Anna Headden, individual and couples therapist with Counseling Associates for Well-Being in Athens, GA talks about how to use gratitude as a coping skill to improve overall mental health and outlook in 3 easy parts.
3 Part Gratitude
- List 3 things you are grateful for. (Ex: Today I am grateful for ___, because ____.)
- Set your intention for the day (Ex: Today I am ___.)
- Set a small goal that will make the day great. (Ex: Today will be great when I ___.)
If you would like to schedule an appointment please email Anna: email@example.com
We at Counseling Associates for Well-Being are happy to announce that Anna Headdon, LAMFT, will be joining us at our Athens office. She is available to start serving clients throughout the area. She enjoys working with couples who are struggling with conflcit and tension, working with eating and body image problems, treating those with anxiety and trauma, and is a passionate advocate for those who identify as LGBTQ+.
Anna Headden, LAMFT— Bachelor of Science – Psychology minor in Child & Family Studies, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 2015, Master of Art – Marriage & Family Therapy, Lipscomb University, 2019, Certified SYMBIS Facilitator, 2019 (Premarital Assessment)
From Anna: ” It takes a lot of courage to begin therapy and I understand how difficult it can be to find a therapist that is the right fit. I want to help make that process easier for you. I believe change begins when previous behaviors or relationships no longer serve us and I believe that lasting transformation happens in the context of relationships when people feel heard, understood, and respected. I aim to meet clients where they are in a space that is safe, non-judgmental and allows for true healing and change by honestly confronting painful and uncomfortable issues.
In my work as a therapist and as a human I value authenticity, respect, strength, and empowerment of others. These values govern my life, and are at the root of my integrative approach to therapy. This is why I use multiple modalities including Emotion Focused Therapy, Internal Family Systems, and Solution Focused Therapy. I also believe that our physical and emotional well-being are directly connected so I incorporate a variety of body exploration and movement techniques to further the change process when appropriate. I have found that in using a variety of frameworks I am able to tailor my approach for each individual client’s specific needs.
I enjoy working with a variety of populations including: young adults & adults dealing with anxiety, life transitions, trauma, and depression; couples dealing with anything from high-conflict to sexual difficulties to pre-marital counseling; and women dealing with self esteem, eating disorders, confidence, and societal pressures. Also, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community I aim to provide empowerment and better the quality of life of fellow LGBTQ+ persons through my work as a clinician and as an advocate. My pronouns are she/her.
When I am not working you can find me going on hikes with my partner, spending time with our dogs, playing pickleball, trying out a new restaurant, testing out a new recipe or spending time with loved ones. I find joy and connection through each of these activities and view them as an opportunity to learn a life lesson or find greater meaning that I can share with others. I would be honored to help you heal and reach your most fulfilled life. I am ready whenever you are.”
Anna sees clients in our Athens office. Email Anna at Anna@ca4wellbeing.com Call Anna at 706-425-8900
Counseling Associates for Well-being’s Isom White, LCSW wrote a very thoughtful piece published in the Georgia Society for Clinical Social Work (GSCSW) summer publication for his colleagues. It is a wonderful invitation for all to contemplate. In it he addresses his white colleagues in particular to assist them as they endeavor to work to help those impacted by the generational tragedy and trauma of racial injustice. I encourage you all to read and consider. Isom in GSCSW 7-20
From : Georgia Society For Clinical Social Work Volume 43. Issue 25
By Isom E. White, LCSW
Mindful Connections with African American Clients
FROM THE EDITOR: “Passionate, powerful, and purposeful. I implore you to read this.”
The question is this: How do you (a non-African American) mindfully engage
with your Black/African American clients on matters of racial injustice
and police brutality?
Given the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, and the abysmal history of Black/African Americans dying
by the hands of White/European American police officers in the United States, I must use my privilege and platform to help my fellow thera navigate these cyclically tragic and traumatic events—traumatic events that get passed down from generation to generation and become an entire community’s truth. It is a shared truth that must be acknowledged for meaningful healing to take place.
