Are you or do you know someone who is struggling with attention and focus in the classroom or in life in general?  Is medication the only treatment that you are aware of being offered to help?  If so, check out Neurofeedback as an effective ADHD treatment.

Neurofeedback is a safe, non-invasive alternative option for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  It teaches the brain to stay attentive and focused through self-regulation.  It retrains the inefficient neural pathways into efficient neural pathways that more easily attend and focus to tasks.  Neurofeedback has now been accepted by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a Level 1 “Best Support” intervention for ADHD.  Compelling published research supports its effectiveness.

The efficacy of neurofeedback has been documented in over fifty peer-reviewed, published journal articles.  These research studies show that the effectiveness of neurofeedback is equal to or greater than any other therapeutic intervention for ADHD.  In addition, the positive effects of NFB are maintained, and in some cases, even increase once the treatment ends.  In contrast, the benefits of stimulant medication stop as soon as the medication is discontinued, and over 50% of the individuals taking a stimulant medication are reported to have one or more significant adverse side effects (e.g., poor appetite, irritability, stunted growth, and sleep problems).  It is no surprise that individuals and parents of children with ADHD are fearful of using stimulant medications on a long-term basis and often seek a non-drug alternative.

For more information about neurofeedback and how it may help with attention/focus issues; please contact Pamela Key, Neurofeedback Practitioner at Counseling Associates for Well-Being.  (706) 425-8600 or

Something that really spoke to me at the time that I was just beginning the step-parent/ blended family journey was the notion that almost every step-family came into existence after a significant loss.  Some come after a death, and some after a divorce.  And it made so much sense to me that a big factor in how the journey of the step-family evolved was how that loss had impacted everyone in the family.  And of course, where each person was in their journey with the grief around that loss.

As I work with people in newly blended families, I often see struggles coming from unresolved anger and hurt with an ex, or fear and uncertainty about creating a new vision for the future after the loss of another vision.  When people divorce, there is this profound sense of loss—not necessarily of the marriage as it actually was, but of the marriage that was at one time hoped for.

Children of the divorce are affected by changes. What they have come to know as “how things are and how things work” is no longer the same.    Often their parents’ discord was troublesome before the divorce. The changes that come after their parents split , even though they may hold the potential for something better,  is scary because it is unknown—and so much is just different.  What is lost is simply the predictability that life once had.   So the union of a new couple in aftermath of such a loss brings even more change, even more uncertainty.

Certainly, the length of time since a death or divorce has happened can impact the ease of the transition, but if a divorce or death was truly difficult or traumatic, the impact on the expectations and fears around that can be seen even years later.    Understanding and processing the losses can help enormously with the journey to a great step-coupling and blended family life.

If you need some help in your step-family journey, contact Claire Zimmerman, LCSW at


Counseling Associates for Well-Being is excited to be hosting a professional training CEU workshop at our office on January 24th, 2014 in our Athens office.
The Family Divorce/ Self Care Series from Transitions Resource.
Check here for more information: & Carey Wellness

Present the Athens Family Divorce and Self-Care Workshop Series

Friday, January 24, 2014

7 CEU Core Credit Hours Approved LPCA GA and NASW GA Chapter, GAMFT related

Registration Fee: $125 per person-Registration limited to 12 Attendees first come/first serve

Location: Counseling Associates for Well-Being, 1 Huntington Rd, Suite 703, Athens GA 30606

Hosts: Claire Nichols Zimmerman, LCSW, CIRT and Suzanne McLean, LCSW, CIRT

Training Schedule and Titles:

10:00-11:00 a.m.-Divorce Prep Tools and Resources to Minimize Costly Pitfalls (1 CEU)

11:00-12 noon lunch (lunch will be provided by our generous hosts: Claire Zimmerman/Suzanne McLean

12 noon-2:00 p.m.-Recognizing Abusive Tactics in Divorcing Couples/How to Minimize (2 CEU’s)

2:00-2:15 p.m.-Break

2:15-3:15 p.m.-Intro to Divorce Support Group Program (1 CEU)

3:15-3:30 p.m.-Break

3:30-6:30 p.m.-Self Care-Intro to Meditation + 2 Thirty minute Guided Sessions (2 CEU’s)

Registration pre-payment required (limited to 12 attendees) email to register.

