Monday, December 27, 2010

Relationship Conflicts : Where Did the Love Go??

Relationships are seldom as simple as we would like. They bring out our needs, anxieties, and conflicts with people from our past – parents, friends, and former partners.

When we enter into a relationship we expect to be loved just for being who we are. A relationship should provide a safe zone where our partner values us for expressing our own uniqueness. This is a simple expectation. Indeed, this is the way most relationships start out. Why, then, does it seem so hard to maintain this ideal, blissful state of unconditional love over time?

Our relationships with our partners are colored by our own personal legacies. We often react to our partners as if they were someone else – and this will likely cause conflict in the relationship.

How we perceive our partners is influenced by how we learned to deal with other people in the past. This process can go back into early childhood, even to infancy. Indeed, our earliest primary attachment to a caretaker – a mother, a father, perhaps another adult – can have an effect on how we deal with other people for the rest of our lives. For example, if our earliest experiences taught us to trust in the world, then we are likely to take a trusting attitude toward people throughout our lives. Conversely, if a child is never shown love during the earliest stages of life, it may be a challenge during adulthood to learn how to experience and express love. Early experiences from childhood can have a powerful effect later on. (This is a strong argument for treating children well.)

Children experience both good and bad in the world. Plenty of good experiences, like love and trust, feel comfortable and produce a positive self-image in children – a positive way of defining themselves. Bad experiences, though, create feelings of conflict and frustration. These negative experiences also go into the self-definition that the child eventually develops. But they don’t feel compatible with the more positive feelings, so, according to one theory, the child projects them onto somebody else. (Projection means finding in someone else the qualities that you don’t want to accept within yourself – like blaming your partner for being controlling when you are the one who has the tendency to want to control.)


It is not only early childhood experiences that cause us to project our unacceptable feelings onto someone else. Friends can have the same effect, as can partners from our previous relationships. This is a process that happens throughout our lives. How many times have we heard someone say, “Treat me for who I am – I am not your former partner”?

The major point to keep in mind is that we project our own problematic feelings onto another person. For example, if we have an issue with jealousy, we will project our own jealousy onto someone else – perceiving that person as the jealous one. This is because we can’t tolerate seeing ourselves as having a problem with jealousy – and it’s easier to attribute it to someone else. In other words, we feel unable to correct the problem in ourselves, so we focus on this issue in the other person. And this happens with a number of problems – anger, dependence, distrust, laziness, and the list goes on. The way out of this, of course, is to become aware of our projections and understand how they affect our relationships.

When couples experience conflict in their relationship, projections are often at the root of the problem. If we are living with our own conflicts and are unable to make any headway in understanding them, it’s as if we look for the problem in the other person. In fact, at a certain level, we may actually seek out partners who have the qualities that we find problematic within ourselves. If we have difficulty with our own controlling behavior, we may seek out partners who do just that to us – people who dominate us. Our partner may not see him or herself as domineering, but because we need to work out our own problems with the issue of dominance, we search for these qualities in the other person. We take any cue we can from our partner and magnify it. Then we’re able to project our own problem onto the other person, saying it is
their fault. By blaming the other person, we protect ourselves from having to come to terms with our own issues. We can safely continue our controlling pattern and blame the other person for having the problem. And the price we pay for this? Relationship conflict.

The healthier option, when projections are causing relationship conflicts, is to increase our awareness of our own internal conflicts and understand how we project these conflicts onto our partner. We can look for examples of our projections in other life situations until we see a pattern. When we have awareness of the problem, we can understand the many ways it influences our behavior – and this can give us some control over the problem. We can then try out new ways of dealing with people. For example, when a person experiences frustration
time and again from feeling dominated by others, learning some healthy assertiveness techniques can alleviate the problem.

It is important to understand...
...that projections are not at the root of every problem that couples experience. Sometimes one of the partners does indeed have a real behavioral problem.
In this case, it is not advisable to try to understand it as a projection, but to see it for what it truly is and to take appropriate measures to change the situation. Working with a professional therapist is a good strategy for addressing relationship conflicts.

The Other Partner Colludes

An interesting phenomenon happens when a partner is the recipient of a projection – the one being projected upon. Because this person is trying to smooth out the conflicts, he or she may identify with the projection. So, the couple now begins to define their problem in this way. The person receiving the projection starts to say, “Yes, I have a problem with being too dominant, and I need to work on it.” In fact, this person may start to behave in a way that confirms the projection. It may never have occurred to this person that dominance was a personal issue in the past, but because it is brought up frequently through the first partner’s projections, the second person may create a self-definition that conforms to the projection. The recipient of the projection can either take in the projection – believing that it is true and behaving accordingly – or, in the more mature case, can modify it, insisting that the projection is not a true representation. In this case, the recipient can actually help the partner come to terms with his or her own issues and restore some health to the relationship.

The person doing the projecting may define the whole of the other partner as having the problem, and the recipient of the projection may do the same – to define the problem not just as a part of the self, but the whole self. When this happens, the couple may forget about the positive parts of each of the partners and concentrate instead on only the problematic areas. The mistake here is this – when we work on our relationship conflicts, we need to draw on the positive parts of the relationship rather than focusing entirely on the problems.

When a couple first gets together, they focus on their similarities – those parts of themselves that are compatible. This is when the intimacy and trust of the relationship are formed. It isn’t until the relationship has matured that the negative projections begin to take shape. This helps to explain why some couples who were so perfect for each other in the beginning start to have conflicts as time goes by. When the negative projections begin, the partner doing the projecting tends to withdraw from the intimacy of the relationship and to focus more on seeking some independence. And the second partner may then withdraw as well. This is when the couple may start to experience serious relationship difficulties.

It Takes Two

The process of projection in a relationship is not always one-sided. Things can get complicated when both partners are mutually engaged in this process – and this is a common occurrence. It becomes difficult for the partners to see where the problem lies. Take a look at the following example.

An Example – Chris and Pat

Chris grew up in a household where the parents were emotionally withholding. Affection was seldom expressed toward Chris and the other siblings, although material needs were always provided. Chris always searched for nurturance, love and support, the things that were never provided in the household – and harbored some anger that the kids were never given these things. Of course, this anger was never expressed, for fear that it would lead toward even more emotional deprivation.

Pat, on the other hand, had two very controlling parents. It was hard to experience independence during childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, and this led to hidden resentment that could never be expressed.

When Pat and Chris first got together, they both felt liberated, as if all of their dreams and hopes for a relationship could be met in the other person. Chris saw in Pat a person who appreciated freedom and was genuine, affectionate, and willing to give love and emotional support. Similarly, Pat saw in Chris someone who valued love, trust, and respect for personal integrity. Their first year or two together were the happy times.

Over time, however, Chris’s resentment, harbored since childhood and never resolved, became attached to Pat. Rather than seeing all the positive qualities in Pat that formed the basis of the initial attraction, Chris focused negatively on Pat’s need for independence and not being at home enough. Pat is accused of always being out with friends and finding the job more important than the relationship.

Pat, on the other hand, sees Chris’s demands to be at home more often as control, the same thing that caused such resentment during Pat’s childhood. Rather than focus on Chris’s more positive qualities of love and trust, Pat accuses Chris of acting like a parent who would not allow independence.

The couple is at an impasse. Chris accuses Pat of emotional withdrawal. Pat blames Chris for being controlling. They aren’t able to see their way out of their dilemma until they start to work with a therapist who is able to clarify the patterns. And for this couple – with some exploration, courage, and insight, there is hope.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Relationship Addiction

The experience of finding the right partner and falling “in love” is one of life’s true joys. It brings a feeling of euphoria, passion, connection, and hope for a happy future. It can lead to a lifetime of loving contentment. Of course, sometimes it lapses and becomes one of our memories, sometimes pleasant and sometimes not. The “high” that comes from this feeling of loving passion, at least for some people, is so compelling that they use it to fill gaps in their lives, much as they might use a drug. Being in love, for them, can resemble an addiction.

The source of an addiction is found within the person, not in the substance itself. Some people can use a drug, including alcohol, and not become addicted. Similarly, some people can enjoy the high of being in love as a positive life experience without any indication of addiction. Other people, depending on their needs, their abilities, or their backgrounds, use the euphoric feelings that come from an outside source of gratification (drugs, relationships ... or gambling, videogames – the list is endless) to create a false sense of fulfillment in their lives. They have difficulty looking within to find a way to achieve contentment, so they look outside of themselves for a way to soothe their internal feelings. Everyone does this to a degree. But when it takes on a compulsive quality that inhibits more positive life experiences and leads to negative consequences, it can be called an addiction.

