From Fragmentation to Wholeness

From Fragmentation to Wholeness [Episode 9 of the Intentional Clinician podcast]

In this solo episode, Paul Krauss MA LPC (Counseling in Grand Rapids, MI) discusses methods of moving from fragmentation to wholeness, how our attitudes and personal habits affect the way we live, and how to bring about change in a fast-paced world, with regards to the following broad concepts: the concepts of fragmentation and wholeness, feeling overwhelmed by choices and the constant bombardment of media in our current culture, how to deal with the paradox of risk and uncertainty in life, how to find a passion and keep it, and go from being a master of none to a master of something. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Paul Krauss MA LPC will use many of his own stories throughout, stories that he has heard, as well as quotes from authors and philosophers.

You can subscribe to the Intentional Clinician on itunes or though podbean.

Paul Krauss MA LPC practices counseling and is a counseling supervisor in Grand Rapids, MI. Paul has his private psychotherapy 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 many gifted clinicians (each with their own specialty).  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: PaulK@healthforlifegr.com

Learn more at www.paulkrausscounseling.com and www.counselingsupervisorgr.com  and www.grandrapidscounselor.com

Below is some of the content from this podcast episode:

It is likely that have you have experienced the feeling of fragmentation in life.

One definition of fragmentation or fragmented as a verb means “to break or cause to break into fragments” (fragments are, of course, when used as a noun: a small part broken or separated off something). So in a sense, we are feeling like parts of us have broken off and we cannot reunite with that piece of ourselves. I mentioned the divided life, which is a related concept—in one definition it appears that the word divided could be used as a synonym for fragmented: “ separate or be separated into parts.” In a way, a similar feeling to being fragmented—we have been separated out into different parts. Yet, a second definition of the word divided reads “disagree or cause to disagree.” An example of this would be, “the extra task the CEO asked of her company, had divided the employees since its announcement.” So, divided can be construed as not only the feeling of being separated into parts, but actually being in disagreement with oneself. Have you ever felt ambivalence about something? (Ambivalence is the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone). Often times we experience ambivalence  about a concept, a person, a goal, a job—but what if we are feeling this ambivalence strongly about different aspects and parts of ourselves? Well when we are living a life that feels fragmented and divided—we are essentially experiencing a strong sense of being separated from ourselves (for example, our voice, our “true self” or what we really believe, really want to say, and really want to bring into action, but are somehow stuck into not revealing that desire). When we feel divided, we are not only separated into parts, but the parts of ourselves, actually disagree with one another, which can lead to chronic struggles both on our insides and in our actions on the outside. For while what we experience in the outside world affects our inside feelings, our inside feelings of course, affect our outside actions in the world.

Most humans have a deep desire to feel whole (even if they are acting out as a result of a distortion, a trauma, or not getting their needs met—but that is a discussion for another podcast). Most of us, want to feel congruent about our thoughts and actions. And people will do all sorts of things in life, both healthy and unhealthy to achieve the feeling of wholeness and congruency. I know that some of us may have memories of a time we felt whole—some of us do not.

One definition of the word whole that was interesting to me was “ in an unbroken or undamaged state; in one piece.”

In the journey of life, it is inevitable that we will face suffering in one form or another—as will everyone we know. So it is no wonder that many of us feel broken and damaged all the time. Yet, there are many ways and paths and practicing to feeling whole, even though life has broken us multiple times and we will carry scars from things that have happened for our entire lives. Of course, scars are not a terrible thing to have, as long as we can make meaning out of the scar and in the present moment we can see that we are not divided. Scars are an ok things to carry if we are feeling congruent about our actions and subsequent thoughts and feelings. While the process of being scarred may not be fair and may not make sense, it is easier to deal with a scar if free congruent in the moment or are working toward wholeness.

This is surely a discussion that could continue in countless books, podcasts, and conversations, but I will aim to provide three simple points with examples today to help us walk through the concept of moving from fragmentation to wholeness. I do not believe that anyone ever achieves complete wholeness, but we are certainly experience moments of wholeness, and even through our brokenness, difficult experiences, and lives, we can feel more fully human and like a whole person. I am sure that these concepts will come up again in future podcasts and blogs.

