Using Acupressure Points as a Calming and Self-help Strategy

Acupressure is an adaptation of acupuncture.  Acupuncture is an ancient healing intervention.  Though recently western science has been able to pinpoint the ways that electricity moves within the human body, many world cultures held this knowledge intuitively.   Here’s a simple analogy.  Sometimes there’ is a “short” in electrical wiring.  The signal doesn’t flow smoothly due to a break in connection along the way.  Sometimes we might use duct-tape to keep the connection intact so that the electricity can move smoothly.  It is understood that some, perhaps many, mental and physical ailments can be seen as problems with the electricity flow in the human body, problems with the electrical flow.  Energy clogs or too much energy can manifest as depression, muscle aches, nausea, panic, etc.  Stimulation of certain points on meridians, energy pathways, can get the electricity flowing smoothly again.  Acupuncture is administered by a trained professional and uses the insertion of tiny needles into certain points on a meridian.  Acupressure is the application of light touch, tapping, and/or sometimes circular movement of a finger on a certain point on a meridian.  Here are some examples to try.

The Emergency Acupressure Point

You can use your dominant or your non-dominant index finger for this movement.  Using your index finger, touch the back of your other hand.  Put your finger between the pinky joint and the ring-finger joint where these joints meet the back of your hand.  Move your finger slightly toward your wrist, about a quarter of an inch.  There’s a slight groove or depression there.  Leave your finger lightly touching this spot for a few seconds.  Many people have reported that they feel a relaxing of the body: breathing slows down, shoulders relax, etc.  You can use this in public and no one will notice.  This is great for times such as: nervousness at a meeting, standing in a long line, while on the phone with someone, etc.

Knee Points

There are several points surrounding your knees.  There are also several points on the many parts of your hands.  Bringing these together can smooth out energy flow.  When you have a couple of minutes of quiet time (really, it only takes 1-2 minutes), sit with both feet on the floor.  Place your palms over and slightly at the top of your knee cap.  You can feel your kneecap; it’s sort of circular.  Now, drape your fingers over the top part of your lower leg.  Spread your fingers out.  Each finger will stimulate a point as well as a point on your palm will be stimulating a point on your knee.  Hold this position for a few minutes.  This position can be used in conjunction with meditation, prayer, or other mindfulness exercises.

Nausea/motion sickness points

You can spend money on pills or ‘nausea bands’ or you can learn to stimulate your acupressure points for free!  Do this to find the points near your wrists.  Either wrist will work.  Turn your hand so that your palm is facing you.  Bend/flex your wrist; you can see the wrinkles there.  Place the three middle fingers of your other hand crosswise on your wrist with your ring finger at the bend.  This gives you the distance from the wrist bend to the point.  The tip of your index finger will be at the acupressure point.  You can lightly touch this point, or you can lightly bounce your finger against the skin.  Do this for a few seconds to a minute.  Many people report a reduction in nausea.  Also, for double the action, you can simply lay the inner surfaces of your wrists against each other so that the two points are touching each other.

Pictures of 6 pressure points that alleviate anxiety (

Written by Carrie Hunter, LMFT

Carrie Hunter is a therapist at New Hope Counseling.  She is a certified EMDR therapist and EMDR consultant.  She specializes in working with adults who are LGBTQ, have experienced dissociation, religious trauma, or complex trauma.

New Hope Counseling, Therapy for Panic Attacks in Louisville, KY

Learning How to Calm a Panic Attack: Strategies for Finding Peace

Panic attacks can be incredibly overwhelming and distressing experiences. They often strike without warning and can leave you feeling helpless and out of control. However, it’s important to remember that there are effective strategies you can learn to help calm a panic attack and regain a sense of calm and control. In this blog post, we’ll explore some proven techniques that can help you manage and eventually overcome panic attacks.

Understand the Anatomy of a Panic Attack
Before diving into techniques to calm a panic attack, it’s essential to understand what’s happening in your body and mind during one. A panic attack typically involves a surge of intense fear and anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating, and dizziness. Recognizing these sensations as part of a panic attack can help you detach from the fear itself.

Practice Deep Breathing
One of the most effective techniques for calming a panic attack is deep breathing. When panic strikes, your breathing often becomes shallow and rapid, contributing to the feeling of suffocation. To counteract this, try the following:

  1. Find a quiet, safe space where you can sit or lie down comfortably.
  2. Close your eyes and take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, counting to four.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of four.
  4. Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four. e. Repeat this process until your breathing becomes more regular and you start to feel calmer.

Grounding Techniques
Grounding techniques can help you reconnect with the present moment and divert your attention away from the panic. Try these methods:

  1. 5-4-3-2-1: Name five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.
  2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Tense and then release each muscle group in your body, starting from your toes and working your way up to your head.
  3. Mindful Observation: Focus on a single object, like a pen or a piece of furniture, and describe it in detail to yourself.

