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.


Why is Anxiety on the Rise?

Why is Anxiety on the Rise? 

By Nicole Vega LMSW, CHC

As someone who has been working in the mental health field for over a decade, one trend I have noticed is that anxiety is on the rise. With all the advancements in medications, therapies, and access to information one might believe that anxiety and related issues would be decreasing not increasing. So why are many people struggling more than ever?

Unfortunately, there is not one size fits all answer. Since people are all unique—with different experiences, thresholds, and predispositions; we cannot expect that we can create the same treatment plan for them all. If a person comes into my office experiencing panic attacks related past traumas I am not going address their symptoms in the same way that I would work with someone who is experiencing panic attacks related to postpartum hormonal shifts and an unbalanced thyroid. Nor would I refer them to the same resources. I treat each person as a unique and individual person— not as a grouping of symptoms to be fixed.

As many different symptoms of anxiety that exist, there are just as many different root causes for how and why people come to a place of feeling restless, panicked, exhausted, etc.

So with all that being said, you may be wondering: What are some causes of my anxiety? How can I figure out what is causing my anxiety? Well, a good way to look at what is causing your anxiety is to first rule out what is not. So ruling out medical causes is my first and foremost recommendation when an individual begins experiencing anxiety— especially if it seemingly comes out of nowhere. So visiting your physician, getting lab work done and a regular physical exam is a really good place to start. Did you know that an out-of-whack thyroid can mimic many symptoms of anxiety? Hyperthyroidism for example can include symptoms such as a racing heart, dizziness, panic attacks, and many other anxiety-like or anxiety producing symptoms. So if you’re feeling like something is off with your body, honoring your intuition and seeing a physician can be a vital first step toward recovery. Dr. Kelly Brogan often speaks about what she calls “psychiatric pretenders” which are symptoms that present as anxiety, depression, panic and other can be attributed to physical health concerns such as deficiencies in vitamins and nutrients. Also, gut health or the lack of gut health is a huge culprit when it comes to fluctuating mood and other symptoms that can present as anxiety. Dr. Nicole Cain at Health for Life Grand Rapids has an amazing Gut Psychology Program that addresses just that.

We live in a world where we are inundated with noise, pollution, distraction, stress, and all sorts of things that impact our mental health. And many aspects of the aforementioned issues simply cannot be avoided. The amazing thing is that our bodies are incredibly resilient and can handle quite a bit of the toxins and stressors thrown at them when we are creating other habits that can allow our body to thrive in a less than perfect world.

So what are some things that can help to reduce your current experience of anxiety? Each individual is different, but some of my go-to strategies are the following:

1) Rule out the medical – make sure there is no underlying medical condition causing your anxiety.

2) Drink your water – this allows your body to better detox all the toxins and stuff thrown at it each day.

3) Eat clean – notice I did not say eat perfectly. 4) Sweat – this is another powerful way to reduce your body’s toxic burden and assist with reducing stress.

5) Address your gut health- this may mean getting tested for food sensitivities or taking out what you already know to be inflammatory in your body i.e. added sugar. Lastly, giving yourself grace and understanding that many of us at one time or another has experienced anxiety maybe even intense anxiety but have found ways to cope and reduce our symptoms.

If you’re currently struggling with anxiety or panic the staff at Health for Life Grand Rapids are uniquely trained to assist you.

What is Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder?

What is Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder?

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) involve persistent inattention or hyperactivity interfering with functioning for 6 months or longer. This condition usually begins to be seen before the age of 12.

Main Symptoms

There are two main symptom groups involved in ADD and ADHD. They  are inattention and hyperactivity. In-depth descriptions of each symptom group are in the table provided below:

Inattention Inattention to detail

Difficulty sustaining attention

Doesn’t listen well

Poor follow through on tasks

Poor organization

Avoids homework or large projects

Often loses things



Hyperactivity Fidgets or squirms

Leaves seat often

Runs around inappropriately

Can’t play quietly


Always moving

Overly talkative

Blurts out answers

Difficulty waiting or taking turns

Interrupts frequently

If your child is experiencing 6 or more of the above symptoms they may be suffering from ADD or ADHD symptoms.

Things You Can do at Home

There are many things you can do at home to work on prevention such as staying active, eating a healthy diet, and planning ahead. There are many factors that can cause ADHD and ADD symptoms to become exacerbated, including stress, not enough exercise, a child not understanding their situation or schedule, and certain nutritional or food triggers. Other things you can do include:

  • Educating yourself about ADD/ADHD
  • Avoiding chaotic settings where one might be overstimulating
  • Encouraging them to fidget with a toy
  • Staying organized
  • Teach your child mindfulness skills

There are also many at home changes that can be made to help with ADD and ADHD. The first being adjusting your parenting. Trying to be consistent yet still setting limits and having clear consequences for behavior is key. Having boundaries can help their anxiety, and get them used to a routine. Having a routine that includes things like: morning activities, meals, chores, TV, and sleeping will help organize the child’s attention and repeatedly remind them what’s expected.

