Are you ready to Quit Smoking?

Quit Smoking for good at Health for Life Grand Rapids

Even if you’ve smoked forever…

Even if you’ve tried to quit a million times…

Even if you enjoy smoking…

You can quit.

Hypnosis has been shown to be an effective method for quitting. No gum, patches,

or prescription medications required.

Clients who use hypnosis to quit tend to experience fewer withdrawal symptoms

and begin their smoke-free life motivated to making healthy choices!

The Great American SmokeOut is November 16th!

To quit smoking, contact Stacey PreFontaine CMS-CHt, FIBH

at Health for Life Grand Rapids.

Call Stacey directly at 616-828-2153.

Or email Stacey at : 


Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or 1 of every 5 deaths.1

In 2015, about 15 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (15.1%) currently* smoked cigarettes. This means an estimated 36.5 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes.2 More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease.2

Current smoking has declined from nearly 21 of every 100 adults (20.9%) in 2005 to about 15 of every 100 adults (15.1%) in 2015.2


“If there’s everything all health professionals agree on, it’s this: put down the smokes, any way you can, no matter how silly you feel about being hypnotized or obsessively chewing Juicy Fruit or starting talk therapy with a counselor. Don’t feel foolish if you start describing yourself as “smober,” as some NicA members do. It may be corny, but getting sober while continuing to smoke is tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic: a nice way to relieve stress in the moment but an activity that’s still going to take you down.”


quit smoking with hypnotherapy at health for life grand rapids

Why I stopped making fun of yoga …

Why I stopped making fun of yoga …

by Jennifer Belmonte, LMSW, CHC

(licensed therapist in Grand Rapids, MI)

Truth be told, I am a former yoga-mocker. I could not comprehend how intentional body contortions and even the practice of stillness could possibly alter one’s physical health. After all, isn’t exercising about working up a sweat, increasing your heart rate, and being near collapse at its conclusion? At one point in my life, I was a cardio junkie…running, kickboxing, stepping, even spinning. What then, could possibly be the point of something low-impact, slow-paced, and well…seemingly downright boring. The whole notion of yoga was rather confusing to me. Silliness, actually.

A few years ago, my dear sister announced she was going to pursue certification in yoga instruction. I tried my best to be supportive of her perplexing vocation. She used fancy words like “shavasana” and “namaste.” Interestingly, I began to notice that people practicing yoga seemed more relaxed, more balanced…more grounded, if you will. Slowly, and I do mean slowly… I came to a realization… Do we not practice things that don’t come easily to us…such as riding a bike, cooking, or public speaking? Perhaps I needed to practice relaxing. Yes…practice relaxing!! I was well-acquainted with the concept of mindfulness (we’ll talk about this further in a later post), and its importance on one’s mental and emotional well-being. Yoga, of course, is a manifestation of mindfulness…both physically and mentally. I began attending a few classes. Yoga eventually no longer seemed a waste of time! In fact, I began to experience greater mental clarity as well as physical strength. I realized that ideally, a strong body and a strong mind are two sides of the same coin.

Moreover, the mainstream medical culture has begun to recognize the importance of consistently practicing relaxation…ideally, deep relaxation. As Dr. Edmund Bourne highlights in The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, when we engage in this discipline, we experience a myriad of physiological changes including decrease in heart rate, decrease in blood pressure, and decrease in muscle tension. According to Dr. Bourne, other benefits of deep relaxation include increased energy and self-confidence, reduced insomnia and fatigue, and even an increased awareness of your emotions (as muscle tension is a significant barrier to emotional awareness).

The idea of practicing mindfulness or even deep relaxation may seem daunting at first. So, let’s start with intentional, every-day choices… making eye contact during a conversation, enjoying a cup of coffee (or a meal!) while seated, saying NO to things that do not nurture our bodies, our spirits, our healthy relationships. These are things that require intention and practice, especially in a culture, which glorifies busyness.

Part of my role at Health for Life GR is to help you connect the dots of your life…experience greater balance, find your voice, and be intentional in your relationships. After all, this journey called life is much more enjoyable that way.