Positive Self-Talk
Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Remind yourself that panic attacks are temporary and that you’ve overcome them before. Tell yourself that you are safe and in control. Positive self-talk can help counteract the spiraling negative thoughts that often accompany panic.

Seek Support
It’s essential to have a support system in place for dealing with panic attacks. Let trusted friends or family members know about your condition so they can provide emotional support when needed. Additionally, consider joining a support group or seeking therapy with a mental health professional who can teach you coping strategies and help you understand the root causes of your panic attacks.

Professional Help
If you believe your panic attacks are interfering significantly with your daily life, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Therapists can provide valuable guidance and treatment options.

Learning how to calm a panic attack is a valuable skill that can significantly improve your quality of life. By practicing deep breathing, using grounding techniques, engaging in positive self-talk, seeking support, and considering professional help when necessary, you can gain control over panic attacks and reduce their frequency and intensity. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and there is hope for a calmer, more peaceful future.

New Hope Counseling in Louisville, KY, Licensed Therapists Louisville KY

Finding Peace Within: The EMDR Calm Place Exercise and When to Use It

In the journey of healing from trauma and managing stress, the Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy has emerged as a valuable tool. Among its many techniques, the EMDR Calm Place exercise stands out as a powerful way to find inner peace and stability. In this blog post, we will explore what the EMDR Calm Place exercise is and when and how to use it effectively.

Understanding EMDR Calm Place Exercise
EMDR therapy is designed to help individuals process and heal from distressing memories and experiences. The Calm Place exercise is one of the key components of EMDR that therapists use to help clients regulate their emotions and find a sense of safety within themselves.

The exercise involves visualizing and building a mental sanctuary, a safe and peaceful place where you can go to find comfort and solace during times of distress. It’s a resource that can be called upon whenever you need to feel grounded and calm.

When to Use the EMDR Calm Place Exercise

  1. Managing Anxiety and Panic: The Calm Place exercise can be a powerful tool when you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety or experiencing a panic attack. It allows you to step away from the chaos of your thoughts and emotions, helping you regain a sense of control and calm.
  2. Dealing with Traumatic Memories: If you’re in therapy for trauma, this exercise can provide a safe mental space to retreat to when traumatic memories surface unexpectedly. It can be especially useful when working through distressing memories or triggers.
  3. Daily Stress Reduction: You don’t need to wait for a crisis to use the Calm Place exercise. Regular practice can help reduce daily stress and improve your overall mental well-being. It’s like having a mental oasis you can visit whenever life gets hectic.

How to Practice the EMDR Calm Place Exercise

  1. Close Your Eyes: Close your eyes to eliminate visual distractions and turn your focus inward.
  2. Identify Your Calm Place: Identify a place where you feel calm. That could be a beach, by a stream, in the woods, near a farm, or any other place. Choose a place that you do not have any negative associations with. This place can be real or imagined such as floating in the clouds.
  3. Visualize Your Calm Place: Now, start to visualize your Calm Place. Imagine what it is like to be in this place bringing in all of your senses. Imagine it in as much detail as possible, including colors, textures, and any sounds or scents.
  4. Engage Your Senses: As you immerse yourself in this mental sanctuary, engage your senses. Feel the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the breeze, or the softness of the sand. Listen to the soothing sounds of nature or gentle music. Take your time to explore this space fully.
  5. Begin Tapping: Slow rhythmic tapping of your hands or feet can help reinforce the feeling of calm. This step is optional but might help deepen the feeling of relaxation.
  6. Practice Grounding: If you ever start to feel overwhelmed or distressed, use this visualization to ground yourself. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and transport yourself to your Calm Place.

The EMDR Calm Place exercise is a versatile and effective tool for managing anxiety, dealing with trauma, and reducing daily stress. With regular practice, you can create a mental sanctuary that provides comfort and stability during challenging times. Whether you’re in therapy or simply looking for ways to enhance your mental well-being, incorporating the Calm Place exercise into your routine can be a valuable step towards finding peace within yourself.

New Hope Counseling, Therapy Exercises in Louisville, KY, EFT

Butterfly Hugs Tapping: A Gentle Technique for Calming Your Mind and Body

In the realm of stress reduction and emotional healing, there exists a simple yet highly effective technique known as “Butterfly Hugs Tapping.” This gentle self-soothing method is designed to calm the mind, ease emotional distress, and provide a sense of comfort and serenity. In this blog post, we will explore what Butterfly Hugs Tapping is and how you can use it to promote relaxation and well-being.

