The bruise under my toenail

The bruise under my toenail

By Paul Krauss MA LPC

As you can see in the picture, I have a bruise under my toenail. The marker of the bruise under my toenail is almost gone, and in a few weeks my nail will have grown and pushed the mark to an area where my toenail will eventually be clipped off, and with it—all evidence that it ever existed. Yet, six months ago this bruise was much closer to the skin on my right toe and it still hurt for, the original bruise showed up when I dropped a full 32-ounce metal water bottle on my big toe from about 5 feet in the air.

This painful bruise happened during one of the most stressful months of my life. I was so stressed that I walked out of a meeting, which I had scheduled (too late) to help me reduce my stress. Instead, everything just kept getting worse, because I was not prioritizing my health—I let stress creep up on me. Stress is the killer of joy, of calm, and of peace in our lives. Yet, it is inevitable that in my daily life, I will have stress and major life events that give me stress will come again. Stress in a part of life. However, it is important for me and for you to apply measures, each and every day to reduce stress. Getting back to the story: For me, moving across the country (again) and starting from scratch, was a perfect storm of stress factors, which caused me to have multiple anxiety attacks, doubt myself, and doubt my abilities.

My family, friends, and mentors told me “just take your time and take care of yourself…don’t overwork…believe in the long term goal you are working toward.” But yet, I couldn’t hear them. In fat, I believe my nervous system was deeply affected, and my inner confidence was off-kilter due to the biggest move (Phoenix to Grand Rapids) I’d had in nine years (Since I moved from Chicago to Phoenix in 2008) and I was determined to get everything in my life and business ready as fast as possible. As a result of this I stressed myself out by not taking care of myself, not resting, not reflecting, and running from place to place and conversation the conversation to the point where my functioning became somewhat impaired.

Eventually, I experienced what I thought I would never go through: “Burn out.” Me, burned out? No way! I was totally in denial for a few weeks! I mean, I have an entire 6 hour Continuing Education Course I wrote for Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family therapists about best practices in counseling and one of the sections is about “Self-care” and “Avoiding Burn Out.” I mean I preach this stuff! I had made it a point to live this stuff! I helped my clients with this very issue—yet I was experiencing a burn out from stress? This was an awful experience that I don’t wish on any person.

Burn out from stress is worse than you can imagine (if you haven’t had it). My body would not do what I asked it to do. I had little to no energy, yet I still had trouble sleeping. I was almost shaking at times when I would get stressed, and other times I couldn’t seem to move. My mind would not respond normally to almost anything—I was having trouble doing both complex and simple tasks for several weeks. I had never experienced anything like this in my life before. My creativity had vanished and I began to experience depression-like symptoms. It began to affect my personal relationships. That is when I knew something had to change. I sought help from multiple people in my life and from professionals. Within 4 weeks I was feeling better, but it took about 3 months until I felt normal again.

How many times do we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves through arbitrary goals that we set? How many times do we become fixated and worried about something that is only short-term issue? How often do we find ourselves rushing toward a goal and forgetting about the important journey of learning? How often do we find ourselves not trusting that if we are putting in effort, something will work out—even if it not what we originally tried for? Trust me, it is not worth sacrificing your health to move anywhere, set up anything, or meet any goal faster than the pace you naturally work. If you are going through a large transition, or wanting to work toward a goal, or just living your life and worrying a lot—it is important to get into a rhythm of giving yourself time and space to work to lower your stress level. Getting in a rhythm of “being” instead of always “doing” will help keep your stress level low, and thus you will be less susceptible to burnout, anxiety and depression.

be like a tree and defeat stress

  • Having a rhythm is not having a perfect schedule. Rhythms can be adjusted and goals can be reworked. If we stick to rigidly to a goal, we are missing the point and we are probably missing out on life. In fact, I make it a point to set a lot of goals, yet I am constantly adjusting and moving them to make way for the “flow” of life. Perfection will never be apart of nature. Look at the trees–they are beautiful the way they are, but their roots are not symmetrical, nor their foliage, nor their growth patterns–they are often shaped by their environment and the weather around them. If trees are too rigid and don’t bend from the wind, they may snap in half and die. Trees must bend and become “elastic” in the elements for their survival. If they impose a false sense of perfection on themselves, they will die. We too will always be imperfect (so will our schedules); we are part of nature too, if we accept this, life doesn’t get easier, but our reactions to life are certainly more balanced and helpful to us.


