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Monthly Focus

Each month, check out these recent articles and visit this page regularly to find links to new articles that will keep you informed and engaged!


Back to School September 2019

Solution Pathway

Back to School: A Better Transition!

By: Arianna Katrichis, MS, LPC-IT

As the warm days turn cooler and football takes over Sundays, our minds start to turn focus onto fall.  Fall can mean a time of excitement for a new season of pumpkin spice lattes and apple picking but, also, dread of going back to school and everything that entails.  This time can be stressful for students and parents as they make the transition from free summer days to busy, structured days. It is important to be able to recognize the signs of stress within yourself, as well as those around you.

Common back to school stressors for students:

  1. Change to routine/environment
  2. Participating in class
  3. Lack of support
  4. Too much homework/heavy workload
  5. Upcoming tests
  6. Lack of organization
  7. Poor sleep schedule

Common back to school stressors for parents:

  1. School supply shopping
  2. Homework (Yes, parents get stressed about your homework too!)
  3. Bullying
  4. Pick up/Drop off routines
  5. Child’s mental health/well-being
  6. Unexpected fees (academic, extra-curricular, sports)
  7. Dress codes


Tips to reduce stress…for the both of you!

  1. Plan Ahead: Starting looking into sports, clubs, events, etc. that your child may be interested in!  This will help them have focused situations in which they can meet friends with common interests as them.  Planning ahead can also be beneficial in making sure your child has everything they need on their school supply list or for all of their new classes starting in fall. 
  2. Talk it out: Opening lines of communication right away can help the child practice expressing their emotions.  This practice will make them feel more at ease for future conversations they are interested in having with you or others around them.  This can also help parents become more aware of the signs of their child’s stress and feel more comfortable approaching them about it. 
  3. Teach Relaxation:  Learning when and how to use relaxation skill (coping skills) early on can prepare your child for knowing what stress looks and feels like ahead of time.  This can help your child reduce initial stress and channel it into a constructive activity (breathing exercises, sports, physical exercise, meditation).

These tips can help make the students and parents transition into the school year easier and less chaotic.  By getting ahead of stress, we reduce the likelihood of becoming easily overwhelmed.



Pope, D., Brown, M., and Miles, S. (2015).  Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids.  John Wiley & Sons.

Healy, M. (2018).  Back to School (With Less Stress).  Retrieved August 24th, 2019 from Psychology Today. 


Abounding August 2019

Women meditating

The How-To's for Practicing Mindfulness

By: Kylie Slavek, Graduate Intern

Mindfulness focuses on:

"The ability to stabilize and direct the mind is especially important in moments when we may feel stressed, distracted, or overwhelmed" (Fernandez, 2018).

Ways to practice Mindfulness (Tarrant, 2017):

  • Practice observing and Noticing- Pay attention to what is happening in the moment in relation to your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and behaviors.
    • Notice what is happening in the environment, pay attention to each of the 5 Senses
  • Slow down- Shift out of stress mode, frantic lifestyles can distract us from experiencing underlying feelings of sadness, grief, remorse and fear.
    • Engage in a task that slows down your life spend time alone, put your phone away, leisurely walk outside, lay in bed a few minutes before waking up, pause after finishing a task
  • Active storytelling- Become more aware of the storylines in your mind by actively engaging with them.
    • Pick a random person and observe them, make up a story about the person and their life.
  • One thing at a time- improve attention and increase appreciation of daily activities
    • Choose a daily activity, something you normally do on auto pilot, intentionally, pay full attention to what is happening in the moment, notice senses, bodily sensations, emotions and thoughts.
  • Challenge the storyteller- The mind naturally creates stories about people and events in out lives
    • Observe and recognize the story you are telling yourself
    • Question the story- is it true? How do I know?
    • Challenge the automatic messages and themes- thoughts are not facts, imagine a new interpretation, think of an exception to the themes.



Fernandez, R. (2018, September 26). A Meditation to Focus Attention. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from Mindful: Healthy Mind, Healthy Life: https://www.mindful.org/a-meditation-to-focus-attention/

Tarrant, J. (2017). Meditation interventions to rewire the brain. Eau Clair, WI: Pesi publishing & media.



Joyful July 2019

Footprints on sand

Building Pleasant and Positive Emotions for a Lifetime

By: Jessica Niedermayer, MS, NCC, LPC

Summer time is all about getting outside the house and enjoying activities! After a long winter, it can feel so good to stretch the legs and feeling the warm sunshine. Research shows (from practicing Dialectical Behavior Therapy) that participating in pleasant activities, big or small, at least one time per day in the short term can build positive emotions that will last for the long term (Linehan, 2015). Over a period of time, one can build and create new memories and a life worth living.

Pleasant activities include but are not limited to: biking, swimming, going for walks, getting a fun coffee drink from your local hot spot, calling a friend or family member, volunteering, or even going to the library. Participating in pleasant activities helps to build new and fun memories to replace old and possibly negative memories...in addition, these activities can help give you ways to contribute to conversations with others and find common ground in interpersonal relationships.

One way to help yourself on this summertime project is to track the pleasant activities and positive emotions along the way. "Tracking positive emotions helps us be more aware of the positive feelings we already experience, and the situations or activities that bring them," says Dr. Lyness from TeensHealth (D'Arcy Lyness, 2016). So with that...conquer your fear and get out there!!



D'Arcy Lyness, P. (2016, October). 3 Ways to Increase Positive Emotions. Retrieved July 11, 2019, from TeensHealth from Nemours: https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/positive-emotions.html

Linehan, M. M. (2015). DBT Skills Training: Handouts and Worksheets; Second Edition. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.



Jesting June 2019


Smiling family of five

Knowing Our Emotions -- Inside Out

By: David Sorensen, MS, NCC, LPC

Riley is an 11-year old girl from the Midwest whose happy life is turned upside down when her family moves to San Francisco in the Disney-Pixar movie, Inside Out.  The movie beautifully illustrates the challenge a person at any age can face when unexpected change brings unwanted loss and confusion. For Riley, the simple joys of childhood become a distant memory, replaced by feelings of fear, anger, sadness and disgust.  Riley eventually resolves her crisis when she learns to accept and use the variety of emotions she is feeling to help her reconnect with the people who are most important in her life. 

The ability to use our emotions in this way can be difficult to learn.  Like the person who resists going to the dentist in order to avoid the anticipated discomfort of the drill, we may look for ways to avoid the persons, places and things that trigger the uncomfortable feelings we don’t want to feel.  In time we may discover that our lives are becoming smaller and our living constricted by this pattern of avoidance.  Fortunately, there is way to move forward to a fuller life. 

It is the way of openness and acceptance of whatever we are experiencing on the inside while turning to face whatever stands before us.  Fortunately, the emotional turbulence that we dread and sometimes experience does not last forever.  It has a way of subsiding even though difficult emotions and difficult situations may not entirely go away.  In time, we find we don’t need to be afraid of what we are feeling.  This gives us confidence to make a shift to a fuller, more satisfying life as we learn to live from the inside out.



Magical May 2019

Coaching sign


Hope for a Better Tomorrow is starting a new intensive program focused on providing education, skills and trauma resolution therapy for those experiencing PTSD. This program will utilize a combination of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Yoga, Psychoeducation and Focused Mindfulness with Trauma Processing.



What: PTSD Intensive Programming will focus on skills building to manage symptoms of PTSD more effectively, build relaxation skills to increase quality of life and incorporate focused mindfulness practices for trauma resolution

Where: Hope for a Better Tomorrow

When: Weeks 1 – 3: Group Wed/Fri 12p – 1p, One individual appointment on Thursday between 9 – 2pm

Weeks 4- 8: Group: Friday 12p – 1p, one group from 12 p – 2p on a Wednesday will be scheduled. Two individual appointments on Tues/Thurs between 9a – 2pm

Duration: 8 Weeks starting July 8th and running to the end of August. All programming will require participants to attend 3, 60 minute sessions weekly.


What is needed to attend?

