Pine Rest Blog

Celebrating Recovery in September

By Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC National Recovery Month is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Sponsored by SAMHSA, Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover. This year’s theme, “ Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out ,” encourages people to openly speak up about mental and substance use disorders and the...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 1:03 PM | 0 comments

The Truth About Pain

By Karen Cleveland, PhD Suicide is tragic. The recent death of beloved actor and comedian, Robin Williams, reminded us of that fact. Crisis is often a catalyst for both awareness and action. When depression sets in for you or a loved one, here are some truths and some action steps to keep in mind. Everyone hurts. Unfortunately pain is a part of life, but you are not alone. Others have been there before, some are there with you now, and many will come behind you. There is strength...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 9:58 AM | 1 comments

The Blessings of Grandparents

By Heidi Vermeer-Quist , PsyD Grandparents are wonderful! If you are a grandparent, don’t underestimate the impact you have on your grandkids. If you still have your grandparents around, take time to listen and learn from them. They love you more than words can express, and they have a lot of wisdom to share. Just recently, I said good-bye to my last surviving grandparent. My grandma Matilda was (and still is) a saint! She always had time for us. My grandmother played with us,...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 1:54 PM | 0 comments

The Many Gifts from Robin Williams

By Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC   The death of Robin Williams this week has touched our hearts in so many ways. His brilliant comedic style made us laugh so hard and often that we will never forget. He was also courageously open with us about his human fragility, addiction and mental illness. In the end, the only way he could let us all see the enormity of his pain and suffering, however, was by ending his own life.   We all wear masks . Some of us use humor, some...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 4:28 PM | 2 comments

Make Sure to Use Your Vacation Days

By Alan Harper, MA   Many of us like to save our vacation days. We enjoy the feeling of always having a large “bank” of vacation days available to us. We use our days sparingly so we know they’re always there if we need them.   It’s a good feeling having those days available to us, similar to having a large savings account at the bank. Maybe it feels secure. Maybe it feels like the responsible thing to do.   But, is it always...
Posted by colleen.cullison@pinerest.org at 2:06 PM | 0 comments

Managing Back-to-school Anxiety

By Jean Holthaus, LISW August is right around the corner bringing with it the inevitabilities… going to school for the first time, going back to school, going to new schools, sending kids to college, becoming empty nesters, preparing for winter, etc. August and change seem inextricably linked just like change is inextricably linked to fear for most of us. Treating fear like a fever Frustrating as it can be, our bodies are designed to instinctively respond to change with some level...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 10:29 AM | 0 comments

Practice Does in Fact Matter!

By Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC It is hard work to make intentional changes in our lives. I’ve watched the members of my first Practice Matters! group challenged with the notion of practice. Some have had a struggle getting to group each week. Some have worked faithfully on their practice intention goals. Some are learning how to make intentional practice happen routinely in their lives. Each member has courageously accepted the challenge and is working at her/his own pace. I...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 3:45 PM | 4 comments

“This isn’t about my baby.”

By Kerrie Van Weelden, LMSW I recently had a mother say to me, “I have always felt close to my baby, but I don’t feel like myself. I am on edge all the time.” Another woman told us, “The doctor kept asking me, ‘Do you have thoughts about hurting your baby or yourself?’ and I kept telling him that I am not like that!” This mom was offended that thoughts about harming her baby or herself seemed to be the only question she was being asked. “It...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 10:23 AM | 0 comments

Men’s Health Month: Focusing on Mental Health

By Steven Runner, PsyD   Men’s Health Month is celebrated every June to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among boys and men. Often overlooked is men’s mental and emotional health, an area that can take a significant toll on the lives of men when left unattended.   It’s estimated that one in four U.S. adults had a mental health disorder in the past year. Depression and anxiety...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 1:36 PM | 0 comments

May is Postpartum Depression Awareness Month

Did you know that May is Postpartum Depression Awareness Month in the state of Michigan? May, 2014 has been proclaimed Postpartum Depression Awareness Month by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. For the third year in a row, Michigan law makers have officially proclaimed the month of May, Postpartum Depression Awareness Month for the entire state. For many women and their families, pregnancy and the birth of a child are times of excitement and joy–that’s what most of us envision...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 2:12 PM | 0 comments

