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.

Women’s Lifestyle Magazine also featured 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.

Rewind, reset, and give yourself “permission” in the New Year!

How to rewind, reset, and give yourself “permission” in the New Year!

by Jen Belmonte, LMSW, CHC

It’s that time of year again!  Gym memberships significantly increase, families and individuals adopt healthier food choices, and many homes experience greater organization, cleaning, etc!

But how do we approach the New Year in a way to make fulfilling, sustainable changes?

As January approaches, it’s easy to become overzealous in our quest for personal growth and change; however, as mental health professionals, we’ve found that when individuals set lofty, tough-to-attain goals, the outcome is often feelings of defeat rather than fulfillment.

Here are a couple of recommendations I’d like to offer, in order to help the New Year be one of intention and fulfillment for you.

  1. Start saying NO.  In fact, try to say NO to more things (commitments, activities) than you say YES to!

As Dr. Edmund Bourne highlights in The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook,

“Learning to say no requires a willingness to relinquish cherished beliefs about yourself—which can be one of the hardest things for anyone to do. This may involve expanding your identity beyond taking care of others, or taking care of business, and learning to take the time to nurture and attend to your own needs. It means accepting the reality that taking care of yourself—even at the expense of what you do for others—isn’t selfish. Can you really offer your best to others or your work if you are tired, stressed, or burned out?”

Our society today tends to normalize busy-ness…. at times, we may even obtain a significant amount of our self-worth from how full our calendar is.  Saying NO may seem strange, awkward, and uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will become!  Ask yourself a couple of questions before agreeing to a commitment…. First, is this what’s BEST for me right now?  In other words, am I likely to leave this encounter/activity feeling energized, or depleted?  Second, am I the best person to carry this out?  Stay true to who you are, and how you’re wired. For example, if your child’s school is looking for a volunteer to organize a fundraiser, and you know that you struggle in the areas of project management and philanthropy, saying NO to this will create and offer space for you to do things that align with your temperament and your own personal interests. Too often we agree to things from a sense of guilt or obligation, and in the end, no one wins when these are the motivators. At times, we need to give ourselves permission to say NO.

Another way to say NO is to create a NO-FLY zone for you and/or your family’s schedule. In other words, give yourself a “time-out.” Create some space/margin where you do not schedule anything. Maybe that means staying home on a Saturday morning or taking a raincheck on a dinner invitation. The art of quietness and rest has been lost, as individuals and families today are pulled in so many directions.

  1. Explore a practice such as meditation, mindfulness (check out mindful.org), or yoga to cultivate rest, optimism and intention.

According to the Mayo Clinic, learning relaxation techniques has many health benefits, including improving concentration and mood, improving quality of sleep, lowering blood pressure, improving digestion and maintaining normal blood sugar levels!

Practicing gratitude is another powerful factor in helping to alleviate stress. According to Harvard Medical School, practicing gratitude has consistently shown a correlation with greater feelings of happiness, ability to deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. Cultivating gratitude can be done by keeping a gratitude journal, creating a gratitude jar, praying, and thanking individuals who’ve offered help and support.

  1. Consider investing in yourself with counseling and/or health coaching!

The road to self-care and personal growth can be lonely and challenging. The staff at Health for Life GR would be honored to partner with you in your personal, relational and health & wellness goals! In fact, Health For Life Grand Rapids’ Health Coaches, Nicole Vega and Jen Belmonte are offering a special discounted New Year’s rate! Please contact the office at 616.200.4433 for details!

Or email [email protected] and [email protected]



The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, 6th edition, by Edmund J. Bourne, PhD, New Harbinger Publications 2015



Set an intention for the New Year. That alone can be powerful!

New Year's Intentions. How to say no and give yourself permission.

A New Health Care Resource for Grand Rapids, Michigan

The team at Health for Life Grand Rapids has created an easy to use website for the people of Grand Rapids called www.GrandRapidsCounselor.com . This website provides a mobile-phone and tablet friendly overview of all the Counselors, Naturopathic Doctors, and Hypnotherapists at Health for Life Grand Rapids providing many different types of therapy–all customizable for the people of Grand Rapids, MI.

The Grand Rapids Counselor.com website is easy to use and guides users through learning about counseling, to learning about the people that work at Health life for Grand Rapids, followed by what specific services are offered by the staff, followed by information for new patients (including insurances accepted, cash rates) and an easy to use form to request information. Lastly, the site features an easily accessible contact form where you can request that a Counselor, Therapist, Naturopathic Doctor, or Hypnotherapist contact you directly.

The staff at Health for Life Grand Rapids are constantly working to make healthcare more accessible. The new website called “Grand Rapids Counselor.com” was a natural extension of this service. If you have questions, you can always call our front desk at 616-200-4433  or  email our manager, Paul Krauss MA LPC at [email protected].

