The Magic Wand – A Brainspotting Therapy Session

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

I would like to tell you about my recent therapy experience. I believe in order to be a good therapist, one should be seeking therapy as needed to deal with their own issues. Even the best therapists need a therapist occasionally! To optimize my emotional and psychological health, I occasionally seek outside help. With this in mind, I saw Clinical Social Worker Ruth B.Z. Thomson of Winnipeg, Manitoba, for a therapy session. She used a therapy technique called “Brainspotting” (BSP) which was new to me and which I was very curious about. 

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

David Grand, Phd, Brainspotting Developer and Trainer

By the way, bi-lateral and BIO-lateral are two different things. It sounds confusing, but here is a way to explain the difference. Also, there is a link between brainspotting and EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing).

After filling out forms and consenting to treatment I entered Ruth’s beautifully decorated and comfortable office. She said I could choose any chair to sit on. There were about six chairs. I scanned the room, chose a chair, sat down, and got comfortable. I rearranged the cushions and used a little step stool. She sat across from me. She told me after a brief talking session, I would be listening to music with headphones, and she would use a wand for me to look at and focus on. The wand looked like one of those telescopic back scratchers and it had a dark blue handle.

We chatted for a bit to discuss my issues and then she told me we were going to get started with the brainspotting treatment. She passed me the headphones and made sure I could hear the music in both ears. It was not too loud as she also wanted me to be able to hear her. She said she was going to be watching me and I was to focus on my physical and emotional responses related to the issues I had presented to her with. 

The music she chose for me is called “bilateral” and it’s not exactly music. It was calming peaceful sounds such as chimes, waves, and birds chirping. The sounds alternated between the left and right ears. 

The music was very relaxing and calming. I noticed a yellow “glow” around the wand. (It almost looked like a magic wand!) Ruth held the wand to the left of her, almost at an outstretched arm’s reach, at eye level and I stared at it. She moved the wand slowly and watched my physical reaction. Sometimes I blinked more or fidgeted or took deep breaths. She also watched my facial expressions. 

After a few minutes she moved the wand and asked me to follow it. She moved it to the right of her body. It was about eye level. Very slowly and methodically she would move the wand up or down all the while watching my reaction. 

She asked me what I was feeling and thinking. I shared my thoughts, then she took the wand and moved it back to her right side. 

The music was very calming. I processed some feelings and thoughts. At one point I felt mad, and this was a bit of a revelation. This was good!

She then had me talk it out some more until I was done with my observations and feelings about the issue at hand. 

Then Ruth had me close my eyes and brought the wand closer to me. She had me open my eyes and I followed the wand, and she brought it back to her right then circled downward and back up closer to me. She repeated this closeup – back to the right – downward swoop movement in a fluid moderately paced motion about 4-5 times. It was like drawing a sideways “D” in the air with the wand. We then paused for a bit. 

Photo by Laura Stanley on Pexels.com

She then had me do a relaxing visualization. I found myself on a hammock in Hawaii! All the while the bilateral music played quietly in my ears, alternating between left and right.

After the guided imagery was over, she had me take off my headphones. There was a long pause as we sat in silence. She then asked me for my thoughts. 

I told her I like analogies to explain things when I can’t quite put my feelings and thoughts into words. I told her it felt like I was put into a long, dark tunnel and now I’ve come out of the tunnel and I’m not quite sure where I am. I’m looking around, but I’m not quite sure what just happened and where I ended up. It feels good though. I told her I think it’s going to take me a little while to process what just happened. She agreed and said that it will take a few days for the neural pathways to change. She told me to drink lots of water and gave me a couple pages to read on brainspotting.

As promised, she emailed me this link as an example of bilateral music – 1 HR Bilateral Music Therapy – Relieve Stress, Anxiety, PTSD, Nervousness – EMDR, Brainspotting (best heard with headphones). 

I am hopeful that this treatment will help me with my issue, and I could already tell just a couple hours later that I was already feeling some benefit. 

For more information on brainspotting check out David Grand’s book, Brainspotting: The Revolutionary New Therapy for Rapid and Effective Change.

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

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The Ten Dimensions of Wellness from an Aging Well Perspective (Podcast)

Have a listen to my interview with Dr. Andrea Wilkinson on the BrainShape Podcast, “Flourish or Fade with Angela Gentile.” Episode #121.

