoming stagnant are indispensable principles. 

Second, stop looking back! Yes, we learn from the past but it doesn’t mean it has to keep catching our eye and creating fear that we will fall back. I believe it is equally important not to allow others to keep our mind in our past- don’t give them power over you!

Third, panic/fear does not need to stop you from anything. Rather, calling it what it is and finding the path forward is key!

I invite you to recognize that it is not who you are that stops your motivation; rather, it is what you are doing and the strategies you are using. Change what you do not who you are!


 

Brainspotting and Weight Loss

17 Apr

Life is not so much about what you can lose. It is about what you can gain! If this is true, how does that fit with weight loss, dieting, and overall nutrition? A healthy lifestyle has nothing to do with dieting or cutting out everything you enjoy. As a human being who lost 160lbs, I learned that obtaining and MAINTAINING a healthy life was about finding what I needed to GAIN. In other words, I had to discover what my body was missing and that is how I lost weight and more importantly created a healthy lifestyle. During my journey I had to overcome barriers and specific traumas related to food and nutrition. These same challenges are what our clients are facing: Trauma related to food, trauma related to weight, and trauma related confidence. Our clients face multiple barriers, including not understanding what their bodies are missing.

Let me share some thoughts on what a psychotherapist can do to help. First, I should say that I am also a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist; however, specific food recommendations do not really come on to the scene until a client has worked through other dynamics. So, where do we start?

Read the rest … RMBI blog

Run Forward, Love Forward

16 Nov mile 80ish
Running off course, or back tracking your steps,is an awful experience in an endurance race. In fact, backtracking is demoralizing and takes enormous amounts of energy to bounce back from it. A few years ago I was in a fun 50K trail race. Some very unkind people (a.k.a morons) tore down course markers out in the forest. The lack of trail markers led to me going off course for about 3 miles. It was 3 miles of steep downhill, which only meant I was to run back uphill for 3 miles to get back on course…#boo. Well, I did it and frankly I felt like all that time backtracking was a waste of time that I would never get back. I was not really going forward during that time. And if you’re not going forward you’re wasting effort and energy. However, it was important for me to look at that past mistake and learn going forward. I learned to study courses better and know turnoffs. Once I got back on the trail I had a choice to make… dwell on where I got off course or run forward one step at a time. This had to be a conscious decision. Run forward it was!
You can only go as far as you place your next step, and you’re in a hot mess if that step is way back behind you or too far in front. What am I trying to say here?… If you are wanting progress then you have keep your focus forward, not backward and not too far in the future. This concept is also indispensable in relationships. Let me try to explain…
Looking at the Big Picture
When I prepare for a 100 mile race I always want to learn about the overall layout of the course. I want to learn about the climbs and descents. I want to know what aide stations are most helpful. I like to have and idea about the terrain. All of this information can be daunting and overwhelming… so why do I want to know all of this? Because, when I can look at the big picture I can keep my sight one step ahead of me while knowing that the climb will soon turn to a descent and the rocky terrain will soon turn to smooth single track trail.
How often do we get caught up in a relationship only focusing in the now? It is one thing to be present-minded and another to be overwhelmed by the difficulty of the present moment. Stepping back and considering that the current rockiness will flatten out and the climb can only go so high. Soon the summit comes and thats when you fly down the descent while knowing another climb will be around the corner and still enjoying the moment. How can we love forward and look at the big picture? Recognize that today might be tough but tomorrow can be better and remember why you are trying in the relationship;  however, don’t overwhelm yourself with all that needs to be worked on. Keep your eyes on the next step knowing that relief will come. This moment is not forever.
Learning from the Past and Implementing it Forward
Sometimes the past just stinks. It can be hurtful, distasteful, and downright nasty. The problem is that if you are trying to love and move forward then you cannot be looking behind you for too long. Sometimes after a gnarly climb I like to take a few seconds to stand at the top and look back and reflect on what worked and what did not on that climb. I do this because it will only make me  stronger and more efficient on the next climb.
Why are we holding the past over the head of the one we love the most? Let”s be real about this. If you are perfect then feel free to hold the past over your loved one’s head. If you believe that past behavior defines the rest of our lives then don’t forgive. Now, I say this as someone who has had to dig deep and ask for forgiveness time after time and would not blame my  wife for not forgiving me… but she does.
So, what would it look like if you stood right where you and your loved one are at and looked back for just a few minutes (maybe hours) at the hard climb you’ve been on and evaluate what worked and what did not? Then openly discuss if you feel hurt for being left alone on the trail or shoved off it by one another. If you are not actively trying to love forward and work on learning from the past and forgiving for the past then it is your fault. By default, you are choosing to look backwards while trying to move forward. It does not work that way… you will get trail rashed and that sucks.
Do not talk about all that you “should” make better. That will just create guilt and lead to no actual behavior change. Instead, talk about what you are going to do today to implement better decisions and connection. This is what I mean when I say love forward one step at a time while learning from the past and implementing it forward.
So, Run Forward and Love Forward, and Endure well… with a smile!
-Dr. Brazier

