Monday, February 12, 2018

Thoughts on Transitions


by Karen Steinbrecher

I was recently inspired by Bill Douglas, Founder of World TaiChi QiGong Day, who shared the following: "When those unfamiliar with TaiChi or QiGong begin a class, they think that they can learn how to do the slow, liquid, flowing movements by physically mimicking them."

But those of us who actually perform these liquid dreamlike flowing QiGong movements after much practice...know that it is not just a physical journey, it was, is a journey of the heart, mind and body....learning how to "let go" of our mental, emotional and then eventually our physical grip on ourselves and the world.

Then we find along the way, that people find us easier to get along with because our rough edges have been EXHALED and RELEASED over hours, months, years and perhaps decades of mind-body exploration and practice.

This is my short-version story, experience of QiGong after 20 yrs. of practice, continuous learning about myself and connecting, healing with others - you.  QiGong is a tool, a bridge to EFFORTLESSLY flow through life, its TRANSITIONS, many many experiences. Let the Qi flow with Joy and Good Health.  

Karen Steinbrecher leads QiGong at the Resiliency Center on Tuesdays at 2:30 pm and Thursdays at 6:20 pm. Cost is $10.00 for a one-hour class. Learn more and pre-register by contacting Karen at karensteinbrecher@msn.com

Natural Transitions


by Heather Hill, MSS, LCSW

When I was pregnant with my first child, I took a day long wilderness therapy workshop in the the Wissahickon Valley Park.  There, I was invited to do some solo time and sat on a high rocky outcrop of Wissahickon Schist looking down at the creek below.  I was eager to capture this time of waiting and knew I was anxious about navigating this huge transition in my life.  My attention was drawn to a yellow leaf being carried by the current over rocks and little waterfalls.  When the leaf got stuck for a minute or two on some debris, it didn’t resist or bobble in a fit of frustration.  It was soon taken over by the current and went on its way.  When I shared this experience with others in my group, I was told that the leaf was a metaphor for childbirth and parenting.  What I needed to transition into my new role as a mother was to surrender to the process of life and let go of my former role to take on a new one.  The image of the leaf comes back to me often to remind me to trust life, to be part of its flow, or at least not to become frustrated when I get stuck in the debris.  

Two important processes happened that day to allow me access to the wisdom embodied in the natural world:  the observation and the sharing with a group.  My observation wasn’t connected to my inner world until it was received and heard by the group.  I’ve carried that image with me over time.  Although I’ve returned to nature many times seeking wisdom and comfort, no image has stood out for me as prominently as that little yellow leaf. 

I invite you to discover new meaning and wisdom for your own transitions as well as to build connections with the natural world and a community of fellow seekers. Register for one or all four of my Ecotherapy workshop, held from 9 am to 12 pm:  

Natural Connections: Exploring Wellness and Wholeness Throughout the Seasons
Spring Equinox 3/24
Summer Solstice 6/23
Fall Equinox 9/22
Winter Solstice 12/22

Heather Hill is a Licensed Clinical Social Workers providing counseling to pre-teens, teens, and adults. She uses a humanistic and wholistic framework and incorporates ecotherapy with traditional evidence-based practices. To learn more and to register for one of her programs, contact her at 215-485-7205 or heatherhilltherapy@gmail.com.

Making Peace With Your Teen Transitioning to Adulthood


by Lisa Grant-Feeley, LPC

Transitions are the experience of moving from a place that is familiar to a place that is new, different and unfamiliar. The transition a teen faces as they move from being a child who is protected and governed by a parent to an adult who is responsible for protecting and governing themselves can be a difficult time for them: both exciting and frightening. 

Teens are in a stage of life in which they are struggling to reach the stage of independence and their parents are transitioning from being responsible for their children’s safety and welfare to preparing them to face the world on their own. 

For many teens, this is a confusing and frightening time.  Questions like, “Will I be able to handle being on my own?” “Will I make the right choices?” “Will I be successful?”  “How will I know what to do?” The world can seem a scary and lonely place when not returning to the safety of a home and family at the end of each day.  On the other side of the coin, they are driven to independence, which is the next stage of their development.  They long to be self determined, to not have “someone always telling them what to do” which is how it can seem to them, to test themselves and to answer the many questions they have about themselves and their abilities. 

For many parents, this can also be a frightening and confusing time.  Parents remember the tiny, vulnerable infants who are now moving away from their care in an effort to become independent adults.  Even though that is the ultimate goal of parenting, that moving away can be a painful, conflict-filled time.

Having someone to guide both the teen and the parent through these uncharted territories can be supportive and helpful.  By helping the teen learn to evaluate their values and priorities for themselves and develop a strong, self-directed inner voice, they can begin to see themselves as competent and capable.  This makes the uncertainty of the future less anxiety-filled as they become the captain of their ship. 

Lisa Grant-Feeley is a Licensed Professional Counselor who supports teens and their families.    She works from strength based perspective and utilizes a person-centered approach.  If I can support you on your journey, please reach out to connect at lisagrantfeeley@gmail.com  or 267-625-2565.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Beauty of You: A Love Note from Your Body

by Brittiney George

You are a beautiful imperfection.
I know that makes you uncomfortable, because you want to be perfect.
Ahh...my child.  I do not work in perfection...humans do. 

Perfection assumes completion.  But how can you be complete when the world around you, and in you, is full of so many glorious options for miraculous change?

