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Education
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Science
Social Sciences

Coaching Through Chaos Podcast

Updated about 23 hours ago

Education
Self-Improvement
Science
Social Sciences
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Conversations with experts to help you conquer the chaos in your life! You'll hear inspiring and motivating stories about relationships, finance, stress, conflict resolution, healthy living, addiction recovery , health and fitness, money management, success coaching. The show is hosted by Dr. Colleen Mullen, PsyD., LMFT, a therapist and expert in managing life's chaos!

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Conversations with experts to help you conquer the chaos in your life! You'll hear inspiring and motivating stories about relationships, finance, stress, conflict resolution, healthy living, addiction recovery , health and fitness, money management, success coaching. The show is hosted by Dr. Colleen Mullen, PsyD., LMFT, a therapist and expert in managing life's chaos!

iTunes Ratings

48 Ratings
Average Ratings
39
4
2
0
3

Love it

By Gr8ness25 - Dec 20 2019
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Great show. This podcast offers different strategies for listeners.

Love it

By Dr. Toboggan (Mantis) - Nov 03 2017
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Excellent Show, Keep It Up! Brent from Hysteria 51

iTunes Ratings

48 Ratings
Average Ratings
39
4
2
0
3

Love it

By Gr8ness25 - Dec 20 2019
Read more
Great show. This podcast offers different strategies for listeners.

Love it

By Dr. Toboggan (Mantis) - Nov 03 2017
Read more
Excellent Show, Keep It Up! Brent from Hysteria 51
Cover image of Coaching Through Chaos Podcast

Coaching Through Chaos Podcast

Latest release on May 18, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail about 23 hours ago

Rank #1: 013 - Why Try Resiliency - Christian Moore

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013 - Why Try Resiliency - Christian Moore by colleen mullen psychology motivation self-help life skills social work love relationships resilience san diego coaching therapy

Sep 01 2015

43mins

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Rank #2: Codependency for Dummies - Darlene Lancer

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The topic is codependency: what it is and what it is NOT; the difference between normal and codependent behaviors and what a person can do to help themselves.

Do you know someone who has

  • a need to be perfect,
  • low self-esteem,
  • poor boundaries with others,
  • a need to control their environment, and
  • chronic dissatisfaction in relationships ?

If those descriptions ring a bell, you probably know someone who may be considered 'codependent'.

If you’re into self-help at all, you probably have heard the term codependency- it’s often talked about it in terms of one having a codependent personality.  I want to be clear that codependency is NOT a diagnosable condition, although it is talked about in those terms. You may also have been familiar with it, but have been unsure of a clear definition of it. That’s because there is not 1 universal definition of it. There is however, consensus that it is a cluster of behaviors in relationships which can be somewhat easily identified and very often problematic.

The history of the term dates back to the 1940s and early 1950s. Primarily it was identified in studying the behavior of an alcoholic within the context of their family experience. The behaviors identified as codependent appeared to be a pattern in these families. The use of the term seemed to explode though a few decades later. In the 1980s with the advent of a focus of family system dynamics, several books came out designed to help people break those dysfunctional behavior patterns. The most famous book that still is referenced today on the subject is Melody Beattie's "Codependent No More". During that time, everyone started studying the families of alcoholics and saw these behaviors but as the clusters of behaviors became more recognizable, so did the fact that so many other people exhibited the same behavior patters who did not come from alcoholic families. The term is now popularly used to generally describe a cluster of behaviors in relationships.

Codependency Decoded

This article accompanies Episode 4 of The Coaching Through Chaos Podcast and focuses on behavior in relationships that have come to be identified as “codependent behavior”. We will explore the behavioral patterns that are identified as codependent, suspected causes of these behavioral patterns, some things a person can do to change their codependent behavior and some additional resources so you can learn more about the subject.

Darlene Lancer,JD, LMFT of Whatiscodependency.com and darlenelancer.com

My expert guest is Darlene Lancer, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Santa Monica, Ca. She has dedicated her career as a therapist to helping people work through and overcome their struggles with codependent behavior. She has several books published on the subject including “Shame and Codependency” and “Codependency for Dummies”.

What is Codependency?

Codependency is a term that came into popular psychology culture in the 1980’s, although it’s been around since the 1940s. With the advent of family systems psychology coming into its own in the 1970’s, the studies of family dynamics appears to have been a factor in the movement towards identifying codependent behavioral interactions in the 1980’s. For as much as it is widely used in popular psychological vernacular, it does not have a universal definition, but rather it is used to describe a common set of behavioral patterns. In the 1950’s, codependency was viewed as learned behavior in families of alcoholics or addicts. It was first used to describe the personality traits of people who were typically in relationships with alcoholics – this could be intimate relationships or in families with alcoholics.What researchers and therapists have discovered since then is that, although there is certainly a pattern of behaviors associated with those addict/alcoholic families, they are not all that different than some of the behaviors of families with other sorts of emotional struggles (we will discuss further in what causes codependency).  When it was first introduced, the term codependency was used as a shortcut to describe the codependent person’s need for approval from others and the self-sacrificing nature of their own emotional needs. When we (therapists) work with persons who are  codependent, the self-sacrificing and approval seeking are common themes.
When you read on and see the list of behaviors associated with codependency you will recognize that these behaviors are prevalent in the general population and are not necessarily reserved for those in addict/alcoholic families.    The term is now universally accepted as a description of a cluster of behaviors that dictate how a person acts in a a relationship.

What Codependency is NOT

Codependency, although discussed in terms of “symptoms” and a “condition” for which “treatment” can be provided is NOT actually a diagnosable psychiatric disorder such as anxiety or depression.  There were attempts at having it entered in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (the diagnostic text of the mental health profession), but it was not accepted as a clinical disorder. The cluster of behaviors is, however, considered to be emotionally stifling and resentment-breeding for both the person who is codependent and the person they love. The good news then, is that since it is not a “personality disorder”, which by definition is an ingrained and unchangeable part of us since it’s part of our personality, if you recognize yourself as orienting yourself in codependent ways, you can make changes to engage in ways which are more fulfilling and satisfying for you.

Are you Codependent?

This article is not meant for you to find a reason to label yourself or anyone else, but it can be helpful to explore the behaviors that are considered, when clustered together, to represent what we know as a ‘codependent’ person. Most people can relate to some of these behaviors some of the time. If one is to consider themselves as orienting themselves in a codependent way, they should recognize their interactions as a prolonged, pervasive pattern of these behaviors which have left the person feeling unsatisfied and resentful in their relationships.

Some of the key characteristics of a codependent person are:

  • Low Self-Esteem: We’ve all heard the term. It’s when someone just doesn’t think too much of themselves. They usually don’t think they deserve as good as everyone else. This trait on its own can lead people to make poor judgment calls in their relationships – typically they pick people who can’t or won’t fully love them. They might engage in relationships with people who are emotionally unavailable (i.e. married or otherwise involved with someone else, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or a workaholic). They have a tendency to stick with an unsatisfying relationship long past recognizing that it is such.
  • Poor Boundaries with others: This can present itself in different ways. Most typically it’s a person who is over-involved in others’ lives. Often, this is an unwelcome over-involvement, as with the case of the spouse of an addict. Because they may not trust their addicted partner (due to the addict behaviors) they have a tendency to “need to know everything”. They will also share with everyone. The “town gossip” has poor boundaries. That person is easier to see because we usually have a visceral reaction when someone tells us something we shouldn’t know about someone else. As a couple’s therapist I hear stories all the time of over-involved in-laws or siblings. It’s the person who has something to say about everyone’s relationship. Poor boundaries also cross-over with people pleasing traits.  A person with poor boundaries will also take on everyone else’s problems, volunteer to help when they have their own needs to tend to that go over-looked, and generally have a difficult time saying “no” to others. Their motivation is NOT malicious. It falls in line with the people pleasing motivation – that they are afraid if they say “no” to someone, they won’t be liked or loved anymore.  It’s usually easy to teach a person to set healthier boundaries in relationships once this gets identified.
  • People Pleasing: One of the behaviors that breeds the most resentment in a codependent relationship is that the codependent person has a pervasive desire to be liked by everyone. The codependent person will set aside their needs for everyone else’s. They do it under the guise of “being nice” or “being a good person”, but they end up resenting the people they are trying to please when they feel they are not getting the same self-sacrificing behavior in return. The previously-mentioned low self esteem drives them to give much more in a relationship that they ever expect, received or think they deserve. They often give much more of themselves even at the beginning of new relationships. When you see someone taking on their new partner’s problems right at the beginning of the relationship (i.e. lending money, letting them move in right away, getting involved in their family problems, etc.) you are most likely witnessing a codependent person in action.
  • Care taking: The codependent person has a need to care take for others that far exceeds any sense of expected behavior. They are naturally nurturing, but the often “care too much”. This can be exhibited in behavior that appears to be over-doing for others. While everyone likes have a friend or a partner that is nurturing, the level the codependent person takes it to is suggestive of controlling through their care taking.  The motivation for this appears to be two-fold: 1. their partner can’t let them down by not attending to their needs and 2. They have control of that environment (keep reading to see more about the need for control).
  • Reactive: The codependent person typically feels their emotions deeply and are often overly sensitive and can perceive themselves as being criticized by others, particularly their partner, which leads to reactions that appear out of sync with the situation.
  • Controlling: As mentioned in the people pleasing section, the codependent person has a need to control their environment and their relationship. This appears to be out of a need for safety- if they control their environment, they convince themselves that they can trust it. We know that is not an accurate perception as when dealing with 2 people in a relationship we can never fully control what the   other person thinks, feels, or does. The codependent person convinces themselves into a false sense of security which allows them to move forward in relationships that often have stresses, or “red flags” that go unnoticed or denied.
  • Dependent: The codependent person is not necessarily dependent on their partner for financial or other stability factors, but rather, they are dependent on the relationship usually out of a fear of being alone. They attach strongly to their partners and become helpless to express their own emotional needs out of a fear of abandonment.
  • Engages in Denial: This is usually pretty easy to see as an outsider looking in on a relationship between a codependent and their partner. As the concept of “red flags” was introduced earlier, they are often ignored or otherwise overlooked by a codependent person in order for them to maintain congruence between what they believe their relationship to be and what it actually is. This is a tough factor and this is usually very strong when the codependent has become involved with someone with addiction issues. They can often overlook the substance abuse problem for a long time. It is not unusual for a codependent person to engage in making excuses for their partner’s behavior, for instance, “Oh she wasn’t drunk – he was on migraine medicine from her doctor”.

What if you have these traits?

In exploring this list, I should note that codependency should be viewed through a contextual and cultural lens.
There are definitely cultures I can think of in which the matriarchs over-function and care-take for the family, they get in everyone’s business (poor boundaries), they live to please their family and they are seemingly so dependent on their family it appears they would not be able to survive without them. In some cultures, we call that person “Grandma”. So please remember, this is meant to inform you, rather than diagnose or label anyone.
After viewing these behaviors within your contextual environment, if you recognize them in yourself, there are ways to modify your behavior so that you don’t feel driven to meet other people’s needs before your own leading you to feel more fulfilled in your relationships.

What causes codependent behavior?

In addition to the focus on the codependent behavior being born out of families in which addiction was present, there are theories around the origins of codependent behavior developing in families in which the codependent person was raised by a narcissistic parent. We know that although they may love their children,  when sick with the disease of addiction, addicted parents are emotionally unavailable to them.  With narcissists the crux of the disorder is they do not notice, or care about, other people’s needs or how their behavior affects others (APA, 2012). Consequently, a narcissistic parent would not be mindful of their child’s emotional needs. Darlene Lancer theorizes that codependency is born out of dysfunction and pain in the family of origin. This certainly can be the emotional make-up of a person raised by either a narcissist or an addict.

This lack of emotional engagement by the parents can lead a child to “over-function”, making excuses for the emotional unavailability of the parent (“I’m sure mommy loves me in her own way”) and controlling their environment out of a need for safety.

A child being raised by an emotionally unavailable parent does not typically learn appropriate reactions to stress or other uncomfortable emotions.  Such children can certainly develop into emotionally reactive adults out of those circumstances. This leads to them over reacting, or conversely under reacting and good at exhibiting the associated denial of problems.

There’s been an explosion in recent years in the field of psychology focusing on emotional intelligence. This could be a counter-reaction to realizing that there are so many people that relate to some codependent behavior traits. It is important for our own wellness to be able to understand, feel and express our emotions accurately and effectively.  A movement towards more awareness in this area feels appropriate.

Codependent behavior doesn’t happen only within the bubble of intimate relationships.
Ms. Lancer points out that codependency speaks of how a person orients themselves in the world behaviorally and relationally. She reminds us that we are the same person, but may act differently in different relationships. Therefore if someone is codependent at home, they may exhibit some codependent behaviors in other areas of their life such as work and friendships.

She also points out that we often think of codependent people as passive, but that may not always be the case. As already mentioned, one of the “symptoms” is that the person is controlling. Sometimes this is done in passive ways. Other times, they are very demanding of others.
The codependent person still may not get their emotional needs met, but they believe they are cared for when their partner does what they command.

What can one do to change their behaviors?

In order to change behavior, one needs to first recognize that the behavior is problematic to themselves and their relationships. This can be tough to do. Many people seeking help for codependency usually present at a therapist’s office or a self-help group complaining of bad relationship choices.
“Why do I keep picking the wrong guy/gal?”
It is sometimes only after exploring the behavior the person describes in their relationships that the codependency is discovered. If you have related to what’s been presented in this article and podcast you are already becoming more self-aware.

Darlene Lancer describes the behavior changes as “healing” from codependency.
She divides the healing process into two sections: healing yourself and healing your relationships with others.

Some steps involved in healing yourself are:

  1. Seek help and support
  2. Learn to have patience with yourself
  3. Understand where your codependent nature comes from
  4. Heal old wounds, losses and traumas
  5. Get to know yourself better
  6. Build self-esteem and self-love
  7. Find pleasure

Some steps involved in healing your relationships with others are:

  1. Take responsibility for yourself
  2. Accept the reality of your situation
  3. Decrease your own reactivity
  4. Learn to communicate effectively
  5. Set boundaries with others
  6. Conflict management
  7. Learning to make changes in your relationship with families and friends around how you relate to them

“Codependency for Dummies” is replete with chapters on how to accomplish all these changes through exercises, self-assessments and instructions.

Resources for educating yourself, making and maintaining changes

Making and maintaining behavioral changes can be difficult. For those that have taken steps to make the changes and are still having difficulty, seeking out a therapist who specializes in codependency can help. In addition to 1:1 therapy, peer run self-help groups also exist. Darlene Lancer, LMFT’s writings on codependency, along with her contact information and books can be found at whatiscodependency.com.

Codependency for Dummies can be found on amazon.com

Codependency for Dummies by Darlene Lancer LMFT (2013).
This book is a start-to-finish guide on identifying, understanding and healing from codependent behaviors.

Codependents Anonymous (CODA) – This is a fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is to develop healthy relationships.
This is a nationwide 12-step program. In addition to the groups, their website is full of valuable and helpful information.

Codependent no More by Melody Beattie (1986)
This book has been the long-touted handbook of identifying and recognizing codependency. Ms. Beattie was a pioneer in the field of codependent literature.

The Human Magnet Syndrome  Ross Rosenberg, M. Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT.  He is another expert in the field of codependency.  There are links to books, articles and more on the subject of codependency.

PsychCentral.com article by Darlene Lancer focuses on how to help a codependent person get over a break up.

********

If you are enjoying the podcast and want to support it without it costing you a dime, there are 3 ways:

  1. Share an episode on your social media
  2. Leave a great review wherever you love to listen to your podcasts
  3. Use my Amazon Storefront Amazon.com/shop/drColleenMullen When you enter Amazon through my storefront. For every purchase you make for 24 hours, I will get a small portion of that sale. You were paying for it anyway, this way a small % of the sale goes to support your favorite podcast. While you're there, you can check out some of my favorite wellness-supporting products and apps! Enjoy!