Before I can even begin to help White/European American therapists show up for clients of color in the therapy room, I have to ask some
critical questions. Please, reflect on whether or not you are making your services available to the Black community and other communities
of color. How many Black/African American (or other persons of color) clients are currently on your caseload? Is there one? Five? One percent? Or five percent? Do you accept insurance or private pay only? Do you offer a sliding-fee scale? Do you accept Medicaid? If not, are
you aware that these could be barriers to receiving your services for communities of color? Are you willing to change your practice to be
more accessible to communities of color? Are you willing to accept less money? Are you willing to sacrifice the extra time that it takes to
become paneled by insurance companies?
Can you hold in your awareness and accept that you may have unconsciously constructed these barriers to distance yourself from serving
Blacks and other minority communities? We haven’t even entered the therapy room and there is so much work to be done.
Are you willing to educate yourself on the history of police brutality and systemic racism in the United States and its effects on the Black
community? Furthermore, are you willing to accept this as truth for your Black/African American clients? Are you willing to accept the abhorrent history of White supremacy in America as a part of your truth and understanding? Can you become aware of the resistance or discomfort in doing this extra “work”? Let’s be honest, you already have a full caseload, a family, a partner, and your own issues/trauma in which
to deal. Can you locate the sensation of discomfort in your body? Are you willing to accept that discomfort, breathe into it, and create the
space needed within yourself to provide more compassion towards your Black/African American clients?
A helpful place to start understanding and educating oneself on the effects of White supremacy and systemic racism on the Black/African
American community can be found in literature. I strongly recommend that you read, The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of
Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.
Let me pause and refocus the direction into the therapy room.
As a White/European American clinician sitting across from your Black/African American client you are witness to the recent murders of
their community members, the subsequent televised and demonized grief response, and your current position of power as a healthcare
provider. What do you notice is happening within you as you sit across from them? Are you nervous about them bringing up their trauma
from recent events? Are you uncomfortable processing their own experiences of overt and covert racism? Are you becoming present to
moments when you have acted on your own prejudices? Do you notice feelings of guilt or shame for doing so? Are you insecure about
your ability to sit with their trauma? Are you outraged, disturbed, and traumatized by your witnessing of a VERY public execution? Are you
confused? Do you have questions? Are you able to notice what’s happening in your body as these thoughts cross your mind? Do you notice the urge to approach or avoid the conversation? And can you breathe acceptance into those urges, emotions, and thoughts?
In doing so, even if you are partially successful, you may be able to practice the compassionate stillness it takes to be present to the trauma experienced by the Black community.
Holding all those reflections in a nice and neat little compartment as all therapists are so skillfully trained to do, you can begin the session. And as your client sits across from you, here are a few tips on how to begin.
1. Meet the client where they are. “Where would you like to begin today?” This invites your client of color to broach the topic of
current events or not. Don’t assume that just because it’s happening and they’re Black that they wish to talk about it in
2. If the client wishes to process their feelings about their current or past traumatic experiences with racism, ACKNOWLEDGE
your race, privilege as a person of non-color, and your inability to fully understand the Black experience. “I have no idea
what it’s like to be a person of color.”
3. Be mindful of your inner experience when your client is processing. Do you notice urges to avoid their trauma? Do you notice your own insecurities? Do you notice the urge to assuage your own guilt? Try to avoid asking, “How can I help?” Instead, try tip #4.
4. Be mindful and curious of their experience in the therapy. “What is it like to process these feelings with a White /European
American person?” Can you notice shifts in their body language? Breathing? Can you notice if and when transference and
countertransference has entered the therapy room?
Lastly, and most importantly. The best piece of advice I can offer to White/European American clinicians showing up for your Black/
African American clients is to do the RESEARCH on America’s history of systemic racism, so that you can WORK to acknowledge
your PRIVILEGE without prejudice, which will then open space for you to remain present and truly LISTEN and empathize with the experience of being Black in America.
Isom E. White, LCSW, graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Kennesaw State University in 2011, and with a Master of Social Work
from the University of Georgia in 2015. He enjoys working with a variety of populations: late-adolescents, young adults and adults, LGBTQ+, and executive
professionals who are dealing with anxiety, depression, anger, grief & loss, trauma, and life-transitional issues. Isom also embraces working with men’s
issues, high achievers/perfectionists, and healthcare providers. As an African American therapist, he holds a strong commitment to enhancing the quality
of life and empowering people of African ancestry through advocacy, human services delivery, and research. Isom incorporates mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral interventions including Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Dialectical Behavioral
Therapy (DBT) to enhance the therapeutic process by cultivating non-judgmental awareness, compassion, and purpose. You can find Isom E. White at
Counseling Associates for Well-Being at 3050 Atlanta Rd, Smyrna, GA 30080. You can reach him at 706-389-1708.