People who use relationships addictively usually harbor a sense of incompleteness in their lives – emptiness, despair, feeling lost, or sadness. They may lack a feeling of attachment to love that has roots in early childhood. They believe their feelings can be remedied through finding that comforting feeling of euphoria that comes through a love relationship. An addictive relationship has a compulsive quality about it. While a healthy love relationship implies that both partners freely choose each other, in an addictive relationship there is a compulsive drive that limits this freedom (“I must stay in this relationship even if it’s bad for me.”) There is also an overwhelming feeling of panic over the thought of losing the relationship, even if there are arguments between the two partners and both know the relationship should end. If the relationship actually ends, there are pronounced withdrawal symptoms, much like drug, nicotine, or alcohol addicts experience when they go “cold turkey.” They may experience weeping, physical pain, sleep disturbance, depression, irritability, and the feeling that they have no place to turn to now. These feelings are so intense that they might drive the person into another addictive relationship immediately. After this period of turmoil ends, however, the addicted person senses a period of triumph or liberation and they don’t typically go through the long, slow experience of acceptance and healing that characterizes the ending of a healthier relationship.

The Relationship Addiction Process
Addictive relationships typically go through a process that usually starts with an innocent attraction to someone – and this quickly turns into an infatuation. The relationship addict, who is hungry for love, feels exhilarated and blinded by “love at first sight.” This turns into an excessive preoccupation with the loved one involving hours of fantasy about how the relationship might turn out. (Of course, this happens in normal love relationships also – but the degree to which this happens in an addicted relationship is enormous. This a case in which feelings control one’s life while rational thought is abandoned – and this is not a healthy style of living.) Love addicts then project all of their dreams for eternal happiness onto the loved one (most healthy people, of course, realize that they are ultimately responsible for their own happiness).

These fantasies trigger the dependency phase of the relationship. The love addict then develops the fear that the relationship could come to an end, and with it, the end of hope for a happy life. These fears lead to an obsessive quest to hold on to this relationship at any cost – even if it means control and manipulation.

This is when the relationship typically begins to deteriorate. The relationship addict puts so much energy into molding the relationship into what he or she needs that the other person begins to feel smothered, intimidated, and ungrateful. The loved one resents having to live to meet the needs of another person, especially when there is a feeling of control (people typically want to maximize their own life experience rather than using a great deal of their energy to make another person feel comfortable). The loved one may even express resentment in the form of lying, cheating, taking for granted, or abusing the love addict. This puts a severe strain on the relationship and it makes the relationship addict try even harder. A vicious cycle begins.

Love addicts keep on trying, however, attempting at all cost to keep alive the dream of experiencing happiness through the other person. The pain of going through this can be immense. They go into denial, acting as if everything is going well. They are not able to see where the true problem lies, which is in their own unmet needs and their addictive resolution. They idealize the relationship, even though it is barely viable and not meeting the needs of either partner. A relationship addict who is at this stage of a deteriorating relationship might consider a good, healthy intervention with a professional therapist. Failing to find help can have severe mental, emotional, and physical consequences. There comes a time to make a major life change and to learn how to deal with the pain in a different and more productive way.

Symptoms of Relationship Addiction

Premature Bonding
Relationship addicts have an overwhelming need to bond with someone. This goes beyond a healthy need to connect with others. Unfortunately, this need to form an instant attachment tends to overwhelm other people and pushes them away. And it leads to poor decisions about whom to let into one’s life.

Excessive Fantasies
Throughout the course of the relationship, the addict spends a great deal of time thinking about the other person and how perfect things will be. Even after the relationship has ended, the fantasies about getting together again may continue. Of course, a healthy love relationship also involves fantasies, but addictive fantasies have an obsessive quality about them. These fantasies tend to take over one’s day. The need to fantasize takes precedence over socializing with others, work, taking care of normal daily routines – and they tend to become dreams or expectations that must come true.

The Need for Excitement
Addicts in general crave getting “high.” Relationship addicts base their ideas about a relationship on romance, and this involves creating drama. They might pick fights just to experience a rush of excitement. An ordinary argument becomes a war. They see reality in terms of their own needs, so they easily read between the lines (“No matter what she says, I know she really loves me”). A love addict fails to understand that a normal relationship involves a series of highs and lows – in real life, lows do not mean that the love has ended. They see an ordinary relationship as boring because it lacks a sense of constant excitement.

Exaggerated Anxiety and Jealousy about the Relationship
Relationship addicts typically have fears left over from earlier experiences in their lives when they had been neglected, rejected, or abandoned. Their greatest fear in adulthood is feeling lonely because this reminds them of their earlier negative experiences – and they never want to endure that again. They need to feel attached and find it difficult to live independently. So, in their relationships they tend to look constantly for signs that things are not going well. They become possessive of their partner, experiencing anxiety when the partner is not present, and frequently accuse or nag the partner.

Ineffective Expression of Emotions
The relationship addict, because of difficult earlier life experiences, is confused and overwhelmed by emotions. For example, she might feel that anger leads to rejection or abandonment, so she doesn’t express anger and instead holds in all emotional expression – and when someone expresses anger to the relationship addict, she is unable to tolerate it. She might harbor painful feelings that seem unrelated to present circumstances. She may become stoic (relationship addicts have a great tolerance for suffering and endure substantial pain rather than face the prospect of a breakup of the relationship). Because she suppresses her normal, flexible emotional expression, she may revert to polarized expression of feelings (“all or nothing”) – for example, love or hate (but nothing in between), vigilance or complacency, fear or courage.

Loose Personal Boundaries
Because many relationship addicts have issues with self-esteem, they have weak personal boundaries. They lose their sense of individuality and become enmeshed with their partner. They don’t know where their needs and emotions begin and where their partner’s end. If their partner feels happy, they feel happy. If their partner feels sad, they feel sad. If they sense that their partner wants them to be a certain way, that is what they become. They have difficulty saying “no.” Unfortunately, this sets the stage for being treated with disrespect. Addictive relationships show a lack of equality between the two partners.

The healthy love relationship can be viewed in terms of two independent people who come together and make a commitment to each other. They each have the freedom to live as they choose within the boundaries of the commitment, and they are loved by their partner for showing integrity in how they live. Their partner encourages them to follow the beat of their own drum. The commitment enhances each partner’s ability to experience a full life – with love, security, and support.

Friday, December 10, 2010

What About Depression?

Everyone feels sad from time to time. It’s only natural. Most people go through blue days or just periods of feeling down, especially after they experience a loss. But what experts call clinical depression is different from just being “down in the dumps.” The main difference is that the sad or empty mood does not go away after a couple of weeks – and everyday activities like eating, sleeping, socializing, or working can be affected.

Estimates indicate that perhaps one in three (some say one in five) adults in the general population experiences a depressive disorder (e.g., major depression, bipolar disorder, dysthymia, post-partum depression, or seasonal affective disorder) at some point in their lives. In any given year, over one in 20 people will have a depressive episode. For each person suffering directly from depression, three or four times that number (relatives, friends, associates) will also be affected to some degree. It is impossible to obtain exact figures because so many people try to live with this condition without looking for help. Recent studies suggest that this condition is on the rise, especially among single women, women in poverty, single men, and adolescents. National tragedies or natural or environmental disasters can also generate depressive symptoms for large parts of a population.

A depressive disorder can change a person’s moods, thoughts, and feelings. Without appropriate treatment, this condition can go on for a very long time – weeks, months, or years. Even among those suffering from depression, most do not know they have a treatable condition. Most blame themselves or may be blamed by others. This leads to the alienation of family and friends who, if they knew of the illness, would likely offer support and help find effective treatment. Although this is one of our most devastating emotional disorders, treatment can bring relief to over eighty percent of those who experience depression.

Several causes of depression have been identified. For example, the illness has been seen to run in families, suggesting that some people may have a genetic predisposition to depression – and this may show itself particularly during times of stress. However, it is important to note that just because you have a family member with depression, you are not necessarily going to suffer from this condition yourself.

Sometimes a major change in a person’s life patterns can trigger a depressive episode. These changes may be due to serious illness, a period of financial difficulties, stressful relationships, or a severe loss (such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or the loss of a job). Researchers find that people who are easily overwhelmed by stressful events, tend to worry, have low self-esteem, and see the world in a pessimistic way are more prone to depression than other people.

