Optimal You Services

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Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms. Brainspotting is a simultaneous form of diagnosis and treatment, enhanced with Biolateral sound, which is deep, direct, and powerful yet focused and containing.

Brainspotting functions as a neurobiological tool to support the clinical healing relationship. There is no replacement for a mature, nurturing therapeutic presence and the ability to engage another suffering human in a safe and trusting relationship where they feel heard, accepted, and understood.

Brainspotting gives us a tool, within this clinical relationship, to neurobiologically locate, focus, process, and release experiences and symptoms that are typically out of reach of the conscious mind and its cognitive and language capacity.

Brainspotting works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the body’s central nervous system. Brainspotting is accordingly a physiological tool/treatment which has profound psychological, emotional, and physical consequences.

Gary Breuer, MA, LPC provides Brainspotting at Optimal You

Classical Homeopathy

Homeopathy, or Homeopathic Medicine, is the practice of medicine that embraces a holistic, natural approach to the treatment of the sick. It was developed over 200 years ago by a German physician, Samuel Hahnemann MD. Like many physicians even today, Dr. Hahnemann anguished over the limitations and dangers of the medicine practiced in his time. He was determined to find more effective – and safer – ways to cure illness.

Dr. Hahnemann noticed that certain substances were toxic in high doses, causing discrete symptoms in healthy people. But when ill people took a very dilute form of the substance corresponding to their symptoms, they got well. This illustrates the Law of Similars, a Hippocratic principle that is also fundamental in homeopathy.

Classical homeopathy embodies a philosophy of deeply understanding people and their illnesses. This allows practitioners to perceive and address the core spiritual dynamic disturbance manifesting in the patient’s mental, emotional, and physical symptom pattern. It is holistic because it addresses the person as a whole, rather than focusing on a diseased part or disease.

Homeopaths also study the particular healing qualities of their medicines (“remedies”), which come mostly from natural substances. Unlike botanical and nutritional supplements, homeopathic remedies are regulated by the FDA as medicines. They are produced in homeopathic pharmacies using the U.S. FDA-recognized Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States.

People often confuse homeopathy with general alternative medicine, naturopathic medicine, botanical medicine, and even Bach flower essences. Though homeopathy does employ some plant-based medicines, and some naturopathic physicians are also excellent homeopaths, homeopathy stands on its own as a system of care.

Classical homeopaths prescribe one specially prepared (“potentized”) remedy at a time, based on the patient’s particular symptom pattern. Both this unique method of preparing medicines and the precise, individualized way of prescribing them are essential to classical homeopathy. The Law of Minimum Dose– using the minimum amount of medicine required to generate a healing response — is another important homeopathic principle. Used successfully by millions of people all over the world, classical homeopathy continues to evolve through research, practice and the discovery of new medicines.

Pamela A. Pappas, MD, MD(H) is an experienced classical homeopath practicing at Optimal You.

Daring Way™/Rising Strong™

The Daring Way™ and Rising Strong™ processes are both highly experiential methodologies based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. These processes are designed for work with individuals, couples, families, work teams, and organizational leaders. They can be facilitated in clinical, educational, and professional settings.

These programs are designed to provide time and space to dig deep into the things that get in the way of living the authentic lives we truly desire. Using metaphor, story-telling, experiential and creative exercises, we examine the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are holding us back — and work to identify the new choices and practices that will move us toward more authentic and wholehearted living.

Daring Way™ exercises are designed to:

  • Gain insight into barriers to intimacy and connection in relationships
  • Identify the masks and strategies we use to avoid vulnerability
  • Cultivate the courage to embrace all parts of ourselves
  • Engage our sense of worthiness in our current relationships and cultivate hope for new ones
  • Expand awareness of what is getting in the way of living wholeheartedly, of daring greatly.

Rising Strong™ workshops are designed to provide a process for dealing with the inevitable failures that come when we commit to living courageously. Our life’s stories are not defined by how we fall, but how we get back up. We learn to:

  • Recognize emotion
  • Get curious about emotion, and how they connect with our thoughts and behavior
  • Get honest about the stories we make up about our struggles
  • Challenge our assumptions and confabulations
  • Identify what’s truth, what’s self-protection, and what needs to change
  • Write a new story based on what we’ve learned
  • Allow this new story to change the way we engage with the world

Pamela A. Pappas, MD, MD(H) is a Certified Daring Way™ and Rising Strong™ facilitator.

Deep Brain Reorienting (DBR)

Deep Brain Reorienting (DBR) is a new and novel trauma processing psychotherapeutic approach developed by psychiatrist, Dr. Frank Corrigan, of Glasgow, Scotland.  DBR is found to access and metabolize the more deeply stored shock and core emotional pain, clients most likely experienced during traumatic childhood and other traumatic life events, that remains energetically held in their bodies, inaccessible with most therapies.  It is the trapped shock and emotional pain that continue to block full healing and behavioral change, and many times, can result in converting into chronic pain, somatic symptoms, and auto-immune disorders.

Grounded in neuroscience, DBR theory posits that there is a shock alarm pathway, initiated through the brain stem’s circuitry at the Mid Brain or Superior Collicular level that when triggered, determines how we instinctively respond to either safe or threatening conditions.  With chronic or even severe single incident traumas, this circuitry can get locked into responding to stress or disturbances as if we are under continuous threat of catastrophic harm, either from the environment, other people, or from within us.

This sensitized or locked circuitry can lead to manifestations of acute or chronic anxiety, depression, hypervigilance, sleep disruptions, emotional outbursts, isolation, negative beliefs, and the myriad maladaptive coping strategies known to be used to avoid feeling the deeply stored shock, emotional pain and affects associated with the trauma.

By processing the trauma related shock, emotional pain and associated affects, the Mid Brain circuitry settles, allowing for clients to have different, less intense responses to everyday stressors and disturbances.