To ensure the routine and expectations it’s important to avoid multitasking when talking with your child. Setting any kind of distraction down, such as phone when talking to your child is crucial. Make eye contact when giving instructions. If instructions are followed through make sure to praise your child. Praise or rewards for good behavior can nurture a positive relationship with your child and encourage great behavior.

Sharing these recommendations with teachers or caregivers will help the routine to continue throughout the day. This will decrease the impact of the condition on the child’s life. In addition it will help keep the child organized throughout the day, which will help them stick to the routine. Some anecdotal evidence has suggested that children suffering from ADD/ADHD may need more physical activity before and after to school to “burn off energy” and also require frequent breaks during studying or learning. Studies for the aforementioned ideas are still emerging.

Medical Interventions

If you feel you will need medical interventions to help with the ADD/ADHD there are plenty of options: The first being counseling; using talk therapy, mindfulness-based techniques, or EMDR therapy can help one process underlying issues and understand how to deal with their emotions as well and work through their feelings. Another therapeutic option is Naturopathic Medicine and working on the root biological causes of the symptoms. Health Coaching can help if there are certain foods or food dyes that are triggering the condition. Clinical Hypnotherapy can also help ADHD and ADD symptoms by helping an individual learn to slow their mind down through hypnotic techniques and exercises. Other medical options include are seeing a psychiatrist, and utilizing bio or neurofeedback.

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


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, https://www.michnd.org/ . 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.


What is Gut Psychology?

What is Gut Psychology?  [Episode 15 of The Intentional Clinician Podcast]

Paul Krauss MA LPC interviews Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA about her new book “The Gut Psychology Program.” Paul asks Dr. Cain about the basics of “gut health” and why this is related to Psychology and mental wellbeing. Dr. Cain discusses the biology of the “gut system” and how changing one’s diet in small manageable ways can influence both physical and mental well-being. Dr. Cain makes it easy to understand in this compelling interview as she discusses information found in her book. Dr. Cain discusses the “gut-brain axis” first made famous by Dr. James Greenblatt, MD and why it is a revolutionary new paradigm. Dr. Cain gives a compelling interview about Gut Psychology on the latest episode of the Intentional Clinician Podcast.

Purchase the Gut Psychology Program Here. 

Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA is a brain and mental health specialist practicing both in Scottsdale, Arizona and Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is the proud creator of the Gut Psychology Program. Dr. Cain is a Board Certified licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor, and has a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Counseling. Dr. Cain is one of the few physicians in the country that specializes in the integrative treatment of mental health from a vitalistic perspective, with knowledge of natural, conventional, and functional medicine. Dr. Cain completed a medical residency in internal medicine and is also a general family practice doctor. She has advanced training due to her background in clinical psychology, with a particular focus in trauma, depression, bipolar, and anxiety. Dr. Cain is an avid advocate for bringing holistic solutions to anyone suffering. Dr. Cain has been published by newspapers, magazines, and blogs across the United States.

Paul Krauss MA LPC is the host of the Intentional Clinician Podcast as well as a Private Practice Counselor, Behavioral Health Consultant, Counseling Supervisor, and Clinical trainer. Paul works to train clinicians at behavioral health organizations in best practices. Paul has his private practice at Health for Life Grand Rapids, in Grand Rapids MI and is frequently visiting Phoenix, AZ for work as well.  If you would like to check out his supervision page, goto http://www.counselingsupervisorgr.com/  call Paul at 616-365-5530 (direct), or at the office 616-200-4433. Learn more about Paul at http://www.paulkrausscounseling.com/ Paul enjoys email, [email protected]

Learn more about the fantastic counselors and clinicians serving the West Michigan, Kent County, and Grand Rapids area at Health for Life Grand Rapids.

Differences between a Naturopathic Physician (NMD/ND), Naturopathic Practitioner, and Medical Doctor (MD)

The differences between a Naturopathic Physician (NMD/ND), Naturopathic Practitioner, and Medical Doctor (MD)

by Dr. Nicole Cain, ND, MA

Lots of folks have been asking us what a Naturopathic Physician (NMD/ND) is, and we wanted to share with you a few differences between a Naturopathic Physician (Doctor in Michigan) (NMD/ND), Naturopathic Practitioner, and Medical Doctor (MD)!

