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

A Fall Perspective or SAD

A Fall Perspective or SAD by Dr. Shannon Bennett, ND

Ahhh, smell the crisp air, the burning leaves and the awareness that holiday celebrations and new beginnings are on the horizon. In the first few mornings of a seasonal change, you feel the honeymoon stage of excitement. While idealizing upcoming plans and nostalgia fill your brain on the morning commute, you tend to have a momentary lapse of the cold bite of your seat and steering wheel. But after several days, weeks and months of the same ice cold seats, plummeting outdoor climates and brown slush as winter approaches, it’s easy to forget those fleeting feelings you once had at the beginning of the season.

And why is that? Something so appreciated in the beginning stages of its return each year, turns into an annoyance that reminds us to keep our eyes on the warmer months. It’s easy to get into the Scrooge mindset and start lamenting the cold weather with every encounter with it. It reminds us of spending extra money on presents, hectic shopping malls and risky driving on icy roads.

If we dive into the mindset of Power of Positive Thinking, we know that our thoughts and emotional well being can be subtly, but significantly altered with the seemingly harmless comments that come out of our mouth.

What if the crunchy leaves falling to the ground wasn’t a sign of death, but a sign of rebirth coming from the forest confetti that fall brings? What if we could keep this positive outlook, just by being more mindful of the words that we speak? By altering “I hate this cold,” into remember the good things this time of year brings, “Ahh, this snow means being with loved ones is near!” we may alter our perception of fall and our knee-jerk reaction to the cold. Below is a list of easy exercises to get you in the jolly mood, preparing you for a warm-hearted season ahead.

  1. Write a list of gratitudes

It has been studied time and time again and the research shows, taking the time to reflect and write out what makes you happy will actually do just that, make you happy. So at the start of each new season, while still in that honeymoon phase, write a list of all the gratitudes this seasonal shift brings to mind.


  1. Connect With Others

During these colder months, it is easier to stay in and bundle up rather than braving the cold to be with others. However, we were created for human connection and when we spend time with one another, we are building a network of communion around us. Connection with others is a huge factor in our health, mentally and physically. Infact, those with healthy relationships around them, are more likely to heal fast, get sick less and live longer. So volunteer at your local food bank, YMCA or shelter; get involved in religious small groups; visit the elderly in a local senior center; plan a neighborhood ‘friends-giving’.


  1. Retrain Your Habits

It takes 120 days of consistent effort to build a habit, so you have all season to work on this one! When we stop to think before we allow thoughts to become words, we have the power to change our environment. Every time you think to say a negative or complain about the weather, rephrase your statement with a gratitude or a positive outlook. Once getting in the habit of this, you’ll notice that you those negative thoughts become few and far between, and you’re easily able to redirect your perception.

For more information on positive living to help curb your tendencies for seasonal depression, set up a free consultation with Dr. Bennett today! Call 616-200-4433 or email

Dr. Shannon Bennett ND is a Naturopathic Doctor in Grand Rapids MI

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

fall perspective at health for life grand rapids

Intentional Parenting Group coming to Grand Rapids, MI

Intentional Parenting Group at Health for Life Grand Rapids, Fall 2017

a 4 week journey to a healthier relationship with your children

Hosted by Jennifer Belmonte LMSW, CHC in Grand Rapids, MI

What images come to mind when you think of the word “parenting?” Bedtime stories, goodnight kisses, taxi mom, swim lessons, work/life balance? Or perhaps words like exhaustion and marital struggles? Parenting in the 21st century is not for wimps! With technology, food choices, extracurricular activities, we are bombarded with more choices today than ever before!

In this 4-week course, we will discuss topics such as mindful discipline, healthy boundaries, constructive communication between parent and child, self-awareness, and self-care.

The group will be facilitated by family therapist, Jen Belmonte, who has over 10 years of experience working with children, adults, and families. Jen offers an interactive style, with handouts, and even “homework” for those who wish!

We will explore:

  • Current myths surrounding parenthood
  • The importance of self- care as a parent
  • The role of self-awareness in our own parenting experience
  • What are your hot buttons? How were YOU parented as a child?
  • Intentional language, and how to separate the child from the behavior
  • Overcoming challenges with your child


  • Deadline for Registration – Tuesday, October 17
  • The group will meet on Tuesday nights, from 7:00-8:30pm.
  • The group runs October 24 – November 14
  • The group meets at Health for Life Grand Rapids 781 Kenmoor Ave SE, Suite C. Grand Rapids, MI
  • Ample parking, Free Water and Tea, Multiple Restrooms

How do I register?