Grand Rapids, MI is the second largest metropolitan area in Michigan, and we (at Health for Life Grand Rapids) are aiming to bring the highest quality healthcare, counseling, therapy, and health education to the Midwest. So far, we have two licensed Naturopathic Physicians from the State of Arizona providing excellent health education at our office. Both of them are committed to the people of the State of Michigan and, at the same time, they maintain their medical licenses through the State of Arizona. Currently, we have five counselors providing excellent therapy and health education in the Grand Rapids, MI area. Each therapist has a unique focus and approach to therapeutic process and works to customize care for each person and family they work with. We also have a Clinical Hypnotherapist providing amazing hypnotherapy to clients in the Grand Rapids area.

We are highly intentional about offering a diverse array of providers and services in Grand Rapids, MI.





Buddhist Psychology as a Science of the Mind

Buddhist Psychology as a Science of the Mind [Episode 11 of the Intentional Clinician podcast]

In this episode Paul Krauss MA LPC interviews Sivie Suckerman, MA LMHC about Buddhist Psychology as a philosophy, a science of the mind, and its various clinical and life applications. Paul and Sivie discuss the universal teachings of Buddhist Psychology in a way that is accessible (and non-threatening) to anyone, no matter their background, culture, or religion (or non-religion). Sivie and Paul discuss the differences between “regular mindfulness” and utilizing mindfulness exercises along with Buddhist Psychology. True to the Intentional Clinician, there are many details about how utilizing the concepts from Buddhist Psychology in counseling can help with anxiety, depression, and more.

Sivie Suckerman MA LMHC received her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2007 and has practiced in community mental health, crisis services, school-based mental health, residential, and women’s health agencies. Currently, Sivie has a full time private practice in the West Seattle neighborhood of Seattle and has been in private practice for 3 and a half years. She is also a Certified Mindful Schools Instructor and Level II Little Flower Yoga Teacher. In addition, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Acting with an emphasis in Original Works from Cornish College of the Arts in 1998. Learn more here: http://www.siviesuckerman.com/

You can subscribe to the Intentional Clinician on itunes or though podbean.

Paul Krauss MA LPC practices counseling and is a counseling supervisor in Grand Rapids, MI. Paul has his private psychotherapy practice at Health for Life Grand Rapids, located on 781 Kenmoor Ave SE, Suite C. Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Check out his clinic which features himself and many gifted clinicians (each with their own specialty). If you or someone you know is in need or just wants to give counseling a try– call Paul at 616-365-5530 (direct), or at the office 616-200-4433. Here is Paul’s email: [email protected]

Learn more at www.paulkrausscounseling.com and www.counselingsupervisorgr.com and www.grandrapidscounselor.com

Original music, used with permission:

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

“The Twin” from Archetypes by PAWL

“Moment in the Sun” from Archetypes by PAWL


Treating Trauma in the Refugee and Immigrant Populations

In episode 8 of the Intentional Clinician Podcast, Paul Krauss MA LPC (Counselor in Grand Rapids, MI) talks with Dr. Noe Vargas about using counseling to treat trauma in the refugee and immigrant populations. Dr. Noe Vargas discusses his experiences working with the victims of complex trauma, including children who have been victims of sex trafficking, and others who are refugees from terrible situations in other countries, or immigrants who are also seeking a better life in the United States. Dr. Noe Vargas and I discuss his experience helping people who have complex trauma and/or post traumatic stress disorder. Dr. Vargas has learned advanced techniques to treat PTSD and trauma. Dr. Vargas and Paul Krauss MA LPC also discussed EMDR therapy and how it has helped people around the world recover from physical and psychological effects of trauma. We also discuss the motivations for helping people who are victims of complex trauma in terms of personal life mission and humanistic ideals.

If you like the intentional clinician podcast, you can subscribe on itunes or through podbean.

Noé Vargas has a Doctorate in Behavioral Health from Arizona State University and is the assistant dean for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Grand Canyon University. Dr. Vargas holds an Arizona independent license as a Professional Counselor. He has been certified by the Green Cross as a Field Traumatologist, is a National Certified Counselor, holds the Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) certification, and has met the Arizona board educational requirements to be a clinical supervisor. Dr. Vargas specializes in the areas of psychological trauma and substance abuse, and he has been trained to work side by side with medical doctors integrating behavioral health and medical care. Dr. Vargas has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses at different universities and community colleges and routinely makes professional presentations on topics such as understanding childhood trauma, cultural diversity, effective parenting communication, integrated health, and other behavioral health related topics in different settings.