Here is a quote about wholeness that spoke to me: “Wholeness does not mean perfection, it means embracing brokenness as an integral part of life.” – Parker J. Palmer

I love quotes, but it is important to consider the context from which they are spoken so I tell you that I am quoting his book  “A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey toward an Undivided Life”. Parker J. Palmer is an amazing author and teacher—if you haven’t read his books, I highly recommend it.

Remember, we are not aiming for perfection—we are aiming to be in agreement with our actions or forgiving ourselves if we are not in agreement. Wholeness is, in a sense, acceptance of one’s self. How are we feeling about our self late at night before drifting off to sleep, or in the morning upon waking?

Now I am going to address these concepts in 3 parts.

1000 OPTIONS FOR DINNER

Our modern life is full of distractions, “easy answers”, and gateways to addiction. The nonstop availability of information that is available 24/hours a day and in all forms of media, the non-stop availability of entertainment and services, and advertising, marketing, and organizations to become a part of—can have an overwhelming affect on our minds, body, and our psyche (the soul). There are countless ways paths that can cause us to change into autopilot and become immersed in consumption, distraction, and other possibly harmful activities. By the time we get a moment to reflect on our lives and our habits—we find ourselves feelings fragmented in our activities, and divided in our heart. When I use the word heart, I am obviously not speaking of our actual hearts. I am speaking metaphorically of the emotional feelings that most people experience in their torso and chest—usually these feelings are accompanied by thoughts in the brain, which are noticed by what we call “the mind.” If we feel fragmented and divided a lot of the time, it can become difficult to focus, figure out what our true feelings about something are, understand what we want to do with our lives, relationships, and even our time.

I was at a conference in 2009, and I heard James Hillman say something like, “Most people are fine working on goals in therapy—yet the most resistance I have ever encountered is when I try to treat their schedules.”

In the book Essentialism by Greg Mcknown, comments on our current society’s overwhelming amount of options. I am summarizing some of his concepts here with my own thoughts added: The United States in 2017- we have too many choices—so many choices cause decision fatigue: the more decisions we are forced to make, the more the quality of our decisions decreases. We have too much pressure regarding out decisions—much more social pressure if you are connected to social media or are exposed to advertisements on the TV, magazines, or on the internet. Now we have an explosion of opinion overload with social media and the advent of so-called “fake news.” 3. And of course, the American myth—that we can have it all. People working so much to buy stuff they don’t even have time to enjoy—or ignoring valuable relationships, or hardly engaging in some of the most important years of their lives.

With all of this constant noise in our modern culture, how do we distinguish things of value from the vacuous?

When we are overwhelmed with options, often time, we don’t even notice our own thoughts and voice—and we go into autopilot mode.

Self-awareness and moving toward self-actualization is part of becoming whole—and doing this “inner work” will help us learn to discern what is necessary and what is not. It can help us move out of fragmentation and into a state of wholeness.

But how do we have self-awareness in the land of constant noise and entertainment.

The simple answer is We need time, space, and stillness.

Requirement: The courage to unplug,  The space to become intentional, Space in our lives

Taking time out by ourselves—it doesn’t have to be much.

Only then can we begin to figure out what we are entangled in—what is necessary what is not.

Examples:

Mindfulness

Reconnecting with nature

Spirituality. Our generation is often turned off by organized religion, but that doesn’t mean we should abandon any sense of spirituality or not larger answers.

Reading

Quiet

Stillness

Not filling up our schedule

Reflection

Contemplation

-Ask yourself these questions:  How do I become whole again? What is missing? What do I need?

We need to learn how to tell ourselves the truth:

In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act. – George Orwell

Even reading poetry can open us up to our awareness. As T.S. Eliot said “Poetry may make us a little more aware of the deeper unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.

The lesson begins with the inner work:

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” ~ African Proverb

(Putting aside time to be alone is one practice in becoming whole, is not isolation as a lifestyle—we still need people and animals in our lives). In the next section I will address other obstacles to wholeness, as well as the need for community.