Recognizing signs of abuse in children and what you can do about it

By Vanessa Hogarth, LMSW Abuse toward children can take on many forms within the physical, sexual and emotional realms. Preceding abuse is often neglect, potentially identifying the signs can be a challenge indeed, and knowing what to do with that information when learned can be even harder. Here are some key signs that might indicate abuse or neglect is happening, however, assessing the situation for legitimacy and severity can be complex and should be left to a professional. What are...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Summer Parenting Tips

By Jean Holthaus, LISW   I loved summer as a child and spent hours playing with siblings, reading, riding bike, and learning to sew and cook. It was wonderful! However, as a working parent with two children, summer could often feel overwhelming. I love my children but an entire summer of being responsible for them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week seemed…well, daunting to say the least. I suspect many parents face June, July, and August with the same sense of fear and...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 8:12 AM | 0 comments

Thank You, Mom! Thank You, Dad!

By Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC Since my dad’s death in fall 2013, I have found myself reflecting on many things in very different sorts of ways. My grief work has been full of reflections into special memories, not only of my dad, but also times and people who were in my life at various points. This has been one of the many gifts grief has brought to me. And yes, I say gifts because so much good seems to be spilling out of my loss—it is truly amazing.   My grief has...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 2:51 PM | 0 comments

What Do You See in the Mirror?

By Jean Holthaus, LISW Mirrors are everywhere and each one provides the opportunity for self-affirmation or self-criticism. Most men and women see their bodies as a compilation of unacceptable features. As women pass a mirror they to see big thighs, jiggling arms, protruding stomachs, and the wrong size breasts. Increasingly men are joining the ranks of those who negatively critique their bodies. While women want to be smaller, American men believe their body should have twenty to thirty...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 10:16 AM | 0 comments

May Highlights the Importance of Mental Health

By Mark Eastburg, PhD By now you’ve probably heard many times “well, it looks like spring is finally here.” Yes, it was an extreme winter here in West Michigan. Certainly our roofs and roads took a beating. Some people thrive in winter. But many of us who lived through it feel exhausted emotionally by the constant cold and seemingly never ending snow. So it’s timely, especially this year, that May is National Mental Health Month. Just as a missed...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 11:05 AM | 0 comments

Remembering with God, You're Never Alone in Your Grief

by Heidi Vermeer-Quist, PsyD Remembering is a necessary and important step to good grief. People often avoid remembering because they don’t want recount past painful events. They don’t want to re-experience all of that pain again. Or they may remember and find themselves stuck back in anger and depressed stages of their grief. In his book, Finding Our Way Home, Dr. Mark McMinn encourages people to engage in “Incarnational Remembering.” Or, quite simply,...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 11:03 AM | 0 comments

Talking to Children about Violence

Tragic events can leave children feeling insecure and unsure of their world. Children crave security — knowing they are safe and loved.Their developing brains depend on this need being met in order to grow into healthy well-adjusted adults. Adults’ reactions to shootings, stabbings and other violent acts affect the children around them. It is important to decide how you want to discuss the events with your children. We can often, without realizing, pass on our own fears to our...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 10:28 AM | 0 comments

Pine Rest Strengthens Its Autism Spectrum Disorder Program

By Tim Zwart, EdD The number of children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has increased over the past decade to as many as one in 100 children. Autism is a neurodevelopmetal disorder characterized, by varying degrees of difficulties in communication (verbal and nonverbal), social interaction, and repetitive behaviors. ASD can also be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination, attention and physical health issues.   ...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Practice Matters! Expanding Your Toolbox

By Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC   Many years ago I attended a training to learn about (what was then a new form of therapy) called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT as it is commonly referred to. In my estimation the therapy program teaches some incredibly wonderful life skills that can be useful for us all. DBT was initially created to help people who struggle with a personality disorder that impacted their ability to regulate emotions resulting in suicidal behaviors and...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 1:56 PM | 2 comments

On the road again…snowy and icy that is!

by Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC   This West Michigan winter of ours just keeps on going much like the Energizer bunny. I, however, don’t seem to have as much spirit and patience for it lately. How about you?   I noticed being more irritated recently with all the bulky and heavy garb that I had to put on that made it difficult to move, but for which I was grateful in the same breath as it kept me toasty warm.   Then there are the roads to contend with;...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 11:55 AM | 2 comments

“Love is Patient, Love is Kind.”