You can see Jennifer Belmonte for counseling or health coaching, in addition she loves to teach and will be hosting many classes at Health for Life GR.

You can contact Jennifer Jennifer Belmonte LMSW, CHC directly616-920-0428 or 

Jennifer Belmonte at Health for Life Grand Rapids

Grand Opening Sept 21st 2017!

Health for Life Grand Rapids Celebrates Their Grand Opening

Integrative Counseling Office Hosts Open House

Grand Rapids, MI: Health for Life Grand Rapids, an integrative mental health facility, will host an open house to celebrate their grand opening. This event will take place on Thursday, September 21st, 5:30-7:30pm EST, at Health for Life Grand Rapids. 781 Kenmoor Ave SE, Suite C, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

Enter your name and email address when you arrive and you will be entered to win one of many raffle items! Items include Norwex products, salon gift cards, a Naturopathic First Aid Kit, and many more. There will be snacks and refreshments for all who stop by.

Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA

Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA is a licensed Naturopathic physician (AZ), who strives to find the root cause of illnesses of all kinds. Dr. Cain is known for helping people suffering from mental and emotional concerns–yet she treats the entire person. Dr. Cain treats patients all over the United States and internationally.

“We believe in long-term solutions. We want our clients to come out of their experience with us as changed people, who can go back into their community and bring their healthy new perspective and the tools to share with their loved ones.”

Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA resides in Grand Rapids, but still practices part-time in Scottsdale, AZ as she is a licensed physician in the state of Arizona. Michigan has not yet passed legislation for Dr. Cain to practice as a physician in Michigan, but she is able to provide health education for people based on her years of medical practice in Arizona. Paul Krauss is a clinical supervisor as well and has supervised and trained clinicians for 7 years and has been practicing as a counselor for 10 years. Learn more here:


Ashley is our wonderful office manager. Ashley will make sure that your experience at Health for Life Grand Rapids begins with a smile. She is eager to answer all of your questions and ensure that you get the information you need. Do not hesitate to call if you have questions or concerns and Ashley will help find the answer for you 616-200-4433.

Paul Krauss, MA, LPC

Paul Krauss is the co-founder of Health For Life Grand Rapids. Paul has his own podcast, he has over 10 years of experience and has consulted for several major behavioral health agencies. He is an expert in trauma, anxiety, depression, helping the parents of struggling young adults. In addition, Paul is a business consultant, and is extremely passionate about providing expert mental health care to the West Michigan area. If you are suffering from trauma, PTSD, anxiety, depression, anger, relationship issues or if you want to be more successful in your job, call Paul Krauss for a complimentary meet and greet today. To learn more about Paul, click here:

Nicole Vega, LMSW, CHC

Nicole is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Health Coach. She is an expert at working with women and is passionate about helping new moms who are struggling with depression, anxiety postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and more. Nicole is an excellent counselor with women of all ages, including teenagers! If you are a single woman, a new mom, seasoned mom, or if you are a woman suffering from depression, anxiety, or if you want to become a greater expert in living your own best life, call Nicole today! To learn more about Nicole, click here:

Billie Walters, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Billie has advanced training in Mindfulness & Self-Compassion. She brings her advanced skills and healing presence to each therapy session. Her passion and calming personality will help you feel balanced, inspired, and empowered. Billie has solutions for almost every situation. She is an expert at helping people with  anxiety, depression, stress reduction/ management, anger management, and she will work with you and your family. If you you’d like to work with a highly skilled, warm, and compassionate clinician, call Billy today to set up your first consultation! To learn more about Billie, read here:

Adam Nash, MA, LLPC

Adam is a leader in the field working with helping teens, young adults and parents thrive. He has over a decade of experience working with teens/young adults not only as a mentor, but as an outpatient counselor and inpatient clinician. Adam has the experience, wisdom, knowledge, and skills to –whether you are a teenager, young adult, or the parent of one. If you are a parent of a struggling teen or young adult, or if you are ready to conquer your symptoms and to achieve your goals of wellness, definitely give Adam a call today! To learn more about Adam, read here:

Jennifer Belmonte , LMSW, CHC

Jennifer is an excellent therapist and certified health coach. Jennifer Belmonte provides therapy to children, adolescents, and adults in the Grand Rapids, MI area. Jennifer specializes in the following areas: Emotional Neglect, Difficulties with food and healthy lifestyle, Children & adolescents, Help with emotional regulation and symptoms of depression and anxiety, Faith-based counseling, Health Coaching, and Women’s Issues read more here:

Stacey Prefontaine, Clinical Medical Hypnotherapist

Stacey is a wonderful Hypnotherapist. Stacey is passionate about helping people improve their lives and manage their stressors through the power of hypnotherapy.  She helps people heal from trauma and other issues both mentally and physically.
“Through my practice as a hypnotherapist, I have been able to help clients improve self awareness and intuition, become confident in challenging relationships and situations, put an end to unhealthy habits, reduce and manage pain, improve sleep quality, and gain confidence.” Learn more here:

Emotionally Supporting Your Child with Anxiety [1 of 6]

Emotionally Supporting Your Child with Anxiety [1 of 6]

“Anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental illnesses and affect 25 percent of all teens and 30 percent of all teen girls” (1).

Are you a parent whose child is struggling with anxiety? Are you unsure of how to support them when they are overwhelmed? Are you always trying to push your kid into going to social events but they would rather stay home? Does your child experience great distress in social situations? Does your child get paralyzed by a desire/an internal pressure to be perfect?

If any of these ring true then know that you are not alone. With an estimated 25% of teens struggling with anxiety, parents are trying/scrambling to figure out how to raise children who are feeling overwhelmed with anxiety and being held back from reaching their goals/help their child cope with crippling anxiety that is holding them back from achieving their goals. As a parent, it can be difficult to know what to say or do in these situations. Here are some tips that may be helpful the next time your child becomes anxious.

Three Tips for Supporting Your Kid

#1: Allow them the space to be Anxious:

As a parent without anxiety, it can be frustrating when a solution appears obvious, but your child’s behavior seems illogical. Remember to give your child space to be anxious. Rushing them to make a decision or fix a problem will only exacerbate their anxiety. Your child may struggle with feeling inadequate and fear they are letting others down by having anxiety. Allowing your child to take their time will help them take ownership of their problem-solving process.

#2: Validate their worry:
“It’s just not that big of a deal.” Do you find yourself saying this to your child? While phrases like this can easily slip out without much thought, this can be a detrimental message to your child with anxiety. In that moment, your child may interpret that you are minimizing their emotions instead of the magnitude of the situation. They may feel that they are unimportant or even broken because they cannot seem to function like everyone else. With such a large population of kids and teens (estimated 25%) struggling with anxiety, it is clear that this is a common issue and should be addressed with care. Great ways to encourage your child the next time they become anxious about a problem may be to use phrases such as, “I can see you’re feeling anxious, but I know you can get through this and I am always here to support you.”

#3: Don’t push them into social situations:

As much as you may want your child to interact more with peers, pressuring them into social situations only increases their anxiety. Your child may fear being rejected or bullied by classmates or neighbors for their anxiety, and avoid opening up and letting others in. Of course, there is nothing wrong with encouraging your child to engage, but allowing them to decline increases their sense of control, and will likely lessen their anxiety. When your child is ready to initiate socially, they will. Give them time.
Anxiety among kids and teens is becoming increasingly common. However, its prevalence does not make parenting easier. If you are feeling alone, in this there is help for you. Check back next week for Part Two when we discuss supporting your child when anxiety prevents them from doing the things they want to do.

You can call 616-200-4433 or directly 616-676-7081 or email me at and I will give you a complimentary 15 minute consultation.

adam nash helping teens with anger, depression, and anxiety

Beginning in September 2017, Adam Nash MA, LLPC and Nicole Vega LMSW, CHC will be offering a free support group for both parents and adolescents struggling with anxiety. Groups will be held every other Thursday night at Health for Life 7:00 pm.

For more information and a complimentary 15-minute consultation, call 616-676-7081 or email

“Thank you for reading” – Adam Nash MA LLPC 

You can’t just “get over it.” Grief Counseling is important.