If you want to interact with Colleen more personally or stay up-to-date on her other podcasts and happenings, you can follow or friend her on:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Listen to Shrink@Shrink to learn about love and life through the movies every month.

Ladies, Look for the upcoming Embrace Your Inner Leader Podcast every month to get empowered and inspired by unique female stories of success!

You can buy the book: Stop Bitching, Just Lead! The 60-Day Plan for Embracing Your Inner Leader

If you want to work with Colleen for personal 1:1 coaching to help you conquer the chaos in your life, just reach out through CoachingThroughChaos.com click on the Contact page.

Thanks for listening!

Jun 28 2015

30mins

Play

Rank #3: 021 IRRELATIONSHIP Mark Borg, Grant Brenner & Daniel Berry

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The 3 authors educate us about IRRELATIONSHIP: if we want to understand obstacles to intimacy, emotional investment, and healthy caregiving in mutually satisfying relationships, we have to have a basic understanding of the building blocks of irrelationship ...

Oct 27 2015

38mins

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Rank #4: Train your Brain for Mental Strength with Amy Morin

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Life can throw a lot of hardships in our paths, which it seems only the mentally strong can withstand... Following tragic losses in her life, Amy Morin LCSW wrote a list to remind herself how to keep going. Shared on lifehack.org, the list went viral, then flooded Forbes. Like a beacon in the night, Amy's worldwide best-selling book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, gives us all simple lessons in resiliency in a world where adversity can leave us feeling isolated..

Amy’s life was going along pretty well.  But, when she was 22, her mother died suddenly of a brain aneurysm.  Her mother  was only in her early 50’s.  Most people aren’t ready to lost their parents even if they pass away much older, but no one expects their parents to die that young. That’s just not supposed to happen! Amy was healing from that though.  She was young in her career as a clinical social worker, was married and starting her life with her husband.  But then, on the 3rd anniversary of her mother's death, her 26 year old husband died of a heart attack.  What?!? As Amy put the pieces of her life together.  She found a way to honor her young husband’s memory.  Every year on his birthday, she would get together with his family and  participate in life-affirming experiences.  Sometimes they  were adventurous trips, other times, they were more subdued, but they always made it fun and didn’t wallow in his loss.  They found a way to see through the pain of the loss to celebrate life: his and theirs.

Then, a few years later, Amy found love again and got remarried.  She and her new husband were enjoying the early days of this marriage and looking forward to their life together.  But then, tragedy struck yet again.  This time, her new father-in-law was diagnosed with untreatable cancer. She was then faced with the anticipation of the loss of someone else she was close to – as well as the anticipation of having to help her new husband cope with the loss of his parent.  The pain she, of course, knew all too well.  This is when Amy decided she was really going to have to pull from all the mental strength she could find.

Amy initially wrote the original list of “13 Things…” for herself.  She speaks of doing it as a reminder to herself of how to successfully cope.  She was working as a therapist and was good at helping others find their mental strength, but she discovered that focusing on what to do worked for a while, but she found “not so healthy” habits creeping in to sabotage her. The list helped her understand that she would/could survive these losses. Then, she realized others might benefit from the list and this is when the list took on a life of its’ own.  She posted the article on Lifehack.org (you can read it here ).  The list went viral within a few hours.  The traffic generated from the article shut the page down!   It was then re-posted on several other sites, including Forbes.com where it set a record at over 10 million views!  To this day, it is still one of their most viral posts.

It was after all this web attention, that Amy was approached by Harper Collins publishing house and asked to turn the list into a book.  So, that’s exactly what she did.  The book went on to become a bestseller.  I think many people related to her story of strength and perseverance and found her advice practical and actionable.

Here is the list of “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”

  1. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves,
  2. They don’t give away their power,
  3. They don’t shy away from change,
  4. They don’t waste energy on things they can't control,
  5. They don’t worry about pleasing everyone,
  6. They don’t fear taking calculated risks,
  7. They don’t dwell on the past,
  8. They don’t make the same mistakes over and over,
  9. They don’t resent other people’s success,
  10. They don’t give up after the first failure,
  11. They don’t fear time alone,
  12. They don’t feel the world owes them anything,  and
  13. They don’t expect immediate results.

Amy talks of our mental capabilities as a muscle that can be exercised and strengthened.  I also subscribe to this thinking.  One of my favorite things to work on with my clients is helping them build their mental strengths, or resiliency traits.  We are all born with part of our personality predetermined by our genetics.  How the other part of our personality developed is thought to be determined by how we are nurtured.  As we are growing up, we receive certain messages about how we should or shouldn’t deal with stress, upset, disappointment, as well as love, happiness and all the rest of our emotions.  Those messages are internalized and stored as fact, even if they are not in our best interest.  For instance, I learned as a child that when I am stressed out I should eat to make myself feel better, which led to a struggle with weight as an adult due to my engagement int his self-soothing behavior.  I've had to learn to fight against what fact that although not true, nor in my best interest.

Amy Morin’s “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do” takes a refreshing spin on how to overcome struggle and, in her case, multiple losses.  Amy’s list resonates with many of us I believe because collectively we have been focusing on what “to do” or what we “should do”.  When we don’t “do” what we are “supposed to do to be healthy”, we end up feeling like a failure. However, Amy’s list focuses on “what not to do”.  Such a different way of thinking! I say this because when we  twist up, say, #11. “They don’t fear time alone” into the “You should do this” type of list, it becomes “They are comfortable being alone”.  Somehow not fearing something feels much different than “you should be comfortable” with something.   That way of thinking can set many people up for failure.   I believe if we re-wrote the list  from the “what to do” perspective, it would start to sound like “Mentally strong people just do more then you when you are tired of trying”.  Not very empowering.

Strengthening those emotional muscles to help you become stranger and more resilient takes active work.  I’ll leave you with this.   The work can be tough, but if your perspective is accepting and forgiving of yourself, reminding yourself of what not to do can feel achievable.

Resources

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do Amazon.com

Amy Morin's website

5 Powerful Exercises to Increase your Mental Strength Amy Morin

7 Ways Mentally Strong People Handle Stress More Effectively Amy Morin

***********

If you are enjoying the podcast and want to support it without it costing you a dime, there are 3 ways:

  1. Share an episode on your social media
  2. Leave a great review wherever you love to listen to your podcasts
  3. Use my Amazon Storefront Amazon.com/shop/drColleenMullen When you enter Amazon through my storefront. For every purchase you make for 24 hours, I will get a small portion of that sale. You were paying for it anyway, this way a small % of the sale goes to support your favorite podcast. While you're there, you can check out some of my favorite wellness-supporting products and apps! Enjoy!

If you want to interact with Colleen more personally or stay up-to-date on her other podcasts and happenings, you can follow or friend her on:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Listen to Shrink@Shrink to learn about love and life through the movies every month.

Ladies, Look for the upcoming Embrace Your Inner Leader Podcast every month to get empowered and inspired by unique female stories of success!

You can buy the book: Stop Bitching, Just Lead! The 60-Day Plan for Embracing Your Inner Leader

If you want to work with Colleen for personal 1:1 coaching to help you conquer the chaos in your life, just reach out through CoachingThroughChaos.com click on the Contact page.

Thanks for listening!

Jul 13 2015

30mins

Play

Rank #5: 024 - Shy No More - Dr Barton Goldsmith

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Discussing his book 'Overcoming Shyness' and upcoming new books, as well as the benefits of dogs

Nov 17 2015

34mins

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Rank #6: 010 - Confict Resolution - Stewart Levine

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010 - Confict Resolution - Stewart Levine by colleen mullen psychology motivation self-help life skills social work love relationships resilience san diego coaching therapy

Aug 11 2015

30mins

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Rank #7: Interview with horror movie director Mark Newton

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Interview with horror movie director and special effects expert Mark Newton about his current film, Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies.  Dr. Colleen Mullen talks with Mark about his dreams of becoming a film maker, the best effects of the movie, how to produce an indie film, gets actors and stay on budget and how to manage the chaos that is movie-making!

