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Our Culture Harms Us

Our Culture Harms Us

Watch this video to understand more deeply how systems of oppression and harm such as the patriarchy, capitalism, racism and more profoundly impact the lives of women and femmes (especially of color) from our relationship to ourselves, others, what we accept and believe we are worthy of, our mental health, and more. (video originally recorded for a workshop in my now on hold online membership). Want to watch part two with more info, actionable steps and more reflection questions? Fill out your info below to get instant access to the rest of this workshop!

We Connect to What We Know: Healing Attachment Wounds

We Connect to What We Know: Healing Attachment Wounds

Attachment Wounds are often under recognized because they can come from emotional trauma. And our culture continues to minimize or deny the reality and impact of trauma. Just look at the GOP representatives attacked at the capital who turned around and denied any impact on themselves and even mocked other colleagues for sharing they felt emotionally impacted by the attack. Research in neuroscience over the last decade has shown over and over that emotional traumas impact our nervous system & brain development much like physical traumas. If you're a believer in science like me, you'll be relieved to hear that there is evidence proving you aren't "broken" or "messed up" or "crazy" if you're struggling because of past emotional wounds. And these past wounds impact our relationships in profound ways. If you've been following me for awhile, you know that your past wounds are impacting your relationships. If you're new around these parts, welcome. And FYI: your past wounds including childhood emotional neglect are impacting your relationships. We call emotional injuries impacting our ability to have healthy relationships attachment wounds. It is ok to say simply "this is how I was raised impacted my brain and nervous system development, this is how what I saw about relationships growing up and how I was treated shaped my ideas about relationships and the skill level I came into adulthood with" you are stating facts. I'm not into the let's "blame mom and dad" game. That keeps us from moving forward. But we have to recognize the impact the quality (or lack of) caregiving we received had on us. What the attachment research also shows us is that if we didn't have healthy relationships, attunement (feeling seen, felt, and heard), and nurturing as a child (or didn't get it consistently or often enough) as adults we: wont recognize it, won't resonate with it, and can have difficulty "taking it in." To put it another way: if you didn't experience secure attachment as a kid, it's easy to miss or reject the opportunity for a securely attached relationship as an adult. This can explain why we're attracted to the "wrong" type of person for us, it's what we connect with on some level. The neuroscience research says what wasn't "mirrored and contained" for you can't stick. For example, if you fell and were hurt, crying in pain, and your adult caregiver told you to "stop crying/suck it up/I'll give you something to cry about/etc" instead of "you're really hurt/you have an owie/I would cry too/I see your cut let's get you a band aid but first lets give you a hug to calm down" as an adult, someone reflecting your experience, holding space for you, showing empathy and responsiveness, may feel uncomfortable. It may be so uncomfortable you dismiss them or push the help or the person away. This can lead to us unconsciously "filtering out" healthy relationships and hanging onto ones that in some way reflect the wounding left by our caregivers. And the difficulty is, we often don't know what's missing until we start on this journey of self reflection. We can learn to identify how our attachment wounds impacted us. We can identify parts of ourselves and reclaim our wholeness. Often in finding these missing parts of ourselves we begin to live more authentic lives, find and ACCEPT healthier relationships into our lives. To help you in your journey, I've created a free guide for you to help you get clearer on your attachment wounds & to start living from a more whole, authentic place. CLICK HERE to get the guide "Reclaiming Ourselves" This guide is for you regardless of your attachment style! Don't forget to grab the guide here! With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW

What is a Secure Base and How Having One Can Change Your Life

What is a Secure Base and How Having One Can Change Your Life

Attachment is how we connect and relate to other people. It is influenced by how we were raised, and the quality of the caregiving that we received by our parents or caregivers growing up. It shapes our brains, our nervous systems, it also influences our the relational patterns that we see. These experiences influence who we choose to be in relationship with when we grow up, how we show up in our relationships, and even the pattern of relationships we find ourselves in. Attachment is not just something that we think about with romantic relationships, but also with friendships, with our relationships with our career, business, money, etc. It's important to share attachment styles are not a diagnosis and they're not fixed. They can also change over the course of life and look different in different types of relationships. For example, I tend to lean more anxiously attached in my romantic relationships, and more avoidant attached in my friendships or in my relationship with money. It took me a long time to start checking my bank account in my adult life on a more regular basis. The good news is that we can all heal and grow towards the healthy attachment style, which is secure. What shapes our attachment is the quality of attunement that we received growing up. So attunement is how we were seen, felt and heard growing up. Attunement is also how responsive our caregivers were to us, (did they come when we cried? did they give us a band aid for our boo-boos? did they feed us when we were hungry?), the appropriateness of their responsiveness (did they scream at us or silence us or hold space for our feelings) and the consistency or lack thereof, of responding to our needs. The quality of attunement shapes our brains, it shapes our nervous systems, and how we look at behavioral and relationship patterns. The research shows that a parent only needs to respond to a child's bid for attention or for connection, about 30% of the time for that child to grow up with secure attachment. So you didn't need to have perfect parents or you don't need to be a perfect parent or caregiver yourself. However, the research also shows that only about 20 to 30% of people entering adulthood have a secure attachment. So we have a lot of work to do as a society and supporting our parents and caregivers more in raising children. A core tenet of attachment theory is this idea of a secure base, that when you have an adult or a caregiver who is attuned to you it provided you a safe place to explore the world from and come back and be nourished and resourced from. To illustrate: Imagine you're walking out the park and you go by a playground, and you see three sets of adults and children come to play. In the first set, the caregiver arrives, and the child clings, is crying and grabbing on their caregiver and doesn't want to let go. In the second pair, the caregiver and child arrive, and the child takes off like a jet, running all over the place, even running far away. Finally in the third pair, the child may be hesitant to go out and explore the playground, but eventually is able to go out with the parent a few times. But then the child gains confidence and can explore on their own (I'm using a kiddo about 5 years old in this example who does not need constant adult supervision at a playground). The child might explore the little Playhouse close by and then run back to the parent and get a hug. And then the child might go and explore at the little jungle gym, and then run back to the parent get a hug. And then the child might go to the slide and shout, "hey look at me look at me, and go down the slide." There are three different scenarios here. The first scenario is an example of a anxious attachment, where the child doesn't feel safe to let go of the adult, because maybe they aren't sure that they're going to be there when they come back from the playground. The second example is a is an example of an avoidant attachment, where the child just runs off without the caregiver because they don't feel that the caregiver is that secure base is paying attention to them, is maybe checked out or on their phone. And then the third example is actually an example of secure attachment, where we may feel a little scared. But then we also feel safe to go out and explore and to take risks. And the child will like keep bringing back to the parent for like the hug, or to check in and kind of get their batteries charged back up. So they can emerge back into the world or back onto the playground, and explore, take risks and try new things. In our adult relationships this can look like having secure attachments that nourish and fuel us so we can take risks, try new things, expand our horizons, and feel free to develop into our most authentic selves. You may be realizing you haven't had a secure base. I often suggest and work with clients to help them first establishing that secure base between their adult self and their inner child. We can also identify places, people, and communities that can also serve as a secure base. What does your inner child need from your adult self to feel seen, felt and heard? What's even one small action you can take to show your inner child that you are here to nurture them, pay attention to them, provide safety for them? Ideas can include: boundary setting (with ourselves and others), cultivating a mindfulness practice so we can get more in touch with our bodies and care for ourselves better, journaling to and then from your inner child, engaging in positive self talk, and more. If you'd like to dive deeper into healing attachment wounds grab a free guide I created. CLICK HERE to grab it! Until next time take care, Cassandra Solano, LCSW

