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

You want me to love myself? I don’t even like myself!

You want me to love myself?  I don’t even like myself!

The Benefits of Self Esteem

By Denise DeJonge, LMSW, SSW, a counselor in Grand Rapids, MI

Everyone always says you have to love yourself before others can love you. Loving others seems to come natural. But to love myself? Really? Now that might be a challenge.

Naturally, our level of Self Esteem will fluctuate depending on topic, situation and mood. According to the Mayo Clinic, when you value yourself and have good self-esteem, you feel secure and worthwhile. You have generally positive relationships with others and feel confident about your abilities. You’re also open to learning and feedback, which can help you acquire and master new skills.

With healthy self-esteem you’re:

  • Assertive in expressing your needs and opinions
  • Confident in your ability to make decisions
  • Able to form secure and honest relationships — and less likely to stay in unhealthy ones
  • Realistic in your expectations and less likely to be overcritical of yourself and others
  • More resilient and better able to weather stress and setbacks
  • Less likely to experience feelings such as worthlessness, guilt and shame
  • Less likely to develop eating disorders

    First and Foremost

Stop comparing yourself with others. Many clients will say that while they are looking at other people’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media accounts, they noticed their own sense of self diminish. In an article with, “not only do you have to look good and be interesting, but you have to be good at things and appear successful and you have to also seem to have an interesting life. And there are more and more watchers, and more and more brands and advertisers, in the mix. If you can relate to these ways social media affects our self-worth, it might be time to unplug a little every once in awhile.”

  • Don’t talk bad about yourself
  • Dress Up
  • Find Something to compliment yourself about
  • Think positive
  • Accept your flaws
  • Seek assistance (friends, counselor)

Denise DeJonge, LMSW, SSW is a counselor in Grand Rapids, MI. Denise provides self-esteem 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.

Denise DeJonge, LMSW, SSW Health for Life Grand Rapids

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


Just Ask “The Question” (Prevent Suicide)

Just Ask “The Question” (Prevent Suicide)

 by Denise DeJonge LMSW, SSW

For the year 2015, The American Association of Suicidology listed the total” suicides completed in our nation was 44,193”. Those deaths “affected 147 per person”, totaling to an average of “6.5 million people” affected by the suicide of someone close to them. That is a staggering number when you consider that these numbers are not including those who have attempted.

So many times people who are confronted with a situation where they aren’t sure if a person is suicidal, they hold back from asking one simple but important question “Are you thinking of harming yourself?” The responses I have received over the years of QPR trainings range from “I don’t want to put the idea in their head”, to “I don’t think I could ask that because I don’t know what I will do with the answer”.

According to Paul Quinnett, 2013, QPR Institute, recognizing the early signs are important. “We cannot overemphasize the need for early recognition of suicide warning signs. A well-executed, strong and positive response to the early warning signs of a pending suicide event may render subsequent links in the Chain of Survival unnecessary. Most people thinking about suicide are suffering from an undiagnosed and/or untreated mental illness or substance abuse disorder for which excellent treatments exist. The prompt recognition of the scream of a smoke detector can eliminate the need to suppress a raging fire. In just that way, by recognizing early the warning signs of suicide, opening a supporting dialogue with a suicidal person and securing consultation a professional may prevent the need for an emergency room visit or psychiatric hospitalization.”

How can you help? Consider participating in a short 2 hour training that will walk you through the QPR process, give you a platform to ask questions and an opportunity to develop comfort by having time to practice “Asking the Question” with others.

Denise DeJonge, LMSW, SSW Health for Life Grand RapidsDenise DeJonge is a Certified QPR GateKeeper Trainer and has presented many trainings to people in Human Resources, Security, Education, Clergy and students. For more information on providing training for your workplace or organization contact Denise today at 616-200-4433, or direct at 616-965-1471. You can email Denise at



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.

Help for Teens, Young Adults, and their Parents (pt. 3)

For Parents: 10 ways to help Teens or Young Adults get healthy and begin living their life (Part 3).

This is part 3 of a series of articles working on Help for Teens, Young Adults, and their Parents.

by Paul Krauss MA LPC, Counselor in Grand Rapids, MI (Forest Hills area)

Click here if you missed part 1 or here if you missed part 2.