by Jude Vereyken, LMSW, CAADC Over the years, I’ve repeatedly returned to this bible passage (1 Corinthians 13:4) as it speaks to me. It was read at my wedding ceremony because it spoke to both my husband and me. In this month of Valentines’ Day, it is speaking to me once again—this time, however, not only about love shared with another human being but about love of myself.   Every morning for several years, I’ve read this passage as a part of my...
Posted by kris.brown@pinerest.org at 3:37 PM | 6 comments

You Complete Me

by Heidi Vermeer-Quist, PsyD If you grew up during the 1990’s, you might recall one of the “hottest” romantic movies of that era— Jerry Maguire. For those of us who’ve seen the movie, who can forget the cheesy, lovey-dovey line delivered by none other than Tom Cruise? During what may be the movie’s most memorable scene, Tom Cruise enters, looks intently at Rene Zellweger, and dramatically professes his love by proclaiming, “You complete...
Posted by at 2:26 PM | 0 comments

New service to treat depression is now available at Pine Rest

By Donna Ecklesdafer, MSN, RN Christian Mental Health Services recently started a new service:  Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2008 as a treatment for depression; so it is relatively new.   TMS is a procedure that delivers magnetic pulses to a specific area in the brain, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, an area involved in depression. The magnetic pulses stimulate nerve cells which can lead to improved...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 1 comments

Do you Remember What Charlie Brown Always Had To Say?

By Jude Vereyken, LMSW It is hard to imagine that anything good can possibly come from having to grieve the loss of someone you love, but I am learning from my own experience that in fact much good is resulting through it. My father died this past October very unexpectedly. Several years ago, as my parents grew older, I began to consider the ugly fact that their time here on earth was growing more limited. Those thoughts often provoked fear and uncertainty about what it would be like...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 9 comments

Sticking to it! Seven Tips on Keeping Your Resolutions This Year

by Kellin O’Rourke   The turkeys were stuffed…and, in turn, our bellies were too. Visions of sugar plums danced in our heads…and then straight into our mouths! Now the time has come for us to revive our lives and revitalize our health. The New Year is here and may it bring with it blessing, joy, and resolution success!   Better than 60% of individuals stick to their resolutions for more than two months, so the chances of you doing the same are...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

11 Mental Health Resolutions for 2014

Have you thought about making any mental health resolutions this year? Simple changes can have a big impact on our physical health, relationships, overall happiness and ability to cope with what life throws at us. Below are suggestions from some of Pine Rest’s staff to consider adding to your list.   Practice gratitude . “The ability to cultivate gratitude is linked with all sorts of emotional, relational, and spiritual benefits. According to research,...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Good Grief

by Heidi Vermeer-Quist, PsyD     While we are preparing for Christmas, what comes to mind when I mention “good grief”?   You may think more of Charlie Brown and his Christmas special than to a discussion dealing with grief and loss (remember, he says “good grief” quite frequently).  Speaking of Charlie Brown, that cartoon kid was almost perpetually stuck in grief.  Grief often involves the stages of Shock, Denial, Anger,...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Ten Tips to Surviving and Conquering the Holidays

by Kellin O’Rourke   The holiday season should be a time of joy and celebration with loved ones, but for many people it can be a time of stress, loneliness, fatigue, and unrealistic expectations. In an effort to pull off a perfect holiday, we find ourselves navigating through crowded streets and malls, spending more than we anticipate, and refereeing family gatherings. We become overwhelmed with the increased demands of shopping, baking, decorating, and parties, so you...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

The Importance of Forgiveness

By Cal Meuzelaar, LISW   Why should we forgive? Because not forgiving makes us prisoners. Bitterness, rage and anger make us captive to lives of misery. We’re only hurting ourselves. Forgiving frees us from these chains. Just as we have been forgiven, we are blessed when we forgive others.   How do we forgive? First we make the very difficult decision to forgive. We don’t deny that we’ve been hurt and wronged, but we decide we no longer want to be...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

The KISS Approach to Marriage

by Heidi Vermeer-Quist, PsyD   When conflicts arise, making a marriage work can seem incredibly difficult…even impossible.   Though emotions become intense, heated, sad, fearful, or even avoidant, don’t despair.  These are all clues that you and your spouse really care!   If you didn’t care, there would be very little emotion.  Many couples, however, don’t know how to work through those emotions...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Words Really Do Have Power

by Melissa Vander Laan, CTRS When was the last time you looked into the mirror and thought, “WOW!  I am good lookin’!?”    If you just chuckled and thought to yourself, how about never, then perhaps it’s time to talk about the power of self-talk.   The thoughts and comments you say to yourself, either out loud or quietly in your mind, really do matter.  What you say to yourself is true for you whether it is rooted in reality or...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Care For Yourself Through Me Time