Understanding Butterfly Hugs Tapping

Butterfly Hugs Tapping is a therapeutic technique often used in practices like Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). It involves a rhythmic pattern of tapping or patting specific points on your body while focusing on a calming statement or affirmation. The technique is named after the gentle motion of your arms, which resembles the wings of a butterfly.

How Butterfly Hugs Tapping Works

The fundamental principle behind Butterfly Hugs Tapping is that it combines tactile stimulation with positive self-talk to reduce stress and emotional turmoil. By gently tapping on specific areas of your body and repeating soothing phrases, you activate your body’s relaxation response and shift your focus away from distressing thoughts.

The Butterfly Hugs Tapping Process

Follow these steps to practice Butterfly Hugs Tapping for calming yourself:

  1. Take a Deep Breath: Begin with a deep breath in through your nose and a slow exhale through your mouth. This will help you center yourself and prepare for the tapping exercise.
  2. Cross Your Hands: Cross your hands at your chest, so your hands form the shape of a butterfly. Your fingertips should be touching the area just below your collarbone.
  3. Start Tapping: Using a gentle, alternating motion, begin slowly tapping the collarbone area. Imagine your hands mimicking the gentle fluttering of butterfly wings.
  4. Repeat a Calming Statement: While tapping, repeat a calming statement or affirmation to yourself. For example, “I am calm and at peace” or “I am safe and in control.” Choose a phrase that resonates with you and helps you feel grounded.
  5. Continue Tapping: Maintain the tapping rhythm for at least a minute or until you feel a noticeable reduction in stress or anxiety. Focus on your chosen calming statement and breathe deeply throughout the process.
  6. Release and Reflect: After tapping, release your arms and take a moment to reflect on how you feel. Notice any changes in your emotional state, tension level, or overall sense of calm.

When to Use Butterfly Hugs Tapping
Butterfly Hugs Tapping can be used in various situations, including:

  1. Stressful Moments: When you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, a quick round of Butterfly Hugs Tapping can provide immediate relief.
  2. Anxiety and Panic: This technique can be particularly helpful during episodes of anxiety or panic attacks. It serves as a grounding practice to regain control over your emotions.
  3. Emotional Healing: If you’re working through past traumas or emotional wounds, Butterfly Hugs Tapping can be incorporated into your healing routine to soothe and comfort yourself.
  4. Daily Self-Care: You can also integrate this technique into your daily self-care routine as a preventive measure to manage stress and maintain emotional well-being.

Butterfly Hugs Tapping is a simple yet potent tool that empowers you to calm your mind and body when facing stress, anxiety, or emotional distress. By combining gentle physical touch with positive affirmations, you can activate your body’s innate relaxation response and foster a sense of serenity and self-assurance. Incorporate Butterfly Hugs Tapping into your life, and you’ll find a valuable ally in your journey toward inner peace and emotional well-being.

New Hope Counseling, Therapy for Healing in Louisville, Kentucky

Navigating the Path to Healing: Common Client Fears When Working Through Trauma

Healing from trauma is a courageous journey that can be both empowering and challenging. For many clients, the process of working through trauma can trigger fears and anxieties. It’s important to understand that these fears are natural reactions to the emotions and memories trauma brings to the surface. In this blog post, we’ll explore some common client fears when working through trauma and provide insights on how to address and navigate them.

Fear of Reliving the Trauma
One of the most significant fears clients may face is the fear of reliving the traumatic event. Recalling painful memories and emotions can be overwhelming, and some worry that discussing the trauma will make them feel as though they are back in that moment.

Addressing this fear: Clients will be in a safe and controlled environment. Clients are guided through the process at their own pace, and they have control over what they share. Additionally, therapists can teach grounding techniques to help clients stay in the present moment when discussing traumatic memories. A therapists goal is to titrate the trauma work in manageable pieces.

Fear of Overwhelming Emotions
Clients may fear that they won’t be able to handle the flood of emotions that working through trauma can bring.

Addressing this fear: Therapists can help clients develop emotional regulation skills prior to the trauma work. These skills allow clients to process and cope with their emotions in a healthy way, making the experience more manageable. The trauma work will also happen at a pace that feels safe and manageable to the client

Fear of Being Judged or Misunderstood
Clients may worry that sharing their trauma with a therapist or loved ones will result in judgment or misunderstanding. They may fear that others won’t believe them or that they will be perceived differently.

Addressing this fear: Therapists can create a safe and non-judgmental space where clients feel heard and validated. While we encourage safe and open communication with clients and their support systems, it is also important that the client has a choice in who, when and where they choose any personal information, and if it is safe to do so.

Fear of Losing Control
Trauma can make individuals feel helpless and out of control. Some clients may fear that exploring their trauma will lead to a loss of control over their emotions or their lives.