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FROM SIMPLICITY TO THE UNPREDICTABLE ROAD OF LIFE

If we were lucky enough to have loving and mindful parents, as a small child, life seems simple. We learn the rules, we play, we eat, we go to sleep, repeat.

Now, if we had a difficult childhood, we may have felt fragmented and divided from the very beginning—and we are still seeking to feel whole, for the first time.

One day we start going to school, and it can seem fun and joyful, until the first time you remember someone attacking you, either verbally or physically.

I certainly remember my bubble being burst on my first day of school in first grade—when I was introducing myself to a third grader on the soccer field, and he said back to me “PAULLL, What kind of name is Paul? That is not cool!” I remember being shocked—why would say that? Was he telling the truth? I felt shame for my name. What did this say about my parents? They were the ones who named me? Other thoughts continued “Why would he pick on me just because he didn’t think my name was cool?” “Am I welcome on the soccer field?” “Should I avoid this person?” I started to feel fragmented and divided. Now, this was not the first time I experienced such a division—there were other instances both in my neighborhood and school which occurred, time-wise, before this incident—but this podcast is not an autobiography, I use these experiences from my own life to illustrate a point.

How many of you remember a flash point— a moment when you went from thinking you were safe, that you were a good person, that you looked nice in your new outfit, and that things were going ok in your life—and the next moment the idea was shattered by a person or unexpected event?

We all have a story, full of these

Being with people, can break us and hurt us deeply.

Or maybe we are the one hurting people?

We have been hurt, and so we grown hard in our hearts and rationalize that it is ok to hurt others.

In Japan, broken objects (such as family bowls and plates) are often replied with gold.

The flaw is seen as a unique piece of the object’s history, which adds to its beauty.

“Let everything happen to you

Beauty and terror

Just keep going

No feeling is final”

Rainer Maria Rilke

“You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity.”

~ J.K. Rowling

Some of these may also have traumatic events in our lives, and some of these are so serious they may negatively impact our mental health completely and cause various problems in our lives and relationships—I will address traumatic events and ways to heal through counseling and otherwise in a future podcast. With traumatic events, there is often a great need to get serious and intensive treatment—so I am not negating the seriousness of it—but today’s podcast is not about traumatic events and their treatment— I will do a podcast on this in the future.

What story are you telling yourself? Were you able to integrate a bad experience into part of your story, with you overcoming, or is this experience crushing your self-esteem, even now?

Honest w self— are you in denial about something terrible that happened to you? Are you hiding your hurt feelings? Are you hiding your anger? Are you just ashamed?

The first step is often to acknowledge the harm that was done. The next step is often to speak it.

The hard part is, we often struggle with shame and blame ourselves.

Friends who are willing to be authentic with you

A place that you feel safe in

Finding a Community

A Mentor

An organization to be a part of.

Even a support group

Listening to other people- i know i hurt people when i didn’t listen

If we can’t find that—it may be time to begin individual and even group counseling.

PARKER PALMER —discusses the difficulties of when people are trying to fix us or we are trying to fix others.

In counseling, we are not aiming to fix people— as a counselor, I have methods and techniques to help people heal from trauma—but I am not aiming to “fix them.”

I don’t know what is best for their life. I know that often times, people who are suffering, need to be heard —no one has taken the time to hear their story—they have just rushed in with advice. 

HOW DO I START SOMETHING WHEN I DON’T KNOW WHAT PATH TO TAKE?

In life there are so many options, so many paths, and opportunities.

Yet, when presented with so many directions and choices—people often feel paralyzed by indecision and anxiety.

When we are young children, many of our paths are chosen for us—it is only over time that we gain a sense of self, and may eventually strive for autonomy or individuation from our parents or caretakers. And in some ways, our experience as children can inhibit or enhance our desire for certain paths depending on who are parents or caretakers are as people, where we live, what opportunities are presented to us, and socioeconomic status. Yet, many people eventually come to a place when they are old enough to choose a path, no matter limitations in their lives.

