top of page
  • Karen Sussan, LMHC


Updated: Oct 17, 2023

It’s easy to forget to smell the roses. It is hard to “just be”.

We go on overdrive, push through, as it were, avoiding feelings and distracting ourselves as we keep going full throttle.

Our society emphasizes a hyper mode that works for machines or tech systems, but NOT for us human beings. We are not wired that way.

When we are in the zone of hyperactivation, we are prone to burn out, to be overwhelmed and shift into a fight-flight mode. We basically can get stuck on “on”. Ultimately, this approach is unhealthy and won’t work in the long run. It is maladaptive to human nature.

Often, people seek therapy for how to cope with the stress and pace of our lives.

The good news is we can learn to manage stress. We can learn to use our optimal zone of ‘arousal’. Dan Siegel coined the term “window of tolerance” which refers to a framework or zone of optimal “arousal”. When we operate in this zone, we can cope and manage our emotions and function well. In this zone, we connect better with our fellows and are more likely to enjoy life.

First, we begin by noticing when we are pushing or moving outside of that window of tolerance and learn to restabilize and return to that optimal zone of arousal, that window of tolerance. With time, we come to more easily restabilize.

Mindfulness exercises such as meditation, yoga, breath-work are tools for discovery about our window of tolerance. We can also learn to increase our window of tolerance through these same practices and through work in psychotherapy.

Eventually, when we get activated by daily stress or life’s difficulties, we are better able to right ourselves, more quickly regain our composure, and continue on with optimal functioning.

Even when we know there is a way to adjust and manage stress better, it can still be hard, nevertheless, to let go of that speed. We hurry, rush, and we are impatient. It takes time to fully accept that our need to release that clutch, to switch gears and to change speed or make changes.

Psychotherapy that includes somatic and mindfulness can increase your tolerance to “just be ” and, in the long run, improve your overall health and well being.

You can reduce stress and improve your coping strategies.

EMDR has gained popularity and is among those therapies that can handle making this sort of change.

EMDR is an evidence-based approach for changing those deep-seated, maladaptive automatics. It can be effective in relieving many symptoms that manifest physically, sensorily, emotionally, cognitively and even existentially/spiritually.

There is also evidence that EMDR can effectively address complex PTSD and can improve how we adjust and manage having experienced “big T” trauma” roadblocks as well.

Most people do not consider that trauma may have had an impact on their lives. Often, difficulties of being in the moment and operating within that window of tolerance originate early in childhood, even possibly in infancy, when caregivers may have misattuned to us, given us confusing or troubling messages.

To an adult, such situations might not be considered traumatic. However, for a young child, it may be in fact, have been experienced as traumatic –for as children, we depended on our caregivers, and we learned from them and these experiences our orientation for life, for being ourselves, and for being with others.

Healing is possible through EMDR.

Are you having difficulties with stress and want to learn how to operate within that optimal zone of functioning? 

Are wondering if your difficulties with stress and coping with life are connected to past trauma or your early orientation into relationships?

Or, do you want to know more about EMDR or if  EMDR is right for you?

I invite you to reach out to ask me.

Consider how you can reduce stress, increase your ability to function within your window of tolerance and receive support to heal and grow and transform.

Let’s talk.

1 view0 comments


bottom of page