Tanisha M. Ranger, PsyD, CSAT is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in sexual addiction/compulsion, chronic relationship problems, and trauma. She earned her doctorate from Widener University and has been a therapist for over a decade. Ranger has sought additional training in sexual addiction, financial disorders, trauma treatment, couples therapy, and military members/families. She is a National Register Health Service Provider and provides a safe, supportive, nonjudgmental space. Ranger tailors her therapeutic approach to fit the client and problem, using integrative and client-centered techniques. She is passionate about helping her clients realize their own power.
Trauma experienced in childhood can have a significant impact on personality development. It can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which can cause hyper-vigilance, anger and aggression, and poor self-esteem. This can affect how a person views themselves and relationships with others. Transcript: "As we consider how trauma can affect personality development, one of the major things that we need to think about is how old was the child at the age of the trauma event. If they were between the ages of zero and five, it will become a little bit more entrenched than if, say, they were a teenager. Most of who you're going to be, personality-wise, is very apparent by the time you're five years old. I'm not saying that's who you're going to be forever, but how you view yourself and how you view the world tends to be pretty well formed by that age. So if a child experiences trauma prior to that age, that trauma will shape how they view themselves, what they view as their personality traits. Now when a child has PTSD, and not everyone who experiences trauma develops PTSD, I can talk about that in another video. But if a child has PTSD, they are experiencing the same thing an adult would be experiencing, only they don't have the cognitive capacity to deal with it. So they are re-experiencing the trauma in their heads. They are becoming hypervigilant and always on the lookout for being victimized again. They can develop problems with anger and aggression. They start to develop poor self-esteem, and they view themselves as not worthy of love and affection and warmth and attention. And it turns them into someone that they may not have become if they hadn't experienced that trauma. It can really impact your sense of self-worth and how you view relationships with other people."
The best way to support a loved one struggling with depression is to be present and offer loving kindness. Try not to take their symptoms personally as it is not about you and they do not want to hurt you. Transcript: "Supporting a depressed loved one is incredibly difficult because from the outside they look like they're okay, but they're not okay. And we often feel a need to try to fix it, and that doesn't help. One of the best ways that you can support your loved one who's struggling with depression is to be there. One of the things that depressed people generally feel most of the time is that their presence is a burden to the people that they care about. And the more you can help them feel like their presence in your life is needed, wanted, enjoyed, necessary, the better they will start to feel. It will be really difficult for them to internalize it, so the other really important thing is not to take it personally. It is very hurtful sometimes to hear someone that you love and care for say that they don't have anyone, that they have no support, that nobody cares. And you're like, hey, I care. It's really, really difficult not to take it personally, but that is something that you must work on because when they are depressed and their depression makes you feel upset or hurt, they will feel incredibly bad. They will feel terrible about making you feel that way because they do care about you and they do love you. The main way to support them is to be present, to offer loving kindness, to offer connection when they feel they don't deserve it, and to try your very best to not take their symptoms personally. It is not about you, and they really do not want you to be hurt."
When making changes in your life, it's important to ask yourself why you want to make this change. Get a clear and vivid idea of what the outcome you desire is, and use that as an anchor when times get hard and your motivation is waning. Transcript: "So one question that you should ask yourself when embarking on the journey of making life changes is why? Why do you want to make this change? What do you imagine is going to be the outcome for you for making this change? It's really, really important to get clear on that because when you have a clear and strong why, it can pull you through when your determination, your motivation, your energy, when they're all low, when they're all waning, when it's really hard to keep going, when you can refocus on your why, it can be a really good way to keep moving forward towards those changes. And when I talk about your why, I need you to be so crystal clear and vivid about your why that you can feel it in your soul. I want you to take some time to write it down. What is the outcome that I'm looking for? How will my life look? What will I be doing? How will I be feeling? Who will be around me? Where will I be going? What kind of activities will I be engaged in? I want you to paint a picture that is so vivid, that is so clear, that when you read it back to yourself, you smile. I want you to feel it. We call that emotional salience. Once you have a why that is embedded in you in that way, that feels like magic for you, then you have something that's going to anchor you. So in those moments when your willpower is not what you'd like it to be, you can look to your why and you can get up and keep moving forward."