  • Complete an initial intake session with leaders Sheila or Patrice, if new to the clinic
  • A referral from current therapist, if you currently see a therapist at Hope for a Better Tomorrow 



If this group sounds like a good fit for you, please contact the administrative office or either group leader to assist you in getting set up with an initial intake assessment. 


We look forward to working with you!


Adventurous April 2019

green field with a sign that points in several directions


Hope for a Better Tomorrow is starting a new intensive program centering around learning about DBT skills.  DBT is a combination of cognitive and behavioral therapist that has a goal of transforming negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviors into positive outcomes.



What: DBT Intensive Program designed to focus on gaining skills with an emphasis on emotion regulation

Where: Hope for a Better Tomorrow

When: 10 am – Noon; Tuesdays and Thursdays

Duration: 9 weeks, 17 sessions (Start 6/4/19 – End 8/1/19; No Group on 7/4/19)


What is needed to attend?

  • Complete an initial intake session with group leaders Jessica or Arianna, if new to the clinic
  • A referral from current therapist, if you currently see a therapist at Hope for a Better Tomorrow
  • Must participate in individual therapy in addition to group (At Hope for a Better Tomorrow or another agency)


Group Aftercare:

After group sessions have concluded, members of the program are invited to attend weekly a weekly DBT Group offered at Hope for a Better Tomorrow for skills maintenance.


If this group sounds like a good fit for you, please contact the administrative office or either group leader to assist you in getting set up with an initial intake assessment. 

We look forward to working with you!


Marvelous March 2019

Shot of someone's legs with paper arrows surrounding them

Understanding Thoughts of a Teenager!

By: Jessica Niedermayer, MS, NCC, LPC

Adolescence...this is  time for building and developing formal-operational thought, meaning teens during this time are building their own capacity to: gain a sense of identity, think in more complex ways about moral issues, understand other people better...and then questioning ideas can lead to confusion and rebellion against ideas.  But with that development, teens can get caught in the following traps:  

1. Adolescent egocentrism: difficulty differentiating one's own thoughts and feelings from those of other people (ignorant to differences from person to person, failing to see something from another perspective, selfishness)

2. Imaginary audience: confusing your own thoughts with those of an hypothesized audience (taking on others emotions as their own, pre-occupation with what others are thinking of you and not differentiating enough)

3. Personal fable: tendency to think that you and your thoughts and feelings are unique (differentiating too much to the point of believing no one could possibly understand what I am going through).


Parents who take the time understand these traps will be able to identify better ways of helping their teens process and cope with the stresses of life. 


Reference: Sigelman, C. K., & Rider, E. A. (2018). Life-span human development (9th ed.). Australia: Cengage Learning.


Fancy February 2019

Tightrope walking

Taming Our Thoughts

By: Stephanie Hein, MS, NCC, LPC-IT, SAC-IT

How are you limiting yourself with your thoughts?  Our minds are typically our worst enemies and we may be missing out on opportunities because we tell ourselves that we will never be good enough or that we are not going to get the dream job we applied for.

The power of positivity by acting “as if” is an essential way to begin to re-train our minds.  Being conscious of our thoughts and acting in the way we wish to be will begin to shift to positivity.

Don’t confuse acting “as it” with lying or being fake.  If we truly want to change something about ourselves (not because other people want us to), changing behaviors for feelings to follow is a positive route to achieving the goals we wish to.  

Examples to get started:  

  • smile when feeling sad
  • write out positive self-talk post-its and stick on a mirror
  • take care of your body as if you love it through healthy exercise
  • apply for your dream job
  • start a gratitude journal

“We open up to the positive possibilities of the future, instead of limiting the future by today’s feelings and circumstances.  Acting as if helps us get past shaky ground and into solid territory.” -Melody Beattie



Morin, A. (2016, June 27).  When to fake it till you make it (and when you shouldn’t).  Retrieved from:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-don’t-do/201606/when-fake-it-till-you-make-it-and-when-you-shouldnt

Beattie, M. (1990). The language of letting go: Daily meditations on codependency.  Center City, MN: Hazelden Publishing.



Jolly January 2019

Sticking to you Goals in 2019

By: Cheryl Buroker, Graduate Intern

It’s that time of the year again where so many make New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe you aren’t a resolution person, maybe you are more of a goal-setter. If you haven’t set yourself resolutions, or goals, and want to, this article maybe helpful for you. However, if you set goals and aren’t sure how achievable they will be this could be helpful for you to reevaluate them. In addition to setting goals, we will give you a few pointers to consider while you work on achieving your goals.

When setting goals, we want to make sure they’re SMART.  Ask yourself are they Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound?

S: Is your goal clear in what you want to achieve? If it’s a large goal, break it down into smaller, specific ones.

M: How will you know if you are making progress? Is there a method to measure your progress?

A: Does achieving your goal require the help of others, if so is there way to alter it so you are the only one responsible for achieving your goal? Will there be obstacles that prevent you from achieving your goal?

R: What makes this goal important to achieve? What does this goal say about your values? How will achieving this goal effect your life?

T: When will you reach your goal? Keep in mind what is realistic for yourself. If you have a large goal that you broke down into smaller ones, set increments for each one.


Writing goals out can be helpful, for some people it gives a sense of accountability, or just a better understanding.  If you would like to print a worksheet to help guide you in writing SMART goals, there is a link at the bottom of this article.

Sometimes it’s hard to hold ourselves accountable for the things we say we will do. If you have a difficult time holding yourself responsible, but have an easier time remaining accountable with others, maybe you can ask for one or two people in your support network to check-in with you on a regular basis. When asking your support network, make sure it is an individual who genuinely wants you to succeed in your goal(s). Be sure to explain to them what goal(s) you set and why achieving it is important to you. If they agree to support you and hold you accountable in reaching your goal, decide and agree upon check-in dates and times for progress updates.

Treat yourself! When you reach certain milestones, reinforce that progress by rewarding yourself with something healthy. 

When it’s possible, remove triggers or negative obstacles. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, through away any unhealthy snacks you have. If you’re trying to quit smoking, donate your ash trays, get rid of the cigarettes, and keep chewing gum around for when you have a craving.

Switch things up. If you’re trying to go to the gym more often, keep a gym bag in your car, or by the front door. If you’re trying to take food to work instead of eating out, pack your lunch the night before so it’s ready to go in the morning. If you want to reduce time on your phone before bed, leave your phone in another room or leave a good book by your bed. Want to save money? Keep a spare change jar next to your bed and at the end of the day whatever is in your pockets put into the jar, or maybe setting aside a set amount of money from each paycheck into another account.

Another important note to keep in mind is to be patient. If it is worth it, it won’t be easy. Goals take time to reach, sometimes longer than others. Be forgiving to yourself. If you beat yourself up for a hiccup in the road, you’ll get stuck on the negative. Remind yourself that it was just a hiccup and you can get back on track. We often get it in our mind that there is a deadline on everything, but progress is still progress. Sometimes goals need altered, but that doesn’t mean don’t hold yourself accountable either.

For a free printable PDF sheet to setting-up SMART goals click the link below:




Decadent December 2018


Solution Pathway


How to Beat the Winter Blues

By: Arianna Katrichis, MS, LPC-IT

During the winter months it can be easy to retreat inside to avoid the cold.  Without the joys of feeling warm sunshine on our faces, we are left unmotivated to seek activities outside of our homes.  The withdrawal from the outside world can wear on an individual’s spirits.  Believe it or not, weather has a large impact on our moods and lifestyle.  As the seasons change, an estimated 25 million Americans notice a significant change in their mood and behavior.  Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can leave an individual with an increase in lethargy, increase in cravings, weight gain, social withdrawal, and increasing feelings of depression. 

