Counseling psychologist Jay Brandenburg-Nau uses a variety of approaches and therapies to ensure his clients find lasting peace and freedom from mental obstacles. Below, he explains how using Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an effective way to treat trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In order to meet clients’ diverse needs, Jay Brandenburg-Nau believes in using a range of counseling tools that target root problems and alleviate mental burdens. Not every client is the same, and not every approach will be as effective in practice for some as it is for others.
“This is why counseling psychologists have to learn a range of therapy styles,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to counseling, and every single client will require a tailored approach to uncovering core obstacles and overcoming them.”
In the past, he’s used resources such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and a range of group and family therapies to achieve this. To help people who have suffered trauma, Jay Brandenburg-Nau regularly relies on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.
In EDMR, counselors like Jay Brandenburg-Nau help relieve traumatic or triggering experiences for patients by using an interactive technique to reprogram the way their minds habitually respond. The person leading the therapy will expose the patient to images that trigger trauma in small doses while directing their eye movement. It’s effective in that it helps patients feel less emotional connection when recalling distressing events by diverting their attention and reprograming their thinking process related to them. This, in turn, exposes patients to the memory or idea that is affecting their minds and teaches them to recognize the image without having a strong psychological response. With time, this can gradually lessen the impact of the thoughts or memories.
First, therapists and counselors like Jay Brandenburg-Nau will review each patients’ history to determine which part of the 8-step treatment process will work best to start with. This typically includes talking about their memories of trauma and identifying potential traumatic memories that will help to specifically treat it. They will look for any associated components (like physical sensations that are stimulated when patients concentrate on the event) for each target memory and use them in sessions.
During EDMR therapy sessions, counselors will ask patients to focus on a negative thought, memory, or image that is associated with their trauma. At the same time, they will have patients perform specific eye movements, or what is called bilateral stimulation that may also include associated movements like taps or blinks.
Following the bilateral stimulation, therapists encourage patients to empty their minds and notice the thoughts and feelings popping up. After identifying these thoughts, therapists may ask patients to refocus on the traumatic memory or move on to another. With time, the patient becomes less prone to emotional disturbances.
“However, if patients become distressed during therapy, I make sure to help them return calmly to the present before continuing,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “And with time, their traumatic thoughts and memories begin to fade into something more peaceful and manageable.”
For a decade, Jay Brandenburg-Nau has helped local clients attain peace and long-lasting happiness by employing a range of counseling techniques and approaches. He first realized he wanted to be a counselor while listening to a mental health therapist on the radio as a child, and he has spent all his years since studying, researching, and gaining expertise in the field. He earned a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Denver Seminary in 2010 and began accepting clients shortly after.
His contributions have helped many individuals uncover the inner drives and workings that fuel both their positive and negative feelings, which assists them to maintain balance and improve well-being. He’s careful to give special care to his male patients who are far less likely to come forward with their health issues and seek out the help they need.
“There is a lot of pressure from society and culture for men to behave a certain way and treat their own problems so they don’t look weak or wimpy,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “It’s this negative mindset that leads men to behavior such as heightened aggression and addictions like alcohol or drugs.”
Today’s social norms instill very rigid beliefs about masculinity in men and boys, and it is a tremendous factor in whether they seek out help for their health concerns. When they do seek help, Jay Brandenburg-Nau has noticed that his male patients tend to be less likely to open up or be entirely honest for fear of losing their manhood.
“The term ‘toxic masculinity’ paints a picture of how society’s expectations of men and male roles lead to toxic behavior,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “They don’t feel powerful coming forward about partner violence, sexual assault, and weaknesses, which makes them feel angry, confused, and lost. This often turns into behavioral issues or negative lifestyle habits.”
Men may fear they won’t be believed by counselors even if they do come forward, or else that their experiences may be downplayed, leaving them feeling even more emasculated. The suicide rate for men is 3-4 times higher than women, and toxic masculinity is often a major factor.1 Toxic masculinity prevents many men from seeking help, and it makes the concept of masculinity very fragile and even more difficult to uphold.
“While I can’t overhaul society’s perception of men and male gender roles, I can help my patients understand these influences and pressures better,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “From this, we can get to the core of male health issues and discover what other factors are contributing to negative habits and traits.”
