Mental Health, Anxiety & EMDR with Janelle Nelson, LMFT

Hey Friends, I know it’s been forever since I have written again. Has my sabbatical caused you some sort of anxiety? I’m so sorry– forgive me but I have been busy starting a podcast, This Girl Life.

THIS GIRL LIFE PODCAST

It has been a dream of mine for awhile now to start a lifestyle podcast with my best friend Kristen of the Everyday Grace. We wanted to connect with women, really all of you on another level. Plus, we love talking way more than we love typing… so a podcast was a perfect fit. You can catch up on latest TGL episodes on itunes, Soundcloud, Googleplay, Spotify.We just released EPISODE 5 with Janelle Nelson, (LMFT) a family, marriage life therapist who specializes in EMDR( Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). EMDR is a tool used to help combat PTS from trauma, anxiety, even helps people with phobias. EMDR has helped me work through some of my anxiety that I asked Janelle Nelson, LMFT to share about this amazing tool on the blog after her episode on TGL aired.

My Anxiety Struggle

I have talked a lot about my struggle with anxiety with the hope of showing people… we don’t have to “sweep” this topic under the rug. Check out past posts here and here. I have been using EMDR in my therapy sessions with Dr. Cassidy. and OMG EMDR is amazing. I have seen great improvement in my own life since starting my sessions, it really helps peel back all the layers of your anxiety.

On Positively Posie.com I truly want to be a force in breaking the stigma that still surrounds the topic of mental health. One of the first steps in breaking that is to say and believe…

” there is no weakness in asking for help”

In our latest TGL Episode with Janelle Nelson, LMFT , I share how I got a point with my anxiety where I KNEW I needed to talk to someone. It was truly freeing and reduced my anxiety by just take that step and going to first session. I believe there is POWER in being heard and understood by someone else. SO GUYS- I hope this post and podcast episode can be a little piece in helping start a productive conversation about mental health, anxiety and therapy.

The Interview

Whitney: Hey Janelle thanks for coming on Positively Posie and sharing about EMDR. First tell us little bit about you, your practice.

Janelle: Thanks for having me! I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist trained in specific type of therapy called EMDR. I have a private practice in Carlsbad, CA (North County San Diego). I’m also a mom, artist, nature lover and health/wellness geek 🙂

Whitney: Let’s start off with the basics: what is EMDR?

Janelle: EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and is now the most proven form of trauma therapy that’s available. It works incredibly fast and can be used to treat a wide range of trauma – from incredibly severe to very mild.

Whitney: Can your quickly breakdown what an EMDR session looks like?

Janelle: First, I work with my clients to find the most effective memory to target (called a touchstone memory). After identifying this memory I will go through a list of questions with my client to help my client really get in touch with the memory. For example; I would ask them to identify what image represents the worst part of the incident. Also, what negative belief are they believing because of the incident, what feelings do they have around the incident, and have them rate the trauma. After all these questions (and more) are answered and the client is in touch with the incident then the actual processing can start.

The processing phase is where the client gets in touch with the memory and then with their eyes follows a lightbar tool I have in my office to allow the brain to ‘digest’ the trauma (go to my instagram @jncounseling to see an actual video of this). The bi-lateral movement from the eyes allows the brain to move and reprocess the memory using both hemispheres of the brain. I will pause and check in with the client throughout the process to see if there distress levels have shifted. When they get to the point where nothing about the incident bothers them (yes- this happens every time!) then we can move to the installation and body scan phases.

The installation and body scan phases is where they are able to pair the positive belief with the incident and they start to feel really good! At the end of the sessions my clients are usually tired, but incredibly light and relieved or they literally skip out of my office! Ha! I once had a teenage client ask me, “Do you feel like a magician? From like, Harry Potter or something?! That was crazy!”

Whitney: You’ve been using EMDR in your practice for over 7 years. Why is it such a powerful tool in the world of healthcare.

Janelle: Because it goes deep and works so so quickly! Trauma literally gets “stuck” in the brain and gets paired with a negative belief about ourselves. We might do a lot of talk therapy and in our minds know “I am good enough,” but in our hearts we don’t FEEL that way. EMDR helps make our head knowledge actual heart knowledge… and that’s what makes it so powerful.

Whitney: As an military spouse I knew about EMDR, but I only thought it was for Post traumatic stress trauma, who else could benefit from EMDR ?

Janelle: It can benefit literally anyone. I have never met a person who hasn’t experienced some form of trauma (shame or pain). I have worked with many of our Military who have PTSD and the results are incredible for them, but anyone can benefit. Some common things I see (unfortunately) is a lot of sexual abuse, bullying, and attachment trauma (ex: alcoholic/workaholic parent). Other things I have used it for are fear of flying, cancer or illness recovery, and death of a loved one. It has endless uses…

Whitney: I have used EMDR to tap into past childhood issues that are the stem of a lot of my adult anxiety. Are you seeing more patients like myself using EMDR to manage chronic anxiety.