It was fun being a guest for the second time with Dr. Andrea. My book, Flourish or Fade: A guide to total well-being for women at midlife and beyond is available on Amazon. For more information on Dr. Andrea, please check out her website, https://www.brainshape.ca/ I hope you enjoy the interview!

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

Flourish or Fade: A guide to total well-being for women at midlife and beyond – Book Now Available

Angela Gentile’s newest book is now available for purchase from Amazon.

>>>Buy the Paperback on Amazon ($16.99 USD) 

>>>Buy the ebook (Kindle) on Amazon ($5.99 USD)

TAKE CHARGE OF THE WAY YOU AGE

Flourish or Fade: A guide to total well-being for women at midlife and beyond provides you with the information and tools needed to improve life satisfaction. The Flower of Wellness Method will help you devise a plan to balance your body, mind, and soul. 

You will learn how to enhance your overall well-being by exploring the ten dimensions of wellness: 

Physical, Emotional, Brain, Social, Sexual, Spiritual, Environmental, Recreational, Financial, and Occupational.

This anti-ageist, realistic, and optimistic approach to life in the middle years and beyond will provide you with inspiration and tips that will have you feeling confident, happy, and satisfied with whatever may come your way. 

The Flower of Wellness Method is a fresh and contemporary approach to finding balance.

Do you want to flourish or fade in the later years? It’s your choice. 

Angela G. Gentile, M.S.W., R.S.W., is a registered clinical social worker/specialist in aging with more than 25 years of experience working with older adults and their families. She was born and raised in Ontario and now lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

www.AngelaGGentile.com

“Flourish or Fade” Book Launch Giveaways and Contest Details

Celebrate National Women’s Health Week with us! On May 11, 2021, at 8:00 pm CST, Angela G. Gentile will be hosting a Zoom book launch for her newest book, “Flourish or Fade.” Register on Eventbrite to attend. There are a number of awesome books, services, and products that have been donated by some amazing women to help make this book event special. Please see the list below and enter to win! (see Contest Details below).

Flourish or Fade

1. Angela G. Gentile: “Flourish or Fade: A guide to total well-being for women at midlife and beyond” (paperback, $21.00 CAD value). Now available!

BrainShape Accountability Calls

2. Dr. Andrea Wilkinson: BrainShape Accountability Calls ($300.00 CAD value)

“Free Phase II Accountability Calls with Dr. Andrea of BrainShape” ($300 CAD value)

Accountability Appointments take place via TWO 60-minute video calls. 

CALL 1: Discuss your concerns and struggles + build a plan to help you address them (e.g., sleeping difficulties, chronically stressed, low energy, lacking mental focus, etc.) Whatever the problem, let’s talk about it & build a plan you can implement right away. 

CALL 2: Accountability Appointment to check-in on the goals you set out in Call 1.

The winner of the BrainShape Services prize will book their INITIAL CALL by visiting www.BrainShape.ca/call and book a time in Dr. Andrea’s calendar. This is a free offering of the supportive elements provided inside the Brain Vitality Blueprint, and helps people take the first step towards improving their health and well-being. 

How I Made a Huge Mess of My Life

3. Billie Best: “How I Made a Huge Mess of My Life” (paperback, $12.99 USD value)

https://billiebest.com/

The World Came to Us

4. Molly Duncan Campbell: “The World Came to Us” (paperback, $12.99 USD value)

http://mollydcampbell.com/

The Playground of Possibilities Card Deck

5. Kay Ross: “The Playground of Possibilities” (card deck, $20.00 USD value)

This card deck is a self-help, personal-development tool with 52 questions for you to ask yourself. Every question starts with “What would be possible for me if I…?”, to prompt you to let go of your old, limiting thoughts, beliefs and stories about yourself and the world, choose more useful ones, take inspired action, and improvise more resourceful, joyful ways of being. Kay was born in Scotland, grew up in Australia, and has lived in Hong Kong for 27 years. She’s passionate about personal development and healing, and is also an improv performer. The deck costs $20 USD plus postage from Hong Kong (the full amount depends on the number of decks ordered and the destination).  

https://playgroundofpossibilities.com/card-deck/

Seize the Moment!

6. Camille Goscicki, of Vitalaging4women, “Seize the Moment! A Guide to Living in the Present” (ebook, $4.99 USD value)

Do you live with regrets from the past, and fear the unknowns of the future?

