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Holiday Grief
Mental Health Awareness
Jessica Pladsen, MA, LMFT, RPT

Understand Your Grief In Time For The Holidays

Time after time, I hear those who are grieving say, “I should be over this by now.” While there is no time limit on grief, this is a common feeling to have. Loss and grief are two of the most challenging things to deal with in life, especially during the holiday season.

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Music and Rhythm
Music Therapy
Miranda Peyton, LMSW, MT-BC

How Rhythm and Music Influence People

Music therapy is a practice that uses research-based music interventions for non-musical goals. Music alone is therapeutic. It taps into the emotional centers of the brain, surfacing a variety of emotions depending on the music we are listening to.

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gratitude
Mindfulness
Amber Bennett, LMHC, RPT

How To Stay Grateful Beyond the Holidays

Have you ever noticed that showing gratitude feels good? Practicing being grateful is linked with mental well-being, including increased self-esteem, better sleep, higher energy levels, increased optimism, decreased anxiety, and reduced depressive symptoms.

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childhood anxiety
Parenting
Zara Teichrow, LMSW

Childhood Anxiety is Not Always What You Might Think

Meltdowns, tantrums, defiance, or aggressive behavior can mask underlying feelings of anxiety. Typically when we see a child being defiant at home or school, our first thought might be, “that child is angry” and “they don’t like to follow rules.” Or we might say “that child is disrespectful.” But, underneath that anger or tantrum, are often feelings of overwhelming anxiety or worry.

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honoring our veterans
PTSD
Jacob Christenson, PhD, LMFT

Honoring our Veterans while Recognizing their Struggle

About halfway through my tour I was at Bagram to go on leave and another solider, who knew my background as a therapist, shared with me the symptoms of PTSD he was experiencing after a particularly awful experience. The therapist part of me tried to speak up and offer some suggestions, but I couldn’t do it.

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self-esteem
Women's Mental Health
Amanda Goslin, MA, TLMFT

Six Ways to Build Your Self-Esteem

STOP listening to your inner critic. This is the voice that says, “you’re worthless,” “you’re fat,” “why can’t you be like other people?” Challenge these negative thoughts and STAND UP TO YOUR INNER CRITIC. When you recognize the inner critic, you can begin to challenge and defy the inner critic and see yourself for who you really are.

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dating violence
Children and Mental Health
Marissa Quint, MA, TLMFT

Protect Your Child from Teen Dating Violence

Roughly 1 in 13 teens reported experiencing physical dating violence in the last year alone. Much to the frustration of many parents, teens often look to peers rather than mom or dad to help them navigate changes and challenges they are experiencing in their lives. This includes challenges in their intimate relationships.

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OCD
OCD
Leslie Orr, TLMHC

The Reality of Really Having OCD

Not all repetitive thoughts are obsessions and not all repetitive behaviors are compulsions. Many people worry or have routines… A person with OCD can’t just stop what they are doing because they get tired of it or it’s time to leave. If their obsessive thought was that “stepping on a crack would break their mother’s back,” they would continue to avoid all cracks in any surface walked on.

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Depression
Mental Health Awareness
Amy Reihman, MS, LMHC

Just Feeling Down? Or are You Suffering from Depression?

You may be reading this — now knowing that depression is not as rare as you once thought — and wonder “Do I have depression?” One of the most common misconceptions that I hear is the idea that in order to have depression a person must feel sad all of the time or cry frequently. While this can be a symptom of depression, it is certainly not the only one.

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voting booth
Relationships
Charlie White, TLMHC

How to Navigate Politics and Family Conflict

People tend to get particularly defensive when they feel outnumbered by those who do not share their view. In order to have a successful conversation, don’t go into it trying to change anyone’s mind. Rather, make it your goal to understand their view. “Help me understand your beliefs,” is a statement you could try. This might help the other person open up and realize they are not being attacked.

