No one is immune to the impact of trauma, but trauma does not have to be a life-sentence.
A review of empirical studies on the effects of mindfulness on psychological health concluded that mindfulness brings about various positive psychological effects, including increased subjective well-being, reduced psychological symptoms and emotional reactivity, and improved behavioral regulation (Keng, S., Smoski, and Robins, 2011).
At the Empower House, we incorporate mindfulness in everything we do. We start our morning off by silent sunrise meditation (held outside most days). We prepare food together and practice mindful eating by assessing hunger levels, smelling and tasting our food, and noticing colors and textures. We incorporate yoga and meditation times into our daily routine, and we practice mindful communication in our relationships with each other. We start our evening by watching the sunset and end our day with a reflection. Mindfulness continues through Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). As a cognitive behavior therapy, DBT focuses on changing one’s thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. DBT is helpful with PTSD because it develops a trusting and safe relationship between the person and her therapist, and it teaches practical skills to regulate emotions through mindfulness concepts, interpersonal effectiveness skills and distress tolerance skills.
In addition to mindfulness and DBT, we offer Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR significantly addresses psychological and physical symptoms stemming from adverse life experiences. One advantage of using EMDR is that the person does not need to be re-traumatized by bringing up all the details of the trauma. EMDR sets up a learning state that allows these experiences to be stored appropriately in the brain. The trauma can be remembered but without the emotional charge that once accompanied the event. EMDR is the treatment of choice for veterans returning from combat with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In twenty-four randomized controlled trials, EMDR therapy was shown to have positive effects in the treatment of emotional trauma and other adverse life experiences. Seven of 10 studies reported EMDR therapy to be more rapid and/or more effective than trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. Twelve randomized studies of the eye movement component noted rapid decreases in negative emotions and/or vividness of disturbing images, with an additional eight reporting a variety of other memory effects. Numerous other evaluations document that EMDR therapy provides relief from a variety of somatic complaints (Shapiro, F. 2014). There is much support for the effectiveness of EMDR.
Besides all the studies supporting DBT and EMDR therapies, Recent evidence suggests that good nutrition is also essential for our mental health and that a number of mental health conditions may be influenced by dietary factors (Lai, Jun, et.al., 2014). At the Empower House, food is an integral part of health and healing. The role of nutrition seems to have been an under-recognized factor in mental health. The evidence indicates that food plays an important contributing role in the development, management and prevention of specific mental health problems such as depression. A balanced mood and feelings of wellbeing can be perpetuated by ensuring that our diet provides adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water. Carbohydrates increase serotonin, a brain chemical that has a calming effect. Protein-rich foods increase tyrosine, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which help to increase alertness. In addition, certain healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids) become part of the membranes of brain cells and control many brain processes. Poor nutrition or lack of a variety of healthy foods can contribute to depression by limiting the availability of these specific nutrients.
At the Empower House, we believe that nutritional interventions are needed for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation in mental health services. We also believe that nutrition should be considered a cornerstone of mental health interventions in clinical practice guidelines and in standards of care. We serve whole food nutrition at our facility. A healthy relationship with food is cultivated from seed to table. We teach our women about nurturing the body and the earth and they can participate in gardening, harvesting, preparing and eating fresh organic foods. We utilize the Dietetics in Developmental and Psychiatric Disorders Practice Group of the American Dietetics Association’s Guide for providing Psychiatric Nutrition Therapy and we have a Registered Dietician on staff.
The Empower House is a residential facility serving women with trauma, which may manifest into PTSD, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, and other mental health problems.
At the Empower House, we realize the widespread impact of trauma, and its effects of anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other mental health issues, and we fully integrate the paths for recovery in our program. We are committed to the well-being o
Our Mission is empowering survivors of violence and/or trauma by creating a space in which the vulnerable can speak, allowing healing, wellness, and hope.