Reflections on Ten Years of Providing Psychotherapy (Part 2) [Episode 21 of The Intentional Clinician Podcast]

Welcome to Part Two: Reflections on Ten years of Providing Psychotherapy by Paul Krauss MA LPC.

Reflections on my experiences with different modalities of therapy and their implications.

Paul Krauss MA LPC spends this solo episode discussing his experience in the field of counseling psychology. Paul Krauss discusses how the present state of counseling connects to the current cultural and economic situations that are unfolding. The episode begins with a large overview of the field of counseling, and then systematically discusses various modalities of psychotherapy and counseling practices; eventually connecting to universal thoughts on the human condition and discussing practices to seek meaning in life. Episode 21 is as much for clinicians (counselors or therapists) as it is for anyone interested in the fields of psychology or philosophy.


Topics touched on in this Episode: Symptom reduction versus healing, the dominant medical model versus creativity, the influence of third party payers and money on counseling treatment, empirically validated treatments, managed care, how the economy and stress affects levels of empathy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, ACRA, CBT, EMDR, DBT, Solution-Focused Therapy, the research on the efficacy of counseling, Scott Miller PhD., Bruce Wampold PhD., The Alliance Effect, The Allegiance Effect, and the importance of an agreed upon counseling model, psycho-pharmaceuticals, medications, vitamin D, statin medications, side effects, the root cause, existentialism, PTSD, EMDR, Levels of Care, ASAM criteria, Psychoeducation, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Developmental Stages of a Human, Reduction-ism, Holistic thinking, living between the opposites, Stages of Change, The Transtheoretical Model of Change, the Parable of the Hole, “Resistance”, Motivational Interviewing, Coping Skills, Rituals for Health, Tai Chi, Cross Fit, Yoga, Psyche, Soul, Group Psychotherapy, Narrative Therapy, the importance of the story, the importance of relationships, Systems Therapy, Couples Therapy, bearing witness to suffering, Bio Psycho Social (Sexual and Spiritual) model, Mindfulness, Existential Psychotherapy, Death and Meaning, Trauma, the nervous system, Somatic Experiencing Therapy, Art Therapy, Nature Therapy, Greenhouse Gasses, Joseph Campbell, Depth Psychology, Transpersonal Therapy, Jungian Analysis, Thomas Moore, Wisdom versus Knowledge, Imagination, Carl Jung, Adaptation, the shadow, Quantum Physics, Focusing techniques, Eugene Gendlin, Postmodernism, the breakdown of old patterns and grand narratives, human evolution, The People’s History of the United States, Doing one’s “inner work”, James Hillman.

Episode 21 is part two of a solo podcast series. In part one Paul Krauss MA LPC discussed his personal journey from beginner therapist to an experienced therapist with 10 years of clinical experience. (Part 1 was released as Episode 20). Paul discusses his time learning from the leaders in the field.  Currently, Paul Krauss MA LPC is the Clinical Director at Health for Life Grand Rapids and leads a team of talented trauma-informed counselors, in Grand Rapids Michigan. Questions? Give the office a call at 616-200-4433.

Paul is also is a Private Practice Psychotherapist, host of the Intentional Clinician podcast, Behavioral Health Consultant, Clinical Trainer, and Counseling Supervisor.  Paul does travel and train clinicians in multiple states. Paul is the creator of the National Violence Prevention Hotline (in progress)  as well as the Intentional Clinician Training Program for Counselors. Paul consults for and trains clinicians at behavioral health organizations.  If you are looking for a counselor in the Grand Rapids, MI area, check out Health for Life Grand Rapids’ private counseling practice. There are many high-quality counselors at Health for Life Grand Rapids.

Original music:

“Shades of Currency” [Instrumental] from Archetypes by PAWL

“Metropolis” [Unreleased] from Modified Demos by PAWL (coming in 2019)

May You Be Born On Anarres” from Music for Public Access Television by ttypes

Music available here:

Let’s Get Deep

Let’s get deep. By Paul Krauss MA LPC

Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you. — Carl Jung

        What are authentic conversations? So much of mainstream culture focuses on so-called “surface talk”: What do you “do”?, “Where are you going?” “Did you see this television series?” “Have you heard the latest news?” “Have you heard about so-and-so’s new truck?” “Have you tried out this restaurant?” There is absolutely nothing wrong with these types of “surface discussions” in your day to day life—especially when you are at work, going to the store, at school, and other places where you are not around the chosen few people that you have intimate and authentic conversations with. However, a problem arises when family members, close friends, and even romantic partners are not able to meet you in a deep or intimate conversation. Due to various reasons, the people who are supposed to be “closest” to you are, in fact, unable to receive your communication or engage you on topics that are important to you. It could also be that in your family, vulnerable and authentic conversations are avoided in group and even individual settings, while conversations about “the weather”, “facts” and “cultural norms” are encouraged. These types of conversations often do not involve vulnerable relationship risk-taking—as the point of these so-called “surface” talks is not really to get to know someone on a deeper and intimate level, but to predict the flow of conversation, navigate public venues, confirm one’s own biases, or worse— just to pass the time. It has been anecdotally reported that when people do not have deep and meaningful discussions in their lives with people whom they trust—they may feel isolated and depressed—even if they are surrounded by others (in the physical sense).

