The two most important factors in effective psychotherapy are finding the right person with whom you can connect and knowing that the therapy is geared to your unique needs. My 40 years of counseling have taught me that therapy works when we work together. Therapy is a cooperative effort. I want to help you identify your strengths and apply them to your problems. I believe in going forward to work on goals and only going back to the past if there is a block. I realize that no two people are the same and therefore, tailor my therapy to meet the specific needs of my clients. Whether you are struggling with addictions, trauma anxiety, depression or any other issue, we can find a way to bring healing, control, and peace into your life.
Most couples get into trouble because they are blaming the other person for the difficulties. I believe two major things when working with couples: 1. It is better to focus on responsibility rather than affixing blame and 2. It takes two healthy people to have a healthy relationship, so that each person getting healthy is the means by which the relationship can heal.
A key component of most up-to-date counseling therapies is the concept of mindfulness. The idea is that by being aware (mindful) of the current moment, we can learn to focus only on what is right in front of us, and not get drawn into the traumas of the past nor worry of the future. The techniques I use are guided visualizations, breath work, progressive body relaxation, and anchoring (a way to access positive feelings). This is an area I will help you explore, if you are interested. It, in many ways, can have the most long-term effect.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
What is EMDR ( Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)?
EMDR is a highly effective therapy for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. “Trauma” is a term we use to describe what happens to us when we go through a very stressful event. Traumatic events can be what we call “Big T” events like childhood abuse, rape, robbery, earthquake, or similar situations. PTSD can also result from the cumulative effects of “little t” events, such as being shamed as a child, too many moves or losses, or anything else that causes a great deal of stress to us.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This long phrase describes a technique first developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in 1989. It refers to a method of using “bilateral stimulation” of the brain, either through the client moving their eyes back and forth, listening to tones that alternate from side to side, or lightly tapping the client’s hands left and right. If you think about it, we use bilateral stimulation all the time; for instance, we go for a walk to think through a problem, we enjoy music more when it’s played in stereo, we often tap our feet or our hands in time with music or when we’re nervous. And, while we’re asleep, our eyes move back and forth while we’re dreaming (Rapid Eye Movement, or REM, stage sleep). Our brains process more information, and process it differently, when both sides are used at once.
Why does EMDR work?
We are learning more and more about how the brain processes information. To put it simply, our brains are designed to process information and experiences, so that we can learn from them. Most of our experiences are stored in what is called “explicit memory”. However, some events, commonly called “traumas”, are so disturbing to us for various reasons that our brain becomes overwhelmed by emotion and unable to properly process the event. It becomes “stuck” or “locked in” to what we call “implicit memory”. When we find ourselves reacting almost or completely unconsciously, or having flashbacks or nightmares about an event, or fears or emotions that don’t make sense to us, it is likely that we are experiencing the results of unresolved trauma. Implicit memories don’t feel like they are in the past. When they are experienced, they feel as though they are happening now. Because they can feel very uncomfortable, we often avoid talking or thinking about these types of memories, but they still affect us in our daily living.
EMDR seems to work by helping the brain to “unlock” these stuck implicit memories, and allow them to be reprocessed and appropriately stored. The combination of bilateral stimulation, while being helped by a therapist to think of the troubling event, and allowing the experiencing of the emotions connected with the event, seem to stimulate the brain into doing what it was designed to do — in this case, heal the trauma.
What else can EMDR help with?
EMDR is an extremely well-researched technique that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is a set of symptoms remaining after severe stressors that include intrusive thoughts or memories of the event, avoidance of emotions and situations that are reminiscent of the event, and hyper-arousal symptoms, such as irritability, panic, sleep disturbances, and extreme startle reactions. It may be helpful in other disorders that originate following a distressing experience, such as phobias, anxieties, pain disorders, and depression.
EMDR is a clinical tool, and only one of many that a qualified therapist might use. Before using EMDR, the therapist will assess the client by taking a detailed history, and assess the client’s ability to tolerate strong emotional feelings inside and outside of the therapy session. Preparation may take one session, or it may take a longer period of time, during which the client will be learning many other important skills to help handle emotional material. It is extremely important that treatment with EMDR be done only with clinicians who have been properly trained, as evidenced by listing on the official EMDR website (www.emdr.com).
What happens in EMDR therapy?
During an EMDR session, the client will, with the therapist’s help, select a target memory to work on, generally one that is causing some disturbance or upset. The therapist will help the client focus on the memory of the event, its attendant emotions and sensations, and beliefs that the client has formed about themselves as a result of the event. Some form of bilateral stimulation, whether eye movements, tapping, or sounds, will be used. I use a small machine that has buzzers that you hold in each hand. They buzz in one hand then the other to stimulate both sides of the body. It’s simple and painless.
Clients are asked to uncritically allow their thoughts and associations to flow. It may well be that the original target memory leads to other memories or related issues. As each association is processed, bilateral stimulation continues, until the original issue is no longer disturbing.
Clients may experience strong emotion during an EMDR session, and they may also continue to process information between sessions. This is why preparation and assessment with a properly trained clinician is essential. Preparation will include helping the client develop and strengthen skills in self-calming and the containment of strong emotion.