Creating and Strengthening Your Place of Refuge

2 Nov IMAG0077

IMAG0077

It doesn’t matter whether your refuge is a place never or frequently visited, imagined, a religious edifice, house, or nature. What matters is you can get there through imagery or actually visiting it often. The world throws us enough craziness and chaos; thus, your place of refuge is something sacred and personal.

As for me, I have many places including my religions temple and church. My home is a refuge. In addition, I have a place that is always a calm and sacred place to me. The location is   39.9822° N, 105.3017° W. This is a place where I run to in the mountains. It is a saddle located on Green Mountain outside of Boulder. My spot is a place where I’ve prayed, meditated, listened to some good ole John Legend. It is a place where I have searched my soul. I don’t allow just anyone to go to my spot with me. I keep every memory of it safe and protected. A place where only someone so close to me can share. This is because every time in life when I feel a lot on my shoulders and heart I can seek it by foot or through imagery!

So, where is your place? Think of where you feel 100% tranquility! Now, how can you visit your refuge often? You can get there anytime by the following these steps… What I refer to as the 4 S’s.

Smell! What does your refuge smell like. I sure hope your refuge is not the bathroom 😜 ! My place smells like the forest. It smells like fresh air. For a certain reason a soap smell (Ponche)

reminds me of it. Also, I have a couple essential oils that take me there. Find the smell that takes you there. Smell is the most powerful sense to guide you in retrieving a memory. Smell does not go through any switchboards in the brain to access vivid memory. Thus, smell is first and foremost.

Sound! What do you hear in your place? I hear the wind blowing through the trees. I hear random steps in the woods from friendly creatures! I hear the stillness that cannot be recreated. I have listened to certain songs up there that will take me right back when heard again. I hear the trail and my foot connecting. The voice of special people who have been there with me is always a reminder.

Sight! Your vision of your place needs to be vivid. Pay attention to colors and every little detail. I see an abundance of green, yellow, brown, blue and clear skies. I see the stillness of beautiful peaks and valleys.

Sensations! What do you feel externally and internally? That question can sound a bit weird, I know. So, first what do you feel externally… what do you feel on your skin? Notice the air, the breeze, or stillness. Next, what do you feel internally… pay attention to where you feel the most tranquility and peace in your body. Do you feel your stomach relax? Or, is it that your head feels lighter? It might be helpful to do a full body scan both externally and internally when visiting your refuge, which will help you become more aware.

Now, that you know your place and you have become aware of the 4 S’s associated with that place I want to help you strengthen and access that place frequently. First, you must know that you can access this place while sitting at your desk, in the bath, or anywhere that you can find quiet. However, I suggest you also find a form of movement through which you can access your place of refuge. This could be through walking, running, yoga, or any other type of exercise. Why do I suggest that you also find a place during which you are moving to access your special place? Because I am addicted to exercise?…absolutely not! Instead, we obviously know that exercise is healthy. Moreover, we know that when we are using what is called BiLateral Stimulation (BLS) we are more effective at processing both cognitively and somatically (meaning in the brain and body). BLS is when we are simultaneously activating both hemispheres of the brain. In other words, we are allowing our brain to function at it’s best. Consequently, two important things happen. First, our prefrontal cortex is more fully activated, which leads to the the second part. We are then able to more vividly get to our safe refuge because our brain is functioning at its optimal level. BLS can happen in many ways but in this post I am only discussing it as when we are physically moving and using both sides of our body in this movement. Geez, that can get deep quickly. I hope I did not lose you :) If so, email me!