Types of Depressive Disorder

Not all depressions are alike. The nature of one’s depression depends on the cause and on each person’s individual adaptation to this disorder. Here are several generally recognized forms of depression.

Major Depression

A major depression is different from a state of normal sadness. People who experience depression describe it as agonizing pain that cannot be shaken and seems to have no end in sight. They feel trapped and often talk about having a dark empty pit in their chest or stomach that cannot be filled. Some depressed people contemplate suicide. Virtually all people with depression complain about reduced energy, reduced concentration, and the inability to complete projects. About eighty percent of depressed people say they have trouble sleeping, with frequent nighttime awakening during which they worry about their problems. Many people with depression oversleep during the daytime. Many people with this disorder report that they have had either an increase or a decrease in their appetite, sometimes accompanied by weight gain or loss. About fifty percent of people with depression say that their symptoms are worse in the morning and that they feel a bit better by evening. Half of all people with depression report only one severe episode within their lifetimes, but the remainder may have this happen twice, or repeatedly, during their lives.

Here are some symptoms of major depression –

  • Diminished ability to enjoy oneself
  • Loss of energy and interest
  • Difficulty concentrating; slowed or fuzzy thinking; indecision
  • Magnified feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or anxiety
  • Decreased or increased sleep and/or appetite
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Recurring thoughts of death


Another common form of depressive disorder is called dysthymia. This involves having chronic, long-lasting symptoms of depression, which are not disabling, but prevent a person from functioning at top capacity or from feeling good. Women experience dysthymia about twice as often as men, and it is also found in those who lack a relationship and in those who are young or with few resources (such as a low income or few social contacts). The primary symptoms of dysthymia (which means “bad humored”) include a depressed mood, a feeling of being down in the dumps, and a lack of interest in usual activities for at least two years. People with dysthymia can experience any of the symptoms of major depression, but usually not to the degree that may be found in a full-blown depression. Dysthymic people, though, are vulnerable to moving into a major depression during times of stress or crisis. Dysthymia often leads to a life without much pleasure, and many people with this condition feel that it is simply a part of their personality so that they never seek treatment.

Symptoms of dysthymia include –

  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Insomnia (lack of sleep) or hypersomnia (oversleeping)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Fatigue or low energy

Bipolar Disorder

A third type of depressive disorder is bipolar disorder or manic-depressive illness. This disorder, which is much less common than major depression, is characterized by a pattern of cycling between periods of depression and elation. These cycles, or “mood swings,” can be rapid, but most often occur gradually over time. When in the depressed part of the cycle, the person can experience any of the symptoms of depression. When the person moves into the manic or elated phase, however, he or she can experience irritability, severe insomnia, inappropriate social behavior (like going on spending sprees), talking rapidly with disconnected thoughts, increased energy, poor judgment, and increased sexual desire.

There is strong evidence that bipolar disorder is largely an inherited condition, and many people with this disorder respond well to medication.

Some symptoms of bipolar disorder are –

  • High energy with a decreased need for sleep
  • Extreme irritability
  • Rapid and unpredictable mood changes
  • An exaggerated belief in one’s abilities
  • Impulsive actions with damaging consequences (e.g., charging up credit cards, sudden love affairs, etc.).

Two other forms of depression –

Post-Partum Depression is linked to hormonal changes following the birth of a child. This can be a serious form of depression, sometimes with psychotic features, but most sufferers respond well to treatment.

Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is found among those who are sensitive to the shorter days of winter, especially those who live at northern latitudes. Many people with SAD respond to daily exposure to fullspectrum lighting.

A depressive disorder is a serious condition which affects virtually every aspect of a person’s everyday life experiences. It is not a sign of personal weakness, although many depressed people feel guilty about not being stronger and tend to blame themselves. It is not possible just to “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” in order to get better. The sufferer should find the help of a trained professional. A depression is a time for introspection and reflection, a time to discover what has gone wrong and what can be made better. A trained professional can help the person with depression begin to see things in a more positive light.

Many people respond to psychotherapy alone in their treatment for depression. Others are helped by a combination of therapy and an antidepressant medication. Medications can facilitate the healing process. People also benefit by acquiring the life tools that are learned in psychotherapy. Recent studies have indicated that medication alone without psychotherapy doesn’t work in the long run as well as psychotherapy alone or psychotherapy used in conjunction with medication. What is most encouraging about this devastating condition is that so many people do get better when they find the appropriate treatment!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Elena C. Jones, Spiritual Life Coach, joins Dr. Quintal & Associates

Elena C. Jones is a professional spiritual life coach as well as a psychic medium, who taps into the power center both within the client and within the coach. Giving credence to this immaterial intelligence, coaches can aid clients in hearing the messages in their heart, supporting them to take action and effect changes from that place of inner strength.

Elena has a rich life experience; born in Southern Italy she grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, eventually moving to the United States 30 years ago. She served three years in the United States Air Force. She later studied business and philosophy in academic and authentic environments.

Elena is a well established Psychic Medium in the Tampa Bay Area. She is a caring conduit connecting you with your loved ones on the other side, she helps to bridge the gap between the physical and the spiritual plane of existence. Elena uses all of her skills of clairaudience, clairvoyance and mediumship. She is able to communicate with Ascended Masters, Spirit Guides, Angels, Archangels and Spiritual beings. Over the years, Elena has dedicated her life to service and bringing the most positive levels of healing and unconditional love to her clients.

Her love and passion for helping people inspired her become a Reiki Master Healer, a Spiritual Life Coach, and a Spiritual Counselor. Elena reads and speaks Spanish, as well as English and Italian.

At Dr. Quintal & Associates, Elena helps clients in the following areas:
  • Personal
  • Career
  • Spiritual
  • Relationships

Friday, November 26, 2010

Things You Can Do to Deal with Depression

  1. Give yourself permission to feel depressed. Don’t expect too much from yourself, since this will only lead to feelings of failure – and this in turn perpetuates the depressive pattern. Don’t fight the depression so hard. Giving in to it may alleviate the depressed feelings. (However, if you have suicidal or other destructive thoughts, you are advised never to give in to these – and to consult a professional immediately.)

  2. Try not to set difficult goals for yourself or to take on more responsibilities than you can realistically handle. Break large tasks into smaller ones. Set priorities and take things one at a time. Learn to comfort yourself when you feel depressed.

  3. Realize that you may have negative thoughts – and that they are a symptom of the depression. One thing you may focus on in therapy is turning negative thoughts into positive ones.

  4. Postpone important life decisions until your depression is brought under control. If you must make major decisions, consult others who can be trusted and can take an objective view of the situation.

  5. It is important during a depression to avoid the use of alcohol or drugs. While you may feel a temporary “high,” this can lead to a dangerous pattern of highs and lows which can ultimately create a negative spiral that is very difficult to get out of.

  6. Try to spend as much time as you can around other people. While this may seem impossible, it is better than being alone. It is important not to overdo it, however. Feeling better takes time.

  7. Recognize that there are certain times of the day when you feel better. Use these times to your advantage.

  8. While it may seem impossible, try to get some exercise. Pumping up your heart for even half an hour every other day does wonders for your mood, and you can do this by taking a walk. Don’t blame yourself, though, if you cannot accomplish as much as you think you should.

  9. Treat yourself, everyday if possible, to some activity that makes you feel better. Take a walk in a park or enjoy a bubble bath. Read an interesting article, listen to some music you like, or attend a social or religious function.

Friday, November 19, 2010

New Patient Testimonial

Dear Dr. Quintal,

I would like to say “THANK YOU” from the bottom of my heart for improving my life. I must admit that I was apprehensive about you being able to help me with my situation but miraculously you did.

After spending just 3 short hours with you, my life is so much better. Upon leaving your office that day, I immediately noticed a change. I even sang out loud with my stereo on the way home (something I rarely do). I could feel all of my fears and anger just disappear. It’s a godsend that there is someone like you to help people. Unfortunately, you “fixed me” so well that I probably won’t see you again but I will forever recommend you. You are a wonderful Doctor and a wonderful person!

Your BIGGEST fan,

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bouncing Back From Hardship

All of us experience major disruptions at certain points in our lives. In fact, this is an expected and predictable hallmark of the human condition. For some, these hard times come frequently – the impact of the trauma is overwhelming and recovery, if it comes at all, can be painfully slow. Others show resilience and are able to glide through these times fairly easily, bouncing back to a normal life again quickly. Resilience – the strength required to adapt to change – lies at the heart of mental and emotional health.

