Emotions are Neutral—even the uncomfortable ones

By Susan Shehata / May 16, 2018 /

  I have seen several references to “negative emotions” lately. Socially speaking, we have a way of labeling any uncomfortable emotion as negative. And, from my professional perspective, I feel that is damaging to our well-being. I believe that ALL emotions are neutral—there is no such thing as good or bad emotions. Emotions are simply…

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Can Despair be Productive?

By Susan Shehata / January 23, 2018 /

Productive Despair   Interesting phrase, isn’t it?   In the last week, I have had a number of clients, and friends, that feel completely overwhelmed. They feel that perhaps things will never improve—how will they ever overcome the patterns of their past, or perhaps a recent loss or challenge?   Whenever I see a theme,…

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Why Do We Freeze and Lose Our Voice During Trauma?

By Susan Shehata / November 16, 2017 /

People often ask why a victim didn’t just leave a situation, or why they didn’t speak up, right away—or why the victim’s story wasn’t cohesive. So, let’s talk about Tonic Immobility and Broca’s Area, and I’ll keep it (relatively) brief, so the next time you come across these statements from people, you can whip this…

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Are You Resistant to Healing or Just Trying to Protect Yourself?

By Susan Shehata / November 16, 2017 /

To paraphrase one of my mentors, “Trauma happens in a split second. Everything that happens, after that second, is a survival strategy.” What that means, in essence, is that when we are healing trauma, we are actually mostly healing our survival strategies. These “strategies” are responses, beliefs and behaviors that came in to protect us…

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Why Tell Your Story?

By Susan Shehata / October 19, 2017 /

  I’m what’s called a late adopter—someone who is very slow (umm…resistant) to new trends and developments. I had a cell phone that was billed by the minute, and roughly the size of a newborn baby, way longer than necessary. But, at least there is one area in life where I am an early adopter:…

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Back to School Systems

By Susan Shehata / October 1, 2017 /

“Back to school” can mean back to streamlined routines or back to total chaos—your pick! Here are three zones to implement in your home that will help you create order:   The Drop Zone As soon as the kids walk through that door, they drop whatever they are carrying—backpack, sports equipment, jackets, instruments. Designate a…

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Instant and Consistent Mindfulness

By Susan Shehata / September 20, 2017 /

Recently, I have noticed people being very hard on themselves. They want to see immediate, tangible progress, in their lives, and if they don’t perceive it happening, they get discouraged. I believe this has roots in a couple collective beliefs.   First, we have been conditioned to receive instant gratification and instant results. While lovely…

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What’s the Link Between Trauma and Disease?

By Susan Shehata / July 12, 2017 /

My father is a retired scientist. When I was a child, he studied the impact of stress on the immune system of plants. The simplified version is that plants were exposed to known stressors, like over exposure to the sun, or a lack of water. Not only did the plants begin to naturally wither and…

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Removing the Mental Health Stigma

By Susan Shehata / March 18, 2017 /

  Can we please remove the stigma around mental health? Perhaps, when we do, we could more comfortably see the interconnection between our minds and spirits, and our physical health and disease. Many perceive that connecting these elements means “blaming the victim” for their physical health. Which infers that we are, consciously or subconsciously, blaming…

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A Wake Up Call

By Susan Shehata / January 27, 2017 /

  “The man walking in front of us,” my cousin whispered, “was held at this camp.” It was the summer before my senior year in college and my parents and I were visiting my family in Germany. I had read the book, The Hiding Place, years earlier, and was deeply fascinated by the Holocaust. It…

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