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Should I stay or should I go... It's a question that so many people ask themselves at some point in their relationships. Has too much happened? Is healing still possible? Your childhood experiences shaped who you are today, and your past traumas affect why you enter into certain relationships, so determining the answer always involves getting more clarity around yourself. You need a clear understanding of what is going on with your partner and yourself outside of your relationship, and then you'll need to look at the relationship as a whole. But this can only be done once you've done the work to process your emotions and heal. CLICK FOR A FREE GUIDE TO LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF AFTER TRAUMA ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Once you're able to view the relationship with clarity, then you can make an informed decision. I would love to help you heal and get that clarity. In the Head and Heart Community, a safe, trauma-informed space for those ready to heal, there is a new workshop every month, along with monthly Q&A sessions to help you get the support you need on your healing journey. With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW Do You Struggle with Trusting Yourself? Hi there! I've created a free guide to help you Trust Yourself again (or maybe for the first time). This is not a replacement for therapy or working directly with a skilled practitioner, but it will give you support on your journey. Included are journaling prompts, education on how trauma impacts our connection with ourselves, and 5 steps to start trusting yourself more. Sign up here to grab the guide!

Why is Healing Childhood Wounds So Important?

Why is Healing Childhood Wounds So Important?

How we were cared for shapes our nervous system and the subconscious part of our minds. It is in this way that our childhood wounds are still able to influence our lives today. If we were not cared for enough as children, we may look for someone today who is able to provide for us, even if, for example, they are unfaithful. So why is that? Because the unmet need is more important. Healing those wounds is so important to move forward. CLICK FOR A FREE GUIDE TO LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF AFTER TRAUMA ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
But there is hope. In identifying and healing these past wounds, you can unlock healthy relationships in your life today. I'd love to invite you to check out the Head and Heart Community, a safe, trauma-informed space for those ready to heal. There is a new workshop every month, along with monthly Q&A sessions to help you get the support you need on your healing journey. With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW Do You Struggle with Trusting Yourself? Hi there! I've created a free guide to help you Trust Yourself again (or maybe for the first time). This is not a replacement for therapy or working directly with a skilled practitioner, but it will give you support on your journey. Included are journaling prompts, education on how trauma impacts our connection with ourselves, and 5 steps to start trusting yourself more. Sign up here to grab the guide!

3 Common Blocks to Intimacy

3 Common Blocks to Intimacy

Hi There! Whether you're single or in a relationship, emotional intimacy can be a challenge. You may be in a relationship and feeling disconnected. Or you may be single and having a hard time imagining yourself having a relationship where you feel emotional intimacy; or finding someone who can provide that for you. What is emotional intimacy? It's feeling safe, seen, and connected with our partners. In this safety we can bring our secrets, we can trust, we can give feedback and disagree. When we're seen we feel empathy from our partners, we feel understood, not judged, and have our thoughts and experiences mirrored back to us. When we feel connected with our partners we are holding space for each other, we are present, and even if we or they are upset, we know that connection is still there. Emotional intimacy comes from having what attachment theory calls "secure attachment." This means you know that your partner will be there for you (reliability & consistency), there's mutual vulnerability, fun and play, and reciprocity (give and take). There's many reasons why we can feel emotionally blocked with our loved ones. Attachment wounds, emotional neglect, not having the nurturing and attention we needed, past relationships gone badly are just a few examples of what's keeping us blocked. I'm going to break down a few of these for you today. (keep reading for 3 blocks to intimacy) #1: We aren't feeling safe. When we aren't feeling safe, we first need to distinguish between actual threat and danger vs. our own past wounds that could have led to feeling not safe, regardless of actual lack of danger. This is also known as having a "hypervigilant" response and is a symptom of PTSD. Action step: write down what actually may have led to feeling unsafe or distrusting. There may be legitimate reasons you don't feel safe in a relationship or that you can let your guard down. In cognitive-behavioral therapy, this is called "reality testing." If after you write down your list you're finding no actual reason to feel unsafe in a situation, it may be past wounding that needs to heal. #2: We aren't asking for what we want and need There's a saying I like that "expectations are premeditated resentments." There's nothing wrong with having expectations or standards, but when we aren't verbalizing them, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and disconnection. To be frank, we can't be irritated or feeling let down by someone and want to be intimate. Action step: Write out your expectations of your partner/future partner in a relationship. Have you clearly articulated these in a kind and direct way? Most of my clients are not communicating clearly (or at all) about their wants, needs, and desires in relationships. #3: We have difficulty receiving Emotional intimacy means there's reciprocity, or give and take. Not just who does the dishes, but an emotional, caretaking give and take. If you were parentified, had to grow up too soon, or had some other experience where parent-child boundaries weren't upheld, you may have difficulty allowing yourself to let people in. Action step: Be curious about your relationship with receiving. Do you feel safe to allow others in? To let others help you? To even let a date buy dinner? What comes up for you when you think about letting yourself receive more? Identify one area of your life where you can let yourself receive more: connection, support, money, help, etc. and take one small step towards healing your relationship with receiving. I hope if you identify with any of these common blocks that you find the tips I've included here useful! And if you're ready to go deeper in healing your past wounds keeping you stuck in love, reach out to me! I currently have one opening for a new 1:1 client in my deep dive 1:1 Four month program, "Thrive in Love" details HERE. Sending you so much love, Cassandra Solano, LCSW