  • Make sure you insert spaces in your schedule to “just be”, or any spaces will get filled with something that you had not intended –tasks or mindless activity or social media or mindless TV—something will end up there, invited or not. People, media, tasks, are all vying for your time. The trick is that we want to be with the people that we have decided make up our family or close group of friends, we want to consume the “right media” (not just any media), we want to invest ourselves in meaningful tasks and work, just to name a few aspects of our focus. If we don’t put spaces in our schedules to reflect or “just be”, we will hardly grasp what the “right thing” is for us.


  • Find activities that reduce stressed, things you get “lost in” and make sure you have 1 or 2 activities in your life per week, if possible.
    • These activities could be almost anything, but some ideas I will suggest are exercise, walking in nature, mindfulness based stress reduction, reading, cooking, cleaning, meeting with certain friends, darts or bowling league, dancing, arts and crafts, social groups, discussion groups, having a favorite TV show or podcast that is engaging and not mindless, sports, getting involved in causes that you believe in, spiritual or religious activities, volunteering, helping others, spending time with animals, mentoring a child, etc.

If you have to make a large change in your life and your living environment, please allow yourself extra time to get done what you need to do (if possible), make sure that you do not give up your “self-care” activities, do not give up your time with your friends, helpers, or family, and do not put to much on your “to do list.”

Here’s to hoping that the next time you or I bruise our toenail, it is just an accident, and not because of a period of “burnout” caused by excessive stress that we could have avoided.

Take care of yourself. You are worth taking care of.

If you are finding yourself stressed out and not knowing what to do, call our office (Health for Life Grand Rapids) at 616-200-4433 and schedule a complimentary 15 minute phone consultation with one of our clinicians.

What is Trauma, PTSD, and EMDR therapy?

Trauma, PTSD, Recovery from trauma, cultural trauma, EMDR therapy, and other treatments. [Episode 13 of the Intentional Clinician Podcast]

Paul Krauss MA LPC has a new podcast you can listen to for free. He discusses the following topics: trauma, post traumatic stress disorder, EMDR therapy, trauma-informed treatment, recovery from trauma and PTSD, how trauma affects the brain the adverse childhood experiences study, best practices related to treating trauma, neurobiology research and more. Paul discusses the shame factor that many feel related to their own trauma and assuming that they should “be over it.” Further discussion includes shared cultural trauma and other stories of recovery from trauma. Paul talks about many treatments that can help someone suffering from trauma. If you or someone you know has suffered from a traumatic experience(s) share this podcast to help spread the news that there actually are empirically proven treatments for trauma that work!

Paul Krauss MA LPC is the host of the Intentional Clinician podcast as well as a counselor living in Grand Rapids, MI. Paul is also available for corporate and personal consulting with issues related to behavior, mental health, motivation, brain health, and optimal performance. Paul has his private practice at Health for Life Grand Rapids, located on 781 Kenmoor Ave SE, Suite C. Grand Rapids, MI 49546. 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. Learn more about Paul here: Paul enjoys email, [email protected] . Paul is also an approved Clinical Supervisor, learn more here:

Original music, used with permission:

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

Feynman Wolfgang” from Flighty Tronys 1 by Flighty Tronys

Music available here:


ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience Study).

American Psychiatric Association (2013), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders FifthEdition, Washington DC.

Buser, S., Cruz, L. (2015). DSM-5 Insanely Simplified: Unlocking the Spectrums within DSM-5 and ICD-10. Innerquest.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Herman, J.L. (1997) [1992]. Trauma and recovery: the aftermath of violence – from domestic abuse to political terror. New York: BasicBooks.

Kessler, R.C., Sonnega, A., Bromet, E. (1995). Posttraumatic stress disorder in the national comorbidity survey. Archives of General Psychiatry, 52, 1048-1060.
Lipschitz, D.S., Winegar, R.K., Hartnick, E., Foote, B., & Southwick, S.M. (1999). Posttraumatic stress disorder in hospitalized adolescents: Psychiatric comorbidity and clinical correlates. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38, 385-392.
Mayo Clinic. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Symptoms.