In the post-modern world, the phrase “chosen-family” and “authentic friends” are now cultural buzzwords. These phrases are reflecting a deep need in people to move beyond the surface and day-to-day trivial conversations, and into honest and vulnerable conversations about what it means to be a human, what trials one is experiencing, the difficulty of making pivotal life choices, the disconnect and breakdown between religion and healthy spiritual practices, the difficulties facing parents, what is happening in the divisive realm of politics, mental health stigmas, the fate of the planet, honest talks about money, the gap between the rich and the poor, and much more. With a trend away from surface discussions, many are discussing intimate details of their romantic relationships, the birth of a child, or death of a relative in a radically open way that is causing much of the archaic cultural trappings of “image is everything” to pushed aide. We have learned, from psychology and philosophy, that having a sense of “meaning” in one’s life is as important to being human as drinking water. Yet, because of a variety of cultural influences including “survival” by “inclusion” in a “tribe” many people have denied their own opinions, stories, and emotions about their lives in order to “fit in.” Thanks to the postmodern ability of our age to have a relatively easy mobility (compared to 100 years ago) to a new state, country, and experience life in a different culture—many people are realizing that they now have the ability to start relationships based on a shared sense of meaning—telling the truth and having deep authentic conversations that are far beyond “surface talk.” Others have even gone further, frustrated with their family’s lack of depth in conversation or lack of emotional support—and have found a “chosen-family” who they live life alongside.

Due to a variety of factors, many people who are seeking deep authentic friendships and a “chosen-family” have not found them. Often times, these people find themselves coming into counseling because they do not feel safe expressing themselves inside of their workplace, friend group, or family of origin. They do not feel safe expressing emotions, opinions, or even telling their story of how they experience life—as the culture of their family, workplace, or friend group may view these honest expressions as a threat against the preservation of the system. Or perhaps there is a dominant figure in these families, workplaces, or friend groups who is attempting to preserve a self-serving narrative for power reasons. Whatever the issue, when people find themselves in some type of aforementioned situation—they often feel lonely and feel “adrift” without a deep sense of meaning. Often times, seeing a counselor or therapist is a way for people to feel deeply heard, help repair their social wounds, and work to gain the confidence to create and integrate in a community that meets their needs. Counseling is a temporary intervention that can help you when you are wanting to ask the big questions, live in the mystery, feel adrift and devoid of meaning, and find yourself incredibly lonely due to a lack of authentic friendships and void of deep and honest communication with those around you.

At a time of transition or seeking, it is important to start with ourselves and begin to journal or write down what we are interested in, what are questions are, what situations bother us, and how do we make sense of our personal history? Once we get a clear view of who we are and what is important to us, we can then bravely venture out of our (now) uncomfortable comfort zone and seek others whose path is similar or complementary to our own. There are so many questions to ask one’s self. I will begin with an example of just a few below.

Here are some questions to ask one’s self:

  1. What are the things I fear the most?
  2. What fascinates and inspires me?
  3. What will sustain me in my darkest hour?

Now, there are many other questions that one can ask oneself, including “What are my top 3 values as a human?” “What do I profess to be important to me, but usually do not live out—in practice?” “If I could wave a magic wand and change one thing about my life—what would it be?” “What is my greatest strength and my greatest weakness?”

Remember that avoidance of the big questions seems easier—but it is not sustainable and denial always has consequences. Since we live with a deep consciousness, whether we acknowledge it or not, we must live with the consequences of not asking the big questions in our lives, not engaging in honest and authentic dialogue, and not venturing outside of our comfort zones. Life is difficult, dangerous, and anxiety provoking on its own—isn’t it time we addressed our fears and found others to support us on our journey? If you do not have people in your life naturally, counseling can be a temporary aide to you. However, make sure that your counselor has “done their own inner-work” and is familiar with existential therapy as well as depth psychology. If a counselor is culturally encapsulated, then you may experience “sanctuary trauma” with the same pat answers that your family of origin or old friend group would give you. As Richard Rohr said “You can only take someone as far as you have gone yourself.” So make sure you interview your future counselor or therapist and feel free to ask them “What have you been reading?” “What counselors have had the largest influence on your practice?” “What types of advanced training do you do?” “What are your religious or spiritual practices, if any?” “What do you think of the concentration of wealth in the United States?” Let’s get deep people! Do not waste your time with a counselor or therapist who is interested in upholding the “status quo” or seeks to label you with a litany of “diagnosis” instead of working with you where you are to go deep and help you face what is necessary for your own journey toward transformation. Also, remember to seek someone who is trauma-informed in their approach as well.

Human beings are meaning making creatures. There are many deep human needs. But a large one is this: To know oneself and to be known by another on a soul level. Before counseling was invented, it was well known that awareness and enlightenment came through honest sharing with another who was willing to listen and engage with you. Notice: In the human psyche, the questions will always be there. It is our task to live the questions out and not expect easy answers to the questions of life, death, and depth. If you are going to change—there will be a difficult period. As they say at the gym: “No pain, no gain.” The road to transformation comes from the narrow cocoon to emerge as a creature that can fly. Yet, this transformation is not a one-time event! It is a continuous growth process, where we must find the balance in our life and live through the difficulties and the pain—to find new areas of conscious awareness and growth. Just like the lobster that grows too large for its shell and has to painfully break open the shell, before growing a new plating of “outer skin” or “armor.” We humans are always in need to break open to the next level of awareness and growth—as painful as that may be. Staying stuck is more painful.


