1. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
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Hello from Andrew Miller, MFTI

Discussion in 'Mindbody Video Library' started by AndrewMillerMFT, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Hello all,

    My name is Andrew Miller. I'm a Marriage and Family Therapist-Intern working with PPD/TMS patients in the Los Angeles area. At one time I was a member of the TMShelp.org forum and recently completed an interview with Forrest about my own TMS success story:


    I will be spending some time on the forum and hope that I can be of assistance to those around.

    Looking forward to the conversation,

    Forest likes this.
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Andrew,

    Let me be the first one to welcome you to our community! We pride ourselves on a supportive community grounded in ideas from scientific research and with strong connections to leading practitioners. Thank you for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to help people trying to recover.

    You shared some great insights about TMS recovery in the interview we did. GailNYC and YB44 left some very interesting thoughts about it in another thread. Gail wrote that it was "Really one of the most helpful interviews about TMS that I've seen," and YB wrote "I thought I would just catch a bit of it but was compelled to watch the whole interview:"
    Here's Gail and YB's thread: How we have our TMS is why we have our TMS.​

    Andrew, if you get a chance, could you tell us a little bit about yourself or the techniques that you use?

    Also, everyone else, if you have any questions about the points he brought up in the interview, here is a great place to ask!
  3. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Wow! Thanks for the great introduction, Forest.

    Just a little about myself: I'm an MFT-I with 5-plus years of practice in the field. I've been working with TMS patients on-and-off for 10-plus years as a coach and then as a therapist.

    As far as approaches go, I share many similarities with my colleagues on this board and think that all the resources (including Alan Gordan's new program!) are phenomenal. I'd say that my focus as a therapist is on mindfulness practice, recognition and metabolization of emotions through psychodramatic practice (empty chair, letter writing, individual therapy) and recently I've been focusing on a holistic approach to TMS making sure we look at it in context of a person's whole life and whole relational world. What I mean by that last piece is, that we address change people want in their lives (even though it may be hard) and allow those actions to reverberate (and many times reduce) TMS symptoms.


  4. trypp

    trypp Peer Supporter

    If you don't mind me asking, I'm curious about how your approach as a coach and as a therapist differed. Do you find that your approach as a therapist is any different because you had experience as a coach?
    I'm very interested, also, in this. It sounds like you are saying that changing places where you are "stuck" in your life can really be helpful in TMS healing. I can see how this would be very helpful, but do you think that it is necessary? In my life there are some big things that I don't think I can change, and I derive hope from being able to adapt to them on the inside. I have great faith in the power of the human spirit to adapt to loss (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedonic_treadmill ).

    Do you think that those ideas are compatible? A belief in adaptation AND a belief in the the healing power of making necessary changes?
  5. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    I absolutely don't mind! That's why we're on here.

    I think my approach as a therapist and coach differed only in what I understand about the cognitive-emotional world and treatment in general. As a coach I relied much more heavily on my personal experience to help guide those I was working with. As a therapist, I have a much broader perspective, acknowledging that there may be some guiding prinicples that we all should take into account when dealing with PPD but that each individual's journey is different and - often - their treatment must be individualized for them and their emotional-cognitive dynamics. That might be a convoluted way of saying, what works for me doesn't necessarily work for you.

    I do think the ideas of change and acceptance are compatible but it does take some work on our parts as clinicians and patients to synthesize an understanding. I would encourage you to make it a point of conversation with may professionals about the compatiblity of the two - many practitioners have similar views, some differing, but all worth exploring. What I'll ultimately say about the compatibility is this: for many of us, the healing act is to accept the things we cannot change while having the courage to change the things we can. If that sounds familiar, it's because it's from the serenity prayer, something used far and wide in the addiction field. Navigating a world of acceptance AND change is the journey for many people who suffer from PPD. Refining what we accept and what we want to change is a life-long process. It can have a profound affect on PPD, but more importantly, it can have a profound affect on our own personhood.
    Forest likes this.
  6. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Oh, and a follow-up. I do think changing situations, altering our actions and patterns of behavior can have a significant effect on PPD symptoms - especially if they follow a pattern of developing congruency between who we are, what we feel and what we do. That being said, it's not necessarily a cure-all (though you can always learn more about your relationship to PPD from change). The benefit is, regardless of what happens to your PPD symptoms, affecting that sort of change can provide a myriad of benefits to your life outside of symptom reduction. And that can be an amazing thing.
  7. trypp

    trypp Peer Supporter

    That makes a lot of sense. And I know what you mean about change not being a cure-all. Some times I feel that my life could change dramatically, but it wouldn't necessarily exorcise my demons. For that I'm going to have to learn how to reframe the way that I think about things. Thanks for the help.

    If you don't mind another question, I'm just curious, what did you find most helpful with your own TMS?
    Forest likes this.
  8. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Not a problem, trypp.

    By the way, I'd like to give a unsolicited recommendation to look through Alan Gordon's Treatment Program that he just posted on here because I think it really does such an amazing job illuminating those "principles" that should guide PPD treatment.

    Just off the top of my head, these things helped me:

    1) Not focusing on the symptoms.
    2) Developing self-compassion.
    3) Processing and feeling emotions.
    4) Self-talk ( both in reminding myself what the symptoms are and directing my attention to the emotional).

    And I'd say that the number one thing that I did in relation to those was - and this is a continuing thing, I had to remind myself of this yesterday - is realize that all these issues listed above are a process. They are not events. They don't just happen. They're not static. When I can accept that, it opens the door to self-compassion, not focusing on the sxs, more access to my feelings, and new avenues of self-talk.
    Enrique and Forest like this.
  9. chickenbone

    chickenbone Well known member

    Welcome, Andrew. I enjoyed reading your posts.
    Forest likes this.
  10. AndrewMillerMFT

    AndrewMillerMFT Well known member

    Oh, and I'd like to include one other piece. I'd highly encourage everyone to check out some form of mindfulness practice to include in their lives. Meditation has been an integral part of my life since discovering PPD. I find that it goes a long way in separating myself from the internal dialogue of self-judgment that comes with the personality closely associated with PPD.

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