Mueser, K. T., Goodman, L. B., Trumbetta, S. L., Rosenberg, S. D., Osher, F., Vidaver, R., Auciello, P., & Foy, D. W. Trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder in severe mental illness. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66: 493-499. (1998).

National Center for Trauma Informed Care,

Levine, Peter A. (2005). Healing trauma: a pioneering program for restoring the wisdom of your body. Boulder, CO :Sounds True,


Rosenberg, C. (2017). Your eyes may be key to healing your mind.

Shapiro, F. (2001). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, 2nd edition, N.Y.: The Guilford Press.

Shapiro F. (2013).  Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy, Rodale Books.

Van der Kolk, B. A. (2014). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. New York: Viking.

Wikipedia. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


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, 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 . 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 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” 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.





Overcoming Social Anxiety and Struggles

Are you a teen struggling with anxiety or social anxiety? Do social situations my your super anxious? If so, it is time to find a way to overcome these struggles.

Are you experiencing anxiety? It is time to get Counseling in Grand Rapids, MI

Adam Nash LLPC “I am very passionate about helping teens learn how to manage their anxiety and move past it to a healthier life.”

One of my passions as a clinician is to see teens be successful in all aspects of their lives. If you are a teen who is struggling with social anxiety then you have come to the right place.

Are you struggling with feeling like you don’t fit in with the people in your school? If so I have over 10 years of experience working with teens and helping them reach their full potential through healthy ways of cope anxiety.

Anxiety is a feeling of overwhelming worry or unease about an upcoming event of uncertainty and it greatly affects the ability of the person suffering through it to be able to manage their emotions. However there is help and it is possible to learn how to manage anxiety and live a great life.

Social Anxiety is the fear of situations where one must interact with other people, practically in large groups, and can easily prevent a person from being able to function in social situations. Often, social anxiety if not properly managed can become debilitating and prevent the person’s ability to even leave the house for fear of social interaction. However there is help and techniques to overcome this struggle. There is hope!

Anxiety can be overwhelming when handled alone however there is help for you in this struggle. Counseling is proven to be effective in treating all forms of anxiety. If you are struggling with anxiety today is the day to get the support to overcome this and move towards a healthier life.

You can call 616-200-4433 or directly 616-676-7081 or email me at [email protected] and I will give you a complimentary 15 minute consultation.

adam nash helping teens with anger, depression, and anxiety“Thank you for reading” – Adam Nash MA LLPC 


Paul Krauss MA LPC interviewed by Empire Radio Now

Paul Krauss MA LPC is interviewed by Christopher Celery on Empire Radio Now.

Paul Krauss MA LPC visited the Professional’s Round Table on Empire Radio on 6/09/17 for a live interview.

Paul Krauss MA LPC discusses the clinical team at Health for Life Grand Rapids located in Grand Rapids Michigan. Paul Krauss discussed the his specialities of utilizing EMDR therapy for trauma and PTSD, and the specialities of the other counselors in the office. Paul Krauss MA LPC discusses that the goal is to help people feel like themselves again and be able to go back out and live their lives to the fullest.

Paul Krauss MA LPC discusses his personal background and why he decided to go into professional counseling. Paul discusses growing up in Michigan and how mental health was not a typical topic of discussion. Paul discusses how counseling is one of the best preventative treatments for mental health concerns and how it can reduce violence, drug addiction, and family turmoil in the greater community. Paul briefly discusses how the research overwhelming supports the effectiveness of counseling for all sorts of personal and psychological concerns.

Christopher Celery asked Paul Krauss MA LPC to discuss what it takes to become a licensed professional counselor. Paul talked about how one becomes a licensed professional counselor. Paul has trained many counselors and is currently running a counseling supervision group in Grand Rapids, MI. Paul Krauss MA LPC discusses how he sees himself helping individuals and the community by continuing his private practice and helping other counselors improve their skills and be able to help more people over time. Paul and his team also do “ask a counselor” events throughout Grand Rapids, MI.