As a licensed counselor, Jay Brandenburg-Nau helps patients overcome mental obstacles preventing them from being happy and enjoying a fulfilling life.
Jay employs a range of techniques to help find the best solutions for his clients, relying on approaches such as psychotherapy to discover the root problems affecting their overall well-being.
Jay Brandenburg-Nau helps clients in Colorado achieve personal growth and happiness in their lives by employing a variety of unique counseling approaches. With over a decade of professional counseling experience, he understands that every client is different and deserves a tailored approach to healing and growth.
Besides using resources such as the Enneagram model and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Jay Brandenburg-Nau relies on psychotherapy to learn more about a patient’s individual needs.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to care for counseling psychologists to rely on,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “But broad approaches like psychotherapy that encourage clients to explore root causes behind their obstacles is always a great place to start.”
Psychotherapy can help people overcome or cope with mental illnesses, emotional difficulties, and other everyday obstacles. Also called talk therapy, it can improve negative symptoms for those looking to increase their well-being by helping them understand their individual needs and motivations better. Those who have been impacted by trauma, who struggle with difficulties such as loss, depression, and anxiety can learn to heal and grow towards a happier existence.
While psychotherapy is traditionally a form of counseling therapy, it can be paired with medication and additional approaches to achieve ultimate results. Medication isn’t the solution for everyone, but it helps many people across the country cope with negative symptoms and proves for them to be stronger than either treatment on its own. In place of medicine, people can gain similar relief from improvements in their lifestyle such as a better diet, frequent exercise, and quality sleep.
Psychotherapy can be applied in solo therapy, couples therapy, family, and group therapies, and has been shown to have a positive effect on both children and adults equally. Sessions can be performed as-needed to achieve results, whether it’s in an hour or half-hour increments, once a week or many times throughout. During psychotherapy sessions, both counselors and clients are actively involved in keeping up an insightful conversation that will explore topical and deep-rooted causes of problems.
“Psychotherapy requires my clients to open up and talk about issues that are often uncomfortable and personal, which is why developing a rapport with them is paramount for therapy to be successful,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau.
There are many different facets of psychotherapy––such as Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Interpersonal therapy (IPT), and Dialectical behavior therapy, among others––that counselors can use to discover root issues. And from this, patients learn to heal and find new balances in their lives to attain lasting peace and happiness.
For nearly a decade, Jay Brandenburg-Nau has brought his passion for fellowship and counseling to his community and has helped transform the lives of clients for the better through counseling psychology. By examining clients’ lifestyle elements and hearing their stories, he is able to piece together a positive plan of action that will help them take back the reins on their lives.
A licensed counselor, Jay Brandenburg-Nau encourages all those suffering from mental stress, relationship concerns, depression and other troubles to seek out help from qualified professionals such as himself. Through counseling psychology, he helps people in his community gain a better understanding of various life factors and achieve wholesomeness through fellowship.
“Everybody struggles with life factors, but many people don’t cope as healthily as they should or don’t understand where to go to get help,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “And not every condition requires prescription medication to heal. Sometimes people just need to open up with a counselor and learn how to manage their lives better.”
Jay Brandenburg-Nau earned a degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Denver Seminary in 2010, allowing him to practice counseling psychology professionally. Since earning his degree, he’s worked in cities like Austin and Chicago in clinical settings and in private practices where he’s shared his insight into a healthier mindset with various clients.
Counseling psychology is a subset of professional psychology that takes into account an individual’s personal function and their relationships with others first and foremost. In counseling sessions, professionals address elements such as physical, emotional, and social well-being alongside habits and ongoing stresses to determine underlying issues that affect the whole. These can be elements such as a troubled work or school life, a lack of aspiration, failure to meet expectations due to depression, a negative home environment or plenty of other factors.
Jay Brandenburg-Nau works with his clients to uncover these issues and alleviate stress and resolve crises. Through counseling psychology, patients learn more about themselves and their unique circumstances in order to help them overcome recurring obstacles in the future more easily.
“While people feel the tug and the frustrations of underlying problems, they may not be able to identify them on their own,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “Through counseling, clients are given free rein to express their thoughts and their troubles and work towards uncovering those elements that drive them to be someone they’re unhappy with.”
