Two years ago, my husband experienced a trauma involving his parents and family that no one should ever have to experience. A wound so deep and penetrable, it is a wonder he continues to love as deeply and devoutly as he does. Although the stimulus is no longer a threat, his pain continues to be relevant today.
The Zyto Scanner
Yesterday I borrowed a Zyto Scan from a health coach friend. "Each ZYTO scan begins by measuring the body’s responses to 35 neutral signals. The median response to this neutral stimulus becomes the Range, or the parameter of the body's response to energetic stimulus in general. Once the range is established, the software introduces specific Virtual Stimulus Items and compares the response to the parameters set in the range"*.
I was excited to scan myself and family to see what our bodies might be lacking. I scanned for Lemon, Grapefruit and the Citrus Blend. My interpretation of this scan is my need for detoxing and chill-axing. Great information.
My 12 year old daughter, who has a history of PANDAS scanned for the Protective Blend which makes PERECT sense. We've been lax with applying this before and after school. She also scanned for Omega 3s and Sandalwood. No surprises here. All of those made good scientific sense, knowing her medical history and where her body and brain are today.
Next my 9 year old son scanned for the Calming Blend. YES! That was a perfect recommendation for getting him to stop screaming and being so spastic. I grabbed this blend in the moment and smoothed 2 drops of it down his spine. He also scanned for Omega 3s. Because I have been trying to help his little brain focus more and stay on task, this also made perfect sense to me. He also scanned for Oregano and Melaleuca. Interesting for me to get the information that his runny nose may be about to sprout into a bigger sickness. Got it. I'm on it. Get the Oregano and Melaleuca. I diluted these with fractionated coconut oil and applied them to his feet before the night was over (and again this morning).
But my husband. He was a different story. He scanned for The Cell Renewal Blend and Omega 3s. This made sense due to a chronic illness he has been battling. This was no surprise. What came as a surprise was the Helichrysum. Why on earth did he scan for Helichrysum? When I think of this essential oil, I think of the skin. I know Helichrysum is great at reduce scarring, wrinkles, age spots...these are what I think of when I look at Helichrysum. Why on earth did he scan for this?
The skeptic that my husband is (he didn't even want to be scanned to begin with), focused immediately that the scan didn't pick up that he was feeling depressed and anxious. He was right. It didn't appear to find this. Although his trauma initiated two years ago, it had just picked up momentum again within the past week. He was definitely feeling really pulled down by it all. Why didn't this show up? And what was up with the Helichrysum?!
Every Essential Oil Has an Emotional Component to It
Out of curiosity, I grabbed my Emotional Healing with Essential Oils book*. What did it have to say about Helichrysum? What I read was astonishing. My jaw dropped when I read the following "...It aids 'the walking wounded' - those with a history of difficult life circumstances, trauma, addiction, loss or abuse. These individuals need the powerful spiritual support of Helichrysum..." It went on to read that Helichrysum can help give hope and emotional strength to help the individual get back on the path to recovery.
Interesting. I know from experience that the best way to get emotional/mental health support from essential oils is by diffusing them. Diffusing essential oils allow them to be taken into the brain to bring calm to the limbic system. I decided to marry the results of my daughter's scan with my husband's needs and diffused 2 drops of Sandalwood and 2 drops of Helichrysum. Within minutes, my husband's face was smoother...less tension. After 2 rounds of diffusing, a few hours a part, he was able to talk about his emotional journey and where his path and been taking him. He noted that the essential oils helped him feel calmer and less distraught. Wow. Who would have thought.
Being Mindful in the Therapy Office. Scan? Diffuse?
I love learning new things. To think about anxiety and emotional distress through a different lens. A lens that is specific and hits the target more directly. When I think of anxiety, my go to oils are Wild Orange, Calming Blend, Grounding Blend, Vetiver etc. What I learned today was that if I am open minded and seek to understand, then I will get more answers. Better answers.
What are you Doing?
Those of you who practice, are you using your essential oils with your clients? Do you diffuse, offer helpful workshops or even offer free Zyto Scans? Our field is taking a turn. Thank goodness. We are seeing a shift happen that is making us look more towards teaching our clients to find balance, mindfulness and solutions within themselves and their nearby natural worlds. I encourage you to learn, read, be taught and teach others. Being a cutting edge therapist and teaching this knowledge to others can be a priceless gift to those who receive it. Being a cutting edge mama can provide just as much value...even MORE.
Help your body help itself. If you are experiencing a wounded heart, loss or trauma, maybe try a little bit of Helichrysum. It just may give you the extra leverage you need to finally reach the next level OR give you enough support to find good solid help.
Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils
The above blends are listed by their type of blend and not the actual name. Every company calls their blends by different catchy names. Hopefully listing them by type will help you identify what to purchase. I will caution you. Not every oil is the same. Make sure you do your research to determine that the company you choose produces therapeutic grade oils, otherwise you are buying concentrated perfume that will not help your health at all.