Research studies in recent years have focused on the struggles faced by those who have been emotionally, sexually, and physically abused as children, as well as those who have grown up with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders. They share in common many of the characteristics of those who have endured traumas later in life, such as war, the loss of a loved one, natural disasters, financial catastrophes, or a major illness. What has been most interesting in these studies is the finding that some traumatized people – both those with childhood abuse and other challenges, as well as those who experienced life disruptions in adulthood – suffer virtually no ill effects from the trauma. In fact, in many cases they seem to have grown stronger and led more integrated lives. This unexpected finding has guided researchers to explore the nature of resilience.

The normal life cycle contains predictable periods of life disruption. For example, when we move from childhood to adolescence, everything we had previously known about the world goes through a jarring transformation. During this period of life disorganization, our bodies go through tremendous hormonal and developmental changes, our definitions of other people change, our motives and interests change, we learn how to define ourselves as individuals with autonomy, and we expand our range of social relationships. Similar stages of disruption occur when the adolescent moves into young adulthood, and then into a permanent relationship, possible parenting, middle age, and then retirement and aging. These periods of transformation can induce potent emotional reactions such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, and anger. Those who lack resilience find these changes to be a struggle. Others welcome the changes and move through the transformations easily and naturally.

Other periods of disruption can be caused by unexpected events that turn life upside down. An automobile accident, an illness, the death of a loved one, divorce, national tragedies, acts of terrorism, war, natural disasters such as floods or hurricanes, the loss of employment, and financial upheavals can challenge our ability to cope. Any of these can become “make or break” situations, depending on the degree to which resilience comes into play.

We all have the capacity to reorganize our lives after a disruption and to achieve new levels of order and meaningfulness if we know how to activate our resilience. In fact, in order to mature through the process of meaningful change and reintegration, we may need to experience life disruptions. In other words, life disruptions are not necessarily a bad thing because they help us to grow and to meet future challenges in our lives. During the depths of chaos we are vulnerable because we do not know what lies ahead – but as we learn and adapt during the chaos, we prepare ourselves to meet further stresses in the future. The failure to pass successfully through any cycle of chaos and stress may leave us crippled with regard to future life disruptions.

All of us can learn methods to become more resilient. Sometimes, however, our lack of closure on previous life experiences blocks us from adapting to new periods of stress as they come along. A woman, abused emotionally by her father in childhood, for example, may have great difficulty in accepting his death if she still carries unresolved conflicts surrounding the early abuse. By working with a professional psychotherapist or counselor, she may be able to achieve some closure on the abuse from her childhood and this would open the way for her to accept his death more readily – that is, with resilience. Similarly, a man who was exposed to physical violence in childhood may find it difficult, because of his unresolved issues with anger and victimization, to accept a national trauma such as a terrorist act. He may continue to dwell on issues of anger and injustice for months after the event, to the detriment of his job and family life. Again, working with a trained professional can be the route for this person to gain closure on his unresolved issues and to work toward a more integrated approach regarding acts of violence in the future.

Developing resilience depends on many factors in addition to achieving closure on previous life experiences. Those who are resilient have many of the following characteristics –

A Sense of Hope and Trust in the World
Those who are resilient seem to believe in the basic goodness of the world and trust that things will turn out all right in the end. This positive attitude allows them to weather times when everything seems bleak and to look for and accept the support that is out there. This approach toward the world gives them the ability to hope for a better future.

The Ability to Tolerate Pain and Distressing Emotions
Some people can deal with pain better than others, and this may have a biological component. For example, some can deal with the dentist without any difficulty, while others dread having a tooth drilled. The same holds true with emotional pain. Some people can tolerate anxiety and others become incapacitated in the face of stress. It is encouraging to know that, with the help of a professional therapist and some practice, one can learn to deal better with emotional pain. Biology is not necessarily destiny.

Interpreting Experiences in a New Light
Sometimes we look at situations in a way that keeps us stuck in a negative thinking pattern. Those who are resilient have the ability to look at the situation in a new way (this is called “reframing”) that can minimize the impact of the trauma in their thought process.
One benefit of working with a therapist during a life disruption is that new and more objective definitions of the traumatic situation can be developed and this opens the way to handle the crisis more successfully. Resilient people take a creative approach toward solving a problem, reinterpreting old definitions in new ways.

A Meaningful System of Support
One of the best ways to endure a crisis is to have the support of another person who can listen and validate our feelings. Knowing that others care and will come to our support lessens the feeling of isolation, especially when tackling the problem alone. It is important to be selective in choosing people to trust, and no one person can be expected to be the perfect means of support. Often it takes several friends, each of whom can provide different kinds of support. Resilient people are proficient in making friends and keeping them. They have the judgment to know who their friends should be – as well as the ability to give and take in their interactions with others.

A Sense of Mastery and Control Over One’s Destiny
Resilient people seem to have a feeling of independence and a sense of their own life in perspective. They do not feel that they are at the mercy of forces that aim to crush them. When they see a problem, they tackle it – because ultimately they know that their survival and the integrity of their life values depend on it. They have a sense of personal responsibility and the self-discipline it takes to accomplish their goals. While they have a sense of their own independence, they also have the freedom to depend on others, setting
appropriate limits on their dependency.

A Good Self-Image and Self-Respect
People who show resilience generally have been treated with appreciation, care, and love from early childhood on. They have learned to see themselves in a positive light and to see themselves as people who deserve to be treated with respect by others. When a life disruption creates a challenge to their self-image, they are able to restore their feelings of self-esteem quickly. Without a positive sense of self, some people find themselves stuck in a crisis, often secretly feeling that they deserve the negative experience which has transpired in their lives. Fortunately, positive self-esteem can be reinforced in therapy.

Self-Reflection and Insight
Resilient people have a capacity for learning. They are able to talk about their lives, their experiences, their thoughts and feelings. They can provide a coherent autobiographical account of who they are. They have the ability to develop an objective explanation of their strengths and weaknesses. One of the goals of therapy with a trained professional is to provide the person with the ability to reflect on their lives and, from this self-reflection, to develop insight into their current life circumstances. Rather than feeling defensive about their life circumstances, they are open to new ideas and are flexible enough to try new tactics for dealing with problems. Resilient people are able to learn from their mistakes, and they do not punish themselves because they have made them.

A Wide Range of Interests and a Sense of Humor
People who show resilience in the face of adversity are those who have a diversity of interests in their lives. They are open to new experiences and ideas. Because their lives are rich, they can draw on a variety of experiences when their lives are disrupted – a hobby, a different group of friends, a talent. They can find relief from the single-mindedness and worry which often accompanies a period of crisis. Finally, they can laugh. Humor has both psychological and physical benefits in relieving the stress of trauma because it encourages a swift change in our perception of our circumstances – and when our thoughts change, our mood follows.

Dr. Quintal & Associates
5460 Lena Road, Suite 103
Bradenton, FL 34211

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lately I am irritated and anxious over little things; would Rapid Resolution Therapy be helpful?

Often times people come in to see me because they are not happy with their current behavior. They find themselves more easily irritated, agitated or aggravated. Maybe the smallest little thing sets them off when normally it used to not do that. Rapid Resolution Therapy is very effective for those types of treatments. It is very effective in clearing out what the root cause of what the problem was for that person. So that automatically they are thinking and acting in ways that make sense to them. Rapid Resolution Therapy is very effective for the treatment of anxiety and anger issues; very effective for those who have found themselves more on edge; who have found themselves more irritated and agitated by experiences that they are going through now; and they are no longer wanting to act or react in that way. Rapid Resolution Therapy is very effective in treating those types of issues.

Dr. Quintal & Associates
5460 Lena Road, Suite 103
Bradenton, FL 34211

Monday, October 18, 2010

How Common Is PTSD?

Statistically, approximately 7-8% of people in the United States will develop PTSD in their lifetime, with a higher occurrence in combat veterans and rape victims, ranging from 10% to as high as 30%.

While available statistics are only based on those who are clinically diagnosed, there are many more cases of PTSD which have not been reported or properly diagnosed. Experts believe that at any one time in the United States there are an estimated 5 million people who suffer from PTSD. Many people currently being treated for anxiety or depression may actually be suffering from PTSD. If diagnosed as PTSD and treated with an effective therapy method, these people could overcome those negative feelings and behavior and dramatically improve their lives.

