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Counseling & Psychotherapy Services - Monica King ACSW

2155 Jackson Rd. #1 ~ Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Life in Balance

Blog

On Happiness

Posted on October 24, 2014 at 7:37 PM Comments comments (0)
Just what is happiness?  A hugely popular song tells the story, and I have to admit its contagious listening to the tune and watching people dance as they move along to its beat.  Pharrell defines it as
"A room without a roof"

"Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I'm happy
Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do"

Great lyrics!  Love the variety of "the people" called on to dance and participate, -- that's half the fun, watching all of the lovely and ordinary do a jig for the song video.  You can hardly help catching the fever.

Yet some of us find happiness elusive.   Here's another very different 'take' on happiness,  and its inverse - our cultural dilemma where we too often feel stuck:































No wonder - life is tough, bliss is elusive in an economy where everything has to be converted to machined, mass produced widgets in order to 'make it marketable' and make a living, and where almost anything, and I mean anything, can be commodified.

Its  not without reason that many struggle with depression and yearn for a more natural life that they can't quite envision or put their finger on that can get them out of such a trap, off the treadmill of our ordinary lives in our current 'economy'.

It takes much creative thought and a context of support, being 'heard' to be able to even believe escape 'in place' is possible -- for there is, as we've learned, no "away" and no Planet B.  We must plumb the possible from the lofty and ordinary land of our very own neighborhoods and communities and find some foothold to a new land right here, now, that will make real that hoped for Possible --

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.  On a quiet day I can hear her breathing".Arundhati Roy

















Online Therapy, Coaching and Consultation

Posted on April 22, 2013 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)











Online therapy, coaching, counseling or consultation
can be a wonderful support for the busy person who often doesn't have time to take several hours out of the day for therapy and the travel to and from offices mid day.
Whether you are feeling sad, anxious, depressed, confused, frustrated or somehow "stuck" in some aspect of your life, it's never too late (or too early) to get some help...

If you don't live within a feasible traveling distance of Ann Arbor and/or it's just "too hard" to reorganize your schedule to find the time for a face-to-face consultation,  working with a therapist via telephone and/or online has obvious advantages:

1. If you are connected to the internet, you can get consultation
via telephone and/or video conference service provided by Skype.

2. Even if you live reasonably close by, you can save the time and expense of traveling to and from your consultations which can add generally an hour on to your time if you consider its likely a half hour there and half hour return.

3. Telephone and online work can be done at mutually convenient times even outside of normal business hours.

4. You can choose your own time of day to write out your concerns for discussion (and you can take more time to think about what you want to say).

5. You can work  from the comfort and privacy of your own surroundings at home or from your office on a break.

6. You may feel less embarrassed when discussing personal matters.

7. Studies have suggested that there is high satisfaction with consultation by phone or video conferencing and that, in particular, cognitive behavioral therapy is just as effective delivered in this manner.
Generally, there are many reasons that the use of online therapy & consultation are increasing.  The growing body of research into online counseling has established the efficacy of online therapy with treatment outcomes at least equal to traditional in-office settings.

Online therapy has additional benefits unrealized by office-based treatments as it allows the patient to attend sessions at a higher rate than traditional sessions. The number of missed appointments is much less than with in-person therapy. There is also some research to suggest that online counseling is more effective because a client is at greater ease and feels less intimidated than they would in traditional settings. This makes clients more likely to be honest and thus allow the counselor to provide better treatment. Online counseling is also filling the unmet need for clients located in areas traditionally under-served by traditional counselors.

Additionally online supportive consultation and coaching are being used  more and more by larger insurance companies & systems to provide support for patients who are struggling with eating issues, post surgical adjustments such as following a cardiac event, diabetes, depression and stress reduction and most conditions that require support while navigating a issues where lifestyle changes are needed. 





Developing Sustainable Lifestyles - Enhancing Wellbeing

Posted on January 12, 2013 at 12:27 PM Comments comments (0)
I just wanted to make sure that anyone visiting my blog knows about this wonderful ongoing workshop by a terrific teacher  that helps people develop sustainable living skills and forge deeper connections within their community ~ aspects of life that are known to increase one's sense of wellbeing.