Every individual needs revolution, inner division, overthrow of the existing order, and renewal…

-C.G. Jung, CW 7, p. 5


If you are looking to get deep with a counselor in Grand Rapids, MI, consider the counselors at Health for Life Grand Rapids. Or call now 616-200-4433.


Depression in Men is a Public Health Crisis

REPORT: “Depression in Men is a Public Health Crisis”

by Paul Krauss MA LPC

If you have lived in the United States in the last 100 years you are surely familiar with the fact that many men live with depression and “don’t want to talk about it.” Many men in the United States suffer needlessly with depression for a variety of reasons, but are unwilling to seek help due to personal preferences (often highly influenced by the mainstream male culture at large, “tradition,” and difficulties with what seeking help means for male identity). Men with depression has not been a popular topic in the culture of the United States that was founded on “rugged individualism.” The myth of this ultimate cowboy individualism was meant to emphasize the hard work and bravery of the men in our culture, from exploring, to building cities, to fighting in World War II–it was not supposed to emphasize isolation and “only doing it yourself.” Emotionally healthy men have always talked to other men and women and worked together to solve problems. There are so many famous examples all throughout the history of the United States of men joining together to help overcome an obstacle. However, it seems that this myth of the “loner cowboy” has infiltrated the consciousness of male culture and has been twisted to mean that men “do it themselves, keep to themselves and do not display or express emotions.” Emotions, of course, are just natural sensations in the body–and it is common knowledge (due to conclusive research) that if we do not express or acknowledge them–there will usually be personal difficulties occuring. In fact, the toxic expression “boys don’t cry” phrase has been repeated over and over in various forms by men and women alike, further influencing the younger generation to not talk openly and authentically about their emotions (which are a normal part and process of being a human being). Multiple studies have shown that males are just as sensitive at birth and throughout development as females, but in many segments of society, male emotions and sensitivity have been viewed as a threat to masculinity and thus people have “trained” or forced males to hold back their emotions and “not cry.” For some, a male display of emotions is seen as a weakness. This archaic, yet prevalent, cultural viewpoint not only flies in the face of basically all research in biology, sociology, and psychology, but it is one of the reasons that the United States is facing a public health crisis of undiagnosed depression in men.

Because of grossly misaligned societal ideas such as “boys don’t cry,” the suppression of emotions in boys often leads to outbursts of anger. Many males hide their emotions behind humor or aggressive behavior as they don’t know what else to do and have not been socialized to express their emotions in straightforward or healthy ways. The traditional signs of depression are more easily observed by the behavior of younger females – withdrawal, quiet demeanor, crying etc. However, because of cultural issues, many males do not display these obvious depressive symptoms when depressed and therefore, their clinical depression goes undiagnosed or is wrongly diagnosed as conduct disorder or attention-deficit disorder.

There are signs that younger males display when they are depressed that are usually different than those found in females, but one just needs to know how to look for them. Before it is clearly evident to those around him that a male has depression, he often becomes irritable, withdrawn, violent, impulsive or suicidal because of cultural suppression of emotions. This is one of the reasons why men have a higher level of completed suicides – about three suicides a day in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, at least 6 million American men suffer from depression every year. Yet depression in males is vastly under-diagnosed, with 65 percent of cases going undetected.

“Depression in males of all ages is a public health crisis that must be addressed. To do so, we must redefine healthy masculinity and recognize that even if men are putting on a face suggesting “everything is fine,” real pain may be lurking beneath the surface.” – SF Gate

Depression in males, regardless of age, is a public health crisis in the United States. There are three steps that should be taken to aid in diminishing this crisis: encourage all males, no matter the age, to express their emotions instead of pushing them aside; educate those involved such as parents, teachers, and doctors to better recognize the signs and the way depression manifests in males. Lastly, seek early intervention that provides men with support groups and support in general and prioritize it.

Counseling is a low-cost and relatively minor intervention with a very large positive effect size. According to a research study involving thousands of studies on counseling, 79% of people feel much better after attending counseling regularly for a few months. For men, counseling is a practical way to start feeling better without medications or hospitalizations—in fact, counseling can save thousands of dollars in health costs if the depression is addressed early on. Depression is not a permanent condition–with the right intervention at the right time, people are resilient and can feel like themselves again soon.

If you are looking for Counseling in the Grand Rapids, MI area–check out our counselors here at Health for Life Grand Rapids. We have both male and female counselors who are ready to help you or your loved one. Call 616-200-4433 for more information.


Depression in Men Is a Public Health Crisis by the San Francisco Gate

The National Institute of Health: Men and Depression


Are you feeling SAD?

Are you feeling SAD?

The leaves are falling. Hour by hour the days are getting shorter. Gray is filling the sky. These are all signs of winter. While some love the season, many suffer from SAD. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a temporary mood disorder that’s characterized by depression–this disorder occurs to most people roughly around the same time every year. SAD is a common issue for many with a documented 3 million people affected every year in the United States


Symptoms of SAD can include fatigue, depression, and social withdrawal. SAD may immensely impact one’s day to day life and overall well being. This disorder can make one feel hopeless and can cause loss of interest in relationships and activities. It can also cause insomnia, excess sleep, and appetite changes.

Ways to Reduce Symptoms

One of the largest causes from SAD is a lack of natural light exposure to the body. Light therapy is highly recommended to reduce the symptoms SAD and there are at-home interventions that mimic light therapy. The most popular DIY intervention is a happy light. The Happy Light mimics daylight and can improve your overall mood and energy levels. You can purchase a Happy Light here .