Paul Krauss have over 10 years of counseling experience helping parents of young adults and parents through this difficult transitions and circumstances. Whatever the circumstances you are going through and whatever the goal, Paul can help.

The following are tips 7, 8, 9, and 10 for the parents of young adults and teens.

  1. Follow Through and Consistency

We’ve all heard the trustworthy saying “Actions speak louder than words.”

(What are some of your experiences with people you knew whose actions spoke an entirely different language than their words?)

With children and young adults, our actions teach and impact them more than our words ever will. Children learn at a young age is their parents is serious about giving them a timeout or if they are just threatening in a frustrated manner. Since children’s brains are growing at an immense rate, they are able to better pick up on behavioral cues than on the meaning of our words. Just the same, young adults will know if you are serious about your boundary or rule regarding giving them money when they ask you for an exception because of X and you say “ok, but this is the last time” (And how many times have we said that?). Whether they are living with you or not, your follow through will mean a great deal more than your words in helping your young adult transition to independence. It can be scary, but as long as your young adult is safe, remember they have to develop problem-solving skills somehow. Don’t make exceptions to let them have their way, just because they are emotionally upset—this is similar to them throwing a fit as a toddler and you giving in.  If you need help with follow through and consistency, find an adult accountability partner—maybe you will utilize your actual partner or another parent you know—set goals together.

Five Ways to show your child love without giving them money or unearned resources (adapted from “The Four Seasons of Recovery” by Mike Speakman LISAC)

  1. Words of Encouragement (“I love you” “I believe in you” “I know you can do it.” People generally hear disapproval twice as loud as approval, so you’ll need to redouble your efforts to show love to your son or daughter.)
  2. Cards or Letters (Written words of encouragement can be invaluable to your Young Adult. Often times, these forms of communication can be overlooked as texting and emailing dominate our culture. If you don’t know where your Young Adult is—you could keep the letter until you see them).
  3. Hugs (Hugs provide physical interaction that is irreplaceable. Hugging isn’t just something that happens between parents and children under the age of 18. It is a worldwide indication of affection, and adults hug all the time.)
  4. Emotional Support (If your Ten or Young Adult calls you crying, or angry, or distraught or talking about something—even if you disagree with the content—as long as they are not verbally abusing you, LISTEN. Just LISTEN. Don’t give any advice. Just LISTEN. Tell them you love them. Offer help—don’t give unsolicited advice or “rescue them.”)
  5. Sharing a Meal (You can share a meal together in your home if there is enough trust left or built, but this is a tricky situation. I work with many parents who feel an obligation to bring their adult child home for a meal when they’ve experienced theft in their home and or other negative interactions, such as violence. In these cases, it’s highly recommended that you meet in a restaurant).

As a parent, how many times a week are you worrying about your teen or young adult? What will become of them? Will they learn to become a conscientious member of society? Will they ever become a functional member of your family? Your own fear can cloud your judgment concerning your young adult and cause you to make choices that, in retrospect, seem ridiculous. For example, I heard of a situation where a Father was so fixated on his son having “good credit” (so that his son could take over their business…someday) that he would continually pay off his son’s credit card debt—even though his son was spending recklessly on his OWN credit card account. The credit card was not even attached to his father’s account. The father kept telling his son “stop spending so much money on your credit card….you should only spend in credit against of what you have in your checking account…don’t you want to take over the business? If you do, you need to have good credit….You must learn how to balance your checking and credit card account….” And on and on he would lecture. The Father would lecture and yell at his son each time they spent time together and the son would agree to “try harder.” However, the son knew instinctively that his father would “bail him out” because of the unwritten agreement he and his father had. His father wanted his son to take over the business and carry on the family name. The father was obsessed with having “good credit” because of the family business. The father had access to his son’s account (initially under the guise that he was going to help his son learn to balance his bank account), but soon after, his father began paying off the young adult’s credit cards instead of letting them stay maxed out. The son would either get a new card added or wait until his father paid off his card before going out and spending frivolously. The Father lived away from where the son went to college and—consumed with fear about his son “starving”—he continued to pay off his debts. Eventually his son developed a problem with consuming too much alcohol (much of the credit card charges were from local college bars where the young adult would drink 4-5 nights a week…he would also buy drinks for friends and strangers). His father continued to pay the bills until one day, his son dropped out of school, rented a car, and drove to a large west coast city and began spending and drinking even more than before. It wasn’t until his Father stopped paying the bills and the credit card maxed out that he got a phone call from his son asking for help—at this point the Father had received help and guidance. The Father agreed to help his son only with a greyhound bus ticket home and refused to give him any money until he completed 45 days of inpatient, 90 days of intensive outpatient and sober living, and 80 hours of volunteer work. The son took a few days to “think about it.” But as he soon learned, the friends he had made at the bar weren’t as excited to hang out, feed, and house him as they were when he was paying for all of their bar tabs. He eventually came home and received treatment and the boundaries he needed from his father.