The DBR process begins with accessing the sequence of the trauma through the brain stem’s circuitry at the top of the brain stem at the Mid Brain level – the information hub that orients to our surroundings through sight, sound, and sensation, and instinctively responds accordingly to what is best for our survival.

By dropping to this Superior Collicular level of awareness that is below (and before) the brain’s upper level limbic emotional and cortical complex thinking processes’ attempts to respond and  make sense of a trauma, DBR goes to the pre-verbal root of where the trauma first registered in the brain stem – unwinds the sequence of and allows processing of the pre-affective shock, any shock induced dissociation, the trapped emotional pain, such as the pain of aloneness, abandonment, rejection or humiliation experienced during or as a result of the trauma, the related chemical dissociation perhaps blocking access to the deeply stored emotional pain and affects, then finally to the trauma associated affects of fear, rage, grief and shame.

Much of the DBR processing is done in silence, using a recent activating stimulus or disturbance as a portal through the brain stem into the trapped energy sequence, clients are guided to be with and allow the sensations to clear and metabolize.  Intentionally slowing down the trauma sequence allows clients to build a tolerance for accessing and processing through the various elements of trauma with less overwhelm during the DBR process.

Though DBR is not for everyone, DBR has been reported as transformative and less jarring than many trauma therapies. Clients have reported positive shifts in how they see themselves, others, and the world with increases in self-compassion, agency and reductions in trauma-related symptoms and reactions.  For more about DBR, its theory, research, and articles, visit https://deepbrainreorienting.com/#about

Optimal You professionals providing DBR:
Tamara Nezirevic, MC, LPC
Desert Flower Essences

Flower essences are infusions of flowers in water, potentized through sunlight, and stabilized in solutions of brandy and water. Suffused with the flower’s vibrational imprint, they each resonate with — and can strengthen — different universal qualities in us. Flower essences can be used to safely support healing and health.

Flower essences contain no scent (except the brandy added for stabilization), and are distinct from essential oils. They are also extremely dilute, thus differing from herbal tinctures which are created from concentrated extracts of different plant parts. A few drops at a time can be taken directly, placed in water, or even placed in a mist bottle and sprayed on the skin or around a room.

Desert Flower Essences are co-created between Cynthia Athina Kemp Scherer in Tucson, AZ and flowers growing wild in the Sonoran Desert. Ms. Scherer has researched and worked with these essences since 1983, and has also trained others (including Dr. Pappas) in their use.

Desert Flower Essence Therapy is the practice of using desert flower essences in a consistent, purposeful way to enhance emotional harmony and spiritual well-being. Through their vibrational qualities, Desert Flower Essences can help us become aware of and release deeply conditioned and limiting ways of perceiving ourselves and others; destructive behavior patterns can resolve.

Flower essences work on an energetic, rather than on a direct physical or chemical, level. There are many forms of energy that are imperceptible to our senses, but which still impact us: x-rays, UV light from the sun, and microwaves are a few examples.

Flower essences cannot substitute for mechanical and surgical procedures such as setting broken bones or repairing anatomical problems — but they can ease post-surgical healing processes on a subtle level.

Flower essences can be used with other forms of treatment, including homeopathy, to assist in opening awareness. Becoming aware of previously ignored or unknown aspects of ourselves can be uncomfortable at times, but use of Desert Flower Essences can also help if this arises.

Pamela A. Pappas, MD, MD(H) uses Desert Flower Essences in her practice at Optimal You, and has been trained by Cynthia Athina Kemp Scherer (their co-creator) to do this.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Three major theoretical frameworks—a behavioral science biosocial model of the development of chronic mental health issues, the mindfulness practice of Zen Buddhism, and the philosophy of dialectics—combine to form the basis for DBT.

The biosocial theory attempts to explain how issues related to borderline personality develop. The theory posits that some people are born with a predisposition toward emotional vulnerability. Environments that lack solid structure and stability can intensify a person’s negative emotional responses and influence patterns of interaction that become destructive. These patterns can harm relationships and functioning across all settings and often result in suicidal behavior and/or a diagnosis of borderline personality.

DBT draws mindfulness techniques from Zen Buddhism in order to use here-and-now presence of mind to help people in therapy objectively and calmly assess situations. Mindfulness training allows people to take stock of their current experience, evaluate the facts, and focus on one thing at a time.

Dialectics are used to support both the therapist and person in treatment in pulling from both extremes of any issue. Therapists use dialectics to help people accept the parts of themselves they do not like and to provide motivation and encouragement to address the change of those parts. Synthesizing polar opposites can reduce tension and help keep therapy moving forward.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a therapy designed to help people change patterns of behavior that are not helpful, such as self-harm, suicidal thinking, and substance abuse.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. Its main goal is to teach the patient skills to cope with stress, regulate emotions and improve relationships with others.

Learn more at www.linehaninstitute.org.

Optimal You professionals providing DBT:

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a cost-effective, non-invasive, evidence-based method of psychotherapy which was originally developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD in the late 1980’s for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). There have been 24 randomized control studies of EMDR therapy which attest to its value and demonstrate its usefulness across all ages, genders, and cultures. Tens of thousands of clinicians have been trained all over the world in EMDR therapy and studies have supported the use of EMDR with many special populations with an assortment of conditions such as Acute Stress Disorder due to Recent Incident trauma or disasters, personality disorders, eating disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, performance anxiety, complicated grief, dissociative disorders, addictions,  chronic pain, sexual and/or physical abuse, ADHD, and body dysmorphic disorders, just to name a few.

EMDR has been accepted as an effective form of treatment by several major health organizations including most recently the WHO (World Health Organization). It is listed as an evidenced–based practice by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) and NREPP (National Registry of Evidenced Based Practices and Programs) and the VA/DOD Clinical Practice Guidelines (2004, 2010) recognize EMDR as being a “A” category (the highest level designation) for treatment of trauma.

