Category Archives for "PTSD"

Podcast 29: Service Dog Training For Panic Attacks

Podcast (Audio Only)

5 benefits of Training a Psychiatric Service Dog

new regulation by the DOT

Summary of todays Podcast:

1. Changes for Emotional support animals and airline travel

  1. New rules for Airlines travel with a Psychiatric Service Dog (PSD)
  2. Who and How to qualify for a PSD
  3. Service Dog Training
  4. Ways Psychiatric Service dog help with Panic Attacks and PTSD and depression

Question of the day is: What is the only question that a person can ask someone to determine if they have a psychiatric service dog?

I was so relieved when I found out about having my cute little furry Emotional support Animal (ESA) fly with me by federal laws for airlines. I could take my dog with me and have him on my lap, if I had a letter from my therapist stating I need my dog to fly with me because I have anxiety, I can take him with me.  That is no longer the case now.  This is a big loss for many to be able to take your furry friend with you.

The 2 laws are for airline travel and housing and they have been around for a long time:

  1. For Housing-The Fair Housing Act.1973- FHA was enacted 47 years ago for people with a disability, physical, or emotional to have their animal with them in housing and to not be discriminated against. There are no changes to this law.
  2. For Air Travel- the Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA) 1986-enacted 3 years ago. Enables you to bring an animal, mostly dog or cat on the plane with you. To Be on your lap the entire flight, or at your feet outside of a carrier. 

12-2-20 the Department of Transportation has changed the regulations. No more ESAs on planes, they are considered pets.  But date when this will take effect.

The new Classification is a Psychiatric Service Dog (PSD). Up to 2 dogs, but only dogs, no other kind of animals. They must meet more stringent requirements and a DOT form is needed to the completed attesting by penalty of a felony that your dog is “trained” to perform a task that helps you with your psychological symptoms.  The person can train the dog themselves or have a professional train them or the animal could have intuitively trained themselves to recognize and respond and alleviate the client’s psychological symptoms.

For example, Training for a Psychiatric Service Dog for Panic attacks, the dog might notice when you are starting to get anxious, even before the you do. The dog must respond, for instance, comes over and licks at you, or puts him head in your lap and this alerts you to your rising anxiety before it escalates to a panic attack and this calms you down, this would be an example of being trained to perform a task.

Or training for a Psychiatric Service Dog for depression could be that the dog lick or paws at you to wake you up, since one of the symptoms of depression can be sleeping to much and you dog comes and gets you out of bed, that is trained to do a task.

The examples could go on and on for all the different ways a dog could be defined as a PSD.

Here are more examples:

  • Helps Calms you from having a more severe panic attack
  • Takes you out of an overwhelming situation from PTSD triggers
  • Calms you in crowds by being a barrier between you and others
  • Brings you back from dissociative state
  • Gets between you and others to provide space
  • Nudges you to keep moving in social situations or crowds
  • Helps to get you out of bed, when depressed or helps you overwhelm state
  • Licks your face to calm or bring you back to reality
  • Lays on you when having panic attack to apply pressure
  • Comes to calm an Autistic person before an episode worsens

5 benefits of have a certified PSD is that they can go with you into

  1. Public places
  2. Stores, Hotels
  3. Restaurants
  4. Fly in a plane with you in the cabin, within your space with no fees
  5. Be in no pet house, without weight or breed restrictions or pet rents.

If you believe your animal helps you with one of the above. Then you are prequalified for next step to get a certified PSD.

If you want to get a certified PSD by a mental Health professional, then an evaluation of your symptoms and need for one is the next step. For Housing this may be required.  Many clients want the certification by me as a Licensed Mental Health Professional with my specialty of certifying for an ESA or a PSD to receive an Official letter or a Photo ID certifying that they meet the law.   This way clients with anxiety are relieved to have the paperwork and not be questioned.

By the law the only question that can be asked is How is your dog trained to help you with a task? Or what task is your dog trained to help you with.   On our PSD letters and ID’s that wording is written directly on it, so that there is not question what can be asked.

Mental health Service Dogs, Service dogs for panic attacks, Psychiatric service animal, Psychiatric Support Dog. Psychiatric Service Dog (PSD) are just some of the names of a new class of Service animal that is born out of the changing for emotional support animals that a announced on Dec. 2, 2020 for airline travel.

