We are so excited to welcome Isom E. White, LCSW to Counseling Associates for Well-Being here in our Athens office!  He is a  very thoughtful, skilled, and warm clinician who enjoys working with older adolescents, young adults, and adults through the lifespan.  He has some rich experience working with  people to help them  heal from trauma as well as  helping them navigate life transitions. He enjoys helping people with relationship struggles, anxiety and depression.  He is available to schedule new clients in our Athens location. Isom is offering a limited number of reduced fee openings for those that cannot pay regular fees.  Please contact him at 706.425.8900 ext 719 or by email at Isom@ca4wellbeing.com to set up a time to get started.

From Isom about himself:

“My passion centers around guiding clients throughout the journey of life while assisting them in the cultivation of their dreams, ambitions, and goals. My approach to treatment begins through a compassionate lens of the “person-in-environment”, the idea that an individual, couple, or family cannot be understood fully without respect for the various aspects of their social, familial, temporal, spiritual, economic, and physical environments.

I enjoy working with a variety of populations: late-adolescents, college students, adults, LGBTQIA, couples, and families dealing with anxiety, depression, anger, grief and loss, trauma, and life-transitional issues. I also embrace working with men’s issues and athletes with performance issues. As an African-American therapist I hold a strong commitment to enhancing the quality of life and empowering people of African ancestry through advocacy, human services delivery, and research.

In  both my personal and professional life, I am cultivating a mindfulness practice. Practicing mindfulness has allowed me to intimately connect with the present moment thereby enhancing my relationship between mind-body, with loved ones, and with nature. I find incorporating mindfulness-based Cognitive behavioral interventions including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) enhance the therapeutic process by cultivating non-judgemental awareness, compassion, and purpose. I apply these principles to the therapeutic relationship by cultivating a warm, non-judgmental environment, allowing clients to feel safe in connecting with the most intimate parts of themselves so that they may begin the healing process.

My therapeutic philosophy incorporates trauma-informed approaches to therapy. Often times out of necessity, survivors of trauma need to disconnect from themselves (mind & body) to survive the most difficult and horrific experiences of their lives. Using a trauma-informed lens, my hope is to assist clients in healing the fractures of trauma by re-establishing the connection between their mind and bodies. I find the use of the evidence-based trauma treatment “Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing” (EMDR) assists individuals in the healing process by making links between unhelpful aspects of traumatic memories and present day problems.In my personal life I am a husband, brother, and devoted dog-parent to my, pitbull-boxer mix, Maple. Georgia has been my home for over 15 years now but I still consider myself a native Chicagoan. During my spare time, hobbies I enjoy include: coaching & playing lacrosse, video games, weightlifting, and caring for my Bonsai tree collection.”

 

 

 

Our second date is set! We are having an Ethics workshop in Athens, GA!
The Ethics of Self: Self-Awareness, Values and Wellness of the Therapist.

This has been approved for 5 hours of Ethics CE’s by LPCA-GA and NASW-GA (If you already have your ethics count this as your Core hours). This will be a 5 hour Ethics CE Workshop on Friday, August 17th, 2018. Registration is $100. Sign up now!
We will be learning some important ethical principles and having some excellent experiential learning around self care and mindful awareness– doing some relaxation, learning some light yoga skills. Put on some comfortable clothes and come and give yourself some love!
Contact Aimee.cawb@gmail.com to register — or call her at 706-425-8900 ext 710.
See you there!!

We at Counseling Associates for Well-Being want to extend our warmest wishes to our long time colleague and friend, Pamela Clardy Key, who has left us to develop and expand her work. She is working on a new and innovative Biofeedback and Neurofeedback program nearby.
Please check out her newest endeavors:
Pamela Clardy Key, Neurofeedback Practitioner
Creating Clarity, LLC
1 Huntington Road, Suite 205
Athens, GA 30606
(706) 395-3097
Email: creatingclarity@live.com
Website: creating-clarity.net

We are so very happy to announce the latest associate with Counseling Associates for Well-Being. Leslie Sessley, LCSW has a fabulous new office in Decatur. This is another location to add to our already existing locations in Athens, Madison, and Alpharetta, Georgia.  She is available to see clients in Decatur and surrounding areas. Leslie accepts Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield  insurance plans.