       8. Promoting Pro-Social Activities with Positive Peers.

The research has demonstrated time and time again that their peers heavily influence teens and young adults. Statistically speaking, your teen or young adult is much more influenced by their social group than both parents and professors. One way to use your money and influence on your young adult is to encourage or facilitate them to engage in one (or more) pro-social activity a week with their peer group. Pro-social is defined as a voluntary activity to help others—and while I do believe that that is a good goal—if you can get your young adult to participate in group therapy, hiking club, writing club, music classes, spiritual groups, exercise classes, etc. Any of the preceding types of activities can have a tremendous impact on their happiness and social abilities. We are striving for the opposite of anti-social activities with negative peers.

In this case, you may reward your teen or young adult, at first, for attending—with gift cards (never cash). Remember; don’t give them gift cards worth over $25 dollars. If they are living with you—you can have more leverage—paying for their phone, gas driving, etcetera all contingent upon them participating in activities. You’d be amazed at what happens when you call the phone company and turn off your young adult’s phone for a few days—or just get rid of text and data for a few days. Results come quickly!

Time and time again I see teens and young adults dramatically change their behavior and reduce their consumption of drugs/alcohol when they begin to participate in and make friends with peers that enjoy pro-social activities. It’s not to say that all of their peers don’t recreationally drink or use drugs—but they are more engaged in sober activities and do not make “using” their primary activity. Your teen or young adult doesn’t need to be in five clubs and be obsessed with volunteering and arts and crafts to get a benefit from pro-social activities. Even, being a part of something positive, social, and meaningful once a week can help your young adult begin to alter their behavior and begin to seek healthier friendships. While many young adults will require clinical attention and much larger interventions—encouraging and promoting pro-social activities can be excellent ways of letting your young adult learn that there is a much greater and long-term reward in healthy meaningful relationships and fulfilling activities than in the short-term high and superficial friendships they acquire while using. Countless times, I have worked with teens and young adults to find something—anything—that they liked to do that did not involve using drugs/alcohol. When they finally get involved in a somewhat consistent manner, I almost always see a reduction in their consumption of drugs/alcohol along with attitude and positive behavioral changes.

  1. Be a Good Example of a Community Member.

Since you are likely paying for most of their life, they can spare some time to spend with you.

Sometimes, we need to bring our young adult out of their comfort zone and expose them to new ideas and situations. For instance, you can bring them with you to volunteer to help the less fortunate or to a self-help group. The possibilities are endless. If you did this a few times a year it could still be impactful.

This next example surprises many parents:

…so many times I hear teens or young adults say “I wish my parent(s) would spend more time with me…” And then I reply “Wait…you just got done telling me that you are sick of your parents and that you wish they’d leave you alone.” And the teen or young adult says something like this (although not as concise articulate): “Well, I am sick of them trying to control me, telling me what I must do, and lecturing me—but I do wish that when I came to them to talk to them that they would actually listen, not judge me, and offer encouragement. I wish they would believe in me instead of telling me that I don’t know what I’m doing. I wish we could spend time doing things together…but I don’t think my parents could ever do this…they just worry…judge me…tell me what to do….and scoff at my ideas…”