Another way to reduce the impact of SAD on your life is to incorporate exercise into your daily schedule. Exercise boosts endorphins in your body. Endorphins are a chemical in your body that can trigger positive feelings. Exercise can not only alter your mood but reduce stress. Overall it’s an emotional booster, and can immensely help with SAD symptoms.

Eating healthy is a component that will complement daily exercise well. Foods that will help one’s SAD symptoms are:

  • Salmon
  • Eggs
  • Omega 3 fatty acids (Chia seeds, flaxseed, soybeans)
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B

While you may feel like you’re the only one experiencing SAD, millions of people are going through the same thing. Help yourself and those around you by socializing and continuing to get out there–even on the dreary days. If you’re finding it difficult to get out of the house make it a weekly practice. Having a standing date with a friend or loved one and socializing in a unique environment will serve as a good motivator to get out of your house!

Taking an optimistic look at the weather, instead of looking at the weather as a culprit may make it an opportunity. Try experimenting with fueling your dread into optimism. Cold weather provides many opportunities that warm weather doesn’t. Hit the ice skating rink, try skiing, look for holiday light displays, take a walk in the snow, look up local community events with a winter theme, try out your local sauna, or enjoy a cup of hot chocolate at your favorite cafe.

If you feel you are experiencing SAD, try out one of the suggestions above. There have been many studies that have shown that light therapy, diet, exercise, and socializing help with SAD symptoms. If you feel you need further help, Health for Life Grand Rapids is here for you. We offer a number of therapies as well as health coaching… no matter what the weather is like!

Learn more about how to beat the winter blues on Dr. Nicole Cain’s blog here.

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Reflections on Ten Years of Providing Psychotherapy (Part 1) [Episode 20 of The Intentional Clinician Podcast]

Reflections on Ten Years of Providing Psychotherapy (Part 1) [Episode 20 of The Intentional Clinician Podcast]

Paul Krauss MA LPC reflects on his ten years of providing psychotherapy. Paul has worked  in a variety of different roles as he has provided therapy to people from diverse populations and socioeconomic demographics. Episode 20 is part one of two episodes of reflections on Paul’s life and career. Part one, is far more about Paul’s personal journey through that led him from newly graduated counselor, to his work in social services, to beginning a successful private practice. Paul talks at length about his evolution as a counselor as he learned about different modes and types of therapy as well as about himself on the journey. Paul discusses the struggles of trying to find his way in the field of counseling and the ups and downs and difficulties that all led to his own personal transformation. Paul hopes that Episode 20 and 21 of the podcast will help new therapists that are getting into the field that are looking for direction as well as seasoned professionals who are looking for new ways to work and help others.

*Psychotherapy is interchangeable with the term Counseling.* But since there are many “types” of counseling that have nothing to do with psychology (credit counseling, etc.), Paul chose this term for a direct reference

In part two, Paul Krauss will discuss his experience and opinions with various modalities of psychotherapy and their implications (Part 2 will be released as Episode 21).

Paul Krauss MA LPC is a full-time Private Practice Psychotherapist, the host of the Intentional Clinician podcast, Behavioral Health Consultant, Clinical Trainer, and Counseling Supervisor.  Paul is willing to travel and train clinicians in multiple states. Paul is the creator of the National Violence Prevention Hotline (in progress) as well as the Intentional Clinician Training Program for Counselors. Paul consults for and trains clinicians at behavioral health organizations. Paul works at at Health for Life Grand Rapids and works with multiple talented clinicians there, in Grand Rapids MI. Questions? Call Paul at 616-365-5530 (direct), or at the office 616-200-4433. Learn more about Paul at

intentional Clinician, Episode 20
Intentional Clinician, Episode 20

Original music:

“Shades of Currency” [Instrumental] from Archetypes by PAWL

“Arctic” from 7 by RIFIFI

Music available here:

Additional Thoughts on Episode 20 of The Intentional Clinician Podcast:

While the Intentional Clinician podcast is a demystification of psychology and counseling to encourage people to engage in their own inner work and to understand that if they work at it, they can have a better life—there are many layers leading both down and up.  Eventually, there is an importance to understand that “the answer” will never be the cure. The human mind cannot believe something 100%–of that I am convinced. There will always be a shadow of doubt—nothing is beyond the shadow of a doubt. So a balance must be achieved between the polar opposites of pessimism and optimism, and between rightness and facts and so-called truths and the mysteries, new discoveries that obliterate old-facts, and the myriad ambiguities that flow in and out of our lives. Which is the right path?  Both. There is a need to re-mystify our lives and bring us out of a linear, chronological order, which may be regressive and repressive and locked into a certain viewpoint—and moving to an expansive place, both in and outside of a container—where images and symbols take on more meaning than the numbers, and the felt sense, feelings, and subtle impressions that make up the stuff of life (both precognitive and pre-linguistic), and allow us to thrive in this mystery called life.

To understand what I am talking about, I must take you through the basics of counseling and psychotherapy; discuss a variety of treatments, as well as a journey into depth psychology. I will discuss my own story of how I found myself in the field of counseling and reflect on my 10 years as a psychotherapist and my time spent in sessions with clients. And I have this before and I’ll say it again, I am not DONE learning. I will never be done learning. Part of my mission in life from a young age was not to grow cynical or bitter, but to seek to evolve and soak up experiences. It was one of my mantras in college as I noticed so many middle age adults finding a plateau of knowledge, or perspective, opinion, and just settling in and watching the fire. For whatever reason, the “good life” or just having a nice little life, never appealed to me. I wanted to experience more and live more and so I set out. Of course, this came at a financial sacrifice as I lived in cheap and basic quarters from my early 20s until I was married—my wife had ideas about living with the most basic of materials. But she is a lifelong learner as well and refuses to stop learning and evolving, so it works.

