29 Oct 2014
October 29, 2014

The Platinum Rule


As a child you probably learned The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  It is a simple rule that helps children gain a perspective outside of themselves.  The limitation to this rule, however, is the assumption that all people want the same things.  More helpful to relationships is The Platinum Rule: Treat others the way THEY want to be treated.

The Golden Rule falls short when what we need isn’t exactly what others would need if they were in the same situation. I once worked with a client whose wife took a variety of medications each day. By his own report, he nagged her every day, reminding her and checking to see if she had taken her doses. She finally told him, “Please don’t say another word about my medication.” “But what if you forget?” my client asked. “Then I forget. I would rather not take my medication than be hounded by you all of the time,” his wife explained. He looked at me incredulously as he recounted this story. “What, am I just not supposed to care?!”

From my client’s perspective, he was simply expressing his love for his wife. It was his way of caring about and for her. He had difficulty separating the feeling of caring for her from the action of reminding and nagging her. He believed that if the roles were reversed, he would feel very loved and cared for if his wife helped him remember to take his medication. He had applied The Golden Rule. His wife, on the other hand, would have much preferred The Platinum Rule: Treat others the way THEY want to be treated. Her illness had already compromised some of her independence. To be constantly nagged and reminded made her feel even more like a child.

The challenge of The Platinum Rule is to be willing to listen empathically to your loved one’s needs. If you are finding yourself having difficulty communicating your needs to your loved ones, or, are confused as to why your “help” isn’t being graciously received, please give me a call or send me an email. Let’s talk about it.

Susanna Rains Moriarty, LPC, CRC

706-425-8900 ext 709






07 Oct 2014
October 7, 2014

Spiritual Apathy



Recently, I read an article about spiritual apathy. It was written by Abbot Christopher Jamison and was adapted from his book, Finding Happiness. Jamison made some thought provoking points about the disconnect between our actions and our motivations about our actions. He describes apathy as the eighth deadly sin. The following is his description of spiritual apathy.

“The Seven Deadly sins, pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony and lust are derived from the Eight Thoughts of the monk John Cassian. Pope Gregory the Great in the sixth century removed one vice , acedia, a Greek word which can be translated as spiritual apathy. When this word disappeared from ordinary people’s vocabulary, it deprived Western culture of the ability to name and important feature of the spiritual life, namely, loss of enthusiasm for the spiritual life itself.”

“The purpose of such lists, like the seven deadly sins or eight thoughts is to provide a framework within which people can develop self-awareness. Self-awareness is different from introspection. Introspection is only looking at me, whereas self-awareness involves considering how I act with the world around me. Self-awareness is paying attention to how I relate with people and things. It involves understanding how one’s outlook affects the way one sees the world and how it affects the world itself.”

The conclusion drawn here is that a lack of self-awareness leads to apathy, which is simply not caring. When we do not consider the condition of our core, or our soul, we become complacent and careless. When our words and actions match our belief system, we exhibit care for those around us in significant and life changing ways.

One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelo. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This is so very true about both good and bad feelings. I can remember being in a store once, trying to exchange an item and a clerk being rude to me. In fact, she looked past me in line and asked if she could help the woman behind me. I felt angry and small. I will remember that for a while.

On the other hand, I remember while babysitting as a teenager, breaking a silver pitcher that belonged to the family. I was so afraid the mother of the children would be angry at me. When I told her what happened, she said, “I am not angry, I love you so much more than this pitcher.” This happened when I was 16. I will never forget that I felt loved and valued.

Paying attention to how our actions affect others is a way to guard ourselves from spiritual apathy. Spiritual carelessness is a way to produce reckless behaviors towards others. Spiritual exercises keep us self-aware and compassionate. Apathy is a sign that something deep within needs attention. Spiritual disciplines can lead to a more fulfilling life.


Recently, researchers Nobert Schwartz and Spike W.S. Lee published a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology that challenges some of our romantic myths about love, relationships, and marriage. Schwartz and Lee found in two separate experiments that how couples frame their relationship in terms of metaphor,  will influence their ability to work through conflicts as well as their judgments about the quality of their relationships.

One view, popular in our culture (especially in romantic movies) views partners as “two halves of a whole”  or “made for each other”.  In other words, the “unity” idea or the belief that people in love are destined to be together and that love should be conflict free.  The other view, also popular in our culture is that “love is a journey with ups and downs”.  Lee and Schwartz’ work found that couples who hold the belief that love is a journey with challenges are more likely to be happy with their relationships and see conflict as something that is positive and can be worked through.

Harville Hendrix, creator of Imago Relationship Therapy has spent decades teaching couples that “conflict is your relationship trying to grow.”  This new research supports the idea in Imago that conflict is natural and how we frame our ideas about love and conflict are key. Relationships are powerful opportunities to grow and heal, but most growth in life does not occur without getting out of our comfort zones.  And, the very differences that can be so frustrating in romantic relationships come from our powerful unconscious attraction to a partner that will motivate growth.  To learn more about Imago Relationship Therapy visit www.gettingtheloveyouwant.com.

