Monday, July 6th, 2009...2:57 pm

Cordially Invited Guest: Marianne P. Libretto, L.M.H.C.

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Our guest today, Marianne P. LiBretto, L.M.H.C., is a de-stressing expert.  Her practice, BioLogical Wellness, is based in Westbury.

Q: As a stress management specialist here on Long Island, do you often work with brides-to-be?
A: Yes, some have come to me specifically for stress management consultations through my health and wellness business.  Throughout my years at North Shore University Hospital and in my private practice, others have come with some general anxiety issues for coping strategies that incidentally also helped them get through “the big day” and on with their lives in general.  I teach the stress management through specific coaching, counseling, and using high-tech computerized or hand-held biofeedback devices that they themselves can purchase for real-time practice of managing dysregulated nervous systems.  It may just be as simple as an hour and a half consultation to put the right tools in their hands.  Their learned stress management skills become part of what they can do lifelong.

Q: So what are their most common issues, in regard to stress?
A: I would have to say money and relationships are key stress triggers.  Every bride has an idea in her head about how her most important day should unfold.  Many have “mentally” planned and rehearsed this day for years.  When one adds budget concerns and other “key players” who have their own ideas and interests into the planning process, it just adds to the strain of planning for this perfect day.  It’s very easy for the bride to become frustrated with the whole process.  What should be an enjoyable and memorable time in her life becomes monumentally exasperating.  She often finds herself making unwanted compromises in order to please everyone.  This does not serve her or her fiance well.

Q:  What kind of toll does this sort of stress take on the body?
A:  Physical and emotional tension builds up in the body as the incidental stressors become more frequent and problematic.  If the stress on the mind and body is not kept in check, it can manifest itself in debilitating symptoms such as migraine and tension headaches, stomach problems, sore muscles, back problems, jaw tension, sleep problems, and generalized anxiety responses.  Other health compromising habits can arise such as increased nicotine, drug, or alcohol usage. The trick is then to address the problems before the symptoms entrench themselves in the individual.

Q:  What can you do to help brides then?
A:  One must take a proactive approach to meet, head-on the impending stressors that are inevitable.  By teaching them to connect with their bodies and minds on a deeper level, learning to watch for reactionary signs to stressors, they can use these valuable skills as coping mechanisms.  There are various strategies that can be taught that become innate over time.  These are specific self-regulation tools that can be called upon when necessary.  Also, learning effective and assertive communications with everyone who is involved in the planning process, can help make them  feel empowered and alleviate “hard feelings” and “guilt feelings”  that surface when negotiations are in play.  These strategies help facilitate a smooth transition from being engaged to being married.

Q:  Are you generally covered by health insurance? What would the cost for your services be?
A:  As a N.Y.S. licensed counselor, my services can be covered depending on the individual’s insurance policies if the brides are experiencing physical and psychological symptoms.
The initial consultations and one-time health and wellness consultations are billed at $200 for  hour and a half sessions.  If continual sessions are needed, they are billed at $120 per session.

Q:  What are your three best tips for harried brides brides who are planning their weddings right now?
A:   My top tips are:

1.  Do deep diaphragmatic breathing.  This helps the brain reset the body system so that it can remain self-regulated.

2.  Be aware of any muscle tension in the body to prevent the escalation of physical and emotional symptoms.

3.  Don’t take yourself too seriously, have fun, laugh often at the situations that arise.  Laughter can release stress-relieving hormones and help you cope with the tasks at hand.       There are always solutions to every challenge.

Thank you, Marianne!