I work in magical mysteries, in awe inspiring moments of truth and clarity.
I commend you for wanting to better yourself.  But I ask you to not try to perfect yourself. That implies you are flawed. You are not flawed.

You are a colorful mosaic reflecting the experiences of your life.
Instead of berating yourself for all that you do not know;
Breathe. Listen. Explore with me.

You are more than a number on a scale, a title in a job, the pain or fear that you feel.

You are a gift.

If you don’t believe me, journey with me.
Let me show you how amazing and resilient you truly are.

Unconditional Love~ Parenting a child with explosive behavior


by Lisa Grant-Feeley, MS, LPC

If you’re a parent, you might never forget the first moment you saw your child and the wave of love that overtook you in that instant. Simultaneously, with the wave of awe and amazement came a jolt of terror as you recognized the responsibility loving - and raising - this tiny child would bring.  Many parents take that responsibility to heart and want to do the best they are able for their child.  Some have already had success in raising happy, well-adjusted children and are bewildered when a younger child struggles with behaviors they have never seen before.

Why does my child struggle when plans change?  Why does my child become so incredibly frustrated when things don’t go as expected?  How can my child scream, “I hate you!” or “You’re the worst mother (father) in the world!”  Or worse, how can my child hit, kick, throw things at me?  These are questions many parents ask themselves when their child has explosive behaviors.  In fairness, it is difficult to understand how the same parents can have success with some of their children and not with all of their children. 

According to Dr. Ross Greene, children who exhibit these behaviors typically have underdeveloped skills in the areas of frustration tolerance, flexilibity/adaptability and problem solving, which means they don’t have the skills needed to manage many of life’s unavoidable situations.  Situations that require them to be adaptable or flexible, or to be able to manage frustration that occurs in an average day, or are confronted by a problem they need to solve.  These children are doing the best that they are able with the only “skills” they have. 

When we understand that our child is struggling to find a way to manage a difficult life situation, but doesn’t have the necessary skills, it is easier for us to support our child who is explosively showing us the intensity of that struggle.  Seeing our child as doing the best they are able, allows us to provide the unconditional love we felt the first time we saw them.

Lisa Grant-Feeley is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in working with children who exhibit explosive behaviors and their families. Many of these children also struggle with symptoms of ADHD. Focusing on strengths, she helps families develop proactive solutions and develop skills needed to manage struggles.  For more information, please contact her at 267-625-2565.

Loving your Emotions


by Catherine McLaughlin, MA, NCC, LPC

Emotions are defined as “a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others; instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.” In other words, emotions are something that comes from within us, beyond our control, and naturally occurring. Despite what we may have been taught, emotions are not bad, wrong, or abnormal. Receiving this message can cause us to repress our emotions; to push them down or brace against them. Over time, this “emotional backlog” can cause issues. There’s nowhere for the emotions to go, but they have to come out. If you’ve ever had a clogged pipe in your house, then you know what happens next - the water just starts spraying out everywhere, all over everything. What a mess! 

And our repressed emotions don’t usually come out as what they were to begin with – they’ve morphed into something else. Health problems, intense anger, anxiety, depression… all painful expressions of the feelings hiding inside for so long. But there is a better way.

Feel your feeling – instead of shying away from feelings, as much as you can, allow yourself to feel them. This may take some work, as we have all received messages in our lives that some feelings are “bad” or “wrong.” Give yourself permission to sit with and really feel your feeling. It may be uncomfortable. But it will not last forever.

Acknowledge and name the feeling – what is it, exactly? Are you angry, or are you infuriated? Sad, or distraught? It is especially helpful to give your feeling a specific name. 

Allow the feeling to leave – when you allow yourself to feel and name your feeling, it should naturally resolve. Let it! Unnecessarily holding on to feelings can cause pain and suffering. 

By feeling, naming, and allowing emotions to resolve, we’re following the natural path of feelings moving through our bodies. If this is a struggle for you, or if you know you have an “emotional backlog” of your own, a therapist could help you to work through this process. We provide a safe place to experience the emotions and feelings that have been clogging up the pipe for so long. And we have lots of buckets to catch all the spraying water. 

Catherine McLaughlin loves working with people to identify and experience their emotions in order to feel like themselves again. She specializes in issues of adolescence, and working with artists and creatives. Contact her at 267-800-5073 or Catherine@cjmcounseling.com for a free 20 minute phone consultation or to get started in therapy today.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Never Too Old

--> by Karen Steinbrecher

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. – C.S. Lewis

As a practitioner of QiGong, an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates flowing movements, postures, breathing and focused intention, I would like to share the following:  I am now 71 years of age.  Yikes.  Practicing this modality I believe has helped me to stay young at heart, physically and mentally.  QiGong is recommended by the Harvard Medical School as well many physicians, and Dr. Oz. Its great appeal is that EVERY one can benefit, regardless of ability, age, belief system or circumstances.  Western scientific research confirms that those who maintain a consistent practice of Qigong find that it helps one regain a youthful vitality, maintain health even into old age as well as to  speed recovery from illness.  The following link from Daisy Lee addresses this with a story about her teacher Master Duan, who at the time of the story was nearing 100 yrs. of age: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtUHbZFu-BI&list=PL3DEE46AAE854A904. Enjoy Daisy Lee, and have fun and flow to glowing health this New Year.  Let the Qi flow to good health and happiness.

Karen Steinbrecher teaches Qigong at The Resiliency Center on Tuesday afternoons and Thursday evenings. Learn more by emailing her at karensteinbrecher@msn.com.