** Emotional Healing with Essential Oils Manual 1, 2nd Edition; Macdonald, Daniel; Enlighten Alternative Healing, llc, 2012
A Cautiously Optimistic Look at the Energy Flow in Marriage and Relationships. By Gabrielle Anderson, lmft
During the meditative process of my yoga class today, the instructor talked about fear. "What if instead of using the word fear you instead choose to be cautiously optimistic? What would this change? How would you view the world and your own life differently"?
To be cautiously optimistic. What would this cost? What could be gained? My thoughts immediately go to the balancing act in which many couples find themselves engaged, in order to create equilibrium and peace in their relationship.
As a family therapist, I see many couples throughout the week. Quite often I find myself talking about the negative cycle and faux balance that couples attempt to create within their relationships. This concept is based on a pursue/withdraw theory.
The Complimentary Puzzle Pieces of Marriage
Think about your significant other. Contemplate his/her temperament, likes, dislikes, conflict style, etc. Chances are you are similar in some ways yet very different in others. We tend to marry our compliment. Someone who fits us enough to be able to puzzle piece with us, yet different enough to be able to fill in some of the gaps that our own style and personalities leave.
In the beginning of a relationship, this difference creates wonder and excitement and can feel safe and well rounding. As couples develop negativity and begin to grow distant and cold or passionately conflictual, these differences cease to feel complimentary and begin to breed disappointment, anger and often resentment.
The Negative Cycle
In an attempt to bridge the gap of distance, couples often develop a negative cycle. The most classic of them all is a pursue/withdraw cycle; wherein both roles have a duty to perform in the marriage. The pursuer's job is to draw out problems in an attempt to purge, resolve and heal. The withdrawer's job is to protect and keep the couple from creating any more damage and distance.
So one pushes and the other backs away. One may be called a "nag" while the other may "have no feeling". Both are designed to help, yet neither extreme method does.
To Be Cautiously Optimistic in Marriage
Here is where the mediation of today meets the couples therapy of tomorrow. What might it cost a "pursuer" to give up fear? To stop fearing the worst, to stop shining a light on the dark corners of the relationship? To let go and hope that the relationship will find it's way back to closeness?
If you are a pursuer and are yourself in a negative cycle, you know the answer. IT"S TOO DANGEROUS TO GIVE UP FEAR. What a quandary. It seems logical to try to find that path of optimism. Even cautious optimism. Letting go of fear, not to wander blindly but to be cautiously optimistic.
Still. It feels dangerous... Because it is.
Changing the Flow of the Relationship
One of the beginning goals of couple's therapy is to close the gap in the negative cycle and attempt to get the energy to flow BOTH WAYS. In order for the pursuer to back off and allow peace to creep into the relationship, there must first be trust. Trust that the protector will engage, no longer withdraw and begin to pursue.
If both parties back off, stop fighting and pursuing, the marriage can die. One of the most dangerous marital dynamics is the relationship where NO ONE is pursuing or fighting for closeness.
The Rising Withdrawer and Shrinking Pursuer
How can one be cautisoluy optimistic in a dynamic as such? The first person to understand in a withdraw/pursue dynamic is the one who withdraws to protect. What would need to happen in order for the protector to come out and not withdraw? Sometimes the pursuer needs to learn to communicate safer, other times it is due to past pain and hurt, maybe the withdrawer is depressed.
Whatever the needs, it is important that the pursuer hears them so that s/he knows how to help the protecting partner get what is needed to allow energy to flow from him/her into the relationship.
Next it is the pursers job to then learn to ALLOW the withdrawer to complain or create tension. To allow this equal flow of energy enables the couple to live more within the boundaries of equilibrium and less in the dark lonely corners of extreme. This means the pursuer must create self discipline to then begin to complain less and tread on negative topics more carefully and mindfully as to keep the protector engaged.
Now You Can be Cautiously Optimistic in Your Relationship
Now it feels safe enough to let go of fear and embrace cautious optimism. Fear is often present for a reason. Learn to listen to it's voice, hear it and grow through it. When we embrace fear too long, it can be crippling to our emotional and physical health and can create many chronic problems that can take years to resolve and heal. Fear can be a helper if we respect it's power and then yield to cautious optimism as soon the opportunity arises.
Fear and Optimism in a Marriage
Listen to the voice of fear in your marriage. What is it trying to tell you? Do you trust enough in your partner and the dynamic or relationship to complain from a cautiously optimistic stance? Can you use what is not working to help you move to a closer place all the while remaining a team of equilibrium?
All good relationships have troubling times. If your relationship feels as if it is struggling too much and it is becoming too difficult to find your way back to each other, get an appointment for couples therapy today. Don't wait until tomorrow, reach out today.
Gabrielle is a licensed family therapist in Northern Virginia. She is a married mother of two and is in constant search of peace, balance and new growth.
These blog entries are written by our very own clinicians. When inspiration hits, another entry will be logged.
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