Jennifer Belmonte at Health for Life Grand Rapids
Jennifer Belmonte, LMSW, CHC


  • $125 for all 4 weeks.
  • We take HSA card, Credit/Debit, Check, or Cash at the first meeting.
  • Discount- if you refer a friend, and they register, you both get $25 dollars off.


Treating Trauma in the Refugee and Immigrant Populations

In episode 8 of the Intentional Clinician Podcast, Paul Krauss MA LPC (Counselor in Grand Rapids, MI) talks with Dr. Noe Vargas about using counseling to treat trauma in the refugee and immigrant populations. Dr. Noe Vargas discusses his experiences working with the victims of complex trauma, including children who have been victims of sex trafficking, and others who are refugees from terrible situations in other countries, or immigrants who are also seeking a better life in the United States. Dr. Noe Vargas and I discuss his experience helping people who have complex trauma and/or post traumatic stress disorder. Dr. Vargas has learned advanced techniques to treat PTSD and trauma. Dr. Vargas and Paul Krauss MA LPC also discussed EMDR therapy and how it has helped people around the world recover from physical and psychological effects of trauma. We also discuss the motivations for helping people who are victims of complex trauma in terms of personal life mission and humanistic ideals.

If you like the intentional clinician podcast, you can subscribe on itunes or through podbean.

Noé Vargas has a Doctorate in Behavioral Health from Arizona State University and is the assistant dean for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Grand Canyon University. Dr. Vargas holds an Arizona independent license as a Professional Counselor. He has been certified by the Green Cross as a Field Traumatologist, is a National Certified Counselor, holds the Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) certification, and has met the Arizona board educational requirements to be a clinical supervisor. Dr. Vargas specializes in the areas of psychological trauma and substance abuse, and he has been trained to work side by side with medical doctors integrating behavioral health and medical care. Dr. Vargas has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses at different universities and community colleges and routinely makes professional presentations on topics such as understanding childhood trauma, cultural diversity, effective parenting communication, integrated health, and other behavioral health related topics in different settings.

Paul Krauss MA LPC was first trained to practice EMDR counseling in 2009. Since then he has finished EMDR level 2 and has done over 40 hours of EMDRIA approved advanced training on EMDR, treating complex trauma, and helping those suffering from dissociative disorders. Paul practices counseling 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. Check out his clinic which features himself and several fantastic clinicians You can reach Paul at 616-365-5530 (direct), or at the office 616-200-4433. Here is Paul’s email:

Learn more at and and

Stay tuned for more intentional clinician episodes. Feel free to send in show topic requests. Thank you for listening. -Paul Krauss MA LPC

Interesting Psychology: The “Doorway Effect”

Interesting Psychology: The “Doorway Effect”

by Adam Nash MA LLPC, Grand Rapids, MI.

Have you ever been in your living room and thought “Man I really want a cookie.” Then you stand up and walk through to the doorway toward your kitchen and think “what did I come in here for…?” Or have you ever been walking out of a class with a hall pass in hand, on your way to talk to the counselor about your schedule and the second you walk through the door you think “why am I in the hall? Why was I leaving class?” Or have you ever been in an office and stood up to bring that coffee mug back to the kitchen and walked out of your office, and suddenly had no idea what you were doing–only to walk back to your office and set the mug back down.

If any of these aforementioned examples ring true to you, rest assured, you are not alone. In the field of Psychology, this phenomenon is known as the “doorway effect” and it was proven in a study by a team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame (1). In the study, the participants first were asked to sit in front of a computer screen where they would pick up something (on the screen) then use the arrow keys on the computer to walk to a new destination; while walking the object that they had just picked up was not visible to them. It was determined that the participants who walked through imaginary doors had a much more difficult time remembering what they had picked up then those who walked to the new destination without going through any doors. Yet this study was completed utilizing only participants on computers.