Why We Struggle In Relationships

Why We Struggle In Relationships

Mindset, how past stress and trauma wired your nervous system, and relationship skills like communication. . . All of these impact how we date, interact in relationships, and shape the type of relationships we have . .which has tremendous impact on the quality of our lives. When we don’t believe we deserve love or healthy relationships, and/or our nervous systems are wired for protection instead of connection, and/or we never saw/learned healthy relationship skills, we can struggle in relationships until we address some of these root causes. CLICK FOR A FREE GUIDE TO LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF AFTER TRAUMA ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Healing is a layered, complex, and life long journey. But don’t let that stop you from starting. Don’t let beliefs that you don’t deserve or can’t have a healthy relationship keep you from trying. Take action and start to heal your past wounds and rewire yourself to feel safe to connect. Your body and spirit are so wise and know what to do to heal. You have the answers inside you. Yet as humans with nervous systems and bodies we need support and connection with safe people to change and heal. If you’re ready to make these changes and for some guidance to get there, send me a DM on Instagram! With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW Do You Struggle with Trusting Yourself? Hi there! I've created a free guide to help you Trust Yourself again (or maybe for the first time). This is not a replacement for therapy or working directly with a skilled practitioner, but it will give you support on your journey. Included are journaling prompts, education on how trauma impacts our connection with ourselves, and 5 steps to start trusting yourself more. Sign up here to grab the guide!

A Hard Conversation with Parents and Caregivers

A Hard Conversation with Parents and Caregivers

CLICK FOR A FREE GUIDE TO LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF AFTER TRAUMA ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you are a parent or caregiver, it can be easy to hear about intergenerational trauma and begin to blame yourself because you now realize you're screwing up your kids. But I want to share that I'm a parent who's a therapist, but also divorced, in a blended family, and co-parenting with a narcissist, so I'm screwing up my kids too! A Hard Conversation with Parents and Caregivers Research shows that we can heal and break some cycles within one generation. In this video, I share about how to be self aware so you can begin to repair those mistakes and teach your children to do things differently. If you're ready to break those cycles and show your kids how, I'd love to help you. Send me a DM on Instagram if you're serious about finding out how we can work together. With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW Do You Struggle with Trusting Yourself? Hi there! I've created a free guide to help you Trust Yourself again (or maybe for the first time). This is not a replacement for therapy or working directly with a skilled practitioner, but it will give you support on your journey. Included are journaling prompts, education on how trauma impacts our connection with ourselves, and 5 steps to start trusting yourself more. Sign up here to grab the guide!