There is a common misconception that trauma stays with you forever—this is NOT true! Specialists in trauma resolution have developed revolutionary methods that have proven to be highly effective in eliminating the underlying roots of trauma. These methods focus on replacing negative emotions with positive feelings, thus eliminating the pain. (See TREATMENTS for effective methods of treating PTSD)

Dr. Quintal & Associates
5460 Lena Road, Suite 103
Bradenton, FL 34211

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What is Anxiety?

New anxiety and panic disorder treatment - rapid resolution therapy, emdr and CBT.Anxiety is a common reaction to the stress of everyday life or to a particular situation. It is a normal emotion often associated with a feeling of uneasiness, fear or worry. Everyone feels anxious from time to time—like when you’re running late or interviewing for a job. People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), however, feel some anxiety or worry almost constantly. They often anticipate disaster or have exaggerated worries about a wide range of issues, from their health to their families to their daily responsibilities. Yet even when they recognize that the worrying is excessive, it is hard to control. GAD affects their body, too. Many people with generalized anxiety disorder visit their doctor with problems—such as sleep trouble or muscle aches—without realizing these are common symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. People suffering from anxiety often experience depression as well. In fact, as many as 90% of the people diagnosed with anxiety also suffer from symptoms of depression. Anxiety disorders are treatable.

Anxiety Disorders

The emotional condition of a person suffering from anxiety is typically accompanied with a variety of uncomfortable physical symptoms including heart palpitations, headaches, name a few. (Refer to SYMPTOMS for more details on how to recognize an anxiety disorder.) The onset and occurrence of these symptoms are categorized into different types of anxiety disorders:
  • Generalized anxiety: physical symptoms typically last all day, usually mounting from worry and stress related to small and big daily issues such as work, school, health or financial concerns.

  • Panic attacks: the sudden and intense rise of an uncomfortable physical symptom or symptoms (i.e., dizziness, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, sweating) brought on by heightened fear and often the thought of impending doom.

  • Phobias: physical symptoms appear when a person is faced with a particular situation or object triggered by irrational fear; common fears are acrophobia (fear of heights) and claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces). It also can be an intense, persistent and reoccurring fear of certain objects (such as snakes, spiders or blood). These exposures may even trigger a panic attack.

  • Obsession/compulsions: rather than the presence of physical symptoms, this type of anxiety affects a person’s behavior and thought process, typically arising from excessive fear; repetitive actions or rituals, exaggerated and persistent thoughts as well as feeling out of control are typical.

  • Social anxiety: when a person is subjected to public attention or surrounded by other people, unpleasant physical symptoms emerge; the person often has an excessive fear of being criticized or disapproved by others.

  • Post traumatic stress: probably the most severe of anxiety disorders; physical and emotional symptoms follow a specific life-threatening, dangerous or fearful event and usually remain with a person indefinitely. (Please visit for more detailed information about PTSD and effective treatments available.)
Enduring an anxiety disorder can be debilitating and is a serious mental illness. Collectively, anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the United States affecting over 40 million Americans. People with anxiety disorders seek medical relief for symptoms that mimic physical illnesses. However, there is often an underlying cause or event for the anxiety, though it may not be easily recognized or controlled. If properly diagnosed and treated, people with anxiety disorders can experience freedom and relief and regain control of their lives. (See TREATMENTS for effective therapy for anxiety disorders.)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dealing with Emotional Pain

When a person undergoes a life disruption, it may not advisable to take medication that will alleviate the pain immediately. When pain is alleviated with medication, the person’s motivation to make changes is reduced. And there is a great deal to learn from the process of managing emotional pain. (Of course, there are times when medication becomes necessary, especially with the suicidal thinking that may accompany a major depression. Many other life crises can be endured better with the use of medication. This is a medical decision.) When you undergo a major life crisis, you need time to gain insight into what has gone wrong and achieve integration again. Emotional pain, while unpleasant, serves its purpose, just as physical pain does in alerting us to something that is going wrong in our bodies. It prompts us to take action.

Similarly, drugs and alcohol may help to alleviate emotional pain – but then the opportunity to learn our life lessons vanishes. Reinforcing pain chemically may allow old patterns of behavior to continue – in which case, paradoxically, the pain you are trying to escape will persist into the future. Pain spurs us to learn new ways of coping.

There are tactics that people in crisis can use to get through the crushing periods of pain that accompany a life disruption. These methods do not end the pain, which has value, but they allow us some relief for a time.

First is diversion. Sometimes we need to remove ourselves physically or mentally from our emotional pain for a while. We can take a weekend trip, read a book, watch an engrossing movie, talk to a friend, take a walk or get some other physical exercise. Diversion allows us time to heal and it may give us sufficient distance from a problem that we can come back to it again and perhaps see it in a new light.

The second tactic for dealing with emotional pain is to stay in control over those aspects of your life that you still have some ability to control. A major life disruption can leave you with the feeling that you have no control over events. However, you can use self-discipline to clean your residence, bathe, feed the dog, water your plants, and pay your bills. Stay in control of those things that you can control, and let those things which are uncontrollable run their course.

Finally, find someone who can show you empathy.

There is no better way to relieve emotional pain than to talk to a trusted friend or therapist who can say with conviction, “Yes, I understand – and I care.”

Dr. Quintal & Associates
5460 Lena Road, Suite 103
Bradenton, FL 34211

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why Doesn't Trauma Get Better Over Time?

There are three reasons why trauma doesn’t get better over time. Here’s a way we can think of it:

The first reason why trauma doesn’t get better over time is because when going through an experience that was a painful or confusing or weird or troubling or upsetting or traumatic, that experience slammed into the person’s consciousness and left its impression. Picture my hand slamming into the sand and it leaves an imprint of my hand in the sand. Kind of like the sand hasn’t yet gotten the message that my hand is no longer there. The first thing that keeps the trauma stuck is that impression. Meaning the deeper part of our mind, not our intellect, but the part of our mind that controls our automatic functions, that part of our mind has a tendency to confuse the impression left by the experience, thinking it is the experience itself. It is why somebody who was in a robbery 20 years ago begins to tell you about it and as he is talking about it he gets all emotional. Why is that happening to him? Well, what’s happening is the deeper part of his mind is confusing the impression, or the thought of the experience, thinking it is the experience itself. That is the first thing that keeps the trauma stuck.

Here is the second thing that happens: When going through disturbing events a meaning gets attached to that troubling event and if you ask a person who is troubled what happened they’ll typically tell you the meaning that their mind attached to what happened, thinking that they are telling you what happened. I’ll give you an example of somebody who came in to my office. She had left work at about 4:30 in the afternoon. She walked out to her car when two men in a truck drove up. One of them punched her in the face. They dragged her and threw her into the back of that pickup truck and raped her. This is what she said when she came in to visit me. She said ‘You know I’ll never forgive myself for that.’ And I said ‘For what?’ You might be thinking the same thing. She said ‘Well, you know, being so reckless, so careless, so stupid. I can’t believe I put myself in danger like that.’ What happened was that was the meaning that got attached to that troubling experience. And, of course, the more upsetting something was, the more distorted the meaning would be that got attached to that experience. The meaning that typically gets attached to bad experiences are something to do with ‘I was bad, I was wrong or there is something wrong with me.’

The third thing that happens once those first two pieces are slammed in place, the impression and the meaning, is that our mind will have a tendency to confuse things that are structurally similar but will confuse it as identical. Let me give you an example of that. Let’s say we have a returning Iraqi combat soldier who is walking down the street with you. You guys are engaged in a wonderful conversation. It is a beautiful, sunny day and an old pickup truck drives by and it back fires. And now our soldier is on the ground, hugging the grass, screaming. What just happened to him? We call that experience, of course, a flash back. But what happened? The deeper part of his mind confused the similar sound, but confused that sound as identical and had that guy react as if he were in war.