Contact me at Suzanne@ca4wellbeing.com or call me at 706-425-8900 if you are interested in a exploring your relationship patterns and learning new skills individually or as a couple. Enjoy the journey!


You have graduated from high school, spent the summer making memories with family and friends, and now it’s time to start college.  You may experience mixed emotions given this new journey in your life.  You might be excited to have a new independence – living on your own, deciding when and what to eat, hanging out late with friends.  Perhaps, sharing a room with a complete stranger makes you a little nervous or maybe you are enthusiastic about having a new friend to study with or to join you for social events.  You may have concerns about your courses- will I like them?  Will they be too hard?  Will I meet the professor’s expectations?  All these emotional responses and thoughts are normal when adjusting to college.  It will take some time for you to acclimate to this new environment and to become comfortable with this new chapter in your life.  So don’t think that everything will fall into place the first day of school.  Here are a few tips to help you make a smooth college transition and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Get to know the campus.  Take a tour with an upper-class student.  Learn the buildings where you will have classes, meetings, and social events.  Becoming aware of your surroundings will make you feel more comfortable with the new environment.
  1. Give attention to food choices.  The endless amount of food at the dining halls and late night food runs makes it easy to develop unhealthy eating habits.  Be mindful of the foods you are eating and make food choices that you feel are best for you.
  1. Make time to move.  You may refer to this as exercise but moving your body can help you with managing stress, anxiety, and depression.  You don’t have to go to the gym in order to reap the benefits.  Simply walk to or around campus instead of riding the bus or driving your car, play an intramural sport, or enroll in a dance class.
  1. Get some zzzzz!  Late night studying or hanging out late may result in poor sleeping habits.  It’s important that you are getting proper sleep in order to be alert and productive.  Lack of sleep can impact your memory, mood, ability to learn and retain information, increase stress, and may result in injuries or long-term health issues.
  1. Ask for help.  Avoid waiting until mid-semester or the end of the semester to seek help with your academic work.  Take advantage of tutoring services, the writing center, study sessions, and professors’ office hours.  If you have a disability, register with the Disability Resource Center in order to arrange for accommodations.  Planning ahead can help you be successful in your classes.
  1. Have a healthy relationship with your roommate(s).  Having a roommate can be a big adjustment for all parties.   It is important for you and your roommate to meet and communicate expectations.  Develop an agreement about how you all will share your space.         
  1. Meet your professors.  You might think your professors are only interested in lecturing but faculty like to get to know their students as well.  Visit them during their office hours and introduce yourself.  If you have questions about the class, class preparation, or ideas discussed in class, talk with the professors about them.  Don’t wait until you need a recommendation letter to introduce yourself to your professors.  Meet with them now!
  1. Make new friends.  College is a time to meet new people and make great connections.  You will encounter people from different backgrounds and even from different parts of the world.  You may find it easy to make new friends or it may take time for you to establish relationships.  Regardless, take the opportunity to meet someone new.  You may just gain a lifelong friend.

With these tips in hand, you should be well on your way to having a successful first year of college.  If you find that you are having a difficult time with this transition, you are welcome to meet with me.  I have over 14 years of experience working with college students.  I’d be glad to help you on your new journey.  I can be reached at Marian@ca4wellbeing.com or 706-425-8900 ext. 704.


Have you ever felt stuck in your career? Perhaps, you know what you want to do but you’re unsure of how to get started. Career counseling can provide you with the steps you need to get unstuck or to pursue your dream career. Career counseling is a specialized area of counseling that focuses on assisting individuals with their career, work, and life planning. It is a process of discovering the career that may be best for you given your interests, skills, abilities, personality, values, and experiences. It also involves career preparation. Whether you need to learn job search strategies, how to put together a resume, cover letter, or prepare for an interview, career counseling can provide you with the steps you need to land your next career.

A career counselor is a professional who has the training and experience to effectively facilitate the career counseling process. She can assist you with exploring your career options while also helping you understand job requirements, responsibilities, and the type of training needed. A career counselor can teach you appropriate strategies for pursuing a career and help you develop a plan of action.

Career counseling services are not limited to helping you find a career but you can also discuss workplace issues. Perhaps, you may feel stressed at work or you want to advance in your career. A career counselor can assist you with these issues as well.

If you are interested in career counseling, schedule an appointment with career counselor, Marian Higgins. She can be reached at marian@ca4wellbeing.com or 706-425-8900 ext. 704.



23 Jun 2014
June 23, 2014

Weight Loss Group



I am thrilled to announce the formation of a new WEIGHT LOSS group at Counseling Associates for Well-Being. I will be combining hypnosis to help you naturally crave healthy foods, mindfulness to savor and enjoy the treats you love, and self-compassion to end your negative self-talk and heal the hurt you’ve been trying to soothe with food.