Here's a write-up about the workshops:


An invitation from Jesse Tack, of
Whole Culture Repair,LLC
~

Ongoing workshop Group:  "
Abundant Michigan, Permaculture Ypsilanti."
This is an ongoing Permaculture group based in Ypsilanti, ~ all are welcome. Our goal is to co-create abundance for our members in food, medicine, materials, economy and living water. We support Abundance in all Michigan Communities.


...
Discussions will include; permaculture design, sustainable living in Ypsilanti, food forests, mushrooms, developing new local economics and livelihood, time banking, resource shares, sustainable timber, perennial vegetables, natural building, rotational grazing, aquaculture, ...via a monthly presentation followed by discussion. Follow up experiential learning opportunities will be offered in the weeks after the presentation to get hands on experience with some of the principles taught.

Actions will include: establishing a perennial nursery, intensive use of land, sheet mulching, water catchment, grey water systems, time banking in action, timber production, mushroom production, economic creation, ...
All are welcome in these activities to collaborate, learn from experiences offered and contribute.
Come join the fun!

Jesse


Jesse D. Tack MT-BC Founder, Whole Culture Repair LLChttp://wholeculturerepair.wordpress.com/ Co-founder, Aurora Design Solutions Inc.http://auroradesignsolutions.blogspot.com/


[An important note from  ~ please read:  We are an open discussion and action group. Everyone is welcome. Please note:
A suggested Donation of $10 equivalence is now asked for the workshop -  an equivalent offer is preferred, tho money is accepted.
This group practices and offers experience in the "New Economy", developing true reciprocity and learning trade and Time Banking - so for example - if you have a bee hive and think a jar is worth $10, you could offer that for Jesse's services, or an offer of 1.5  hours of garden work on a group work project on a project of his, along with $5 in the jar.  Or, let's say you keep rabbits, you could offer several bags of rabbit 'pellets' (manure) for the class worth $10, or one bag and $5 in the jar.  Jesse has gone way beyond the call of duty in offering these classes for us, and to continue its really important that we keep it fair and that he receives some consideration in turn as he generally charges good solid $ fees for consulting and permaculture planning.  Be thinking creatively about how you want to "pay" for the class, Jesse has been 'paying it forward' for a long time now...no one will be turned away for not being able to pay, but with Time Banking & trade, EVERYONE is capable of forming an equivalent offer for reciprocity.]


It's a New Year; Moving into a New Economy & work that is Real -

Posted on January 1, 2013 at 2:13 PM Comments comments (0)
new year transitions
We're really blessed.  Yes things seem to be getting tougher in many ways.  But here in Michigan we have the best of all worlds.  While other parts of the world and our country even, have been beset with horrible events with calamitous weather, Michigan remains overall mild in climate and with few
problems such as the horrible fires in the west, impacts from major drought or flooding, hurricanes & mega storms.  Michigan also has ample sources of fresh water being surrounded by our beautiful Great Lakes.

Monica smile squint ms magooIts a time for gratitude, along with concern for others. Certainly our economy has been rough, however, while we may lack frills, we have all the essentials for transitioning.  I suspect that when everyone figures this out, they will be trying to move here...

Meanwhile we're learning.  While we aren't as severely impacted, we're certainly learning about what we can do toward mitigating climate change.  Michigan has also been blessed with many innovative and creative people moving the slow food movement out in front, a growing consensus that buying local is of huge importance for all, and a long time cultivated & growing expertise in Permaculture and urban farming that offers prospect for new livelihoods and long term food security.  We've always been a great farming state, but now we have increasing numbers of innovative new local and organic farmers, and year round growers are sprouting up, along with more CSA's and other forms of work meant to lower carbon miles, with  new techniques that are supportive of the ecology, regenerative rather than degrading of land.
Another new raised bed behind the Aspen tree planted and mulchedMore people are certainly venturing out on their own, rather than waiting, to 'boldly go' where others have not before, and launching new and exciting enterprises that are the seeds of a new, more resilient and durable economy; ~ one intended to weather the changes on our horizon.

I am excited about this and love working with those who would trail-blaze new, promising directions out of their own inner promptings.  Sometimes this takes courage and a good and solid sounding board, that helps us stay connected with inner sources of guidance and wisdom.  I love listening to clients and supporting them as they sort through those inner yearnings to find their path ahead.  In psychotherapy & counseling ~ this is a therapist's work at its finest ~ helping a client find their way in breaking new ground ~ deepening in trusting their evolving self. 