EMDR is an eight-phase treatment which comprehensively identifies and addresses experiences that have overwhelmed the brain’s natural resilience or coping capacity, and have thereby generated traumatic symptoms and/or harmful coping strategies.

Through EMDR therapy, patients are able to reprocess traumatic information until it is no longer psychologically disruptive. EMDR is a physiologically–based therapy that appears to be similar to what occurs naturally in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and seems to have a direct effect on the way our brain processes and stores information.

The Adaptive Information Processing Model is the guiding principle of the EMDR approach and it postulates that health and wellbeing is supported by positive and successful experiences that increasingly prepare a person to handle new challenges and that the brain is equipped to manage and process adversity. Sometimes it just needs a little help. EMDR Therapy utilizes a 3 pronged approach which includes not only a focus on past (contributory) memories, but also focused reprocessing of present situation that continue to be triggering, as well as the development of an adaptive, positive template for the future.

“EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes.  The brain’s information processing system naturally moves toward mental health.  If the system is blocked or imbalanced by the impact of a disturbing event, the emotional wound festers and can cause intense suffering.  Once the block is removed, healing resumes.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR therapy training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.”  (Francine Shapiro, EMDR .com)

For more information, go to www.emdr.com, www.EMDRIA.org, www.aztrn.org (Early EMDR Intervention and Disaster response). www.emdrhap.org (International Humanitarian organization)  Shapiro’s describes EMDR therapy in a 1 hour webinar/video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsQbzfW9txc

Optimal You professionals providing EMDR:

Gary Breuer, MA, LPC
Beverlee Laidlaw Chasse, MC, LPC

Nancy Harkins, MA, LPC
Tamara Nezirevic, MC, LPC
Lisa Watson, MC, LPC

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) - Tapping

What is EFT – Tapping?

Millions of people are settling for lives filled with poor health and emotional baggage. Not knowing how to achieve the joyful and satisfying lives they desire, they’re stuck accepting a lifestyle of emotional trauma, chronic physical pain, compulsions and addictions, or perhaps just an empty feeling inside. Along with these problems come pills to kill the pain, sleep at night, and suppress anxiety – but this is hardly better than the disease.

If you’re like many people, you feel trapped, caught in this cycle. You’re tired of feeling sad, depressed, anxious, discontent, and unwell. You’re sick of the expensive and ineffective treatments. You’re fed up with relinquishing the power over your health and happiness to psychologists and doctors. You’d like to grow, flourish, and thrive, putting the past in the past. You want to be your best, living a life that is filled with peacefulness, joy, and fulfillment, from day to day and moment to moment.

With Tapping, you can do that. You can discover the vital secret for emotional wholeness and physical relief. You can take your physical and emotional well-being into your own hands. It’s simple for anyone to master, and it’s free.

Tapping provides relief from chronic pain, emotional problems, disorders, addictions, phobias, post traumatic stress disorder, and physical diseases. While Tapping is newly set to revolutionize the field of health and wellness, the healing concepts that it’s based upon have been in practice in Eastern medicine for over 5,000 years. Like acupuncture and acupressure, Tapping is a set of techniques which utilize the body’s energy meridian points. You can stimulate these meridian points by tapping on them with your fingertips – literally tapping into your body’s own energy and healing power.

Your body is more powerful than you can imagine… filled with life, energy, and a compelling ability for self-healing. With Tapping, you can take control of that power.

So How Does It All Work?

All negative emotions are felt through a disruption of the body’s energy. And physical pain and disease are intricately connected to negative emotions. Health problems create feedback – physical symptoms cause emotional distress, and unresolved emotional problems manifest themselves through physical symptoms. So, the body’s health must be approached as a whole. You cannot treat the symptoms without addressing the cause, and vice-versa.

The body, like everything in the universe, is composed of energy. Restore balance to the body’s energy, and you will mend the negative emotions and physical symptoms that stem from the energy disruption. Tapping restores the body’s energy balance, and negative emotions are conquered.

The basic technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand: a fear or anxiety, a bad memory, an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you. While maintaining your mental focus on this issue, use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times each on 12 of the body’s meridian points. Tapping on these meridian points – while concentrating on accepting and resolving the negative emotion – will access your body’s energy, restoring it to a balanced state.

You may be wondering about these meridians. Put simply, energy circulates through your body along a specific network of channels. You can tap into this energy at any point along the system.

This concept comes from the doctrines of traditional Chinese medicine, which referred to the body’s energy as “ch’i.” In ancient times, the Chinese discovered 100 meridian points. They also discovered that by stimulating these meridian points, they could heal. Call it energy, call it the Source, call it life force, call it ch’i… Whatever you want to call it, it works.

In some ways, Tapping is similar to acupuncture. Like Tapping, acupuncture achieves healing through stimulating the body’s meridians and energy flow. However, unlike Tapping, acupuncture involves needles! “No needles” is definitely one of the advantages of Tapping.

Acupuncture also takes years to master. Acupuncture practitioners must memorize hundreds of meridian points along the body; the knowledge and training take years to acquire.

Tapping is simple and painless. It can be learned by anyone. And you can apply it to yourself, whenever you want, wherever you are. It’s less expensive and less time consuming. It can be used with specific emotional intent towards your own unique life challenges and experiences. Most importantly, it gives you the power to heal yourself, putting control over your destiny back into your own hands.

The Science Behind Tapping’s Success

Like many healing arts that draw upon ancient wisdom, Tapping has been met with a fair share of skepticism. Many doctors and psychologists have been quick to dismiss it as “woo woo”, despite the heaping anecdotal evidence from practitioners and people who have used EFT on their own.

In recent years however, there’s been a growing pool of undeniable research that proves what millions of people the world over have known for some time now: that EFT produces real, lasting breakthroughs and significantly improves or even eliminates conditions that hospital treatments, medication and years of psychotherapy often fail to adequately deal with.