Often times, I talk to people who no matter what their age are unsure of what to do with their lives. They are afraid of committing to any path at all. Many times they present with a great deal of anxiety and often times feel stuck in their lives—and experience some depression because of it. Yet, each and every one of them could, with help, work to find something of interest to them, and even begin small steps of pursuing a related goal—whether it led to a hobby, a vocation, a new relationship, a new way of spending time. Each and every one of them could change their lives in a small way, as they move down a path to purse something of interest to them that could eventually lead to a new way of being. I will discuss career and vocation in a future podcast.

Today, I am going to tell a little bit of my story and how I eventually found the path I decided to take. This is not an autobiography by any means, but this is a rough overview of some events which led me to where I am today—there is much more to the story.

In many ways, my childhood was a nice experience and in other ways it was confusing and frustrating. I had two parents who loved me, a place to live, and food on the table. I grew up in a lower socioeconomic status, but my parents were decently educated. I had many opportunities to meet a lot of people and learn from them. Yet, to my detriment, I did not have much consistency in my life.

For instance, and for various reasons I attended 3 different elementary schools, 2 different high schools. As a young person I was ashamed because I couldn’t play sports, play instruments, or act as well as some of my peers. When I was young, I assumed it was my fault—that I was untalented. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I realized if I didn’t start to change my path, I was going to be very unhappy. That realization came after what I believe was one of my first long period of depression—where I isolated for a while and didn’t attend events at my school.  That was when I took up working out, cooking, reading, playing the piano, and singing—and I demanded to change schools and environments. Luckily, I had always been a reader because my parents limited my television consumption until I was 13, and computer use was only in a class at school.  Yet, even with this change, I still wasn’t as talented in many ways. Because I’d never consistently followed through with music lessons or sports before the age of 15. Sure I tried things out for a while, maybe even a season, but I was not forced to continue. I would usually start something and then stop out of frustration, because I did not have the raw talent. I had heard that the key to becoming good at something was “practice, practice, practice” but like most children, I didn’t listen to my parents, like I would only learn by example combined with trial and error. Luckily, at my new school I made some good friends who did “practice practice practice” around age 15 and they did influence me to change and work on my skills in a variety of areas.

And once I started prioritizing my interests and devoting my time to learning and practicing, my life began to change. First of all, I was excited that I had found interests and by practicing, over time, I could see my skills improving. Second of all, I was able to start shedding some of my negative shame of thinking that “I just lacked natural talent.” Another benefit of me applying myself was that I also learned what I did not like to do, which was very important to slightly narrowing my path—and helping me find a general direction for what I liked to do. I still did not know that I was interested in psychology or counseling at this point.

I am going to skip over many pivotal areas of my story at this point in the podcast because this is not an episode about how I became a counselor—that is a story for another day. Suffice to say, I had a series of menial jobs starting in adolescence and continuing through my college days. These jobs, whether in fast food, hospitality, labor, painting, writing and editing, and even a local TV station, helped me define what I did like and mostly what I did not like. I very quickly decided that I did not want to work at a fast food restaurant for a career, nor a motel, I didn’t enjoy tons of physical labor (while I enjoyed the exercise, I couldn’t imagine myself doing that for 40 years), I didn’t like painting, I realized that while I liked writing and editing my own work or my friends—I didn’t like the job of editing and helping other’s write, and most astonishingly I learned that I did not like the lifestyle and hours and pressure that accompanied working in any aspect of local television. Ironically, after dropping my Telecommunications major, I still worked as a camera person for 4 years during college. It was fun and a relatively easy job—once the pressure of doing this for a career was lifted. What I did during my late high school and college years was really explore. I didn’t just sit in a room and internet search “What should I do with my life?” I went out and tried a bunch of different jobs. I also worked at exposing my self to different types of people and their opinions. This exposure brought me out of my comfort zone and helped me learn more about what others valued and what they wanted to do as well as helping me on my path to figuring out what I wanted to do. Since we are discussing wholeness, having all of these different jobs also showed me something that I wasn’t quite aware of at the time. I noticed that I felt energized when I worked 2 jobs during college, one was mentoring younger students in the residence halls, and another was volunteering at a local middle school. At the time, it led me toward pursuing an education degree, but later on, after 1 year of working in high schools—taught me again, that my path was not to become a traditional teacher, but to pursue psychology and eventually to become a counselor.

