Anxiety | Kay Trotter

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All Posts Tagged: Anxiety

College Stress: Get the Tools You Need

College Stress

Is your son or daughter home from college, or they stressed-out, burnt-out, over scheduled? Summer is a perfect time to give them the tools they need by developing effective strategies to achieve emotional and academic success with one of our counseling life coaches. College can be an overwhelming time in a student’s life. Our Counseling Life Coaches are dedicated to helping students get the most out of their college experience.

Our Counseling Life Coaches work with students in the following areas in order to support them in maximizing their college experience:

  • Improving effectiveness in and out of the classroom
  • Building life and leadership skills
  • Creating balance and managing stress
  • Boosting self-confidence and developing goals for the future
  • Empower students to set their own goals, take action toward them, and celebrate the progress toward, and completion of, their goals.
  • Apply the lifecoaching tools their personally and academically life.

Call Today 214-499-0396

Not sure of your level of your college stress? Take my Stress Quiz: How Stressed are you.

Here is a quick de-stressor that can be done anywhere at any time to help you relax and calm down when they feel stress.

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EMDR – help for anxiety and trauma

EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, is a psychotherapy used for individuals who have experienced severe traumatic events and have not resolved these experiences.

While originally developed to treat adults suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), the use of EMDR has successfully been implemented for children, especially those who have experienced a trauma or loss. Events such as a car accident, playground injury, abuse or neglect, or the loss of a family member or friend can often begin to trigger fear and anxiety. Separation and divorce are also sometimes a starting point to fears of abandonment in children. And, EMDR therapy has effectively been used with foster and adoptive children due to loss and many changes in their lives.

The thinking behind EMDR is that, when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm normal cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms. The person then inadequately processes the memory and associated stimuli and dysfunctionally stores the memory in an isolated memory network.

EMDR therapy involves focusing on the memory while following eye movements or bi-lateral movement, similar to REM sleep. It reprocesses the memory from past to present and gives the mind a new way of focusing toward mental healing. EMDR does not re-traumatize though because retelling is not processed, thus making it effective for children or clients who were wounded at a pre-verbal age.

The goal of EMDR therapy is to process these distressing memories in order to reduce their lingering influence and allow clients to develop more adaptive coping mechanisms.

One reason EMDR can be so effective is because it happens inside the client’s mind. Since people think, on average, seven times faster than they talk, and since EMDR doesn’t require the client to talk through everything he or she is mentally experiencing, it enables individuals to deal with traumatic memories more quickly.

Typically, the use of EMDR can cut therapy time from years to only months. While it takes a few sessions for children to learn the therapy before being used, some adults can find relief almost immediately. It is a gentle method and parents can participate in sessions with their young child.

According to the EMDR Institute, Inc. with children, “children most likely to benefit are those who have seen or experienced a trauma or loss.  A car accident, playground injury, abuse or neglect and the loss of a family member or friend can often begin to trigger fear and anxiety.  Separation and divorce are sometimes a starting point to fears of abandonment. “


EMDR can also be useful in treating children who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) because clearing away fear, or the “emotional noise,” helps children and families tackle the complexities of ADD. Sometimes medication may be needed, and coupled with EMDR, children are better able to focus, are less impulsive and more organized. In some cases, they may be able to leave the medication behind.

 EMDR can also treat other psychological problems, including:

  • Panic attacks
  • Eating disorders
  • Addictions
  • Anxiety, (such as discomfort with public speaking or dental procedures)
  • Trauma


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How Stressed Are You?


Do you diminish or categorize your stress as “normal” or “it’s no big deal, everyone has stress?”

It is not uncommon for people to downplay the stress in their daily lives, not really knowing the true amount of stress they are under, or what is considered a stressful situations. It is important for you to know what causes your stress and stress needs to be understood, especially how stress can impact your health. This STRESS QUIZ is designed to help you discover the amount of stress you may be under and do not even realize it.

Rate yourself as to how you typically react in each of the situations listed below. There are no right or wrong answers. Circle the statements in each column that apply to you. If a particular area of your life doesn’t generally cause you stress, skip it.

Cause of Stress
Mild – 1 pointModerate – 2 pointsSerious – 3 points
WorkI work part-timeI work full-timeI work more than 40 hrs wk

Number of kidsOneTwoThree or more

ParentsMy parents occasionally need my helpMy parents have chronic problems and need my help more and moreMy parents live with me because of chronic problems

In-lawsMy in-laws occasionally need my helpMy in-laws have chronic problems and need my help more and moreMy in-laws live with me because of chronic problems

HealthI have typical complaints for my ageI have mild heath problemsI have moderate to severe heath problems

MoneyI manage to save a little but not muchI am often worried that I don’t have enough moneyI have serious money problems

WeatherI experience seasonal problems, such as depression on gray daysI experience severe weather problems, like hurricanes and tornadoesMy home has been affected by a weather related disaster.

SpaceWe are crowded at homeWe have just barely enough space at homeWe have fights over space every week

CommutingI commute less than half hour a dayI commute from a half hour to an hour a dayI commute more than one hour a day

Support SystemI have some friends and family near by but not enoughI have family and friends, but most are not nearby.I have almost no one I can talk to or get support from.

Family ProblemsMy family has normal problems with friends, and neighborsMy family has moderate problems that affect our happinessMy family members have serious learning, physical, or mental problems

NeighborhoodIt could be betterIts marginalIts not safe

Other ProblemsI have occasional other problems at home, work or schoolI have frequent other problems at home, work or schoolI have multiple other problems at home, work or school, that never seem to get better


If you score in the 0-13 range, you have a MILD amount of stress.