Studies done at no less than Harvard Medical School verify these assertions. Research done at the prestigious university during the last decade found that the brain’s stress and fear response – which is controlled by an almond-shaped part of your brain called the amygdala – could be lessened by stimulating the meridian points used in acupuncture, acupressure, and of course, tapping.

Although these studies focused on acupuncture and as such, used needles, follow-up double-blind research revealed that stimulating the points through pressure, as we do in tapping, gave rise to a similar response!

Another exciting set of research was undertaken by Dr. Dawson Church. His team performed a randomized controlled trial to study how an hour-long tapping session would impact the stress levels of 83 subjects. To do this, Dr. Church and his team measured their level of cortisol, a hormone secreted by the body when it undergoes stress. Their findings? The average level of cortisol reduction was 24%, with a whopping reduction of almost 50% in some subjects! In comparison, there was no significant cortisol reduction in those who underwent an hour of traditional talk therapy.

Dr. Church also created The Stress Project, which teaches tapping to war veterans suffering with PTSD. The results have been astounding: an average 63% decrease in PTSD symptoms after six rounds of tapping. It’s mind-blowing and exciting research, which has converted many non-believers in the scientific community along the way. All signs indicate that this trend of revealing research and swayed skeptics will continue as millions of people around the globe continue to discover the power of tapping.

(The above information is taken directly from www.thetappingsolution.com.  Visit the website to learn more about the history of tapping, an introduction to the tapping points, a basic tapping sequence for anxiety and additional resources.)

Mary Triller, MDiv, MTh, is a Certified Level II Practitioner in Emotional Freedom Techniques – Tapping and provides EFT – Tapping at Optimal You.  

Emotionally Focused Therapy

Emotionally Focused Therapy is a structured form of couples’ therapy, built alongside the science of attachment and bonding. It helps couples increase connection, rebuild trust, feel supported, and cultivate fulfillment and intimacy in their relationships.

Research regarding the effectiveness of Emotionally Focused Therapy over the last thirty years, demonstrates that EFT is the most empirically valid form of couples’ therapy currently in use by qualified therapists. Importantly, the research also shows that after completing EFT, 90 percent of couples experience improvement in their relationships, no matter how much they previously struggled. Research on the success of EFT demonstrates that couples consistently resolve conflict, recapture love, improve communication, and move from emotional distress to recovery.  EFT is uniquely effective in addressing relationship injuries, including, but certainly not limited to, infidelity. Couples using EFT report feeling more intimate, understood, and valued by their partners. Other common couples therapeutic models that focus on how to communicate better or how to problem solve have been proven less effective than Emotionally Focused Therapy. With EFT, couples get to the root of the problem instead of only treating the symptoms. In session, we will work together in a nonjudgmental, safe space to uncover the vulnerable feelings that lie below the surface and address the real questions that are driving your negative patterns of interactions.

Lisa Watson MC, LPC uses EFT in working with all couples at Optimal You.

Enneagram in Coaching and Personal Development

The Enneagram is an ancient framework for understanding personality patterns, plus ongoing evolution in self and others. It helps people see their needs, fears, and gifts, and shows them where they could be inadvertently limiting their own development. Encompassing both spirituality and psychology, it helps people evolve towards living and working more authentically.

The Enneagram allows people to observe themselves thoroughly, yet compassionately. Have you ever wondered what it might be like for others to be “on the receiving end of you?” Have you ever noticed that certain clashes in relationships recur over and over? Exploring one’s life through the Enneagram can clarify these areas, plus help people respond with more awareness and patience. It’s far more than a “personality test”; it includes human energies, describes how people deal with various painful emotions, and offers pathways for personal healing and transformation. And more.

Each person has all 9 of the basic personality patterns within, but gravitates to one most reliably. Still, there are differences in tone and in expressions of various instincts, which affect how people show up. Perhaps even more important is level of consciousness (or awareness). The DSM 5 tends to pathologize personality attributes, and does not describe levels of awareness at all. However through the Enneagram lens, one can discover one’s own inner story and how this affects experience. Once seen deeply, awareness expands. These insights serve health, because people also realize that “it doesn’t have to go this way” with them anymore. Catching themselves earlier and earlier in their patterns, they can choose differently – and this can be liberating for everyone.

Enhancing self-awareness and self-responsibility as it does, the Enneagram can be a useful addition to both psychological treatments and coaching processes. Using the RHETI online questionnaire is a reasonable starting point, while realizing that the person himself/herself is the best judge of accuracy of results. Deeper learning is always possible, and some need more time, reflection, and self-observation to clarify understanding. Professionals skilled in Enneagram can facilitate this process.

Pamela A. Pappas MD, MD(H) is certified in Enneagram Applications, and Enneagram and the Coach.  

Nancy Harkins MA, LPC is Enneagram certified. She uses the Enneagram as a therapeutic intervention to guide clients into a deeper understanding of themselves and others.

Energy Psychology

Energy psychology (EP) is a mind-body approach to understanding and improving human functioning. EP focuses on the relationship between bioenergy systems, neuro and electro physiological processes, and mental functions involving thoughts, emotions, sensations, and behavior.

EP applications incorporate natural energetic components into the treatment process that include, but are not limited to, meridians, chakras, biofields, and bio-electrical and electromagnetic activity of the body, the nervous system and the heart.

EP practitioners often combine cognitive and physical interventions with activation of one or more of the human bio-energy systems. Some practitioners focus on the way in which thought and intention are expressed in the bioenergy system, and explore the therapeutic value of precise use of language and congruent intention. EP approaches are often exceedingly rapid, have little to no adverse effects, are usually experienced as self-empowering by clients and patients, and are easily amenable to self-help protocols.

EP models have been beneficially applied to assessment and treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression, pain, stress, psychophysiological issues, and self-sabotaging behaviors by a broad range of healthcare providers, to regulate affect and promote emotional and physical health.