I am greatly summarizing some my story to make a global point about being intentional with practice, but also in trying things and really immersing  yourself in a variety of experiences and jobs, so you can figure out what you like and do not like. I want to say, having all of these jobs and breaking out of my comfort zone was not easy—I was terrified the entire time. Yet, after each new experience, I became less nervous over time. I will discuss anxiety in a future podcast for sure. I had many times where I felt as if I had failed because I didn’t like the job I was doing, or I had great expectations of a new experience or meeting with someone that turned out to not be as great as I had imagined in my mind. During this time, I had plenty of doubts and periods where I was depressed. Yet, I remembered that someone once told me that 99% of life was just showing up…so I kept showing up, most of the time, in spite of my doubt. And I knew already that I didn’t want to work in an hourly wage job for the rest of my life. I didn’t come from money, quite the opposite, so I could not depend on my parents for much support. Yet out of this time of uncertainty I grew as a person. Growing and learning are values that are very dear to me. I don’t ever want to stop growing and learning—because any time I grow stagnant and begin living on autopilot, my joy and happiness as well as my excitement about life, decreases. So I still constantly pursue learning and growing, and attempt to work on my weaknesses, to this very day. Public speaking is not one of my strong fronts, and I have never attempted a podcast or spoken-word recording until the Intentional Clinician.

When you’re first trying a new activity or skills and you’re learning how to do it— you are just not going to be good at it yet. It will not feel “effortless.” Some people will comment, when watching a talented individual that “they’re a natural” at sports or violin or whatever. I just don’t believe that. While certain people seem to have amazing abilities in an area, the only way you can get there is intentional or deliberate practice. You aren’t just born an Olympic athlete or a world-class Chess player—these are skills that need to be developed over time.

According to some researchers it takes about 10,000 hours practice to become a master at a skill. I know I’m well over 10,000 hours of providing psychotherapy (also known as counseling) as I’ve been a licensed counselor since 2007. And it’s fun. I love what I do. love helping people to find their voice, to heal, to change, to meet their goals. At time it is quite challenging but I have always found it rewarding.

Similarly to practicing my counseling skills through trainings, mentorship, evaluation, and working with people—all of my hobbies and interested that I spent time cultivating through intentional practice became joys in my life.  For instance, I may not be the best pianist, bicyclist, or cook, but I have gotten to a level of skill where I actually enjoy the practicing and performing with others. If you are struggling with whatever you are doing: Sports, Crafts, socializing, writing, singing, playing an instrument, cooking—you may have not had enough deliberate practice, and/or you haven’t received instruction and helpful feedback.

START HERE:

Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book Outliers that 10,000 hours of appropriately guided practice was “the magic number of greatness,” regardless of a person’s natural aptitude. Gladwell claims that with enough practice almost anyone could achieve a level of proficiency that would rival that of a professional. It was just a matter of putting in the time with proper instruction and help.  K. Anders Ericsson, professor of psychology at Florida State University, whose research began the dialogue on “10,000 hour” rule that Gladwell wrote about,  stated in a recent article that this claim appears to be true aside from physical limitations, of course, which can be a constraint for growth and progress in an area.

Genius is perseverance in disguise. ~ Mike Newlin

Aristotle stated, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”

Remember, perfection is a myth. Don’t let other’s wonderful talents and skills stop you from starting.

The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.- Carl Rogers

So I tell you, whatever it is the you are interested in JUST DO IT.

JUST START SOMETHING

PUT ASIDE TIME TO WORK ON YOURSELF, A SKILL, A PROJECT, or EVEN A RELATIONSHIP

If you don’t like it or you realized it is not for you, stop and try something else.

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”

~ Goethe

“Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great.” Orison Swett Marden

Why not take the risk and apply for a job, you can always change your mind later if you decide it is not for you.

Not sure what to do? Many of us learn by experience- I discussed having a variety of jobs as a young person—it certainly informed me as to what I did not like doing— as well as what aspects of each job I liked doing—such as working in a Pizza Parlor, I loved the customer interaction, but hated making pizzas and cleaning. Customer interaction was a form of a social skills, which is something I use as a counselor to this day.