Paul Krauss MA LPC was first trained to practice EMDR counseling in 2009. Since then he has finished EMDR level 2 and has done over 40 hours of EMDRIA approved advanced training on EMDR, treating complex trauma, and helping those suffering from dissociative disorders. Paul practices counseling in Grand Rapids, MI. Paul has his private practice at Health for Life Grand Rapids, located on 781 Kenmoor Ave SE, Suite C. Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Check out his clinic which features himself and several fantastic clinicians https://www.healthforlifegr.com/ You can reach Paul at 616-365-5530 (direct), or at the office 616-200-4433. Here is Paul’s email: [email protected]

Learn more at www.paulkrausscounseling.com and www.counselingsupervisorgr.com and www.grandrapidscounselor.com

Stay tuned for more intentional clinician episodes. Feel free to send in show topic requests. Thank you for listening. -Paul Krauss MA LPC

Interesting Psychology: The “Doorway Effect”

Interesting Psychology: The “Doorway Effect”

by Adam Nash MA LLPC, Grand Rapids, MI.

Have you ever been in your living room and thought “Man I really want a cookie.” Then you stand up and walk through to the doorway toward your kitchen and think “what did I come in here for…?” Or have you ever been walking out of a class with a hall pass in hand, on your way to talk to the counselor about your schedule and the second you walk through the door you think “why am I in the hall? Why was I leaving class?” Or have you ever been in an office and stood up to bring that coffee mug back to the kitchen and walked out of your office, and suddenly had no idea what you were doing–only to walk back to your office and set the mug back down.

If any of these aforementioned examples ring true to you, rest assured, you are not alone. In the field of Psychology, this phenomenon is known as the “doorway effect” and it was proven in a study by a team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame (1). In the study, the participants first were asked to sit in front of a computer screen where they would pick up something (on the screen) then use the arrow keys on the computer to walk to a new destination; while walking the object that they had just picked up was not visible to them. It was determined that the participants who walked through imaginary doors had a much more difficult time remembering what they had picked up then those who walked to the new destination without going through any doors. Yet this study was completed utilizing only participants on computers.

The researchers at Notre Dame decided to see if this effect had any real-world efficacy in a real-world situation. In the second study, the participants were handed objects in real-time that they then placed into shoe boxes before walking to several new destinations. Sometimes they were asked to walk through a door way and sometimes they were asked to simply walk across a room. When they got to their destination they were quizzed on what they had in the box, the participants who walked through doorways had worse memory than those who walked the same distance, but did not walk through any doorways. Finally, the researchers tested another situation: if walking through a doorway and then back into the same surroundings that the participant began had affected their memory, while other participants were asked to walk the same distance in the same surroundings while making sure not to go through any doorways. Once again, the participants who walked through the doorways showed a memory loss greater than those who did not work through any doorways. The study concluded that people are more likely to forget when walking through doorways because the mind can only hold so many memories and, apparently, the part of the brain that deals with memory spontaneously decides that walking through a doorway is a good time to empty out some memories. Because a person’s brain can only hold so many memories it leaves behind the ones it decides are less important. And this is all happening at a subconscious level–which means that most people will not be aware of it, until they realize that they “forgot something.”

The next time you work through a doorway and forget why you entered that room, know that you are not the only one–it happens to everyone from time to time.  And the next time you are studying for a test and can’t remember the answer that you knew just a few minutes ago out in the hallway, don’t forget about the “doorway effect”. Every time you forget something while walking through a doorway, remember that forgetting is something that happens to everyone and that your brain is simply doing what it is programmed to do.

You can read the original study here: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17470218.2011.571267

For a complimentary 15 consultation for counseling with Adam Nash, MA LLPC

call 616-200-4433 or directly 616-676-7081

or email him at [email protected] 

adam nash helping teens with anger, depression, and anxiety

Come On, Get Happy! (with hypnosis)

Come On, Get Happy!(with hypnosis)

by Stacey Jekel PreFontaine CMS-CHt, FIBH

Imagine for a moment, going through life as your happiest, most contented self. Imagine that even when you experience struggles, disappointment, or loss, there is a firm resilience inside of you that keeps you on course and returns you to a state of well-being. Hypnosis has been shown to be an effective modality for increasing every day happiness. Through hypnosis, positive inner states like peace, contentment, and self-confidence are discovered or reinforced, creating a more balanced, happier life experience.

Even with past trauma, even with current struggles, you can reduce or eliminate the negative thought cycles that steal your everyday happiness. With just a few minutes of self-hypnosis each day you can shift your mind’s focus to recognizing and appreciating the everyday things, little things that are good in your life. Once this pattern of positive recognition is set, your brain begins to automatically search for, find, and experience more happiness. Happy moments become happy days which become a happy life!

During your hypnotherapy session, you will learn the simplest self-hypnosis tools that allow you to naturally grow more joy, and gratitude within you, creating lasting positive change. Learn these skills in private sessions or put a small group of people together and learn with friends. Special group rates will apply with a minimum of 3 people.