Due to the decrease in sunshine and dim indoor rooms, the brain is deprived from the amount of light it needs to function properly.  To combat these effects of SAD, getting any bit of light brighter than typical indoor light is effective.  This can be done by participating in outdoor winter activities or bright light therapy.  Light boxes can help supply efficient light to the brain to compensate for the lack of light throughout the winter months.  If light boxes, or bright light therapy, is not an option, there are plenty of other activities that can help an individual get through the winter months.                                                                                      

Some activities include:

  • Ice skating
  • Sledding
  • Building a snowman/fort
  • Having a snowball fight
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Ice fishing
  • Joining a gym

Individuals that are unable to participate in physical activities can still enjoy the outdoors by stepping outside to practice some mindfulness techniques.  Spending a few minutes outside taking in the sights and sounds can be a great way to increase the exposure to the daylight.  If the temperature allows, spend 5-10 minutes noticing all of the different things you can using your five senses: Smell, touch, listen, see, and taste.  For tasting, bring some candy or gum to have in your mouth during this time.  It might not be the best idea to taste the outdoors (especially the yellow snow) so if you wish you experience taste during this exercise, please bring a tasting element with you!

I know these winter months are long, but using uplifting activities can help us keep our mood and energy high!


Source: The Oxford Handbook of Mood Disorders by Robert J. DeRubeis and Daniel R. Strunk, 2017


Holiday Grief Support Workshop


Hope for a Better Tomorrow is proud to offer a Saturday morning Grief Recovery Workshop!  David Sorensen, LPC will be hosting and teaching material from The Birdhouse Project in which each participant will assemble a cardboard birdhouse that will serve as a metaphor for the work of reconstructing one's life after an important loss.

When: December 15th from 9 a.m. to Noon

Cost for the 3 hour workshop is $25, all materials and refreshments included

There is limited space available, please call (262) 313-8339 by 12/12/18 to reserve your spot! 

To learn more information, please visit: https://thebirdhouseproject.com/content/project-based-healing


New Start November 2018


man with a thinking expression against a chalkboard. arrows drawn to come out of his head

Understanding Grief and the Holiday's

By Cheryl Buroker, Graduate Intern

As we move into November, some of us may start to think about the upcoming holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, Ramadan, Kwanza, and New Year’s Day. For a lot of people, holidays can bring thoughts and feelings of happiness, but for others, there are thoughts and feelings of sadness related to the loss of a loved one.

“Holidays are for spending time with loved ones,” but when one loses a loved one, the celebration of these holidays change.  It’s difficult to enjoy the decorations, the festivities, the music, the dinners, or other things that remind of us of time we’ve spent with our loved ones. Many people feeling this sadness over the holidays want to wish the days away. However, we don’t want to avoid the grief and loss, we want to learn to deal with the pain. You may ask yourself what you can do to get through the holidays while missing your loved one, below you will find suggestions:

  • Start a new tradition or expand on the current one.
  • Make a memorial for your loved one (i.e., photobook, an ornament, a picture frame, a stuffed animal or pillow made from an article of their clothing.)
  • Tell those around you what you need. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to tell people what you do want.
  • Volunteer. Give back to the community or to others who are less fortunate.
  • Give yourself a break. The grieving process doesn’t happen overnight, don’t beat yourself up for being sad and thinking about the loss.
  • Ask for help. You may need extra support from a therapist, or from family and friends.
  • Self-Care. Do something you enjoy and that brings you comfort.

If you’d like more suggestions click the following link: https://whatsyourgrief.com/64-tips-grief-at-the-holidays/

Services that are available during holiday season:




For hearing and speech impaired: 1-800-799-4889



Observant October 2018

Clip art of 4 people holding hands

Surviving in a Social World with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Lindsay Sherwood, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist & Autism Specialist

Have you ever found yourself feeling like you just do not belong or that people do not understand you? Has anyone ever told you that something that you said or did was not appropriate and you do not understand why? Do you struggle with interacting with others?

We live in a social world, and one will struggle to be successful in this world if he/she does not follow the “rules” that our society has created. Many of us take for granted the fact that naturally we developed the social skills that are essential for success in today’s world. We drive our cars, walk the malls, place an order with a waitress at a restaurant, greet co-workers, interview for jobs, and maybe even sit down at night with our significant other to talk about our day. For most of us, these things are just a part of our everyday lives, and no one ever taught us how to do these things. For others, social interactions are painful and maybe avoided all together.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a disorder in which an individual struggles with social communication skills and demonstrates restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior. Our society seems to think that ASD looks a certain way, but the reality is that no two people on the spectrum look alike. It is a complex disorder that is often missed or misdiagnosed.

ASD is typically diagnosed in childhood as research supports that the earlier the individual receives treatment, the better the chances they have at a successful outcome. However, not all individuals are diagnosed at a young age, and it is becoming more and more common for individuals to be diagnosed as teens or adults. However, if you were to talk to these adults who have been on this journey, chances are that they would report that it was a difficult journey. Most places do not offer evaluations for ASD on individuals over the age of four. This is because there are so few resources and the resources that ARE out there tend to focus only on early intervention.

At Hope for a Better Tomorrow, we are able to offer services to individuals on the spectrum of all ages. Our staff has clinicians that specialize in ASD and offer diagnostic services as well as outpatient services. You do not have to continue to feel as though you do not belong. You do not have to feel as though your future is hopeless. Here at our clinic, we can help you on your path of self-discovery and help answer questions that you may have been chasing. We offer many services that other outpatient clinics do not (i.e. adult ASD evaluations), and we continually strive to provide our community with quality services that are much needed.

As a specialist in ASD, I am hoping to begin a social skills support group for adults in the near future. Skills to be targeted will include job interviewing skills and challenges in interpersonal relationships. Please contact our front desk if you are interested in a social skills group for teens and adults ages 16 and older. We look forward to hearing from you!



Sublime September 2018


Hand holding compass

Did you know September is National Pain Awareness Month?

Cheryl Buroker, Graduate Intern (Mount Mary University)

According to the U.S. Pain Foundation (2011), “chronic pain affects nearly 100 million Americans, more than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined.” A 2011 study showed that pain cost the U.S. up to $635 billion per year in treatments, disability payments and lost productivity (U.S. Pain Foundation, 2011).

Like most “invisible to the naked eye” illnesses, pain varies from person to person. The level of intensity and its affect differs in everyone because one’s chemical makeup and experience with the pain. Since each body is different, every person’s journey through pain management will be different. It is important to note that some pain may never be cured, but one can find a way to manage its intensity.


Methods of Management

  • Relaxation- redirecting thoughts of pain onto something you enjoy like art: music, painting, coloring, sculpting, cooking, puzzles, gardening, and more.
    • Yoga, meditation, tai chi- these methods help one to gain awareness of breathing and can teach one to be more in-tune with their body, which can lead to more of a sense of self control.
  • Positive outlook- while sometimes it is easier said than done, positive thinking/ attitudes play a role into our daily outcomes and motivation. Researchers have found negative thinking about pain attributes to poor sleeping patterns, which results to individuals feeling more pain.
  • Changing eating habits- well-balanced eating is important for one’s digestive process, weight management, improving blood sugar and improving heart functioning.
  • Cold and Heat- try a cold pack, or a heating pad. If neither of these work, you can always ask a licensed professional for their forms of these treatment which may “dive” deeper into the muscle and tissue.
  • Essential Oils- According to Advanced Pain Management (2017), “essential oils can provide relief for many serious chronic pain sufferers through their ability to penetrate cells quickly, providing oxygen and improving circulation to inflamed joints.” To find out which oils help, click this link: https://www.apmhealth.com/news-updates/apm-blog/item/137-3-pain-fighting-powers-of-essential-oils



American Chronic Pain Association. (n.d.). The art of pain management. Retrieved from https://www.theacpa.org/pain-management-tools/the-art-of-pain-management/

Advanced Pain Management Blog. (2017). 3 pain fighting powers of essential oils. [web log]. Retrieved from https://www.apmhealth.com/news-updates/apm-blog/item/137-3-pain-fighting-powers-of-essential-oils

Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Medical School. (2018). 8 non-invasive pain relief techniques that really work. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/8-non-invasive-pain-relief-techniques-that-really-work

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2012). Change in attitude may ease chronic pain by aiding sleep, study suggests. Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/change_in_attitude_may_ease_chronic_pain_by_aiding_sleep_study_suggests

U.S. Pain Foundation. (2011). About us: did you know? Retrieved from https://uspainfoundation.org/about-us/




Audacious August 2018


Women meditating

Yoga and Mental Health: The Mind/Body Connection

Dr. Sheila Gissibl, Psy D

While the physical benefits of Yoga have long been recognized, research increasingly supports the emotional and psychological benefits of this ancient practice as well. Neuroscience advancements have afforded us the opportunity to SEE firsthand the healing and recovery that occurs in the brain and nervous system when we engage in a regular Yoga practice. Subjective reports indicate a decrease in negative emotion, depression, anxiety, and symptoms of trauma, while scientific research highlights the changes in the brain as shown on imaging scans.    