I have parents tell me “I’ve tried spending time with my kid, but they don’t want to listen to me…” Again, I ask—what are you talking about? Or what are you telling them about? When a relationship is strained or needing to grow—it is important to remember that your presence, time, and caring and encouraging presence is needed more than your wisdom. Trust me, if they have questions, they will ASK YOU. To repair or grow a relationship, spend time where you are interacting for hours and doing something meaningful and/or fun. That is why I suggested volunteering. Some parents say “Well I bring them on vacation with us every year…” I would ask you how much time you spend face to face with each other (without electronics and movies on). If you don’t know what I am talking about, I would suggest getting 4-6 sessions of counseling to work on being more present with your child. Less worried, less judgmental, and less controlling—more in the moment and accepting and celebrating the time you have together.

  1. Set Concrete and Achievable Goals.

Now it is time to take action. Write down small goals weekly or biweekly, that are brief, specific, and doable regarding which tips are you are going to try and when. To find a specific way to apply the aforementioned tips to the problem you are facing, try the following problem solving skills:

First, define the problem. Second, Brainstorm ALL possible solutions with a professional or someone you trust. Third, Eliminate all possible solutions are you are not willing to try. Fourth, select a solution that you would like to use. Next, frame your goal for the week: First, Write down a goal based on the possible solution you found to the problem. Second, write down all the steps you can think of that will help you achieve this goal. Third, write down all potential barriers that may get in your way. Fourth, write down ways to navigate around or through potential barriers.

Remember, it is difficult to do this alone.

You are not alone, but you may need to reach out for help.

We all need resources and connection with others.

Get connected:

  • Find a Licensed Professional Counselor with teen, young adult, and family experience.

If you are in Grand Rapids, MI or anywhere in the state of Michigan, Paul Krauss MA LPC can help you. If you want help for your teenager, Adam Nash MA LLPC can help.

  • Meet with other parents facing similar phases and stage of life.
  • Try out or join a local support group for parents.
  • Read Books or check out blogs on this subject.
  • Seek wise-counsel.
  • Get into counseling yourself–just 4-6 session can help immensely.
  • See what local community organizations and treatment centers offer.

Remember! If your teen or young adult has a serious mental health and/or substance abuse issues: Consider hospitalization, detox, professional assessment, inpatient treatment programs, intensive outpatient treatment programs, sober living, behavioral adjustment program, and finally outpatient therapy.

This 3 part series was inspired by the Teens, Young Adults and Parents that I have met in my counseling practice, empirical research, and the belief that all families can find a way to experience healing. – Paul Krauss MA LPC

Do you or someone you know need professional consultation for their family situation? Paul Krauss can help. Call 616-200-4433 today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

At Health for Life Grand RapidsAdam Nash MA LLPC Specializes in working with Teens and Young Adults. Together Paul and Adam are a team that can help your family.

Paul Krauss MA LPC specializes in working with the parents of Teens and Young Adults as well as Young Adults.


Mike Speakman’s Book

Consistency: An Essential Ingredient

The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think by Johann Hari

Research Matters / Promoting Adolescents’ Prosocial Behavior by Yael Kidron and Steve Fleischman’-Prosocial-Behavior.aspx

Prosocial Involvement as a Positive Youth Development Construct: A Conceptual Review by Ching Man Lam

How Volunteering Affects the Volunteer by Douglas LaBier

Here is a webpage recommending many other quality books related to this subject books that may help you:

Additional Books


Help for Young Adults, Teens, and their Parents (pt. 2)

10 ways to help Teens or Young Adults get healthy and begin living their life (Part 2).

This is part 2 of 3 of a series of articles working on Help for Teens, Young Adults, and their Parents.

If you missed part 1- check it out here.

by Paul Krauss MA LPC, Counselor in Grand Rapids, MI (Forest Hills area)

Paul Krauss is an expert at helping parents of young adults and parents through this difficult transitions and circumstances. The goal is to establish safety, restore the relationship, and grow into the future. These are tips 4, 5, and 6 for the parents of young adults and teens.