May 08 2018

42mins

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Rank #8: The Suzy Chronicles

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Part 3 of 3. This is a conversation with my sister Suzy, who came to live with me in in 2018 after our mother died suddenly. We take you into our very personal journey. We end up fighting the system for what is right when it comes to her care and medical benefits. Some fights are not over yet. You also get a look into the life of someone who lived many years very socially isolated with intellect limitations and what happens when they are given love and care and connection to others.This episode is a love letter to my sister. My life changed when I inherited her, but not nearly as much as her life changed. I admire her so much and wanted to have a permanent place where we would have this record of our lives.

This is not the norm for my show, but we will return every month now with all the great guest, tips and tricks for conquering the chaos in yoru life you've come to expect from the Coaching Through Chaos Podcast. In the meantime, I hope our journey inspires those who are feeling let down or failed by our social services system, or those who are going through grief or just need a story of hope.

No chaos can't be conquered!

You can work with me at www. CoachingThroughChaos.com

You can say "hi" and connect with me on the socials at

facebook

and Instagram and Twitter

Nov 12 2019

43mins

Play

Rank #9: QuadCast102 EMDR AI & True Love

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A Quadcast Podcast spectacular, we join @QuadfatherMFT and discuss EMDR, Artificial Intelligence and whether you can find true love with an automaton...

Dec 01 2015

1hr 21mins

Play

Rank #10: Stalker Stories and What to do if you are being stalked with Ret Det Mike Proctor

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Dr. Colleen Mullen speaks with retired Detective Mike Proctor, author of ‘Antidote for a Stalker‘.
In this fascinating interview, you will find out about the mindset of stalkers and how to protect yourself from them. You will also hear about the evolution of the anti-stalking laws in the United States and the protection they now afford all of us. The Law is there to protect you, and Mike Proctor’s book will show you how to deal with a stalker.

"Stalking is a growing concern throughout the world, not just in North America. More and more countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan are experiencing an upsurge of stalking throughout their communities. College campuses have become a breeding ground for the stalker. Workplace violence oftentimes revolves around a stalking scenario that has either evolved within the confines of the workplace, or enters into the workplace from a stalking that was initiated away from that workplace.Awareness, stricter laws, and a more focused multi-disciplinary law enforcement approach are the keys to defeating this dangerous problem. "
- DetectiveMikeProctor.com

We all have heard stories of someone who was stalked. There are of course, the stories of celebrity stalkers – their stalkers are primarily unknown to their target. Then there are the stories of the friend who had an ex that just wouldn’t leave them alone. There’s definitely a difference between someone who is just having trouble accepting a break up and someone who is being stalked. As you’ll hear in the podcast episode that accompanies this article, I have a personal story of being stalked by someone unknown to me. In this article, I’ll present you with some relevant facts and figures on the history and prevalence of stalking, how to find out what the laws are in your state, some of the types and psychological profiles of stalkers and some ways to protect yourself and get help if you are the target of a stalker.

A brief history of stalking legislation

talking has been around as long as people have been having relationships, but the laws protecting those targeted have only been around since the early 1990’s. According to the National Institute of Justice, stalking is defined as “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, non-consensual communication, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear”.
California was the first state to enact stalking legislation. In 1990, California Legislators developed Penal Code 646.9 as a result of a series of murders that took place in situations of domestic violence in which restraining orders were already on the books. The law was enacted to provide target persons with more legal recourse when restraining orders were disobeyed.
Right around that time, there were also 2 widely publicized celebrity stalking cases – one lead to the death of a young actress and the other left another actress the victim of a violent stabbing attack. The murdered actress was Rebecca Schaeffer – her stalker obtained her address from a private investigator. She was killed by her stalker in 1989.
Prior to that, Theresa Saldana was pursued and violently stabbed in front of her home in 1982. Saldana subsequently became a stalking victim advocate. She founded an advocacy organization in the late 1980s, “Victims for Victims” and told her story through a TV movie. Her advocacy also led to the 1994 Driver’s Privacy Protection Act which was a result of her attack. This legislation prevents the disclosure of personal information by the DMV to persons other than as designated by the holder of the information. This sounds to be akin to what we currently hold as Protected Health Information in the healthcare industry.

After California, the rest of the states followed suit.Whilst the guidelines may be similar, each state may have different provisions regarding status of a restraining order, age and electronic stalking criteria.
You can find your the laws pertinent to your state at the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC).
Also on the NCVC site is a wealth of information including resources if you are, or think you are, being stalked: how to get help and even a log sheet so that you can keep good records of the unwanted contact.
All 50 states have stalking laws on the books.

Some stalking facts according to the National Center for Victims of crime:

  • 7.5 Million people are stalked each year in the United States
  • 15% of women and 6% of men have experienced stalking in which they were fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
  • 61% of female victims and 44% of male victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
  • About half of the victims report their stalking happening before age 25.
  • 78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach (i.e. calling, texting, emailing, following).
  • Weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5 cases.
  • Almost 1/3 of stalkers have stalked before.
  • 46% of stalking victims are fearful from not knowing what will happen next.
  • 20% of victims fear the stalking will never stop.
  • 1 in 7 victims move as a result of their victimization.
  • The prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than the general population, especially if the stalking involved being followed or having one’s property destroyed.
  • 76% of intimate partner female homicide (femicide) victims have been stalked by their intimate partner.
  • 67% were physically abused previously by the partner.
  • 89% of femicide victims who had been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months prior to their murder.
  • 54% of femicide victims reported stalking to police before they were killed by their stalkers.
  • Less than 1/3 of states classify stalking as a felony upon first offense.
  • More than ½ the states classify stalking as a felony upon second or subsequent offenses or when the crime involves “aggregating factors”

The Coaching Through Chaos Podcast guest expert on this subject, Retired Detective Mike Proctor is one of the foremost experts on profiling and protecting oneself from stalkers. He spent over 30 years on the job as a law enforcement officer and was involved in one of the first documented stalking cases. He was a principal in developing a stalking protocol for law enforcement agencies and has spent his days profiling the mindset and behaviors of stalkers. Though an expert through all his on the job experience, he remains modest. He differentiates himself as a hands-on expert noting that he has participated in over a hundred stalking cases over the years, but has not clinically studied stalkers the way psychologists do at various research institutions. His books are written to help law enforcement, stalking victims and advocates to understand the mind of the stalker and to better protect themselves. Proctor’s most recent book is “Antidote for a Stalker” (2013). If you ever wanted to know anything and everything about stalkers, that book is the one to read.

Type of Stalkers (Proctor, 2013)

  • The Domestic Violence Stalker (DV): most prevalent group, starts in intimate relationship that is subjected to DV
  • The Acquaintance Stalker (AS): non-intimate knowledge of the stalker by the target – this can be someone they know well who may have been a friend, or it can be someone they met just once or twice.
  • The Stranger Stalker (SS): considered the most frightening type because of the lack of knowledge of who they are which leads to a fear of what they are capable of doing. The podcast episode that accompanies this article tells the story of my experience with a Stranger Stalker.

Proctor then details subsets of types of stalkers. These are meant to help understand the behavior a bit more closely by signaling additional patterns of behavior.

Catherine Zeta-Jones

  Catherine Zeta-Jones was the victim of Triangle Stalking. The stalker, a woman,  had a delusion that she was in a love relationship with Michael Douglas, the husband of Zeta-Jones. The stalker wanted to get Zeta-Jones out of the way so that she could be with him.