Some of the group content is based on the book, “The Self-Compassion Diet,” by Jean Fain, a psychotherapist and teaching associate at Harvard Medical School. “Self-compassion is the missing ingredient in every diet and weight-loss plan. Most plans revolve around self-discipline, deprivation and neglect.”

Read more about the latest research regarding self-compassion and weight loss:  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/go-easy-on-yourself-a-new-wave-of-research-urges/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

Let’s work together to end the self-berating and constant internal struggle surrounding food. Let’s begin to nourish our bodies with foods that make us feel great and learn to enjoy the treats we love without the guilt and shame.

This six-week group will be held on Wednesdays from 6:30pm – 8:00pm at Counseling Associates for Well-Being, beginning in July.

Please contact me, Susanna Rains Moriarty, to reserve your spot in our weight loss group. (706) 425-8900 ext 709. s.rains@ca4wellb

eing.com susanna

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!


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

Marian Higgins

Marian Higgins, PhD., LPC, Career counselor

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The moment that judgment stops through acceptance of what it is,you are free of the mind.  You have made room for love, for joy, for peace.-Eckhart Tolle

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.– Lao Tzu

My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations. – Michael J. Fox

Acceptance is often a necessary process for creating change and reducing suffering.  It is a fundamental piece of several proven therapies.  Some include Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), developed by Marsha Linehan, PhD., Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and ACT (Acceptance Commitment Therapy).

Acceptance is a simple concept, and at the same time is really difficult.  Marsha Linehan, creator of DBT, offers some ideas about acceptance.  First, she clarifies that acceptance does not mean approval or disapproval of what is being accepted.  It means acknowledging on purpose without a label of “good” or “bad”. She also offers that in order to accept, one must recognize his or her own willfulness or non-acceptance.  One way to recognize non-acceptance is to listen to your inner dialogue.  If you hear sarcasm or statements implying what should or ought to be different about someone else, a circumstance, or yourself, you are likely in a state of non-acceptance.   .

If you notice these non-acceptance thoughts, do so gently with curiosity and compassion.  In other words, accept your non-acceptance.  This will allow space to notice your thought and decide if you want to work toward change.

Another idea for find acceptance is recognizing this as a state of being and a process instead of a single skill that is achieved once.  Linehan suggests to radically accept something; you must practice turning the mind over and over.

Acceptance of one’s thoughts, emotions, circumstance, and other people seems like a lot of work, and it is.  However, it offers freedom from the suffering that comes with non-acceptance, making it worth the effort.

If you’d like to learn more about acceptance to reduce suffering and make space for change, please contact me.  I can be reached at 706-425-8900 ext .703 or alice@ca4wellbeing.com











Life based on gratitude, optimism and meaning is presented in this video: http://www.learning2connect.com/node/2074

Under dire circumstances, Alice Herz Sommer kept her focus “where it is good”, knowing that both “bad and good” are simultaneously on-going, and yet consciously choosing to keep her focus toward the good; in that place, everything is a present. And when you see and hear her laugh, you know this is genuine.

From birth she was optimistic and she wanted to have fun ; almost like she’s received the optimist gene at birth and passed it on to her son as well!!

Her love of music seems to be an intrisic part of her life and her love for life. At the time of her life when she and her son were in concentration camps, music, in theses circumstances, was not an entertainment;  “music was a much bigger value: it gave people moral support… The music gave us undescribable beauty”, may be satisfying the need for Inspiration or Meaning, like Viktor Frankl proposes in his book “Man’s Search For Meaning”.

I so enjoy her simple determination and clarity about her focus in life. It appears that she has practiced theses for ever, and I cannot help but believe this comes from the way she was raised, from parents who mirrored her with joy. I’d love to get your feedback about how this touches you. And contact me if you feel inspired and want to explore this further, at: aline@ca4wellbeing.com, or 706 425 8900, ext 705.




Summertime has always been a time for a change of pace.  Going on vacation, reading a few good books, spending time with grandparents and summer camps.  This summer, during the break of the normal routine, consider neurofeedback training as an option to change your brain and improve your life.

What can neurofeedback provide?  ŸIncreased focus and attention…… Ÿ Reduced stress and anxiety….. ŸBetter sleep….. ŸLetting go of destructive repetitive thoughts and actions….. ŸGaining a competitive edge in academics through peak performance training.

Studies have shown that students lose a portion of what they have learned over the summer school break.  Neurofeedback can keep the brain active, develop new patterns for learning and allow for improved brain functioning.  It’s the perfect time to train your brain and make it a summer of positive change!

Join Pamela Key for an information session on Neurofeedback on Tuesday, May 20th at 6:30 p.m. at Counseling Associates for Well-Being.   Let us know you will attend.  RSVP:  Pamela@ca4wellbeing.com or contact her for more information.