Client Experience: Using Equilateral EMDR – Adolescent client with PTSD

Client Experience: Using Equilateral EMDR – Adolescent client with PTSD

This writing is part of a collection of My Clients’ Experiences.  You may see yourself in these experiences or you may have other issues you feel the techniques I use may help you with.

Below is a counseling experience in which Dr. Timothy Test and I had use Equilateral EMDR with an adolescent client with PTSD beginning with early childhood trauma.

Client Experience Utilizing Equilateral EMDR

Tim and Lauren

Dr. Timothy Test and Lauren

“John” is a senior in high school who has suffered from chronic anxiety, PTSD, and behavioral problems since he was a young child.  He finds it difficult to go to school in the morning and misses school frequently.  He often feels isolated, finding it difficult to relate to his peers.  John had experienced abuse, physically and emotionally, and witnessed things growing up in an abusive environment that he feels most kids his age could never imagine.

During the counseling session [1] John was asked to focus on what concerned him at the present time, which was stigma associated with a mental health diagnosis.  [2] When asked what feelings he felt currently about this concern and the thoughts he has about them, he described his frustration, however was happy with the way he handles this since beginning therapy with us.  [3] This information was used to install a positive resource (a coping skill).  [4] Lauren, one of our mules we use for therapy, was utilized to help install the resource.  [5] John was able to practice using this resource at the end of his session and was encouraged to use it throughout the week.

Session Outcome

This was a very successful session that helped our client learn how to process stressful situations differently and learn a new coping skill.  This session, in addition to many others in which we utilize the mules, demonstrated how Equilateral EMDR is a great approach in helping clients with trauma develop coping skills and resources to help them deal with daily stress.


Client Experience: Using Free Association in Therapy Sessions

This writing is part of a collection of My Clients’ Experiences.  You may see yourself in these experiences or you may have other issues you feel the techniques I use may help you with.

Below is an actual counseling experience in which I had used Free Association with a client.

Client Experience Utilizing Free AssociationFairyTree

A female client presented with chronic anxiety and panic attacks.  [1] The client was asked to focus on what concerned her at the present time.  [2] When asked what feelings she felt currently about this concern and the thoughts she has about them, she replied that she felt extreme sadness and also guilt.  [3] As she allowed her mind to drift into the past the client recounted the memory she most feels guilty about.  Within a few seconds after sharing this memory, a long forgotten memory surfaced that she actually felt greater guilt over.  [4] We discussed how the past and present are connected.  [5] Her feelings toward a man who did not feel the same about her, was not freely associated but was discussed.

Session Outcome

This was a very enlightening and successful session.  It demonstrated how Free Association is a good method to uncover some of the root causes of a person’s mental status.  That said, therapists should be prepared as I am, for what may be revealed.  In this case, the information provided material for desensitization and reprocessing utilizing EMDR.

Back in the Saddle

Life can be scary from 7 feet above after an unscheduled dismount from your ❤ horse. For many, getting back on their equine after the train wreck can be overwhelming and down right scary. Sometimes injuries result that are a constant reminder of your mortality, and the relationship between you and your equine has been fractured.
My husband and I began incorporating into our therapy practice a program we call Back in the Saddle therapy. Sometime after receiving training in EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing for PTSD) and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy/Learning, we received training that incorporates both, called Equilateral EMDR. This therapy is geared to addressing complex trauma. We find it is tremendously effective in helping our clients. After my husband was thrown from his mule. He wanted to sell him as the mule avoided him and while my husband still harbored a fear of riding him. It was quite an emotional time as he was looking forward to many years of riding this mule. Then my husband received the therapy himself. What followed was miraculous. The relationship between my husband and his mule totally changed. They became bonded and trusting of one another. True healing took place. Mulligan, the mule, is much more relaxed, which makes us happy since he does aide us in working with clients with trauma.
Our programs can help you overcome these fears, repair the damage between you and your equine, and get you back in the saddle again! We may believe that we are OK, and that we can put on a brave face and continue our work with our equine. However, equines make good use of their body language to convey the most basic and important messages to each other. Humans do the same. Sometimes what our mouths say is not in alignment with what our bodies say. In order to heal, we must become congruent with verbal and nonverbal communication. In addition, we have to overcome the trauma and damage that the wreck caused, so the mind is congruent with what we are trying to convey to the equine.
We incorporate EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy to support your trauma recovery and to get you back in the saddle. We work with you and your equine to help you convey both verbally and nonverbally confidence and leadership with your equine. We help you overcome your fears of getting back in the saddle and help you feel more comfortable and confident, whether in the arena or out on the trails. The emotional trauma is felt by both, so both you and your equine benefit from this therapy as your relationship heals. Also we hope to help you avoid a hasty selling of the animal which may include a financial loss as well.
Our sessions are with myself and my husband, both EMDR and EAP/EAL trained therapists. We work as a team, one of us serves as the equine specialist and the other as the therapist. It’s truly a rewarding experience for us, our clients, and their horses or mules.
Fee is for a 2 1/2 hour in-person session with 30 minute phone or Skype followup, travel fees may apply. This session is with Dr. Timothy and Charlotte Test, both EMDR and EAP/EAL trained therapists. We work as a team, one of us serves as the equine specialist and the other as the therapist.
Charlotte M. Test, N.D., M.A.