She is a skilled family and individual therapist who has some valuable experience helping those who are stressed by the tasks of caregiving or having aging parents as well as other complicated family dynamics. Leslie has training and expertise on neurodegenerative conditions and does peer training  on these topics. She has completed training  in mediation.  She is warm and friendly and super smart. We couldn’t recommend her more.
Please check here for more about her.
https://ca4wellbeing.com/about/leslie-sessley/

Leslie_Sessley_Associates_Page

We are so pleased to welcome the latest addition to our team at Counseling Associates for Well-Being, Aaron Kirkwood.  Aaron is a masters graduate of a marriage and family therapy program.  He is available to see couples, individuals, and families in our Athens office. He is offering reduced fee services for those that need that and offers some evening and weekend hours. He will also be serving as our new intake coordinator, assuring that people who contact us for care are connected to the best options for them.
https://ca4wellbeing.com/about/aaron-d-kirkwood/

Aaron D Kirkwood

 

Congratulations to our colleague and friend who has just opened her own new office in Athens. Susanna Rains Moriarty,  LPC, CRC. She can now be found here:

Athens Counseling Center
160 Tracy St.,  Athens  GA 30601
We wish her all the best in her new location

 

I recently watched a TED Talk by the world renown relationship expert, Esther  Perel,  about infidelity.   http://www.ted.com/talks/esther_perel_rethinking_infidelity_a_talk_for_anyone_who_has_ever_loved

In it, she points out that the data about the occurrence of affairs is hard to pin down because the definition of an affair or infidelity is varied. She says that the numbers range from  26% to 75% depending on the source.  That’s very common even at the low end.  So it seems that information about affairs and their impact on our lives is extremely important for all of us.

I have worked for quite some time now with couples reeling in the aftermath of the discovery of an affair, or individuals who have been affected by an affair in their relationship—either because they are in the midst of one, grieving the end of one, or blown apart by the discovery of their partner’s affair.

I think that Ms. Perel’s assertion that affairs can be the final blow to an already damaged marriage or relationship,  or may in fact be  the greatest opportunity,  is absolutely correct.  The chance to examine and search for what she terms “lost parts” of ourselves or our partners is invaluable.  She jokes that she isn’t “pro-affair”, and to be so would be akin to being “pro-cancer.”  But in the aftermath of such a life-changing event, one cannot help but be somehow different.

I have suggested on many occasions to the couples I have been privileged to work with that, that they may eventually come to be grateful for the discovery of the affair.  I am often initially met with doubting looks  to put it mildly.

You don’t just get married or move in together and never feel an attraction for any other person ever again. You don’t simply remain “in love” and tremendously attracted to your partner either. The intimacy and closeness in a relationship takes work. It takes attention. It needs to be tended to and nurtured, in a conscious, deliberate way.    The awareness of this is the gift that can come from of the discovery of an affair.  Even in instances in which one partner does not know about the affair because it is neither discovered nor disclosed, the person having the affair has an opportunity to explore the meaning of the affair. They can learn about the desires and the longing that may have led to the crossing of some line. In that process of reflection, there is a fantastic chance to grow—t o be more mindfully aware, and to clarify who we are and what we value.

When there is a discovery that leads to the trust being  broken between two people,  it can seem like an overwhelming blow,  one  that seems impossible to recover from.  However, I have witnessed the beautiful transformation that can happen between two people as they work to understand themselves and each other, and to truly love one another through the most painful of processes. I have seen the bond or connection that deepens in the most remarkable ways as people share their most vulnerable selves, and find that the person  that they once felt a giddy  in love feeling with,  can see all their flaws, forgive their mistakes,  and still remain lovingly there –committed to the relationship.   It takes time, and work, and hope, and patience, but yes, you can recover.

For help with Affair Recovery contact Claire Zimmerman at Claire@ca4wellbeing.com

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We have a new Career counselor in Athens! We at Counseling  Associates for Well- Being are  very happy to welcome our newest associate this week. Marian Higgins, PhD., LPC  is joining us. She is an experienced Career Counselor who specializes in helping people with all things work related. This includes making choices about career paths, dealing with work stress, workplace diversity issues, work or career transitions, and  workplace relationship challenges. Dr. Higgins is an experienced speaker and educator as well. She presents on topics related to leadership, inclusion, and strategies for  college success . Check here for information about her speaking:  http://www.marianhiggins.com/#!speaking/cv53