  1. Communication: Honest, open, and healthy communication is essential

Since tip number 3, you may have decided to put in effort to healing the relationship and spending intentional time together, it’s time to change the way we communicate. The goal: Be honest and open with your  Teen or Young Adult about your life, the hard times, the good times, your failures, and successes. Don’t preach at them. Remember how Charlie Brown’s parents sounded?

There are many tried-and-true techniques that will help foster healthy communication patterns between you and your teen or young adult. These include, but are not limited to: Selecting the appropriate venue to talk (not when the teen or young adult is too tired/hungry/ during a fight etcetera—to get your young adult to talk you may have to engage with them in an activity: While painting pottery, playing basketball, driving in the car. Remember; don’t focus on asking too many questions. In fact, you will have better communication results when you do not grill your young adult for information). Try to engage by spending time with them first and bite your tongue while waiting for them to open up. This may take several different attempts before they are ready to trust that you aren’t just trying to corner them and advise them. A technique that is helpful is to Invite/listen/summarize. One of the largest aspects of healthy communication is listening without judgment and sparing them the lecture—remember, they most likely already know the “right thing” to do—they just are not doing it for whatever reason(s). One of the largest aspects of helping to open up the communication between your teen or young adult is withholding unsolicited advice. Another aspect of open and honest communication is becoming appropriately vulnerable with your teen or young adult—sharing your feelings with authenticity (not spitting out patronizing statements). Tell your child you love them and are proud of them. Tell them a story about your life and stop telling them what to do with theirs!

  • Plan ahead and select the appropriate time and venue for time together…
  • Listening without judgment…
  • Withholding unsolicited advice…
  • Stop digging for information by asking multiple questions…
  • Engaging them in fun activities (family or social)…
  • Making dinner together or have a meal together…
  • Developmentally Appropriate disclosures or stories from your life…
  • Don’t bother them the minute they get home, greet and let them be…
  • 10 authentic positive affirmations of your child per day about them as person not their accomplishments…
  • Invite listen summarize…
  • Don’t problem solve for them…
  • Learn your child’s love language (quality time, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch)…
  • Tell and show your child you love them multiple times, even if you don’t like their behavior…
  • Practice genuine curiosity in what they are interested in…
  • Don’t tell them what to do unless it is related to a chore or boundary or safety issue…
  • Acknowledge your shortcomings…
  • Mirror their body posture subtly…

Sometimes, one or both of the parents feel so resentful that they tell me that this is a “last ditch” effort to help their teen or young adult to “get the message” and maybe “get it” for once and change their behaviors. When I talk to the parents of young adults I often hear them say that they have “given up” and that they are unwilling to work in family therapy or try any of my suggestions to spend time with their young adult and work on communication and trying to have positive language toward the young adult—because “If _____ (my teen or young adult) isn’t willing to work, than I’m not either.” The problem with this is that the parents is forgetting that their child is not developmentally (brain development) or emotionally mature yet and that most young adults are seeking a relationship and role model underneath their angst and behaviors. We’ve all seen them idolize musicians, sports players, and others—so why not work on the relationship and help their self-esteem as much as possible? It takes time—we cannot expect results overnight—it can take 6 months or longer for the young adult to notice that we have changed our behavior and language toward them. If we are use words of affirmation to help our young adult seek time with us (instead of avoiding us), break the patterns of hostility and lectures, and work to heal the past—we can forge a new beginning. If we choose to be bitter, resentful, and continually bring up and dwell in the past—then our teen or young adult will stay there too.

  1. Accountability & Realistic Rules:

One of the most difficult parts of the process of helping your young adult mature and changing your relationship to them is holding them accountable and creating firm, yet realistic rules.

It is essential that you be impeccable with your word. Don’t hold your young adult to standards that you don’t hold yourself to. Don’t do things for your young adult—allow them to make mistakes and learn from them.

What to do: Collaboratively create an action plan for implementing responsibilities for the Teen or Young Adult and family including a rewards and consequence system (usually monetary, but also regarding privileges like phone subscription and usage of family vehicles). For instance, instead of giving them an allowance—pay them a set amount of money/gift card per chore around the house (and only when that chore is completed). Giving them actual money for their labor, which they then pay back to you for gas or phone usage is a great example of how the world outside of your household functions. Create boundaries for resource usage (e.g. The teen or young adult must earn money for gas and learn to take care of the family vehicle to be able to use it or they must pay for any “over usage fees” on their phone and eventually begin paying part of their phone bill). Give them your time and attention!