Those are the three things that keep the trauma stuck, and those three things have one thing in common and that is they are all based in distortion. Because, my hand print isn’t the same thing as my hand. The meaning certainly isn’t what happened. And how different is a car backfiring than machine gun bullets? So Rapid Resolution Therapy clears the impression and turns the lights on so that the deeper part of the mind gets the really good news that the troubling experience is no longer happening. As soon as that happens it no longer ever confuses things that are similar as identical. No more flashbacks.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is shrouded with mystery and misunderstanding because it is the only part of the healing profession that is also done as a stage act.  What hypnosis actually is has nothing to do with what most people think it has everything to do with.  When I have gone out and done presentations for doctors and mental health professionals, one of the things that I’ve learned is that the cup is already full with what people think hypnosis is.  And so in order for me to actually explain what it is I first need to empty out that cup.  So hypnosis has nothing to do with being ‘out of it’ or ‘under it’ or being controlled or losing control or mind control.  Hypnosis has nothing to do with being suggestible or susceptible; and really has nothing to do with relaxation or concentration, which of course, is what most people think hypnosis has everything to do with.  But what hypnosis actually is, and I am sure you out there have had this experience before.  Have you ever had the experience of yawning after somebody else yawned?  Of course, you were consciously aware of yawning but you didn’t decide to yawn on purpose, which means that the subconscious part of your mind responded to that yawn with a yawn.  That’s hypnosis.  Or let’s say you are out at a restaurant, you were connecting with a friend you hadn’t seen in a while and you guys are having a wonderful, intimate conversation.  And then all of a sudden you notice that the people who were sitting at the table across from you have left and a new couple are there.  You check your watch and you notice ‘Oh My god, what happened to the time?’  IN that profound, deep connected state – that’s hypnosis.  Hypnosis is the powerful tool that we utilize to work with the subconscious part of the mind, the feeling part of our mind, so that it’s on board with the types of changes that we are interested in having happen for you.  Because the intellectual part of our mind, up here (touch forehead) isn’t connected to this part of our mind (touch heart).  That’s why somebody can intellectually understand something yet not emotionally feel it.  We utilize hypnosis to work with that subconscious part of the mind so that it’s on board with the types of changes we’re interested in having happen for you.

Dr. Quintal & Associates
5460 Lena Road, Suite 103
Bradenton, FL 34211

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The US Army Recognizes Rapid Resolution Therapy on Their Website

The U.S. Army featured a news article on the front page of their website about using Rapid Resolution Therapy to effectively treat PTSD.  Follow this link to read the article:

Dr. Quintal & Associates
5460 Lena Road, Suite 103
Bradenton, FL 34211

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How Long Will the Results of Rapid Resolution Therapy Last?

Rapid Resolution Therapy lasts a lifetime. Once you are done, none of the traumatic experiences will ever be troubling to you again. You could be talking about them while eating a slice of pizza and never feel the pain from those past experiences. Because the work is being done at such a deep level it changes things permanently.

There was a time in your life that you believed in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny and now you don’t. Can you go back to believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny? No, because once you got it, you got it. As soon as your mind updates and gets the good news that the troubling experience is no longer happening there is emotional freedom.

I mean, think about it, there was a time in your life when you didn’t know how to ride a bicycle and all of the information and in-site and understanding and knowledge on how to ride a bicycle didn’t make any difference on whether you could ride the bicycle. And then there was the moment that you had an experience where you got balance and as soon as that happened you can go 20 years without riding a bicycle and still be able to hop on and ride. When the trauma has been cleared, it’s been cleared and will no longer trouble the person again.

Dr. Quintal & Associates
5460 Lena Road, Suite 103
Bradenton, FL 34211

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Won't My Trauma Always Live In My Memory?

Lots of people ask that question because they have been experiencing pain every time they thought about that troubling experience. So people often times go “Well, how can RRT really clear the trauma? Won’t it always live in my memory?”

The traumatic experience didn’t actually exist in the person’s memory, there is a memory of it; but that doesn’t mean it is the trauma. Just like if I said to you “I remember seeing a big yellow truck yesterday.” I have a memory of that, but does that mean I have a big yellow truck in my head? No, I don’t have a big yellow truck in my head but instead I have a thought about it. When something is traumatic the deeper part of the person’s mind has a tendency to confuse the thought of the experience – thinking it is the experience. That is why it is still troubling, meaning that that memory and trauma are active; and what RRT does is deactivate it. Meaning the person will still have the memory of the experience but it will no longer be associated with the painful emotion and the physical discomfort. When people are done working with me they could talk about the traumatic experience in detail without experiencing any pain at all because that memory is now just a memory. It has been deactivated and so it is no longer troubling or traumatic for that person.

Dr. Quintal & Associates
5460 Lena Road, Suite 103
Bradenton, FL 34211

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How Does Rapid Resolution Therapy Work?

Rapid Resolution Therapy utilizes purposeful communication that illicits a response from the subconscious part of the mind. Rapid Resolution Therapy is about adjusting the way a person’s mind has been responding to their world. Meaning, most of us when we think about ‘stuff’, we think that it is the stuff that causes the feelings. Either the stuff that has happened or the stuff that is happening or the stuff that might happen causes me to feel the way that I am feeling.

If we were to think of a guy who is stuck in bumper to bumper traffic; it’s the type of traffic that is not moving and he is going to be late for a meeting. And he gets so angry that he punches his steering wheel. And if we were to ask that guy what caused him to feel that angry he would tell us, of course, that the traffic caused him to feel that way. But, if just a few cars over there was another guy stuck in the identical traffic; yet this guy has got his windows down, his seat is reclined. He is feeling the cool breeze, his radio is on, he is singing loudly to his favorite song. If it was the traffic that caused the feelings, both of those two guys would be having identical feelings. So it is NOT the traffic that causes the feelings, instead the way that the person’s mind has been working. So, Rapid Resolution Therapy works to adjust the mind’s response so that it no longer works in the problematic or dysfunctional way causing the upsetting emotions and feelings that the person has been having.

Dr. Quintal & Associates
5460 Lena Road, Suite 103
Bradenton, FL 34211

Thursday, August 5, 2010

What You Won't Do In Rapid Resolution Therapy

  • In Rapid Resolution Therapy you won’t be exploring negative feelings.
  • In Rapid Resolution Therapy you won’t spend any time trying to gain incite and understanding into why you might be feeling the way you are feeling; and how you’re feeling now might relate to some past experience that you went through.
  • You won’t spend time trying to figure yourself out so that you can change yourself.
  • You won’t have to scream into pillows or rescue your inner child.
  • You won’t be spending any time trying to figure out how you can ‘let it go’ to move forward.
  • What you WILL do is fix the current problems that you are having so that you CAN move forward with comfort and ease.
To learn more about RRT and view the FAQ, please visit my website:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rapid Resolution Therapy vs. Traditional Therapy

Rapid Resolution Therapy represents a paradigm shift from traditional methods of talk therapy. Most therapy is client directed and the therapists job is to support the client, provide some insights, be an empathetic listener, help them realize they should have been treated better and encourage the client to take responsibility for their lives and actions so they can learn more about themselves and figure out a way to change themselves.

Many therapists will say things like, "You need to let go of the painful emotions of guilt and shame. You need to learn how to let go of the anger and resentment and figure out a way to forgive yourself or the perpetrator so you can move forward and live a healthy and happy life."

Most of us in the therapeutic profession and many of you reading this post might think that is a good thing. However, there is a problem with that way of thinking; it causes the person to feel stuck.

When you tell someone they need to figure out a way to forgive, you are telling them they need to feel a way that they can't feel and don't know how to do it. If you tell someone that they need to learn how to let go of a painful emotion like guilt, shame, anger or resentment, it's like telling a teenage girl who is getting ready to go to the prom and has a face full of acne that it is time for her to let go of those pimples. She would look at you confused and angry and say to you: I'm not holding them, they have got me!

We do not choose our emotions and if we don't choose them how could we decide to not have them? Emotions are caused by the primitive or automatic part of the mind. It makes sense why therapists would say those types of things. Almost all problems human beings encounter are solved by having more of an understanding about them.  My wife and I recently learned that our young daughter is allergic to wheat. The solution to this problem was for us to acquire more knowledge about what types of food have wheat and which types of food do not have wheat so we would know what to feed her.

However, emotional problems do not get better by having more understanding of why they are happening. Someone can learn and understand that the reason why they get triggered by this current event is because of some other experiences and other things they have gone through. That information may be useful for them after they get triggered and may lessen the time they are affected, but does not eliminate them continuing to get triggered.

Rapid Resolution Therapy changes the way the automatic part of the mind responds and heals the invisible emotional wounds.

To learn more about RRT and view the FAQ, please visit my website:

Friday, July 16, 2010

What is PTSD? What are the symptoms I might experience?? What types of effective treatments are available?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is much more common that most people realize. PTSD is not just for war survivors but anyone who has gone through an awful or painful experience that although the experience is finished it is still having an affect on the person. It may not be something the person is continuing thinking about but when the person has thoughts about the experience or anything in their environment reminds them of the experience even subconsciously they have a negative physical or emotional reaction.