Naturopathic doctors are NOT the same as naturopaths, which is confusing because the names are the same.

In fact a Naturopathic Doctor’s (NMD/ND) curriculum is more similar to that of a Medical Doctor (MD), than a naturopathic practitioner.

Here are 6 things that make licensed Naturopathic Physicians (doctors in Michigan) different from naturopathic practitioners:

1. Naturopathic Doctors are graduates of accredited, four-year naturopathic medical colleges (there are only 6 of these colleges in the United States, none of which are in Michigan)
2. They are licensed or regulated by states
3. They must pass rigorous professional board exams
4. They can order diagnostic tests prescribe prescription drugs and hormones, and perform minor surgery, acupuncture, and do IV’s.
5. They must carry malpractice insurance
6. They must maintain a commitment to lifelong learning through continuing education (CEUs or CMEs)*
7. They complete over 1330 hours of clinical training, traditional naturopaths receive no clinical training (clinical training is akin to MD’s going to grand rounds and doing a residency with patients).
8. This extensive medical and clinical education is absolutely necessary for public safety. If a clinician is not medically trained, but they are recommending things for you to put into your body, they really have no idea if it could hurt you. Eg: You are on warfarin for your heart disease, and your clinician recommends turmeric. This might seem like a good idea, but a clinician who has not gone to medical school might not have learned that turmeric is a blood thinner and will interact with your warfarin and put you at extremely high risk for hemorrhage/bleed.

Here are 4 key things that make licensed Naturopathic Physicians (doctors in Michigan) different from MD’s:

1) Years 1 and 2 of medical school are very similar between ND’s and MD’s, though often ND’s often have a heavier load (see reference).
2) MD’s are required a minimum of 1,200 hours of clinical training, Naturopathic Physicians (NMD’s) are required at least 1,330 hours of clinical training.
3) Years 3 and 4 NMD’s receive extensive training in all of the alternative modalities (that the MD’s do not get) while continuing to complete the same basic coursework done in these years in MD programs.
4) NMD’s focus on prevention, identifying the root cause, and many avoid using prescription medications when there are alternative methods to improve health and decrease the need for medications.
*Continuing Education Units or Continuing Medical Education*
Naturopathic Physicians are referred to as “Doctors” in the State of Michigan (as of April 2018) as they have a 4-year doctorate degree from an accredited college, but Michigan has not yet passed legislation allowing Naturopathic Doctors, physician’s rights.

Women’s Lifestyle Magazine Feature 2018

Women’s Lifestyle Magazine Feature 2018.

Health for Life Grand Rapids was featured by Women’s Lifestyle Magazine on the local business beat in January 2018.

Discussed in the article was how Health for Life emerged in Grand Rapids, MI as an all-in-one clinic empowering the people of Grand Rapids to meet their health goals. Women’s Lifestyle Magazine discussed the array of services that Health for Life Grand Rapids offers including therapy and counseling services for Individuals, Families, and Couples, Naturopathic Medicine, Clinical Hypnotherapy, and Health Coaching.

Also featured was a supplement created by Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA called “Antidepressant Companion”, currently in her line of Natural Mental Health Supplements. Health for Life Grand Rapids is proud to be a part of the Grand Rapids community.

If you have any questions you can call our office at 616-200-4433 or email us at [email protected] .

Read the full article here.

Thank you for reading.

Why you need an accurate Food Allergy Panel

Why you need an accurate Food Allergy Panel

Have you heard about the Food Allergy Panel? It’s been a popular test for the past few years, and with good reason! But we are hearing some people are still confused, so let’s clear it up. The Food Allergy Panel is a blood test that will highlight foods you’ve been eating that are causing your immune system to be activated and initiate inflammation in the gut and can wreak havoc elsewhere.

The first important item to understand about this test is the big difference between IgE and IgG-mediated immune responses. While many allergist are in search of the foods or items that bring about an IgE response, they are searching for those that increase the release of histamine leading to severe and even fatal situations like hives and anaphylaxis. However, the Food Allergy Panel is testing for the IgG-mediated immune response. Unlike the fast-acting IgE, this is the delayed reaction your immune system can have when ingesting food items that your body has developed a sensitivity to. It can take up to 72 hours for symptoms to appear from a food that your blood levels show a high IgG-mediated response. This delayed response makes it difficult to correlate which foods are causing what symptoms. You may be eating the same thing every morning without knowing it’s leading to those chronic migraines your experiencing, that depression, or the joint paint that won’t go away. The presentation of symptoms from the IgG response is usually chronic, low-level and slow to progress with wide variety. These symptoms can range from headaches, nausea, skin symptoms like eczema, joint pain, tinea and discoloration, mood symptoms, gastrointestinal distress and neurocognitive disruption. An IgG food allergy panel may be the ticket to track down and overcome these unresolved symptoms you are struggling with.