What to stop: Since the world will never provide your young adult with an inexhaustible supply of money, why are we all giving our young adults a seemingly endless supply of money? Stop handing them unlimited resources ($, electronics, phone, car), make them do something consistently to earn money/gift cards or resources. Instead of giving them money, give them shared responsibility, concrete and social resources and guidance that may help them on their journey.

You must hold yourself and your young accountable for any agreement of this sort. Remember, your young adult doesn’t have to agree to your new policies. But if you actually follow through with your rules and hold them accountable by actually turning off their phone, withholding money or gift cards until weekly chores are done, or not paying for gas and cause them some temporary discomfort, they will usually get the idea that they will have to change. Money is often an unspoken part of why accountability and boundaries aren’t coming easily in your family. Empower your Young Adult to become active in their life instead of enabling them to continue their current behaviors by handing them money.

Working to empower (instead of enable) your Teen or Young Adult is a difficult process. It is not simple. Often times, I advise parent(s) to have an accountability partner(s) to run each and every decision by regarding money and privileges related to their young adult. For example, many parents are deathly afraid of their young adult not having a cell phone “in case of emergency.” I once hear of a situation where the parent replaced their young adult’s smartphone twice (they would lose it while drinking or destroy it out of anger when their were angry) until they finally decided to change their tactics. They were not ready to set down extreme boundaries, so they compromised—they bought their young adult the cheapest “flip phone” they could find and restricted data and texting. The Young Adult could only use the phone to make phone calls. The parents didn’t live in fear because they knew that their young adult had a way to call them or the police if they were in trouble, but the parents had also stopped enabling their young adult. The parents stated that if their young adult broke any more phones or did any damage that they would charge them for it and they refused to pay for a “better” phone. The young adult realized that while their parent wanted them to be safe and have a way to make calls, they were not going to continue to enable their poor choices. The parents informed the young adult that if they wanted a “smart phone” they could purchase it themselves and that they would also owe monthly for any text or data plan added to the family plan. The parents were stunned when their young adult decided to get a part-time job to pay for their own “smart phone.” Many families I have worked with have stopped giving their teen or young adult cash and have had them do volunteer work to earn their basic “privileges.” It is amazing what happens when you don’t give in to your young adults complaining or anger about their privileges being taken from them

  1. Setting Healthy and Realistic Boundaries

Healthy and realistic boundaries can only be established once you have defined your role.

How often have experienced yourself or other parents who seem so much more concerned about the consequences of their young adult’s behavior than the young adult themselves? If the young adult chooses not to pay their cell phone bill, be late on rent, get arrested and spend a night in jail, fail classes, and generally get in trouble—then they will have natural consequences. (How many of you have learned what to do and what not to do from natural consequences of mistakes you made?) If the parent continues to shield or save their teen or young adult from natural consequences time and time again—then the teen or young adult will find it very difficult to learn from their poor choices. In fact, most young adults who are without consequences will have little motivation to change and may actually make more dangerous and worse choices in the future.

Letting your teen or young adult face the natural consequences of their behavior may be one of the most difficult concepts in this entire article.

Countless families I have known have swooped in to “save” their teen young adult from being arrested for a DUI or an another related offense. The parents were terrified at the idea of having their son/daughter spend a few days in jail and have pay the fines and suffer the consequences of their negligent behaviors. I can understand getting involved to help reduce a penalty from a felony to a misdemeanor—but often times the parents are so ruled by fear that the young adult hardly suffers and inconvenience while the parents pick up the expensive legal bill and pay all fines associated with their offense. of these cases the parent was sending a message to the young adult: “You are the exception to the rule.” In each of the situations I have personally witnessed, the young adults offended again and were arrested or stopped by the police a second time. Having your teen or young adult spend a few days or a few months in jail might seem like “the end of the world.” Remember, that the county jail is not federal prison! Without natural consequences, your young adult is much less likely to learn a lesson from their poor choices. With regards to a DUI, your teen or young adult is lucky to have been arrested—what if they had drunkenly driven into a group of children playing the in street? The outcome would be much different. To be completely honest, spending a few days in a jail, paying their fines, and having to complete community service might be a lesson that changes the life or your young adult. We do not want the young adult learning that they are “the exception” to the rule. Even if you yell at your teen or young adult or ground them or get them to “promise” not to do this again—if your actions bail them out you are teaching them that their behavior is acceptable. Actions speak louder than words. The more you choose to shield them from natural consequences, the longer it will be before they learn how to behave without endangering themselves or others.