The typical symptoms people may experience are depression, anxiety, anger, guilt and shame, sexual issues, medical problems, relationship issues, eating disorders, obsessions and compulsions, self-destructive behavior, dependency and addictions, and panic attacks.

Rapid Resolution Therapy is the most effective treatment for PTSD. RRT is a breakthrough approach and represents a paradigm shift from traditional therapeutic methods. RRT is fast, painless, and complete. Instead of it being up to the client to make the change for themselves, it is the therapist job to make the change for the client. If it was up to the client to make the changes, they already would have. Clearly they don't like feeling or reacting the way they have been. Even the best heart surgeon isn't able to perform the surgery on himself. He doesn't have enough distance.

Emotional problems do not get better by having more of an understanding of why the person is feeling the way they are feeling. The intellectual part of the mind isn't directly connected to the feeling part of the mind. That is why someone can intellectually understand and maybe briefly feel better but then something happens and they get retriggered.

RRT eliminates the triggers by updating the primitive part of the mind which has never gotten the good new the threatening situation is over. Once it realizes the threat is gone it stops confusing thoughts about the bad experience and situations similar to the bad event with the experience itself. The person is free and no longer troubled. Rapid Resolution Therapy truly heals the invisible emotional wounds and heals those who are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress. Even better, this is a fast and painless process for the client and often times can be completed in a single office visit.

To learn more about RRT and view the FAQ, please visit my website:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rapid Resolution Therapy and Neuroscience: Why does it work?

RRT is the most effective treatment for those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Rapid Resolution Therapy was developed by Dr. Jon Connelly and painlessly and completely heals the invisible emotional wounds, the ones that don't get better over time or through traditional talk therapy.

Much of our minds are operating in the same way as the mind of an animal. Like a rabbit, or a raccoon, or a rhinoceros. Primitive part of the mind controls basic survival responses such as breathing, heart beating, digestion, sweating and responses of flight or fight. Emotions are directed by the primitive part of the mind, not the intellect. Emotions are caused not because the animals mind is concerned about the animals mood, affect or feelings but to motivate action. When the wolf approaches the rabbit, the rabbit's mind causes the rabbit to become alert, motivated and stronger, in other words scared so it will quickly run away.

When the animal experiences a threat the animal's mind will increase strength to legs so it can run fast away or if it's cornered and can't run, increase strength to jaw so it can attack and bite hard. Human beings have the same physiological response. That is why when someone is nervous their legs shake and when someone is angry their face gets red and they have a tendency to clench their teeth.

When threatened, the hippocampus and amygdala which are part of the limbic system are activated. This is the fight or flight response. When going through something awful, horrible, painful, the experience will slam into conscious so all of mind's attention is focused on the threat. That is a good thing because when the rabbit sees the wolf we want all of the rabbits mind focused on escape, not daydreaming about carrots.

The problem for a human being is that the experience slams in in such a way that it gets stuck and confused so the primitive part of the mind thinks the bad experience is still happening. The hippocampus and amygdala stay active. The primitive part of the mind is in a hyperactive state and will be looking for experiences with similarity to respond quicker to the threat. The error that happens is that primitive part of the mind will confuse similar as same causing the fight or flight response. This malfunction will continue to happen until the primitive part of the mind realizes the past negative experience has been completed, finished, and no longer exists.

The only requirement to heal trauma is to keep the person emotionally present while they talk about the past troubling experience. Doing so keeps the hippocampus and amygdala at a calm or neutral state. Primitive mind realizes that it is just information about the past experience and not the experience itself. The memory is deactivated and the mind/body fully realizes the bad experience no longer. This is a fast and painless process for the client and often times can be completed in a single office visit.

To learn more about RRT and view the FAQ, please visit my website:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


If you feel lonely, you’re not alone. Loneliness is a subjective sense of isolation – a feeling of not being able to connect with other people, a sense of being apart. As humans, we feel the need to be with other people. We need to relate to others, to get involved in their lives, to work with them, and to express our emotions around other people. Our social needs are nearly as powerful as our other basic needs, like our needs for food, water, and shelter.

When we are deprived of our social needs, we can become fearful. Our sense of being alone might become amplified. It is common for a person in social isolation to magnify the thoughts that accompany loneliness – and then withdraw even further from others. When we choose to withdraw, we may end up feeling trapped in our isolation.

Given the importance of social connection, it is surprising that twenty percent of people feel sufficiently isolated that loneliness plays a major role in their lives. Over the past several decades our culture has changed to the point where loneliness has emerged as a major social and psychological problem. We are a culture that places a premium on individualism. We emphasize the importance of being able to do things on our own. Many people pride themselves on their ability to survive and experience success without having to depend on other people. The down side of this social norm, however, is that many of us feel lonely. We do need other people.

Research findings confirm that as a society we are moving toward more loneliness. Respondents to a social science survey in 2004 were three times more likely to report that they had nobody with whom to discuss important issues than respondents in 1985. During the past twenty years the size of the average household has declined ten percent to 2.5 persons. In 1990, more than one in five households was headed by a single parent – and today that figure is one in three. In 2000 more than twenty-seven million in the U.S. lived entirely alone, and the estimate for 2010 is twenty-nine million.

The Effects of Loneliness

Physical pain alerts us to the need to take action to end the pain. Social pain in the form of loneliness tells us to end our isolation. Indeed, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain indicates that the same region of the brain is activated when a person feels rejection as when they feel physical pain. Research has found that chronic feelings of loneliness accelerate the aging process. It has an effect on our stress hormones, immune function, and cardiovascular function, which, over time, are compounded.

Loneliness also has an effect on our thoughts and feelings. When we feel socially isolated, it is more difficult to concentrate and we are more easily distracted by unimportant events. Our self-esteem might plummet when we feel lonely. We tend to make small errors into catastrophes. We are more likely to have feelings of depression.

When we feel apart from other people, we find it more difficult to take corrective action when things go wrong – and we might find false comfort in addictive behavior. We might feel that everybody else is connected and happy – and here we are struggling to get by alone. Our thoughts may become distrustful, and we isolate ourselves even further from other people. We might think that we are destined to be alone, and then we may give up hope that things will ever get better. We may feel that if there were only a friend out there, life would be easier (and it would be).

Interestingly, research has found that people who feel lonely have as many social contacts as people who don’t feel lonely. And almost everybody has a feeling of being lonely occasionally. Loneliness becomes an issue only when it settles in long enough to create a persistent loop of negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Loneliness emerges from how we think.

Breaking the Loneliness Cycle

We create a reality for ourselves that determines how others view us. Other people observe this reality and use it to define us. Then they act toward us on the basis of that assessment. So, if we see ourselves as lonely people who are trapped in a cycle of isolation, others will also see us that way and will treat us accordingly. We then get caught in a negative feedback loop where we become self-protective, we distrust that others will like us, and we move even further into isolation. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When we get caught in this loop, we lose control and self-regulation. Our thoughts might become distorted so that we can’t take effective action in connecting with other people. Our level of activity declines, replaced by passivity and negativity. In our loneliness, we might not be able to read cues from other people appropriately, and then we make decisions that hamper our ability to break out of the isolation and make friends.

Obviously, the place to start when we want to break out of the loneliness cycle is to change how we view ourselves, despite our years of evidence that might convince us otherwise. And then we need to start taking action to bring people into our lives. It might sound hard, but it can change things for the better.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rapid Resolution Therapy: Healing the invisible emotional wounds.

RRT is a state of the art and cutting edge psychotherapeutic approach that has applications in all sorts of areas and two places it has the most amazing results is with complicated grief and trauma.

One of the most powerful tools you learn in Rapid Resolution Therapy is how to heal the invisible emotional wounds, the kind that typically don't get better with traditional talk therapy.  

What most therapists learn in graduate school is that when going through painful, horrific, traumatic experiences people are unable to express how it made them feel. Instead, they repressed the feelings, buried them, locked them behind a closed door and it is the therapists job to provide a safe and nurturing, warm and supportive environment for the person to emote, re-experience the past pain to release it.  It is a difficult and painful process for both the client and therapist (compassion fatigue).

Rapid Resolution Therapy provides an alternative view on Trauma.  When going through painful events, the experience slams into the person's consciousness and leaves it's impression (think of hand slamming into the sand).   What happens is that the deeper part of the mind, not the intellect, will confuse the impression left thinking it is the experience itself.