Healing Childhood Wounds

Healing Childhood Wounds

How were cared for literally shapes our nervous system. The more we are loved, cared for, and attuned to in a timely manner, the more robust our nervous systems are, and the better they function to support our mental and emotional health. Our wounds are still present from early childhood in unconscious, hidden reaches of our mind and influence us from the very first swipe, first date, saying “yes,” and getting married. If we were not cared for enough we may look for someone who is a provider even if we are cheated on because that unmet need was more important. There are many examples of this in my life and the clients I support. CLICK FOR A FREE GUIDE TO LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF AFTER TRAUMA ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Healing these wounds are so important when you’re dating or if you’re in a relationship and finding you are unhappy in love. But there is hope. In identifying and healing these past wounds, you can unlock healthy relationships in your life today. If you'd like to learn more about healing childhood wounds, there are a few videos in the Video Library for you to check out. With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW Do You Struggle with Trusting Yourself? Hi there! I've created a free guide to help you Trust Yourself again (or maybe for the first time). This is not a replacement for therapy or working directly with a skilled practitioner, but it will give you support on your journey. Included are journaling prompts, education on how trauma impacts our connection with ourselves, and 5 steps to start trusting yourself more. Sign up here to grab the guide!

Healing Attachment Wounds

Healing Attachment Wounds

CLICK FOR A FREE GUIDE TO LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF AFTER TRAUMA ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In a nutshell, attachment styles are how you connect or show up in relationships as an adult based on how you were connected with (or not) as a child. In this video I'll be sharing some tips on how to heal your attachment wounds according to your specific attachment styles. Healing Attachment Wounds If you'd like to learn more about attachment styles, there are a couple of other videos in the Video Library for you to check out. With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW Do You Struggle with Trusting Yourself? Hi there! I've created a free guide to help you Trust Yourself again (or maybe for the first time). This is not a replacement for therapy or working directly with a skilled practitioner, but it will give you support on your journey. Included are journaling prompts, education on how trauma impacts our connection with ourselves, and 5 steps to start trusting yourself more. Sign up here to grab the guide!

Walking Thoughts

Walking Thoughts

If we could heal our relationships with our bodies and let our bodies lead the way, we might find health. If we could learn the language of our muscles, breath, and heart beat we might be able to hear the language of our heart underneath. CLICK FOR A FREE GUIDE TO LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF AFTER TRAUMA ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
If we could heal our trauma and appreciate what a revelation our existence is and how precious we are, we might see this in everyone else too. I'm not calling for love and light but love and shadow. Love and reparations. Love and justice. Love and redemption. These are some things I think about while I walk. What’s your internal experience when you’re moving your body? With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW Do You Struggle with Trusting Yourself? Hi there! I've created a free guide to help you Trust Yourself again (or maybe for the first time). This is not a replacement for therapy or working directly with a skilled practitioner, but it will give you support on your journey. Included are journaling prompts, education on how trauma impacts our connection with ourselves, and 5 steps to start trusting yourself more. Sign up here to grab the guide!

Why We Need to Feel Safe to Heal

Why We Need to Feel Safe to Heal

CLICK FOR A FREE GUIDE TO LEARN TO TRUST YOURSELF AFTER TRAUMA ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Have you ever seen one of those memes, you know the ones that are posted so frequently on Instagram that say something like, "You can't heal from an environment where you're still being harmed?" It's true, but only to a certain extent. There's an important piece to that statement that is missing. Why We Need To Feel Safe To Heal It's important that you not only have the right knowledge, but also support as you start to heal. If you're ready to start feeling supported, I'd love for you to check out my free upcoming workshop with my 3 Top Tips for a Conscious Relationship. With Compassion, Cassandra Solano, LCSW Do You Struggle with Trusting Yourself? Hi there! I've created a free guide to help you Trust Yourself again (or maybe for the first time). This is not a replacement for therapy or working directly with a skilled practitioner, but it will give you support on your journey. Included are journaling prompts, education on how trauma impacts our connection with ourselves, and 5 steps to start trusting yourself more. Sign up here to grab the guide!