“Treatment results have been shown to be enduring and relatively rapid. There are currently over 60 research studies, including multiple Randomized Controlled Trials (RCT) published in professional and refereed journals, confirming the treatment value of EP. Taken as a body of knowledge, these findings suggest that EP meets the criteria for evidenced-based treatment.”(ACEP website)

Read more at www.energypsych.org

Beverlee Laidlaw Chasse, MC, LPCMA, HMI  and Mary Triller, MDiv, MTh provide Energy Psychology services at Optimal You.

Gestalt Therapy

Gestalt therapy, developed by Fritz Perls, Laura Perls in the 1940s, is an experiential and humanistic form of therapy that was originally designed as an alternative to conventional psychoanalysis. Gestalt therapists and their clients use creative and experiential techniques to enhance awareness, freedom, and self-direction.The theory of Gestalt takes as its centerpiece two ideas: 1) hear and now awareness, and 2) we are inextricably caught in a web of relationship with all things. So it is only possible to truly know ourselves as we exist in relation to other things.

The idea is to avoid dwelling on the past or anxiously anticipating the future.

Experiences of the past may be addressed in therapy sessions, but the therapist and client will focus on exploring what factors made a particular memory come up in this moment, or how the present moment is impacted by experiences of the past.

At the core of Gestalt therapy is the holistic view that people are intricately linked to and influenced by their environments and that all people strive toward growth and balance. In the Gestalt approach emphasis is on the therapist’s use of empathy, understanding, and unconditional acceptance of the client to enhance therapeutic outcomes.

Read more at gestalttheory.com.

Beverlee Laidlaw Chasse, MC, LPC and Tamara Nezirevic, MC, LPC provide Gestalt Therapy at Optimal You.

Grief Recovery Method


Are you suffering from a broken heart?

Did a death, divorce, or the end of a romantic relationship cause it? Or was it caused by any of the forty other losses that a person might experience such as moving, pet loss, or a change in finances? Regardless of the cause, you know how you feel and it probably isn’t good. You might feel sad, distracted, or confused. You are not alone. The Grief Recovery Method has been helping people feel better following a loss for 40 years.

We aren’t going to tell you, “We know how you feel,” because we don’t. Neither does anyone else. What we will do is provide a safe environment where you will be given specific tools to help you recover from loss and ultimately lead a happier life.

The Problem

Grief is the normal and natural emotional response to loss, but most of the information we’ve learned about dealing with loss is intellectual. Although working through the Grief Recovery Method involves some educational elements, effective Grief Recovery must deal with your broken heart, which requires emotional support instead of intellectual explanations.

Myths about Grief

Time heals all wounds
Replace the loss
Grieve alone
Be strong
Don’t feel bad
Keep busy

The Solution

People say you have to let go and move on in your life, but they don’t tell you how. The Grief Recovery Method, developed and refined over the past 30 years, teaches you how to recover from loss with supportive guidance every step of the way.

Who Is It For

The Grief Recovery Method is for anyone who has experienced any kind of loss.

Is it Ever Too Soon to Start Grief Recovery

No! It is never too soon to address your grief. If you broke your leg would you wait to call the doctor? Then why wait to get help when you break your heart? You’ve probably heard that time heals all wounds. That piece of misinformation creates the idea that you just have to wait to feel better. We have known people who have waited ten, twenty, thirty, and forty years, and still didn’t feel better. And they would tell you that not only had time not healed them, but also it compounded the pain. It’s not time that heals, but what you do within time.

A Grief Recovery Method Specialist assists you to look at your old beliefs about dealing with loss, which losses have affected your life, and take actions that will lead you to complete unresolved emotions that may still be causing you pain.

Don’t wait any longer. Time alone will not heal your broken heart.

(The above information was taken from www.griefrecoverymethod.com)

Mary Triller, MDiv, MTh, is a certified Grief Recovery Specialist and provides Grief Recovery at Optimal You.


“The most powerful thing the therapist does for us is provide a setting, a nourishing womb, in which our lives can unfold. Through the physical setting and, most important, the setting of his own being, he creates a place of safety; a trustworthy place where all life is befriended through an affirmation of faith in our wisdom and creativity.”

–Gregory Johanson, Ph.D., Hakomi Institute Co-Founder and Senior Trainer

The Hakomi Method of Experiential Psychotherapy is a body-centered approach developed by Ron Kurtz, which combines somatic awareness with experiential techniques to promote psychological growth and transformation.

Hakomi integrates principles of Eastern philosophy — primarily Buddhism and Taoism —  emphasizing concepts such as mindfulness, loving presence, and empathy. Kurtz also incorporated additional influences, such as general systems theory and a range of body-centered therapeutic approaches such as Gestalt therapy,  Psychomotor therapy, Reichian breathwork,  Feldenkrais method, Focusing, Bioenergetic analysis, Structural bodywork, Neuro-linguistic programming, and Eriksonian hypnosis.

In the Hakomi Method, gestures, posture, facial expressions, and other bodily experiences provide information about a person’s core material. This core material can be described as a combination of the images, memories, emotions, and beliefs — even those hidden from awareness — determining a person’s individual nature and may also serve to place limits on one’s individuality and goals. Individuals can eventually develop a clearer understanding of this core material and, with the assistance of compassionate, gentle assistance from professionals trained in Hakomi, can examine, challenge, and ultimately transform any self-defeating beliefs or behaviors.

Read more at www.hakomiinstitute.com.

Beverlee Laidlaw Chasse, MC, LPC provides Hakomi Therapy at Optimal You.

HeartMath™ Services

HeartMath™ is a unique system that combines rigorous research, advanced technologies, and validated techniques in training individuals to reduce stress and enhance their lives using biofeedback software. By generating an optimal physiological and psychological state called coherence, one is improving their nervous-system harmony, emotional stability, and cognitive performance.