I may not be the most talented person in any realm, psychotherapy, writing, podcasts, singing, songwriting, piano playing, but damn it. I am not going quit.

“Small and hidden is the door that leads inward and the entrance is barred by countless, prejudices, mistakes, assumptions, and fears.” – C. G. Jung.

To hear more about my evolution that led to 10 years of providing psychotherapy, click here.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy

EMDR Therapy in Grand Rapids, MI

Health for Life Grand Rapids is a trauma-informed integrative counseling and health center in West Michigan. All of our staff is trauma-informed and trained, multiple counselors are EMDR trained, and we have one therapist that is trained in Somatic Experiencing Technique.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is therapeutic technique used to relieve psychological stress, trauma, anxiety, and depression. It is the number one most recommended treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and has been empirically proven to reduce the emotional, mental, and physical side effects of past traumatic experiences. It is a relatively newer technique and it is safe, and easy to implement alongside regular talk therapy. The good news is that EMDR is incredibly effective and with single-incident trauma can often reduce symptoms in a large way in only 6-12 sessions. It is effective with long-term and chronic PTSD as well.

During EMDR therapy sessions you will first establish safety as well as go over different skills and techniques to calm your nervous system. Eventually you are safely guided through reprocessing of the past trauma, which causes a reduction in symptoms and an increase in overall wellness. Hundreds of studies have supported the efficacy of EMDR therapy. While outcomes vary, the vast majority of people who complete EMDR are able to be exposed to traumatic triggers without having a negative psychological or physical response in future situations.

Throughout these sessions clients are able to regain power over their emotional state and reduce the effects and frequency of flashbacks, triggers, and other disturbing symptoms of trauma and anxiety. EMDR is an effective treatment for anxiety and depression, not just trauma and PTSD. This integrative therapy can help you replace old deeply held negative beliefs with positive frameworks that will enable you to have better navigate whatever comes next.

That being said two of our therapists have recently completed EMDR training and are now accepting new clients for EMDR reprocessing and talk therapy. Nicole Vega LMSW and Billie Walters LMSW have completed EMDR training and are now accepting appointments.

There are several ways to get started today.

You may call 616-200-4433 to schedule a consultation and dial their extension.

Or contact Nicole and Billie directly.

Billie Walters

  • Call Billie on her direct line: 616-258-6419
  • You can email Billie as well: [email protected]

Nicole Vega

  • Call Nicole on her direct line: 616-389-0291
  • You can email Nicole as well: [email protected]

In addition, Paul Krauss MA LPC is EMDR trained and John Curphey LMFT is trained in Somatic Experiencing Therapy. Adam Nash and Jennifer Belmonte are both Trauma-Informed Counselors. Stacey Prefontaine has also studied trauma and is a trauma-informed hypnotherapist. Dr. Nicole Cain ND MA is also a trauma-informed clinician.

For more information on the research behind EMDR, check out EMDR.COM.

For more information on the research behind Somatic Experience Therapy, check out

EMDR Therapists

Substance Use Disorder

Are you or someone you know suffering from a Substance Use Disorder?

If you use more substance than you intend too, have failed to cut back from substances, or spend excessive time in obtaining, using, or recovering from substance use– you may be suffering from a substance use disorder.

It doesn’t matter your viewpoint on the legality or reasons for using drugs, alcohol, or other substances. In fact, you may still support the legality or reasons for people using a substance, without personally overindulging in its use. Substance Use issues are discovered based on a misuse or overuse of the substance that causes one, or one’s loved ones to suffer.

Substance Use Disorder symptoms could include having cravings for substances, use of substances affecting daily life such as work, school, or home, and using it in dangerous situations. If you’ve given up work, social, or recreational activities that could all be an indicator of substance abuse. Being persistent despite awareness of the problem, gaining a tolerance, or having withdrawals are also warning signs you’re suffering from substance abuse.

There are multiple levels of a Substance Use Disorder. If you experience 2 to 3 symptoms– the problem is considered is mild, 4 to 5 symptoms is moderate, and 6 or more symptoms is considered severe. It is important to have a medical professional evaluate you, if you believe you are suffering from a Substance Use Disorder.

Another important factor to consider is: Are you have any underlying symptoms that are influencing you to misuse drugs, alcohol, or other substances? Such symptoms can include: Anxiety, Depression, Social Anxiety, Relationship Issues, prolonged grief, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms.

There are many things you can do to help yourself overcome a Substance Use Disorder. The first step is observing how you feel after an episode of using substances, or accept feedback from a close friend or family member. Some ways to begin curbing a substance use disorder are: Admitting to yourself that you have an issue, becoming involved with sober-friends, joining a SMART recovery program, trying out a 12-step program, as well as beginning to recognize your triggers (for using). Adding meditation or yoga to your daily routine can help you begin to have more mind and body awareness of how you feel, both sober and intoxicated. Working on changing your diet to include healthy proteins and vegetables and supplementing with extra omega 3’s can also help.  Light exercise is also recommended to help one curb substance use. Other methods that can provide relief are art therapy, finding a mentor or wise helper, becoming part of an activity group which does not center around using substances, getting an animal companion, finding an active “outdoor” hobby, or planting a garden. Taking apple cider vinegar, ginkgo biloba (herbal medicine), and caffeine can be a healthier alternatives to drugs, alcohol, and other substances.

