A Website to Check Out

I came across this terrific website I'd like to share.  Greater Good in Action is a one-stop-shop for mindfulness-based and research-backed practices that can help you build skills for navigating challenges and living a more fulfilling, rewarding, and enjoyable life.

Greater Good in Action’s practices range from casual to intensive. You can choose one that’s five minutes or one that’s a whole day. Each practice has all the information you need to understand it, in straightforward language. When you find a practice you’re interested in, you can view and save it and read why you should try it, how to do it, and scientific evidence that the practice works. Greater Good Science Center revolves around using science to create a more compassionate society and giving you the tools to help. The science and research-backed approach used to create Greater Good in Action means you can see the evidence behind each practice that shows that it works and how.

Wow! Check it out! 


Happy Anniversary!

October 1, 2013 marks the 1-year anniversary of Barbara Williams and I moving into our office space.  I am grateful for so many things, and I would like to share a few.  

1. Barbara is the best office-mate I could have asked for. Period.   Also, she's a great therapist and she's quite funny, which is nice to have around.  :-)

2. I am grateful for my clients, who allow me to take a glimpse into their lives in an open, trusting, and vulnerable way. 

3. I am grateful for the support I have received from my partner, friends, and colleagues about running a business. I was trained to do therapy. The business details are a learning curve!

4. I am grateful for Gerontology Network, Pine Rest, and Third Coast Counseling Center, who invited me to work part time while I built my business, understanding my desire for growth and change. 

5. I am grateful to participate in the Mindfulness and Psychotherapy program through the Institute of Meditation and Psychotherapy, in which I will learn and grow personally and professionally over the next 9 months.

6. Lastly, I am grateful you took the time to read this, and if you e-mail or call and mention our first year office anniversary, I’d be happy to offer a free consultation or a discounted group rate!





Have you heard of the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness? http://www.grandrapidscenterformindfulness.com 

I am grateful for this oranization and their promotion of mindfulness in the Grand Rapids community.   They host a monthly meeting for professionals interested in mindfulness.  At the last meeting, they shared this video that captures many life moments.  


How many moments have gone unnoticed or unappreciated today, due to focusing on technology, the past, the future, or other distractions?  

I hope you appreciate simple moments today!  



Personal Bill of Rights

A good reminder for us all... 

Personal Bill of Rights

  1. I have the right to ask for what I want.
  2. I have the right to say no to requests or demands I can’t meet.
  3. I have the right to express all of my feelings, positive or negative.
  4. I have the right to change my mind.
  5. I have the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.
  6. I have the right to follow my own values and standards.
  7. I have the right to say no to anything when I feel I am not ready, it is unsafe, or it violates my values.
  8. I have the right to determine my own priorities.
  9. I have the right not to be responsible for others’ behavior, actions, feelings, or problems.
  10. I have the right to expect honesty from others.
  11. I have the right to be angry at someone I love.
  12. I have the right to be uniquely myself.
  13. I have the right to feel scared and say “I’m afraid.”
  14. I have the right to say “I don’t know.”
  15. I have the right not to give excuses or reasons for my behavior.
  16. I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings.
  17. I have the right to my own needs for personal space and time.
  18. I have the right to be playful and frivolous.
  19. I have the right to be healthier than those around me.
  20. I have the right to be in a non-abusive environment.
  21. I have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people.
  22. I have the right to change and grow.
  23. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.
  24. I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
  25. I have the right to be happy.

Adapted from The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook , by Edmund Bourne, Ph.D.



What To Expect In Therapy

Sometimes I forget that therapy is foreign to a lot of people.  Clients often expect to be given the answers, or to be "fixed."  This article gives a good explanation about what to expect in therapy.  Let me know if you have further questions about the process.  

6 Must-Knows Before Starting Talk-Therapy

Published on January 16, 2013 by Deborah Serani, Psy.D. in Two Takes on Depression

There are many forms of talk therapy, each with the same goal of reducing symptoms and develop well-being.  Before you start your journey of self-awareness, there are some fundamentals you need to know.

1. Psychotherapy cannot be successful unless you want to be there. Though I believe everyone can benefit from psychotherapy, you can’t heal if you don’t come on your own accord. First and foremost, it’s essential that you not feel trapped into making an appointment. If you feel coerced into going to therapy, express your discomfort to the therapist. Often, I detect when this has happened and rework the session to give the decision-making power back to the patient. There are other times that I’m not so attuned and miss the clues. Therapists are nurturers and helpers but not mind readers, so don’t hold in your reluctance. 

2. Psychotherapy will not fix you. YOU will fix you. The job of a psychotherapist is to help you help yourself. Think of the Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish; you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; you feed him for a lifetime.” Advice-giving creates dependency, whereas helping you discover your patterns that keep you stuck or undermine your well-being creates self-awareness. The goal of psychotherapy is to empower you with ways to deal with life issues, learn the triggers for your depression, and build resiliency, so you can find well-being.

3. Psychotherapy does not always make you feel better. Making a breakthrough in therapy is always exciting and meaningful. However, achieving awareness sometimes requires you to be brave and fearless. Recalling memories and experiences, or changing a behavioral style, can be trying, upsetting—even overwhelming. Being in therapy will reduce your symptoms and help you feel better, but it’s beneficial to know that the journey can sometimes be bumpy. So, for psychotherapy to be a successful, you have to crave change, possess a curiosity of your inner world and an interest in understanding what motivates you, and tolerate a moderate degree of frustration. This is where the myth that only crazy people—or weak-minded individuals—go to therapy gets the boot. Talk therapy is a valiant undertaking. And anyone who says otherwise is foolishly misinformed.

