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.

I quite often use Nonviolent Communication in my work as a counselor as it has been for me a way to become more compassionate with myself and others. I would like to share this link with you:  It introduces the concepts of this approach, which focuses on staying connected instead of expecting a specific outcome.

I have been studying NVC / compassionate communication for more than 10 years, and I keep opening doors in myself as well as being able to listen to others in a way that they can “be seen asbeautiful”. There is a deep harmonious connection that develops through this approach as we grow more aware of our feelings and needs and take responsibility for them. I am not feeling angry because “you” (whatever you did or did not do)… any more; I feel angry because of that need for connection that is so essential and precious to me, and that has not been addressed lately in our relationship.

I enjoy sharing this approach as it does create more space and more possibilities in our lives. If you are interested in learning more about it, feel free to contact me at 706 425 8900 ext 705, or at



A communication approach that many couples engage in when experiencing conflict is what I like to call “Lawyers in a Courtroom.”  One person presents her case, complete with a list of the partner’s transgressions to prove that she is right and her partner is wrong.  The partner, in turn, compiles his rebuttals and responds with a ledger of her wrongdoings.  There is typically a great deal of verbal volleying with very little listening.  By the end, both parties feel hurt and angry and even more entrenched in original viewpoints.

This approach might work if there is a judge or a jury who ultimately decides who “wins” and each party never has to see each other again.  The thing about committed relationships is, you still have to live with your partner.  Or at least continue to interact with them.  So even if you are able to prove to your partner that she is “wrong” and you are “right,” how loved do you think she feels?  How respected?  How understood?  If she is left feeling devalued and resentful, what have you really won?

The good news is there are some simple changes a couple can make in the way they handle disagreements.  By handling them in a different way, conflicts can go from being painful and alienating to facilitating closeness and intimacy.

The husband of one of my couple-clients said at the end of our work together, “I didn’t want to start marriage therapy because I thought I would have to change who I was as a person.  What I found was that you gave us tools that changed our whole relationship for the better.”

If you are interested in learning a new way of handling disagreements with your partner, please contact me to schedule a couples counseling session at 706-425-8900 ext 709 or