So many people have an idea to write a book—yet they haven’t taken the time to start by writing a short story or poem.

We have to learnt to crawl before we can walk, and walk before we can run.

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” Zig Ziglar

Living in a culture of “easy answers” and “instant gratification”—can lead one to be disappointed if their first try at making something, doing something, or starting something isn’t “amazing.”

Don’t aim for perfection. Aim to do something.

Taking action is the most difficult part of starting to doing something you love.

I have heard a saying in a Yoga Class, “ the fact that you got to your yoga mat today, means that you have succeeded.”

Remember, we have to show up to get results.

Part of living an undivided life where we feel more whole is related to paying attention how we spend our time and what we have decided to prioritize and intentionally practice.

Some questions to ask your self in reflection like we discussed in part one:

What are you doing with your time?

Do you know what your interests are?

Do you know who your true friends are?

Are you worried about finding love but you don’t go talk to people that could be potential partners? Even as friends?

If you want to do something big, you have to start small.

Remember, The World is Changed by Your example, not your opinion. – Paulo Coelho

That means actions, not words, will help you reach your goal.

No matter where you are on your path, there is always an opportunity for change.

It is possible to move from a fragmented and divided life toward a life where you feel wholeness.

Remember, from part one, we must learn to unplug, be still and listen for a while to determine what we value and how and where and with whom we want to spend our time.

From Part two, we learned it is important to acknowledge and own our wounds and brokenness.

It is vital that we heal, and we cannot do it alone—we need the help of others and a safe and affirming community to do so.

In part three, we discussed the difficulties of discovering what we enjoy doing, the challenges of getting started, and what to do if we learn we don’t like the path we are one, as well as ways to grow and intentionally cultivate our skills and gifts.

I hope that something in today’s episode spoke to you. Remember, even if you have had bad experiences and do not feel like taking action:

You are worth the investment of time to contemplate your life, you are worth the time of friends and community.

And, it is never too late to begin doing what you really want to do and living how you want to live.

Leonard Cohen, from his song Anthem:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Learn to find wholeness with experimentation and diligence in your life.

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 http://www.healthforlifegr.com/ You can reach Paul at 616-365-5530 (direct), or at the office 616-200-4433. Here is Paul’s email: PaulK@healthforlifegr.com

Learn more at www.paulkrausscounseling.com and www.counselingsupervisorgr.com and www.grandrapidscounselor.com

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

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 paulk@healthforlifegr.com

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).

Summary

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).

 

References

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 http://www.guidetopsychology.com/pmr.htm

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: www.drnicolecain.com

Ashley

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: http://healthforlifegr.com/experts/paul-krauss/

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: http://healthforlifegr.com/experts/nicole-vega/

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: http://healthforlifegr.com/experts/billie-walters/

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: http://healthforlifegr.com/experts/adam-nash

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: http://healthforlifegr.com/experts/jennifer-belmonte/

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: 
http://healthforlifegr.com/experts/stacey-prefontaine-hypnotherapy/

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 http://www.healthforlifegr.com/  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: PaulK@healthforlifegr.com

Learn more at www.paulkrausscounseling.comandwww.counselingsupervisorgr.com.

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: http://www.healthforlifegr.com/  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: PaulK@healthforlifegr.com

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 www.paulkrausscounseling.com and www.counselingsupervisorgr.com.

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

Paul Krauss MA LPC interviewed by Empire Radio Now

Paul Krauss MA LPC is interviewed by Christopher Celery on Empire Radio Now.

Paul Krauss MA LPC visited the Professional’s Round Table on Empire Radio on 6/09/17 for a live interview.

Paul Krauss MA LPC discusses the clinical team at Health for Life Grand Rapids located in Grand Rapids Michigan. Paul Krauss discussed the his specialities of utilizing EMDR therapy for trauma and PTSD, and the specialities of the other counselors in the office. Paul Krauss MA LPC discusses that the goal is to help people feel like themselves again and be able to go back out and live their lives to the fullest.