Adolescents, Nutrition, & Behavior

Adolescent Nutrition Presentation

Taken from a one of my presentations in Health Psychology…

With the exception of the first year of life, the majority of a person’s growth occurs during adolescence (Stang, Story, & U.M., 2008).  This creates an increase in need for energy and nutrients to supply the energy.  Nutrient needs are higher during adolescence than any other time of a person’s life.  Proper nutrition during this time is essential for healthy maturation into adulthood as well as to help prevent diet-related chronic disease that can occur during adulthood such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.

However, despite the great importance of healthy eating during this crucial growth time of adolescence, many young individuals are not eating a diet that meets national nutrition guidelines, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Stang, Story, & U.M., 2008).  To understand and resolve this problem, it is important to understand the eating behaviors of adolescents and what factors influence them.  Personal factors such as cognitive-affective factors and behaviors as well as the social environment can impact nutritional intake.  Adopting poor nutrition behaviors as well as developing eating disorders are concerns that effect nutrition intake in a negative way that would impact health.  Understanding not only the nutrition requirements but also these factors that influence nutrition behaviors in adolescents will help in the prevention of nutrition related health problems that may occur in youth and later in adulthood as diet-related chronic disease.


Stang, J., Story, M., & University of Minnesota. (2008). Guidelines for adolescent nutrition services. Duluth, Minn.: University of Minnesota.

Many parents of adolescents understand the frustration of trying to get their kids to eat right.  At this age, most kids are trying to develop their independence.  They want to make some choices of their own.  Here are 3 good tips I can share with you that have helped me see that my own kids got the nourishment they needed to develop strong immune systems, mental and physical health.

  • Lead by example.  You can’t expect your kids to eat healthy if you do not eat healthy yourself.
  • Provide only healthy choices in your household.  Choices are there, while any choice made is a good one.  My services include education in this area.
  • Utilize supplements.  Even in making healthy choices in food, we sometimes find ourselves lacking in nutrients which can create cravings that lead to loading up on unhealthy calories.
    • For over 20 years I have used Nature’s Sunshine’s supplements.  I expect I will continue for the next 20+ years to use them because I have always been pleased with the results and quality of them.  We caring some items in our office and have them online at


If you need help becoming a family who eats healthy, I also provide family sessions that focus on helping in nutrition and behaviors.

You can find me at dohi Center for Well-being (717) 473-4980 or email me at

My sessions are held in our Waynesboro, PA office or can be scheduled at my mountain ranch in Fairfield, PA which also incorporates Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

Charlotte Test



Get into your Flow

 The Concept of FlowIMG_Tokyo_20180508_101654_processed_1525789031530

The concept of the flow experience is used to understand the feelings people are actually experiencing while working toward their goals.  Flow is experienced as intense enjoyment while a person becomes so immersed in an activity that they are not aware of time passing by or physical discomforts.  Contemplation of the feelings experienced would actually interrupt flow.  The feelings are so enjoyable to some they may seem addictive.  While the flow experience is rare for many individuals, it may occur more frequently for individuals with certain personality traits.  In addition, intelligence of the individual is also a factor that can be associated with flow.  By understanding the concept of flow and how it can be utilized, it is possible help individuals to increase opportunity to experience flow and achieve goals.

Taken from a paper written by Charlotte M. Test (The Concept of Flow, 2012).

Do you have difficulties meeting your goals and getting into your Flow?  Part of the Coaching effort is in determining why this is and what needs to be done so that you can make the changes to improve your well-being.

Give me a call at dohi Center for Well-being (717) 473-4980 or email me at

Do We Wait for Change?

Often people make the comment “A person first has to WANT to quit [change] their habits”, referring to smoking, drinking, drug use, gambling, eating unhealthy, etc.

What do you think? Do we wait for change? Do we wait for ourselves, our loved ones, or even our patients (depending on who in your life needs change), to announce they now WANT to change before seeking help to make those life changes?

My answer is this… No. Often people are brought to counseling for addictions by loved ones or even by the law. Are these people then thinking “oh now I WANT to change”? No. More than likely they are feeling resentment for even being asked to make a change.


So now what? Well, that’s my job! A good therapist will work with the individual to help them with change regardless of what the change stage may be. The precontemplation stage of change is still a stage of change. There is no predetermined time frame for the progression of change; it is only the individual’s own experience with TIME.

Charlotte M. Test, N.D., M.A., CAADC

“You are not a helpless victim of your own thoughts, but rather a master of your own mind.” – Louise Hay

Vitamin C, the Brain, and Behavior

Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin needed for health.Human beings do not have the ability to make vitamin C in the body like most other mammals are able to, and therefore must obtain the vitamin from dietary sources (Higdon, 2006). Within the human body, vitamin C functions as an essential cofactor in numerous enzymatic reactions such as in the biosynthesis of collagen, carnitine, and catecholamines, in addition to a potent antioxidant. Vitamin C also accumulates in the central nervous system, especially in the neuronsof the brain (Drake, 2011). Research, although primarily among animals studies, demonstrates the importance of vitamin C as a vital antioxidant molecule in the brain, having a potential therapeutic role against neurodegenerative diseases that involve high levels of oxidative stress,such as ischemic stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntingdon’s disease(Harrison & May, 2009). In addition, a review of the literature reveals that researchers are exploring not only the deficiency risks but also the therapeutic uses of nutrients, such as vitamin C, in substance abuse treatment.

Vitamin C Citrus Bioflavonoids

Vitamin C

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