What Is Coherence?

In regards to HeartMath™ services, coherence refers to the harmony of the rhythmic activities of the body including heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. Our research indicates that when the body experiences positive emotional states, it functions in a coherent manner, providing an endless amount of physical, emotional, and mental benefits.

When we allow negative emotions like anxiety, depression, and frustration to dominate our lives, the pattern of our heart rate variability (HRV) becomes disordered, which directly effects our physical and psychological performances. When we monitor heart rhythms through our software, we can study the physiological and psychological status, as well as predicting future health risk, with the intention of reaching a coherent state. When a coherent system is learned, the heart sends more information to the brain, improving cognitive performance.

Using HRV analysis, we study the coherence through our software and determine where improvement is necessary. Coherence doesn’t mean that everybody or all the parts of the body are doing the same thing all the time. Think of a jazz band, for example, where the individual players are each doing their own thing, yet keeping in tune and step with the whole band. Coherence, in this sense, maximizes local freedom and global cohesion.

Unlike relaxation, the coherence state does not necessarily involve a lowering of heart rate or a change in the amount of HRV, but rather is primarily marked by a change in the heart-rhythm pattern. Relaxation is a low-energy state in which the individual rests both the body and mind, typically disengaging from cognitive and emotional processes. In contrast, coherence generally involves the active engagement of positive emotions. Psychologically, coherence is experienced as a calm, balanced, yet energized and responsive state that is conducive to everyday functioning and interaction, including the performance of tasks requiring mental acuity, focus, problem-solving and decision-making, as well as physical activity and coordination.

How can HeartMath™ help?

When you arrive at a HeartMath™ session at Optimal You, we’ll connect you with emWave and Inner Balance software and go through a series of relaxation and breathing techniques.

The HeartMath™ software clearly identifies your heart rhythm and coherence. Our goal is to help you reduce stress, improve cardiovascular health, balance different systems in your body including the immune and hormones, and increase your longevity, happiness, energy, and clear thought process.

Emotions drive our physiological and psychological states, which is why it’s crucial to learn how to manage emotions in a beneficial and harmonious way. Heart Math will regulate your emotional process, monitoring your heart and coherence, then provide techniques and feedback based on the results from our innovative software to help you make positive changes in your life.

The following symptoms and conditions can be treated with HeartMath™:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Alexithymia
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches (tension type and migraines)
  • Cardiovascular rehab
  • Addictions
  • Performance/Test Anxiety
  • Chronic Pain
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Environmental sensitivity
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Cancer
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Arthritis
  • Phantom pain and amputation
  • PTSD
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Diabetes Type I and II
  • Autism
  • Hypertension
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis)
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Immune-system dysfunction
  • OCD
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Loss and Grief
  • Eating Disorders
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (complex regional pain syndrome)


Beverlee Laidlaw Chasse, MC, LPC provides HeartMath™ services with biofeedback monitoring at Optimal You.

Integrative Psychiatry

Integrative Medicine is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies. This model has clear applications to those with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.

The Defining Principles of Integrative Medicine/Psychiatry

  • Patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.
  • All factors that influence health, wellness, and disease are taken into consideration, including mind, spirit, and community, as well as the body.
  • Appropriate use of both conventional and alternative methods facilitates the body’s innate healing response.
  • Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive should be used whenever possible.
  • Integrative medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.
  • Good medicine is based in good science. It is inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms.
  • Alongside the concept of treatment, the broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount.
  • Practitioners of integrative medicine should exemplify its principles and commit themselves to self-exploration and self-development.

Pamela A. Pappas, MD, MD(H) is an integrative psychiatrist practicing at Optimal You.

Mindfulness Practices

“Mindfulness” describes a mental state of nonjudgmental attention to and awareness of the present moment — along with calm acknowledgment of feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations as they arise. Mindfulness can also describe a type of meditation practice which cultivates this awareness, a quality all human beings possess.

According to Mindful.org, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

Mindfulness meditation comes from early Buddhist traditions over 2500 years old, developed to foster

  • clear thinking
  • compassion
  • open-heartedness, and
  • the alleviation of suffering

Despite its Buddhist origins, mindfulness meditation requires no special religious or cultural belief system. In fact, Jon-Kabat-Zinn PhD is internationally known for bringing these practices to the West – creating a research-based program called “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” that has benefited people from all walks of life. This program has been a helpful ancillary form of treatment for many patients with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, psoriasis, and other chronic conditions caused or exacerbated by modifiable lifestyle factors.

As one aim of mindfulness is to take greater responsibility for one’s life choices, it may both strengthen one’s internal resources for optimizing health, and evoke greater engagement with one’s health care too.

Ample research documents effectiveness of mindfulness practices in avoiding relapse in depression, addictions, and also in many forms of anxiety. Studies of its applications in trauma survivors are underway as well. Some forms of psychotherapy which use these practices include Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. It is not a panacea, though. Psychiatrists and therapists keep aware of potential pitfalls with certain types of people, conditions, and timing. For instance, actively psychotic patients may worsen with long periods of silence in an extended mindfulness retreat. Once symptoms remit though, the person may be well able to participate and benefit from such programs.

Mindfulness can be taught as part of formal meditation practice, and also as integrated into everyday life situations. It isn’t about changing what you think or feel – but about becoming gradually more aware of these things in a moment-to-moment way. Through mindfulness practice, you can develop a wiser and more compassionate relationship with your own mind and body. This pays dividends not only in how you feel personally, but also in the quality of your relationships with others.

All Optimal You professionals apply some form of mindfulness principles or practice in their work.