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A message in hard times
Mental Health Awareness
Catherine Norwood, LMHC

A Message in Hard Times: Normalize Mental Health

This woman was so filled with shame. If shame were a color it would pour out of her eyes, staining her cheeks. I sat across from her letting my eyes fill as well. I could normalize her experience — not just because I am a trained therapist — but because I have thought those very same things too. If you are reading this, please help me to NORMALIZE MENTAL HEALTH.

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paternal postnatal depression
Men's Mental Health
Nicholas D'Amico, MA, LMFT

New fathers can struggle with Postnatal Depression too.

For many men struggling with Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND), the feelings of sadness quickly get entwined with other complicated emotions. In many situations this condition goes untreated. Men are often taught to hide sadness, pain, and other emotions. Expressing the feelings associated with PPND feels like weakness.

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love yourself
Relationships
Jason Cleveland, MA, TLMFT

Love yourself, Love others, Be loved.

When our partner, friend, or loved one does something that “smells” like past wounds, our defenses go up. The fear of repeating the past comes out looking like anger. Even though we are wanting to be close with our loved ones (spouses, children, friends, and neighbors), old wounds — both emotional and physical — often stand in the way.

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college during COVID-19
Mental Health Awareness
Leona Childs, MA, LMHC

The Challenge of Adjusting to College during COVID Times

Adjusting to college is hard enough without adding the curveball of COVID into the mix. You may be someone who welcomed the changes brought on by the pandemic. The reality is some people are ok with or even prefer the “new normal” and others do not. The truth is that it is okay to not be okay AND it’s also okay to be okay.

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prevent suicide
Suicide
Kaitlin Lubahn, MA, LMFT

You CAN Help Prevent Suicide

Ask, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” This may seem like a difficult question and many fear that asking someone this question will put thoughts of suicide into their minds, but research indicates that asking individuals that are at risk of suicide does not increase the chance of suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts.

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cancer
Children and Mental Health
Tara Roberts

The Mental Toll of Having a Child with Cancer

I can remember that day like it was yesterday, it was July 20, 2017 and my son’s doctor said the words no parent ever wants to hear, “Your child has cancer.” Hearing those words brought me to my knees. My 7-year-old baby, Kameron, had been diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

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ADHD
Children and Mental Health
Dani Darbyshire, MSN, ARNP

Understanding ADHD and Helping Your Child Thrive

How do you know if your child might have ADHD or if their behavior is typical, albeit a bit overly energetic? The answer is you don’t have to know. Parents and caregivers are not expected to know everything about their children.

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suicide awareness
Suicide
Zara Teichrow, LMSW

Suicide is Not Painless

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, but preventing suicide is a topic that should never drop out of the conversation — no matter what time of year it is. Suicide can be preventable, and it is important to take seriously. We can all play an important role in preventing suicide.

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emotionally unavailable spouse
Relationships
Nicholas D'Amico, MA, LMFT

Are you Emotionally Available to Your Spouse?

We place our partners outside of an unbreakable wall of silence when we are not emotionally available. It’s hard to trust the fella on the other side of wall if he refuses to open the door. A lasting and durable trust can only built when both people are inside the walls.

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back to school bus
Children and Mental Health
Erin Hill, LMHC

Surviving Back to School Stress

Some stress is necessary to motivate us to act. Think about the stress you might feel while preparing for a test. It can motivate you to study hard do well on the exam. However, too much stress can interfere with our daily life and performance and can lead to long-term health issues.

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make lemonade out of lemons
Disaster Recovery
Christine Topping, MS, LMFT

Make Resilient Lemonade out of the Derecho

For all people, how we handle challenges has a lot to do with our ability to be resilient. Resiliency is like a rubber band, the more resilient you are, the springier your rubber band and the quicker you are able to rebound from a difficult event. As we continue to stretch our rubber band over and over as we go from pandemic to home schooling to natural disaster, the harder it has become for the rubber band to regain its original shape.

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Derecho
Disaster Recovery
Covenant Family Solutions

Free Mental Health Coaching to Iowans Impacted by Derecho

It is known that survivors of natural disasters have a 30 to 40 percent chance of suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One thing that can be done to counteract the long-term mental health effects of a disaster is to seek help early and to talk about the experience with professionals that are trained to help.