In addition to helping clients get to know their inner selves better, professionals like Jay Brandenburg-Nau can provide techniques and new habits that will help clients manage their stress better and improve their overall mindset. In this way, counselors help their clients find confidence and lasting peace without having to turn to medication for real resolutions.
The Enneagram Behavior Model has been used for decades as a way of helping people understand their inner motivations and finding solutions to their specific issues. Counseling psychologist Jay Brandenburg-Nau uses the Enneagram model to help his clients discover more about their inner workings and find peace and happiness more easily.
Jay Brandenburg-Nau has spent more than a decade helping people overcome life’s obstacles through counseling psychology and fellowship. Working primarily in Colorado, he helps clients achieve a healthier outlook on life by understanding their deepest drives and motivations. One of the most useful tools he has at his disposal is the Enneagram model, which details nine personality traits that anyone can identify with.
After earning a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Denver Seminary, Jay Brandenburg-Nau began empowering people in his community and giving them resources to grow through counseling. The Enneagram model for personality types ultimately helps his clients attain personal growth that can fuel their lives to be more pleasant and productive.
“The model helps clients align with a certain personality type–the one they connect with the most–which helps them understand deeper influences and motivations better,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “By improving their awareness and introducing them to what makes them tick, they can learn how to be happier.”
One of the most famous personality models, the Myers Briggs test, helps people get to know themselves better by categorizing certain ways of thinking. The Enneagram is similar, but it provides deeper meanings to our traits and inner workings. In turn, this helps Jay Brandenburg-Nau teach his clients about their deeply-rooted needs as well as what’s needed to improve their lifestyles.
The nine different personality types of the Enneagram model represent a certain key component to your personality that dominates the others. This can include how you view the world, how you react to positive or negative stimuli, and how you manage stressful situations. The model is a lot more detailed than the Myers Briggs and helps clients connect with inner mechanisms in their subconscious.
“When my clients look at or hear all the different personality traits and what they imply, they inevitably gravitate to a handful––if not all of them,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “However, the model is about discovering the one trait that you most identify with so you can learn personality-specific ways of coping with life.”
The Enneagram model helps counselors like Jay Brandenburg-Nau tune into the inner workings of their clients’ motivations and perspectives, ultimately giving him a better idea of what kind of treatment is needed. He is able to teach his clients that their behavior isn’t always an accurate depiction of their personalities and that actions or behaviors may be fueled by deep-rooted feelings or mentalities.
“Learning what influences us and motivates us will only help us understand how to achieve peace and happiness easier,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “The Enneagram model can act as a sort of blueprint towards our best selves.”
Jay Brandenburg-Nau is a professional therapist with years of experience in a range of counseling subjects including family therapy, counseling psychology, and ACT therapy. Through dedicated marital counseling, he is able to teach couples positive methods of communication and how to grow into a more loving and appreciative partnership.
Clients come to Jay Brandenburg-Nau because of his one-of-a-kind devotion and his wide understanding of individual and group counseling. As a professional therapist, he has spent over a decade giving patients a new outlook on life by utilizing a range of counseling styles and encouragement.
“People don’t know where to look to find help for their relationships, and I’m glad to provide them with new habits and a path to follow,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “Marital counseling sounds intimidating to a lot of couples, which is why professional therapists get to know their clients first to discover the best means of helping them.”
Often times, waiting to seek out professional help for a struggling relationship makes it harder for the couple to get back on track. As soon as couples recognize there is a problem and admit it to one another is the perfect time for intervention from a skilled therapist like Jay Brandenburg-Nau.
The reasons couples choose to approach a marital counselor vary from case to case. Many times, couples feel like their communication has become poor, that one or both are harboring secrets that cause them to withhold affection, or that money or familial situations have become more strenuous than ever. Whatever the cause, counselors can shine an objective light on the situation and give a safe place for couples to express their wishes, fears, and thoughts.
“Many times, counselors just provide an atmosphere outside of the home that’s more conducive for expressing truths,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “Couples feel comfortable enough talking with a counselor and with each other more so than they would in their own natural environments.”
Marital counseling sessions with professionals help couples change how they see their relationships, help them look at it from different objective perspectives, and grow together with mutual intentions. Many techniques are explored which can eventually remove emotional avoidance, modify poor behavior, improve communication between one another, and regain a lost spark.
