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Pennick Family Therapy - "a place for change"

Welcome! to Pennick Family Therapy. For more than 8 years, I have provided family counseling and mental health services to individuals and families in Wichita, KS and the surrounding areas. I specialize in relationship therapy working with individuals, couples and premarital couples.  I deliver compassionate care to my clients to help them through difficult times and provide the support my clients need to work through challenging times in their lives. Read more about my training and specialization on the My Biography and Services Offered pages.

I offer a broad range of therapy services and coaching services to meet the needs of clients at every stage of life.  I can provide a professional treatment for marriage, family and individual therapy, and mental health therapy services for adults.  My clients have diverse cultural, racial and economic backgrounds.

At Pennick Family Therapy, I provide therapy to clients that are facing a broad range of challenges or situations to help them overcome challenges and move toward living richer and fulfilling lives. I have helped clients with problems such as depression, anxiety, addiction, relationship conflict, abuse recovery, crisis and trauma recovery, and more.

In addition, I offer workshops, support groups and various training courses for both clients and colleagues.  If you are looking for a mental health professional, please contact my office to set up a free consultation. For your convenience, I offer day, evening and Saturday appointments and I accept most major credit cards plus offer affordable payment plans, so you can get the treatment you need. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact me at 316-305-7106

What's happening in your brain

Do you ever wonder what is going on in your brain?  Especially when you feel that you are in a fog, forgotten an important event or fact, you wonder what is happening inside your brain. 

The human brain is comprised of a number of different regions. Each of these regions are vitally important with highly specialized functions. The brain is roughly divided into three parts which include the following:
  • Forebrain
  • Midbrain
  • Brain stem or hind brain
The central part of the brain includes the brain stem and the midbrain. The function of the midbrain and has been largely preserved over years of evolution. The functions of the forebrain, however, have changed somewhat. The cortex is highly developed with a high capacity for complex thinking and problem solving.

The National Institute of Mental Health guide to anxiety disorders also offers this descritpion of the neurological processes at work:

Several parts of the brain are key actors in the production of fear and anxiety. Using brain imaging technology and neurochemical techniques, scientists have discovered that the amygdala and the hippocampus play significant roles in most anxiety disorders.

The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that is believed to be a communications hub between the parts of the brain that process incoming sensory signals and the parts that interpret these signals. It can alert the rest of the brain that a threat is present and trigger a fear or anxiety response. The emotional memories stored in the central part of the amygdala may play a role in anxiety disorders involving very distinct fears, such as fears of dogs, spiders, or flying.

The hipocampus is the part of the brain that encodes threatening events into memories. Studies have shown that the hippocampus appears to be smaller in some people who were victims of child abuse or who served in military combat. Research will determine what causes this reduction in size and what role it plays in the flashbacks, deficits in explicit memory, and fragmented memories of the traumatic event that are common in PTSD.

The feeling of anxiety is part of your body's stress response. Your fight or flight response is triggered, and your system is flooded with norepinephrine and cortisol. Both are designed to give you a boost to perception, reflexes, and speed in dangerous situations. They increase your heart rate, get more blood to your muscles, get more air into your lungs, and in general get you ready to deal with whatever threat is present. Your body turns its full attention to survival. Ideally, it all shuts down when the threat passes and your body goes back to normal.

These effects of anxiety are well known but where does your anxiety come from?  How can you reduce your anxiety and the stress on your body?  You can get the help you need to solve the problem of anxiety by seeking therapy.  In therapy you learn the skills to resolve issues that are going on in your brain that cause the anxiety. Those emotional memories that trigger are not going away and until you develop the tools you will continue to be triggered. The triggers show up in difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, anger, depression, panic attacks and many more physical and mental symptoms.


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                        <a href="" class="gt-home gt-global-link" target="_blank"><span><sup>&reg;</sup><span></a>
                        <p><a href="" style="color:#6b7d44 !important;" target="_blank">Vickie M. Pennick, MS LMFT</a>
                    <br /><a href="" style="color:#43402e !important;" target="_blank">Wichita, KS</a></p>