Develop a bedtime routine that you will do every night at the same time to alert your mind and body that it is time to start winding down. This can include anything from dimming the lights, to engaging in a skin care regimen, to reading your Bible or listening to meditative music. You may not be able to completely turn off your brain, but you can engage in some meditative practices to help bring your mind back to a mantra, such as your breath or a phrase. Transcript: "If there's one thing the human brain loves, it's a routine. Our brains love, we are powered by routine and memory. It's because our brains are intended to be very efficient. So one of the ways that you can help shut your brain off and fall asleep is to develop a bedtime routine that you will do every single day at the same time every single day that will alert your body and your mind that it's time to start winding down. And that can include lots of things like you know dimming the lights around the house around the same time if you have like a skin care regimen that you do that because that can be really soothing. Maybe you can read your Bible. Perhaps you can listen to some meditative music or CDs or things of that nature. Whatever it is, you need to be doing things that you know help you to feel calm and relaxed and ready for bed. Developing a routine is going to teach your body and your mind that it's bedtime. It's time for us to start winding down. Now with regards to turning your brain off, I don't know that you can do that. You can turn it down a little bit. You can turn the volume down, but I don't know that you can turn it off. You can engage in some meditative practices that involve just bringing your mind back to whatever is your mantra, whether it's your breath, whether it's a phrase. But that doesn't really work for everybody. It is worth trying because you never know what's going to work for you at any given time. But I don't know what's going to work for you at any given time, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to develop a routine and do it faithfully."
There are many things we can do to improve our sleep. Avoid eating close to bedtime, drinking alcohol or caffeine after midday, exercising right before bed, and limit blue light exposure from phones and TVs. Transcript: "Yes, there are. Generally speaking, there are a lot of things that we are doing right before bed that we are unwittingly negatively impacting our sleep. Um I'm trained in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and a lot of the work that we learn and that we do with our clients has to do with making the sleep time and the sleep space sacred. So here are a few things that you should avoid, don't eat anything close to when you're going to bed. Because if your body is engaged in the activity of digestion, it might impact your ability to fall asleep and get good quality restful sleep. Don't drink alcohol before bed. This is a big one because a lot of times people tell me, oh, but if I just have a glass of wine, if I have, you know, a shot of vodka, if I have a drink, it helps me to fall asleep. And that is true in the short term. But in the long run, consuming alcohol for the purpose of going to sleep will actually make your sleep worse. So sure you will fall asleep. But when you wake up, you won't feel rested because it does disturb your ability to get quality restful sleep. Don't exercise. Uh, right before bed, I would say don't drink coffee after midday because that can impact your system. It's really important to drink a lot of water. Um, but not just like right at bedtime, um, because you don't want to fill up your bladder and end up waking up in an hour and a half anyway. Um, but there are a lot of things that we are doing that prevent us from getting sleep. One of the major ones are the screens, the blue light from our phones and TVs are problematic."
When it comes to setting boundaries and prioritizing my well being, I always start with myself. I get in touch with how I'm feeling and figure out what is comfortable for me and what is not acceptable. By doing this, I am more likely to set boundaries that prioritize my well being instead of other people's comfort. Transcript: "So personally, when it comes to setting my boundaries and prioritizing my well being, my first step is always to maintain a close connection with how I'm feeling. It is really easy to dissociate. It's really easy to become disconnected from what you're feeling, how things are going, how your body is feeling. Um It's actually easier than we think it is and we do it a lot more than we realize. And so when it comes to me setting my boundaries, I have to get in touch with myself and figure out what would I be comfortable with? What would I be happy with? What am I absolutely positively not going to do? once I'm able to answer those questions for myself I realize now that I'm prioritizing my well being because I'm not saying what will so and so think, how will this impact uh my work day? What if my doctor doesn't like being questioned, like all of these things that prioritize how other people or how the world is going to react to your boundaries leaves you in a position of not setting boundaries that prioritize your well being, but setting boundaries that prioritize other people's comfort and sometimes just not setting boundaries at all. So personally, I always start with me, I start with my comfort. I start with what's acceptable to me and I start with what is absolutely not going to be acceptable to me. And then I go from there."