You might ask, how exactly am I accessing my place without going there? First, allow you self to go through the steps of the 4 S’s in your mind. This is called imagery. By going through these 4 S’s you are activating and integrating multiple sensory pathways in your brain and body. The more senses involved the more vividly you can  visit your place of refuge from miles away. For example, I like to get to my safe refuge while running around my small town even though my refuge is still 20 miles away I can get there mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. While I am out on a run I start to go through the 4 S’s. Starting with smell, then the following: sound; sight; sensations. I allow myself to drift in to this. Sure, my thoughts get scattered but the more I practice the easier I can feel the tranquility  and peace of visiting my refuge. I also like to get to my refuge while visiting my religious temple and while in my own home. I can discuss in a later post of how to use BLS while remaining sedentary to help enhance the vividness and overall experience. And no I am not referencing smoking, eating, or snorting anything whacky. :)

Do this as an exercise when calm so it can work when feeling stressed. What I mean by that is it might be a good idea to practice this daily. Allow yourself 10-15 minutes each day to sit down and get to your place. Again, do it while you are calm. If you start out of the gate and try this while you are overly stressed and in a escalated moment you will inevitably struggle and fail. It could likely backfire. Pick a time each day and make it a time to create and strengthen your safe refuge.

This is not a way to teach you how to avoid. Rather, this is a tool to use to help you engage more fully in your life and endure through the crud that comes your way. It is a way to help you take control of what you can and let go of what you cannot. Don’t fight the chaos, create the peace you want in your life!

-Dr Drew Brazier

What the heck is Depression anyway?

30 Oct crying

Depression is not a choice. Now, before you throw your arms up and start yelling at me I ask that you consider what is and is NOT depression. With all the current light shed on to depression, suicide, and mental health I have been asked much more lately my professional stance on depression. I want to break it down much further beyond just outlying the symptoms and signs of depression. I mean, after all, we could all look at the diagnostic criteria of depression and slap ourselves with a hefty diagnosis.

Before I dive any further into the nitty-gritty, I want to establish an overriding concept that ought to be pervasive for ALL mental health diagnoses. No one is “a depressed person”, “an ADHD kid”, or “the bipolar guy.” In essence, I am saying no one is the diagnosis that is present in their life. You are you, not a diagnosis. Identifying oneself by a diagnosis forfeits the reality of who you are as a human being and causes you to limit yourself to the restrictions associated with depression. I had to put that out there before we go any further!

What is the difference between stress, sadness, and depression? Well, just because you have stress does not mean you are “depressed.” Stress means you are alive, your heart is beating. Stress drives us to perform. Too much stress overtime can possibly lead to depression but not always. A few days of stress does not indicate you are experiencing depression. Therefore, enjoy stress and try to limit it at the same time. Good luck with that ☺ Moving on to sadness. Just because you are sad does not mean you are experiencing depression. Sadness is not necessarily a negative emotion. Sure, it hurts at times, but if we didn’t  have sadness would you enjoy happiness and know what being happy even is? No! Now, if sadness carries on for an extended time you might be falling in to a depressive episode. Basically, the point I want to drive home first here is that stress and sadness happen to everyone and it does not mean you are experiencing depression.

We always see the criteria listed for depression, which are simple signs/symptoms that might indicate one is experiencing a depressive episode. That is, when one has a loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities for at least two weeks, accompanied by at least four of the following symptoms:

  1. Significant weight loss when not dieting, or weight gain, or change in appetite.
  2. Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly everyday
  3. Activity level slow down or increases
  4. Fatigue of loss of energy
  5. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  6. Diminished ability to think , concentrate, or make decisions
  7. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or suicidal ideation, or a suicidal plan or attempt.

(The symptoms must not be due to the direct effects of medications, druges, or a physical condition, and must not be a simply grief reactions.)

***It is important to note that these symptoms best describe how depression presents in females. Frankly, psychiatry has done an awful job of describing how depression manifests in males. Thus, I am currently writing a book on “Manpression.” 