I love that I'm now able to not only work with clients locally in my office setting, but also anywhere in the world.  Working with online therapy via skype and video calls (which are very easy to set up - I can advise and guide you on this), comfortable in your own setting, we're freed of burning carbon miles to connect, and we can connect no matter where you are ~ any where in the world.  

Its a New Year - yes!  And this is our new adventure - breaking free of old limitations and pioneering ourselves into a new landscape of green, life respecting enterprises as we move toward a steady state economy more rich and interpersonally connected in community; embedded in year round garden life, re-foresting, nature derived renewably grown and harvested resources and finding common happiness in lowering our footprints! 

Here's an inspiring piece of a Marge Piercy poem that captures, I think, what most people I see have yearned for, and seek  in their own way.  It's a passage from "To be of use".  Below it is a short video where I've read this to you ~ so that, if interested, you can see just how I would come across while working via skype session: 

"...the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*photograph above by Irene Kightley  Bergerac, Francehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/hardworkinghippy/



Healthy living means moving toward sustainable lifestyles

Posted on May 26, 2012 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (3)

While we go about our busy lives, living like busy bees, concerned with managing our livelihoods, nurturing family and friends, participating in our community, paying our bills and working toward a good future, all of which feel more challenging these days ~  We find the added challenge of living in a time when all of us, one way  or another, are exposed to messages that suggest that from many angles our world is in jeopardy.  Without much discussion or support, we're left to  cope with and absorb the obvious emotional and psychological impacts of this understanding. Sarah Edwards has called this "eco-anxiety"(link) Its no wonder that many of us feel unsettled, anxious or distressed.

While carrying these fears, concerns and worries that we hesitate to "share" with our loved ones, after all, how can we burden them?  We also find that in the busy-ness of daily life and managing commitments, who has time to research new directions and possible solutions for our modern dilemmas?  We're left often feeling alone, and pushing important, unspoken concerns out of our awareness to 'carry on'.  After all, who, in our busy lives, has time for getting counseling,
finding a good therapist, or researching how to find or create an earth supportive, sustainable livelihood?

There are some promising directions however, and pathways that are known, by those who have been able to take time to look squarely at these issues and to imagine and forge new pathways.

There has long been an entirely new direction in psychology and "treatment" for much of our life anxiety and background stress called eco-psychology or eco-therapy.  But in our current lives, the first step is often a simple one... simply taking time to bring more nature connection into our lives is one of those steps.  And one, interestingly, that seems to, because of its effects on us, give us more time than what we thought we had when we began, and when we once felt hurried or short for time. This is a process that can be used to center oneself, learn, and to find direction, relief, and to experience a sense of feeling restored, re-energized.  It can be explored on one's own, or in the context of supportive therapy with someone who works with this primary relationship (nature connectedness) skillfully.

Meanwhile here is a wonderfully interesting article (article link) on the dilemmas we sense, that may have been remaining inchoate for many of us, and thus a source of background anxiety. For often anxiety simply comes from  new knowledge that has not been digested, voiced or fully understood in ways that make it meaningful and offer positive direction.  I love this key quote:  " sustainability is about creating high-quality, equitable lifestyles that have low ecological impacts. It is about living “well” and “lightly” together — as communities, as nations, and as one species, among many, on this planet." While the article is created, in part, to market a wonderful, creative educational program called "Living Routes", (link)the succinctly summarized information and direction given, are useful for us all, as we move to integrate in our lives, the knowledge that we now know we live on a 'small planet', and that our well-being is intertwined deeply both with the planet and all of its varied and fascinating life, as well as one another around the globe.

Its wonderful to find an article that moves our shared anxiety, from where it's languished unhelpfully, into its new and proper place - a felt excitement that facing important and formative challenges will also light a sure pathway for healing our dis-ease.  Blended with a sense of possibility, and grounded in a newly understood, meaningful and readily available connection ~ We find here a deep, enduring source for our daily mustering of courage for the journey.

