How is Health for Life Different?
This Week, Grand Valley State University student Ana, interviewed Health for Life’s Paul Krauss.
Ana: Thank you for agreeing to answer my Questions.
Paul Krauss MA LPC: Absolutely Ana.
Ana: What services does Health for Life offer?
Paul Krauss MA LPC: Well, we have multiple services. Currently, we have counseling services, hypnotherapy, and health coaching. Let me tell you a little bit about each. So we have 6 Licensed Counselors who provide counseling and therapy services to adults, families, and children–and we accept pretty much all the major insurances. We have a Clinical Medical Support Hypnotherapist who provides several types of hypnosis sessions for various situations and conditions. For instance, she has even helped people with quitting smoking, sleeping better, and people facing surgery to help them get through it with hypnotherapy. One of our licensed counselors is now providing Reiki sessions for stress relief.
Ana: So tell me, how is Health for Life different than other clinics?
Paul Krauss MA LPC: Well, I think one of the main things that set Health for Life apart is that our clinical staff here is that we are really devoted to keeping up with the latest research and the other thing is we are all really attempting to have an open and nonjudgmental attitude, sort of like a safe place for people to come.
Ana: Interesting. How does that work in terms of practice?
Paul Krauss MA LPC: Well, for instance: One of the ways I think it works is that I would describe us as a kind of inclusive clinic, We’re not a one-size-fits-all clinic, for instance, we all have different training; we’re trained in a vast variety of empirically proven techniques and treatments. So basically, what that means is that we will customize a plan that works for your unique personality, situation, and needs. We are never going to force you to accept a treatment paradigm or approach that doesn’t seem to click with you. A lot of patients come in here and tell us that they were told there is only one way to do something–so we’re trying to be different than that, we don’t think that’s best practice (to tell people there only “one way”). In addition, we continue to practice our skill sets and basically try to learn new methodologies and improve our skills so that we can understand people from all walks of life and best serve them. Nicole Cain and I first started Health for Life with sort of this mentality that we’re gonna go for the root cause we aren’t just doing lawn maintenance here.
Ana: That sounds great. So what does this mean for the average person walking into your office?
Paul Krauss MA LPC: Well, this means I think for them that we look at them as a whole person, including their personal experience and cultural values, not just what their complaint would be. To kind of summarize, we are not just categorizing people by their symptoms or slapping a label on them. You know while we are fully trained in the medical model for safety purposes, and obviously best practices we don’t want people to feel like they are just keeping their heads above water, and you know having to deal with some giant burden we want people to feel that they are thriving and getting joy out of life again. We don’t believe in having patients for life, we want to give the people that work with us, health for life—basically, that means that they can take their experience with us and go out into the world and find a community of like-minded people to continue growing and healing. We talk about how clinicians are like lily pads there to support the individual on their healing journey in the pond of life.
Ana: Well said, Paul. How do you know how to help people so deeply?
Paul Krauss MA LPC: Well that’s a difficult question Ana because I don’t know if we know how to help everybody, but we are honest with our clients. We don’t pretend to know everything—for instance if there’s a condition or a certain situation that their facing if we don’t know the answers, we’re gonna take our time to research and find out some possible answers, yet regarding meaning and purpose that is a highly personal process that happens in counseling and other services, and so in that we take a very encouraging strength-based approach and stand alongside our clients as they seek their meaning and we will encourage them to continue that. So in practice this means, we’re both collaborative and integrative we utilize the synergy of different approaches and backgrounds as clinicians to find the right combination of treatments for our clients, for instance we will encourage clients to you know if we believe it’s best practice to work with another treatment modality or another consultant outside of our office because we want people to get the best combination, and we’re really educated on tiers of care and knowing what tier people can be in. So, the other part of this about how we have known to help people so deeply is we have a lot of experience and we are all avid readers and information seekers. One of the things about our clinic is that we wanted to hire people to work here that really are learners for life. And so, we are trained in multiple types of therapies and techniques we haven’t just stopped with our graduate education or consultantate education. We are not a clinic that’s founded on an approach, like a single approach or a trendy book or some sort of formula. We really pride ourselves in pivoting and adjusting our techniques and approach to what best serves the client. So in addition to that, we have a large emphasis on the relationship. We never want there to be a power dynamic, we are people just like you, who happen to specialize in helping others. So we’re not gonna tell you what to do, but we will help you find your best answer. We will provide suggestions and education as appropriate but we’re not gonna have that sort of attitude that we know best. We believe people know themselves best. We will give people the education, as in lab results, and different things depending on what you’re doing. So to summarize: I’d say we provide Counseling and Other services without a cultural judgment. We want to provide a customized approach for each individual, and we are trauma-informed and science-based practitioners and consultants with a heart for people.