I teach graduate students how to diagnose and my question is always so what do these symptoms really mean? What the crud is really going on? Is he/she just choosing to be negative or stay sad? I want to get in to that… the stuff that is rarely talked about. The actual process that is happening physically, physiologically, biologically, neurologically, and so on. Also, what is happening with the heart rate? What is happening with hormones? The whole purpose in asking these questions, and answering them, is so you can see what depression really is. It is not just some set of symptoms.

Neurochemicals: What’s that got to do with it? Everything! 

I always hear people say that the depression they are experiencing is not just depression; rather, it is a chemical problem. #thetruth: Depression always involves chemical imbalances. When your body and brain experience ongoing (at least 2 weeks)/ excessive sadness, guilt, and other depressive symptoms neurochemicals are going to reduce in production. Your dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin decrease. Now, on the flip side it could be that an unkown reduction of these neurochemicals could lead to inexplicable depressive symptoms. This means something else in your mind/body could have led to reduction of these chemicals resulting in other depressive symptoms. Its kind of that whole chicken or the egg thing. So, it always has something to do with chemical imbalances, but that does not mean you can just use medication to overcome it. And no, I am not saying psych medication is totally bad. I am just saying depression is so complex that it would be foolish to only depend on one method ( and a method that is most often placebo)  to overcome such a complex problem.

A Medical Issue?

Depression symptoms could be a result of several medical issues. I do not feel comfortable treating a client if they have not done lab work with their med doc. Specifically, I like to hear about thyroid levels, testosterone, and vitamin D. I also would like clients to look at adrenal malfunction, Addison’s disease. In females, you will want to check your estrogen levels, just as important as men checking testosterone. I would also like to hear about Vitamin B levels. I would like to find out if the client has had concussions or suffered seizures. These are just a few things to consider. Basically, I am suggesting that you don’t want to just chalk your symptoms up to depression. Looking at all possibilities, including medical issues is absolutely imperative.

Yes, Your Food Could be a Problem

The Brain Bio Centre reports that the most significant problem in regards to nutrition causing mood symptoms is unbalanced blood sugar levels. So, What does that mean? Well, when we eat carbohydrates they turn into glucose and raise our blood sugar levels. If we eat too much carbs, or carbs loaded with gluten, our blood sugar levels spike and come down hard. This causes mood instability. Furthermore, going an entire work day without eating causes a major drop in blood sugar levels and problems with mood. Then after you don’t eat all day and get in a load of carbs at night you spike your blood sugar and then drop drastically. Continuing to do this day after day your body is dysregulated… how do you expect to have a stable mood. My advice, stop acting like your food doesn’t matter. It is your fuel.

You might also want to consider the fact you are not supplying your body with sufficient amounts of chromium, a mineral that helps insulin pump properly. Foods that can help with this are broccoli, barley, oats, green beans, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and black pepper.

You might also consider the fact your not getting sufficient sources tryptophan, an amino acid that is converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin (5HTP). Foods you might want to consider would be spinach, eggs, sesame seeds, halibut, lobster, crab, quail, turkey, and soy protein….just to name a few.

We could go on and on about nutrition and mood; however, I would consider the above mention items if you feel depressive like symptoms. Actually, I would highly recommend being proactive  and getting these in to your nutrition plan now!

Could it be a Spiritual Problem?

Whether you are religious or not, is not the debate here. We are all spiritual beings for whatever that means to you. Some believe in God, Buddha, higher power, the universe, energy, and so on. The fact of the matter is that if you are out of balance/touch with your spirituality it can become a problem. This can start to look like a mild depression and make your question yourself and the world around you. It is not taboo to consider how your spirituality is affecting your mood. In fact, you need to seriously reflect on your sense of personal spirituality.

A Neurological Perspective

Technology has advanced in a tremendous manner! Those who can afford it may seek out a fMRI, which measures brain activity by looking at changes in blood flow in the brain. This a costly measure, but due to ongoing research, specialists are able to identify multiple mental health disorders through use of fMRI.

At the end of the day, depression can look like all sorts of issues. At the same time, it is important to not mistake a different medical or external stressor as organic depression. I hope this post can help you see that depression is not just simply a way of thinking. It is serious; however, it is not a life sentence to sadness or anger. It is treatable and can be overcome. Sometimes it just takes a little more than will power. One can choose to Endure and find their way forward!

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