Grief isn’t something you can “Just Get Over Quickly.” Why grief counseling is important By Denise DeJonge, LMSW, SSW, Grand Rapids, MI

We’ve all heard someone say: “They should be over it by now.”, “She should start getting rid of his clothes”, “It was only a pet for goodness sake”, “Honestly, she had been sick and suffering, she’s in a better place.” These are well meaning statements but also very judgmental. Many family members and friends will try to help, but that is not the same as getting actual grief counseling.

“Coping with loss is ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience — nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that you’re going through. But others can be there for you and help comfort you through this process. The best thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel the grief as it comes over you. Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing.” Coping can look and feel differently for each individual. You can go through the stages in order, or you can bounce from one stage to another, several times until you find yourself in the Acceptance Stage. This can happen over a matter of days or many years. A therapist can help you explore your emotions, work with you to develop coping strategies, help you manage your grief and help others around you try to understand what you are going through.

Doctors have identified five common stages of grief:

  • Denial: When you first learn of a loss, it’s normal to think, “This isn’t happening.” You may feel shocked or numb. This is a temporary way to deal with the rush of overwhelming emotion. It’s a defense mechanism.
  • Anger: As reality sets in, you’re faced with the pain of your loss. You may feel frustrated and helpless. These feelings later turn into anger. You might direct it toward other people, a higher power, or life in general. To be angry with a loved one who died and left you alone is natural, too.
  • Bargaining: During this stage, you dwell on what you could’ve done to prevent the loss. Common thoughts are “If only…” and “What if…” You may also try to strike a deal with a higher power.
  • Depression: Sadness sets in as you begin to understand the loss and its effect on your life. Signs of depression include crying, sleep issues, and a decreased appetite. You may feel overwhelmed, regretful, and lonely.
  • Acceptance: In this final stage of grief, you accept the reality of your loss. It can’t be changed. Although you still feel sad, you’re able to start moving forward with your life.

“Coping with this potential myriad of responses may certainly seem overwhelming, but there are some strategies which can be used in order to manage grief reactions and continue to function day to day.”

  • Accept your feelings. Feelings are neither right or wrong, they just are. Sadness, loneliness, fear, confusion, anger—these are among the many feelings that may occur, and are completely normal. Emotions are often raw early in grief, but it is important to allow for expression. To attempt to stifle feelings usually leads to their eventually erupting under far less desirable circumstances.
  • Be patient with yourself. Grief is an intensely personal process. Accept that it follows no magical formula or time frame. It will take as long as it takes. Think of the care you would extend to a friend in the same situation of loss, and allow yourself that same grace. Be careful to not take on responsibilities beyond what is realistic—it is better to allow for some flexibility in one’s obligations at this time.
  • Pay attention to physical needs. It can be very easy to neglect one’s personal physical needs during the throes of grief. This is a time when taking care of oneself is crucial. As difficult as it may seem, making every effort to get adequate sleep, eat nutritionally balanced meals and fit in regular exercise and intentional relaxation can do wonders. Think of it this way: by pursuing a healthful routine, you are actually equipping yourself to take on the new challenges with which you are faced in your time of grief.
  • Accept the help of others. Understand that grief is challenging work, it requires a great deal of energy and can be exhausting. Even though we place a high regard on self-sufficiency, it is important not to hesitate to ask for and accept help from those close to you. Others care and genuinely want to be of assistance, but usually do not know what to specifically offer. A Therapist is a trained individual that can provide a supportive presence and assist with coping strategies. We have heard from clients that sometimes, it’s just nice to talk to someone outside of your social circle. Getting professional grief counseling can help you heal when you don’t know what to do. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing grief and would like professional grief counseling in Grand Rapids, MI read below:

Denise DeJonge, LMSW, SSW is a counselor in Grand Rapids, MI. Denise provides grief counseling and therapy services and more at Health for Life Grand Rapids, MI.  You can call Denise on her direct line: 616-965-1471. You can email Denise as well: Or call 616-200-4433 to schedule your complimentary consultation with Denise.