Since battling a Substance Use Disorder can become quite complicated and difficult, since many people have many social influences that may make it difficult to avoid drugs, alcohol, and other substances–it is important to consider that you may need a combination of help and personal self-help solutions, including professional help, medical interventions, a support group, and personal self-care.

A number of medical interventions can help you overcome a Substance Use Disorder. In fact, Clinical hypnotherapy has proven to be very helpful, specifically for smoking addiction.

Other medical interventions that could help are:

These techniques are not meant to replace medical advice. Speak with your healthcare practitioner if you think you are suffering with depression. The DSM-5 strives to conceptualize an illness as a spectrum, with a domain that should be construed as normal.

If you feel that your substance use is out of control, you can call a hotline to get immediate help, learn more here:

To find local support groups, check out these websites:

Smart Recovery:

Alcoholics Anonymous:

Learn more here about Substance Use Disorders here:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 

National Center for Biotechnology Information 



The story of Francis Assisi and the current zeitgeist

The story of Francis of Assisi and its relevance to the current zeitgeist w/ Rafe Adams [Episode 18 of the Intentional Clinician Podcast]

In this episode, Paul Krauss MA LPC invites Rafe Adams to tell the story of Francis of Assisi. You’re bound to enjoy his telling of this tale. Rafe expertly frames the cultural context and captures mood of the historical events. Rafe discusses the famous conversion of Francis from a young man of privilege into one who took a vow of poverty and lived with lepers in order to live out the words of the gospels, literally. He further goes on to explain the rejection of Francis by his own father and brother and draws parallels to the current zeitgeist of the United States. He doesn’t only speak on the gap between the rich and poor, but what happens to those born of privilege when they challenge entrenched ideas, laws, and economic forces of the day. In the interview Rafe also discusses the cultural, historical, political, and spiritual significance of Francis’ founding of the Order of Friars Minor (aka “The Franciscans”). This episode showcases Rafe’s talent of storytelling and how he can artfully move from his points about Francis of Assisi’s life and work and connect to themes of the broader human experience. Fans of philosophy, counseling, sociology, and spirituality are bound to enjoy this episode.

It’s truly a treat to listen to Rafe and Paul converse about how both in Francis’ time and and in modern times, people risk rejection by family and “cultural tribe” if they speak the truth about certain issues in their community, or work for causes that help “the least of these”, refuse to invest in certain economic trends, or speak loudly and passionately about unpopular truths. In addition to the aforementioned topics, the following topics are also discussed: personal transformation, rejection, counseling, psychology, spirituality,  and (most savory of all) BBQ.

The Rt. Rev. Raphael Adams (Rafe Adams), MS OTR/L is the Bishop of the Mid-American Diocese of the Ecumenical Catholic Communication. He is a member of the Franciscans of Reconciliation. He is a former professor at Rush University Chicago, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Consultant, and Occupational Therapist.

Paul Krauss MA LPC is a full-time Private Practice Psychotherapist, the host of the Intentional Clinician Podcast, Behavioral Health Consultant, Clinical Trainer, and Counseling Supervisor. Paul is the creator of the National Violence Prevention Hotline (in progress) as well as the Intentional Clinician Training Program for Counselors. Paul consults for and trains clinicians at behavioral health organizations. Paul works at at Health for Life Grand Rapids, in Grand Rapids MI and is frequently visits Phoenix, AZ for work as well. Questions? Call Paul at 616-365-5530 (direct), or at the office 616-200-4433. Learn more about Paul at

Original music:

“Shades of Currency” [Instrumental] from Archetypes by PAWL

Corridor of Dreams from Midnight Cleaners by The Cleaners from Venus

Music available here:

Post Partum Depression

Post Partum Depression

With all the hormonal changes after childbirth “baby blues” can be normal, but if symptoms last more than 2 weeks you may be a part of the 15% of mothers that have a more severe form of depression.

There are many symptoms that could indicate you are suffering from postpartum depression. Some of these could include avoiding family and friends, not being able to take care of yourself or your baby, or having sadness or guilt consume your thoughts. If you have trouble feeling close to your baby or making decisions, those may be indicators you have postpartum depression as well.

Other possible symptoms could be fears that you’re not a good mother, severe mood swings, anxiety, or panic attacks, and too much or too little sleep. You could also suffer from a lack of interest in daily tasks or thoughts of harming yourself or your baby. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for longer than 2 weeks you could be experiencing postpartum depression.

While the symptoms seem vast, there are a number of things you can do at home to relieve your symptoms. One of the things you should do first is educate yourself on PDD symptoms and treatment. In your research you may find there are a number of support groups with other moms feeling just like you in your community (Grand Rapids, MI). While it’s great to talk about your symptoms with others who understand, it’s also important to take time for yourself and rest.

Other activities to do that can help with PDD are not isolating yourself, letting the housework go, wearing your baby and talking to them during daily activities, and knowing that a major adjustment to a birth is normal and it will likely pass without treatment. Studies have shown that breastfeeding can help with postpartum depression.