She can help if you are feeling stuck in your career and looking for direction. If you are struggling with a difficult job change, having problems with co-worker relationships, or managing things related to your work-life balance, consider seeing Marian.  These are all great reasons to see a great career counselor. She has a great deal of experience with helping young adults with navigating educational choices as well. We are thrilled to have her join us!

https://ca4wellbeing.com/about/marian-higgins/

Please call her for all your work and career related needs at 706-425-8900

Marian Higgins

Marian Higgins, PhD., LPC, Career counselor

claire_ca4well

I often hear from people who are in relationships and feeling disconnected or dissatisfied, who ask me if they need to get their partners to come in for relationship therapy and counseling—or should they just come in alone?  Sometimes people want to know if they can come in and explain to me what is wrong with their mate, so that I can offer advice about how to change him or her.  Or they think that once they present their case to me, I will proclaim that they are clearly the saner of the two and therefore they can go armed back to the spouse with an expert recommendation that he or she must rush in for an appointment to be fixed.  Occasionally someone may just also want to come in to process how they are feeling about a relationship. They don’t feel comfortable being open or honest enough yet with the partner to say what they need to say. Or they aren’t clear about how to proceed. This is often the case when people have become so distant or disconnected that there is little emotional intimacy or when things have been so charged, and tense that there is no emotional safety.  

 Of course,  to make the relationship better,  it is generally better to bring in the other person if you can.  It is easier to change the dynamics of a relationship by working with both people who participate in and are a part of that relationship.  

  In many instances, coming in alone is truly the only option when partners are reluctant to participate.  No, you can’t change anyone except yourself. You can certainly affect and influence people to be sure. And you can change a relationship by changing the way you are in that relationship.    

 To be really clear again, this does not mean that if come alone, you will be able to learn some tricks to make your partner change into a new person.   Simply that you can learn in individual work how to change what you contribute and therefore things might change between you.  

So along those lines, there is this saying that goes something like this: “In order to love someone else, you first must love yourself.”  I have been contemplating this a bit. I think the essence of this idea is perhaps not so much about loving yourself in the “I think I am the most awesome person ever” way, but more in the” I know myself and accept myself and am therefore able to recognize my needs – and therefore will be able to articulate those needs to someone else” way. This is one of the most important elements in being able to connect with someone else.  In order to be close to someone and truly be connected in an intimate way, you have to be able to access who you are.  You have to be able to show up.

There is a safety and security that comes from being comfortable with and accepting of yourself.  It allows you to be more open to learning about and “visiting with” someone else’s experience and perspective, without being unsettled by it.  For example if you discover that the person you are relating to has a different value or perspective than you do, you can be curious and empathic rather than defensive, or guarded, or challenged, or scared.   You can connect, show up, and be “ok.”

So, in summary, if your relationship isn’t working well for you, invite your partner to  work on it with you. If you can’t invite them because you aren’t sure how they will respond and it unsettles you to do so, come on in alone. Or if you ask, and the answer is a definite no, come on in alone.  Or if you aren’t sure yet if you want to work on it or let it go, come on in alone.  We can work on your growth and self-love and acceptance, and  help you to love better as a result.        Claire Zimmerman, LCSW   

claire_ca4well

So we just finished the Thanksgiving holiday celebration.  As it happens, my  birthday week falls around Thanksgiving every year. These birthday things keep happening year after year no matter what.  They are often a time to reflect, to take stock. I don’t generally enjoy so much thinking, but this year I thought about what I am thankful for about my advancing age.

I love that I finally can stop wishing that I can one day live up to the incredibly unrealistic physical image of 20 year old super models. I love that the things I now value are so much more important. I actually pause to be grateful that I can walk up flights of stairs or enjoy the beauty of the beach or enjoy a fabulous meal with friends or family.

I am grateful to have time to read even if some days  it is just the newspaper, or the captions under the pretty photos in my favorite magazines. I am grateful  to have some ideas about what I enjoy, and also to still have an abundance of curiosity about what else there might be to discover.

I am grateful that my vision is no longer what it once was. I marvel at the genius of the design that allows me to lose the ability to see clearly the wrinkles that are spreading like fine webs under my eyes.

I am grateful for the realization that painful moments do in fact finally end. When I was younger, it was so much harder to endure things that were difficult when I had no idea that “these things pass.”  I am grateful that there are still so many things to look forward to.   Getting older is getting better and better!  And gratitude is a wonderful thing.