Although, the mind gets most of the attention for its role in emotional balance, the body has an equal role in the process. Advancements in research areas reveal that the mind and body are actually inseparable. This interplay can make anxiety and depression feel insurmountable, but it can also be used to improve emotional balance. There are many systems within the body that has a two way relationship with the emotions- heart, circulatory, endocrine, musculoskeletal, and nervous system. Therefore the mind AND body work together to wire anxiety and depression and both should be considered in the treatment.  

Because the nervous system and our brain’s electrical wiring is integrated, we can greatly benefit from a therapeutic approach that is also integrated. Emotions behave like stress in the body (internal stressor) which tends to impact our functioning in a greater measure than external stressors. Our sympathetic nervous system responds to both the external and internal stressors in a manner that activates our fight-flight-freeze response. The body communicates with the nervous system and by bringing awareness, breath, and presence to the body despite pain or discomfort, we can interrupt the negative cycle of depression and anxiety.  A mind-body model would emphasis processing through the body rather than around it.

The nervous system is an emotional intermediary and filters all of our emotional experiences. As previously mentioned, activation can occur by internal and external stressors. Thankfully, we also have a “dimmer switch” called the parasympathetic nervous system (rest-and-digest system). It lowers the heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate, and stress hormones. It increases digestion and strengthens the immune system and revitalizes you. How do you engage this dimmer switch? The key is relaxation, an inherent part of breathing and Restorative Yoga. Many people misunderstand what relaxation actually is and how to enter it. For many people, they feel they are relaxing when watching TV, because they are lying down, or physically inactive. However, you can be inactive in your body, but still engaged in your nervous system (try watching the news!). True relaxation is deeply therapeutic, and involves muscular relaxation in the body AND quieting in the mind. Emotional reactivity is decreased and brain activity is slower, allowing for greater awareness on breath and body. Conscious breathing is essential to emotional balance.  In addition to yoga’s relaxation of body and regulation of breath, we can incorporate gazing inward without judgment, but rather with self-compassion, love and acceptance.

We cannot expect this (or anything else) to be the instant fix, and in fact instant often is not lasting. When we emphasize the outcome of our personal growth work over the process, we deny ourselves an important gift. Healing through slow, steady work enhances out self-esteem. This also allows us to make new habits through repetitive conditioning, thus creating new neural networks.

For more information, or to try Yoga for emotional balance, call today 414-841-9165.

Reference: Forbes, Bo (2011). Yoga for emotional balance. Boston, MA: Shambhala.


Joyful July 2018

A New Perspective in Court Ordered Counseling

Michael Gissibl, SAC-IT, HHP

Court ordered counseling for legal problems does not have to be a burden. I understand the financial hardship and inconveniences stemming from the legal problems, but please consider the counseling side of the requirements in a different light. I have had many clients come to see me because of court orders. They have come into my office with one goal- complying with the states requirements. They start our relationship not giving any thought as to the benefits of counseling. In in the end, however, they discover the life changing good that comes from it. Those that have found benefits in counseling have shifted their mindsets. They have taken time to consider things they would like to see different in their lives. They have made a decision to change something in their lives and have become willing to talk about it.

I encourage you to consider doing the same. If you are being mandated to see a counselor for legal problems, shift your mindset. Don't merely think that your time in counseling is for compliance reasons only. Consider two or three things in your personality, or life in general, that you would like to change. Tell your counselor and begin the process of change. In doing so you, like many of my client's, you will be thankful you did.


June Suicide Awareness Month, 2018


Woman and teenager hugging at therapy session

How we can help!

By: Cheryl Buroker, Graduate Intern (Mount Mary University)

Recently, in the media there have been talks about suicide. The focus has been on celebrities, military veterans, children, and the list goes on. So many people stop and ask themselves, "What could I do to help to prevent this from happening to someone I care about?"

Luckily, there are things we can do to help. If you have a friend or loved one who has voiced the thought of suicide or are worried about them harming themselves, here's a few things you can do:

  • Ask- ask them if they are thinking about harming themselves.
  • Keep them safe- if your loved one is thinking about taking lethal action and you can remove that from their access, it can help. Keeping them safe, might mean taking them to be around another person they feel safe with.
  • Listen- sometimes, all you need to do is be an ear.
  • Help them connect- they may have a friend, family member, spiritual adviser, sponsor, or mental health professional they can trust. If they don't feel comfortable reaching out to others, or even if they do, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's number is helpful to have in one's phone. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's number is: 1-800-273-8255.

If you are unsure of what warning signs look like, please check out the link below for more information:  https://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2018/suicide-how-you-can-make-a-difference.shtml



(2018, June 11). Retrieved June 12, 2018, from National Institute of Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2018/suicide-how-you-can-make-a-difference.shtml



May Mental Health Awareness Month, 2018

Mental Health First Aid

By Jessica Niedermayer, MS, NCC, LPC

Have you ever wondered how you would respond if a person you loved struggeld with mental illness, self-harm or suicidal thoughts?  It can be very difficult navigate those types of circumstances but there is something we call can do about it!  

Recently, training courses have become available to friends and family who have limited to no knowledge of effectively help a loved one who may experience mental health emergencies. "Mental health first aid was developed after medical practitioners decided an approach was needed that was akin to CPR and other physical first aid applications. The training is for anyone who is interested. The eight-hour class, usually offered in two sessions, teaches how to identify signs of mental illness and how to talk about it. The training is typically free as a benefit of grant funding, but a $19 fee might be charged for a manual" (Faulkner, 2017). 

"Mental health first aid focuses on ALGEE: assess for risk of suicide or harm; listen nonjudgmentally; give reassurance and information; encourage appropriate professional help; and encourage self-help and other support strategies" (Faulkner, 2017).

If anyone is interested in learning more about this amazing opportunity, please visit the website below:




Faulkner, D. (2017, April 23). Spreading message of mental health first aid. Retrieved May 11, 2017, from http://www.thewesterlysun.com/news/westerly/10236101-154/spreading-message-of-mental-health-first-aid.html


Adventurous April 2018


Silhouette of people holding hands

Supporting a Loved One

By: Jessica Niedermayer, MS, NCC, LPC

Many of us feel stuck and at a loss when faced with a family member or loved one who experiences symptoms of a mental illness. If you find yourself asking, “How can I help and/or support, What can I do?” … According to Jean Holthaus, LISW, MSW, see the following for 3 helpful strategies:

  1. Encourage your loved one to seek additional support whether in a professional or peer atmosphere. This can help your loved one to know they have other areas of support and advocacy.

  2. Express assurance, respect and acceptance toward your loved one to show you see them as a person and not their mental illness.

  3. Take time to learn more about your loved ones symptoms and/or mental illness, this can open the door for understanding and empathy.  It may even open the door for you to find support and encouragement for yourself.


Holthaus, J. The importance of mental health awareness. Retrieved April 4, 2018, from https://www.pinerest.org/mental-health-awareness/


Masterful March 2018


The Art of Confrontation

By:  Robert Keehn, LPC

Standing up for ourselves and doing so gracefully is one of the more difficult tasks we encounter in our day-to-day lives. It’s something that many of us struggle with.

