Counseling Associates for Well-Being is pleased to announce that Jennifer Boone, LCSW will be joining us  July 1st, 2020. She will be serving clients out of our Athens office. She has a wealth of experience and has worked in the Athens community after getting her MSW at UGA in 2000. Her specialties include  anxiety, depression,  caregiver stress and life transitions.  Please reach out to her at JenniferBoone@ca4wellbeing.com to see if she would be a fit for you.

More from Jennifer Boone:

“In my 20 plus years of experience, I have had the privilege of helping individuals and families in a variety of settings.  I strive to provide a place of acceptance in which clients can explore the connections between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors with the goal of changing negative thought patterns to facilitate lasting change.

My approach to therapy is to focus on the inherent strengths and worth of each individual, while fostering a therapeutic relationship of respect and collaboration.  Truthfully, I learn so much from my clients in this process. My personality and style are both positive and warm. My hope is that I convey to my clients the authentic joy that I find in my work.

My areas of specialty include: assisting women in various life transitions; helping individuals integrate self-care practices while balancing the demands of life; assisting caregivers with stress; assisting young adult and college age students as they navigate early adulthood; and assisting individuals suffering with stress, anxiety, and depression.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my husband and kids, swimming, going on bike rides, and going to the beach as often as possible!”

 

 

26 Nov 2019
November 26, 2019

Holiday Wellness

Stress, Wellness

I’ve been thinking about the opportunity that the winter holidays bring for us to focus on our wellness. Sometimes the season brings extra time with our family and friends, which allows us to focus on our relational and social wellbeing.  However, sometimes the holidays bring extra stress that comes from pressure we put on ourselves to travel, meet the needs of different family members and attend lots of extra fun, but sometimes taxing events.  This year, why not take a moment or two to focus on just one area of wellness that you would like to pay attention to.  Do you need some spiritual refreshment?  What has brought you spiritual wellness in the past?  What about your physical wellness?  Does that mean trying that yoga class you’ve been meaning to check out or just getting some extra rest?  Wellness means different things to different people.  I invite you to think for a few moments about your views of physical, spiritual, relational, intellectual and emotional wellness.  Reflect on your best hopes for each area this holiday season and then pick one or two areas to engage with more deeply.  Try and envision the small steps you could take toward achieving optimal wellness in those particular areas.  See if this opportunity to make incremental changes toward growth in those areas leads to a better sense of overall wellness this holiday season.  Wishing you well this holiday season!

Taylor Yates, PhD, LCSW

taylor@ca4wellbeing.com


“Why would I make excuses for myself?” is a common response I get from clients when I talk about self-compassion. My response is normally something along the lines of “would it be OK if you COULD excuse yourself?”.  Or, “What if in order to find the change you’re looking for you first have to learn to unconditionally love all parts of your self–including your “flaws” non-judgmentally with kindness and patience?”.  

So much of our pain is derived from the critical voices in our heads. That critical voice may remind you of a certain time in your life when some terrible thing happened to you, or maybe it convinces us that things have always been this way and there’s no change in sight. We may feel ashamed, isolated, or sad because we have failed to live up to our own, our parents, or society’s expectations and believe that we won’t be lovable or acceptable until we do. 

Self-Compassion is the recognition that no matter what is happening in our lives, we are lovable. When things are going well, we give ourselves permission to experience that joy–instead of anxiously waiting for the next bad thing to tell us that we should not be experiencing joy. Or, when we are suffering, self compassion becomes a kind of supportive voice from within that helps us find beauty and meaning. It is a reminder that we are all universally connected in this world through our experience of suffering — we are not alone!

Self compassion is NOT self-indulgence, self-pity, or passivity. Self compassion includes an understanding that learning, growth, and failure are fundamental parts of life; it is the desire to relieve suffering and that in order to do so a concrete change may need to be made in our lives. It provides us with an internal source of emotional regulation and resilience. It is the belief that we are inherently worthy of love and respect. 

