The Neuroscience of Stress

The Neuroscience of Stress

A LIVE interview with Celisa Flores, Psy.D. – Curt and Katie talk with Celisa about what stress does to you and your body and what therapists can do to take better care of their bodies, their brains, and their mental health. Celisa also delves into burnout AND the benefits of yoga and meditation.

It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. We are human beings who can now present ourselves as whole people, with authenticity, purpose, and connection. Especially now, when therapists must develop a personal brand to market their practices.

To support you as a whole person and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.

Interview with Celisa Flores, Psy.D.

Since obtaining a master’s degree in Counseling in 2007 at CSU Fresno and a PsyD in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2013, Dr. Flores worked as a therapist in a wide variety of mental health treatment settings, with emphasis on Eating Disorders, Mindfulness and women’s issues. Now proudly with Center for Discovery, providing clinical outreach for Ventura County and the Central California region.

With a history of providing individual, group, family, and couples counseling services, as well as therapeutic yoga services, Dr. Flores has focused on evidence-based practices, providing guidance and support in Mindfulness in Recovery, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and other self-empowerment strategies. In addition to training as a therapist, she is a Certified Yoga Teacher, also trained in Mindful Stress Reduction. By integrating a variety of holistic tools into recovery and wellness, she works to create a long-lasting, sustainable wellness plan.

Dr. Flores also provides consultation, teaching and training for students, professionals, and community groups, which have included youth conferences, the CSU school systems, international speaking and NASA. In effort to support other therapists and community members with understanding eating disorders and treatment, she is always open to consider future speaking and training opportunities.

In this episode we talk about:

  • How (and why) our bodies store trauma
  • The use of yoga (both poses and principles)
  • How the fight or flight response (when we don’t fight or flee) impacts our bodies
  • How our brain has evolved, and how we respond to stressors that are not literally life or death.
  • Yoga – joining body and breath – to calm the fight or flight nervous system
  • The importance of the breath in how we feel
  • Diaphragmatic breathing
  • The importance of getting out of a narrow view AND in getting out of Fight or Flight in order to be best able to support our clients
  • Approachable strategies that make small moments of self-care possible
  • Distress tolerance corners (and activities that are especially good for distress tolerance)
  • Proactively planning for self-care and distress tolerance coping
  • What the real consequences of poor self-care are (including rapid aging and current dangers)
  • Some yoga stretches that you can use in your office (and Curt’s desire to be a yoga therapist)
  • How to remind yourself that yourself to self-care and how to hold yourself accountable
  • How meditation changes your brain and how to make it approachable

Resources mentioned:

We’ve pulled together any resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

When by Daniel Pink

Gabor Mate

Find Celisa online: her website  Linked In

Her email:

Previous Episode mentioned:

Being Truly Mindful

Our Generous Sponsor:

Thanks again to our sponsor, Center For Discovery!

Center for Discovery provides evidence-based treatment for eating disorders, binge eating disorders, mental health, substance use, and co-occurring conditions nationwide. Discovery offers gender inclusive and gender-specific treatment with separate programming for adolescent and adults. Programs have a high staff to client ratio because individualized attention is critical when it comes to providing effective and efficient treatment. Learn more about these clinical programs at Discovery offers free resources including weekly support groups, a recovery app, free evaluations, and treatment scholarships. Learn more about Discovery’s Free Weekly Support Groups, for those struggling and loved ones, at Center For Discovery is a preferred provider and in-network with all major insurance companies.

Our Next Event:

The Therapy Reimagined Conference in Los Angeles in October 2018!!

Our consultation services:

The Fifty-Minute Hour

Who we are:

Curt Widhalm is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is a Board Member at Large for the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Adjunct Faculty at Pepperdine University, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more about Curt at

Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant. As a helping professional for two decades, she’s navigated the ups and downs of our unique line of work. She’s run her own solo therapy practice, designed innovative clinical programs, built and managed large, thriving teams of service providers, and consulted hundreds of helping professionals on how to build meaningful AND sustainable practices. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more about Katie at

A Quick Note:

Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.

Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.

Stay in Touch:


Voice Over by DW McCann

Music by Crystal Grooms Mangano

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