Axelrod, J. (2017). The 5 Stages of Grief & Loss. Psych Central. Retrieved from

DeKrey, Connie, Bereavement Specialist, Red River Valley Hospice, Fargo, ND Coping Strategies for Grief

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on November 06, 2016 Grief and Loss


Overcoming Social Anxiety and Struggles

Are you a teen struggling with anxiety or social anxiety? Do social situations my your super anxious? If so, it is time to find a way to overcome these struggles.

Are you experiencing anxiety? It is time to get Counseling in Grand Rapids, MI

Adam Nash LLPC “I am very passionate about helping teens learn how to manage their anxiety and move past it to a healthier life.”

One of my passions as a clinician is to see teens be successful in all aspects of their lives. If you are a teen who is struggling with social anxiety then you have come to the right place.

Are you struggling with feeling like you don’t fit in with the people in your school? If so I have over 10 years of experience working with teens and helping them reach their full potential through healthy ways of cope anxiety.

Anxiety is a feeling of overwhelming worry or unease about an upcoming event of uncertainty and it greatly affects the ability of the person suffering through it to be able to manage their emotions. However there is help and it is possible to learn how to manage anxiety and live a great life.

Social Anxiety is the fear of situations where one must interact with other people, practically in large groups, and can easily prevent a person from being able to function in social situations. Often, social anxiety if not properly managed can become debilitating and prevent the person’s ability to even leave the house for fear of social interaction. However there is help and techniques to overcome this struggle. There is hope!

Anxiety can be overwhelming when handled alone however there is help for you in this struggle. Counseling is proven to be effective in treating all forms of anxiety. If you are struggling with anxiety today is the day to get the support to overcome this and move towards a healthier life.

You can call 616-200-4433 or directly 616-676-7081 or email me at and I will give you a complimentary 15 minute consultation.

adam nash helping teens with anger, depression, and anxiety“Thank you for reading” – Adam Nash MA LLPC 


What is anxiety counseling?

Anxiety Counseling:

5 things not to say to someone suffering from anxiety. 

Are you or someone you know suffering from Anxiety? Denise DeJonge is a therapist in Grand Rapids, MI who can help.

In this article, Denise who does a lot of anxiety counseling discusses the 5 things NOT to say to someone who is suffering from anxiety. She also provides us with a little education about anxiety itself.

Grand Rapids, MI

#1. “It’s all in your head!”

“Anxiety activates the autonomic nervous system – the flight or fight response – which can express itself through a number of different physiological (and generally unpleasant) bodily symptoms including panic attacks, fast pulse, palpitations, shallow breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain/tightness, sweating, choking, headaches, insomnia, irritability, uncontrollable muscle tension/twitches, trembling, feeling faint/unreal, tingling in hands/arms/legs, tightness in throat, dry mouth, problems with speech, fear of dying, going mad and losing control. Research tells us that most people have suffered some form of panic attack and experienced symptoms similar to the above at some time in their life.. ”

#2. “Just forget about it, Stop thinking about it!”

For people who have never experienced anxiety, it would seem easy to just switch off worry. But when anxiety symptoms are at it’s peak, switching it off isn’t even an option. In fact, the person oftentimes is so focused on the overwhelming experience of their symptoms that they are unable to think of anything other than worry. This is when it is helpful for others to speak calmly and help the person regulate their breathing by modeling deep breathing techniques.

#3. “It’s not that bad, don’t be so dramatic!”

Here’s an exercise: Try breathing deeply through a stir straw. It is described as constricting, frustrating and not fulfilling. That’s how someone who is anxious feels. Constricting because fear is lonely and isolating. Frustrating because more times than not, anxiety doesn’t have a precursor, it just shows up. Anxiety seems unpredictable. This unpredictability is so debilitating that people with anxiety start fearing that they will get anxiety. It’s like becoming fearful of a fire alarm and not the fire. Finally, anxiety is not fulfilling since there doesn’t seem to be much empathy from others when an anxiety attack surfaces. It’s not DRAMA it’s pure FEAR.