If you or someone else you know in the Atlanta area could benefit from cultivating self-compassion please contact Isom E White, LCSW of Counseling Associates for Well-Being – Smyrna/Vinings for an appointment today!

Isom E White, LCSW

3050 Atlanta Rd Smyrna, GA 30080

P:706- 389-1708

E: Isom@ca4wellbeing.com

Yoga is now scientifically verified as an effective treatment for depression and anxiety.  Most people think of yoga as physical fitness, often imagining difficult physical poses requiring strength and flexibility.  Yoga is much more than this-what most people think of as yoga is actually Asana or the physical poses which are only one part of the system of Yoga. The 8 limb system also includes philosophy, breathing and meditation practices which lessen suffering and enhance peace of mind.

Slower, body sensing yoga practices are more effective for anxiety, depression and trauma.  In addition, pranayama (breathing practices) and simple seated postures and mudras (hand positions) are powerful methods to calm the nervous system, enhance or calm mood, as well as increase self-compassion.  These ancient practices are powerful proven tools to combat emotional imbalance and negative thinking patterns.  Please see this news article that summarizes some of the recent findings https://www.newsweek.com/yoga-therapy-mental-health-mental-illness-depression-anxiety-eating-disorders-666220 .

In my own life, I have found yoga practices to be an anchor in moving through difficult life transitions and a reliable set of skills that lead to more peace and happiness on a daily basis. If you are interested in joining an upcoming group “Yoga Skills For Emotional Balance” with Suzanne Morgan or would like more information about therapy and yoga, please contact me at suzanne@ca4wellbeing.com.

Aaron Kirkwood, LAMFT, discusses what couples have found helpful about coming to couples counseling.

 

If you would like to learn more about making an appointment for couples counseling Aaron can be reached at:

Aaron D Kirkwood(706) 534 – 8558
Aaron@ca4wellbeing.com

Aaron Kirkwood, LAMFT, with Counseling Associates for Well-Being in Athens, GA talks about the importance of checking in with your stress level throughout the holiday season and why you might not want to skip self-care.

Aaron D KirkwoodIf you would like to set up an appointment do discuss how to manage stress, deal with family, or other relationships during the holiday season please reach out today.

(706) 534 – 8558

Aaron@ca4wellbeing.com

I wanted to take a moment to welcome any new college students to Athens or say “welcome back” to those who are coming back again.  I once read that college is one of the most stressful periods in many people’s lives.  This stress is both affected by and has an effect on our relationships.  I discuss why you might want to visit with a therapist who specializes in relationships in my newest YouTube video which you can watch here.

Good luck this semester, and break a pencil!

Aaron D KirkwoodIf you are interested in scheduling an initial appointment give me a call today at (706) 534 – 8558 or e-mail me Aaron@ca4wellbeing.com.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States.  Before the month slips away let me share some tips for improving your mental health.  Check out my latest Youtube video on ways to improve mental health here.

Aaron D KirkwoodIf you would be interested in setting up an appointment and discussing ways to improve your own mental health give me a call or send an e-mail.

Aaron Kirkwood, LAMFT

(706) 534 – 8558

Aaron@ca4wellbeing.com

Please enjoy this informative video where I discuss ways you might improve your communication with relatives, and hopefully reduce some stress and anxiety during the holiday season.

If you are interested in working on family or other relationships contact me today about setting up an appointment.

Aaron D KirkwoodAaron Kirkwood, LAMFT

(706) 534 – 8558

Aaron@ca4wellbeing.com

  I recently sent my first child off to college and my second will not be far behind.  With the reality of becoming empty nesters looming, my husband and I have discussed moving from our home we have raised our children in for the past seventeen years.  This has prompted me to begin the process of cleaning and purging clutter that has accumulated in our house over the past two decades.  I am a sentimental person and have a hard time parting with items that feel special to me, but as I began emptying out closets and boxes I began to realize that I might actually be a bit of a hoarder!  Books and papers from grad school, cards from my wedding [both of which took place over 20 years ago!], finally found their way to the dumpster.  I carefully weighed the value of each item I came across as I asked myself… “do I really need to keep this”??  As I opened each box I felt like I was reliving a chapter in my life, it was like the story of my life was unfolding in front of me.  I found items from first jobs, graduate school, mementos from dating my husband and our engagement, notes from planning my wedding, information from buying our first house, keepsakes from having my first then second child, reminders of my life as a stay at home mom, papers pertaining to reactivating my license once I made the decision to return to work years later, the list could go on and on.