Contact Stacey PreFontaine at Health for Life GR for more information.

Learn more about Stacey here.

You can call her directly here: 616.828.2153

Email here: [email protected]

or call our main line: 616.200.4433 at Health for Life GR


Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy

If you are looking for mindfulness based cognitive therapy in Grand Rapids, MI– Paul Krauss MA LPC can help.

Give Paul a call at 616-365-5530 for a complimentary 15 minute consultation or email [email protected]

While “mindfulness” is all the rage these days, without help from a clinically informed practitioner, it may not have the therapeutic effect intended. Mindfulness based cognitive therapy have been both clinically proven to help reduce both depression and anxiety in people.

What is MBCT and how was it developed?

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is a rather recent development in the treatment of mental illness, originally designed to reduce relapse in individuals with persistent major depression (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004). In its intended form, MBCT is a group skills-training program taught in intervals specified by a manual, preferably by a therapist who has had their own extensive practice with MBCT and/or mindfulness in general (Helen & Teasdale, 2004; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). MBCT was specifically intended to address an individual’s vulnerability between major depression episodes, though it has recently been utilized to treat anxiety and bipolar disorder (Williams, Russell, & Russell, 2008; Orsillo, Roemer, Lerner, & Tull, 2004).

As a psychoeducational skills-training group (part group therapy, part mindfulness practice, and part teaching/coaching), MBCT is designed for patients in remission from the acute symptoms of major depression (Helen & Teasdale, 2004). The groups teach patients to increase their awareness of their thoughts, feeling and bodily sensations, while also relating to them differently. The most popular example of patients’ change of perspective in relation to their thoughts and feelings, in the literature, is for patients to treat them as “passing events in the mind” rather than identifying them or treating them as the absolute reality of their life situation (Williams, Russell, and Russell, 2008; Helen & Teasdale, 2004; Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004; Segal, Williams, & Teasdale 2002).

Zindel V. Segal, John D. Teasdale, and J. Mark G. Williams (2002) originally had set out to develop some sort of cognitive therapy maintenance treatment for people who had experienced a major depressive episode and were in remission. After Dr. Marsha Linehan introduced her use of “mindfulness” to the trio, as part of her successful treatment called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, they began to investigate the technique. Segal, Teasdale, and Williams then traveled to the University of Massachusetts, where Dr. John Kabat-Zinn had been treating patients, suffering from chronic illnesses, with a program called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) since the 1970s (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). The methods of mindfulness, as developed by Kabat-Zinn, urges a patient to “decenter” or observe thoughts and feelings from a wider perspective as a method to steer away from “automatic” mental reactions to stress (reactions, that often inhibit logical and effective problem-solving) (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness techniques themselves were originally derived from Buddhism’s mindfulness meditation (Carey, 2008). Following Segal, Teasdale, and Williams study of and participation in Kabat-Zinn’s MBSR, the trio began to develop MBCT by bringing a cognitive therapy background to a mindfulness structure. And after the results of a randomized clinical test demonstrated that formerly depressed patients who went through a beta version of MBCT were significantly less likely to relapse into major depression again during the year that followed the program, Segal, Teasdale, and Williams secured the funding to make MBCT into a fully-fledged treatment program (a treatment program, which is now soaring in popularity) (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002).

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy: The Basics

As stated earlier, MBCT is essentially structured as skills-training group. Yet, the program is generally referred to as a class instead of a group, because the founders believe this is a better description of the learning environment. To begin, once a patient has met with the instructor individually for a preparation session, the patient then joins up to eleven other members for 8 weekly 2-hour sessions led by the instructor. Between sessions, members are given daily homework assignments, which generally consist of guided or unguided awareness and mindfulness exercises (Helen & Teasdale, 2004).

During the MBCT program, patients are taught to identify their own ruminative thinking and to free themselves from a “mode of mind” where negative thinking is dominant and instead to utilize mindfulness to achieve a state of “acceptance” and “being” (Coelho, Canter, & Ernst, 2007). Patients are taught to “decenter” themselves from negative thoughts or feelings, but not to avoid them, rather to observe these thoughts from a more objective distance. Of course, before the patients learn specific techniques, they must begin to understand and practice the core skill of MBCT: Mindfulness (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). Interestingly enough, an instructor usually leads patients through the practice of guided awareness (or mindfulness) before explaining the technique at length, so patients have a nonbiased experience they can both reflect and build upon.

Mindfulness is defined as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgementally” (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2002, p 77). When a person is practicing mindfulness they have means to identify when a switch in their thinking is needed (for example, negative thoughts about themselves arise), and also the tools to just be in the moment and not let depressing thoughts take over: acknowledge the thought as a thought and let it go (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). Yet, MBCT is not in the practice of replacing or restructuring thoughts about the self (to become positive or happy) like many other traditional forms of cognitive and psychotherapy; instead, MBCT aims to provide the patient with freedom from ruminative thinking patterns and mental anguish. For as Segal, Teasdale, Williams noted, attempting to alter, fight, displace, or avoid negative thoughts often causes more mental turmoil and can lead to a relapse of depression. And when they achieve freedom through MBCT, the patient can more easily achieve their goals, such as becoming happier (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002).