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Identity
Identity
Jane Markowitz, MA, LMSW

What is Identity?

It’s easy to feel lost or disconnected if you don’t understand your identities. As people, we have a strong need to belong, and identities can lead to a higher sense of belonging. Exploring your identities can be hard. Having a safe and comfortable space to do that hard work is so important.

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breastfeeding
Women's Mental Health
Guest Author: Johanna Tomlinson, PhD, MCPCD, M​​BE, MCE, ISE

Supporting Your Breastfeeding Journey

In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week and Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we invited local doula and breastfeeding educator Johanna Tomlinson
PhD, MCPCD, M​​BE, MCE, ISE of Nested Mama to share some words of advice to mothers and expectant mothers about the breastfeeding journey.

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mother and daughter trying to take the perfect selfie
Mindfulness
Rachel Van Wickle, TLMFT

Overcoming Toxic Perfectionism

We cannot overcome the challenge of perfectionism while suffering silently from the debilitating symptoms of mental illness. Take care of your mental health!

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back to school during covid
Parenting
Amber Bennett, LMHC, RPT

Back to School…or Virtual School

You may be in the process of deciding whether or not to send your kids to school in person or mentally preparing yourself for another round of virtual education. Trust that you will make the best decision you can for your children and your family.

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Warm Up to Cool Down while making a schedule for your kids
Parenting
Jessica Pladsen, MA, LMFT, RPT

Warm Up to Keep Cool

Many times, parents get worn down when trying to implement something new or stay with something that isn’t a good fit simply because it is “easier.” Everyone and every situation is unique, to say the least. Don’t despair.

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play therapy
Children and Mental Health
Katie Amos, MA, LMFT, RPT

Debunking the Myths of Play Therapy

I often have parents say, “Therapy shouldn’t be fun. They should be coming in to work, not to play.” But that’s the beauty of play therapy — it can be fun, rewarding AND work.

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Human Trafficking
Abuse
Leona Childs, MA, LMHC

Put an End to Human Trafficking

What happened to you was not your fault and it does not define who you are. You are a person who is deserving and capable of love and friendship. There are people who care and want to support you on your journey as you recover from what happened to you.

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Borderline Personality Disorder
Mental Health Awareness
Kelsey Lamb, ARNP, PMHNP-BC

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

There are many people with intense emotions who struggle with feeling lonely, misunderstood, and believe there is something wrong with them. If you feel this way, please consider reaching out for additional support and guidance. You deserve to enjoy life no matter your diagnosis.

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Minority Mental Health
Mental Health Awareness
Covenant Family Solutions

The Minority Fight for Mental Healthcare

When people who have experienced racism seek mental healthcare, they are not only struggling with the fear of being unable to find a provider who can understand their experience, they are also coping with the very real fear of discrimination.

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exploring nature on hike
Mindfulness
McKenzie Grimm, LMSW

Get Outside and Explore Nature, Your Mind Will Thank You

Calming nature sounds and views or even the silence of being outdoors creates a more peaceful environment. With less things calling our attention like school or work, your mind has a chance to relax. Being outdoors give us the opportunity to slow down and take a mental break from daily life.

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family connecting with loved ones during COVID-19
Mindfulness
Rachel Van Wickle, TLMFT

5 Steps to Care for Your Mental and Emotional Health during COVID-19

Whatever you’re experiencing be sure to take a moment to name and recognize the emotion, with curiosity, not judgement. The bottom line is that we are all going to have different emotional responses to the current crisis in front of us. As written by author Nicki Peverett, “we are in the same storm, but not in the same boat.”

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couple fighting
Relationships
Nicholas D'Amico, MA, LMFT

The Importance of Emotional Validation

When we validate our partner’s feelings we acknowledge and accept the way that they feel without judgement or rejection. However, when we respond to feelings with facts we often miss the opportunity to validate our partner’s feelings, in fact, we do just the opposite.