I went through each box and cabinet revisiting the different phases of my life, carefully choosing the items that felt important enough to follow me to the next phase.  I could not pitch everything.  I did not throw away all of the priceless papers, mementos, or wrinkled drawings that my now grown children brought home from their early days of school.  The numerous letters and stories from my children when they were young declaring how much they loved me, definite keepers!  As anyone with teenagers knows, it is highly unlikely you will hear much of these sentiments as they enter middle and high school!   I came across letters from my husband when we were dating, gentle reminders of the past and what brought us together so many years ago, things that are sometimes hard to recall when dealing with the struggles and changes that come with a marriage or long-term relationship.   And I can’t forget the box of completely unnecessary random “stuff” from my own childhood, old stuffed animals, old clothes, pictures and keepsakes.

Life presents us with many twists and turns, and even some of the most joyous moments paradoxically come with stress, anxiety, sadness and grief.   As I experience and adjust to a new major life change, I can’t help but reflect on my journey and the previous major transitions in my life, the joys, the struggles, and how I have experienced and gotten through each one.  I look back on my relationship with my husband, who I have now been married to for over 20 years, and reflect on the ups and downs we have had, the good times, the bad, and the struggles we have experienced and overcome as we have lived through many life stages and changes together.  It’s a joyous time to be celebrated when two people get married, but very few people tell you how hard this relationship is going to be, and how much work is involved on an ongoing basis to sustain the relationship and the changes you will go through.

Becoming a mom was without a doubt one of the happiest moments of my life, but along with this also came some of the biggest changes and challenges I have experienced.  Deciding to become a stay at home mom, and not only reinventing my day to day life but reinventing myself in the process, was no easy task.  Many people who have not experienced this role may assume the life of a stay at home mom is a life of leisure.  While I loved being available to spend my time with my young children and am thankful I had the choice to do so, I will tell you it is definitely not a leisurely life!  It is a role that also comes with learning to navigate many challenging dynamics of its own.

Flash forward years down the road I found myself contemplating how to get back into the workforce.  Having not worked in my field in 10 years the thought of putting myself out there was scary, overwhelming and very anxiety provoking.  But put myself out there I did, and while going back to work and setting the goal to get my LCSW seemed almost impossible, here I proudly sit today as an LCSW in private practice, exactly where I had hoped I could get to so many years ago.

And now, I begin to face and deal with one of the most difficult things I have had to do in a very long time, sending my children out into the world on their own.  This is not only a huge change in my day to day life, but also a major identity shift for me as my role in their lives changes drastically.  Once again, I find myself facing this new challenge with mixed emotions, while there is a lot of sadness over this shift in my life, there is also a sense of curiosity and interest to see what the future holds for me and what is yet to unfold.

I find great joy in working with people trying to find new avenues in life, people who may be struggling with a major life change and identity shift, and enjoy helping them create their vision for the future.   If you are facing a major change in your life it can help to have an objective ear and some added support to get through the challenges that come with these transitions.  My personal and professional experience provide me with a great deal of knowledge when dealing with some of life’s major transitions.  If you are struggling in your relationship,  are getting married or adjusting to being newly married,  ending a long-term relationship, contemplating divorce or going through a divorce, starting a family, becoming a stay at home mom or returning to work after years of staying home with your kids, contemplating a career change, sending a child off to school or becoming an empty nester, give me a call or send me an email. I would love to help you navigate this challenging yet exciting time of your life that is filled with many possibilities.  call: 706-425-8900 or email: beth@ca4wellbeing.com