To listen to the interview- click on the link:

Paul Krauss MA LPC practices counseling in Grand Rapids, MI. Paul specializes in working with people who have experienced trauma, depression and anxiety–Paul uses a combination of EMDR and traditional talk therapy. Paul has over 10 years of experience and has gone through many advanced trainings to be able to help people get through whatever they are going through, heal, recover, and feel renewed. If you would like to work with Paul Krauss, you can call him directly 616-365-5530, or email [email protected] or call the main line 616-200-4433.


Help for Teens, Young Adults, and their Parents (pt. 3)

For Parents: 10 ways to help Teens or Young Adults get healthy and begin living their life (Part 3).

This is part 3 of a series of articles working on Help for Teens, Young Adults, and their Parents.

by Paul Krauss MA LPC, Counselor in Grand Rapids, MI (Forest Hills area)

Click here if you missed part 1 or here if you missed part 2.

Paul Krauss have over 10 years of counseling experience helping parents of young adults and parents through this difficult transitions and circumstances. Whatever the circumstances you are going through and whatever the goal, Paul can help.

The following are tips 7, 8, 9, and 10 for the parents of young adults and teens.

  1. Follow Through and Consistency

We’ve all heard the trustworthy saying “Actions speak louder than words.”

(What are some of your experiences with people you knew whose actions spoke an entirely different language than their words?)

With children and young adults, our actions teach and impact them more than our words ever will. Children learn at a young age is their parents is serious about giving them a timeout or if they are just threatening in a frustrated manner. Since children’s brains are growing at an immense rate, they are able to better pick up on behavioral cues than on the meaning of our words. Just the same, young adults will know if you are serious about your boundary or rule regarding giving them money when they ask you for an exception because of X and you say “ok, but this is the last time” (And how many times have we said that?). Whether they are living with you or not, your follow through will mean a great deal more than your words in helping your young adult transition to independence. It can be scary, but as long as your young adult is safe, remember they have to develop problem-solving skills somehow. Don’t make exceptions to let them have their way, just because they are emotionally upset—this is similar to them throwing a fit as a toddler and you giving in.  If you need help with follow through and consistency, find an adult accountability partner—maybe you will utilize your actual partner or another parent you know—set goals together.

Five Ways to show your child love without giving them money or unearned resources (adapted from “The Four Seasons of Recovery” by Mike Speakman LISAC)

  1. Words of Encouragement (“I love you” “I believe in you” “I know you can do it.” People generally hear disapproval twice as loud as approval, so you’ll need to redouble your efforts to show love to your son or daughter.)
  2. Cards or Letters (Written words of encouragement can be invaluable to your Young Adult. Often times, these forms of communication can be overlooked as texting and emailing dominate our culture. If you don’t know where your Young Adult is—you could keep the letter until you see them).
  3. Hugs (Hugs provide physical interaction that is irreplaceable. Hugging isn’t just something that happens between parents and children under the age of 18. It is a worldwide indication of affection, and adults hug all the time.)
  4. Emotional Support (If your Ten or Young Adult calls you crying, or angry, or distraught or talking about something—even if you disagree with the content—as long as they are not verbally abusing you, LISTEN. Just LISTEN. Don’t give any advice. Just LISTEN. Tell them you love them. Offer help—don’t give unsolicited advice or “rescue them.”)
  5. Sharing a Meal (You can share a meal together in your home if there is enough trust left or built, but this is a tricky situation. I work with many parents who feel an obligation to bring their adult child home for a meal when they’ve experienced theft in their home and or other negative interactions, such as violence. In these cases, it’s highly recommended that you meet in a restaurant).