4. Psychotherapy will not work if you have unrealistic expectations.Setting realistic goals can make psychotherapy a winning experience. Change does not happen overnight. Nor does the development of insight. Hardest of all is replacing old behaviors with new ones. It takes time. When it comes to your depression (or other symptoms), make sure you and your therapist center therapy with sensible and realistic objectives, specific to your needs. As time progresses, you can review these targeted goals and redefine them if necessary. Remember, yard by yard is hard, inch by inch a cinch.

5. Psychotherapy is not like talking to a friend. Therapy is the forming of an alliance to bring about change in your life. This is done with a therapist who is caring, empathic, and skilled in the symptoms and/or illness you experience. Psychotherapists train many years in the art of listening and, unlike a friend or family member, listen not only with the intent to just understand but also with the goal to identify and analyze. Being an active listener enables a therapist to use theory and techniques to stir your observations as treatment proceeds. I often hear people say, “Therapy is a big rip off,” or, “You’re paying for someone to listen to you.” Well, it is true that you’re paying for someone to listen, but a psychotherapist’s skills go beyond that of ordinary listening. When you’re in therapy, you’re working with an Olympic medal listener. That, combined with your therapist’s clinical objectivity, enables you to get a balanced, unbiased frame of reference in treatment. Something friendship often blurs.

6. Psychotherapy requires you to be comfortable with your therapist. There’s a lot of chemistry in talk therapyThe kind in which you and your therapist click, and you find a sense of ease. Without this connection, it may be difficult to feel comfortable talking about difficult issues and to feel safe letting go of fears or trying out new behaviors. The importance of your therapist’s training should be equally matched with the level of comfort you feel in sessions. Once you’ve done your research on finding a therapist, let your phone call be the first litmus test for this chemistry connection. Many times, you can get a sense of how a therapist conducts him- or herself with this initial phone contact. Thereafter, let your gut instincts take over at the consultation. If you don’t feel comfortable, it’s perfectly fine to seek out another professional. I’ve done this when I sought out treatment as a patient—and as a therapist, I encourage second opinions if the match isn’t there. Finding a “good fit” in therapy is more important than in any other kind of professional relationship you’ll have in your life.

Restorative Meditation Series

Kickstart spring with meditation!  Meditation Series beginning Tuesday April 16th, running four consecutive weeks, from 6:30-7:45pm.  All sessions led by Claire Crowley, M.M, 500 ERYT.  Claire will lead participants in restorative meditation using guided material, as well as relaxation techniques and mindfulness training.  This contemplative practice encourages watching the mind and accepting what is, in order to free the mind of distractions which cause emotional and physical suffering. Participants may bring journaling materials and blankets or cushions for sitting.  Total cost of the series is $75. Space is limited so please RSVP via email or phone to Dana Boyer (See contact page).

Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional.

Lately I have been examining this concept with clients:  

"Pain is inevitable, Suffering is optional."  I found a great article on nosuffering.org.  It gives a detailed explanation about the difference between pain and suffering.  Pain is not in our control.  Suffering is in our control.  Peruse the article, and contact me if you want to discuss this further!


"You don't have to become a monk or a vegetarian or spend hours contemplating your navel."

Not that there is anything wrong with those things... but the goal of mindfulness and meditation is to simply notice your mind's busyness and not get all tangled up in it. This simple process truly can help you break free of knee-jerk, "autopilot" habits -- the ones where you say to yourself minutes or months later, "Why did I do or say that?!" -- and move forward into a healthier, more vibrant life.

Here are 7 easy ways to become mindful in your daily life (adapted from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/06/09/7-easy-ways-to-be-mindful-every-day):

1. Practice Mindfulness during routine activities: Pay more attention as you’re brushing your teeth, taking a shower, eating breakfast or walking to work. Zero in on the sight, sound, smell, taste and feel of these activities.

2. Practice right when you wake up: Mindfulness practice first thing in the morning helps set the ‘tone’ of your nervous system for the rest of the day, increasing the likelihood of other mindful moments. Put off reading the paper, turning on the TV, checking your phone or email, etc. until after you’ve had your ‘sit'.

3. Let your mind wander: The beneficial brain changes seen in the neuroscience research on mindfulness are thought to be promoted in large part by the act of noticing that your mind has wandered, and then non-judgmentally – lovingly [and] gently - bringing it back.

4. Keep it short:  Being mindful several times a day can be more helpful than a lengthy session or even a weekend retreat.  While 20 minutes seems to be the gold standard, starting at a few minutes a day is OK, too. 

5. Practice while you wait: While waiting (in line, traffic, etc.) can seem like a nuisance, use it as an opportunity for mindfulness.  Bring your attention to your breath. Focus on the flow of the breath in and out of your body, from moment to moment and allow everything else to just be, even if what’s there is impatience or irritation.

6. Pick a prompt to remind you to be mindful: Choose a cue that you encounter on a regular basis to shift your brain into mindful mode. For instance, you might pick a certain doorway or mirror or use drinking coffee or tea as a reminder.

7. Learn to meditate: The best way to cultivate mindfulness in everyday life is to formally train in meditation. Practicing mindfulness is like learning a new language. “You can’t just decide to be fluent in Spanish – unless you already are – you have to learn the language first.”  “Practicing meditation is how to learn the language of mindfulness.” 

**Contact me for further details about a Meditation course at my office this spring (2013)!


I will be using this space for links to articles, books and quotations.  I hope you find it helpful; and please let me know if you would like information about certain topics.  More to come!