Addressing this fear: Therapists can emphasize that therapy is a collaborative process, and clients have control over the pace and depth of their healing journey. Teaching clients coping strategies and mindfulness techniques can also help them feel more in control.

Fear of Change
Clients may worry that healing from trauma will require them to make significant life changes or confront uncomfortable truths about themselves or their relationships.

Addressing this fear: Therapists can help clients explore and navigate potential changes, emphasizing that personal growth and healing often lead to positive transformations in one’s life.

Working through trauma is a brave and vital step towards healing and reclaiming one’s life. It’s entirely normal for clients to have fears and anxieties along this journey. Recognizing and addressing these fears in therapy is a crucial part of the healing process. By creating a safe and supportive environment, therapists can help clients navigate their fears and gradually work through trauma, empowering them to reclaim their well-being and resilience.

New Hope Counseling EMDR Therapy in Louisville, KY

Is EMDR Therapy For Me?

You may or may not have heard of EMDR therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy. This is a therapy that is fairly new to the counseling field (the last 30 years or so), introduced by Francine Shapiro. It uses bilateral stimulation of your eyes or hand tappers to help stimulate your left and right sides of your brain while you process troubling incidents from your past or a current issue. It also uses dual focus of the issue to process and the moment in the room. With your mind fully stimulated in this way, you will be able to process these troubling incidents in new ways and make new connections that have been previously stuck and difficult to manage. This method of therapy was initially used to treat mostly trauma, but now has been shown to be effective for many more issues such as depression, anxiety, drug abuse, pain management, and more.

EMDR can access emotions and help process difficult material that previously took much more time to navigate in traditional therapy. A foundation of EMDR is to take down the barriers that you have in place to allow your body and mind heal naturally. The length of time will vary from person to person, depending on the extent of trauma and/or emotion they are experiencing.

If you still have questions about how EMDR works, or if this is right for you. Please feel free to contact me. My phone number is 502-712-9604.

New Hope Counseling in Louisville, KY, Trauma Trained Therapists

T is for Trauma, H is for Healing

My therapy practice specializes in seeing clients who have experienced trauma. This could be a one time event, a series of events, or a repeated enduring time that was disturbing, destructive, or threatening. Examples of these types of events may be:

+ Experience of Natural Disaster
+ Sexual Abuse or Rape
+ Domestic Violence
+ Illness or Injury
+ Witnessing the death of a loved one or friend

All people respond to trauma differently. Many people who have suffered trauma may have feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, shame, anger, and grief. Sometimes the trauma can lead to long term issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug use, depression, or anxiety. An individual might become numb to the trauma, or even deny that it occurred. Conversely, they might become very emotionally reactive to triggers that remind them of it. They might have sleep issues, breathing issues, or even stomach issues. A person who has developed any of these long term symptoms should reach out for help by a counselor or therapist.

Why is trauma related to substance use? It is well established that one in four individuals with trauma will develop a substance use issue. It is suggested that many who use substances do so to escape the pain in thier lives and to numb the pain of trauma. It is often more successful for an individual who has started on thier relapse prevention program and sobriety to begin addressing their trauma, since that is often a trigger for relapse.

I want you to know that you are not alone. I have worked with many people who have learned to cope with these issues. I am a trauma trained professional and use EMDR, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy in my practice.

“EMDR is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.”
~ The EMDR Institute

If you or someone you know is coping with trauma, please call 502-712-9604 for help to get back on track.

New Hope Counseling, Self Worth Therapy in Louisville, KY

Believe in Yourself

“Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are – completely; the good and the bad – and make changes as YOU see fit – not because you think someone else wants you to be different.”
– Stacey Charter

New Hope Counseling, Therapy for Anxiety and depression in Louisville, Kentucky

Decreasing Anxiety and Depression

Many clients ask me for tools to begin helping to decrease their anxiety and depression. Research shows that one thing you can do is slow down and appreciate one thing at a time. Our rush to do many things at once keeps us from appreciating and savoring each aspect of our lives.

Try doing one activity and focus on only that activity. For example, slowing down to fully appreciate a meal. Savor each bite and appreciate the aroma, fullness and warmth from the food, creates happiness. We miss this everyday in our busy rush of checking cell phones, going to meetings, and heading out the door. Doing this can give you time, not only to slow the rush of life but to allow you to increase the moments of happiness and appreciation during your day. This may seem small but adds up to have an effect.

Take the time to choose at least one or two things each day to slow down to be completed with no distractions, such as talking to your partner or friend, watching television, reading, taking a bath, etc. Truly take the time to appreciate the moment and savor it without judgment. Don’t get disappointed if it does not go your way. Life is full of ups and downs, you will have another chance. You will begin to see changes in your mood.

I think I might just go savor a hot cup of tea.

For more information, you can contact New Hope Counseling by calling 502-712-9406.