The Food Allergy Panel is a functional test, which means it isn’t just looking to rule in or out a disease, it’s looking to find where your body is functioning suboptimally and how to get it back on track. Utilizing functional testing, it’s possible to see diseases before they are present and reverse them from progressing into more serious and severe cases.

Some alternatives to the food allergy panel is the elimination diet, which is a food based cleanse that removes the most common inflammatory, or IgG-activating foods, for a period of time allowing the immune response to decrease. During the elimination phase, supplements and nutrients to heal the gut are introduced. Slowly, the common allergen foods are re-introduced in a strategic way to reveal the symptoms associated with that food, with a 72-hour watch period after ingestion.

Often times this is done in place of the Food Allergy Panel, however it is most effective to gather all the information specific to your body and implementing the elimination diet, not with the most common allergens, but the ones that are actually affecting your body. Sometimes the food(s) responsible for the havoc on the gut aren’t in the top 12 common allergens and could be something that is being eaten daily, like oats or bananas. We see foods that are very unsuspecting, such as almonds showing a red flag, when typically we would think of food families like dairy or gluten as most harmful and the replacement of those top allergens are products like almond milk or almond flour. You can see how this can get very confusing and frustrating without a detailed map of what foods are affecting you, and that’s where the Food Allergy Panel testing comes in. The Food Allergy Panel is a way to test 96+ food families for any reactions in your unique body.

For more information or to set up a Food Allergy Panel for yourself you can call Health for Life Grand Rapids at 616-200-4433 or purchase the test online by clicking here.

Nationwide Food Allergy Testing Program

What is the deal with the Gut Brain Connection?

What is the deal with the Gut Brain Connection?

If you are suffering with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or a variation of another mental illness, it’s likely you’ve perused the archives of “Dr. Google” and found many blogs or articles talking of the benefits of a healthy diet. And you may have shrugged it off, thinking “What medical condition wouldn’t benefit from a healthy diet?” But the truth is, it’s more scientific than that.

There is a two-way communication street between your brain to your gut. These pathways link emotional and cognitive centers of the brain to the neuromuscular and nutrient absorption functions of the gastrointestinal tract. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m so upset, my stomach is in knots!” Or noticed an increase or loss of appetite when you’re in emotional distress? This isn’t all because of poor coping skills, it’s because our mood affects our digestion. This part may not raise your eyebrows or cause you to scoff at the idea. This is a pretty accepted and understood aspect of becoming an adult with concerns, worries and stress.

But what might surprise you is that an often overlooked important aspect is the reciprocal affect: your digestion influences your brain. With over 75% of your serotonin being produced in your gut, multiple studies linking the mental state with gut flora, and the obvious mental deficiencies with lacking nutrition this shouldn’t come as a shock. However, time and time again, we see mental disorders treated with a prescription pads in 10 minutes and a lacking emphasis on the preventative, proactive and therapeutic uses of a brain optimizing diet.

In mental and cognitive dysfunction from Autism Spectrum Disorder, Alzheimer’s, Mood Disorders, Psychosis and Developmental delays we have seen a diet high in healthy omega three fatty acids, essential trace minerals, high in nutrient-dense foods (such as dark leafy greens, dark mixed berries) and non-toxic chemical exposed consumables can have positive impacts on restoring the brain function, improving mood stability and cognitive processing while reducing risk for co-morbidities.  

At times a brain optimizing diet can correct and stabilize mood and mental dysfunction. Other times, more focused treatment and nutrient therapies are necessary to restore the imbalances from a standard american diet, until the diet is corrected. And lastly, we cannot forget food allergies and sensitivities. Food proteins that wreak havoc on your gastrointestinal tract can compromise the absorption of vital nutrients for brain function and rob your body of the ability to utilize whatever healthy foods you are eating towards good health! Because of the wide variety of possible symptoms and conditions impacted by our brain and our gut, it’s best to seek therapeutic nutrient advice from a trained professional for a personalized plan.

At Health for Life Grand Rapids, our skilled Naturopathic Physicians (Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA)  can help you assess where and how to implement nutrient changes to help your mood and brain function, while our Health Coaches (Nicole Vega, LMSW CHC and Jennifer Belmonte, LMSW CHC) help you adhere to these dietary changes at home, in real life. For more information please contact Health for Life today and set up a complimentary meet and greet with one of our Naturopathic Physicians or Health Coaches! Give us a call 616-200-4433 or set it up online now!