Though it takes some skill and a touch of finesse it certainly isn’t impossible.

Here are a few tips to help you hone your craft without screaming at a coworker or slinking out of the supermarket after the cashier’s overcharged you… again.

1) Focus on regulating yourself: Self-regulation is the most important piece of the puzzle; it’s going to be our foundation. When it occurs to you that someone’s metaphorically (or literally) stepping on your toes - start with a deep breath. Try and get everything to slow down. When we realize we’re about to have an experience of confrontation, those trusty fight-or-flight reflexes start to kick in. We want to slow our response down so we can get back to a place of clear thinking.

2) Be direct and concise: You really don’t have to offer a Nobel Prize worthy speech. When you’re in confrontation mode, keep it to the point.

Stick to the basics: “John, please don’t speak to me in that way. ”

                               “Excuse me, Ma’am, but I believe you’ve overcharged me on the bread.”

                               “Sorry, Susan, but those aren’t my job responsibilities.”


I’m a firm believer that if you can frame confrontation in a polite way, it tends to go in your favor. You’ll often get an apologetic response. If that’s the case, thank the person for their understanding and move along.

If that isn’t the case...

3) Stand your ground: Of course, there will be times where the other person has a differing opinion and they may want to talk it out with you cordially - that’s completely okay. Have a mature conversation about the matter.

However, If the person doesn’t respect your boundaries, don’t concede! If you do, it reinforces that the person can ignore your boundary.

For instance, if the person becomes disrespectful, make a statement such as:

“John, if you continue to speak to me in a disrespectful manner, I’m going to leave.”

And if John continues? Keep to that and leave.

We hold a lot of power in our willingness to engage or withdraw. If a confrontation goes south, walk away. It sends the message that you aren’t willing to take the low road which is a huge social plus. The whole office will rejoice in the tales of your heroism.

4) Finish and transition: The vast majority of confrontations end respectfully and in a place of mutual agreement. As I mentioned, thank the person for their understanding, and transition to a new topic. I think that this is a kind thing to do. Most people are just as uncomfortable with confrontation as you are and probably feel a bit off kilter. Let them save face.

For instance:  “Thanks for your understanding, Susan. Anyways, do you have any big plans for the weekend?”

This lets Susan know that no harm’s been done to the relationship - it wasn’t personal.



Fabulous February 2018

What is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)?  

By David Sorensen, MS, NCC, LPC-IT

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is an approach to life that helps us identify and live what is important to us even in the face of pain, anxiety, sorrow, and other uncomfortable feelings.  A short story helps us understand how this can be possible.

Imagine that our life is like a bus on which we have been picking up passengers from the first day we were born. Our passengers are the thoughts, feelings, beliefs, impulses and bodily sensations we have developed as a result of our relationships with the people, places and things we have met as we traveled on the road of life.  We may not be very aware of these internal passengers until we want to make an effort to travel in a particular and sometimes new direction that is important to us.  It is then that some of these passengers can become very noisy, even resisting the actions we want to make and the directions we want to take.  

As we drive our life-bus down the road of life try a number of things that we hope can quiet these noisy ‘passengers’ (our overactive, frenzied minds and troublesome emotions).  The behaviors we experiment with seem to work for a while.  However we find the same old worries, fears, and thoughts returning.  Sometimes we tell ourselves we just need to try harder to quiet down these noisy ‘passengers’ but more of the same also doesn’t seem to work.  The harder we try to quiet these passengers along with efforts to not notice them the more noticeable they become.  The more we try to make them less noticeable and quieter the bigger and noisier they seem to be.  As we reflect on this dilemma we may notice that our efforts are beginning to consume more and more of our time and energy, sidetracking us from living the life we want to live and going in the direction we want to go as we drive our bus down the road of life.

It is then that we may seek someone who we hope can help us.  We come to therapy with goals to be happier, less anxious, more self-confident, less afraid, more calm, less angry, etc., especially when all the things that we have tried to achieve these goals not only have not worked but quite possibly have even created more problems for us. We hope to find a therapist who can show us how to do what we were unable to do by ourselves: quiet the noisy passengers on our bus so we can get on with our travels down the road of life.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy offers us a different approach.   ACT teaches us how to accept the noisy passengers that we sometimes fear will take over our bus and drive us to who knows where if we let them.  As we develop the flexibility to notice our passengers without fighting with them and without getting drawn into believing everything they may be saying to us, we then have energy to focus on what is really important to us.  We greater compassion for ourselves and others we recover the will to live out our lives doing what is really important to us. Our passengers may still be very noisy at times.  We notice that. We accept that.  And we continue on our way.

This story is just one of the many metaphors developed by Steve Hayes, the originator of ACT, and his colleagues that help us to look at and live our lives in a different way as we learn and practice the principles and insights that make up Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  If this appeals to you and want to learn more about how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy might be able to help you, come and see us.  We would be happy to talk with you.


Joyful January 2018

New Year's Resolutions

By Jessica Niedermayer, MS, NCC, LPC

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I know the month January can leave me feeling drained and perhaps a little bit stressed.  At Hope for a Better Tomorrow I urge clients to take time so they may breathe deeply and know they can be in control of the stress they may experience in there everyday life. I often encourage clients to create New Year's Resolutions as a way to set goals in order to move forward in a new year.  Recently, after reading an article by Lisa Marshall, I was prompted to think about my top three helpful strategies to share with clients (and readers just like you) so we all can begin reenergized we start to feel stress creeping back. I am all about encouraging resolutions that can last all year long...Let’s do this, 2018 here we come!

  1. Put some distance between you and your cell phone
  2. Imagine your potential and envision yourself accomplishing something positive
  3. Take 10 minutes a day to practice a mindfulness or mediation exercise


Marshall, L. (2018, January). Seven Ways to Banish Stress. Natural Awakenings , p. 21.


Delightful December 2017

Thoughts overwhelming your day? Could grounding be the answer?

By: Deb Sarnowski, MA

Often one’s thoughts can overtake the day and make concentrating, sleeping and even functioning difficult. The mind can be a powerful tool for success or create anxiety and depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy examines the functions of the mind and thinking patterns. This collaborative approach allows the client to learn how to manage thinking processes and move from unreasonable and irrational thought processes to functional and healthy thinking (Murdock, 2009). This approach helps conquer fears and anxieties to use beyond therapy and into the future.

Because the mind offers the biggest battlefield when dealing with depression, anxiety and unproductive thinking, often creating a safe place for managing thoughts can give the mind rest and help one determine if thoughts are helpful or true. Grounding tools serves as a place to slow one’s thoughts and reframe the unhelpful and untrue thoughts. Similar to electrical grounding, this physical process helps regulate the output and redirect. Grounding often involves touching the earth or the here and now physically or thoughtfully. This process helps one to reorient to the current and to manage overwhelming feelings which often accompany over thinking.  

Events, circumstances, and experiences formulate subconscious reactions to a situation which creates psychological and physiological reactions creating anxiety and depression brought on by stress or life situations. Grounding offers a tool to quiet the mind and help client be aware of their simple body responses, where the thoughts are formulated, or automatic thoughts from previous life experiences or something else. Finding alternate thoughts to help change self-talk or unhelpful cognitions after grounding, can help one challenge thoughts and reframe thinking. This in turn creates new ways of thinking (cognitions) or neuropathways. 

Some helpful techniques in grounding can be as simply reading an article, listening to calming music, reading a book or going for a walk. Often relaxation and breathing awareness can be part of the process and help one with slow down breathing to purposeful breathing. Being mindful of things in one’s current surroundings creates a safe place. For example, naming all the blue items in the room or just naming the items in the room (in your mind or out loud) can stop one from ruminating or worrying. Or when breathing, repeating the words “breath in and breath out” in your mind can help one slow down one’s mind chatter and over thinking (Curran, 2017).