It’s time to let go of fears and regrets and live for today. Seize the Moment! is your mini-guide to grab the present moment and live for today. It includes three bonus worksheets that will help you become more mindful. (Everyday mindfulness tips, practicing mindfulness, and becoming present for peace of mind.) Note: eReader not included.

https://www.vitalaging4women.com

The Unexpected Journey of Caring

7. Donna Thomson: The Unexpected Journey of Caring (hardcover book, $39.00 CAD value).

“The Unexpected Journey of Caring: The Transformation From Loved One to Caregiver” by Donna Thomson and Zachary White, PhD with a foreword by Judy Woodruff (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019) Available at all online booksellers Hardcover – $39.00 CAD)

With a foreword by Judy Woodruff, The Unexpected Journey of Caring is a practical guide to finding personal meaning in the 21st century care experience.

Personal transformation is usually an experience we actively seek out—not one that hunts us down. Becoming a caregiver is one transformation that comes at us, requiring us to rethink everything we once knew. Everything changes—responsibilities, beliefs, hopes, expectations, and relationships. Caregiving is not just a role reserved for “saints”—eventually, everyone is drafted into the caregiver role. It’s not a role people medically train for; it’s a new type of relationship initiated by a loved one’s need for care. And it’s a role that cannot be quarantined to home because it infuses all aspects of our lives.

Caregivers today find themselves in need of a crash course in new and unfamiliar skills. They must not only care for a loved one, but also access hidden community resources, collaborate with medical professionals, craft new narratives consistent with the changing nature of their care role, coordinate care with family, seek information and peer support using a variety of digital platforms, and negotiate social support—all while attempting to manage conflicts between work, life, and relationship roles. The moments that mark us in the transition from loved one to caregiver matter because if we don’t make sense of how we are being transformed, we risk undervaluing our care experiences, denying our evolving beliefs, becoming trapped by other’s misunderstandings, and feeling underappreciated, burned out, and overwhelmed.

Informed by original caregiver research and proven advocacy strategies, this book speaks to caregiving as it unfolds, in all of its confusion, chaos, and messiness. Readers won’t find well-intentioned clichés or care stereotypes in this book. There are no promises to help caregivers return to a life they knew before caregiving. No, this book greets caregivers where they are in their journey—new or chronic—not where others expect (or want) them to be.

“Nobody grows up planning to be a caregiver, but many of us will become one and sometimes when we least expect it. Thomson and White bring powerful insights to help understand what it means to be a caregiver and how to truly support those of us who will travel this unexpected journey.” – Samir K. Sinha, director of geriatrics, Sinai Health System and University Health Network, Toronto; health policy research director, National Institute on Ageing

www.donnathomson.com 

Keeping it Together

8. Eleanor Silverberg: “Keeping it Together: How to Cope as a Family Caregiver without Losing Your Sanity” (paperback, $20.00 CAD value)

https://www.eleanorsilverberg.com/kit-book

I Could Be Wrong

9. Billie Best: I Could Be Wrong (paperback, $7.99 USD value)

https://billiebest.com/

Contest Details:

  • Contest open to adults aged 18+, worldwide. No purchase necessary.
  • Identify which prize(s) you would like to win. Submit the item name/number, your name and email address to Angela at caretoage@gmail.com. (Your name and email address will not be given out to anyone else, unless it is required in order for you to obtain your prize(s)).
  • One entry per person, per item.
  • Entries accepted from Wednesday April 21, 2021 at 5:00 pm CST until Saturday May 15, 2021 at 12:00 noon CST.
  • Winners will be drawn on or before Sunday May 16, 2021 at 12:00 noon CST.
  • Qualified winners will be notified by email and your mailing address will be required so we can ship you your prize.
  • Every attempt will be made to get your prize to you, however, in the unfortunate event there are restrictions in your country, you will be ineligible. In that case, another draw will be made to seek a suitable winner.

Good luck!

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

www.angelaggentile.com

Weaknesses Are Only As Strong As We Allow Them To Be

I saw this quote on Instagram, on the Optimal Living Daily account (@oldpodcast) — “The more willing you are to face your weaknesses, the less likely they are to remain weaknesses.” I wanted to know more about Tynan, the person who was quoted. I took his quote, put it onto a picture my husband took while on vacation in Hawaii, and wanted to share it. I hope this inspires you to face your weaknesses, too.

weaknesses

What weaknesses are you willing to face?

