Thursday, June 18, 2015

Your Body is Your Einstein

by Brittiney George, BS, CRS, CEIM

“Emotional expression, touch expression and verbal expression are all connected neurologically, forming the psychobiology of our intelligence, our communication and our adaptability. Touch and emotional expression share the same brain function, just as fine motor movements of the fingers and thumb share the same neural real estate in the motor cortex with the fine motor movements of the mouth that produce speech” Greenfield, Susan. (1997). The Human Brain: A Guided Tour.

So what does that mean? It means your body is more than a vehicle to move you place to place, it is full of wisdom and connections that allow for adaptability and resilience. 

·      Your Body is Smart: “The Electromagnetic current of the heart is 60 times higher in amplitude than the field of the brain.  It also emits an energy field 5,000 times stronger than the brain’s, one that can be measured more than 10 feet from the body.” –Dr. Mimi Guarneri, Cardiologist and author of The Heart Speaks.

·      Your Body is the expert on you: “Each heart beat sends complex signals capable of reaching higher brain centers, ultimately affecting our reasoning and choices, our emotions and perceptions.  Apparently, the heart has not only its own language, but its own mind.” –Dr. J Andrew Armour explaining his concept of a functioning “heart brain”.

·      There is a universe inside you waiting to be discovered: “There is more to you than you realize.  The body contains the knowledge and resources you need.  What would happen if you explored your body with wonder and curiosity instead of judgment?  Oh, the treasures and wisdom you’d find!”

To learn more about how Rubenfeld Synergy can help you listen to the wisdom of your body as it communicates with you throughout your daily life, contact Movement Practitioner Brittiney George, at 610-389-7866 or

Meeting the Self-Critic with Compassion

by Elizabeth Venart

Even during a simple conversation between two people, the words said aloud exist on one level while simultaneously entire dialogues play out in each individual’s mind. This is why a seemingly innocent request like, “Please pass the butter,” can spark an argument. The new Pixar film, “Inside Out,” gives life to the concept that, while we have one unified self, we are made up of many parts, parts with different needs and emotions. As we face various choices in our daily lives, our parts may be in agreement or in conflict with one another. Thus the well-known term “inner conflict,” which, for example, happens when one part of us feels enthusiastic about going out to see friends but another part is exhausted and yearns to stay home and read a book.

Most people are familiar with the “Inner Critic” part within them. Some hear this critical voice occasionally, while others hear it nearly constantly. It may comment on our appearance, our performance, how productive we are being, and it can even make us second-guess everything we say in conversations with others. These negative internal messages can greatly influence how we feel and how we behave in our relationships.

Kristin Neff, a respected researcher who has been studying self-compassion for over ten years, believes strongly in the power of compassion to soften our inner critic. In her book, “Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind,” she explores why inner communication can often be so critical and how to bring kindness to our internal dialogue. She provides a framework for self-compassion that includes being kind to ourselves, recognizing our common humanity with others, and bringing balanced awareness to our experiences.

Similarly, Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy suggests we bring compassion and curiosity to all parts of Self, including the inner critic. In this framework, the inner critic is actually working hard to protect us, so we are invited to identify, acknowledge, and appreciate it for its hard work. The process of IFS provides a pathway for people to strengthen Self, the core or essence within each person, trusting that each individual’s Self innately possesses the qualities of calmness, compassion, creativity, confidence, courageousness, clarity, curiosity, and connection. By deepening our awareness of Self and bringing compassion and curiosity to our parts as they arise—even the inner critic—people can make unburdened choices and experience greater freedom and joy.

For most people, learning to treat all parts of Self with compassion is a process requiring patience and practice. At the time I am writing this, the Pixar film has yet to be released. For a fun introduction to the idea that we all have parts of self, why not invite a good friend to go see “Inside Out” with you. Good friends are, by definition, already experts at showing compassion for all of our parts, which makes them great partners as we learn to be equally compassionate with ourselves.