The researchers at Notre Dame decided to see if this effect had any real-world efficacy in a real-world situation. In the second study, the participants were handed objects in real-time that they then placed into shoe boxes before walking to several new destinations. Sometimes they were asked to walk through a door way and sometimes they were asked to simply walk across a room. When they got to their destination they were quizzed on what they had in the box, the participants who walked through doorways had worse memory than those who walked the same distance, but did not walk through any doorways. Finally, the researchers tested another situation: if walking through a doorway and then back into the same surroundings that the participant began had affected their memory, while other participants were asked to walk the same distance in the same surroundings while making sure not to go through any doorways. Once again, the participants who walked through the doorways showed a memory loss greater than those who did not work through any doorways. The study concluded that people are more likely to forget when walking through doorways because the mind can only hold so many memories and, apparently, the part of the brain that deals with memory spontaneously decides that walking through a doorway is a good time to empty out some memories. Because a person’s brain can only hold so many memories it leaves behind the ones it decides are less important. And this is all happening at a subconscious level–which means that most people will not be aware of it, until they realize that they “forgot something.”

The next time you work through a doorway and forget why you entered that room, know that you are not the only one–it happens to everyone from time to time.  And the next time you are studying for a test and can’t remember the answer that you knew just a few minutes ago out in the hallway, don’t forget about the “doorway effect”. Every time you forget something while walking through a doorway, remember that forgetting is something that happens to everyone and that your brain is simply doing what it is programmed to do.

You can read the original study here:

For a complimentary 15 consultation for counseling with Adam Nash, MA LLPC

call 616-200-4433 or directly 616-676-7081

or email him at 

adam nash helping teens with anger, depression, and anxiety

Come On, Get Happy! (with hypnosis)

Come On, Get Happy!(with hypnosis)

by Stacey Jekel PreFontaine CMS-CHt, FIBH

Imagine for a moment, going through life as your happiest, most contented self. Imagine that even when you experience struggles, disappointment, or loss, there is a firm resilience inside of you that keeps you on course and returns you to a state of well-being. Hypnosis has been shown to be an effective modality for increasing every day happiness. Through hypnosis, positive inner states like peace, contentment, and self-confidence are discovered or reinforced, creating a more balanced, happier life experience.

Even with past trauma, even with current struggles, you can reduce or eliminate the negative thought cycles that steal your everyday happiness. With just a few minutes of self-hypnosis each day you can shift your mind’s focus to recognizing and appreciating the everyday things, little things that are good in your life. Once this pattern of positive recognition is set, your brain begins to automatically search for, find, and experience more happiness. Happy moments become happy days which become a happy life!

During your hypnotherapy session, you will learn the simplest self-hypnosis tools that allow you to naturally grow more joy, and gratitude within you, creating lasting positive change. Learn these skills in private sessions or put a small group of people together and learn with friends. Special group rates will apply with a minimum of 3 people.

Contact Stacey PreFontaine at Health for Life GR for more information.

Learn more about Stacey here.

You can call her directly here: 616.828.2153

Email here:

or call our main line: 616.200.4433 at Health for Life GR


Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

If you are looking for mindfulness based cognitive therapy in Grand Rapids, MI– Paul Krauss MA LPC can help.

Give Paul a call at 616-365-5530 for a complimentary 15 minute consultation or email

While “mindfulness” is all the rage these days, without help from a clinically informed practitioner, it may not have the therapeutic effect intended. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy have been both clinically proven to help reduce both depression and anxiety in people.

What is MBCT and how was it developed?

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a rather recent development in the treatment of mental illness, originally designed to reduce relapse in individuals with persistent major depression (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004). In its intended form, MBCT is a group skills-training program taught in intervals specified by a manual, preferably by a therapist who has had their own extensive practice with MBCT and/or mindfulness in general (Helen & Teasdale, 2004; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). MBCT was specifically intended to address an individual’s vulnerability between major depression episodes, though it has recently been utilized to treat anxiety and bipolar disorder (Williams, Russell, & Russell, 2008; Orsillo, Roemer, Lerner, & Tull, 2004).

As a psychoeducational skills-training group (part group therapy, part mindfulness practice, and part teaching/coaching), MBCT is designed for patients in remission from the acute symptoms of major depression (Helen & Teasdale, 2004). The groups teach patients to increase their awareness of their thoughts, feeling and bodily sensations, while also relating to them differently. The most popular example of patients’ change of perspective in relation to their thoughts and feelings, in the literature, is for patients to treat them as “passing events in the mind” rather than identifying them or treating them as the absolute reality of their life situation (Williams, Russell, and Russell, 2008; Helen & Teasdale, 2004; Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale 2002).