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

A Story of Cancer Survival That Will Touch Your Heart and Soul (and Funny Bone!) – Book review

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Brown Ribbon by Robbi Woolard

Psychologist Dr. Robbi Woolard is a survivor of a rare form of cancer. She was encouraged by two of her friends to put her experiences and thoughts into a book (eBook for Kindle). “Brown Ribbon” is part memoir, part self-help book and is written with a humorous slant (a story about a doctor and a commode made me laugh out loud!). She has an “incredibly strong faith” and her beliefs in God and heaven are referred to throughout the book. She is clearly not afraid of death and is a very brave and courageous woman. She believes accidents, illnesses such as cancer and other traumas are random events and no one is immune (no matter how well one lives their life).

Woolard writes in an entertaining, yet educational and inspiring tone. The book could have used some editing, however, the reader can forgive this oversight as she speaks in a conversational tone and the stories flow nicely. There are some repetitive themes, but overall it’s an easy and pleasurable read.

The warrior spirit in Woolard spares us the gruesome details of her anal cancer treatment. She gives the reader just enough information which helps one to imagine the suffering she experienced. She writes in a way that reassures the reader that although cancer and it’s treatment are difficult, the alternative is worse.

For those who want closure, they will find the last story of her post-anal cancer treatment to get a “colposcopy” a bit frustrating. The chapter called “Caving” does not provide the reader with the results of her biopsy, but Woolard states she hopes she had experienced the last appointment with that doctor (we can only hope along with her!).

In the final chapter, Woolard shares her own personal growth experience. I found this chapter called “Everything I Have Learned from Cancer” especially inspiring (as I am also affected by anal cancer myself). Many of her insights such as “setting new goals after cancer” and “improving connections with others” are very positive and uplifting. I can definitely identify with her lessons learned. She states, “As I age, I’ve begun to believe something that I’d never pondered in years past. I’ve always assumed that all of both the good and the bad that we experience culminate in who we become. Now, drawing upon many decades of both ends of the experience spectrum, I think all of it should be credited with making us richer, deeper, more complete human beings.”

A recommended read for those affected by cancer, especially newly diagnosed anal cancer patients, their families and survivors of cancer.

Get your copy – Brown Ribbon: A Personal Journey Through Anal Cancer and the Adventure it Entailed (2016) by Robbi Woolard.

Angela G. Gentile

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Angela G. Gentile  MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author of the book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide”, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival” and the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” app for iPhone and iPad. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. She is creator of the Facebook communities – “Aging Well for Women” as well as “God, Cancer and Me.” For more information, visit: www.AngelaGGentile.com

 

 

 

Aging Specialist Offering Two New Courses This Spring (Winnipeg)

7fd3c75caf166af80aef7cb58709152dWinnipeg, Manitoba – There are two new courses being offered by Angela Gentile, a registered clinical social worker. Angela has a Master’s degree in Social Work and a graduate specialization in aging. She has worked with many older adults and their families and she has written two books and an app. She is passionate about helping people and exploring what it means to age well. Attend these informative and interactive sessions and get Angela’s professional advice. Come away feeling confident and empowered.

10 Tips for Graceful Aging

Learn what you can do to help yourself thrive in your middle years and beyond. The dimensions of wellness will also be covered.

►Date and Time: Tuesday April 25, 2017; 7:00 – 9:00 pm.

►Location: St. James Civic Centre, 2055 Ness Avenue, Winnipeg Manitoba.

►Fee: $25.00

When a Loved One Has Memory Loss

Are you living with or do you know someone who has been experiencing memory loss and you’re not sure how to help? Get some information and tips on how to approach this sensitive and difficult topic.

►Date and Time: Thursday May 11, 2017;  7:00 – 9:00 pm.

►Location: St. James Civic Centre, 2055 Ness Avenue, Winnipeg Manitoba.

►Fee: $25.00

Registration Information:

Both courses are listed in the City of Winnipeg Leisure Guide, Spring/Summer 2017 pages 69 and 70. See page 4 of the guide for registration information which begins Wednesday March 15, 2017 at 8:00 am. It can be done online, by phone, or in-person. Limited spots available!

Contact Angela toll-free at: 1-(855) 974-4219 or online at www.AngelaGGentile.com for more information.

Learn About Burnout at the Transform Conference

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From Burned Out to Fired Up!