  • The Triangle Stalker (TS): This is an example of when there is a target person who is in the way of the stalker (i.e stalking the wife to get at the husband as in the cast of the stalking of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas. Zeta-Jones was targeted to get her out of the way for the female stalker to go after Micheal Douglas).
  • The Predator Stalker (PS): This is exemplified by stalkers that stalk their victim for a period of time before they inflict violence on them.  The most infamous example of this is the BTK (bind, torture, kill) killer. He stalked his victims before he eventually killed them.
  • The Third Party Stalker (TPS): This is rare, but it is when the actual stalker brings in an accomplice to help him/her stalk their intended victim or inflict violence on them or their property to instill fear (i.e. Proctor details the story of an abusive husband who hires someone to damage his wife’s personal property on several occasions after she left him).
  • The Retribution Stalker (TRS):This is exactly as it sounds – this stalker believes they need to get back at, or get retribution for harm they perceived was done to them. This is common in workplace settings (i.e. a laid off worker may stalk the former boss and enact a scenario of revenge on them).
  • The Neighborhood Stalker (TNS): In this case the stalker and the stalking victim are neighbors. These have typically been difficult for law enforcement. These can be erotic-type stalking (i.e being obsessed with someone with love fantasies, or it can be the typical “bad-neighbor” scenario – stalking them with malicious intent with hatred and distrust fueling the interactions). Both have the potential to be very dangerous.
  • Juvenile Stalkers: Minors who engage in stalking behavior- very often these are “love-based” in their origins – either its’ gone bad or gone unrequited. These are becoming more and more prevalent in recent years.
  • Campus Stalkers: These are their own subset so that they are on the radar of campus police, instructors and officials. They can be very dangerous and there is a marked increase in these incidents over the last decade.

There are, of course, psychological disorders that are commonly associated with stalking behaviors. An entire chapter is dedicated to the personality types most associated with stalking behavior. Det. Proctor details case studies of all these types and subsets in “Antidote for a Stalker”. He provides an inside look at what these look like and gives true case examples of them. If you are as fascinated with true crime stories and psychological profiling as I am, you’ll really find the book an exciting read.

The Stalkers Bag of Tricks

Antidote for a Stalker on Amazon.com

Det. Proctor dedicates a chapter to what he calls the “Stalker’s Bag of Tricks”. These are all the ways a stalker can get to their victim. Among other things, he cites: vandalism, surveillance, targeting their animals, court harassment, identity theft, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, and workplace violence stalking. This is when I think if anyone is wondering if they are being stalked, it becomes very clear by way of the means through which the stalker initiates contact with the intended.

What to do if you are being stalked

Det. Proctor stresses the importance of the following

  • Get law enforcement involved.
  • Document everything.
  • Notify your workplace,
  • Get your family and friends up to speed on what’s going on – definitely don’t keep it a secret. There are times when someone thinks they may have given a stalker the wrong signal – please don’t worry about that. Once stalking has commenced, it is dangerous and you have a right to be protected by the law.
  • Stop all contact with the stalker. This may seem live a no brainer, but, as in the case of acquaintance stalking, one can believe that if they are nice and polite enough to their stalker, they may get the point and leave them alone. Don’t try this. A stalker is someone who is potentially dangerous and is most likely aware that you do not wish to be pursued. I say “most likely” because they could have an erotomanic delusion convincing them that you are in love with them – these can be highly dangerous.
  • Develop a safety plan
  • Review your home for safety measures
  • Get a restraining order if you qualify
  • Utilize your Neighborhood Watch program if it is available
  • There are times when, depending on their ages, it can be important to tell your kids what is going on for their protection and yours.

There is so much information packed into “Antidote for Stalker”. I encourage you to check it out for yourself.  Retired Detective Mike Proctor can be found at his website detectivemikeproctor.com. He is available for teaching and speaking engagements on this subject.

*********

If you are enjoying the podcast and want to support it without it costing you a dime, there are 3 ways:

  1. Share an episode on your social media
  2. Leave a great review wherever you love to listen to your podcasts
  3. Use my Amazon Storefront Amazon.com/shop/drColleenMullen When you enter Amazon through my storefront. For every purchase you make for 24 hours, I will get a small portion of that sale. You were paying for it anyway, this way a small % of the sale goes to support your favorite podcast. While you're there, you can check out some of my favorite wellness-supporting products and apps! Enjoy!

If you want to interact with Colleen more personally or stay up-to-date on her other podcasts and happenings, you can follow or friend her on:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Listen to Shrink@Shrink to learn about love and life through the movies every month.

Ladies, Look for the upcoming Embrace Your Inner Leader Podcast every month to get empowered and inspired by unique female stories of success!

You can buy the book: Stop Bitching, Just Lead! The 60-Day Plan for Embracing Your Inner Leader

If you want to work with Colleen for personal 1:1 coaching to help you conquer the chaos in your life, just reach out through CoachingThroughChaos.com click on the Contact page.

Thanks for listening!

Jun 21 2015

30mins

Play

Rank #11: 023 - Firefighter Behavioral Health - Jeff Dill

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Ret. Capt Jeff Dill is the founder of Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, a 501c3 dedicated to the prevention of suicide in firefighters and EMTs through outreach, education and fostering a healthier awareness of warning signs.

Nov 10 2015

31mins

Play

Rank #12: Living Beyond Tbi and Ptsd with Ret Fire Chief Matt Shobert

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I thought I had a fair amount of initials after my name, but here’s Matt Shobert MA, EFO, CFO, MIFireE. Matt had been the Fire Chief for the Murrieta Fire Department (MFD) since March 2011, and has served as Fire Chief for two other jurisdictions prior to joining the MFD team. He holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management, a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science. He is also a 2007 graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer (EFO) Program, has been four times accredited as a Chief Fire Officer Designee (CFOD) and was recently conferred Membership into the Institution of Fire Engineers (MIFireE). Chief Shobert completed the arduous 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run - "140.6" Ironman Arizona in Tempe on 11/17/13. On top of that, he’s had a happy double-decade long marriage. He was living an exemplary life.

Matt’s Life-Changing Event

But everything changed on July 2, 2014. On that day, Chief Shobert was on a seemingly routine outing. He went out to a field to observe a brush clearing. Murrieta California is a hot, inland town and as any people are aware, brush fire prevention is a high priority in areas like this, especially in Southern California. The Chief was out by himself when the accident occurred. When you hear what happened to Chief Shobert, you can’t help but truly respect and appreciate his innate instincts to get himself help and his utter resiliency. The Chief shares the details of his accident for the first time publicly with me on the podcast. Please listen to hear Matt tell his story in his own words.

Recovery

Matt went through several surgeries and still may be tasked with undergoing a few more. As you heard in the episode (if you didn’t listen yet, click here to do so), Matt is put together physically, but his emotional wounds are healing more slowly. The struggle is real. Matt is dealing with effects of both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. He has done extensive emotional therapy under the care of a Licensed Behavioral Health Clinician since the accident.

He has gone through avoiding the area of the accident (which he was hard-pressed to do when he still lived in Murietta), nightmares, anxiety/panic attacks, angry outbursts, suicidal thoughts, slow thought processes and general lack of interest in leaving his home at times or going to places where there may be crowds of people. Though his emotional struggles are daunting, he is getting better each day. He has incorporated exercise, continues his talk therapy, calls on emotional support from his wife and others and credits his dog, Butters, for giving him some added support and love, as well as forcing him to get out of his home and walk him as a major part of his recovery.

Matt has recently begin to train to become an Ironman athletic trainer – to keep him fit and to get back into the athletic world he misses. He’s looking forward to training others to accomplish their triathlon goals. He also is focusing his life towards telling his story as he did on this episode. He wants to help others understand the reality of what it’s like to live with post traumatic stress, and also to allow those in the fire service who are dealing with it feel less stigmatized and to ask for help when they need it. Matt is dedicating his life to giving back and helping others. A true example of personal resilience and resolve and restoration of hope for his new future.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

For more information on PTSD, please see our separate post on the subject here.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the National Institute of Health (NIH), Traumatic Brain Injury is described as follows:

"Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking. A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation."