#4. “You are just trying to be the Center of Attention”

That’s the last thing a person with anxiety wants to happen. In fact, part of the panic thought process is the fear of others noticing the panic and become singled out. This is best described as the Flight, Fight or Freeze response. Many people will want to Flee (flight) to a safe and secure place until they are able to manage their symptoms enough to rejoin others.

#5. “Take a chill pill!”

Medication isn’t always the solution to anxiety. While it might seem like an immediate fix, the side effects can last longer than the anxiety episode itself. Through therapy, the anxious person will learn coping strategies to utilize when the next anxiety attack occurs. Once the strategies are in place, therapy will assist with addressing potential root causes.

Looking for a compassionate counselor in Grand Rapids, MI to help you or someone you know with anxiety?

Give Denise a call at 616-200-4433 or email her at

Denise DeJonge, LMSW, SSW Health for Life Grand Rapids






( Anxiety symptoms are real.

5 Tips to Manage Anxiety as a Mom

5 Tips to Manage Anxiety as a Mom by Nicole Vega, LMSW | CHC

One of my passions as both a clinician and health coach is helping mothers overcome their feelings of anxiety. In society today it can be difficult to navigate life, even if you are not a parent, without some underlying feelings of anxiety. It has been my experience as a mother myself and as a clinician, that much of the anxiety we experience as parents comes from a place of exhaustion, guilt, poor nutrition, and hormonal imbalances.

As with anything in life, there is no quick fix when it comes to anxiety, especially severe anxiety, however, there are many daily activities you can begin today that will help to reduce and even eliminate symptoms.

Grand Rapids, MI

Tip #1: Take a Time Out.

Taking a “time out” will look slightly different for everyone as it could be something as simple as going to the store alone for an hour, going to a yoga class, taking a walk around the neighborhood etc. The common denominator, however, is that this is something you do without kids. You do not need to necessarily take this time to be alone but it is something that is done completely for you as a person, and does not require that you wear your mom hat in any way. What I will often suggest for those who are fueled by spending quality time with others, is that they go out and enjoy a date night, a girls night, or an activity with other people that creates a stress-free zone for them. The most important thing with this tip is that you actually do it, not say you will do it. A happy and healthy mama takes breaks to recharge, plain and simple.

take a time out nicole vega lmsw

Tip #2: Find Movement You Love.

My second tip is finding movement that you enjoy, not that you avoid. I have found that so often after children there is an expectation for mothers to get back to their pre-baby bodies and find movement that is effective, rather than enjoyable. What I want to say to you today is that these two are not mutually exclusive. You can find movement you love that will change your body and help to decrease anxiety. There is no one size fits all when it comes to exercise, nor is there when it comes to diet either. However, for your body to truly feel the positive effects of movement it is crucial that it is something you enjoy and remain consistent with. I will often encourage mothers to try yoga.

You may wonder why I suggest that particular form of movement, well primarily because it works. I do not suggest things that I have not researched, tried, or witnessed personal testimonials to their effectiveness, and with yoga I have experienced all three of these. Like with anything though, there will be a period of trial and error where you will need to find what works best for you. The most important thing is that you get your body moving!find movement you love nicole vega lmsw

Tip #3: Drink lots of Water.

Now before I go any further into my tips for decreasing anxiety as a busy mom, I want to mention I did not put these tips in a specific order, or an order of importance. I believe all these tips are vital and that individuals benefit most when they use all of them daily. My third tip however involves drinking water. Sounds really simple right? Well, the good news is, it is simple! The bad news is that many people do not realize how vital this is for their health and their mood, and do not drink nearly enough water on a daily basis. Did you know that symptoms of dehydration can be mistaken for anxiety? In severe cases of dehydration people may even feel as though they are having a panic attack. Remaining adequately hydrated allows your body to function at its best and assists with major processes such as digestion, regulation of blood pressure and heart rate, as well as impacting your cognitive processes to name a few! So if you want to avoid the anxiety that often comes with dehydration, make drinking water throughout the day a non-negotiable.

Tips #4: Eat a Blood Sugar Balancing Diet.