The Program

The actual 8-week program that is MBCT is highly structured, and consists of a combination of teaching skills, brief group therapy, mindfulness exercises, group discussion and reflection, and assigning homework. Patients are given both homework and handouts to educate them further regarding the mindfulness skills they are learning during the sessions as well as their purposes. Because of the nature of the exercises, many of which come with suggested scripts, and the concepts being so heavily based on “being in the moment” rather than topics to be debated or discussed, the developers recommend that the instructor be a therapist who has been through a MBCT program or has an active and regular mindfulness practice or their own (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002).

Throughout the program MBCT teaches participants many exercises through which they can begin to practice mindfulness and eventually apply it to their personal lives. Starting with an awareness exercised dubbed “the raisin exercise” participants learn to bring their mind to the present moment and examine in detail the raisin by sight, touch, smell, taste, and how it feels inside the body (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002). Shortly after this exercise, participants learn the body-scan meditation. The instructor leads this exercise with the participants lying comfortably on the floor. The instructor speaks to the participants and instructs them to bring awareness to the different physical sensations of all parts and sections of the body, one by one. Moving from section to section slowly with an in-breath ushering in consciousness and focus on a section or part and the out breath moving the participant onward. The body scan meditation is a mindfulness exercise and part of the overall mindfulness program, which works by bringing participants awareness to different parts of the body (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002).

One of the other main practices of the MBCT program is mindfulness meditation, where participants sit in a comfortable position and focus on their breathing. When thoughts other than breathing-in and breathing-out come, one should acknowledge them and let them go. The goal is to sit for about 15 minutes and attain a more mindful perspective to bring back to daily activities. Other exercises and practices of MBCT include a 3-minute breathing space, some cognitive exercises (using mindfulness to reframe and “decenter” thoughts and utilize deliberate thinking), homework, and some light yoga where participants focus their awareness on subtle movements. Eventually participants will use mindfulness to be more deliberate and aware during everyday activities. Participants will also learn to identify negative thoughts, symptoms, and relapse signs– and cope with them (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002).

Just as the act of mindfulness meditation is related to Buddhist meditation, but has a different non-religious and clinical focus, the body scan meditation shares traits of progressive muscle relaxation. The body scan meditation is about the awareness of feelings and sensations in different parts and sections of the body, while progressive muscle relaxation is focused on physical relaxation. In progressive muscle relaxation, one tenses or flexes a different part or muscle of the body for 8 seconds on the inhaled breath and then exhales and releases the hold for 15 seconds, before moving on to the next part or muscle. While body scan meditation and progressive muscle relaxation follow similar sequences of focus on body parts, breathing, and both take place on the floor, progressive muscle relaxation emphasizes the physical relaxation of each muscle throughout the exercise and not the mindful awareness (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002; Richmond, 2008)

As a program, MBCT is extremely comprehensive in scope and should offer a patient, who actually devotes themselves to the homework and practice, a great opportunity to learn and really change some fundamental ways in which they interact with their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. Most of all, MBCT provides an alternative or supplement to traditional therapy and pharmaceutical treatments, which could help prevent a patient from relapsing.

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Depression

To understand more specifically how MBCT works and why several studies have deemed the psychoeducational therapeutic program an efficacious treatment, it is important to take a closer look at the workings of chronic major depression, the condition for which it was developed in the first place. While there has been success in treating major depressive disorder through therapy, pharmaceuticals, and electroconvulsive treatments, many of those treatments were focused on the acute symptoms and not the long-term reoccurring episodes. Until the early 1980s there were not many studies conducted on the rate of relapse for individuals suffering from major depression (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2002). Since the initial studies suggested an enormous need for a maintenance therapy or other means to prevent relapse, other studies have emerged: “at least 50% of patients who recover from an initial episode of depression will have at least one subsequent depressive episode, and those patients with a history of two or more past episodes will have a 70-80% likelihood of recurrence in their lives” (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2002, p 14).

According to the vulnerability model of depression studies, relapse and recurrence are more likely to occur after the initial depressive episode because “negative, self-critical, and hopeless thinking, during episode of major depression, lead[s] to changes at both cognitive and neuronal levels” (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004, p 48). So individuals who have recovered from one or several major depressive episodes are essentially changed from their experience with the disorder. As a result, low-lying dysphoric thoughts are likely to lead recovered individuals to worse states of mind (in both content and process) and eventually to another episode of major depression (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004; Williams, Russell, & Russell, 2008). These dysphoric thoughts are not necessarily the catalyst for sending a recovered individual to relapse, but they are just part of a larger picture, which involves how individuals deal with such thoughts.