Contact

Linked-in: matt-shobert-ma-efo-cfo-mifiree-ironman

email:         mjshobert@gmail.com

Resources

Fire Fighters Behavioral Health AllianceFFBHA

North American Fire Fighter Veteran Network: NAFFVN

Fire Fighters Wellness Initiative: IAFF WFI

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder via National Institute of Mental Health: PTSD/NIMH (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/)

For local support in your community, check out the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill's page on PTSD Resources: NAMI/PTSD

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website offers a wealth of information on TBI, prognosis, treatment and resources if you or someone you care for is in need of help regarding their TBI (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tbi/tbi.htm)

National Resource Center for Traumatic Brain Injury : tbinrc.com

If you are enjoying the podcast and want to support it without it costing you a dime, there are 3 ways:

  1. Share an episode on your social media
  2. Leave a gret review wherever you love to listen to your podcasts
  3. Use my Amazon Storefront Amazon.com/shop/drColleenMullen When you enter Amazon through my storefront. For every purchase you make for 24 hours, I will get a small portion of that sale. You were paying for it anyway, this way a small % of the sale goes to support your favorite podcast. While you're there, you can check out some of my favorite wellness-supporting products and apps! Enjoy!

If you want to interact with Colleen more personally or stay up-to-date on her other podcasts and happenings, you can follow or friend her on:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Listen to Shrink@Shrink to learn about love and life through the movies every month.

Ladies, Look for the upcoming Embrace Your Inner Leader Podcast  The Embrace Your Inner Leader Podcast every month to get empowered and inspired by unique female stories of success!

You can buy the book: Stop Bitching, Just Lead! The 60-Day Plan for Embracing Your Inner Leader

If you want to work with Colleen for personal 1:1 coaching to help you conquer the chaos in your life, just reach out through CoachingThroughChaos.com click on the Contact page.

Thanks for listening!

Nov 03 2015

28mins

Play

Rank #13: 019 - TheOneYouFeed - EricZimmer

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Eric Zimmer, host of the One You Feed podcast, speaks candidly about his past, recovery and his journey

Oct 13 2015

31mins

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Rank #14: Couples Financial Compatibility - Jeff Motske

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~  Do discussions about money bring discord into your relationship ? If the answer is yes, you are not alone.  In this interview, certified financial planner Jeff Motske provides helpful tips to resolve this problem, as covered in his book - 'The Couples Guide to Financial Compatibility'. The solutions he provides will help you plan for the future, build a solid foundation for your financial house, proactively discuss finances with your partner and deal with boomerangs.

This year alone we’ve witnessed several companies, including Radio Shack close up its doors for good. Other major chains like Sears, Abercrombie & Fitch, Barnes & Noble, Anna’s Linens and Aerospostale have confirmed that they will be closing many if not all of their stores due to diminished sales and/or bankruptcy. These stories, although they may not affect us personally, can affect the level of stress we carry about our own financial situation. Its societal data points like this that remind us that financial success can be tough to achieve and can be fleeting.

Today’s episode focuses on how to help couples talk about money. My guest is Jeff Motske. He is the CEO of Trilogy Financial Services; host of the show “Declare Your Financial Independence” on 1110AM KFAX San Francisco, and the author of “The Couples Guide to Financial Compatibility”. Jeff talks with us about building a financial legacy; how to talk you’re your spouse about a family budget and how to talk with your adult kids about financial responsibility when they move back home. He’s also going to tell us all about his “War of the Wallets” quiz that you can take online with your spouse.
When Trilogy was in its infancy, Jeff started out meeting his client’s needs based on where they were in life and what their financial goals were. He took a small town approach when his competitors were sticking with Wall Street strategies. This approached has grown Trilogy into a nationwide company whose client’s investments surpass $2 billion dollars. Jeff provided us with a lot of insight and some great tips on helping couples talk about their finances and plan for life events.

We all feel the stress of money at times. Back in my single days, I used to imagine it would be easier to handle money stress when the day came that I would partner up and get married, as I imagine most people think. The problem is, it doesn’t actually get easier. In fact, depending on your situation, either a 2 -income or 1 - income household, it can pose new complications you didn’t have when single (i.e. power struggles over spending, deciding on how to budget, and setting financial limits). In fact, money can be one of the most complicated, or stress-inducing, subjects for couples to talk about. If you search online, you’ll find article after article about how money is the hottest point of contention between couples – I found numbers between 35-57% of couples complaining that money is their number 1 problem. Whether they argue or not, Couples face a lot of stresses in life in life: work, family, kids, who’s going to do the grocery shopping, who’s going to do the dishes. However, when different financial philosophies or struggles enter the picture, it can absolutely get them stuck. Money affects all of us differently. Our parents’ philosophy around money often dictates our own.
One person may be a spender; the other may be a saver. Sometimes they have similar philosophies both are spenders or savers. Other times, they walk blindly through their life believing their partner is handling the finances. Turning a blind eye to your financial situation and always letting your partner handle it can really get you into trouble. In a partnership, even if one person is the designated “bill payer”, its important to at least be apprised of your current situation on at least a monthly basis. In my private practice, I’ve come across couples who have literally avoided talking about their financial picture for years. Once a couple gets locked in this avoidant pattern, it can be hard to break, but it can be done.
A lot of what Jeff emphasizes for the couples to keep them healthy financially is similar to the work us marriage therapists do at times with our clients. One of the key components to a happy relationship is effective communication and you need that to do any of the things Jeff talked about. I think the financial date night is a great idea. When couples plan to set aside time to talk about finances (or any other stressful matter), it can relieve the stress of “how do I” or “when do I” bring up my questions or concerns to my partner. Just to make it easier to stay focused, couples can bring notes with them for these discussions. Holding the meeting under the guise of a “date” sets the tone that this is about connection and having the meeting outside of the home reduces the chances of the couple getting emotionally triggered and arguing over a difficult item. I would caution you that couples that have been avoidant of talking about their finances have probably been avoidant about other topics as well. Getting back into talking about these uncomfortable topics can add stress to an already stressful situation. Keep in mind that the financial date night, should be looked at as a time for collaborative problem solving and a time to express concerns effectively. If couples that have been avoidant in the past find that they’re still having trouble addressing the issue or don’t know how to go about talking about it, I’d recommend that they seek out a few sessions with a licensed marriage and family therapist. Most marriage therapists are interested in helping couples effectively communicate and develop the skills to talk with each other safely & authentically without needing the therapist. Deciding to go to couples counseling can be intimidating but it’s really not uncommon for couples to reach out when they are about to embark on trying new behaviors or ways of communicating to ask for help with that.

Whatever your financial situation is, Jeff Motske's book, "The Couples Guide to Financial Compatibility" can be a healthy starting point for exploring your financial philosophies as a couple and gaining some guidance on ways to discuss the financial planning of some of life's milestones.

Resources:

JeffMotske.com You can find Jeff's book "The Couples Guide to Financial Compatibility" as well as his "War of the Wallets" quiz and links to Trilogy Financial Services here

Real Hope/Free communication tips providing some free helpful tips online for increasing healthy couple communication.

Harville Hendrix Intentional Dialogue Exercise Harville Hendrix is a master of couple relationship dynamics. He is the founder of IMAGO Therapy. His Intentional Dialogue exercise is a communication strategy designed to help you work through issues or disagreements that may be holding you back from a more intimate and fulfilling relationship with your partner.
Love Pong Love Pong is an interactive online game designed to help couples improve their communication and express their emotions more effectively.

Money issues are still really stressing out Americans - / cnn.com

*****************************************************************

If you are enjoying the podcast and want to support it without it costing you a dime, there are 3 ways:

  1. Share an episode on your social media
  2. Leave a great review wherever you love to listen to your podcasts
  3. Use my Amazon Storefront Amazon.com/shop/drColleenMullen When you enter Amazon through my storefront. For every purchase you make for 24 hours, I will get a small portion of that sale. You were paying for it anyway, this way a small % of the sale goes to support your favorite podcast. While you're there, you can check out some of my favorite wellness-supporting products and apps! Enjoy!

If you want to interact with Colleen more personally or stay up-to-date on her other podcasts and happenings, you can follow or friend her on:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Listen to Shrink@Shrink to learn about love and life through the movies every month.