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Summer Survival
Parenting
Jessica Pladsen, MA, LMFT, RPT

Summer Survival Guide For Parents

For parents the wonderful aspiration of a memorable summer break often turns into the harsh reality of coordinating multiple events and schedules on top of all of our other responsibilities. It can feel like a whirlwind in which we are simply trying to keep up or too exhausted to actually enjoy.

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PTSD after storm
PTSD
Kristina Gingerich, MA, TLMHC

Living Life in Spite of PTSD

Your brain is doing what it is wired to do: protect you from life-threatening danger. The brain does a marvelous job helping your body to react quickly and know to fight, run, or freeze when needing to escape a threat. The trick is — how often are we in situations where we need to run for our lives? On a day-to-day basis, probably not very often.

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Positive Thinking
Mindfulness
Miranda Peyton, LMSW, MT-BC

Turn that Frown Upside Down

How often do you catch yourself picturing the negative rather than the positive in a situation. Maybe some co-workers are talking and your first thought is, “I bet they are saying something bad about me.” You are not alone.

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special needs adoption
Children and Mental Health
Catherine Norwood, LMHC

Preparing for Special Needs Adoption

Children want to feel that they are part of a family — that they belong just as much as any other family member biologically related or not. They want to feel included as if they were always meant to be there, not as if they are lucky to be there.

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Men's Mental Health
Men's Mental Health
Tim Griem, LISW

Shining a spotlight on Men’s Mental Health

In our society, men are frequently taught to be strong and quiet. Often times, men worry that seeking help will be an indication of vulnerability. Suppressing your feelings can make mental health worse.

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boredom
COVID-19
Rodney Dieser, PhD, LMHC

Overcoming Boredom During COVID-19

Research demonstrates that people can remedy stress if they laugh more (casual leisure), find a hobby (serious leisure), and engage in meaning-making activities, such a volunteering in community or toward social causes (project-based leisure). So, where do you start?

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Transgender Child
LGBTQIA
Amanda Goslin, MA, TLMFT

Raising Your Rainbow

Your transgender child is not deciding what gender to be, they are sharing with you what their gender is. Your child did not decide this on a whim. Chances are they have known this from a very early age. Don’t allow your fears to drive your interactions.

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Healthcare Workers are Helpers
COVID-19
Covenant Family Solutions

Helping the Helpers

Healthcare workers need a safe space to talk through their feelings and the toll this pandemic has taken on their mental health. These are the people who have held the hands and hearts of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and their families.

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foster parenting
Foster Care and Adoption
Catherine Norwood, LMHC

Fostering Healing as a Foster Parent

Kids do not know how to communicate their experience. They do not know how to explain the survival strategies that have become normal for them, but are so obviously wrong in this new home. It can be exhausting to navigate.

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Living Bipolar
Blog
Sejal Patel, LMFT

Living Bipolar

With bipolar disorder, your mood can change between the extremes of mania and depression, and ruminating thoughts often follow an all-or-nothing pattern. In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to convince yourself things will never get better. The good news is you don’t have to believe it.

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Caring for Foster Children
Foster Care and Adoption
Catherine Norwood, LMHC

Caring for Foster Children during COVID-19

We have an opportunity during this strange time to paint a new picture of what coping with stress looks like for children in foster care who are often the victims of trauma, abuse, and neglect.

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Parental Substance Abuse
Children and Mental Health
Megan Conrad LMHC, NCC

Substance Abuse Affects the Entire Family

Mental health and substance abuse struggles are common everywhere. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are or where you live. We often hear from the media about consequences of these struggles and what children can expect in their futures. But, what we don’t hear enough of is the recovery and resiliency of children.

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Maternal Mental Health
Maternal Mental Health
Stephanie Eslick LMFT, RPT

Attention New Moms: Your Mental Health Matters Too

If you have a bad cough or high fever you call your doctor and schedule an appointment. Right? Most likely, you would do so without thinking twice. So, why should you suffer in silence if you are an new or expecting mom and struggling with your mental health? You don’t have to suffer or feel guilty or ashamed.