Since mindfulness can be considered an “alternative cognitive mode” in which an individual learns to process thoughts and feelings differently than they have learned in the past, MBCT techniques have proven vital to preventing relapse in formerly depressed individuals by enabling them to identify dysphoric feelings/thoughts early-on and respond in a manner that effectively “nips [negative thinking patterns] in the bud” (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004). MBCT techniques differ from traditional cognitive therapy in many ways, but one major way is that in general cognitive therapy emphasizes therapeutic problem solving and fixing of issues through identifying, talking about, and processing negative thoughts or feelings, while MBCT empowers individuals to actually turn toward the negative feeling or thought and relate to that experience in the moment (Segal, Williams, & Teasdale, 2002).

There is mounting empirical evidence that MBCT is more effective in preventing an individual from relapsing into a depressive episode than treatment as usual. In two 2003 studies, MBCT was shown to halve recurrence rates of depression over treatment as usual (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004). More specifically, it was demonstrated that patients who had experienced three or more episodes of depression benefited the most, while patients with two or fewer episodes of depression in the MBCT did not differ from those receiving treatment as usual (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004). There are several theories that seem to account for this difference in the statistical effectiveness of MBCT in preventing recovered individuals from depressive relapse: First, automatic and habitual patterns of negative thinking become more intense and are more easily reactivated in an individual who has had more past depressive episodes (usually those with three or more episodes). Second, individuals who have two or less episodes of major depression, in general, come from a slightly different population (they were more likely to have later onset of depression, and the depression was more likely to be caused by negative life events) than those with three or more episodes, who may have developed more fixed maladaptive thinking traits (Coehlo, Canter, & Ernst, 2007).

MBCT has also been shown to reduce “overgeneral autobiographical memory”, which is a pattern of thought common in some depressive patients. Being a rather new method of treatment, MBCT will still require many years of study, including comparing its use versus pharmaceutical drugs and so on, before it will be widely accepted as a preferred treatment for depression (Coehlo, Canter, & Ernst, 2007). In general, MBCT is known to reduce study participants relapse into a depressive episode “within 12 months from 70% to 39%, increases the average time to relapse by at least 18 weeks, and decreases the Beck Depression Inventory score after treatment by nearly 5 points” (Williams, Russell, & Russell, 2008, p 529).

Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Anxiety

While there has yet to be extensive research published evaluating the effects the MBCT program on individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders, it is important to note that the basic skills and methods of mindfulness appear to work well with combating the underlying symptoms of clinical anxiety (Orsillo, Roemer, Lerner, & Tull, 2004). For instance, individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders often go to great lengths to avoid “objects or situations” that increase their symptoms, causing them superfluous difficulties. MBCT might be an effective treatment for individuals who exhibit the aforementioned behaviors, as it empowers individuals to turn toward their feelings (regarding objects or situations) and observe them from a “decentered” perspective, which could potentially cause symptom reduction (Orsillo, Roemer, Lerner, and Tull, 2004).

Research has show that anxiety disorders are characterized by set patterns of anxious or over generalized response to stimuli by individuals. MBCT may be an effective treatment for such disordered responses as it emphasizes taking a new and more nuanced perspective of stimuli for a more adaptable and, hopefully, asymptomatic response (Orsillo, Roemer, Lerner, & Tull, 2004). In fact, MBCT shares many similarities with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which has been utilized to successfully treat anxiety. ACT as well as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), used to treat individuals with a high risk of self-harm, both share traits with MBCT, as they primarily utilize “non-language based strategies” that seek to assist a patient with viewing and comprehending their problems in a fundamentally different way which allows the patient to cope with symptoms in a new and, hopefully, advantageous manner (Orsillo, Roemer, Lerner, & Tull, 2004).


While labeled “probably efficacious” by the American Psychological Association, MBCT has received high praise from both therapists and patients (Helen & Teasdale, 2004). For instance, one reviewer suggested that “mindfulness may promote exposure to previously avoided internal experiences, lead to cognitive change or a change in attitude about one’s thoughts, increase self-observation and management, produce a state of relaxation, or increase acceptance” (Orsillo, Roemer, Lerner, & Tull, 2004, p 77). Another benefit of MBCT is that the program can provide a needed alternative or supplement to both therapy and pharmaceutical treatment for a patient. And unlike some traditional talk-therapies, MBCT’s class-like program empowers patients by teaching them skills and methods of dealing with thoughts and feelings that they can practice on their own without relying on treatment providers. In fact, because of its group format (using one instructor) and limited number of sessions, MBCT is rather cost effective and may be an excellent alternative treatment for economically disadvantaged individuals, who may not have comprehensive insurance or cannot afford traditional therapy or even medications (Coehlo, Canter, & Ernst, 2007). Another aspect of diversity other than the economic class system, is that MBCT is known to be associated with Buddhist meditation, which for a person of any culture (religious or not) could be cause for some skepticism; however with proper promotion and culturally-sensitive education, hesitant individuals from any culture will hopefully come to understand that MBCT is a non-sectarian, non-religious psychological treatment developed exclusively for dealing with mental disorders.