If you are interested in more information or if you have questions you are welcome to call us at 760-485-6785 or go to

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Our favorite part of recording is answering your questions, from Facebook at AnxietySimplified5.  Leave comments in the comment section, we will answer on a Podcast on that subject.  So, listen for your question.  Or share it with someone who may be helped with that answer. 

Our next podcast: Dr. SK Ramesh 90 seconds to Calm

Podcast 26: What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? (PTSD)

What causes PTSD and Symptoms, Treatments Options

Podcast (Audio Only)

This is a summary of today’s podcast on Signs of stress and signs of PTSD. We will start with:

  • Definition of PTSD
  • How pervasive is PTSD in on Americans?
  • Discussion of PTSD affects
  • Examples of events that you choose if you think they meet the definition of PTSD
  • My story
  • A new type of traumatic stress possible being created by the pandemic
  • Effective Treatment options

Let’s get started with definition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD Core issues are anxiety and depression, lack of trust, Victim thinking and avoidance.

It seems like Trouble or bad things follows me and just happens to me.  I told my story of a life with PTSD memory of a young child whose older brother tried to smother hand and drown me.  I thought I might die.

95% of our mind are was wired by the time we are 18 yo to the beliefs of the parents and environment.  I found a counselor saved my life from a life with an alcoholic fishermen husband from Maine and desperate to live a better, healthier life.

That was why I choose to become a counselor went back to get my graduate degree and have been a counselor now for 30 years. With trauma as by specialty to help other people.

Know the symptoms that create the victim thinking from PTSD, so you don’t get trapped by them or so you can become aware to make a different choice, once you are aware and know there is help

These are the Clinical symptoms out of our DSM Diagnostic manual to diagnosis PTSD.  

There are 5 sections, I will go over to see if you have some of these sx. If so, treatment is critical not to keep, making unhealthy thought habits going to cement this victim life style in place, because you don’t know what to do or never even know you have the sx of PTSD.

You must have the first criteria and if you don’t, there is not PTSD diagnosis.  I hear from clients that think they must have PTSD because they were bullied, and in fear.  Or the opposite, sexually abused but, I was never penetrated, so it can’t be abuse or have PTSD sx.  Not necessarily true for both examples, or they could be true for both, it is the reaction to the event and how it has affected the person with symptoms.

  • 1st criteria: You must have actually been exposed directly to a trauma that threatened death or serious injury or sexual violence.

For more than one month, the client has been experiencing symptoms of re-experiencing: 4 other section you must have At least 1 symptom:

  • 1.Presence of Intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic distressing memories of the traumatic events such as: Distressing dreams, Flash backs. Psychological distress, or a Physiological response to internal or external cues that resemble the trauma.
  • 2. One of these: Avoidance of the distressing memories, thoughts or feelings associated with the trauma  or Persistent avoidance of people, places, and things that reminds them of an associated memories or traumatic events.
  • 3. 2 or more of these: Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with traumatic events; Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event, Negative beliefs about self or the world because of the traumatic event.  Persistent, distorted beliefs about the cause of the trauma.  Marked diminished interest in significant activities, feeling of detachment or estrangement from others, Persistent inability to experience positive emotions.
  • 4. 2 of these: Reactivity or arousal associated with the trauma that is evidenced by: Irritable mood, reckless destructive behaviors, Hyper-vigilance, exaggerated started response, problems with concentration and Sleep disturbance.

It can also have dissociative symptoms if feeling detached from reality or feeling of the world is unreal to you

This is the mental and physical anguish that the clients suffer, which can be traced back to a traumatic event. While PTSD affects both adults and children, the percentage among war veterans is significantly skewed. While PTSD is be found at a rate of about 9% in the general population, it shoots to as high as 30% among deployed and non-deployed war veterans.

PTSD symptoms can be psychological and behavioral.

A patient may go through their trauma repeatedly in their nightmares and thoughts. Alternatively, they may completely avoid situations that remind them of the trauma or stay constantly over-vigilant. Such symptoms lead to sleep deprivation and sudden loss of temper.