By practicing these techniques and finding what works for the individual, one can learn to be aware of cognitive, emotional, behavioral, interpersonal and physiological responses. Psychological health includes a stable cognitive and emotional stability to operate functionally in everyday life. These response help both the mental, physical and spiritual health (Hill  & Pargament, 2008). In therapy, techniques in grounding are matched to the personal needs of each individual in a collaborative matter to help optimize the best solution for the client and give them tools beyond the therapy sessions. This in turn will help one develop a new healthier patterns of thinking into the future.



Curran, L. A. (2017). 101 trauma-informed interventions activities, exercises and assignments to move the client and therapy forward. Eau Claire, WI: Premier Publishing & Media.

Hill, P. C., & Pargament, K. I. (2008). Advances in the conceptualization and measurement of religion and spirituality: Implications for physical and mental health research. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, S(1), 3-17.

Murdock, N. L. (2009). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: A case approach (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.


Novel November 2017

How to Build Frustration Tolerance

By: Kelsey Dillon, MS, LPC

1. Let your child experience frustration.  Be patient and observe your child when he or she is trying a new or difficult task. It is very difficult to watch your child struggle but that is how they learn to problem-solve and work through their anger. Do not save them right away from the difficult task, be a support and maybe help talk them through it in the beginning. Do not fix it/solve it/do it right when you see the first signs of frustration.

2. Encourage the Expression of Emotions. Tell your child what you see. Do you see them crossing their arms, scowling, grunting, or saying "I can't do this"? Then label the possible feelings of anger, frustration, disappointment, etc. Say things like, "this is hard", "it might take practice", "let's take a break", or "let's try something different." Then support them in that decision.

3. Let them experience the consequences of their choices. If your child decides not to finish part of their school project they have been working on or not fixing something that was a mistake especially after you gently reminded them. Let them receive the natural consequence of a few points getting taken off. Do not go and fix the mistake after the child goes to bed.  Another example would be if a child gets up from the dinner table and you say, "If you leave the table and don't finish your food, there won't be anything else offered to eat tonight." Then right before bed your child says, "I'm hungry." Stick to your decision and follow though. No matter how hard that decision is.

4. Set Boundaries and stick to them. Children need to have limits. Some important limits would be to only allow a certain amount of time on electronics, a specific bedtime, or the amount of dessert the child is allowed to have. It is so important that the parent not only sets the limit but also sticks to them and follows through.

5. Be a role model. Your child is watching you and learning from everything you do, and how you handle your anger and frustration is a big one. How do you act when you are frustrated? Do you say "I'm done!" or "I give up"? Do you yell and stomp away? They will learn to handle their anger in the same way. Show them to express how you are feeling and take a break or problem solve a different strategy.

6. Teach Coping Skills. Count to 10. Take Deep Breaths. Go for a bike ride. Help remind your child of good choices they can make when feeling frustrated because it's okay to feel frustrated.

7. Teach them how to ask for help. Tell them it is OKAY to ask for help. It does not make them "weak" or "dumb".  Tell your child how everyone needs help sometimes. How even the President or a Doctor has many people help them with different things everyday.

8. Delay Gratification. You and your child are coloring and you are using the only blue crayon. You child feels like he or she must color the water in her picture blue right now so she tries to grab the blue crayon out of your hand. Even if you weren't coloring anything important, finish what you were doing before handing the blue crayon to your child.

9. Help Kids Identify Feelings.  Simply knowing how they feel and being able to talk about it will help them feel more in control.

10. Play Board Games. They require taking turns, following rules, and losing every now and again. It is a great way to practice frustration tolerance with your kids.


Outstanding October 2017

The lotus flower is a symbol of detachment, of loving and letting go, of saying goodbye to the old and hello to who knows what...

By Bonnie Leggo, MSW, LCSW, CSAC

I recently got this painting from a client – I'll call her Rene – who is moving out of state with her partner. She attached a beautiful note to it, thanking me for helping her "flower to bloom".

When she gave it to me, I began to tear up, and so did she.

By no coincidence, I also recently started re-reading The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler. In discussing the role of Mentor, the author reminds us all that, "Anyone who has ever taught knows that you learn as much from your students as they do from you." (40). Although I would not go so far as to consider myself Rene's mentor, I do recognize the impact that each and every client has on my life. Some days I am better at remembering this than others. Rene has had a way of making this pretty easy for me.

She is an artist – by trade and also by heart – and she has taught me to remember that part of me, that once wrote hundreds of pages of a book I never finished, and to not be afraid to pick up the pen or the keyboard again. She showed this to me countless times, in returning to her painting or sculpture, and then returning to my office to share her enthusiasm.

Rene and I worked together and utilized EMDR in order to fully process some previous memories that seemed to be holding her back from making decisions she wanted to make, like moving out of state and returning to a facet of her work that she had not had time for.

What has impacted me the most about my time working with Rene has been her courage to be honest with herself and what she needs in her life. Twenty years ago, I do not think I could have done the work she has done. She has been gutsy in facing some challenging and also important decisions about what is important in her own life. Finally, she has reminded me (and will continue to, as her painting is now hanging in my daughter's bedroom above her crib) that the only way to be open to new experiences is to make room for them, and let go of what no longer works.

Her heart is open to what is next, and I wish her strength in what is to come. I know she will continue to create lotus flowers wherever she goes. Goodbye for now, Rene. And hello to all that comes next.


Splendid September 2017

Freedom from Addiction

By: Michael Gissibl, HHP, SAC-IT

Freedom from addiction begins with a change of mind. The benefits discovered during the process of recovery are realized as we collapse present conditioned responses of the mind. The collapse begins as we form new responses in the mind to help facilitate freedom from addictions. As these new responses become conditioned, they move you out of one realm of existence, the culture of addiction, and into another realm of existence, the realm of freedom.

The process of transition from the culture of addiction to the culture of freedom is like building a house. You must gather the right materials and then begin building. These right materials are gathered most effectively as you form specific social networks and incorporate coping skills that facilitate freedom form bondage. Therapy becomes an important component to your social network as you discover not only what steered you into the culture of addiction but identify vehicles of transportation into a life of freedom. We were not created to be ruled by anything, but rather to rule over all our circumstances, including what we put into our bodies.

If you are struggling with an addiction of any kind- help is here. Even legal problems can be used for personal growth and healing. Call today to get scheduled and on the path to freedom!


Ambitious August 2017

Mindfulness Skills and Benefits

By: Arianna Katrichis

Often times in our lives we get stuck into a routine that becomes so predictable and monotonous, we don’t even have to think about doing it.  Using mindfulness is a way to break that cycle and be more aware of the actions you are performing daily.  Mindfulness is focusing on the here and now to bring awareness to those things in our life we often breeze over.

Mindfulness Techniques to practice at home:

  1. Breathing: Mindful breathing is as simple as putting all of your focus onto the breaths you are taking. By taking controlled, deep breaths in and out, it helps re-center yourself from any distractions or stressors going on around you.  Any time you feel anxious or stressed, trying taking a deep breath in for 3 seconds, holding that same breath for 2 seconds, and then exhaling for 4 seconds.  You can do this as many times as you need!

  2. Meditation: Find a quiet place to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.  This practice can be done with a guided meditation recording or simply taking that time to sit and focus on your body awareness and breathing.  Consciously and slowly relax each part of your body working your way from your toes to your head.  Inhale and exhale slowly as you relax each part of your body and feel all of the worries, stress, and tension leave your body.

  3. Five Senses:  This grounding activity can be done wherever and whenever you need to do a quick mindfulness practice.  Focus on the environment around you and use your five senses.  Look around and name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.  This helps you process your thoughts through your five senses.

Learning to practice mindfulness in your everyday life activities can benefit all areas of your life.  Some benefits of practicing mindfulness are:

  1. Physical Health:  Practicing mindfulness can have positive influences on your physical health. Mindfulness can help relieve stress, lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, and improve sleep.

  2. Mental Health:  In more recent years, therapists have started incorporating more mindfulness into their therapy practices.  This can help in the process of treating depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.  Mindfulness helps replace maladaptive coping skills and behaviors by replacing them with a healthier option for processing positive or negative experiences.  