Some of the typical questions asked by marital therapists will cover how each of the individuals deals with past experiences, whether there are any specific pain points, and what the structure of the relationship is like. From there, professionals will prompt the couple to deliver honest answers and open up to each other in a safe environment.
“Therapy helps build a bridge between two people,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “It’s not a magical solution to all couples’ problems, but it provides a new perspective and a path to healthier communication where there maybe wasn’t one before.”
Jay Brandenburg-Nau helps clients in his community achieve wholeness and peace by employing a variety of theories and practices without the use of expensive medication. A licensed professional and experienced counselor, he relies on treatments such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help his clients overcome emotional and psychological obstacles.
As a full-time therapist, Jay Brandenburg-Nau has spent more than a decade providing care and guidance to people struggling in their everyday lives. He notes that many people don’t need to undergo specialized care or require medication to find happiness. He helps them achieve more positive well-being through careful guidance and through treatments like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
“Some counselors will advise controlled thinking, where their clients will work to change the way they think and feel by denying any negative feelings,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “In the ACT, I teach my clients that some emotions need to be felt, and instead of being controlled by them or trying to change them, they can recognize their importance and the potential to overcome.”
Jay Brandenburg-Nau uses ACT as a way to administer both traditional behavior therapy and psychotherapy. In this way, he helps clients to quit denying or avoiding negative feelings and teaches them to accept these moments, thoughts, or feelings as a natural part of life. They learn that deeper feelings may actually be appropriate responses to external stimuli and that they shouldn’t let these emotions consume them or prevent them from moving on.
From this mindfulness, clients of Jay Brandenburg-Nau ultimately teach themselves to weigh their emotions and responses appropriately and to let them past. Afterward, they are more prepared to accept their unique issues or hardships and make changes in their behavior as a result. They can make peace with the bad and move on to experience the good.
“It isn’t a novel approach to care nor an expensive one that would require medication or rigorous therapy,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “And still, it’s useful for treating anxiety, depression, OCD, and even chronic pain or substance abuse in certain cases.”
Through ACT, clients can pick up on the specific ways they think about themselves or cope with negative sensations in the moment. They learn to gauge overreactions so that they are more prepared for any issues that require immediate action, and know when something is just meant to be felt and then forgotten. ACT will ultimately help them to break away from typical patterns of negativity or overwhelming feelings and begin to practice more optimistic behavior.
“By using ACT as a compass, I can help my clients understand that trying to control psychological experiences or emotions may, in fact, cause more harm than good,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “Mindful behavior allows them to accept the negative and change their emotional state for the better.”
As a professional therapist, Jay Brandenburg-Nau counsels clients in different stages and scenarios of life who aim to improve their well-being and achieve a healthier overall lifestyle. Often, he recommends family therapy to help families heal from trauma and learn to function as a more complete unit, and he shares the benefits of this style of therapy below.
Jay Brandenburg-Nau applies years of counseling and mental health research to client cases ranging from individuals and couples to larger groups such as families. As an experienced professional counselor, he helps them all find their footing towards a happier, healthier life and teaches them new habits to follow for lasting results.
Often, he encounters families who have undergone some form of trauma, which can take on a variety of different shapes depending on each family’s situation and history. Trauma can result from a death in the family, moving to a new location, having a parent go off to war, experiencing a divorce, poor child development and more.
“Not every client situation will require the same solution or process of healing,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau, “but any family struggling as a whole will find a world of benefits in group therapy.”
Through therapy, Jay Brandenburg-Nau believes families can uncover underlying problems or causes behind certain behaviors. It can be used to treat mental health concerns, which take on forms like excessive anger, eating disorders, substance abuse, depression and more. It allows for each member of the family to tell their story and help the others in their unit gain a better perspective of each individual.
Behavioral problems in children are often a big concern for parents who struggle with everyday challenges or deep, underlying problems. Through family therapy, they can bring those hidden instigators to light and talk out a healthy solution that works for everyone and helps improve behavior in their children.
The goal of family therapy is to promote understanding within the group and to teach collaboration so that families can tackle future concerns as a more wholesome, healthy unit. The skills taught within family therapy can later be applied in other areas of their lives and will teach individuals respect for others and to function better in society and groups in general.