Janelle: Most of my clients are just like you! Awesome, high functioning people who are wanting to self improve and work through whatever is blocking them in their present life.

Whitney: What are some myths you’ve heard when people talk about EMDR?

Janelle: That it’s some form of hypnosis- It’s definitely not! You are completely conscious the during the processing. Nothing scary I promise 🙂

Whitney: If a person is interested in trying a session where should they start? What should they look for when trying to find a practitioner like yourself.

J: Personal referrals are always the first best resource, but if you don’t have one I would do a search on Psychology Today.

Whitney: Where can our listens/ readers find you!

Website: jncounseling.com

Social: Instagram: @jncounseling / Facebook: Janelle Nelson Counseling

Emails: jntherapy@gmail.com

We’re Friends Right? So Lets Talk About Anxiety

friends 2.jpgANXIETY– Can literally control someone’s life. That is such a sad statement, but guys that is the truth. I am not ashamed to talk about this and say ya.. I have anxiety.

Let me just say anxiety is no JOKE. We need to take care of our mental health just like we take care of skin or our physical health. I think it’s an important topic to talk about and shed some light on. So I wanted to share with you the things I do to calm my anxiety and take back control of my thoughts.

Don’t you think everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life? Well they do.. Anxiety is highly subjective to each person, obviously worse for some than others. Something that helped me right away is just saying..I need some help- – like I’m at a point that I need some guidance on how to manage my anxiety. It’s never a bad time to ask for help, just asking for help that was a first step….

So here is what I have done over the last few years of my life to help manage my anxiety.

I broke these up into the FOUR basic things I started out doing and I STILL do on a daily basis.

Positively Posie (4).png


▴ Take a moment and breath. When I consciously focus on calming thoughts and calming breaths, I can feel my body start to relax. Honestly, there are tons of different breathing exercises for anxiety, so try out several to see what works best for you. What I do is I close my eyes, and start to relax every muscle group from my toes up to my head.  I then take 6 deep breaths through my nose and hold for 5 seconds.

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” — Amit Raz

▴ Adrenal Support- So I’ve talked about the importance of  adrenal support before and I’ll say it again if you have anxiety you need to study up on the connection between the two. I support my adrenals with proper supplementation and I notice a huge difference when I am not on them. Someone like a naturopathic doctor is going to be able to guide best, let me know if you have any questions about this.

Lay off the coffee--This is a very sad truth! I have now limited my caffeine intake to one cup a day and I notice a big difference.

Meditation. I have been trying to incorporate meditation into my life for awhile now. I am trying try train myself to be mindful. Meditation is helping me take unproductive worries and look at them in a totally different way. There are tons of apps out there if you don’t know where to start, I’ve been using headspace and I like it so far.

next FOUR steps I’ve implemented over the last year.

Therapy… I cant tell you how awesome therapy can be. Finding the right person is key, do your research and then pray about it. Guys, listen I personally think there is still such a stigma around therapy, which is so sad. People need to freaking GET OVER IT! Therapy for is a place to learn about yourself and how to handle all feelings. It’s truly Fantastic!

I’ve linked my therapist here in San Diego, talking to her and learning from her has been key!  Just connecting with another human being and having them show you compassion, it’s JUST incredible!! Check out her Instagram and  FANTASTIC podcast!

▴ Have a “person”. Guys–I am all about going to therapy when you need it. If you are NOT at a point where you are ready to go to a therapist then find a FRIEND someone to talk to about how you are feeling!

So many times I just hear people say, “Oh I’m just working through it myself.” That might work for some people but for me my mom couldn’t be my therapist FOREVER (love you mom). I guess the take away is at the end of the day, you NEVER have to worry alone. PLEASE talk to someone when you need to talk.

▴ FILL your CUP with good and positive things. It’s key everyday to Talk, Learn, and Grow by filling your mind with positivity. Recently I was introduced to Susan David who talks about emotional agility, which is eye opening & mind blowing at the same time. Listen to her wisdom over on the podcast, The Robcast.  Other positive Podcasts or books I love and use everyday to fill my cup – – The Alison Show Ep 52 is all about her anxiety journey and WELL everything Brene Brown.


These are a few tips that really have worked for me and helped me handle my day to day anxiety. I’m still working on EVERY DAMN DAY because I’m not perfect and still struggle!

Let me know if you have any questions. AND of course I want to know how you deal with your anxiety. Comment and Share your tips me here or on instagram, I love hearing them!

XO- Whitney