Zindel V. Segal, John D. Teasdale, and J. Mark G. Williams (2002) originally had set out to develop some sort of cognitive therapy maintenance treatment for people who had experienced a major depressive episode and were in remission. After Dr. Marsha Linehan introduced her use of “mindfulness” to the trio, as part of her successful treatment called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, they began to investigate the technique. Segal, Teasdale, and Williams then traveled to the University of Massachusetts, where Dr. John Kabat-Zinn had been treating patients, suffering from chronic illnesses, with a program called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) since the 1970s (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). The methods of mindfulness, as developed by Kabat-Zinn, urges a patient to “decenter” or observe thoughts and feelings from a wider perspective as a method to steer away from “automatic” mental reactions to stress (reactions, that often inhibit logical and effective problem-solving) (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness techniques themselves were originally derived from Buddhism’s mindfulness meditation (Carey, 2008). Following Segal, Teasdale, and Williams study of and participation in Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR, the trio began to develop MBCT by bringing a cognitive therapy background to a mindfulness structure. And after the results of a randomized clinical test demonstrated that formerly depressed patients who went through a beta version of MBCT were significantly less likely to relapse into major depression again during the year that followed the program, Segal, Teasdale, and Williams secured the funding to make MBCT into a fully-fledged treatment program (a treatment program, which is now soaring in popularity) (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002).

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy: The Basics

As stated earlier, MBCT is essentially structured as skills-training group. Yet, the program is generally referred to as a class instead of a group, because the founders believe this is a better description of the learning environment. To begin, once a patient has met with the instructor individually for a preparation session, the patient then joins up to eleven other members for 8 weekly 2-hour sessions led by the instructor. Between sessions, members are given daily homework assignments, which generally consist of guided or unguided awareness and mindfulness exercises (Helen & Teasdale, 2004).

During the MBCT program, patients are taught to identify their own ruminative thinking and to free themselves from a “mode of mind” where negative thinking is dominant and instead to utilize mindfulness to achieve a state of “acceptance” and “being” (Coelho, Canter, & Ernst, 2007). Patients are taught to “decenter” themselves from negative thoughts or feelings, but not to avoid them, rather to observe these thoughts from a more objective distance. Of course, before the patients learn specific techniques, they must begin to understand and practice the core skill of MBCT: Mindfulness (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). Interestingly enough, an instructor usually leads patients through the practice of guided awareness (or mindfulness) before explaining the technique at length, so patients have a nonbiased experience they can both reflect and build upon.

Mindfulness is defined as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgementally” (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2002, p 77). When a person is practicing mindfulness they have means to identify when a switch in their thinking is needed (for example, negative thoughts about themselves arise), and also the tools to just be in the moment and not let depressing thoughts take over: acknowledge the thought as a thought and let it go (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). Yet, MBCT is not in the practice of replacing or restructuring thoughts about the self (to become positive or happy) like many other traditional forms of cognitive and psychotherapy; instead, MBCT aims to provide the patient with freedom from ruminative thinking patterns and mental anguish. For as Segal, Teasdale, Williams noted, attempting to alter, fight, displace, or avoid negative thoughts often causes more mental turmoil and can lead to a relapse of depression. And when they achieve freedom through MBCT, the patient can more easily achieve their goals, such as becoming happier (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002).

The Program

The actual 8-week program that is MBCT is highly structured, and consists of a combination of teaching skills, brief group therapy, mindfulness exercises, group discussion and reflection, and assigning homework. Patients are given both homework and handouts to educate them further regarding the mindfulness skills they are learning during the sessions as well as their purposes. Because of the nature of the exercises, many of which come with suggested scripts, and the concepts being so heavily based on “being in the moment” rather than topics to be debated or discussed, the developers recommend that the instructor be a therapist who has been through a MBCT program or has an active and regular mindfulness practice or their own (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002).

Throughout the program MBCT teaches participants many exercises through which they can begin to practice mindfulness and eventually apply it to their personal lives. Starting with an awareness exercised dubbed “the raisin exercise” participants learn to bring their mind to the present moment and examine in detail the raisin by sight, touch, smell, taste, and how it feels inside the body (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). Shortly after this exercise, participants learn the body-scan meditation. The instructor leads this exercise with the participants lying comfortably on the floor. The instructor speaks to the participants and instructs them to bring awareness to the different physical sensations of all parts and sections of the body, one by one. Moving from section to section slowly with an in-breath ushering in consciousness and focus on a section or part and the out breath moving the participant onward. The body scan meditation is a mindfulness exercise and part of the overall mindfulness program, which works by bringing participants awareness to different parts of the body (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002).