Do you or someone you know need professional help working with their Teen or Young Adult? Paul Krauss can help. Call 616-200-4433 today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

At Health for Life Grand Rapids, Adam Nash MA LLPC Specializes in working with Teens and Young Adults. Together Paul and Adam are a team that can help your family.

Paul Krauss MA LPC specializes in working with the parents of Teens and Young Adults as well as Young Adults.

Miss part 1 of this series? Click here. Stay Tuned for part 3, available here.

Related Articles:

Conversations That Teach Resilience: Young Adults by Healthy Families, British Columbia

The 6 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Your Adult Child. Hint: ‘How can you live like this?’ isn’t a good conversation starter by Linda Bernstein

    Adult Children Living At Home? 5 Ways To Create A Less Stressful Existence With Your Boomerang Kids

    Rules, Boundaries and Older Children Part I by James Lehman, MSW

    Ground Rules for Living with an Adult Child (plus Free Living Agreement) by Megan Devine, LCPC

    Creating Boundaries With Dependent Adult Children. Stop enabling your overly dependent adult child. by Jeffrey Bernstein Ph.D.

    How to Set Boundaries with Adult Children

    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.

    What do I do about my Anger? (3 tips from Paul Krauss)

    Paul Krauss MA LPC is a professional counselor in Grand Rapids who has a great deal of experience helping men, women, and teens overcome anger outbursts, irritability, and resentments.

    There are many good reasons to be angry and so Paul Krauss will not tell you to stop being angry. Anger is a human emotion and it is a valid one. Paul will help you figure out how to utilize the energy from your anger toward something that benefits you instead of being destructive toward yourself or others.

    “Anyone can become angry; that is easy. But, to be angry, with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and the right way, this is not easy.”- Aristotle.

    Here are 3 tips for dealing with Anger:

    1. Figure out why you are feeling angry.

    There are many sources of anger, but three of the most common are:

    A. Recent Frustrating Event(s): “It’s the straw that broke that camel’s back…” Often times, it can be the ‘little things’ such as being stuck in traffic when you’re in a hurry, extra assignments at work when you are already feeling overwhelmed, something breaking in your kitchen that needs replacing. Whatever the source, if we are frustrated often and don’t deal with it– anger can be stored inside of us and this can lead to an anger outburst, or the feeling of being irritated or stressed constantly.

    B. Hurtful On-Going Situation(s): These are often situations that cannot be resolved immediately, such as an ongoing conflict in the workplace (a boss expecting more hours than you can reasonably give, or a coworker causing there to be more work for you), difficulties with a spouse or significant other that cannot be resolved easily–such as bickering or arguments about money, sex, or what to do with children, friends, or relatives. Whatever the source, ongoing situations can lead to chronic feelings of irritability and anger–and can lead to anger outbursts, sadness, and even depression.

    C. Past Unresolved Situation(s) of Hurt: There are many valid reasons to be angry about things that happened in the past. For instance, someone abused you, someone cheated on you, someone cheated you out of money, someone left you out of a friend group, someone said mean and hurtful things about you, etc. (this can be a long list). Past situations can lead to a feeling of resentment, which is stored in the body and contributes to long-term negative feelings. It is even more difficult to resolve resentments, because, often times, the short-term coping skills of releasing your anger or confronting a difficult situation are impossible–because your anger comes from a past situation. There are many advanced therapy techniques that Paul Krauss can utilize with you to help you feel resolved inside, even if you cannot resolve a past situation with the source of your pain. One of these techniques is called EMDR therapy and Paul Krauss has advanced training in EMDR.