Aaron Kirkwood, LAMFT, with Counseling Associates for Well-Being in Athens, GA talks about what you might do to fill some time as you shelter in place. Check out the video here.
Check out our website at www.ca4wellbeing.com. If you would like to schedule an appointment call (706) 534 – 8558 or e-mail: Aaron@ca4wellbeing.com
Virtual museum tours – https://virtualmuseums.io/
Help out with research – Zooniverse – https://www.zooniverse.org/
Meditation – apps Calm, Headspace, Aura, 10% Happier, Insight Timer (free), search Youtube for meditation or guided meditations
Read a book – Athens-Clarke County Library online – http://www.athenslibrary.org/online-library
Learn a new skill – Udemy (includes filter for free courses) – https://www.udemy.com/, Skillshare – https://www.skillshare.com/
Pick up an old hobby or begin a new one – https://www.lifehack.org/articles/money/this-list-50-low-cost-hobbies-will-excite-you-2.html
Take an online course – Khan Academy – https://www.khanacademy.org/, edX – https://www.edx.org/, The Great Courses https://www.thegreatcourses.com/
Play Games -Free Rice – https://www.wfpusa.org/get-involved/freerice/, https://armorgames.com/, https://games.aarp.org/, https://www.kongregate.com/, https://store.steampowered.com/ (requires an install to your computer)
Write a letter to a friend or loved one –
Teach your pet a new trick – Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution – https://www.youtube.com/user/zakgeorge21, Simpawtico Dog Training – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMgKNPC0O91FgvS94YMgIag/featured, Cat School – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAKdgYzfrpEZ-1tQZHPOHZw
Make up your own games/challenges –
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!
“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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are so happy to announce that on May 1st, 2019 Isom E. White LCSW will be opening his new office in Smyrna / Vinings Georgia. We will be sad to see him leave the Athens area, but he will be a tremendous addition to the Atlanta area. Isom sees a variety of clients. He is excellent with the young adult, college age group, and also has experience with professionals struggling with high pressure careers, or those in life transitions. Isom is in-network with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kaiser and Medicare, and he can also file with other insurance plans for out of network benefits if needed. He is ready to schedule you an appointment, whenever you are. Call him at 706-425-8900 or email him at Isom@ca4wellbeing.com
We here at Counseling Associates for Well-Being are so excited to announce that Stephine W. Smith, LCSW, CADC II is joining us in our Athens office. She is going to start seeing clients in our Athens office starting April 1st. Stephine has most recently been serving clients at The Samaritan Center for Counseling and Wellness, and we are thrilled to have her make her new professional home with us. Here is a little bit about Stephine that she wrote about herself so you can get to know her:
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a history of working with individuals and families with Co-occurring Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. I discovered my calling while visiting my sister in the hospital after she had been burned in an auto accident. The therapist who prepared us to support her on her journey of healing was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and that wonderful experience enabled us to know how to support her and my family. For this reason, I believe one of the most important aspect of therapy, is the relationship between a client and therapist.
I’ve had the privilege of working with a diverse population of individuals and families on their journey of discovery and healing for over 20 years. I’ve gained knowledge, experience and wisdom working in the field of behavioral health and substance use disorders. My career started at Phoebe Putney Health System/Behavioral Health in Albany Ga, which was my first introduction to direct care for those living with and managing mental health and substance use related concerns. I’ve learned that it’s okay to ask for help and accepting help can be a sign of strength, which is sometimes the most powerful thing one can do to heal.
My holistic approach to therapy centers on the connections of mind, body and spirit, and equal attention to these areas are important in the healing process. My client centered approach strives to provide a safe, compassionate, relaxing, non-judgmental environment in which individuals, couples and families find the opportunity to grow and heal. I believe my role is to help clients identify their strengths and encourages each person to live their best, authentic life as defined by themselves.
I utilize techniques such as CBT, ACT, REBT, Solution-Focused
You can contact Stephine W. Smith to make an appointment at 706-425-8900 ext 720 or email her at Stephine@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.
(706) 534 – 8558