Paul Krauss MA LPC discusses his personal background and why he decided to go into professional counseling. Paul discusses growing up in Michigan and how mental health was not a typical topic of discussion. Paul discusses how counseling is one of the best preventative treatments for mental health concerns and how it can reduce violence, drug addiction, and family turmoil in the greater community. Paul briefly discusses how the research overwhelming supports the effectiveness of counseling for all sorts of personal and psychological concerns.

Christopher Celery asked Paul Krauss MA LPC to discuss what it takes to become a licensed professional counselor. Paul talked about how one becomes a licensed professional counselor. Paul has trained many counselors and is currently running a counseling supervision group in Grand Rapids, MI. Paul Krauss MA LPC discusses how he sees himself helping individuals and the community by continuing his private practice and helping other counselors improve their skills and be able to help more people over time. Paul and his team also do “ask a counselor” events throughout Grand Rapids, MI.

To listen to the interview- click on the link: https://empireradionow.com/paul-krauss-6-09-17-counselor/

Paul Krauss MA LPC practices counseling in Grand Rapids, MI. Paul specializes in working with people who have experienced trauma, depression and anxiety–Paul uses a combination of EMDR and traditional talk therapy. Paul has over 10 years of experience and has gone through many advanced trainings to be able to help people get through whatever they are going through, heal, recover, and feel renewed. If you would like to work with Paul Krauss, you can call him directly 616-365-5530, or email paulk@healthforlifegr.com or call the main line 616-200-4433.

 

Anger! The what, how, where, and why of it

The Intentional Clinician #5: Anger! The what, how, where, and why of it with Mike Speakman.

Paul Krauss MA LPC interviews Mike Speakman–part two of the conversation from episode #4.

In part 2 of my conversation with Mike Speakman, we discuss ANGER! Seriously, we discuss everything anger: what it is, where it comes from, the positives and negatives of it, the destruction and devastation it can cause, and how you can actually utilize it for your benefit. We discuss how anger can affect everything in your life, including your relationships, why anger is a vital emotion, and why it often viewed as negative in United States. We hope you enjoy this interview with Mike Speakman LISAC, founder of the PAL support group (parents of addicted loved ones).

If you want to know more Mike’s book about anger:  “The Health Expressions of Anger” click here.

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: http://www.healthforlifegr.com/  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: PaulK@healthforlifegr.com

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 www.paulkrausscounseling.com and www.counselingsupervisorgr.com.

You can download this podcast here or subscribe on itunes.

Thank you for listening to the Intentional Clinician Podcast. Make sure to subscribe to never miss an episode. I am now accepting topic requests. -Paul Krauss

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, PaulK@healthforlifegr.com

Not in Grand Rapids? No problem, Paul is equipped to perform distance counseling to individuals in Michigan- when appropriate. You can email Paul at Paulk@healthforlifegr.com 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.

References

Brownawell & Kelley. (October 2011). Psychotherapy is effective and here’s why. Monitor on Psychology. Vol 42, No. 9.
http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/10/psychotherapy.aspx

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.
http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2009/12/wampold.aspx

Research Shows Psychotherapy Is Effective But Underutilized. American Psychological Association. August 9, 2012.
http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/08/psychotherapy-effective.aspx

Recognition of Psychotherapy Effectiveness. American Psychological Association. August 2012
http://www.apa.org/about/policy/resolution-psychotherapy.aspx

Wampold, B. E. (2011). Qualities and Actions of Effective Psychotherapists.
Series I: Systems of Psychotherapy. Washington DC: American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/education/ce/effective-therapists.pdf

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. PaulK@healthforlifegr.com 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. AdamN@healthforlifegr.com 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.

References:

Mike Speakman’s Book

Consistency: An Essential Ingredient

http://www.pal.ua.edu/discipline/consistency.php

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

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/the-real-cause-of-addicti_b_6506936.html

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

http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/apr06/vol63/num07/Promoting-Adolescents’-Prosocial-Behavior.aspx

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

http://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2012/769158/

How Volunteering Affects the Volunteer by Douglas LaBier

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/douglas-labier/how-volunteering-affects-_b_788584.html

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

Additional Books

 

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