Davis, D. M. & Hayes, J. A.  (2011).  What are the benefits of Mindfulness?  A practice review of psychotherapy-related research.  American Psychological Association, 48(2) 198-208.  


Jazzy July 2017

Emotional Regulation Skills

By: Jessica Niedermayer, MS, NCC, LPC

Emotional regulation is an important component to living a mentally healthy life. As people, we are designed to feel and express emotion, and there are moments when our actions are controlled by our emotions. When this occurs, it can lead to regret and the hope that we can recover from actions. This article offers tips and suggestions that can allow you take control of a seemingly out of control circumstance. Emotional regulation offers many benefits, including but not limited to, increased empathy and improvement of mood.

When you begin to experience emotions that are leading you to act in ways you may regret, consider the techniques listed below on how to effectively practice emotional regulation:

  1. Take a time out -- breathe in and out deeply, and slowly.  Take a step back from the situation to observe what you know to be true.
  2. Imagine understanding -- step into the other person's shoes, try to see the situation from the other point of view.
  3. Be kind -- rather than throwing insults or reacting in a harsh manner.
  4. Change your posture -- unclench your hands and teeth, relax the muscles of your stomach, chest and face.


Linehan, M. M. (2015). DBT Skills Training Manual (2nd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.


Jubilant June 2017

Body-Mind Connection - Why Take Nutritional Supplements?

By: Geralyn Schwalenberg, LCSW, RN, Psychotherapist

An excellent holistic chiropractor once said to me that every dollar I spend on taking care of my health I will save, ten-fold on future medical bills.  What a great return on investment!  This article is to encourage you to EDUCATE YOURSELF!

Many people think supplements are just for the health of your body. Not true!  What you eat, including supplements can have a dramatic effect on your mental health. Remember, the blood that flows through your body flows into your brain. Too often mental health professionals treat mood disorders as something “in your mind or psyche” and pay no attention to health.   This trend is changing, thank Goodness!  Now science is telling us that our gut bacteria is related to our mood. No surprise here because our gut bacteria makes vitamins for us, particularly B vitamins that are burned up daily when you are under any sort of stress. 

The following are basic supplements I recommend for people to improve their health and mental health.  If you take prescription psychiatric medication, taking supplements might improve their efficacy or reduce side effects.  These supplements are recommended over and above a whole foods (unprocessed) diet and plenty of water for hydration.

Probiotics capsules

Hi potency Vitamin B Complex capsules such as B-100. Look for one that has choline and inositol added as these are so important for the brain. Take with food once or twice daily to counteract stress and fatigue.

Activated B complex capsules.  Many people have genetic anomalies in which they do not metabolize certain elements of Vitamin B very well. It helps the B-100 work even better. Jarrow “B Right”  is one such brand.

No Flush Niacin: Powerful B vitamin that helps the brain fight all sorts of mood issues. Take 2-3x daily with food. Read, “Niacin – The Real Story” by Dr. Andrew Saul or watch his You Tube video on Niacin.

Vitamin C: Powerful anti-oxidant that boosts immunity, supports detoxification and gives energy.  Educate yourself on Vitamin C by watching Dr. Andrew Saul on You Tube.  Learn about Vitamin C to bowel tolerance, videos on You Tube.  You cannot overdose on Vitamin C-- it is safer than water.  Human beings and guinea pigs are the only mammals that cannot make vitamin C in the body from glucose. When other “animals” are stressed, they make boatloads of vitamin C! 

Vitamin D: Take supplements, all year long, especially if you live in northern climates. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin that works to create the positive, feel good, neurotransmitter dopamine in your brain.

Multi-Vitamin/Mineral capsules.  Once or twice daily with food

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: If you don’t eat fish multiple times weekly take a supplement it is good for your brain and body.

For special issues:

5HTP for anxious sadness. Take between meals. Alternatively, L-tryptophan which also helps taken before bed. Take enough for it to work. Free book on line:  “Look-up From Down” by Dr. Sagle.  Another book: Mood Cure by Julia Ross.

L-Tyrosine or NALT for low energy depression and to improve focus. Take between meals with a bit of fruit juice not too close to bedtime as it can be activating.

DLPA for low energy depression or lack of joy. Between meals with juice not too close to bedtime.

L-Theanine: to increase BDNF

Lithium Orotate: for many mood issues!  Most people take 1-4 pills once to twice daily.  Read “Lithium Orotate – a Cinderella Story” and watch You Tube Dr. John Grey.

Glycine Powder: helps increase GABA a calming neurotransmitter. Take this if you have anxiety or suffer sleep issues. Sleep usually requires 3,000 mg. If you wake up, you can repeat dose.

Take charge of your health.  This article is not to replace medical advice and it is your responsibility to check with your doctor or pharmacist for potential rug/supplement interactions or other reasons you should avoid certain supplements.



May 2017-- Mental Health Awareness Month


Mental Health First Aid

By Jessica Niedermayer, MS, NCC, LPC

Have you ever wondered how you would respond if a person you loved struggeld with mental illness, self-harm or suicidal thoughts?  It can be very difficult navigate those types of circumstances but there is something we call can do about it!  

Recently, training courses have become available to friends and family who have limited to no knowledge of effectively help a loved one who may experience mental health emergencies. "Mental health first aid was developed after medical practitioners decided an approach was needed that was akin to CPR and other physical first aid applications. The training is for anyone who is interested. The eight-hour class, usually offered in two sessions, teaches how to identify signs of mental illness and how to talk about it. The training is typically free as a benefit of grant funding, but a $19 fee might be charged for a manual" (Faulkner, 2017). 

"Mental health first aid focuses on ALGEE: assess for risk of suicide or harm; listen nonjudgmentally; give reassurance and information; encourage appropriate professional help; and encourage self-help and other support strategies" (Faulkner, 2017).

If anyone is interested in learning more about this amazing opportunity, please visit the website below:




Faulkner, D. (2017, April 23). Spreading message of mental health first aid. Retrieved May 11, 2017, from http://www.thewesterlysun.com/news/westerly/10236101-154/spreading-message-of-mental-health-first-aid.html


Ambitious April 2017

The Effectiveness of Gender Specific Group Therapy as it relates to Substance Abuse Recovery

Deb Sarnowski, MA, LPC-IT, SAC-IT

Substance abuse can often be a complicated puzzle when trying to tackle change without support. Both individual and group therapy provide the tools needed as one embarks on changing the patterns which reinforce addiction. The people, places and things in life often trigger relapse and the constant cycle of addiction. Individual counseling helps with the underline issues personalized for one’s needs, while group counseling offers the social reinforcement and skills needed to handle day to day interactions. These tools prevent relapse and encourage continued recovery (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2005; Yalom, 1985).  Research also indicated group therapy produced a significant reduction of substance abuse (Greenfield, Sugarman, Freid, Bailey, Crisafulli, Kaufman, Fitzmaurice, 2014).  In addition, gender specific recovery groups have an added benefit since the communication style presents very differently in a mixed gender group. Women in particular reported feeling safer, supported and enjoyed topics specifically tailored to their needs as women in recovery (Greenfield, Cummings, Kuper, Wigderson, & Koro-Ljungberg, 2013). The need for gender specific counseling in substance abuse recovery groups contributes an extra step in offering effective and ongoing recovery.

The Women’s Recovery Skills group at Hope for a Better Tomorrow will meet the general needs of overcoming substance abuse and specific skills focused on women and their life challenges with addiction. This open group’s focus will be both psychoeducational and skills development. This group will allow time for learning the tools of recovery, discussing and practicing skills within the safety of the group, and homework to practice the application outside of therapy. Some of the subjects covered will include confidence in temptation, problem solving, day by day decision making, mindfulness, living one day at a time, setting goals and preparing to change, decisional balance and other subjects relevant to the group. This group supports the successful focus of group therapy and each individuals need in recovery.