In addition to engaging in some of these activities, it’s important to exercise when you can and maintain a healthy diet (consume extra omega 3’s). The body can overcome incredible things when fueled and rested properly, and always remember, it is never too early to seek treatment.

In addition to the small things you can incorporate into your daily lifestyle, there are several medical interventions that can help you. Counseling, naturopathic medicine, hypnotherapy, and seeking a psychiatrist are among these.

Quote from Billie Walters:

The journey to motherhood is assumed to be magical and delicate when in reality, it can feel brutal and deflating. Your body changes, inside and out! Your entire life changes and all too often, women are expected to snap back to their former selves almost as soon as the baby is earth-side! Women need to know that it is okay to feel however they feel during pregnancy and after giving birth. Women need to know that it is okay to ask for help and seek support; that may be one of the most courageous things a mother can do (and mom’s do a lot of courageous things!).

How is Health for Life Different?

How is Health for Life Different?

This Week, Grand Valley State University student Ana, interviewed Health for Life’s Paul Krauss.

Ana: Thank you for agreeing to answer my Questions.

Paul Krauss MA LPC: Absolutely Ana.

Ana: What services does Health for Life offer?

Paul Krauss MA LPC: Well, we have multiple services. Currently, we have counseling services, naturopathic medicine, hypnotherapy, and health coaching. Let me tell you a little bit about each. So we have 6 Licensed Counselors who provide counseling and therapy services to adults, families, and children–and we accept pretty much all the major insurances. We also have a Naturopathic Physician who is board certified and licensed in the state of Arizona, which is an interesting fact and she can provide expert education and options to clients in Michigan and throughout the Midwest. We have a Clinical Medical Support Hypnotherapist who provides several types of hypnosis sessions for various situations and conditions. For instance, she has even helped people with quitting smoking, sleeping better, and people facing surgery to help them get through it with hypnotherapy. One of our licensed counselors is now providing Reiki sessions for stress relief and we have a new Health Coach starting in September.

Ana: So tell me, how is Health for Life different than other clinics?

Paul Krauss MA LPC: Well, I think one of the main things that set Health for Life apart is that our clinical staff here is that we are really devoted to keeping up with the latest research and the other thing is we are all really attempting to have an open and nonjudgmental attitude, sort of like a safe place for people to come.

Ana: Interesting. How does that work in terms of practice?

Paul Krauss MA LPC: Well, for instance: One of the ways I think it works is that I would describe us as a kind of inclusive clinic, We’re not a one-size-fits-all clinic, for instance, we all have different training; we’re trained in a vast variety of empirically proven techniques and treatments. So basically, what that means is that we will customize a plan that works for your unique personality, situation, and needs. We are never going to force you to accept a treatment paradigm or approach that doesn’t seem to click with you. A lot of patients come in here and tell us that they were told there is only one way to do something–so we’re trying to be different than that, we don’t think that’s best practice (to tell people there only “one way”). In addition, we continue to practice our skill sets and basically try to learn new methodologies and improve our skills so that we can understand people from all walks of life and best serve them. Dr. Cain and I first started Health for Life with sort of this mentality that we’re gonna go for the root cause we aren’t just doing lawn maintenance here.

Ana: That sounds great. So what does this mean for the average person walking into your office?

Paul Krauss MA LPC: Well, this means I think for them that we look at them as a whole person, including their personal experience and cultural values, not just what their complaint would be. To kind of summarize, we are not just categorizing people by their symptoms or slapping a label on them. You know while we are fully trained in the medical model for safety purposes, and obviously best practices we don’t want people to feel like they are just keeping their heads above water, and you know having to deal with some giant burden we want people to feel that they are thriving and getting joy out of life again. We don’t believe in having patients for life, we want to give the people that work with us, health for life—basically, that means that they can take their experience with us and go out into the world and find a community of like-minded people to continue growing and healing. Dr. Cain always talks about how clinicians are like lily pads there to support the individual on their healing journey in the pond of life.

Ana: Well said, Paul. How do you know how to help people so deeply?

Paul Krauss MA LPC: Well that’s a difficult question Ana because I don’t know if we know how to help everybody, but we are honest with our clients. We don’t pretend to know everything—for instance if there’s a condition or a certain situation that their facing if we don’t know the answers, we’re gonna take our time to research and find out some possible answers, yet regarding meaning and purpose that is a highly personal process that happens in counseling and other services, and so in that we take a very encouraging strength-based approach and stand alongside our clients as they seek their meaning and we will encourage them to continue that. So in practice this means, we’re both collaborative and integrative we utilize the synergy of different approaches and backgrounds as clinicians to find the right combination of treatments for our clients, for instance we will encourage clients to you know if we believe it’s best practice to work with another treatment modality or another doctor outside of our office because we want people to get the best combination, and we’re really educated on tiers of care and knowing what tier people can be in. So, the other part of this about how we have known to help people so deeply is we have a lot of experience and we are all avid readers and information seekers. One of the things about our clinic is that we wanted to hire people to work here that really are learners for life. And so, we are trained in multiple types of therapies and techniques we haven’t just stopped with our graduate education or doctorate education. We are not a clinic that’s founded on an approach, like a single approach or a trendy book or some sort of formula. We really pride ourselves in pivoting and adjusting our techniques and approach to what best serves the client. So in addition to that, we have a large emphasis on the relationship. We never want there to be a power dynamic, we are people just like you, who happen to specialize in helping others. So we’re not gonna tell you what to do, but we will help you find your best answer. We will provide suggestions and education as appropriate but we’re not gonna have that sort of attitude that we know best. We believe people know themselves best. We will give people the education, as in lab results, and different things depending on what you’re doing. So to summarize: I’d say we provide Counseling and Other services without a cultural judgment. We want to provide a customized approach for each individual, and we are trauma-informed and science-based practitioners and doctors with a heart for people.