Space is limited. Offering 7 CEU core credits for LPC’s and LCSW’s. Please join us!!





I laugh often. Sometimes I laugh with myself, and I often laugh with other people.  My favorite source humor includes funny lyrics to some favorite songs and children’s jokes.

Since I like laughing and look for reasons to laugh, I wasn’t surprised to learn that laughing can reduce stress and anxiety.  I was, however, surprised and pleased to learn that laughing can be helpful whether or not it’s authentic.  Yes, some say you can benefit from laughter even when there’s nothing to laugh at.

In addition to reducing stress, research also suggests other benefits of laughing:

  • Laughing relaxes the face muscles.
  • It can increase beneficial antibodies which improve immunity.
  • Laughing can distract us from unpleasant emotions.  Overuse of distraction can turn into unhelpful avoidance, but a brief distraction can create needed distance from intense emotion and create space for new perspective.
  • Laughing creates connection.  When we laugh with others, we feel a connected.  When we smile at someone, often the smile is returned.  Some therapies explain the natural human urge that it is part of the emotions silliness, joy, and happiness is to reach out and share.
  • Laughter, easy humor, or smile can also ease an uncomfortable situation.


There was a lot of discussion in the media this past week about the world of football when PBS’s aired the chilling report, “A League of Denial:  The NFL’s Concussion Crisis”. One of the questions that were raised in this focus on the NFL was, “Is football destroying the brains of its players?”  It also raises the question for me, what about the brains of college players, high school players and the 10 year old players?

As a neurofeedback practitioner, I have worked with clients who have complaints of anxiety, depression, attention/focus, addiction disorders and migraines.  Often these are disorders that can result from head injury.  The effect of head injury can be traced to repeated hits to the head which occur at all levels of football—professional football, college football, high school football and youth football leagues.

Neurofeedback can work to retrain damaged parts of the brain.  Focus can be regained, anxiety diminished, depression decreased, addictions conquered and migraines eliminated.

Contact Pamela Key, Neurofeedback Practitioner at Counseling Associates for Well-Being for a free consult to find out how neurofeedback may help you maintain or regain a healthy brain—a healthy life.



I find this article (link below) so heart warming in the way the child -or loved one- is seen and appreciated, welcomed without having to do anything other than be her(him)self, just participating in the joy she (he) is experiencing! Four or five years ago, I was visiting my mentor, and out of the blue, she said: “I think there is one thing that’s more important for children than to be loved; it is to be appreciated!”. This article is about communicaion skills, parenting and relationships. and about appreciating children and loved ones. I know these tears the author is talking about, that joy in the pit of my stomach. Do you know that too?  And what a gift to the person we love, when we can share it with them: “I love you, just for being you!”. by Rachel Macy Stafford, Certified special education teacher

If you enjoyed this article and want to focus on expressing your appreciation in the relationships that matter to you, as an option from focusing on what others are doing wrong, we may be sharing a commun interest in compassionate communication; feel free to contact me at 706 425 8900, ext 705. or email at




Recently, a client shared with me after a few sessions of working on their anxiety using therapy combined with yoga and mindfulness skills, “This has been life-changing for me.  I have tried so many things to deal with my problem and this has really worked.”  I am honored to be a part of such a transformation in a person’s life.  It is important when we are struggling with our emotions and thoughts, not to ignore the body’s powerful role.  Through integrating mind and body awareness, we can reconnect with who we are apart from the thoughts, feelings and situations that are distressing in our lives.  As a seasoned therapist and Certified Hatha Yoga Instructor, I assist my clients in seeing their problems from a more holistic vantage point.  Contact me if you are interested in trying a unique approach to individual or relationship therapy.  I am also excited to announce the start of my new group “Mind Body Awareness for Healing from Loss” beginning in October.  This ongoing therapy group explores how we can reconnect to ourselves and ultimately thrive after grief and/or traumatic loss.  Contact me at 706-425-8900 or

11 Sep 2013
September 11, 2013




Going through the grief process can be a tricky thing.  At some time in all of our lives we will be faced with a death that requires us to do “grief work”; and “work” is the operative word.  It is work that has several components.  First, it is work that cannot be avoided, but work we do not want to do because it is painful and sad.  Second, it requires us to face the pain, feel it, and understand it.  Third, if we do not do the work, we end up with more complicated issues, attitudes and actions that can determine the course of our lives in a negative way.