Because this group will be a therapeutic focus, there will be some requirements for participation. Participants must also partake in individual therapy and meet with the group leader (Deb Sarnowski) before participating in the group therapy. This group will be restricted to women eighteen or older and will meet Tuesday from 4:30-6:00 PM.  For more information, please call the office at 262.313.8339 or talk to your therapist at Hope.



Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2005. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 41.) 1 Groups and Substance Abuse Treatment. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64223/

Greenfield, S. F., Cummings, A. M., Kuper, L. E., Wigderson, S. B., & Koro-Ljungberg, M. (2013). A Qualitative Analysis of Women's Experiences in Single-Gender Versus Mixed-Gender Substance Abuse Group Therapy. Substance Use & Misuse, 48(9), 772-782.

Greenfield, S. F., Sugarman, D. E., Freid, C. M., Bailey, G. L., Crisafulli, M. A., Kaufman, J. S., . . . Fitzmaurice, G. M. (2014). Group therapy for women with substance use disorders: Results from the women's recovery group study. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 142, 245-253. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.06.035

Yalom, I. D. (1985). The theory and practice of group psychotherapy (3rd ed.). New York: Basic Books


Mindful March 2017


By Bonnie Leggo, MSW, LCSW, CSAC

When we consider someone's experiences in childhood and there is recognition of abuse or neglect, resolving trauma or attachment issues becomes a goal of treatment. In EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), we utilize the various implicit memory aspects – pictures, emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations – that people learn to recognize are a part of those traumas or attachment wounds. 

This is because instead of using words and a story (explicit memory), trauma memories are laid down in the brain in fragments – pictures, thoughts, sounds, sensations, with highly charged emotions. These fragments need to be fully processed, literally to make this implicit information explicit. And this is where EMDR therapists focus a great deal of time with their clients.

There is a great deal more to the process, but what I want to focus on for this monthly topic is the need for mindfulness, for all types of therapy, and most certainly for EMDR work.

In sessions, my clients and I begin our work with mindful breathing. This serves to calm the nervous system and offer us both a time to "be here now" before starting the challenging work of naming and processing those fragments. There is no special training needed for mindful breathing. Some things that can assist the process are a calm, quiet place with comfortable pillows or seating, the willingness to close your eyes and silence your phone, and your two hands – one to place on your chest, and the other on your abdomen. Breathing through your nose a little slower and deeper than usual, concentrate on breathing all the way through your lungs into the stomach, like mammals (such as infant humans) do to calm themselves. And then allow that breath to make its way out of your body, also through your nose, in its own time. There is no need to strain or push the breath. Just be with it, and allow it to re-center you and remind you of its importance. Without the breath, we have nothing else.

Whether or not EMDR is the right therapy for you, one thing every human can agree upon is the need for re-centering, in and out of therapy. One of Milwaukee's most accomplished Jungian Psychiatrists and Addictionologists has been known to say, "Each person's life is the space between his first inhalation at birth and last exhalation at death." As we look forward to the spring season, let's remember to consciously breathe and enjoy this time we each have between that first and last breath.

For more information about EMDR, please visit: http://www.emdria.org, EMDR's International Association.


Fantastic February 2017 

Managing Your Eating Disorder After The Holidays 

By Robert Keehn, MS, NCC, LPC

So, you’ve made it!  Another holiday season under wraps… pun intended? For folks with eating disorders, the holidays can be both a welcomed distraction from day-to-day food and weight worries, a reprieve from feeling isolated, and a source of healthy support and connection.  With that being said, the holidays are incredibly food-centric with a theme of feasting and indulgence. This can make life tough for someone with an ED.  With all of the comfort foods, public eating, and constant temptation... even the strongest recovery can take a hit. 

Seeing the scale go up can be a struggle when it comes to negative thoughts.  Doubt these.  Holiday weight gain is a real thing.  If you don’t believe me, consult Google!  There’s at least a million articles.  It's not just you.  With that aside, shouldn’t you be allowed to indulge too?  You deserve sugar cookies and seconds on Mom’s mashed potatoes as much as anyone.  Be kind to yourself.  If you adopt a punitive attitude, you’ll only be working against yourself.

Old habits of restriction, binge/purge, and so on, can start to look attractive.  Remember: It's a trap!  Start small.  Ease back into your routine one step at a time.  If you’ve started restricting, try to get back to the meal plan you had established before the holidays.  If you’re feeling the urge to purge, find a distraction until it passes.  If you’re looking to binge, leave your wallet at home.  Set your sights back on managing your feelings, not food. 

What can you do to manage these least pleasant of emotions?  To keep it simple: mindful relaxation, enjoyable activity, social support.  Simple is our mantra. Just in case you need some ideas: meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, journaling, jogging/walking/hiking, arts and crafts, sports, reading, films, and naturally, keeping in touch with your therapist!

If you don’t already have a therapist, we can help with that!  Robert is the clinic eating disorder specialist.  He received his training through Aurora Psychiatric Hospital’s Eating Disorder Services, and is accepting new clients.  Individual therapy is currently available, and an ED support group will be offered once we have enough members.  If interested, don’t hesitate to give us a call!


Joyful January 2017

By Jessica Niedermayer, MS, NCC, LPC

Here at Hope for a Better Tomorrow we offer a variety of services from individual therapy to couples therapy and now we are proud to offer a unique group therapy experience focusing on skills training using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Originally created in the late 1970’s by psychologist Marsha Linehan, this therapeutic process focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, skills/support oriented and collaborative in nature.  In a group setting, DBT assists clients in identifying strengths and skills to alleviate painful and distressing feelings/emotions.  In addition to identifying strengths, DBT is collaborative meaning clients are never alone in their journey.  Members of the DBT group must participate in individual therapy co-currently. The individual therapist aids the client to learn, apply and master the DBT skills learned and reviewed in the learn group setting (Psych Central, 2016).

At Hope for a Better Tomorrow, our group therapy sessions are led by Jessica Niedermayer, MS, NCC, LPC where she breaks down the DBT process into the follow steps: Distress Tolerance Skills, Mindfulness Skills, Emotional Regulation Skills and Interpersonal Effectiveness Skills.  In the group setting, “DBT asks clients to complete homework assignments, to role-play new ways of interacting with others, and to practice skills such as utilizing self-soothing techniques when upset. These skills, a crucial part of DBT, are taught in weekly lectures, reviewed in weekly homework groups, and referred to in nearly every group” (Psych Central, 2016). 

If you are a current client with us, we encourage you to discuss DBT with your individual therapist but if you are looking to join the group please contact our front desk for more information.



An Overview of Dialectical Behavior Therapy | Psych Central. (2016). Retrieved December 07, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/an-overview-of-dialectical-behavior-therapy/



Delightful December 2016



By David Sorenson, MS, NCC, LPC-IT

Brainspotting is a treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, and dissociation along with a variety of other challenging symptoms.  It is used within the context of a trusting, therapeutic relationship where a person feels heard, accepted, and understood.  Within this therapeutic relationship Bainspotting gives us a tool to locate, focus, process, and release experiences and symptoms that are typically out of reach of the conscious mind and its cognitive and language capacities.

Brainspotting works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the body's central nervous system. Brainspottlng is accordingly a physiological tool/treatment which has profound psychological, emotional, and physical consequences.

A "Brainspot" is an eye position which is related to the energized emotional activation of a traumatic/emotionally charged issue stored within the brain.  Located by eye position and paired with externally observed and internally experienced reflexive responses, a Brainspot is actually a physiological subsystem holding emotional experience in memory form.  When a Brainspot is stimulated, the deep brain reflexively signals that an area of significance has been located.  There are a variety of reflexive responses, including eye twitches, wobbles, freezes, blinks (hard and double blinks) and pupil dilation. 

As the client maintains the eye position (Brainspot) along with an intentional focus on the body's felt sense of that issue or trauma, a deeply integrating and healing process is stimulated within the brain that appears to stimulate, focus, and activate the body's inherent capacity to heal itself from painful imprint of trauma This can lead to a more positive outlook on life, a more compassionate relationship with one’s self, and an improved capacity to develop more satisfying relationships with others.  


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