If your score is 14-26, you have a moderate amount of stress. You are approaching the DANGER ZONE

If your score is 27-39, you need to understand that stress is a SERIOUS THREAT TO YOUR HEALTH. You need some extra support from a counselor, or close friend. I urge you to make your health a priority for you and your family.

How Stress Impacts Your Health – short-term stress can keep you awake at night and make you feel irritable and edgy. High stress levels over a long period of time can cause serious health problems such as high blood pressure. And high stress can weaken your immune system and make it difficult for your body to fight disease. Stress is linked to health conditions such as depression, heart disease, and asthma.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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How to De-Stress


One of my favorite de-stressor or coping skills that I teach to all my clients young and old that can be done anywhere at any time is “Deep Breathing.”

Deep Breathing is a very powerful and very simple technique. It’s amazing how just taking just 3 deep breaths changes your brain chemistry proving you with instant relief to stress and tension.  This type of breathing teaches you to breathe slowly from your “diaphragm” or belly. Deep breathing relaxes you and directly reduces many of the symptoms of anxiety and panic – Don’t believe me! Give it a try

Just 3 deep breaths changes your body chemistry


  1. First sit comfortable with your legs uncrossed and place one hand on your belly about 2 inches below belly button.  Let your eyes close.
  2. Focusing your attention on your belly as it rises and falls as you slowly breathe in and out. Now let your breathing get even slower, and count one…two…three as you breath in and one…two…three as you breath out. Expand your belly as much as you can – like a balloon.   You know you’re doing “belly breathing” right when you can feel your belly expand.  Then, exhale to the slow count of 3, just letting all the air out of the balloon.  As you exhale, just feel yourself letting go of tension.
  3. Keep repeating the belly breathing to the slow count of 3.  As you breath, try to keep a continuous flow of air without thinking about the beginning or end of each breath.
  4. Pay attention only to the feeling of the breath.
  5. If other thoughts wander in, just let them wander out again.
  6. If you have trouble getting the hang of Belly Breathing, try lying down and putting something on you’re belly. Then put all your attention into making it go up and down with each breath.
  7. Once you have mastered your Belly Breathing, you can use it when you have symptoms of anxiety or panic.  Many of the “scary sensations” of panic are related to “hyperventilation”, which simply means rapid breathing.  Also, during panic, people tend to breathe from the chest instead of from the belly.  Breathing rapidly from the chest increases anxiety.  Breathing slowly from the belly lowers anxiety and reduces many of the “scary sensations” of panic.If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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What is Animal Assisted Therapy?

Guest AuthorDaniella San Martin-Feeney is the Program Coordinator for Chimo Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). Chimo AAT is a non-profit initiative based in Edmonton, Canada, which facilitates the implementation of AAT programs in health and social service facilities, as well as schools.  Their focus is on mental health, and their mission is to facilitate the use of animals to help those in need.

Murphy - certified therapy dog

If you’re like most people, even if you’ve heard the term animal assisted therapy (AAT), you’re not entirely sure what it entails.  You know there is an animal or many animals involved, and you assume there must be some kind of therapy!  Well, hopefully this post clears up some of the unknowns for you.

AAT is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal is an integral part of the treatment process.  A therapist who utilizes AAT operates from their professional foundation and facilitates change in a client through the client’s interactions with an animal. AAT differs from other forms of therapy with animals in that AAT is the most clinical of all therapeutic interventions with an animal.  Clients have specific goals set by the therapists, and the outcomes of AAT are measured by the therapist.

Other forms of therapeutic interactions between humans and animals include pet visitation and animal assisted activities (AAA).  Pet visitation allows for informal interaction between animals and clients, however no goals are set and no specific outcomes are expected.  AAA involves the intentional use of companion animals to provide opportunities for motivational, recreational and educational benefits.  Again, there are no set goals for clients participating in AAA.

AAT, AAA and pet visitation all have numerous therapeutic benefits.  There are however, differences between them.  A single client may enjoy the benefits of different types of interactions with animals.  For example, a client may have the chance to cuddle a cat through a pet visitation program.  The visit with the cat makes the client happy, and even helps to relieve some stress.  Later that day, the same client may work with psychologist who is using AAT.  The psychologist may use a dog’s behavior or perceived feelings as an analogy for the client’s behavior, or feelings.  In this way, observing and interacting with a dog may bring about insight about a client’s self, and help the client to progress in their therapy.  In an AAT setting, the therapist is documenting the client’s progress.  Both pet visitation and AAT interactions with animals are beneficial to the client, in different ways.

AAT is used by many different professionals including psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, nurses, recreation therapists, teachers, counselors, and other therapists.    It can take place in a variety of settings, from the typical office setting, to a ranch off the beaten path!

Many different types of animals are appropriate for use in AAT.  In urban settings, we most often see dogs, and less frequently, cats.  A popular sub-field of AAT is equine assisted therapy, or equine assisted counseling.  This almost always takes place on a farm or ranch.  Of course, many ranches used as counseling centers are home to many helping critters, and even small animals such as rabbits and birds can be highly effective helpers in therapy.

I hope this helps give you a clearer picture of what AAT is.  Did it help?  Do you have other burning questions about AAT?

Be sure to watch for Daniella  AAT case studies that feature three of her certified therapy dogs: Murphy (pictured above), Marley and Donovan.

Visit Daniella at Chimo Animal Assisted Therapy web page:

Check our her blog at:

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