Ladies, Look for the upcoming Embrace Your Inner Leader Podcast every month to get empowered and inspired by unique female stories of success!

You can buy the book: Stop Bitching, Just Lead! The 60-Day Plan for Embracing Your Inner Leader

If you want to work with Colleen for personal 1:1 coaching to help you conquer the chaos in your life, just reach out through CoachingThroughChaos.com click on the Contact page.

Thanks for listening!

Jul 21 2015

27mins

Play

Rank #15: 201 - Megan Bearce LMFT - Supercommuters

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Megan Bearce, LMFT gives hints and tips for couples to preserve their relationships when faced with Super Commuting

Jan 19 2016

31mins

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Rank #16: 016 - Network Of Care - Afshin Khosravi

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The CEO of Trilogy Integrated Resources tells us about the Veterans Network of Care portal, a resource repository for active duty service members, veterans and their families. NetworkOfCare.org provides a comprehensive multistate directory of resources not only for Veterans but also for many other groups of our population

Sep 22 2015

30mins

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Rank #17: 015 - SuicidePrevention - Dr Julie Goldstein Grumet

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Dr Julie Goldstein Grumet of the Suicide Prevention Resource Center discusses the resources offered by the Center

Sep 15 2015

42mins

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Rank #18: 005 Eastern Foundry - Veteran-Owned Technology Incubator 2015 competition

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There are many organizations coming up with new approaches to treating PTSD as we speak.  For this episode, I had the opportunity to interview Andrew Chang, one of 4 managing partners of the Eastern Foundry, a veteran-owned technology and innovation incubator. In their own words:  “Eastern Foundry is a first-of-its-kind marketplace where technologists, government contractors and agencies convene to exchange information and opportunities, find teaming partners and conduct business.”

If you start to follow along with the podcast, you may start to guess that I have very strong feelings about our country being ill-prepared for treating the emotional stress and post trauma emotional upheaval many of our troops face through the duties of their service. I think military PTSD will be the mental health field’s biggest problem for the next 20 years or longer. I know I am not the only one that feels this way.

The Foundry Cup Competition

Providing all of the resources of a modern technology incubator, Eastern Foundry offers physical workspace, services, trainings and information that are tailored to help large and small businesses achieve government contracting success”. I interviewed Andrew to introduce you to the Foundry Cup competition. This competition is designed to identify solutions to serve our veteran communities. The current competition is their inaugural event, setting off what is going to be a bi-annual forum for not only competition, but also for collaboration among innovators in their fields. The current competition brought together 14 innovation teams to pitch their solutions for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The teams present their ideas and technology to a panel of judges much like in the widely- watched Shark Tank television show.

This initial competition was geared towards innovations in PTSD, but each competition will have it’s own theme. I interviewed Andrew about a week before the winner was announced. I could tell how excited he and his team were at the turnout of innovations and that they were going to get to foster at least one of these new technologies to give them a more solid starting ground. The participants were selected prior to the actual 3- day competition. The participants ranged from a team developing smart phone technology helping veterans bypass the VA waiting lists to access clinicians remotely, to a company who focuses on social media postings for detection of PTSD, to previous Coaching Through Chaos Podcast Guest, the Virtual Reality Medical Center and their work helping treat combat trauma with virtual reality technology.

The winners were selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Likelihood that the idea will yield positive outcomes,
  2. How innovative the idea is,
  3. State of development (e.g. is it at the idea, prototype/pilot, roll-out, or expansion phase),
  4. Opportunities for collaboration during the program,
  5. Ability to travel to offices in Crystal City, Virginia to attend workshops and events.

On June 20th the winner and runners’ up were announced.

And the winner is…

The D.C.-based startup Qntfy was awarded the first place cash prize of $10,000.
They utilize social media data to detect PTSD,  The developers were driven to help immediate friends and family suffering from PTSD. The Qntfy team have created an algorithm that analyzes individuals’ social media posting frequency and content to look for indicators of their mental health statuses – data that can help clinicians prioritize care. In addition to the cash prize, Qntfy will also receive office space to develop their tech and utilize the resources of the Eastern Foundry, exposure to possibly funding avenues, education and training. You can find out more about Qntfy here.

The runner-up was San Antonia-based mobile IT company, Sound-Off. They received $5,000 as their prize. Sound-Off enables veterans to connect with and receive anonymous ongoing care from volunteer counselors and veterans, all from the touch of their smart phones.

The “People’s Choice” winner was Arlington-based military lifestyle application, Sandboxx, which enables military service members and veterans to connect with family members, friends and military units as well as send snail mail through the app’s Mailboxx feature.

I had the opportunity to correspond with Glen Coppersmith, Ph.D.  He is the founder and CEO of Qntfy (pronounced “quantify”), a small company working to scale clinical impact and empower mental health professionals via technology.  For the Foundry Cup, Glen and his team detailed some of their work that provides quantifiable, or measurable, information about mental health from data not traditionally examined by the medical domain – things like social media, movement and workout data. Their algorithms, based on peer-reviewed research, can extract thousands of bits of information, which on their own each weakly correlated with mental health. However, he points out that when taken together, like a braided rope, these weak signals provide a strong picture of a person’s mental health. This data can help clinicians prioritize care.  They are going to be able to provide such rich data points for clinicians in order to better attend to their clients' needs.  Great Innovation Qntfy!

The prize from the Foundry Cup was $10,000, but Glen said the biggest benefit came from coming together with other incredible, diverse, and passionate teams similarly motivated to make a dent in the treatment of PTSD. The Eastern Foundry also is providing them with free office-space, next to some of their fellow Foundry Cup Finalists. Glen feels the importance of this collaboration forum can't be overstated.  He said the "Eastern Foundry has effectively brought together some people that otherwise wouldn’t have met, and provided material support towards ongoing collaboration, in an area in which they all want to see progress made".

How to Get Involved in the Foundry Cup Competition

If you are interested in participating in the next Foundry Cup Competition, please check out their website FoundryCup.com. They will be announcing the next competition very soon, you’ll want to check it out right away to get the details and deadlines. If you go for it- -Good Luck!

Some information on Veterans and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

(These statistics are taken from several websites – all are featured in the resource section of this article).

1 in 5 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are diagnosed with ptsd.
It is estimated that 30% of Vietnam vets have PTSD (all these years later, this is considered “chronic” in nature.
More than 40 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans responding to a recent survey said they did not seek mental health care because of a perceived negative impact on their careers. (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Member Survey 2012).
Health Care for Veterans with PTSD costs s 3.5 times more than for one without ptsd. ((facethefactsusa.org) - 22 service members per day are committing suicide.
In the general population, it is estimated that 7 or 8 people out of 100 develop ptsd at some point in their life. In contrast, when looking at our current troops serving in Operation enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqui Freedom, it is estimated that they will develop PTSD at a rate of 11-20 out of 100.
For troops suffering from combat trauma, 2 out of 3 of their marriages are failing. That’s over 200,000 military divorces.
1/3 of our nation’s homeless are veterans. This needs to change! We have a responsibility to them! They served for us and we, as a nation, need to be prepared to help them.

Where Does This Leave Us?

In a country with 21.8 million veterans and 1.3 million active service members we need to understand how they are doing and what they are exposed to.  We also need to be mindful of how the anxiety from the anticipation of what they could be exposed to impacts them. I am hoping through continuing to expose the need for services in this arena and highlighting concerning facts about Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, we can get others to take notice and do something to help get our mental health professionals up to speed on, or involved in innovation and research in the arena of treatment modalities for this terrible epidemic that has been plaguing our nation’s veterans for decades. In the meantime, I’ll keep doing the work I do and will continue to highlight resources in this area of need.

Resources

Disclaimer: The content of this article is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not meant to be, nor does it constitute mental health advice. If you are experiencing symptoms or situations contained in this article, please seek out a consult from a licensed mental health provider in your community who specializes in treating Post traumatic Stress Disorder.