One of the other main practices of the MBCT program is mindfulness meditation, where participants sit in a comfortable position and focus on their breathing. When thoughts other than breathing-in and breathing-out come, one should acknowledge them and let them go. The goal is to sit for about 15 minutes and attain a more mindful perspective to bring back to daily activities. Other exercises and practices of MBCT include a 3-minute breathing space, some cognitive exercises (using mindfulness to reframe and “decenter” thoughts and utilize deliberate thinking), homework, and some light yoga where participants focus their awareness on subtle movements. Eventually participants will use mindfulness to be more deliberate and aware during everyday activities. Participants will also learn to identify negative thoughts, symptoms, and relapse signs– and cope with them (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002).

Just as the act of mindfulness meditation is related to Buddhist meditation, but has a different non-religious and clinical focus, the body scan meditation shares traits of progressive muscle relaxation. The body scan meditation is about the awareness of feelings and sensations in different parts and sections of the body, while progressive muscle relaxation is focused on physical relaxation. In progressive muscle relaxation, one tenses or flexes a different part or muscle of the body for 8 seconds on the inhaled breath and then exhales and releases the hold for 15 seconds, before moving on to the next part or muscle. While body scan meditation and progressive muscle relaxation follow similar sequences of focus on body parts, breathing, and both take place on the floor, progressive muscle relaxation emphasizes the physical relaxation of each muscle throughout the exercise and not the mindful awareness (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002; Richmond, 2008)

As a program, MBCT is extremely comprehensive in scope and should offer a patient, who actually devotes themselves to the homework and practice, a great opportunity to learn and really change some fundamental ways in which they interact with their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. Most of all, MBCT provides an alternative or supplement to traditional therapy and pharmaceutical treatments, which could help prevent a patient from relapsing.

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Depression

To understand more specifically how MBCT works and why several studies have deemed the psychoeducational therapeutic program an efficacious treatment, it is important to take a closer look at the workings of chronic major depression, the condition for which it was developed in the first place. While there has been success in treating major depressive disorder through therapy, pharmaceuticals, and electroconvulsive treatments, many of those treatments were focused on the acute symptoms and not the long-term reoccurring episodes. Until the early 1980s there were not many studies conducted on the rate of relapse for individuals suffering from major depression (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2002). Since the initial studies suggested an enormous need for a maintenance therapy or other means to prevent relapse, other studies have emerged: “at least 50% of patients who recover from an initial episode of depression will have at least one subsequent depressive episode, and those patients with a history of two or more past episodes will have a 70-80% likelihood of recurrence in their lives” (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2002, p 14).

According to the vulnerability model of depression studies, relapse and recurrence are more likely to occur after the initial depressive episode because “negative, self-critical, and hopeless thinking, during episode of major depression, lead[s] to changes at both cognitive and neuronal levels” (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004, p 48). So individuals who have recovered from one or several major depressive episodes are essentially changed from their experience with the disorder. As a result, low-lying dysphoric thoughts are likely to lead recovered individuals to worse states of mind (in both content and process) and eventually to another episode of major depression (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004; Williams, Russell, & Russell, 2008). These dysphoric thoughts are not necessarily the catalyst for sending a recovered individual to relapse, but they are just part of a larger picture, which involves how individuals deal with such thoughts.

Since mindfulness can be considered an “alternative cognitive mode” in which an individual learns to process thoughts and feelings differently than they have learned in the past, MBCT techniques have proven vital to preventing relapse in formerly depressed individuals by enabling them to identify dysphoric feelings/thoughts early-on and respond in a manner that effectively “nips [negative thinking patterns] in the bud” (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004). MBCT techniques differ from traditional cognitive therapy in many ways, but one major way is that in general cognitive therapy emphasizes therapeutic problem solving and fixing of issues through identifying, talking about, and processing negative thoughts or feelings, while MBCT empowers individuals to actually turn toward the negative feeling or thought and relate to that experience in the moment (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002).