As a result, the primitive, deeper part of the mind is in a hyper state of awareness and will confuse thoughts about the experience thinking it is the experience. In addition it will confuse smells, images, voice tone, sounds, time of day and time of year with the painful experience causing the same physiological and emotional reaction as if the experience were happening.

The real problem with trauma is the deeper part of the mind has never gotten the good news that the bad experience is finished.  Instead of trying to get the feelings out, what one does with RRT is to update the primitive part of the mind.  To do this requires some skill but is easy and fun to learn.  The therapist job is to keep the client emotionally present as they recall the past troubling event. Once that happens, the person is no longer troubled by the painful experience.  The primitive part of the mind realizes the event is completed and finished. The triggers have been eliminated and the person is free.  This is a fast and painless process for the client and often times can be completed in a single office visit.

Dr. Quintal & Associates
5460 Lena Road
Suite 103
Bradenton, FL 34211

To Forgive

All of us have been hurt, in one way or another, by someone else. While it is easy to forgive a friend for the slight distress we feel over a phone call that was not returned, it is not so easy to forgive those who have harmed us in a major way. The greatest hurt seems to come from those who play the most significant roles in our lives. The enormity of the hurt may lead us to conclude that we can never forgive the other person. To forgive or not to forgive is one of our life choices. It is important for our own emotional well-being to understand that it is a choice, and a choice with consequences.

Consider this question – if the harm we have experienced leads us to a life dominated by unresolved anger, a negative image of ourselves, and an inability to trust, are we not allowing the perpetrator to continue to have power over us? When we have sleep-less nights cycling and recycling thoughts about old hurts, when we seethe with anger, when we ask questions repetitively that seem to have no answers, we continue to suffer the consequences of being hurt. Perhaps our goal should be to find a way to free our-selves from the damage and to reclaim our lives for ourselves.

There are many ways of being hurt. Some are minor and some are more severe. In some cases we are the unwitting victim of those who hurt us. At other times we collude in allowing ourselves to suffer by building expectations that make us vulnerable or placing our trust in the wrong places. Whatever the nature of the damage done to us, it is a potential source of learning. We can allow the hurt to keep us down as we continue to play the role of the victim – or, alternatively, we can learn to overcome it, adapt to it, try to make sure that it never happens again, and, if it does occur again, learn to deal with it more effectively.

Here are some of the ways that people are hurt –

Unmet expectations. We are disappointed when we build expectations that are dashed. We don’t always get what we want, and this is to be expected. When we build our hopes on achieving a major goal, however, like not getting the promotion we had hoped for or losing the love we had so longed for, the result can be catastrophic. The hurt can be enormous.

Humiliation. When we are ridiculed by others – especially during childhood, as often happens when children are called derisive names – or when our pride is wounded, as might happen when a supervisor at work berates us in front of others, the assault on our dignity may impel us to hide, put up impenetrable walls, and vow never to be hurt again.

Rejection. When we are rejected or abandoned, we experience loss – but perhaps more impor-tant is the fact that we hear the message that we are not good enough. We have to deal with grieving the loss of an important emotional bond – and our self-image is assaulted as well. The fear of abandonment is a powerful force in the lives of many people. This fear can have a strong impact on the way they relate to the world and other people.

Deception. Some people may manipulate or lie to us, using us to further their own goals. This occurs, for example, when we are asked to keep “family secrets” or to deny real problems. Not only do we learn to distrust others, but we might also come to distrust our own judgment for falling prey to the deceptions of other people. This harms our ability to trust, and our self-esteem as well.

Abuse. We hear about abuse frequently in the media these days. Abuse comes in many forms – physical, emotional, sexual, or through neglect – and it can happen in childhood or in an adult relationship. Many people who suffered from abuse during their childhoods go straight into an abusive adult relationship. The consequences are enormous for the victim. We feel low, unable to share with others, and suspect that others must somehow know about our horrible secrets. We are left with a sense of powerlessness and a legacy of guilt and shame.

Choosing to Forgive
Forgiving the one who caused us harm may seem like the last thing we would want to do. After all, by not forgiving, we can hold onto the belief that we have some power over the perpetrator and that we can therefore prevent the harm from ever happening to us again. Or we may be so invested in playing the role of victim that to forgive would mean giving up a large part of how we define ourselves. We may feel that evil should never be forgiven.

An important point to keep in mind, however, is that when we forgive, we are doing it for ourselves, not for the other person. Forgiving is one way of letting go of old baggage so that we can move on with our lives. Forgiveness does not change the past – but it does change what we can have in the future.

There are no deadlines for choosing the option of forgiveness. Forgiving is a highly personal act, and it will not happen until we are ready to let go of the old hurt and move on in our lives with a sense of personal empowerment. Premature forgiveness is not really forgiveness at all. We must prepare for it, and this requires a deep look into our lives. Above all, it is a choice – and some people may choose not to forgive at all. This is a perfectly valid personal decision in certain situations.

The Nature of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is not a way of forgetting the past. Indeed, if we have been harmed, we should not forget it. We can learn from the past about how to avoid being harmed in the future. Nor is forgiveness a way of exonerating the perpetrator. We recognize that the harm did happen, that the other person is responsible for this and must come to terms with their own guilt. We are not trying to minimize the harm or claim that the behavior was acceptable. When we forgive, we are not sacrificing anything or giving up our sense of self-worth. Indeed, we are doing just the opposite – by taking a stand that says that we are strong and finally free of playing the role of victim. Forgiveness is a way of declaring our integrity.

Forgiveness is a way of saying, “It’s time for healing. The pain of the past should now be put behind me.” Thus, forgiving is a way to express self-assertion and positive self-esteem. To forgive is to declare that our identity is centered around far more than the intense feelings that come from the past. It means that we have better things to do in life than continuing to live under the influence of the one who has caused us pain. Forgiveness implies that we no longer need to hold grudges – we no longer need self-pity or hatred, and we declare our independence from victimhood. Forgiveness signifies breaking the cycle of pain and abuse, giving up the belief that the other person should hurt as much as we do. It means abandoning the myth that if we hurt the other person, it will make us feel better. To forgive implies giving up the unrealistic hope that an apology will have the same meaning to the per-petrator as it has for us. It tells us that we are moving our energy from the negative to the positive.

A Forgiveness “To Do” List
  • Understand fully that forgiveness does not mean that it is all right for the aggressive behavior to ever be repeated. Forgiveness is meant for past behavior that was unacceptable.
  • Give up the unrealistic hope that the perpetra-tor will apologize, answer your questions or be able to explain why he or she hurt you. Even if apologies or answers were forthcom-ing, they would not alleviate the pain. The perpetrator’s views, and depth of insight, will differ from your own.
  • Understand that the pain is all yours, not the other person’s. When we forgive, it is for the purpose of dealing with our own pain.
  • Make up a list of the specific things that were done to you which you have decided to forgive. This means acknowledging and grieving the losses that have resulted from being hurt, and this may generate potent feelings of anger, sad-ness and fear. (These intense feelings may be an indicator that you may need to work some more on your losses before you are ready to forgive, and the help of a supportive person – a thera-pist or a trusted friend – may be needed as you progress through this experience.)
  • See if there were any positives about the rela-tionship. In some cases there may not be any-thing positive – but if they do exist, acknowl-edging them could help you move toward a more compassionate view of the relationship.
  • Write a letter to the perpetrator (this is a letter that you will never send). Allow your feelings to flow onto paper. Write freely about your hurt and anger, but include any positive feel-ings you may have about the relationship. If it feels right to you, acknowledge that the per-petrator may have been only doing the best he or she knew how to do at the time, or perhaps had been strongly influenced by her or his own upbringing. (If you don’t want to write a letter, imagine having a dialogue with the perpetra-tor. Or engage in a role-playing exercise with a therapist.)
  • Create a ritualized separation ceremony which ends the link between you and the perpetrator. For example, you might burn your letter and lists and then scatter the ashes. Or you might visualize a final goodbye where the perpetrator – and your feelings of hurt – will become smaller and smaller and eventually disappear. As part of this ceremony, give the perpetrator your blessing and forgiveness. You are now free to live your life unburdened by the pain of your past hurt. Celebrate that freedom.
“If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.”
– Mother Teresa

Dr. Quintal & Associates
5460 Lena Road
Suite 103
Bradenton, FL 34211