As a parent, how many times a week are you worrying about your teen or young adult? What will become of them? Will they learn to become a conscientious member of society? Will they ever become a functional member of your family? Your own fear can cloud your judgment concerning your young adult and cause you to make choices that, in retrospect, seem ridiculous. For example, I heard of a situation where a Father was so fixated on his son having “good credit” (so that his son could take over their business…someday) that he would continually pay off his son’s credit card debt—even though his son was spending recklessly on his OWN credit card account. The credit card was not even attached to his father’s account. The father kept telling his son “stop spending so much money on your credit card….you should only spend in credit against of what you have in your checking account…don’t you want to take over the business? If you do, you need to have good credit….You must learn how to balance your checking and credit card account….” And on and on he would lecture. The Father would lecture and yell at his son each time they spent time together and the son would agree to “try harder.” However, the son knew instinctively that his father would “bail him out” because of the unwritten agreement he and his father had. His father wanted his son to take over the business and carry on the family name. The father was obsessed with having “good credit” because of the family business. The father had access to his son’s account (initially under the guise that he was going to help his son learn to balance his bank account), but soon after, his father began paying off the young adult’s credit cards instead of letting them stay maxed out. The son would either get a new card added or wait until his father paid off his card before going out and spending frivolously. The Father lived away from where the son went to college and—consumed with fear about his son “starving”—he continued to pay off his debts. Eventually his son developed a problem with consuming too much alcohol (much of the credit card charges were from local college bars where the young adult would drink 4-5 nights a week…he would also buy drinks for friends and strangers). His father continued to pay the bills until one day, his son dropped out of school, rented a car, and drove to a large west coast city and began spending and drinking even more than before. It wasn’t until his Father stopped paying the bills and the credit card maxed out that he got a phone call from his son asking for help—at this point the Father had received help and guidance. The Father agreed to help his son only with a greyhound bus ticket home and refused to give him any money until he completed 45 days of inpatient, 90 days of intensive outpatient and sober living, and 80 hours of volunteer work. The son took a few days to “think about it.” But as he soon learned, the friends he had made at the bar weren’t as excited to hang out, feed, and house him as they were when he was paying for all of their bar tabs. He eventually came home and received treatment and the boundaries he needed from his father.


       8. Promoting Pro-Social Activities with Positive Peers.

The research has demonstrated time and time again that their peers heavily influence teens and young adults. Statistically speaking, your teen or young adult is much more influenced by their social group than both parents and professors. One way to use your money and influence on your young adult is to encourage or facilitate them to engage in one (or more) pro-social activity a week with their peer group. Pro-social is defined as a voluntary activity to help others—and while I do believe that that is a good goal—if you can get your young adult to participate in group therapy, hiking club, writing club, music classes, spiritual groups, exercise classes, etc. Any of the preceding types of activities can have a tremendous impact on their happiness and social abilities. We are striving for the opposite of anti-social activities with negative peers.

In this case, you may reward your teen or young adult, at first, for attending—with gift cards (never cash). Remember; don’t give them gift cards worth over $25 dollars. If they are living with you—you can have more leverage—paying for their phone, gas driving, etcetera all contingent upon them participating in activities. You’d be amazed at what happens when you call the phone company and turn off your young adult’s phone for a few days—or just get rid of text and data for a few days. Results come quickly!

Time and time again I see teens and young adults dramatically change their behavior and reduce their consumption of drugs/alcohol when they begin to participate in and make friends with peers that enjoy pro-social activities. It’s not to say that all of their peers don’t recreationally drink or use drugs—but they are more engaged in sober activities and do not make “using” their primary activity. Your teen or young adult doesn’t need to be in five clubs and be obsessed with volunteering and arts and crafts to get a benefit from pro-social activities. Even, being a part of something positive, social, and meaningful once a week can help your young adult begin to alter their behavior and begin to seek healthier friendships. While many young adults will require clinical attention and much larger interventions—encouraging and promoting pro-social activities can be excellent ways of letting your young adult learn that there is a much greater and long-term reward in healthy meaningful relationships and fulfilling activities than in the short-term high and superficial friendships they acquire while using. Countless times, I have worked with teens and young adults to find something—anything—that they liked to do that did not involve using drugs/alcohol. When they finally get involved in a somewhat consistent manner, I almost always see a reduction in their consumption of drugs/alcohol along with attitude and positive behavioral changes.

  1. Be a Good Example of a Community Member.

Since you are likely paying for most of their life, they can spare some time to spend with you.

Sometimes, we need to bring our young adult out of their comfort zone and expose them to new ideas and situations. For instance, you can bring them with you to volunteer to help the less fortunate or to a self-help group. The possibilities are endless. If you did this a few times a year it could still be impactful.

