Robyn E. Brickel, MA, LMFT

Control As a Trauma Response: Knowing You Were Powerless Helps You Heal

Freedom from powerlessness

After living through abuse, neglect, or violence, it’s normal to promise yourself you will never let that happen again. That promise seems to make sense. You need to feel safe, to find some sense of control. Otherwise, the danger and powerlessness you feel are too hard to live with.

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Safety First: A Trauma-Informed Approach for Couples Who Want to End Abuse In Their Relationship

therapy for domestic violence

If you and your partner want to pursue couples therapy, that’s commendable! There is so much hope and help available in therapy. What if you’re dealing with intimate partner abuse or violence (IPV)? Therapy for domestic violence requires a trauma-informed approach.

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This is how to feel all your emotions – and not be overwhelmed – with one little word

I learned an important concept about how to feel emotions again safely – especially after trauma– over 26 years ago from my favorite graduate school professor, the late Terry Taylor Smith, LMFT: When you use the word “but” between two statements, it negates everything you say before it, while “and” allows you to be saying […]

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After lost pregnancies, Meghan Markle and Chrissy Teigen urge people to share their pain

The need to share grief to heal after pregnancy loss

You may have seen recently that model and author Chrissy Teigen bravely shared the devastating loss of her baby, Jack, in her 20th week of pregnancy. In her painful and hopeful post on Medium, she writes about the experience of having to deliver a baby who would not survive, and the healing power of sharing […]

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Coping with stress doesn’t have to be unhealthy

was to cope with stress can be healthy

The continued current state of the world is bringing stress to so many. We’re standing at a crossroads where enormous challenges have converged like never before: a pandemic, racial injustice, political upheaval and division. They show up every day, in addition to whatever challenges you’re already experiencing in your life.

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The Problem with Shoulds: How Should Statements Can Hurt You and What to Do About Them

should statements

I shouldn’t feel this way. I should know better. I should have learned my lesson. I should be able to handle this by now. I shouldn’t still be upset about this breakup/death/situation. I would like to hereby eliminate the word “should” in statements like these. I’d like to remove the word “should” from the collective […]

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How to Set Healthy Boundaries in Relationships After Trauma

How to set healthy boundaries in relationships after trauma

How are you coping with so much time at home? Whether you call it lockdown, sheltering in place, or quarantine, just about everyone’s work-life balance has been disrupted. We need to nurture ourselves even more than usual these days. We are all in need of more self-care, gentleness and especially healthy boundaries in relationships!

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Why It’s Important to Identify as a “Trauma Survivor”

How being a trauma survivor can be empowering

My clients aren’t running around town wearing “I’m a trauma survivor” t-shirts. Of course they aren’t. Who wants to announce that bad things happened to them? No one! And yet, unfortunately, many live with the aftereffects of trauma every day and don’t know it. Trauma is what happens to your nervous system after you’ve felt […]

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What to Do About Suicidal Thoughts in a Pandemic

suicidal thoughts

Who knew when the year started we’d be separated from loved ones for months? And here we are, canceling celebrations, work and vacation plans, and not even hugging our friends. We are facing more stress – financial, emotional, social – than anyone could have imagined. We haven’t seen the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic […]

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