Angela G. Gentile MSW, RSW

I am honoured to be one of six guest speakers at the Transform Conference to be held on February 21, 2017 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I will be presenting on my knowledge and experience with job burnout and compassion fatigue. In addition to discussing the issues of the costs of caring too much, I will share my personal story of burnout. I will offer advice, tips and solutions to nurses, social workers, healthcare professionals, students and other helping professionals on how to recognize, cope and survive in the demanding yet rewarding field of healthcare.

What better way to learn. Be inspired. Some consider it a gift from a wounded healer.

You may also want to read my eBook, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival“. Paper copies will be available at the conference.

For more information on Transform, the conference, please visit Sycamore Care.

www.AngelaGGentile.com

 

 

A Canadian AncestryDNA Reveal

 

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I received some gift money for my 50th birthday. I wanted to do something special. I considered getting a nice piece of jewelry, but instead I decided to get my DNA tested through AncestryDNA.com.I am really happy I did it because now I can truly say what my heritage is.

We all have a unique set of DNA and it carries our genetic information. We inherit or “receive” our genes from our parents, who receive them from their parents, and so on, way back through the generations.

I have done some genealogy (Family Tree history) over the years, and I know that my parents and three grandparents were all born in Canada (one was born in the USA). My great-grandparents were born in Canada, Sweden and Scotland. Through my research, I learned my  great-grandparents and their parents (my great-great-grandparents) on my fraternal grandmother’s lineage were all born in Sweden.

Prior to getting my DNA results, I guessed that my ancestry was about 60% Great Britain (including Scotland, Wales and England) and 25% was Europe North (Scandinavian/Swedish).

I was very surprised to find out that I am 97% European! I was born in Canada, have lived here all my life, but my DNA is primarily European. This is how my “Ethnicity Estimate” breflat,1000x1000,075,faks down:

  • 30% Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark)
  • 23% Ireland
  • 17% Great Britain
  • 11% Europe East (Includes Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, Austria)
  • 10% Finland/Northwest Russia
  • 6% Trace Regions – Includes 4% Italy/Greece (I married an Italian!), 1% Europe West, and less than 1% European Jewish and Iberian Peninsula.

The remaining 3% is comprised of traces (less than 1%) of Native American, Asia South (India) and West Asia (Middle East such as Saudi Arabia).

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I find my results very interesting and it makes me realize that although I was born in Canada and my parents are also from Canada, my DNA mainly originated from Europe. I don’t even think I can really call myself Canadian after learning this. (I also have a Canadian Passport!)

AncestryDNA also notified me to say that I have some possible matches in their database and two are possible 2nd-3rd cousins! Confidence level: Extremely High. I have sent them both an email asking if they would like to explore this further.

Maybe I should get into Scandinavian art. I’ve always liked painting and I love old folk art. Maybe I’ll have to take a trip to Sweden and Ireland! I will have to explore all those other cultures in my heritage, too (e.g., Poland, Finland and Austria).

If you are interested in knowing more about your DNA and ancestry, it’s a fun thing to do. It costs about $129.00 Canadian (www.AncestryDNA.ca).

I recorded my reveal on video. Take a look if you are interested in hearing/watching my reaction (6 minutes).

Thanks for reading and watching.

Angela G. Gentile MSW, RSW

http://www.AngelaGGentile.com

 

 

 

 

Communication Skills 101

couple arguing

Couple Arguing by Ambro, freedigitalphotos.net

Communicating when you are angry, upset or frustrated can be very difficult. Our emotions sometimes get the best of us, and it is very easy for us to point fingers and lay blame on others.

For example, if you are angry at someone for not listening to you, it is tempting to yell out, “Quit ignoring me!” The person will take this as you are blaming them, and it will not end happily.

A little skill that you can try is called,”I-Messages” or “I-Statements.” There are four easy steps, and with practice, it can be done.

Start by getting the person’s attention in a kind way. That may mean tapping them, holding their arm, and asking them to look at you.

Step 1. “I feel…”

Use a feeling word to help the person understand how you are feeling.

Step 2. “When you…”

Describe what the behaviour is that is making you upset.

Step 3. “Because…”

Describe how the behaviour relates to your feelings.

Step 4. “And I’d like…”

State what you would like the person to do instead.

An example would be, “I feel ignored when you keep reading when I talk to you. Your reading shuts me out, and I’d like you to stop reading and look at me when I talk to you.”

This is a great technique that can be used any time.

Angela G. Gentile, MSW RSW
Specialist in Aging
www.AngelaGGentile.com