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pausing life for COVID-19
COVID-19
Megan Conrad LMHC, NCC

Don’t Put Your Life on Pause for COVID-19

What I’ve come to realize is that we cannot pause life in good times or bad times. I have heard phrases like “wait it out,” “stay home until this date,” and “we’ll get back to our lives soon”. This creates an unhealthy expectation that we can resume life as normal once COVID-19 ends.

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Surviving Quarantine with your Partner
COVID-19
Kevin Smith, MS, LMFT

Surviving Quarantine with Significant Other

Today, you and many others, are likely telecommuting to work and seeing you family more in one week than perhaps you had in the previous year. If you are in a committed romantic relationship, then this time of self-quarantining has some important considerations.

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Healthcare Worker
COVID-19
Rachel Van Wickle, TLMFT

Helpers Need Help Too

As a healthcare worker you are familiar with high stress environments, anxiety provoking situations, and job performance pressure. But, you are still human and the current crisis is unlike anything we have ever faced before in our generation.

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Mental Health Coaching
COVID-19
Covenant Family Solutions

Free Mental Health Coaching to those Struggling During Pandemic

“It is perfectly normal for people to feel isolated and anxious in the current crisis,” states CFS CEO Dr. Jacob Christenson. “Covenant Family Solutions is grateful to be able to aid in the community response to help people navigate the mental health struggles they are facing during these uncertain times.”

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Coping with Uncertainty
COVID-19
Lindsey Piper, LISW

Coping with the Uncertainty of COVID-19

It is important to keep in mind that everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Whether you feel anxious or numb, your emotions and reactions are completely valid. Even those who have never struggled with a clinical mental health issue may experience symptoms of acute stress, anxiety, and depression.

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Relax, Sit Back, and Enjoy Life
COVID-19
Catherine Norwood, LMHC

Relax, Sit Back, and Enjoy Life

I can’t explain how many clients have sat in my office as we’ve asked ourselves what kind of world we are currently living in. Fear, anxiety, worry, and confusion tend to be the first emotional responses seen and felt by those I meet with every day.

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Parents Living in a COVID-19 World
COVID-19
Jessica Pladsen, MA, LMFT, RPT

Parents Living in a COVID-19 World

Caregiving is one of the most challenging roles even under regular circumstances. You do not need to be everything to everyone, and there will be times you feel overwhelmed. Try to take a step back and focus on the big picture. You are doing your best and your best may be different day to day, or even minute by minute.

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Helping teens cope with COVID-19
COVID-19
Jessica Pladsen, MA, LMFT, RPT

Helping Teens Cope with COVID-19

A huge developmental part of being a teen or moving into adulthood is focus on social engagement and fostering sense of independence or autonomy. Try to view things from your teen’s perspective. Virtually overnight, they have gone from having the most freedom they have ever experienced to the least amount. This is hard!

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Helping Kids Cope with COVID-19
COVID-19
Jessica Pladsen, MA, LMFT, RPT

Helping Young Kids Cope with COVID-19

Check in with your children and ask them how they are doing. Children often show us through behaviors, rather than words, when they are struggling. While this can range from isolating behaviors to acting out, children may just be feeling more anxious. Try to find a quiet time to connect one-on-one and ask how your child is doing and what they might need.

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teletherapy
Teletherapy and Telehealth
Lauren Wood, MA, LMFT

Is Telehealth right for me?

Telehealth is extremely convenient and may help patients to feel private and more comfortable in sessions. Hooray, no more awkward feelings about bumping into your neighbor in the waiting room! Telehealth also allows patients in rural and underserved areas to see a provider without an hour or more drive.

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Recharge throughout the day
Stress Relief
Elizabeth Finley, LMFT

Recharge throughout the day

Daily life can be a struggle, especially when our brain does not get a break. Day-to-day life is frequently filled with never ending lists (which may or may not get written down and crossed off), as well as perfectly timing and prioritizing those lists, and all those other little essential and non-essential things we think about on a daily basis.

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