    2. Learn Strategies to deal with Anger.

    There are many different strategies that you can learn to deal with anger–whether it is coming from recent frustrations, on-going situations, and past unresolved situations of hurt. In fact, there are so many that it would take about 15 pages to list and explain them all–Paul Krauss MA LPC has advanced training in these and will help you figure out which is the right one for you. Here is a short list:

    A. Releasing the Anger from current frustrations: There are many skills that can help you learn to release your anger (and not store it!) resulting from current frustrations. One of many is removing yourself from the current situation (walking away, driving away, or taking a long walk) so that your nervous system has time to calm down and you can think clearly, instead of acting on your anger or escalating the situation. Another one is learning how to “breath counting” which is a technique that Paul Krauss can teach you–in this technique you work on breathing in on the “1” and out on the “2” and focusing all of your attention on your body naturally breathing–while attempting to focus less on thoughts of the current situation.

    B. Learning Assertiveness Skills to deal with ongoing situations: Often times, ongoing situations cannot be fixed overnight, but if you learn assertiveness skills, you may be able to construct a boundary over time that will lead to your ability to be insulated or become less angry about the situation that you cannot change. Furthermore, learning assertiveness skills can help you move from feeling like a victim to feeling self-assured and confident.

    C. Directly addressing your past hurt and resentments through journaling or counseling: How many times has a “bad memory” replayed in your mind and all of a sudden you felt a physical sickness or deep anger in your body? Many times resentments feel as if they are stored in your body and we feel that we are “back there.” If this is happening to you, there are advanced counseling techniques that can help reduce and even take away these bad feelings and “bad memory” replays–but it is very difficult to do it on your own. One strategy that has helped many people is actually to write down on paper exactly what happened and how you feel about it now and how you felt about it then. Then stop writing and go do something fun. Over time, this form of “journaling” (though you can shred everything you write–you don’t have to keep it) can help you gain a feeling of distance from the unresolved past situation. If you do not feel better after 2-4 writing sessions, it may be time to see a professional counselor.

    “Constructive action is the antidote to violence.” – Gandhi

    3. Get rid of our bad habits associated with Anger.

    We all have bad habits–these are often “knee-jerk reactions” where we seem to “automatically” do or say something that we didn’t want to do or didn’t mean to say. The counseling process can help you learn to “reprogram” your automatic reactions and bad habits in a way that will ultimately help you feel more in control.

    Here are 3 bad habits often associated with anger to look out for. With time all of these habits can change.

    A. Suppression: This method seeks to deal with anger by hiding it and not dealing with it at all.  Often times, we learn this bad habit in childhood. Some people hold their anger in, swallow their anger, deny their anger, and can even make themselves feel physically sick from suppressing their anger. If we do not learn to express our anger, it can build up and create negative consequences.

    B. Aggression: Violence, yelling, name-calling, threatening, blaming, intimidating, bickering, griping, hurtful criticism, and sarcasm are common example. This is one of the most obvious forms of unhealthy anger expression. Aggression is focused outward (toward someone else) and is the opposite of suppression.

    C. Passive-Aggression: Silence, procrastinating, playing dirty tricks, emotional withdrawal, nasty comments, showing up late, and not participating are some ways that passive-aggression takes shape. This unhealthy expression of anger is focused on someone else, but unlike aggression it is done in often hidden and sneaky ways. It can be toxic to relationships and communities.

    Remember, anger can be damaging and toxic to not only yourself, but everyone you meet. Children are easily affected by feelings of anger in a parent just as people can “sense” your anger at a workplace. If you are feeling angry and don’t know what to do about it–take action before long-term negative consequences occur! Anger can also turn into depression if not treated.

    If you or a loved one is experiencing daily bouts of anger, irritability, rage, or resentments, call Paul Krauss today 616-200-4433 or email him at and set up a complimentary 15 minute consultation. 

    “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” – Mark Twain

    Check out Paul Krauss’ podcast here or On itunes.

    Paul Krauss MA LPC was trained to help people dealing with anger by Anger Expert Mike Speakman.


    The Healthy Expressions of Anger Workbook by Mike Speakman LISAC.

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