MBCT is a relatively new treatment, developed specifically for treating patients who are in recovery from depression, yet its usefulness is still in the beginning stages of being empirically documented. Part of a so-called “third-phase” of treatments which, along with ACT and DBT, build upon the traditional understandings and structures of behavioral and cognitive therapies with new techniques such as “mindfulness, acceptance, relationship, and spirituality” as well as MBSR to advance the field of therapy (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004, p 45). Already, MBCT has proven to significantly reduce relapse in individuals recovering from depression by fifty percent over those who are engaged in treatment as usual (Segal, Teasdale, & Williams, 2004). Future studies will inevitably study MBCT as an alternative to pharmaceuticals as well as a treatment for other types of mental illness besides depression, which could lead to even greater acceptance and use of the program in the years to come (Williams, Russell, & Russell, 2008).



Carey, B. (2008, May 27). Lotus therapy. The New York Times.

Coelho, H. F., Canter, P. H., & Ernst, E. (2007). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy:     Evaluating current evidence and informing future research. Journal of Consulting             Psychology, 75, 1000-1005.

Helen, M. S., & Teasdale, J. D. (2004). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression:        Replication and exploration of differential relapse prevention effects. Journal of             Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72, 31-40.

Orsillo, S. M., Roemer, L., Lerner, J. B., & Tull, M. T. (2004). Acceptance, mindfulness, and       cognitive-behavioral therapy: Comparisons, contrasts, and application to anxiety. In S. C.           Hayes, V. M. Follette, & M. M. Linehan (Eds.), Mindfulness and acceptance: Expanding             the cognitive-behavioral tradition (pp. 67-91). New York: The Guilford Press.

Richmond, R. L. (2008) A Guide to psychology and its practice: Progressive muscle relaxation.     Retrieved July 7, 2008, from http://www.guidetopsychology.com/pmr.htm

Segal, Z. V., Teasdale, J. D., & Williams, J. M. G. (2004). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: Theoretical rationale and empirical status. In S. C. Hayes, V. M. Follette, & M. M.        Linehan (Eds.), Mindfulness and acceptance: Expanding the cognitive-behavioral   tradition (pp. 45-65). New York: The Guilford Press.

Segal, Z. V., Williams, J. M. G., & Teasdale, J. D. (2002). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy    for depression: A new approach to preventing relapse. New York: The Guilford Press.

Williams, J. M. G., Russell, I., & Russell, D. (2008). Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy:          Futher             issues in current evidence and research. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 76,           524-529.

This article was written by Paul Krauss MA LPC

Grand Opening Sept 21st 2017!

Health for Life Grand Rapids Celebrates Their Grand Opening

Integrative Counseling Office Hosts Open House

Grand Rapids, MI: Health for Life Grand Rapids, an integrative mental health facility, will host an open house to celebrate their grand opening. This event will take place on Thursday, September 21st, 5:30-7:30pm EST, at Health for Life Grand Rapids. 781 Kenmoor Ave SE, Suite C, Grand Rapids, MI 49546.

Enter your name and email address when you arrive and you will be entered to win one of many raffle items! Items include Norwex products, salon gift cards, a Naturopathic First Aid Kit, and many more. There will be snacks and refreshments for all who stop by.

Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA

Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA is a licensed Naturopathic physician (AZ), who strives to find the root cause of illnesses of all kinds. Dr. Cain is known for helping people suffering from mental and emotional concerns–yet she treats the entire person. Dr. Cain treats patients all over the United States and internationally.

“We believe in long-term solutions. We want our clients to come out of their experience with us as changed people, who can go back into their community and bring their healthy new perspective and the tools to share with their loved ones.”

Dr. Nicole Cain, ND MA resides in Grand Rapids, but still practices part-time in Scottsdale, AZ as she is a licensed physician in the state of Arizona. Michigan has not yet passed legislation for Dr. Cain to practice as a physician in Michigan, but she is able to provide health education for people based on her years of medical practice in Arizona. Paul Krauss is a clinical supervisor as well and has supervised and trained clinicians for 7 years and has been practicing as a counselor for 10 years. Learn more here: www.drnicolecain.com


Ashley is our wonderful office manager. Ashley will make sure that your experience at Health for Life Grand Rapids begins with a smile. She is eager to answer all of your questions and ensure that you get the information you need. Do not hesitate to call if you have questions or concerns and Ashley will help find the answer for you 616-200-4433.