Physician Coaching for Well-Being and Leadership Development

Although physician burnout is at an all-time high (60% in some recent studies), most physicians were never trained to recognize its signs or prevent it in themselves, their professional colleagues, or their organizations. Burnout is a syndrome characterized by:

1. Physical and Emotional Exhaustion: Feeling emotionally drained, depleted and worn out by work and not able to recover in non-working hours
2. Depersonalization: The development of a negative, callous and cynical attitude toward patients and their concerns – often with sarcasm, and feeling put upon by patients.
3. Reduced Sense of Personal Accomplishment: The tendency to see one’s work negatively, without value or meaningless (“what’s the use?”) and see one’s self as incompetent. The standardized questionnaire measuring these three scales of physician burnout is called the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI).

The developers of the MBI described physician burnout as:

“ . . . an erosion of the soul caused by a deterioration of one’s values, dignity, spirit and will.”

Burnout can be thought of as one end of a continuum, with Engagement on the other end:

Burnout <—————————–> Engagement

Most physicians go into medicine to help others, and to experience a feeling of purpose; it’s a vocation and calling for them. Feelings of fulfillment and satisfaction accompany being fully engaged in one’s career. When doctors can use their skills with excellence, relate deeply with and benefit others, AND also practice consistent self-care to replenish themselves when tired, this feeling and state of engagement is possible.

A host of factors edges physicians towards burnout – including:

  • Medicine brings a high level of responsibility with little control over outcomes
  • Working with ill people who are generally not happy to see us
  • Medicine reinforces workaholism, a pattern that often begins before medical school
  • No training in personal boundaries, and how to maintain them
  • Being thrust into leadership of medical teams, with only dysfunctional “top down͟” leadership examples to draw on
  • Physicians need support from their teams to work most efficiently — but tend to act like lone rangers
  • Isolation from peers, due to intense work demands
  • Hostile legal environment, and worry about lawsuits waiting to happen
  • Dealing with insurance companies and other payors’ ever-changing demands
  • Shifting organizational structures that change medical practices and patient referrals
  • Political uncertainty
  • Personal and family needs evolve and change over time
  • And many more

The presence of physician burnout has been shown to

  • Decrease physicians’ professionalism and the quality of medical care they provide
  • Increase medical errors and malpractice rates
  • Lower patient compliance and satisfaction with medical care
  • Increase rates of physician substance abuse, intent to leave practice, depression, and its worst complication: suicide.

Fortunately, doctors can be trained to learn the signs and symptoms – AND how to combat burnout when they are edging towards it. Preventive measures on individual, organizational and leadership levels are available. When physicians learn to employ their own personal anti-burnout strategies, the benefits extend beyond themselves to their patients, families, staff and wider organization, and even the payors.

Pamela A. Pappas, MD, MD(H) is certified in multiple forms of coaching: Executive Coaching, Physician Burnout Prevention, Enneagram Coaching, and the Change Coach model of Dr. Amy Johnson PhD. She is also working towards certification as a Clarity Coach, with Jamie Smart.

Reiki is an alternative healing modality that addresses mind, body and spirit. The Reiki method of healing was developed by Mikao Usui.  Rei means God or Universal and Ki means life force energy.  A Reiki treatment focuses on balancing the energy centers, or chakras, of the body to promote health, healing and relaxation for body, mind and spirit.  If we are out of balance emotionally, physically, or spiritually, our chakras are likely to also be out of balance.  
Reiki is not meant to be a substitute for medical or psychological treatment.  Rather, Reiki is often used as a complimentary treatment to create balance, harmony and peace for mind, body and spirit.  
As part of his or her training, the Reiki practitioner has been given an attunement by a Reiki Master Teacher to be able to tap into this life force energy.  In a typical Reiki session, the client is laying down in a relaxed state listening to peaceful music as he or she receives the treatment.  The Reiki practitioner places his or her hands on or above the chakras and works as a channel to transmit the Reiki energy to the client.  After a Reiki session, clients often report feeling peaceful, relaxed, or rejuvenated.  Many note that they feel more clarity, and better able to access their own inner wisdom with deeper insights about their lives, purpose and meaning. 
Reiki can be provided to all living things including humans, animals and even plants.  Reiki sessions can be provided either in-person as well as distantly.  I welcome your contact and I look forward to being able to provide you with this amazing healing modality.
Gary Breuer, MA, LPC, provides Reiki at Optimal You. 
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

Solution–Focused Brief Therapy is a practical goal–driven model with emphasis on clear, precise, and realistic goal negotiations. This approach assumes that you have some knowledge of what would make your life better even though you may need some help describing the details of your better life.

The foundational belief is that people who seek help already possess the minimal skills necessary to create solutions, but just need some help setting up the small, realistic and doable steps to achieve their desired goals.

As the name suggests, SFBT is future-focused, goal-directed, and focuses on solutions, rather than on the problems that brought clients to seek therapy.

Learn more at solutionfocused.net.

Beverlee Laidlaw Chasse, MC, LPC and Lisa Watson MC, LPC provide Solution-Focused Brief Therapy at Optimal You.

Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction is the practice of being with people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with the divine, or to learn and grow in their own personal spirituality. The person seeking direction shares stories of his or her encounters of the divine, or how he or she is cultivating a life attuned to spiritual things. The director listens and asks questions to assist the directee in his or her process of reflection and spiritual growth. Spiritual direction advocates claim that it develops a deeper awareness with the spiritual aspect of being human, and that it is not psychotherapy, counseling, or financial planning.

Mary Triller, MDiv, MTh provides Spiritual Direction services at Optimal You.

Stress Reduction and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Stress is part of being alive and some of its stimulating effects can be good, but too much of it can have a negative effect on our health. Stress Management and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will help you learn more effective ways of coping with stress by:

  • helping you recognize and evaluate any factors that may be putting you under any unnecessary stress,
  • provide you with the stress management skills necessary for you to alter or change the feeling, thoughts, or behaviors that are aggravating or causing your current health problems, and
  • will show you, through mindfulness based practices, that you can control physical stress by learning to relax and flow through it.

