You Can Also Follow CombatCounselor on:

Welcome to CombatCounselor Chronicle, an E-zine dedicated to giving you the most current, pertinent information on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness-based CBT available.

Chris Sorrentino, a.k.a CombatCounselor, is a leader and expert in cognitive behavioral therapy. He combines 30 years of experience in psychology with the discipline from having served as a U.S. Air Force officer for 20 years, 4 of those in combat zones, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 2005.

The Leader in Military and Veteran Psychology ... Follow Me to Mental Health!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Submission to President Obama: State of the Union Q&A (January 24th, 2012)

As a retired Air Force officer, combat veteran, disabled veteran, and licensed professional counselor (since 1991) I am not surprised many of the hundreds of thousands of young men and women who have served in Iraq/Afghanistan came home with PTSD, TBI, and other disorders, but are EXTREMELY hesitant to seek help and treatment. 
Until the Commander-in-Chief, JCS, Service Secretaries, and chain of command (in all services) STOP THE RETALIATION and END THE NEGATIVE STIGMA associated with mental health treatment in the military, our young men and women ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO AVOID TREATMENT, SUFFER, AND COMMIT SUICIDE!
TAKE OFF YOUR BLINDERS and give our airmen, soldiers, seamen, and Marines 100% confidentiality in mental health treatment and EDUCATE THE BROWNSHOES who keep this ridiculous schema alive. Follow CombatCounselor and @CombatCounselor on Twitter for more information and updates.
Mr. President, Will you work to put an end the negative stigma attached to military mental health care and the associated unprecedented SUICIDE rate among military members/veterans because they are afraid to ask for the help the so richly deserve?
combatcounselor - Kansas City, MO.
Watch the video on The CombatCounselor Channel...SUBSCRIBE!
White House Facebook Page

Saturday, January 21, 2012

You Think, You Are: Anxious...A Journey from Avoidance to Acceptance

You only THINK you are anxious. If the thought did not enter your mind, you could not feel anxiety. What I am saying is that YOU can control anxiety (or depression, etc.) by altering the way you react to and experience anxious thoughts, sensations, or even other emotions you may be interpreting to be anxiety (e.g. anger).
That is why I say "You Think, You Are" anxious. If you Think anxious thoughts, you will experience anxiety unless...
you decide to experience anxious thoughts, feelings, and memories simply for what they are: thoughts, feelings, and memories!
Anxiety is the fear of fear. When we were roaming the plains, prairies, and mountains as hunter-gatherers, it was adaptive to be anxious about things that could kill us (bears, lions, falls, lightening, etc.), otherwise our species would have died off long ago. Anxiety is still adaptive when it involves fear of things that can honestly harm us. The problem is that many of us are anxious about many arbitrary things in life that are not necessarily dangerous, we only PERCEIVE them to be dangerous.
For example, public speaking is the #1 fear around the world, yet nobody has ever died from public speaking (excluding Julius Ceasar and a few others who happened to be speaking when killed). Other common fears include fear of heights (acrophobia) and of spiders (arachnophobia) as well as some less common such as germs (OCD) and open spaces (agoraphobia). Some people even fear intense anxiety or panic (panic disorder).
So, when we fear things that are not necessarily inherently dangerous, we are limiting our ability to experience and enjoy the present moment because we are so enveloped in thoughts and sensations caused by the fear inducing event or thing.
In Body-Mimd-Behavior Therapy (BMBT), I teach my clients first to learn mindful meditation or the ability to focus on the present moment (StayPresent ©). Next, I teach them to expect and accept the  unexpected nonjudgmentally and with curiosity (BeResilient ©). Finally, we explore and identify the clients's core values (e.g. integrity, honor) and help them develop goals and commit to actions that are in accordance with those values, even though those actions may make them uncomfortable or even anxious (StayTheCourse ©). Because they are acting based on things that are important to them, they are more likely to act in the face of fear or other painful emotions.
Avoidance is the cause of anxiety, depression and many other inorganic disorders because it is very rewarding in the short-term. When you avoid something that frightens you, anxiety goes away for a while and that is very rewarding. The problem being that if you are avoiding life, it is rarely joyful and leads to more and more problems. The key is to accept and experience intense, uncomfortable emotions like anxiety, learning by approaching rather than avoiding, that anxiety goes away on its own given that you can withstand the situation long enough to prove it. That is the biggest problem, that most people avoid or escape the anxious situation BEFORE they get a chance to learn that 1) anxiety will not kill you; and 2) anxiety will NATURALLY diminish (disappear) on its own (that's called habituation). It is impossible to stay in a highly aroused state of fear or anxiety for long.
So, the next time you experience fear in a situation the is not inherently dangerous, take a deep breath, experience and accept the thoughts and sensations for what they are, and face whatever your particular demon happens to be, knowing that you are acting based on what is important to you...YOUR VALUES!

Monday, January 9, 2012


If you haven't tried mindfulness meditation, you ARE literally OUT OF YOUR MIND! I don't mean you ARE crazy or somehow will never get it back. What I mean is that when you practice mindfulness, your mind and the present moment ARE 100% CONNECTED, so it is impossible to be anywhere else.

When you are in what Echart Tolle calls "being" mode or "consciousness", you, your mind, and experience in the present moment are one in the same. You ARE not rumimating about the past or worrying about the future, what Tolle calls "doing" mode or "unconsciousness". And when you are BEING, you ARE able to experience things as they are without judgment, in a totally willing and accepting way. Nothing is good or bad, it just "IS" and you move onto the next moment prepared to accept whatever may come your way.

That is what mindful meditation is about. So when I say "YOU ARE OUT  OF YOUR MIND", I mean that to experience truth is to experience the present moment just as it is...then do it again...and again.

Obviously, nobody can or should spend 100% of their time being mindful in the present moment. But if you can practice and learn the skill, you will be able to call on the ability when you need it, making life much more interesting and joyful.