As I mentioned earlier I believe all the tips I am giving you are vital for decreased anxiety, however, if you can only manage to implement one starting today I would encourage you to focus on cleaning up your plate. Nutrition is a key component to improved mental functioning, whether you are looking to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, etc. It is what you put on your fork that is going to affect every area of how you body functions on a daily basis, so it is important that we choose health sustaining foods. Since I know from experience how difficult it can be to make dietary changes, especially as a busy mom, I am going to make this as easy for you as possible today. So rule number one: start getting rid of processed junk. Processed foods affect your body like a drug and can lead to all sorts of imbalances that in turn can create feelings of anxiety and/or depression. Since I know getting rid of processed foods is not easy, I encourage clients to start small by getting rid of one unhealthy food item a week from their pantry and plate. I also encourage clients to stay at the perimeter of the store when shopping, and to fill their carts with as much FRESH REAL FOOD as possible. If this seems too overwhelming as a busy mom, then perhaps seeking out a health coach is the next step. I offer free 15 minute discovery sessions to discuss whether or not health coaching might be right for you.

eat a blood sugar balancing diet

Tips #5: Develop a Gratitude Practice.

You may have heard the expression “gratitude changes everything” and I am here to tell you that this phrase is completely true. I am a true believer in this practice because I have seen it work in my life and in the lives of my clients.

The real magic with gratitude is that it can be implemented immediately with no cost involved, no training, and no real time commitment other than what you choose to invest into this practice.

So why does it work? It works because it causes you to shift your mindset from a place of negativity to a place of focusing on the good, and most of us need to be intentional with finding “the good” in things, as our natural inclination tends to be a focus on the negative aspects of life. I often encourage people to start a gratitude practice by simply listing 5 things before they go to bed that they are grateful for from their day. For some, it helps to physically list and write down these things. The nice thing about documenting the things you are grateful for is that you can go back later and review them, creating a nice gratitude journal. This practice will change the way you see your life, as well as, how you see others.

Going forward…

develop a gratitude practice nicole vega lmsw

In conclusion, many of these tips may seem simple or even “too easy” and honestly most of them are. The difficulty with these tips is actually choosing to implement them into your daily life. As busy moms, we are often called to wear many hats and pulled in different directions, all while running on little sleep. That alone easily explains why many of us have experienced bouts of anxiety at times, and for some of us even on a daily basis. The good news, however, is that while there is no perfect way of doing things, there is a way that works best for you.

If you are in a season in your life where you feel you may need some assistance with navigating your role as a mom, while still remaining true to who you are and your passions, utilizing a health coach could be a good first step in finding your best balance. For those of you who are experiencing more severe symptoms or difficulties, perhaps seeing a therapist is the next step in your journey.

I will support you, no matter your situation. 

Nicole Vega LMSW is a Licensed Therapist and Certified Health Coach. She can help you through the therapy process or through health coaching. Reach out to Nicole today at or  call 616-200-4433.

nicole vega health coaching

Counseling is an Effective Form of Treatment

The Intentional Clinician, Episode #3.

Counseling is an Effective Form of Treatment.

This week, on the podcast, Paul Krauss MA LPC discusses the overwhelming empirical evidence that counseling is an effective form of treatment. Not only is it effective, but is safe and has preventative effects. In fact, many research studies have noted that the effects of counseling typically last longer than pharmacological treatments. Paul discusses many studies that conclude that counseling works and should be used as a “first-line” treatment for most non-life-threatening mental health situations.

If a person is suffering from any type of mental disturbance, counseling is a safe form of treatment that can allow them to recover and feel like themselves again– without nasty side effects. If someone is already on a psychotropic medication, counseling can help the person get to the root cause of what the medication is helping with–and there quite possibly may even be more healing effects. Paul discusses this and much more.

Counseling is an effective form of treatment for depression, anxiety, relationship issues, emotional disturbance, ADHD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (especially EMDR treatment, which Paul is trained in), addiction, stress, unwanted behaviors, panic disorders, anger issues, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, ADHD, phobias, including social phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), self-harm, substance abuse, and more.

