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Living From Happiness

The Happiness Doc, Dr. Melanie Harth, and guests share thought-provoking convos every week on Living From Happiness. From mindfulness and neuroscience to positive psychology and creativity, the show's all about living well in transformational times.
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Nov 24, 2022
Silvia Stenitzer returns to the studio for this episode. Silvia’s a licensed professional clinical counselor in Santa Fe. She has a private practice as a psychotherapist. And she also trains the trainers, offering continuing education workshops throughout the year for licensed counselors.
 
She has specialized training in some important areas, including somatic therapy and interpersonal neurobiology.
 
Melanie and Silvia share ideas about how to manage the holiday season when it feels overwhelming, or if you’ll be spending time with toxic people, including family.
 
Some of the topics include how healing can happen in relationships, and that sometimes the people who drive you the most crazy can be sources to help you deepen into your evolutionary journey.
 
Narcissists and attachment styles are part of the discussion, as well.
 
Melanie shares the 5 S’s, from neuroscientist and psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Siegel. The 5 S’s can be helpful to use when your nervous system has been activated, and you need some help with emotional safety and emotional regulation. 
 
The 5 S’s are five fundamental needs that all humans have. They are:
 

“1) Be SEEN—meaning our inner life is perceived, made sense of, and responded to in a timely and effective manner. The attunement of others helps us “feel felt” in the world.

2) Be SOOTHED—meaning that our distress is noted and the interactions with others helps us to feel calmer, more at ease. This interactive soothing becomes internal soothing as we develop.

3) Be SAFE—meaning that we are protected from harm and also that those we care about are not the source of terror. This is how we come to have a sense of trust in others.

4) Be SECURE—meaning that we develop an overall internal model of solidity, enabling us to feel that in general, we are worthy of being seen, soothed, and safe and that we can rely on others for this important sense of connection.

In addition, a “fifth S” might be the notion of “SENSE-making”—meaning how we rely on our interactions with others to make sense of the world. This making sense process enables us to feel a coherence between what we experience ourselves and how we are told the world actually is. With a coherent sense-making experience, we have what some researchers term, “epistemic trust.”

Furthermore, Siegel says “But if your family has not in the past provided these S’s of security for you or others, then this list may be helpful to keep in mind as you enter this holiday season. We have a saying that you can ‘name it to tame it,’ meaning that if you name an emotional state it will help you create equilibrium in your life. If you are at the dinner table and Aunt Mary doesn’t see you as you are discussing some important issues in your life, when the feeling of disconnection arises, say to yourself, with your inner voice, ‘Ah—how fascinating—agitation from not being SEEN. That’s one of those S’s of security, fully missing here from her reactions to me, no wonder I have this unsettling feeling of disconnection.’ You may not be able to change Aunt Mary, but you can change how you understand and respond to her non-secure ways of interacting with you.
 
Finally, Siegel writes that you can be your own secure attachment figure. “You can see what is actually going on inside you with clarity and acceptance, you can soothe your own inner distress, you can keep yourself safe, and you can make sense of what is going on as you name it to tame it.” https://drdansiegel.com/expanding-your-holiday-hub/
 
 
Silvia Stenitzer’s website here: https://silviastenitzer.com/
 
Dr. Melanie Harth’s website here: https://thesantafetherapist.com/
 
 
Questions or comments about the show: happiness@ksfr.org.
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