The various techniques that can be employed in a stress management therapy session include relaxation, biofeedback, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and mindfulness–based practices such as guided imagery, deep breathing, muscle stretching, and meditation. Instead of being stuck in flight, flight, or freeze, you learn how to flow.

See more at www.goodtherapy.org/mindfulness-based-approaches-contemplative-approaches.html.

Optimal You professionals providing Stress Reduction and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Beverlee Laidlaw Chasse, MC, LPC
Tamara Nezirevic, MC, LPC
Lisa Watson MC, LPC

Substance Use Therapy

The keys to substance use problems involve answering two important questions; how did I get here and what do I do now? Dealing with underlying causes and conditions that created the substance use issue in the first place allows us to heal some old wounds that we are attempting to heal through substance use. With underlying issues addressed we can create healthy solutions for moving forward. However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to dealing with substance use so we will collaborate together in creating what will work for you to achieve long-term recovery.

Optimal You professionals providing Substance Use Therapy:

Nancy Harkins, MA, LPC

Thought Field Therapy (TFT)

Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is a technique for the rapid relief of all kinds of emotional distress. It works like acupuncture, without the needles, stimulating the body’s energy meridians to resolve problems with the body’s emotional control system. The patient taps on various parts of the body with their fingers. The results are amazing as many emotional problems can often disappear in minutes.” — tftpractitioners.net

Thought Field Therapy uses a tapping sequence in the form of a healing code that balances the body’s energy system and allows you to significantly reduce or eliminate most negative emotions within minutes, while promoting the body’s own healing ability. This is effective in finding immediate relief, but additional techniques are typically needed to stabilize the root issues.

Learn more at tfttapping.com.

Beverlee Laidlaw Chasse, MC, LPC  provides Thought Field Therapy (TFT) services at Optimal You.

Three-Principles-based Consultations, Intensives, and Packages

Even when dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, unwanted habits, or interpersonal conflict – and even when given diagnostic labels because of these experiences – all humans have the capacity for complete mental health and well-being. While always present, this innate well-being can be obscured by habits of thinking.

Three Principles-based consultations focus on the natural state of wellness at the center of all people, no matter how they may be feeling at the time. The “Three Principles” are the spiritual gifts of Mind, Consciousness, and Thought that are universal to all, and which also underlie all spiritual traditions. They are the formless energies behind life itself, and they describe how human psychological experience is created. Sydney Banks was the philosopher who uncovered these Principles in the 1970’s, through an enlightenment experience that changed his life for the better. Through exploring and applying the Principles in their own lives, people all over the world have had similar results.

Universal Mind: the intelligent, loving, and creative energy behind all life

Universal Consciousness: the innate human capacity to be aware. Level of awareness determines the quality of experience at any moment – and this can always change.

Universal Thought: the formless and infinite energy for creating experience, moment to moment. The core of all psychological functioning, Thought links the spiritual and physical world. Humans experience their world from the inside out, through Thought – rather than from outside circumstances.

This spiritual understanding of mental health offers profound hope, because healing is a natural and ongoing process in all humans. Applications of this understanding can lead to personal insights and realizations that dissipate suffering, and guide back to inner peace.

Three-Principles-based consultations combine spirituality with scientific research, and can synergize productively with other treatments one may be receiving.  

Working from this basic understanding can facilitate healing and growth in many problematic situations. Some possibilities include:

Leading more whole, connected, and peaceful lives, beyond the label of psychiatric or other medical diagnoses

Dealing with anxiety, trauma, grief, depression, and unwanted habits

Prevention of burnout and compassion fatigue in physicians and other healthcare professionals

Medical and other leaders seeking a reliable inner compass – such as when dealing with volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous situations in their organizations

Entrepreneurs and other creatives who want to more consistently access and use their intuition – and to experience greater productivity and flow in their work.

This work also facilitates the natural ability to recognize and listen to one’s own inner wisdom and intuition – leading to clearer, more practical decisions, responses, and productivity in life.

Pamela A. Pappas MD, MD(H) is a psychiatrist who provides Three-Principles-based consultations, intensives, and packages at Optimal You.


Transpersonal Psychotherapy

Transpersonal psychotherapy is concerned with the study of humanity’s highest potential, and with the recognition, understanding, and realization of unitive, spiritual, and transcendent states of consciousness (Lajoie and Shapiro, 1992).

The goal of transpersonal psychotherapy goes beyond healing trauma to the awakening and attainment of our highest potential. The tenets, philosophies, and practices of the world’s spiritual and wisdom traditions are integrated with Western science, philosophy, and theory to create a full-spectrum psychospiritual developmental model. This model takes us from birth and normal Western developmental phases, to the awakening of spiritual consciousness and the awareness of our interconnection to all living things through a shared energy field, as depicted in Eastern and Native spiritual traditions (Siegel, 2018).

Going beyond conventional psychology’s continuum of maladaptive to adaptive emotions and behaviors, transpersonal psychotherapy recognizes an expanded view of human wholeness, transformation and inter-connectedness via the development of higher levels of spiritual consciousness.  As consciousness shifts, the context of one’s experience shifts, insights become more profound and transformative healing occurs.  Clients transcend their egoic or personal perspectives, seeing events from an expanded state of awareness, often with new solutions and elevated understanding.

Through the use of attunement to each client’s needs, resonance with higher levels of consciousness, guided imagery, various mindfulness practices, breathwork, and tools from ancient spiritual traditions, transpersonal therapists guide clients to their own inner wisdom, facilitating shifts in consciousness, understanding, well-being and ultimately to living their fullest potential.

Optimal You Professionals providing Transpersonal Psychotherapy:
Tamara Nezirevic, MC, LPC
Mary Triller, MDiv, MTH
Beverlee Laidlaw Chasse, MC, LPC
Gary Breuer, MA, LPC