What is Internal Family Systems?

Internal Family Systems (IFS) is an evidence-based therapeutic technique that abstractly conceptualizes one’s inner psyche into different parts. Just like a family unit, these inner parts all communicate and work together to protect and defend one another, but sometimes the methods of protection are not as helpful as we would prefer.

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The Healing Power of Gratitude – 5 Effective ways to practice it daily

Courtney Van Acker M.A., LPC, NCC, Licensed Professional Counselor


“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos
into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and
creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

The pain and challenges of life often create in us a pull to be cynical. Our psyches can be
wired to actually filter out positive information in favor of what is negative, difficult, or less
than ideal about our lives, a process which is called negative mental filtering. Some of this is
naturally ingrained and necessary for survival, such as being intensely aware of any threat in
our environments so we can keep track of anything that may be threatening and make active
decisions to either defend ourselves and/or flee from potential threats.

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Somatic Experience – What is it and can it help you?

Nanette Thomas Shepardson, M.A., LPC, CADC


Have you ever had a “gut feeling,” or felt like your “skin was crawling,” or maybe you experienced a “bad vibe” from someone?   If so, you may have put into words what we Somatic Experience Practitioners (SEP) define as a “somatic experience.”  It is a bodily (somatic) sensation (experience) that sends a message to your brain, explicitly designed to get your attention!  For what purpose, exactly?

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The News – and our Mental Health

Alexus Lee, M.A., Licensed Professional Counselor

The internet has become an integral part of our lives. Though this has many advantages such as lightning-speed access to information and being able to connect with others across the world, it does seem to be having a significant negative impact on our collective mental health. These negative consequences are directly related to this ease of access to information and connection. Social media provides us with 24-hour, non-stop news coverage from around the world. The smartphone makes this media ubiquitous and inescapable for most people.

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5 Lessons Learned about Grief, after losing a beloved pet

Crystal Villegas, M.S., LCPC

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

At some point in our lives, most of us will have the honor of being pet owners. Some of us bring pets into our lives for companionship, some as a steppingstone into parenthood, some as additions to the family, and some simply because they “chose us” as their pet parents. Everyone has a different reason for welcoming a pet into their home. And everyone’s experience of having a pet is different. However, as with all living things in life, every pet’s life comes to an end at some point.

I had the heartbreaking experience of losing my cat recently, whom I had had for 12 years. She came to me unexpectedly when I was just 21 years old. I didn’t know it at the time; but that cat would be my companion through all the life transitions I would be experiencing in my twenties. At times, she would be my only source of comfort. Dallas was the most beautiful Himalayan cat ever, both inside and out. She brought joy to my life that I could never describe in words.

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5 ways to Identify and Manage your emotions

Abby Clark, Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Humans have myriads of feelings in their bodies every day. Yet in our fast-paced culture, slowing down and noticing our feelings is an exercise few people engage in, and most, aware of it or not, avoid. We avoid feeling our feelings for different reasons. Sometimes, they are too painful; sometimes, we are so busy we don’t think we have time to feel them; and sometimes, we have disconnected ourselves from our feelings because they are overwhelming. Distracting ourselves from feeling is quite easy. Endless scrolling on our phones, drinking alcohol until we feel relaxed, smoking cannabis to ease anxiety, or overworking to distract ourselves are some ways we do this. Is there any benefit to feeling our feelings?  Yes.  Counseling is one of the resources some people utilize to do just that.

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A Tribute to my Mom

Nancy Kuhn M.S., LMFT

Nancy Kuhn M.S., LMFT Practice Owner

I offered this eulogy at my mother’s passing and wanted to share my tribute to her here.  It’s fitting because without her, my professional life, our practice, may have never come to be.   

So here we are family, facing the end of another chapter in the book of life. Our sister Lin, our mother Linda, our aunt Linda, our grandma Linda, and our dear friend Linda has moved on to her eternal home. And someday we will join her. And I know this because of the beautiful gift of faith my mother planted and nurtured in me.
I would like to reflect on some of the most meaningful and impactful gifts my mother gave me. I know she also gave all of you gifts of herself, and I’m sure as you’ve listened today, you’ve been reflecting on the blessings Linda gave each of you. I hope to hear about them when we gather.

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David Efken, M.A., LCPC

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Professional counselors do their best to deeply understand their clients as comprehensively as possible to provide hope, health and healing. Human beings are not just their mind and body. A comprehensive and holistic understanding of an individual human being includes her/his unique Emotional, Physical, Mental and Spiritual components. To the degree that the spiritual component is neglected in providing mental health services, the client is underserved. Sadly, the spiritual component is too frequently minimized, or completely neglected, in providing mental health care to clients.


A 4 Step Process for the Management of Stress

Alex Czop, M.A., LCPC

Giving our selves the time to take care of our physical and mental health has become an inner challenge. It is common among people to be overcome with exterior pressures that come with their current position in life. Often these exterior pressures can lead to intrusive thoughts, rumination, poor self-care, and other symptoms of depression. Over time, such pressure becomes not only debilitating to ones own health (mental/physical) but also to the relationships that they hold within their own community (isolation). Such an expansion of depressive symptoms from the subjective to there communal effect shows how the management of stress is a critical aspect of self growth so that we as community can have the opportunity to grow as well.

The question that often gets posed at this point is how to “let it go?” or “how to relax” in the midst of this exterior pressure.  Taking the Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) approach it is imperative to:

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