Ana: It sounds like you’re really devoted to challenging the status quo.

Paul Krauss MA LPC: Absolutely Ana. Modern Medicine would not be what it is today without many clinicians that have gone before us, challenging the standard of the day. A recent example I can give is that many people suffering from traumatic events, recently, even this year I’ve heard of this happening they were labeled as having severe mental illness’ and even character issues. Many of them were shamed and told they would need to be on medications for their entire life and that they would probably need some type of cognitive manipulation therapy in large doses for years. Well, Ana, this has simply not been true for most people. We have learned a great deal from studies like the Adverse Child Experiences Study (ACES) as well as books like “The Body Keeps the Score” and the Interpersonal Neurobiology series from Norton which is on the brain and the nervous system and how counseling and different holistic practices, and medical practices can help people recover from trauma and other books like by Peter Levine and Francine Shapiro that help us understand us as both a person with a nervous system and also you know with a personal meaning. We now know there are many scientifically proven therapies that can relieve both acute and chronic symptoms from people who have suffered from a traumatic event. Well, a lot of people don’t know that. I’ve had people come into my office that thought that there was just something wrong with their brain forever and that there was no such thing as brain plasticity and that there were no therapies to help them. So some of these therapies that have helped people with trauma include EMDR therapy which you can read about on our website that’s been endorsed by the World Health Organization and the CDC, Somatic Experience Therapy, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Trauma Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and some of these therapies have just not been well known in West Michigan. The research is clear, they are highly effective and can provide relief to people who have been suffering and believed that they could not get better before. So, one of our missions as a clinic is also to help the West Michigan community learn about these therapies and interventions, both other clinicians and of course the consumers. So if we could help educate the public, people will be able to better understand themselves and have hope that they can recover.

Ana: Thank you for sharing. I understand that you actually have a Naturopathic Physician at Health for Life.

Paul Krauss MA LPC: Yes we do. Another thing that sets Health for Life apart is that we are an integrative clinic and Dr. Nicole Cain, is the co-founder, she actually has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology as well. She was trained and is recognized as a primary care physician in the state of Arizona. Now Dr.Cain works with people with all sorts of conditions but she has an expertise in integrative mental health. She maintains her medical license in the State of Arizona and is able to provide expert education in this State. She also provides clinical consultation to our team at Health for Life, which is pretty awesome. Having been on staff at a large medical school and she does some speaking nationally with one of the largest Behavioral Health Continuing Education Organizations called PESI Inc. She’s really been a great asset and lends a great perspective to our care here at Health for Life.

Ana: Interesting. What is the difference between a Naturopathic Physician or Doctor and a Naturopathic Practitioner?

Paul Krauss MA LPC: Well, that’s always a mouthful and it’s kind of hard to explain the differences between those but a Naturopathic Physician or Doctor graduated from a federally accredited medical school in either the United States or Canada. They learn all of the basic education and curriculum as an MD or DO, which you’ve probably heard of and do clinical medical rotations as a part of their education. For instance, in Arizona, where Dr. Cain is licensed, she can legally diagnose, order labs, perform minor surgery, and prescribe medications. All of the things that a DO or MD can do. Naturopathic Physicians are also taught alternative treatments like acupuncture and botanical medicine, and they have a particular emphasis on preventative medicine and functional medicine. On the other hand, you mentioned a Naturopathic Practitioner they do not have a medical education but they have simply taken some courses in alternative health modalities. There is no license or regulation applied to these people with naturopathic practitioner title, and therefore they cannot be considered a doctor. Unfortunately, the leaders of the schools that they attended decided to use a similar name—Naturopath, thus the confusion for the consumer. To learn more, about what a naturopathic physician is about this you can visit the Michigan site which is, . To learn more about naturopathic physicians in Michigan.

Ana: Excellent information. I have one last question: Why did you choose the name “Health for Life”?

Paul Krauss MA LPC:  Well I’m glad you asked that question, Ana. We chose the name “Health for Life” for several reasons. One of the reasons is: to have Health for Life, we can’t just see symptoms as something that is persecuting us and ruining our lives. We believe that symptoms are providing clues both to our medical, physical, body picture and to what’s missing to help us achieve our own optimal health. In fact, symptoms can also be related to finding more purpose or meaning to our lives. So, we are not just getting rid of symptoms here– that’s not our focus. We are dedicated to pursuing Health for Life and inspiring others to follow suit. And when you do lean into the symptoms and learn about the symptoms, often times most symptoms remit. Also, secondly through intentional practices and seeking what our minds, bodies, and souls need we believe that everyone has the potential to heal and grow. No matter what their situation and background. We also believe in learning more about one’s self, the body, and health practices to help you accomplish your goals and live a healthy life.

Lastly, we believe health is not just the measurement of one’s labs or a list of accomplishments at the gym. It is also a state of contentment that comes through a balance of work and play—so by pursuing this, we can operate at our best while playing our roles in our family and community. If we have health for life, we most certainly can extend a helping hand to others in need.

Ana: Thank you so much for letting me interview today.

Paul: My pleasure Ana.


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