Recently, Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA published a 60+ page e-book entitled “Gut Psychology.”  You can head over to www.GutPsychology.com to learn more, or head over to amazon.com today, where it will be available by Jan 31st, 2018.

Exclusive & Affordable Food Allergy Testing Now Available!

Exclusive & Affordable Food Allergy Testing

Now Available from Health for Life Grand Rapids.

Did you know that over 30% of adults and 40% of children suffer from food allergies?* Food allergies are the foundation for of symptoms related to your brain chemistry, immune system, hormones and more.

If you are suffering from any of the following, you should get your personalized Food Allergy test:

  • Symptoms related to brain & mood health: Anxiety, depression, sleeping issues, irritability, concentration issues, brain fog, ADD/ADHD and more.
  • Digestive and gut health symptoms: Abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and gas, and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • You have a history of: Congestion, post-nasal drip, asthma, itchy and watery eyes.
  • You have been told you are allergic to environmental allergens like mold, grass, animal dander, and others.
  • Symptoms affecting your immune system: Psoriasis, eczema, acne, colds, flus, respiratory tract infections and more.

Your gut health is the foundation of your immune health, brain health, and impacts your risk factor for acute and chronic diseases. If our gut is compromised and out of balance, than our entire system will be out of balance resulting in the symptoms listed above as well as many others.

Food allergies are foods that your body has become hypersensitive to. A well-known example of this is Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease where your immune system mounts a response against gluten and the small intestine. A celiac panel looks at immunoglobulin made by the immune system in affected individuals; similarly, a food allergy panel will look at immunoglobulin(s) compared against other types of foods that your body might be reacting to.

Because the health of the gut is the foundation for your entire body’s health, when the gut becomes damaged you will experience many other systemic symptoms, and the gut becomes a breeding ground for imbalances in the yeast and flora in your gut.

There are hundreds of dietary programs on the market. The problem with these programs is that every fad-diet assumes that every single person has the same dietary needs. These diets do not take your individual biochemical makeup into consideration. By looking at your unique biomarkers, we can discern what foods are good for you and what foods are not.

You can easily identify what foods you are allergic to and calculate if your candida is out of balance by simply by signing up today.

Because of our commitment to offering affordable health solutions to the larger community, we have deeply discounted food allergy and candida testing and the physician analysis and program creation.

Upon signing up, (1) we will send you your personalized Food Allergy Kit in the mail and give you the address of a lab where they will do a quick and easy blood draw. (1b) Your kit will contain all the materials you need, including overnight shipping.

(2) Once we have received your results (from the lab), one of our highly specialized doctors will analyze your results and (3) send you your personalized analysis and dietary plan.

( Program Value = $700 Dollars! Normal Cost= Comprehensive Food Allergy & Candida test: $325

Evaluation of results & dietary program development by doctor: $375 )

Health for Life Exclusive Rate:

Your Cost= ONLY $300 Dollars!

Get started today by clicking HERE!

To learn more you may call the Health For Life office at 616-200-4433.
You may also sign up by phone!

Food Allergy Testing Program Flyer (Downloadable)


Further Discussion:

An allergy is defined as a damaging response of the immune system to a substance, particularly a pollen, dander, food or dust. The person becomes hypersensitive to these, resulting in unwanted symptoms upon exposure. Your gut health and immune system are inextricably linked, in fact, 78% of your immune tissue is in your gut. The gut is the foundation for our immune response. If our gut is out of balance, our immune response will be out of balance. Allergies originate in dysfunction with the gut and a healthy gut is a safety buffer against allergies, and contrastingly, an unhealthy gut is the foundation of allergies (WebMD). To learn more about the relationship to the gut and the immune system, read the article published in Johns Hopkins Medicine Journal entitled: “The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet” by Helen Fields (2015).

*The statistic of 30% and 40% is derived from the aforementioned understanding of allergies starting in the gut.

The evidence is clear that the immune system is regulated by the gut and that allergies are a dysfunction in the immune system in response to an external substance (food, dust, etc). Allergies start in the gut and the treatment of allergies—even if the “symptom” is only seen with exposure to trees or grass, for example—must begin by addressing the gut health and the gut’s response to food.

The challenge is that many allergists are not yet testing gut health. Partly this is because of the systems-based nature of our health care system. Psychiatrists only look at the brain, gastroenterologists only look at the gut. Allergists do IGE (immediate anaphylaxis) testing, and unfortunately this results in many people not identifying the root cause which may be an IGG response to a food they are eating, which causes an immune cascade and therefore reactivity to their environment.

You can learn more from Dr. Nicole Cain’s research on the gut-brain axis at www.GutPsychology.com .




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