This next example surprises many parents:

…so many times I hear teens or young adults say “I wish my parent(s) would spend more time with me…” And then I reply “Wait…you just got done telling me that you are sick of your parents and that you wish they’d leave you alone.” And the teen or young adult says something like this (although not as concise articulate): “Well, I am sick of them trying to control me, telling me what I must do, and lecturing me—but I do wish that when I came to them to talk to them that they would actually listen, not judge me, and offer encouragement. I wish they would believe in me instead of telling me that I don’t know what I’m doing. I wish we could spend time doing things together…but I don’t think my parents could ever do this…they just worry…judge me…tell me what to do….and scoff at my ideas…”

I have parents tell me “I’ve tried spending time with my kid, but they don’t want to listen to me…” Again, I ask—what are you talking about? Or what are you telling them about? When a relationship is strained or needing to grow—it is important to remember that your presence, time, and caring and encouraging presence is needed more than your wisdom. Trust me, if they have questions, they will ASK YOU. To repair or grow a relationship, spend time where you are interacting for hours and doing something meaningful and/or fun. That is why I suggested volunteering. Some parents say “Well I bring them on vacation with us every year…” I would ask you how much time you spend face to face with each other (without electronics and movies on). If you don’t know what I am talking about, I would suggest getting 4-6 sessions of counseling to work on being more present with your child. Less worried, less judgmental, and less controlling—more in the moment and accepting and celebrating the time you have together.

  1. Set Concrete and Achievable Goals.

Now it is time to take action. Write down small goals weekly or biweekly, that are brief, specific, and doable regarding which tips are you are going to try and when. To find a specific way to apply the aforementioned tips to the problem you are facing, try the following problem solving skills:

First, define the problem. Second, Brainstorm ALL possible solutions with a professional or someone you trust. Third, Eliminate all possible solutions are you are not willing to try. Fourth, select a solution that you would like to use. Next, frame your goal for the week: First, Write down a goal based on the possible solution you found to the problem. Second, write down all the steps you can think of that will help you achieve this goal. Third, write down all potential barriers that may get in your way. Fourth, write down ways to navigate around or through potential barriers.

Remember, it is difficult to do this alone.

You are not alone, but you may need to reach out for help.

We all need resources and connection with others.

Get connected:

  • Find a Licensed Professional Counselor with teen, young adult, and family experience.

If you are in Grand Rapids, MI or anywhere in the state of Michigan, Paul Krauss MA LPC can help you. If you want help for your teenager, Adam Nash MA LLPC can help.

  • Meet with other parents facing similar phases and stage of life.
  • Try out or join a local support group for parents.
  • Read Books or check out blogs on this subject.
  • Seek wise-counsel.
  • Get into counseling yourself–just 4-6 session can help immensely.
  • See what local community organizations and treatment centers offer.

Remember! If your teen or young adult has a serious mental health and/or substance abuse issues: Consider hospitalization, detox, professional assessment, inpatient treatment programs, intensive outpatient treatment programs, sober living, behavioral adjustment program, and finally outpatient therapy.

This 3 part series was inspired by the Teens, Young Adults and Parents that I have met in my counseling practice, empirical research, and the belief that all families can find a way to experience healing. – Paul Krauss MA LPC

Do you or someone you know need professional consultation for their family situation? Paul Krauss can help. [email protected] Call 616-200-4433 today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

At Health for Life Grand RapidsAdam Nash MA LLPC Specializes in working with Teens and Young Adults. [email protected] Together Paul and Adam are a team that can help your family.

Paul Krauss MA LPC specializes in working with the parents of Teens and Young Adults as well as Young Adults.


Mike Speakman’s Book

The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think by Johann Hari

Research Matters / Promoting Adolescents’ Prosocial Behavior by Yael Kidron and Steve Fleischman’-Prosocial-Behavior.aspx

Prosocial Involvement as a Positive Youth Development Construct: A Conceptual Review by Ching Man Lam

How Volunteering Affects the Volunteer by Douglas LaBier

Here is a webpage recommending many other quality books related to this subject books that may help you:

Additional Books


What do I do about my Anger? (3 tips from Paul Krauss)

Paul Krauss MA LPC is a professional counselor in Grand Rapids who has a great deal of experience helping men, women, and teens overcome anger outbursts, irritability, and resentments.

There are many good reasons to be angry and so Paul Krauss will not tell you to stop being angry. Anger is a human emotion and it is a valid one. Paul will help you figure out how to utilize the energy from your anger toward something that benefits you instead of being destructive toward yourself or others.

“Anyone can become angry; that is easy. But, to be angry, with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and the right way, this is not easy.”- Aristotle.