Needless to say, a condition like PTSD has a negative impact on the quality of personal relationships with lack of trust in other and worst within yourself and performance at work with inability to communicate, socialize because of frustration and anger, irritability,  that can be  unintentionally targeted towards the partner, family or co-workers. Situations that would otherwise be non-consequential become big issues. It can lead to spats at work and even escalate to domestic violence.

The key is to identify the symptoms early, get help, and create a system of support to help.

I have found, from my specialty with trauma my 30 years as a mental health profession, you can learn to manage this, not cure this. 

I consider this a brain injury from the trauma that you thought you were going to die and you brain has now been wired differently, to protect you in all ways.

But the good news is, if you wired this, you can rewire it.

Now because of the pandemic, we need to be aware of a new traumatic stress called Secondary Traumatic Stress when the stress overwhelms the coping mechanism leaving people feeling out of control and helpless.  Continual exposure to the trauma, like health care or Mental Health workers or caregivers become depleted, exhausted, or worse self-destructive. 

We are already seeing in with depression rates increasing and suicide rates increasing with caregivers.  With many of the same sx as PTSD.  And only 40% of the clients seek treatment.  This treatable.

The best treatment is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)you can find Apps for and download to teach you skills to work with your symptoms.  This is treatable.

DBT has 3 components and has been shown to have the highest success rates. Because it has a workbook with it.  That you can open up in the moment of the app to open up in the moment and look at ways to deals with an emotion or the freeze up response in the moment, if you go the restroom and use it. There is also mindfulness component to learn how to let go and not get so attached and agitated by situations, or people.  And it includes the CBT or looking at the thoughts that you are having in that moment that is either helping or making the situation worse. You can learn to Stop think breath and make a new choice in the moment to make the situation worse.

There is exceptionally good treatment, and it HAS to be within your Control when with who to do treatment.  Because avoidance and lack of trust are huge issues, and you must feel you choose your treatment.

But please choose it to learn to Trust Yourself most of all, please reach out if you want it or need it.

You can find an 1800 on the back of your insurance card for the Mental health service that your insurance will pay for.  There is help through you work look in the HR manual for EAP for 6 free sessions.  Or ask a friend who helped them with these issues.  Many Veteran agency have specific groups and training to build skills to feel better.

I certify clients to have an ESA and I have found that one ways as one of the simplest most helpful, if you can have your dog with you in more places or to go to a family gathering, if you have you dog friend with you Our website for that is You can learn to trust yourself again.

Please reach out. Or go to our website for other resources.

Happy New Year’s Welcome 2021

Join the Conversation

Our favorite part of recording is answering your questions, from Facebook at AnxietySimplified5.  Leave comments in the comment section, we will answer on a Podcast on that subject.  So, listen for your question.  Or share it with someone who may be helped with that answer. 

Our next podcast: Success Creating Achievable Goals.

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Podcast 4: How to Control Anxiety Attacks-Part 2

Controlling Anxiety Attacks, Anxiety Relief Meditation

Podcast (Audio Only)

  • In this episode Joanne Williams, LCSW explains the causes of anxiety or Panic Attacks

    • Genetic Signs of stress that lead to anxiety
    • Definition of anxiety or Panic attacks
    • How our habituated Catastrophic thinking is activating the anxiety attacks.
    • Increase your awareness of your thoughts is one way to counteract the old thought habits of anxiety and Panic attacks, as a treatment for anxiety.
    • 4 Treatment options
    • How an Emotional Support Animals (ESA) have been shown to help lower anxiety and how to get a certified ESA at 
    • Questions and answers: Can anxiety attacks kill you?
    • 5 minutes music meditation for stress and anxiety relief at the end of the narrative of the podcast.
  • In this episode Joanne Williams, LCSW explains the:
    Genetic Signs of anxiety
    Definition of anxiety or Panic attacks
    How our habituated Catastrophic thinking is activating the anxiety attacks.
    Increase your awareness of your thoughts is one way to counteract the old thought habits
    4 Treatment options
    How an Emotional Support Animals (ESA) have been shown to help lower anxiety
    Questions and answers: Can anxiety attacks kill you?
    5 minutes music meditation