The method of family therapy will likely change from case to case, as every family comes with its own set of problems that need to be addressed. Most approaches borrow from systems theory, which helps the individuals learn how they affect each other and the group as a whole. Psychological approaches like experiential, cognitive-behavioral, and psychodynamic may also factor in. Regardless of the approach, family therapy will improve overall communication, coping mechanisms, and problem-solving skills for everyone.
“It’s a lot more than helping families achieve balance through therapy,” says Jay Brandenburg-Nau. “It’s about improving the individuals so they can function in any group more successfully––especially within their family.”
“The story of your life is the story of the long and sustained assault on your heart by the one who knows who you could be and fears you!”
he story, narrative… Our lives are composed of many lives and many deaths… Our life is one big story with many volumes.
We are apart of a larger story. The story of a God who loves us and will stop at nothing to heal our hearts. The heart is the innermost being. It’s a place where life and beauty reside. It’s the prized possession… So many of our hearts have been assaulted by lies, accusations, wounds from lovers, parents, and friends.
In Hebrew, the heart (lev or levav) is the center of human thought and spiritual life. We tend to think that the heart refers mainly to our emotions, but in Hebrew, it also refers to one’s mind and thoughts as well. The heart is so central to life…. So important and so costly.
The heart is oriented to life-giving things. It’s been wired for deep connection… It’s designed to resonate and reflect the good and perfect love of our true Father. That is why it comes under so much heavy assault from such a young age. The wounding may be subtle, a hurtful word on a playground, or an absent mother or father.
It whispers and sometimes shouts “I’m not enough, or I’m too much… It covers up our deep goodness and the wounds become a landing pad in the heart for the lies of the evil one. The thing about a landing pad is that it is also a launching pad. It compels our hearts to seek life and meaning apart from true connection and intimate trust.
We cover up our wounds with food, drink, money, power, and success. Many just go numb and walk through life aimlessly without purpose or direction. You need to know that your heart is good, that you are good. So good in fact, that God spared no expense to recover your heart. He is beckoning you and me to a greater story.
He is calling you to deep rest and a beautiful story filled with love and beauty. The only requirement is to surrender. What is it that you need to surrender today? What are the wounds you carry? God is ever present. He is not constrained to time and space. Right now at this moment, He is able to touch the wound and heal the long-suffering heart.
Take some time to invite Jesus into old memories of pain, shame, and regret. Ask him to speak the truth over the lie. The truth always sets us free.
“Be still and know that I am God!” Be still… I can remember as a kid being told to settle down… to be still… Be quiet… The message felt so personal, like an indictment on my heart. If you can’t sit still there must be something wrong with you… A cold wet blanket of shame over my strong good heart. “
As a man that has experienced trauma, the words “be still” always felt like a requirement and not an invitation. I could never sit still. I was constantly churning, driven by fear and anxiety.
Scripture is filled with language about stillness and fearing not… Filtered through the lens of traumatic experiencing these words felt more like a mountain to climb than an invitation to sit and be at peace.
Its been a long journey getting to a place where these words feel like an invitation from a good Father that longs to hold His son. Paul Young says we spend a lifetime wiping the images of our trauma from the face of God. Our traumas create a lens by which we see and experience the world. They limit our perspective.
They create tunnel vision and produce a reality where life is just one big battle to fight… The language in scripture about battles is that we are to sit and rest… So counter-intuitive.
Living in this tension of the right now and not yet is the very space we find rest. I am learning that tension is a good thing. It alerts us and reminds us just how much we need Gods good and strong fathering. It’s an opportunity to discover a better and truer reality.
The truth that all things are made new. The truth that we are becoming the men and women God intended us to be from the beginning. Our fears and anxieties surrendered become the container for experiencing how deep and how wide our Fathers love are for us.
The point is that we were created to live, move and have our very being in the context of deep connection with the one that made us.
When I’m driven by fear, I am removed from the present and current reality that today I have all I need. I miss out on the gifts of a warm smile, sunshine, cleansing rain, and beautiful scenery. Instead of hearing the words be still as an indictment, they can be received as an invitation.
An invitation to experience God… To not just know about Him, but to really receive his good heart for us. What would it be like to get still, not as a punishment, but as an opportunity? Stillness settles the swirling chaos. It allows the dust to settle and brings clarity.
Take some time to linger, to rest, to offer your mess to the God who knows you and is so fond of you.