If you would like to deepen your understanding of how IFS can support you in communicating compassionately with yourself, you may want to watch this video [] or check out the Internal Family Systems website at You can also learn more by contacting me directly. In addition to being the Director of The Resiliency Center, I am a Licensed Professional Counselor who integrates mindfulness, EMDR, and Internal Family Systems into my work with individuals and couples. I love partnering with people to cultivate greater compassion and joy. Learn more at or by contacting me at 215-233-2002 or

A Few Simple Yet Effective Communication Techniques with Children and Adolescents

by Kathleen Krol, MSS, LCSW, RPT-S

Merriam-Webster defines communication as “the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to exchange information or to express ideas, thoughts, and feelings to someone else.” When we are communicating well, both parties walk away with the same understanding from the conversation. However, many times we may find ourselves working to express ourselves but not feeling heard – and hearing another person talking without really comprehending what it is they are trying to say.  

Clear communication can be lost along the way when we are busy and caught up in the daily in and out of our routines. For adults interacting with children, there are added complexities. What follows are some strategies for communicating effectively with young people.
Sometimes just changing the words you use or how you say them can make a small but significant change in your interaction with your children.  Praise and positive reinforcement for what your child is doing well are usually more effective than emphasizing what your child is doing wrong. Try to avoid negatively phrased words such as “CAN’T,” as in “You can’t do that!”   The child hears the negative “can’t” and may respond defensively by acting out. Instead, give choices and alternatives when directing your child to stop certain behaviors: “Your ball is for playing with outside.” “What do you want to play with instead: your trucks or your dollhouse?”

Children often have problems with sense of time and their need for immediate gratification. You can help them by giving them a timeframe when they can have what it is that they are requesting: “Right now, I need to cook dinner. After we eat, I can play that game with you.”
Finally, give your children your full attention and eye contact when they’re upset. Children often act out because they feel uncomfortable inside and don’t know how to put their feelings into words.  You can acknowledge your child’s feelings without accepting their behavior. Acknowledging that you hear their feelings often calms a child who is upset more than yelling, ignoring or punishing the crying behaviors.  You can say things like “You really wanted to go outside to play.  You’re feeling mad that you can’t go outside. I see how upset that makes you.” If the behavior continues, setting a limit or giving a time-out may be needed, but taking these other steps first may reduce the intensity of the tantrum before it escalates. 

With teenage children, power struggles and overloaded schedules add complexity to interactions and communication. When talking with teens, it can be helpful to take the following factors into consideration:
           Teens want to feel heard. They often feel more heard when adults are mindfully present, listening without an immediate need to reassure, give advice, make assumptions, and point out the negative.
      Agree to disagree. Choose your battles. Remember your relationships with your own parents as a teen. Is winning the battle more important or having the relationship with your child years later?
      Think of the teen years as the rewind of the “terrible two’s”, where children fluctuate between needing the parent and asserting their own will. Although this can be one of the more difficult childhood phases for parents and teens to navigate together, it is important to remember that your teen is pushing and asserting and experimenting as a way to build a confident adult identity. When teens navigate this phase successfully (with your support), they transition into independent, well-functioning adults.  
      When conversation becomes a power struggle, pause the conversation. The rational part of the brain has shut down, and the amygdala or emotional part of the brain can’t process or rationalize what you are saying. It can only react with more emotion. Don’t keep at it. Instead,  take a breath, walk away, and come back to the situation when everyone is calmer.

Kathleen Krol is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, who works with children, adolescents and families.  Kathleen uses family therapy with the parent and child to discuss and problem-solve issues, play therapy and sandtray therapy with the child to help them work through difficult feelings, gain self-mastery and confidence and heal from loss and trauma, and parent coaching to provide parenting techniques and support for parents. Adolescent therapy may include talk and cognitive therapy, sand tray, mindfulness techniques, trauma art narrative therapy and EMDR. For a free consultation to learn more about any of these treatment approaches, please contact Kathleen at 215-289-3101 or You can also learn more at