There is mounting empirical evidence that MBCT is more effective in preventing an individual from relapsing into a depressive episode than treatment as usual. In two 2003 studies, MBCT was shown to halve recurrence rates of depression over treatment as usual (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004). More specifically, it was demonstrated that patients who had experienced three or more episodes of depression benefited the most, while patients with two or fewer episodes of depression in the MBCT did not differ from those receiving treatment as usual (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004). There are several theories that seem to account for this difference in the statistical effectiveness of MBCT in preventing recovered individuals from depressive relapse: First, automatic and habitual patterns of negative thinking become more intense and are more easily reactivated in an individual who has had more past depressive episodes (usually those with three or more episodes). Second, individuals who have two or less episodes of major depression, in general, come from a slightly different population (they were more likely to have later onset of depression, and the depression was more likely to be caused by negative life events) than those with three or more episodes, who may have developed more fixed maladaptive thinking traits (Coehlo, Canter, & Ernst, 2007).

MBCT has also been shown to reduce “overgeneral autobiographical memory”, which is a pattern of thought common in some depressive patients. Being a rather new method of treatment, MBCT will still require many years of study, including comparing its use versus pharmaceutical drugs and so on, before it will be widely accepted as a preferred treatment for depression (Coehlo, Canter, & Ernst, 2007). In general, MBCT is known to reduce study participants relapse into a depressive episode “within 12 months from 70% to 39%, increases the average time to relapse by at least 18 weeks, and decreases the Beck Depression Inventory score after treatment by nearly 5 points” (Williams, Russell, & Russell, 2008, p 529).

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Anxiety

While there has yet to be extensive research published evaluating the effects the MBCT program on individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders, it is important to note that the basic skills and methods of mindfulness appear to work well with combating the underlying symptoms of clinical anxiety (Orsillo, Roemer, Lerner, & Tull, 2004). For instance, individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders often go to great lengths to avoid “objects or situations” that increase their symptoms, causing them superfluous difficulties. MBCT might be an effective treatment for individuals who exhibit the aforementioned behaviors, as it empowers individuals to turn toward their feelings (regarding objects or situations) and observe them from a “decentered” perspective, which could potentially cause symptom reduction (Orsillo, Roemer, Lerner, and Tull, 2004).

Research has show that anxiety disorders are characterized by set patterns of anxious or over generalized response to stimuli by individuals. MBCT may be an effective treatment for such disordered responses as it emphasizes taking a new and more nuanced perspective of stimuli for a more adaptable and, hopefully, asymptomatic response (Orsillo, Roemer, Lerner, & Tull, 2004). In fact, MBCT shares many similarities with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which has been utilized to successfully treat anxiety. ACT as well as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), used to treat individuals with a high risk of self-harm, both share traits with MBCT, as they primarily utilize “non-language based strategies” that seek to assist a patient with viewing and comprehending their problems in a fundamentally different way which allows the patient to cope with symptoms in a new and, hopefully, advantageous manner (Orsillo, Roemer, Lerner, & Tull, 2004).


While labeled “probably efficacious” by the American Psychological Association, MBCT has received high praise from both therapists and patients (Helen & Teasdale, 2004). For instance, one reviewer suggested that “mindfulness may promote exposure to previously avoided internal experiences, lead to cognitive change or a change in attitude about one’s thoughts, increase self-observation and management, produce a state of relaxation, or increase acceptance” (Orsillo, Roemer, Lerner, & Tull, 2004, p 77). Another benefit of MBCT is that the program can provide a needed alternative or supplement to both therapy and pharmaceutical treatment for a patient. And unlike some traditional talk-therapies, MBCT’s class-like program empowers patients by teaching them skills and methods of dealing with thoughts and feelings that they can practice on their own without relying on treatment providers. In fact, because of its group format (using one instructor) and limited number of sessions, MBCT is rather cost effective and may be an excellent alternative treatment for economically disadvantaged individuals, who may not have comprehensive insurance or cannot afford traditional therapy or even medications (Coehlo, Canter, & Ernst, 2007). Another aspect of diversity other than the economic class system, is that MBCT is known to be associated with Buddhist meditation, which for a person of any culture (religious or not) could be cause for some skepticism; however with proper promotion and culturally-sensitive education, hesitant individuals from any culture will hopefully come to understand that MBCT is a non-sectarian, non-religious psychological treatment developed exclusively for dealing with mental disorders.

