A Compassionate Guide to Talking about LBGTQ Issues

by Robyn E. Brickel, M.A., LMFT and Emily Sanders, LPC

On November 7, Virginia voters elected Danica Roem to the Virginia House of Delegates. Roem is the first openly transgender state legislator in America. Her campaign focused on local issues, especially improving traffic problems, which resonated with voters. But she has also broken a cultural barrier that brings attention to the LBGTQ community. Her public life opens new opportunities for us to talk about transgender issues.

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To Heal Trauma, Free Your Most Compassionate Self

The experience of trauma makes a profound mark on a person. It doesn’t matter whether the injury is grave and evident, like the bruising of a battered person, or hard to see, like the emotional neglect of someone detached and withdrawn. Whatever the cause, when a person feels threatened, helpless, and unable to escape, that person knows trauma.

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How Essential is Compassion in Opiate Addiction Treatment?

Within the last few weeks, I have heard of two more young people dying from heroin overdoses. Tragedies like this are becoming ever more common.

Right now, in my opinion, there is a heroin/opiate epidemic going on. It’s spanning all ages, all races, all genders, and all socioeconomic statuses! It doesn’t matter if your town has a Starbucks or a beautiful, organic farmers market.

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Understanding Self-Harming Behavior: Healing with Self-Care and Compassion

The phrase “self-harming behavior” may call up images of troubled teenagers with cuts on their arms. But self-injury can occur for people of any age, in children, adolescents and adults, whether male or female. This is not at all a teenage fad!

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Why People with Eating Disorders Need Our Compassion

From the outside, it seems puzzling that any person could develop an eating disorder like anorexia, bulimia or compulsive overeating. When we see someone starving themselves or eating themselves into obesity, the temptation is to criticize or correct them: “Just stop it! Can’t you see you’re hurting yourself?”

But criticism or judgment is the last thing a person with an eating disorder needs. If we want to help people

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How to Ease Holiday Stress With Self-compassion

Good cheer, happiness, family and a spirit of giving are a big part of the holiday season. But for many people, stress and loneliness are major players that upset plans to stay positive. If your tension level rises when the decor goes up, you are not alone. It is common for some people to feel more anxious or lonely as the season begins.

Holiday stress can trigger negative thinking that builds on itself. To avoid this cycle, we can take this opportunity to find new comforts and enjoy the holidays differently. We can take simple, meaningful steps for healthy self-care, and put some fun back into our celebrations.

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Using ‘Big T’ and ‘Little T’ for Trauma Can Be a Big Mistake

Some people seem to believe that when it comes to trauma, size matters. We even have terminology that allows us to talk as if some types of trauma are less damaging, less serious, or matter less than others.

Sometimes
people will describe someone’s trauma as “Big T (Big Trauma)” or “Little T
(Little Trauma)”—and today, I’m calling for an end to this type of
nomenclature.

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Jessica Sleep Dukes, MSW, LCSW

Jessica Sleep Dukes is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker
(LCSW) in Virginia and therapist at Brickel and Associates, LLC, in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia.

Jessica is committed to helping clients develop and enhance
their natural skills and abilities to make meaningful changes in their lives. Jessica
brings an empathic, strengths-based approach to promote healing and recovery.
She assists clients in developing greater understanding and insight into their
behavior and relationships. Jessica practices from a trauma-informed perspective
and utilizes a culturally sensitive approach. 

Jessica has extensive experience providing treatment to
adolescents, adults, couples, and families in a variety of settings, including
outpatient mental health centers and residential treatment centers.  Jessica tailors therapy to meet the unique
needs of each individual, couple, or family. 
She utilizes an integrative therapeutic approach to treat issues of
depression, anxiety, substance use, grief and loss, self-harm, relationship stress,
identity issues, and trauma.

Jessica incorporates evidence-based interventions, including
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive
Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Motivational
Interviewing (MI). She provides a compassionate and nurturing environment to
enhance the recovery journey.

Jessica is committed to professional
excellence and further education.  She
regularly participates in trainings, workshops, and other learning
opportunities to advance her clinical skills and stay current with research and
scientific advances in the field.

See Jessica’s CV

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How To Feel Attractive and Worthy—Just the Way You Are!

Feeling confident and attractive in today’s world is a huge challenge for all of us. Images, voices and messages from mainstream media can get in our heads, holding us up to impossible standards. Self-acceptance and healthy sex after trauma can be even more challenging for those with a history of sexual abuse. Add those unrealistic ideals to past abuse or trauma, which lends itself to a negative self-concept, and a person can be left struggling with a very painful self-image.

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