Ana: It sounds like you’re really devoted to challenging the status quo.
Paul Krauss MA LPC: Absolutely Ana. Modern Medicine would not be what it is today without many clinicians that have gone before us, challenging the standard of the day. A recent example I can give is that many people suffering from traumatic events, recently, even this year I’ve heard of this happening they were labeled as having severe mental illness’ and even character issues. Many of them were shamed and told they would need to be on medications for their entire life and that they would probably need some type of cognitive manipulation therapy in large doses for years. Well, Ana, this has simply not been true for most people. We have learned a great deal from studies like the Adverse Child Experiences Study (ACES) as well as books like “The Body Keeps the Score” and the Interpersonal Neurobiology series from Norton which is on the brain and the nervous system and how counseling and different holistic practices, and medical practices can help people recover from trauma and other books like by Peter Levine and Francine Shapiro that help us understand us as both a person with a nervous system and also you know with a personal meaning. We now know there are many scientifically proven therapies that can relieve both acute and chronic symptoms from people who have suffered from a traumatic event. Well, a lot of people don’t know that. I’ve had people come into my office that thought that there was just something wrong with their brain forever and that there was no such thing as brain plasticity and that there were no therapies to help them. So some of these therapies that have helped people with trauma include EMDR therapy which you can read about on our website that’s been endorsed by the World Health Organization and the CDC, Somatic Experience Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Trauma Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and some of these therapies have just not been well known in West Michigan. The research is clear, they are highly effective and can provide relief to people who have been suffering and believed that they could not get better before. So, one of our missions as a clinic is also to help the West Michigan community learn about these therapies and interventions, both other clinicians and of course the consumers. So if we could help educate the public, people will be able to better understand themselves and have hope that they can recover.
Ana: Thank you for sharing. I understand that an IntegrativeDoctor helped co-found your office.
Paul Krauss MA LPC: Yes we do. Another thing that sets Health for Life apart is that we are an integrative clinic and Nicole Cain, is the co-founder, she actually has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology as well. She was trained and is recognized as a primary care physician in the state of Arizona where she works today. She maintains her medical license in the State of Arizona, where she lives–but she is actively a huge supporter of our clinic and myself.
Ana: Excellent information. I have one last question: Why did you choose the name “Health for Life”?
Paul Krauss MA LPC: Well I’m glad you asked that question, Ana. We chose the name “Health for Life” for several reasons. One of the reasons is: to have Health for Life, we can’t just see symptoms as something that is persecuting us and ruining our lives. We believe that symptoms are providing clues both to our medical, physical, body picture and to what’s missing to help us achieve our own optimal health. In fact, symptoms can also be related to finding more purpose or meaning to our lives. So, we are not just getting rid of symptoms here– that’s not our focus. We are dedicated to pursuing Health for Life and inspiring others to follow suit. And when you do lean into the symptoms and learn about the symptoms, oftentimes most symptoms remit. Also, secondly through intentional practices and seeking what our minds, bodies, and souls need we believe that everyone has the potential to heal and grow. No matter what their situation and background. We also believe in learning more about one’s self, the body, and health practices to help you accomplish your goals and live a healthy life.
Lastly, we believe health is not just the measurement of one’s labs or a list of accomplishments at the gym. It is also a state of contentment that comes through a balance of work and play—so by pursuing this, we can operate at our best while playing our roles in our family and community. If we have health for life, we most certainly can extend a helping hand to others in need.
Ana: Thank you so much for letting me interview today.
Paul: My pleasure Ana.