Paul Krauss is a counselor living in Grand Rapids, MI. Paul has his private practice at Health for Life Grand Rapids, located on 781 Kenmoor Ave SE, Suite C. Grand Rapids, MI 49546. If you or someone you know is in need or just wants to give counseling a try– call Paul at 616-365-5530 (direct), or at the office 616-200-4433. Paul loves his email,

Not in Grand Rapids? No problem, Paul is equipped to perform distance counseling to individuals in Michigan- when appropriate. You can email Paul at to find out if you are eligible, or call 616-200-4433.

If you are an organization in need of a public speaker on the subject of mental health–contact Paul. He will gladly customize a talk to your audience and topic preference. After his short fact-filled speech, he will answer questions from the audience. Many more “ask a counselor” events coming soon in Grand Rapids and beyond.

If you enjoyed this podcast, you can now subscribe on itunes or download through podbean.


Brownawell & Kelley. (October 2011). Psychotherapy is effective and here’s why. Monitor on Psychology. Vol 42, No. 9.

Duncan, B.L. , Miller, S.D. ,Wampold , B.E. , and Hubble, M.A.( 2010) The Heart and Soul of Change: Delivering What Works in Therapy ( second edition ). Washington, DC : American Psychological Association

How Psychotherapy Works.American Psychological Association. Dec 22, 2009.

Research Shows Psychotherapy Is Effective But Underutilized. American Psychological Association. August 9, 2012.

Recognition of Psychotherapy Effectiveness. American Psychological Association. August 2012

Wampold, B. E. (2011). Qualities and Actions of Effective Psychotherapists.
Series I: Systems of Psychotherapy. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

Wampold, B. E. (2001). The great psychotherapy debate: Models, methods, and findings. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Overcoming Emotional Eating with Karthik

The Intentional Clinician, Episode #2.

Overcoming Emotional Eating with Karthik Ramanan (soon to be Doctor).

This week, Paul Krauss MA LPC interviews soon-to-be Naturopathic Doctor Karthik Ramanan about his life, emotional eating, food addiction, overcoming an unhealthy lifestyle, lifestyle medicine, preventative medicine, depression, mental health, overcoming self-doubt and much much more.

At 27 years old, Karthik’s life was successful by most standards. He had a well paying corporate job in the finance industry. He lived in a nice apartment. He was able to pay off his undergraduate student loans. But with the accumulated stress from work and years-long low self-image, Karthik found himself to be 100 pounds overweight and headed in the direction of chronic disease and an unfulfilling life.

In 2011, that all changed. In a moment of “enough is enough”, he discovered the power of eating real, earth-grown foods and shifting his mindset, believing that he too could find health and fulfillment. He then proceeded to lose 100 pounds, change careers, and started a four-year accredited program at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine to become a naturopathic doctor.

Karthik is on a mission to help others like him shed their previously held beliefs of what’s possible for themselves, overcome chronic stress and lifestyle ailments, and find true health and fulfillment. 

Follow him on…
Instagram: @vicarium
Karthik V. Ramanan (Founder – Vicarium, LLC)
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine candidate, 2017

Karthik Ramanan
Dr. Karthik Ramanan

Paul Krauss MA LPC is the host of The Intentional Clinician podcast. He is a licensed professional counselor with a private practice in Grand Rapids, MI. Paul has advanced training in EMDR therapy–which has been empirically proven to help those suffering from PTSD, Trauma, Depression, Anxiety and more. Paul is also trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Humanistic, Existential therapy and more. Paul is a behavioral health expert and has spent over 5 years of his 10 year career helping the parents of teens and young adults–as well as working on the behavioral issues of teenagers and young adults.

Paul Krauss MA LPC is part of an integrative clinic in Grand Rapids, MI called Health for Life.

Download The Intentional Clinician Podcast here:
Subscribe to The Intentional Clinician on itunes (click here).

Paul Krauss MA LPC
Paul Krauss MA LPC

Want to find out if Paul is the right counselor for you?

Request an appointment online, by clicking here.

Or Call 616-200-4433 right now to schedule your first appointment.

Not in Grand Rapids? No problem, Paul is equipped to perform distance counseling to individuals in Michigan- when appropriate. You can email Paul at to find out if you are eligible, or call 616-200-4433.

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