Paul Krauss, MA, LPC

Paul Krauss is the co-founder of Health For Life Grand Rapids. Paul has his own podcast, he has over 10 years of experience and has consulted for several major behavioral health agencies. He is an expert in trauma, anxiety, depression, helping the parents of struggling young adults. In addition, Paul is a business consultant, and is extremely passionate about providing expert mental health care to the West Michigan area. If you are suffering from trauma, PTSD, anxiety, depression, anger, relationship issues or if you want to be more successful in your job, call Paul Krauss for a complimentary meet and greet today. To learn more about Paul, click here: https://www.healthforlifegr.com/experts/paul-krauss/

Nicole Vega, LMSW, CHC

Nicole is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Health Coach. She is an expert at working with women and is passionate about helping new moms who are struggling with depression, anxiety postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and more. Nicole is an excellent counselor with women of all ages, including teenagers! If you are a single woman, a new mom, seasoned mom, or if you are a woman suffering from depression, anxiety, or if you want to become a greater expert in living your own best life, call Nicole today! To learn more about Nicole, click here: https://www.healthforlifegr.com/experts/nicole-vega/

Billie Walters, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Billie has advanced training in Mindfulness & Self-Compassion. She brings her advanced skills and healing presence to each therapy session. Her passion and calming personality will help you feel balanced, inspired, and empowered. Billie has solutions for almost every situation. She is an expert at helping people with  anxiety, depression, stress reduction/ management, anger management, and she will work with you and your family. If you you’d like to work with a highly skilled, warm, and compassionate clinician, call Billy today to set up your first consultation! To learn more about Billie, read here: https://www.healthforlifegr.com/experts/billie-walters/

Adam Nash, MA, LLPC

Adam is a leader in the field working with helping teens, young adults and parents thrive. He has over a decade of experience working with teens/young adults not only as a mentor, but as an outpatient counselor and inpatient clinician. Adam has the experience, wisdom, knowledge, and skills to –whether you are a teenager, young adult, or the parent of one. If you are a parent of a struggling teen or young adult, or if you are ready to conquer your symptoms and to achieve your goals of wellness, definitely give Adam a call today! To learn more about Adam, read here: https://www.healthforlifegr.com/experts/adam-nash

Jennifer Belmonte , LMSW, CHC

Jennifer is an excellent therapist and certified health coach. Jennifer Belmonte provides therapy to children, adolescents, and adults in the Grand Rapids, MI area. Jennifer specializes in the following areas: Emotional Neglect, Difficulties with food and healthy lifestyle, Children & adolescents, Help with emotional regulation and symptoms of depression and anxiety, Faith-based counseling, Health Coaching, and Women’s Issues read more here: https://www.healthforlifegr.com/experts/jennifer-belmonte/

Stacey Prefontaine, Clinical Medical Hypnotherapist

Stacey is a wonderful Hypnotherapist. Stacey is passionate about helping people improve their lives and manage their stressors through the power of hypnotherapy.  She helps people heal from trauma and other issues both mentally and physically.
“Through my practice as a hypnotherapist, I have been able to help clients improve self awareness and intuition, become confident in challenging relationships and situations, put an end to unhealthy habits, reduce and manage pain, improve sleep quality, and gain confidence.” Learn more here: 

Wisdom and Philosophy in Recovery from Addiction

The Intentional Clinician Podcast with Paul Krauss MA LPC

In part 2 of my conversation with Bryon Sabatino, we discuss addiction, honesty, motivation, stages of change, counseling, and how mindfulness and philosophy can help in recovery. Bryon and Paul discuss hope for those suffering from addictions and their families. Bryon and Paul discuss Bryon’s book “Inner Work” and the philosophy contained with it. This philosophy informs Bryon and Paul’s counseling practices.

Bryon has been running and intensive outpatient therapy group in Tempe, AZ called “Inner Work Counseling” for years and has helped so many struggling with addictions to substances.  Bryon Sabatino is the owner and founder of Inner Work Counseling in Tempe, AZ. Check out his website here.

Paul Krauss MA LPC practices counseling in Grand Rapids, MI. Paul has his private practice at Health for Life Grand Rapids, located on 781 Kenmoor Ave SE, Suite C. Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Check out his clinic which features himself and several fantastic clinicians https://www.healthforlifegr.com/  If you or someone you know is in need or just wants to give counseling a try– call Paul at 616-365-5530 (direct), or at the office 616-200-4433. Here is Paul’s email: [email protected]

Learn more at www.paulkrausscounseling.comandwww.counselingsupervisorgr.com.

Stay tuned for more intentional clinician episodes. Feel free to send in show topic requests. Thank you for listening. -Paul Krauss MA LPC

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