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Thanks for listening!

Jul 07 2015

30mins

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Rank #19: 012 - CleanForks - Shelley Davidescu

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Grow your business and Shrink your booty ! Shelley Davidescu tells us about CleanForks.com - power food coaching for powerful women

Aug 25 2015

30mins

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Rank #20: 018 - Preventing School Shootings

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Once a Week in the United States

We live in a society in which hearing about murders on school campuses 40 times this year is outrageous on one hand, and numbing on the other. Forty times just this year in the United States people – both kids and adults- went to their school campus to never return home. Those are numbers that are hard to comprehend. It is also campus shooting #142 just since December 2012 when the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School happened - that’s about 1 a week. Is this our new normal? Does it have to be so? That 142 does not take into account the numbers of shootings between 1999 when the first of the modern day campus massacres happened at Columbine. We, as a society can do things to stop this – Ill give a few insights as to that, but first I should put my knowledge of the subject in context for you.

What My Team Learned Studying School Shootings

I spent 3 years working as part of a development team of what we hoped to become a School Violence Prevention Institute here in San Diego. I became the historian of the project. I followed the stories and looked for what we knew of the shooters before and after they acted, the circumstances of the shooting and what the fallout was afterwards in the communities. For as much as there have been shootings on school campuses prior to Columbine, that tragedy in 1999 formed the new M.O. of what has continued since, so we studied all the shootings between 1999 and 2011 when we completed the book.

In all the cases in which the shooter was a current student we know 5 things:

1. There was concerning behavior that was not coordinated by school personnel (i.e a security guard did not tell a teacher of an incident and a teacher did not know a security guard also knew of a concerning incident, or a teacher and a school admin did not know they each had concerns about a student)
2. There were social media postings, writings or videos that spoke of killing or targeting specific groups of students.
3. There was easy access to guns.
4. There was suspicion of, or documented mental health concerns.
5. There was a history of bullying and/or social isolation.

We worked on and developed The School Violence Prevention Program as a book which school personnel could be trained on. We, as a team of clinicians and other interested parties conducted research and data collection. Our project lead, Dr. Jim Madero is an expert in workplace violence prevention so he had a lot of expertise in the area of violence prevention. We gathered the information and collective expertise and developed a community-based team approach to preventing school violence. Dr. Madero had the opportunity to present it at the Virginia Tech hearings where it got favorable feedback. Back here in San Diego, we shopped it around a few school districts and even did get it implemented in a district as a pilot trial. The problem was that, although many schools wanted it, they didn’t have funding for it. Why do they need funding? Why can’t we do this for free? There are trainings and meetings that need to be coordinated. Teachers and other school staff will need to leave their posts for the training, local law enforcement needs to attend (they are part of our prevent team plan) and experts need to train the staff on the protocol. Even in a world in which we could have them all gather and train them on a webinar, there are time and equipment costs involved in the production of the training material.

The team dream was to get legislation passed in which the state mandated schools to have violence prevention programs. That’s where it all fell apart. After an unsuccessful meeting with a legal adviser in LA and no legitimate supporters that could help back the implementation of the program, we have been at a standstill 2012. We are just one group of professionals out here in southern California – I would venture to guess there are dozens of teams around the country like us developing programs. We need a way to get these programs implemented and school personnel trained! If anyone is listening who may be able to help that come to fruition, you can email me DrMullen@Coachingthrughchaos.com and Ill put you in contact with our project manager to help us take action.

What can our society do to work towards School Violence Prevention?

We need reformation in several areas. The systems in the U.S. are broken – There are financial, communication and internal breakdowns.

1. Our mental health system broke in a way it has never recovered in 1993 when it was systematically unfunded and our long-term mental health facilities were forced to close. Those people still needed care and structure and our mental health system has been paying the price for that since then. Here we are 20 years later and it seems new funding gets put into street based program care for these people, leaving little room for the average high school student who’s depressed or feeling social isolated and ostracized because he’s been bullied. We need funding to help both the severely mentally ill and those that are falling through the cracks because they are not in “crisis”.

2. That leads us to our health insurance system – Although I personally like my health care coverage, I am not in need of what’s called a “higher level of care”. In regards to mental health services that means needing therapy more than once a week. Our system is set up to deny services to people unless they are already in crisis – We have a “treat the crisis, then step-down” system. We have lots of good Intensive Outpatient Programs in our communities, but I’ve witnessed more denials happen on the way up the system than on the way down. If a therapist or an MD refers a client for an Intensive Outpatient program, we need them to be practically on the verge of hospitalization in order to get the help they need. These programs usually meet a few hours a day, a few days a week. They are designed to provide a person struggling with emotional distress a place to come to talk about it, learn some valuable coping skills, and build social support through the camaraderie of the group structure. When a person has been hospitalized (the hospitalization criteria is that they need to be “in danger of hurting themselves or someone else”) they are much more easily approved for an Intensive Outpatient Program as a means of stepping-down in services. Why do we have a system designed to only treat when there is a crisis? Why would the insurance companies not look at what can be done to prevent the crisis from happening?
This is where I see that reform needs to take place in our health insurance system.

3. Then we have the educational system. Of course having a good, consistent curriculum will benefit our next generations, but first and foremost, they need to be safe. It is when people are safe that they can then settle in, focus and thrive. As I stated earlier, the way to get safety in place is to provide schools the ability to implement expert-designed safety programs in our schools that are community based so that there are very few pieces of the puzzles missed in the future.

4. The last system I will discuss and the one I think holds the most power is that of the media. I believe media can be our best friend and our worst enemy. In the event of major tragedies, the media can be quick to relay necessary information to help people comprehend what is happening. On the other hand, they can also give the recognition to these mass murderers that they so crave. Our mass murderers live on in infamy because our news media names them - and then picks over and publicizes every aspect of their life they can find. This needs to stop!

The Bystander Effect and How it Factors into our Societal Breakdown

Long before the days of the internet and social media, we have the story of Kitty Geneovese which is taught in every intro psych class in the country. In 1964, Kitty was murdered in the early morning as she returned home from work. She was stabbed to death in the street. The story was that upwards of 30 people either heard her or saw her. For as much as there were a couple of phone calls to the police, the majority of people did not take action (There is now debate over how many witnesses existed). This idea that many people can observe something troubling happening and not take action is called the Bystander Effect – We think someone else will call it in. Well, I want to put a challenge out to everyone reading this and say, “Don’t let someone else call it in”.
What Can You Do? Don’t Be a Bystander!
• Advocate to your insurance company when denials are rendered,
• Don’t watch the continued news coverage of the shooter,
• Talk to your school districts and universities and find out what their safety protocols are,
• Talk to your local and state level politicians- find out what they’re doing to get mandated school violence prevention programs in your schools.

What Progress Have We Made to Prevent School Violence through Legislation?

Form what I can find, Massachusetts is voting to mandate school violence prevention programs be implemented in its schools. Virginia mandates their state colleges to have prevention programs, and Ontario, Canada has mandated their schools have violence prevention programs. It s definitely a start, but we’ve got a long road ahead of us.

What About the “Gun Debate”?

I can’t write about preventing school shootings without acknowledging the highly emotionally-fueled gun debate. It’s everywhere. I’m not really ready to jump into the politics of this. What we know is that a great majority of these shooters gained easy access to guns in their own home. I have mixed emotions about gun restrictions. What I don’t have mixed emotions about is gun safety. My take on it is that if you choose to own a gun, no matter what the law in your state says you’re allowed to do as far as locking it up or not locking it up, it is your responsibility to make sure it does not get into someone else’s hands.

The Re-Cap: What We Need

We have systems that are failing us. We need prevention programs in place that are designed to protect our kids at school. We need school violence prevention programs in addition to “active shooter” protocols. We need media outlets to stop giving these mass murderers names and attention and we need a health care system designed to prevent mental health tragedies rather than treating the trauma that happens to our communities when they don’t. I personally hope we start seeing a movement towards positive change, resiliency and victory over these tragedies.

Oct 06 2015

12mins

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