Here are 3 tips for dealing with Anger:

1. Figure out why you are feeling angry.

There are many sources of anger, but three of the most common are:

A. Recent Frustrating Event(s): “It’s the straw that broke that camel’s back…” Often times, it can be the ‘little things’ such as being stuck in traffic when you’re in a hurry, extra assignments at work when you are already feeling overwhelmed, something breaking in your kitchen that needs replacing. Whatever the source, if we are frustrated often and don’t deal with it– anger can be stored inside of us and this can lead to an anger outburst, or the feeling of being irritated or stressed constantly.

B. Hurtful On-Going Situation(s): These are often situations that cannot be resolved immediately, such as an ongoing conflict in the workplace (a boss expecting more hours than you can reasonably give, or a coworker causing there to be more work for you), difficulties with a spouse or significant other that cannot be resolved easily–such as bickering or arguments about money, sex, or what to do with children, friends, or relatives. Whatever the source, ongoing situations can lead to chronic feelings of irritability and anger–and can lead to anger outbursts, sadness, and even depression.

C. Past Unresolved Situation(s) of Hurt: There are many valid reasons to be angry about things that happened in the past. For instance, someone abused you, someone cheated on you, someone cheated you out of money, someone left you out of a friend group, someone said mean and hurtful things about you, etc. (this can be a long list). Past situations can lead to a feeling of resentment, which is stored in the body and contributes to long-term negative feelings. It is even more difficult to resolve resentments, because, often times, the short-term coping skills of releasing your anger or confronting a difficult situation are impossible–because your anger comes from a past situation. There are many advanced therapy techniques that Paul Krauss can utilize with you to help you feel resolved inside, even if you cannot resolve a past situation with the source of your pain. One of these techniques is called EMDR therapy and Paul Krauss has advanced training in EMDR.

2. Learn Strategies to deal with Anger.

There are many different strategies that you can learn to deal with anger–whether it is coming from recent frustrations, on-going situations, and past unresolved situations of hurt. In fact, there are so many that it would take about 15 pages to list and explain them all–Paul Krauss MA LPC has advanced training in these and will help you figure out which is the right one for you. Here is a short list:

A. Releasing the Anger from current frustrations: There are many skills that can help you learn to release your anger (and not store it!) resulting from current frustrations. One of many is removing yourself from the current situation (walking away, driving away, or taking a long walk) so that your nervous system has time to calm down and you can think clearly, instead of acting on your anger or escalating the situation. Another one is learning how to “breath counting” which is a technique that Paul Krauss can teach you–in this technique you work on breathing in on the “1” and out on the “2” and focusing all of your attention on your body naturally breathing–while attempting to focus less on thoughts of the current situation.

B. Learning Assertiveness Skills to deal with ongoing situations: Often times, ongoing situations cannot be fixed overnight, but if you learn assertiveness skills, you may be able to construct a boundary over time that will lead to your ability to be insulated or become less angry about the situation that you cannot change. Furthermore, learning assertiveness skills can help you move from feeling like a victim to feeling self-assured and confident.

C. Directly addressing your past hurt and resentments through journaling or counseling: How many times has a “bad memory” replayed in your mind and all of a sudden you felt a physical sickness or deep anger in your body? Many times resentments feel as if they are stored in your body and we feel that we are “back there.” If this is happening to you, there are advanced counseling techniques that can help reduce and even take away these bad feelings and “bad memory” replays–but it is very difficult to do it on your own. One strategy that has helped many people is actually to write down on paper exactly what happened and how you feel about it now and how you felt about it then. Then stop writing and go do something fun. Over time, this form of “journaling” (though you can shred everything you write–you don’t have to keep it) can help you gain a feeling of distance from the unresolved past situation. If you do not feel better after 2-4 writing sessions, it may be time to see a professional counselor.

“Constructive action is the antidote to violence.” – Gandhi

3. Get rid of our bad habits associated with Anger.

We all have bad habits–these are often “knee-jerk reactions” where we seem to “automatically” do or say something that we didn’t want to do or didn’t mean to say. The counseling process can help you learn to “reprogram” your automatic reactions and bad habits in a way that will ultimately help you feel more in control.