MBCT is a relatively new treatment, developed specifically for treating patients who are in recovery from depression, yet its usefulness is still in the beginning stages of being empirically documented. Part of a so-called “third-phase” of treatments which, along with ACT and DBT, build upon the traditional understandings and structures of behavioral and cognitive therapies with new techniques such as “mindfulness, acceptance, relationship, and spirituality” as well as MBSR to advance the field of therapy (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004, p 45). Already, MBCT has proven to significantly reduce relapse in individuals recovering from depression by fifty percent over those who are engaged in treatment as usual (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004). Future studies will inevitably study MBCT as an alternative to pharmaceuticals as well as a treatment for other types of mental illness besides depression, which could lead to even greater acceptance and use of the program in the years to come (Williams, Russell, & Russell, 2008).



Carey, B. (2008, May 27). Lotus therapy. The New York Times.

Coelho, H. F., Canter, P. H., & Ernst, E. (2007). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy:     Evaluating current evidence and informing future research. Journal of Consulting             Psychology, 75, 1000-1005.

Helen, M. S., & Teasdale, J. D. (2004). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression:        Replication and exploration of differential relapse prevention effects. Journal of             Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 31-40.

Orsillo, S. M., Roemer, L., Lerner, J. B., & Tull, M. T. (2004). Acceptance, mindfulness, and       cognitive-behavioral therapy: Comparisons, contrasts, and application to anxiety. In S. C.           Hayes, V. M. Follette, & M. M. Linehan (Eds.), Mindfulness and acceptance: Expanding             the cognitive-behavioral tradition (pp. 67-91). New York: The Guilford Press.

Richmond, R. L. (2008) A Guide to psychology and its practice: Progressive muscle relaxation.     Retrieved July 7, 2008, from

Segal, Z. V., Teasdale, J. D., & Williams, J. M. G. (2004). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: Theoretical rationale and empirical status. In S. C. Hayes, V. M. Follette, & M. M.        Linehan (Eds.), Mindfulness and acceptance: Expanding the cognitive-behavioral   tradition (pp. 45-65). New York: The Guilford Press.

Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2002). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy    for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. New York: The Guilford Press.

Williams, J. M. G., Russell, I., & Russell, D. (2008). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy:          Futher             issues in current evidence and research. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 76,           524-529.

This article was written by Paul Krauss MA LPC

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:

Wisdom and Philosophy in Recovery from Addiction

The Intentional Clinician Podcast with Paul Krauss MA LPC

In part 2 of my conversation with Bryon Sabatino, we discuss addiction, honesty, motivation, stages of change, counseling, and how mindfulness and philosophy can help in recovery. Bryon and Paul discuss hope for those suffering from addictions and their families. Bryon and Paul discuss Bryon’s book “Inner Work” and the philosophy contained with it. This philosophy informs Bryon and Paul’s counseling practices.

Bryon has been running and intensive outpatient therapy group in Tempe, AZ called “Inner Work Counseling” for years and has helped so many struggling with addictions to substances.  Bryon Sabatino is the owner and founder of Inner Work Counseling in Tempe, AZ. Check out his website here.

Paul Krauss MA LPC practices counseling 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. Check out his clinic which features himself and several fantastic clinicians  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. Here is Paul’s email:

Learn more at

Stay tuned for more intentional clinician episodes. Feel free to send in show topic requests. Thank you for listening. -Paul Krauss MA LPC

Using Mindfulness and Philosophy for Recovery

The Intentional Clinician #6: Mindfulness, Recovery, & Philosophy with Bryon Sabatino Pt. 1. [Episode 6]

Paul Krauss MA LPC interviews Bryon Sabatino LPC LISAC–part one of the conversation discusses addiction, recovery, and utilizing mindfulness and philosophy through counseling.

In part 1 of my conversation with Bryon Sabatino, we discuss Bryon’s intensive outpatient substance abuse group “Inner Work Counseling” located in Tempe, AZ. We discuss how people can recover through utilizing mindfulness skills and philosophical paradigms. Paul and Bryon provide examples and stories related to 

Paul Krauss MA LPC is a counselor located in Grand Rapids, MI. Paul works at Health for Life Grand Rapids, located on 781 Kenmoor Ave SE, Suite C. Grand Rapids, MI 49546. You can learn more about Paul and his fellow clinicians here:  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. Here is Paul’s email:

Paul and the Health for Life Grand Rapids team are working on “Ask a Counselor” events–if your organization wants a speaker for mental health or counseling or any other relevant cultural issue–contact Paul today.

You can learn more about Paul at and

You can download this podcast here or subscribe on itunes.

Thank you for listening to the Intentional Clinician Podcast. I am now offering long distance consulting as well as in person counseling. -Paul Krauss

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