Each and every seizure you have is a unique and personal experience.
No one can be inside that seizure with you.
No other life is affected by that seizure exactly the way yours is.
For most of us who know this experience, the common threads I hear over and over again are feeling isolated and feeling afraid. For children and adults, these are the two shared experiences: fear and isolation.
Therapy, with a focus and understanding of epilepsy, can help you to find connection, increase self-compassion, increase seizure awareness, and lessen the impact seizures have on your life.
As a person who has epilepsy, I am able to provide therapy with a greater amount of empathy and understanding. We will focus on you, your situation, and what you need.
Having a consistent relationship with a person-centered therapist, who understands epilepsy, will be something you can count on in the face of the uncertainty that seizures can bring to your life.
Seizures can be isolating in and of themselves, but what about after the seizure? What about how you feel? What about the larger picture?
You have a right to be heard, to be accepted, and to be understood. Seeking these things, requires risk and trust. It requires letting another person know you.
Seeking connection, means facing possible rejection. Coming to me for therapy, you will without condition be heard, accepted, and experience what it is like to trust another person when talking about your seizures.
Increase Self Compassion
Often it is the person with seizures who has the hardest time accepting themselves.
Those around you might accept you and love you, more than you love yourself.
There are important things you can do to help you gain more self-compassion. Therapy can bring you to a place where you have increased clarity that helps you see you are separate from your seizures. You do not have to like your seizures, but you every right to love yourself. Therapy is the place where you can learn to identify what makes you strong, valuable, important.
Increase Your Sense of Control
The seizure is a loss of control, each and every time. The more intense and frequent the seizures, the greater the loss of control. Having increased control is possible, and necessary. You have a right to believe this is possible. In therapy, I can help you…
- Learn to better manage and understand your emotions.
- Self-identify the direct connections between your seizures and your feelings, cognition, behavior, relationships.
- Increase your knowledge of physical and emotional self-care, and develop a plan for what this looks like
- Directly reduce the impact of seizures on your life with learned skills in mindfulness, emotional self-care, sleep hygiene, nutrition, and stress management.
- Increase self-compassion and self-acceptance, and see the profound effect this can have as a way to take control of your seizures.
I do approach individual therapy in different ways, and it is individualized.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will involve the use of a specific workbook, widely used by doctors, nurses, and therapists. It is goal driven, and can be useful if you are wanting to approach step by step, making behavioral changes. I generally like to use the 12-week curriculum called Taking Control of Your Seizures.
Trauma Focused therapy will mean we approach your seizures as a traumatic experience and begin doing this gently. It will help you come to an understanding of just what this means to realize your seizure may in fact be a trauma you experience. The focus then becomes one of healing.
Person centered therapy is more general, perhaps less intense, and is often a good place to start.
With children, I generally use play therapy, biblio-therapy, narratives, and close work with parents in session.
This is a semi structured group process, that moves through stages across 8-12 weeks focused on your identity, identifying your journey as someone with epilepsy, and working through your understanding of your own mind, emotions, body, and spiritual self, as someone who has seizures. Doing this in a supportive and focused group can be life changing.
Interdisciplinary Planning and Consultation
I currently have established relationships with three neurology clinics in the metro area. I have participated in countless assessments and school IEP meetings, which included seizure planning for the child. I can provide consultation and recommendations specific to your mental health, and direct participation in meetings, when we agree that is appropriate and necessary.
Crisis Availability and Planning
How many times have you left the ER, simply with a phone number or two, or that bit of advice that makes you feel worse?
How many times have you been directed to go to the ER, simply so the clinic you called could cover their own liability?
There was a day when we could call our doctor in middle of the night, and he would meet us at his office in 30 minutes. There was no urgent care, no unnecessary visits to the ER, no waiting.
‘While I am not a medical provider, and I do not provide crisis response services, I am available on short notice when we have an established relationship, and a specific plan agreed upon in advance. This may include scheduling an appointment before you leave the ER after a seizure; scheduling a next day appointment after a mental health crisis associated with your seizures; direct phone consultation with your medical provider during or after an emergency; providing supportive guidance to parents or family members who are there with you; scheduling an appointment before or after an anxiety producing EEG.
This is not to replace emergency care, or medical assessment and intervention. This is specifically to provide support and mental health perspective when it is most needed.
You can reach me at 651-925-6313 to talk about what therapy might mean for you.