Here are 3 bad habits often associated with anger to look out for. With time all of these habits can change.

A. Suppression: This method seeks to deal with anger by hiding it and not dealing with it at all.  Often times, we learn this bad habit in childhood. Some people hold their anger in, swallow their anger, deny their anger, and can even make themselves feel physically sick from suppressing their anger. If we do not learn to express our anger, it can build up and create negative consequences.

B. Aggression: Violence, yelling, name-calling, threatening, blaming, intimidating, bickering, griping, hurtful criticism, and sarcasm are common example. This is one of the most obvious forms of unhealthy anger expression. Aggression is focused outward (toward someone else) and is the opposite of suppression.

C. Passive-Aggression: Silence, procrastinating, playing dirty tricks, emotional withdrawal, nasty comments, showing up late, and not participating are some ways that passive-aggression takes shape. This unhealthy expression of anger is focused on someone else, but unlike aggression it is done in often hidden and sneaky ways. It can be toxic to relationships and communities.

Remember, anger can be damaging and toxic to not only yourself, but everyone you meet. Children are easily affected by feelings of anger in a parent just as people can “sense” your anger at a workplace. If you are feeling angry and don’t know what to do about it–take action before long-term negative consequences occur! Anger can also turn into depression if not treated.

If you or a loved one is experiencing daily bouts of anger, irritability, rage, or resentments, call Paul Krauss today 616-200-4433 or email him at [email protected] and set up a complimentary 15 minute consultation. 

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” – Mark Twain

Check out Paul Krauss’ podcast here or On itunes.

Paul Krauss MA LPC was trained to help people dealing with anger by Anger Expert Mike Speakman.


The Healthy Expressions of Anger Workbook by Mike Speakman LISAC.

Overcoming Trauma, Depression, and Anxiety

Are you suffering from Trauma, Depression, or Anxiety? It’s time to truly overcome it. Find out how Paul Krauss can help.

Grand Rapids, MI

Paul Krauss MA LPC: “I wanted to speak directly to anyone who may be reading about how my specialized training and experience can help you.

If you are suffering from a traumatic experience, relationship break up, abuse, neglect, job loss or any other type of trauma– I have advanced training and specialized techniques (such as EMDR therapy) and I can help you feel like yourself again. No one should have to continue suffering from trauma after the event is over.

If you are suffering from depression and anxiety for whatever reason, I have 10+ years of experience helping people overcome depression and anxiety, including creative solutions and ways to actually change the brain (using techniques validated by Neurobiology–and have been proven to work through MRI scans and research).

If you are not sure what to do with your life, I have tools and years of career counseling experience to help you come up with novel options and work to find your true vocation and calling.

If you are a business leader or high achiever–I have advanced training in helping leaders and high achievers with micro issues at work and home that are causing snags and difficulties in their process of becoming great.

If you are going through a midlife or quarter life crisis–I can work with you to find the opportunity within the chaos and figure out where to go and what to do next.

Whatever you are going through, counseling can help. No matter what I specialize in, I have over 10 years of experience helping people get results and I will customize a plan to fit your unique situation.

Counseling has been empirically proven in research time and time again that counseling can be beneficial to anyone.

You can call 616-200-4433 or email me at [email protected]

and I will give you a complimentary 15 minute consultation.

Thank you for reading.”  – Paul Krauss MA LPCPaul Krauss MA LPC: Providing Psychotherapy, Consulting & Counseling Services

With an effective therapist, science shows that psychotherapy even works better in the long-term and is more enduring than medication. In fact, not only is it more cost-effective, but psychotherapy leads to fewer relapses of anxiety and mild to moderate depression than medication use alone—so much so that Norwegian Health Authorities have issued new guidelines concerning treatment of mild to moderate depression and anxiety, stating that psychological interventions, not medications, should be applied first. (Brownawell & Kelley, Monitor on Psychology, October 2011, Vol 42, No. 9)

“Not only is psychotherapy widely practiced, it is effective: Those who receive psychotherapy achieve much better outcomes than they would have had they not received psychotherapy (Lambert & Ogles, 2004; Wampold, 2001, 2007).

Learn more about Paul Krauss here or here.

To listen to Paul Krauss’ podcast:   click here.

Subscribe to The Intentional Clinician on itunes (click here).