Support Groups

Posted on September 16, 2011 at 12:42 PM Comments comments (0)
Finding a good support group is a great way to become more focused and centered as the amount of quality support you have in your life greatly affects your balance and happiness.   Support groups are an inexpensive way of making more connections and learning; also a great way to work on becoming your best self, getting some relief from feeling disconnected, and the symptoms this bring ~ and yet much less expensive than individual therapy.

Here are some of the support groups I'm currently offering.  Feel free to call me if you have any questions about them!

Group's offered:

Women's Support Group
Parkway Center, 2345 S. Huron Parkway, Ann Arbor, Michigan
First Sunday at 12pm - 1:30pm
$20+ per session
Support group for Women wanting a safe place to share around issues of loss/grief, relationships, life changes and transitions. We use psycho-educational material at times to offer valuable relevant information and to enrich the discussion.

Self Esteem: A Family Affair
Parkway Center, 2345 S. Huron Parkway, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Second Sunday at 12pm - 1:30pm
$20+ per session
Using easily accessible material from the book Self Esteem: A Family Affair, we will look at messages we got growing up; and affirmations we are missing as well as how to give and receive them for ourselves and in nurturing other family members. We’ll use psycho-educational material at times for valuable information and to enrich the
discussion.

Intimacy ~ ‘Stage 2’ Relationships
The Parkway Center, 2345 S. Huron Parkway, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Third Sunday at 12 pm - 1:30pm
$20+ per session
Anger signals us about unmet needs, limits and boundaries and helps us "find our voice" with the people who matter the most.
It informs us when we need to "set things right" and shows us where we have painful disconnections.
Using material excerpted from the books The Dance of Anger, and the Dance of Intimacy: ‘Courageous acts of change in Key relationships’, we'll look at what we want in our relationships, the process of changing our patterns in relationships, what anger represents and how we expand our relationships to allow for more movement and fulfillment. We will use psycho-educational material at times to enrich the discussion.

Re-establishing Nature Connection to De-stress:
The Parkway Center, 2345 S. Huron Parkway, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Fourth Sunday at 12 pm - 1:30pm
$20+ per session

"Interaction with Nature is critically important to human well-being and development, but sadly has become compromised and diminished in modern times.  Through deliberate design, this connection can be repaired and restored."   Kellert

Modern life has truly disconnected many of us from Nature.  So it makes sense  that from 75 to 90% of all doctor's visits are physical illnesses related to stress and that  the number of stress-related disability claims by American employees has doubled.  We’ll learn how to be more aware of our relationship with Nature, and explore the use of some simple tools for consciously making use of that connection to de-stress and increase our sense of well being.

One simple way to Lower your Stress level - Nature Connection

Posted on September 12, 2011 at 4:31 PM Comments comments (5)
"Interaction with Nature is critically important to human well-being and development, but sadly has become compromised and diminished in modern times.  Through deliberate design, this connection can be repaired and restored."   Kellert in Building for Life

Counseling with  nature kids water play therapy Ann Arbor, MI
Modern life has truly disconnected many of us from Nature.  So it makes sense that the number of stress-related disability claims by American employees has doubled according to the Employee Assistance Professionals Association in Arlington, Virginia.

Some professionals along with the American Institute of Stress would say that from 75 to 90% of all doctor's visits are physical illnesses related to stress....and, according to the American Institute of Stress, the cost to industry has been estimated at $200 billion-$300 billion a year..

Stress reduction nature boy waterfall therapy services Ann Arbor, MI
Some stress related health problems that are commonly reported include: 

  • high blood pressure 
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • cancer
  • depression
  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • abusive behavior
  • memory loss

But one simple stress reducer is spending more time outside particularly in nature rich areas.  So, go for a walk at your local park, or go bicycling there.  Tree hugging has a positive effect on your stress level and on your psychological and physical well being.  Better yet, taking a vacation to some place where nature is clearly in abundance and you get to play in the great outdoors can revive you emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Stress Counseling Nature-sunset trees Ann Arbor, MI
Even if you're stuck indoors we know that plants have a positive effect on your wellbeing.  So do pets.  Walking the dog in a tree lined neighborhood might be even better.  ~ Meanwhile, be sure to say hi to the neighbors!


Watch this wonderful video of Jon Young talking about the importance of Nature Connection 


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