Unfortunately, the only way through grief is through.  We can’t go around it, we can’t go under it, we can’t go over it.  We have to go through.  I am comforted by the words in Psalm 23 that say, “Ye, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  We are pain avoidant people.  We do all we can not to feel pain, but in grief work we have to allow ourselves to feel the pain in the profound and deep places where the loss has touched us.  If we do not, we have the potential to get stuck in the anger stage of loss and become bitter and resentful.


I once heard an amazing analogy of the work of grief.  It is like a boulder that one pushes through their days.  Early in grief, it does not feel like the boulder is moving.  In time, there is light in the corners.  Eventually the boulder gets easier to push and one day it becomes a pebble that one can put in their pocket.  There are times we may put out hand in our pocket and the pebble is sharp and cuts us.  But it is manageable.


The pushing is the work of grief. We push through, we cry, we hurt, we feel the void and the loss.  We talk about our loved ones, we laugh about silly things they said.  We come to resolution about ways the relationship was broken.  But we move.  We do not stay stagnant.  We love those around us a bit better, because we have a new understanding about the sacredness of life.   We honor our loss by being better, not bitter.  Life is short.  We are mortal.  Disease is real and bodies become broken.


Our hope is in God, who will give us strength for the work.  Even death cannot separate us from God’s love.  God will give us a “peace that passes understanding” at times that will help us through the grief.  Doing grief work has a tremendous benefit to those around us and for our future, and for our faith.  We honor those who die by grieving well, by growing our love for those who remain, and by trusting our God who will never let us go.

read more →

10 Sep 2013
September 10, 2013

Mental Health Checkup




Recently, I spent a few weeksdoing my yearly checkups. I had blood work done, and a couple of regular tests that women my age do every year. Earlier this year, I had the lovely test done that involves beginning drinking a gallon of a “cleansing” tonic, and ending with a scope in places unmentionable. I am 52. It is what people my age do. These tests were indicators of health. Luckily I passed all the tests and there is one that I do not have to repeat until I am 61… Yeah! It is good that we have access to these medical tests to tell us if we have a problem that needs to be treated.

This led me to think about what tests we have to indicate good mental and emotional health. It would be nice if there was one test out there that we can go and take yearly in order to show if we are mentally healthy. Unfortunately, psychology is not an exact science. Nevertheless, there are some indicators that may be worthy of one’s attention should they be present over an extended period of time. Of course this is not an exhaustive list, but for the purpose of this article, here are a few that I treat in my practice.

Chronic Anxiety:  Chronic Anxiety is one of the top reasons that people enter therapy. We live in an anxious society and have a hard time finding peace. You may be chronically anxious if you create scenarios in your head about what catastrophic event “could” happen and then worry incessantly that they will. Worry is synonymous with anxiety. Anxiety can even make one sick with physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach problems, or can show up as OCD or hoarding.

Conflictual Relationships:  Another sign of compromised mental health is constant difficulty relating to others, whether it be family, friends, co-workers, or the general public. I heard it once said that “hurt people… hurt people.” If you have unresolved issues with someone from your past , it could be that you are working out that pain on people in your present in damaging ways. Learning healthy ways of relating can improve sound mental health.

Being Disconnected:  Being “disconnected” can come in many forms. It can start with a lack of self-awareness, which disconnects one from self, and ends with many many dysfunctional behaviors such as alcoholism, affairs or various forms of abuse. Being honest with self is the first step in getting reconnected about one’s behavior.

I once heard it said that “crazy” is the act of doing “crazy” things and thinking they are normal. Not being “crazy” is doing “crazy” things and realizing they are “crazy.” None of us are perfect, and we all have “issues” that need some positive attention. The question becomes whether or not we choose to admit when we need a mental health check-up. Is it time for yours?


I am excited to announce that I have completed my 200 hour training as a Certified Hatha Yoga instructor. I am passionate about combining yoga skills and techniques (no mat or flexibility required) with traditional talk therapy to enhance healing from grief, trauma, anxiety, and depression. In addition to the scientifically verified benefits for anxiety and depression, yoga and mindfulness also increase our ability to be present in relationships and in our daily lives, increasing our quality of life. Call me at 706-425-8900 or email me at to schedule an individual or group session today.