Addiction has become an epidemic that is sweeping the nation and tragically destroying many lives. Often help does not seem available, or it seems to be ineffective. While there is no magic treatment, I believe I can help. I like to work with the family to help the addict and to motivate him/her to get treatment. In the early stages of addiction or in early recovery, outpatient counseling is the most effective treatment. There are many forms of addiction: alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography, gambling, and eating. While each have their own pattern, there are many similarities. Each can be quite destructive both to the person and the family. However, in the last 40 years I have successfully treated hundreds of persons with addiction. Unfortunately, recovery is not always a one-time process. Relapse is common and success may require several bouts of treatment, but one should never give up hope.
- a complete assessment including what mental health factors may be involved
- education about the nature of addiction and how to overcome it
- identifying personal strengths and ways to utilize them in recovery
- identifying high-risk situations and how to avoid them
- developing a relapse prevention plan
- linking to outside support systems including self-help groups such as 12 Step groups like AA
- promoting recovery as a meaningful and fulfilling way of life
- work with families to educate and support them in their difficulties
Mental Health Counseling
There is a saying related to overcoming difficult situations: “You alone can do it, but you can’t do it alone.” I think all my clients have thought that at some time they could do it alone, but then realized, they needed help. Reaching for professional help is a wise decision, not a symptom of weakness. Whether it be depression, anxiety, a difficult relationship, recent loss, past or current trauma, parenting difficulties, or adjustment to a new situation, the underlying result is stress. Learning to deal with stress and creating and working a plan to free yourself often takes someone who is non-judgmental, cares unconditionally, and sensitive to your specific needs. My years of experience have prepared me to be such a therapist.
I use several treatment techniques including:
- EMDR Therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Brief solution-oriented therapy
- Neuro-linguistic therapy (NLP)
- Guided Imagery
- Reintegrative Therapy
While some of these names may be helpful for what you are looking for; others may not know what they are. The point is that my practice is an integration and synthesis of a number of evidence-based therapies in which I have been trained.
Below are some of the problems I work with:
- Anger management
- Attachment Issues
- Domestic Violence
- Family problems
- Grief and loss
- Life Skills
- Marital and premarital counseling
- Mood disorders
- Oppositional defiant
- Separation and divorce
- Stress management
Supervision and Training
Jon has provided clinical supervision for over 40 candidates for Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioners, and Certified Substance Abuse Counselors. Please contact him if you need supervision.
Jon is also available to do training. Here are the trainings he has done:
- “Recovery Enhancement,” Roads to Recovery, Lynchburg, VA
- “Childhood Trauma and Trauma-Sensitive Schools” North Carolina School Counselors Association, Greensboro, NC
- “What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do: for Addictions Counselors” North Carolina Association of Alcoholic Residential Facilities (NCAARF)
- “Childhood Trauma and Trauma Sensitive Schools,” Virginia Counselor Association, Williamsburg, VA
- “Recovery Enhancement” North Carolina Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Studies Winter School, Greensboro, NC
- “From High Risk to Resiliency: Creating a New Future for Mauritania’s Children”, S. State Department, Nouakchott, Mauritania, Africa.
- “Working with the Difficult Adolescent”, Virginia State Conference for Visiting Teachers and School Social Workers, Lynchburg, VA
- “Dual Diagnosis: Developing Treatment Models, Identifying Stakeholders, and Building Grants”, co-presenter, American Counseling Association, New Orleans, LA
- “Clinical Supervision: A New Perspective”, VADAP Summer Training Institute, Williamsburg, VA
- “Administration of Substance Abuse Programs”, VADAP Summer Training Institute, Williamsburg, VA
- “Treating Chemical Dependency: A New Perspective for the 90’s”VADAP Regional Workshop, Roanoke, VA
- “Solution Oriented Therapy for Chemical Dependency: Specific Applications”, Conference on Substance Abuse Treatment in the Virginia Department of Corrections, Richmond, VA
- “A New Approach to Treating Adolescent Substance Abuse,” Virginia Counselor Association
- “Introduction to Brief Solution Oriented Therapy with the Chemically Dependent”, VASAP Training Conference, Roanoke, VA
- “Solution Oriented Group Therapy”, Danville-Pittsylvania CSB, Danville, VA
And here are some of the topics he has presented on:
- “What to Do, When You Don’t Know What to Do.”
- “Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools”
- “Recovery Enhancement and Addiction”
- “Developing Effective Strategies for Therapy: A New Perspective”
- “Therapeutic Interventions with Disruptive Children”
- “Managing Personality Disorders: A Perspective from the Movies”
- “Treating Families of Adolescent Drug Users”
- “Toxic Shame”
- “Stress Management”
- “Relapse Prevention, Part II, High Risk Management”
- “Introduction to Dual Diagnosis”
- “Introduction to Substance Disorders for Mental Health Counselors”
- “Adolescent Drug Use and Assessment”
- “Introduction to Couples Counseling”
- “Treating Cocaine Addiction”
- “Suicide Assessment of Children and Adolescents”
- “Treatment Planning for ODD Children”
- “Developing a Clinical Perspective When Working with Youth”
How do I set up a session?
Call Jon Winder Counseling at 434 239-0003 to set up an appointment.