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Counseling & Psychotherapy Services - Monica King ACSW

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

Life in Balance


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Healthy Living

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 1:56 PM Comments comments (1)

With all of the news and ongoing life changes for all of us that are covered and coming, it's important to look more to lifestyle choices for ways to reduce stress, enjoy life more fully, get exercise and nature connection, and live healthfully.  Living a lifestyle that matches your understanding of what is important in the areas of lowering your carbon footprint, eating healthy foods and making your life habits and pastimes fit with your values for a more sustainable, and vital community can only be beneficial to your sense of wellbeing and setting an example for your family. 

We haven't fully recovered from recent events such as the huge storm, Sandy, that recently hit the east coast and that we felt even here in the midwest. 

To stay psychologically healthy ~ such sweeping & significant events affect our sense of security, either consciously or unconsciously,  calling for clear action, and empowered responses to our sense of the interconnectedness of life on our planet and how our way of living has an impact.  There is nothing  more inspiring and spirited than enacting these new insights more fully in your own personal life and in empowered fashion!

Nowadays, we all hear about local foods, organic gardening and learning new skills for fun and enjoyment close to home.  Many of us feel depressed, anxious and powerless at times in our work settings, or in hearing the news and taking action to integrate these  new patterns in our lives gives a sense of empowerment and control, as well as giving you the benefits of new relationships in your neighborhood and nearby community as well as nature connection ~ such an important and often long neglected necessary ingredient to  healthy living. 

Here's a fun picture of the way we 'used to do it' ~ from 1895 a 'yarden' in Wisconsin ~ this is now the yard of the future, and what fun! Yes! If they could do it - we can do it! A garden like this provides exercise, healthy food rather than highly processed or gmo food from the store, unlimited outlets for your creativity as well as fun and opportunities for learning for your children; a good excuse to spend more time out of doors and to meet neighbors, slow down.

Now here in the Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and surrounding county we are most blessed to have great growing resources to help you in such an adventure with Project Grow, in Ann Arbor,  Growing Hope in Ypsilanti, City Farm started in Ypsilanti, and Jesse Tack, of Abundant Michigan & Aurora Design Solutions who offers regular monthly classes and mentorship in Ypsilanti on city permaculture.  Yes, these are all
relevant to your and  my 'mental health' and being connected with the world and planet,  very important facets of your 'growth edge' as you nurture your self growth personally today.

Here's just one example of resources available to you in the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor area: 

Sustainable Michigan sponsors:

Subject: You're invited to a Permaculture Site visit and analysis

You recently received a notice on a monthly Permaculture workshop ~ scheduled for the first Monday in December.                                                                                                                              Meanwhile, this month we have an experiential learning session at the home of a small urban farm family, the Yoder's of Pollywog urban farm in Ypsilanti.
Jesse, as a presenter/facilitator, is warm, funny and engaging, and has kept us laughing and learning. In addition to ourregular monthly event on first Monday of the month nights at Growing Hope, We will continue to work with site analysis of a few Homesteads as well as do occasional work/experience parties between monthly meetings - stay tuned!

You're welcome to
join us if this interests you - and so I'm forwarding Jesse Tack's note (below) about this event:
Good Day!
We will be meeting for a permaculture gathering, a-la the one we just did this past Monday. We will do asector analysis, zone analysis, calculate rooftop rainwater collection, do observation and pathway discussions.

Please consider joining us at:

Pollywog Urban farm
303 Forest Ave.
Ypsilanti, MI at Grace Yoders and Briannon English's homestead in the heart of Ypsilanti.We will meet from 5-7,  ending after at the nearby Corner Brewery to have some discussion of the site,mapping, sector analysis, etc.

Please share and join us if you are so inclined.
RSVP, or with questions ~

Best ~
Jesse D. Tack  

Co-founder, Aurora Design Solutions Inc.

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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.
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Support Groups

Posted on September 16, 2011 at 12:42 PM Comments comments (107)
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

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.
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One simple way to Lower your Stress level - Nature Connection

Posted on September 12, 2011 at 4:31 PM Comments comments (127)
"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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