By: Melissa Vander Laan, CTRS     “Me Time?  What!? Are you kidding?  Who has time for that with a three-year-old needing me every other second and a newborn baby who is interested in nursing most of the day?”   Me Time is something that is not only important for your physical health, but also for the health of your significant relationships, mental health and self-esteem.  Being a mom is a full time PLUS job.  It requires...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Recognize the warning signs for suicide

by Jen Moes, RN     September is designated to focus on prevention of a growing cause of death – Suicide.     Suicide Statistics: Alarmingly, suicide is now more common than dying in a car crash.  In the most recent statistic year, Kent County is in the top five Michigan counties for deaths by suicide with 46 deaths. Suicide is the 10 th leading cause of death in the United States, claiming over 38,000 lives in 2010. ...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Five Tips for Transitioning Healthy Summer Habits into Fall

by Kellin O’Rourke   The transition from summer to fall can get tricky. With back-to-school shopping, new school and sport schedules to balance, and shorter days in which to get it all done, it’s easy to let our summer health habits fall to the wayside. But tricky doesn’t mean impossible! Change your focus and make certain to make your and your family’s health a priority during this shift. Once you make a conscious decision to do so, it’s easy to...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

I’m Not Ready For School!

By Brett VanTol and William Rowell   “It can’t be that time again,” we say to each other. But the stores are full of notebooks, backpacks and crayons. Schools are having orientations. So once again, it’s back to school.   Our children are often especially nervous or stressed during important transition events. Going into pre-school or kindergarten and going from elementary school to middle school are two of these important transitions. The...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 1 comments

Glistening

by Heidi Vermeer-Quist, PsyD by Heidi Vermeer-Quist, PsyD by Heidi Vermeer-Quist, PsyD   I once worked with a young lady (I’ll call her Angie – not her real name) who struggled with intense perfectionism.  On the outside Angie looked like a well-adjusted, incredibly focused, and successful college graduate, but inside she was extremely anxious, riddled with worry, and constantly measuring herself up to unreasonable standards.    We...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Is Postpartum Depression Real?

by Kerrie Van Weelden, LMSW When I talk to friends, family, and patients about the kind of work I do, they have asked: “Is Postpartum Depression Real?" It is quickly followed, by questions like: “Why does it happen? Are there certain women who are prone to experience this? Can’t they just buck up?” It is important to help dispel myths. Depression or anxiety during or after pregnancy is real and is best described as a Perinatal Mood Disorder . This term...
Posted by at 4:05 PM | 1 comments

Staying Fit and Safe This Summer

The Mind-Body Connection   Both mind and body need attention and balancing for us to live healthy, well-rounded lives. Early Pine Rest staff witnessed how patients working the gardens and farm that helped supply the hospital reaped psychological benefits from their exercise. Today’s research has begun to show that people with heart disease suffer from more depression, lack of sleep can exacerbate and contribute to anxiety disorders, and lack of exercise can increase the...
Posted by at 1:51 PM | 1 comments

Mindfulness – Living in the Present Moment

by Heidi Vermeer-Quist, PsyD Mindfulness is a hot topic and tool used in psychology, spirituality and popular self-help these days.  As one who often has her mind “full” of thoughts, learning mindfulness skills and helping others to practice mindfulness is joyful work.  The goal of Mindfulness is to take hold of your mind; using your whole mind as fully as possible.  A psychologist and guru in the study of Mindfulness, Marsha Linehan, encourages us...
Posted by at 2:00 PM | 1 comments

Thought Choices: Victim or Victor Thinking?

by Heidi Vermeer-Quist, PsyD “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Proverbs 4:23 (GNT)   I am a HUGE “Keep It Super Simple” (KISS) person, so I like to boil down thought processes into two major themes: Victim Thinking and Victor Thinking.   Victim Thinking is characterized by thinking from a survival perspective.  We all go there at times.  To some degree, we have to when we are faced with a...
Posted by at 4:09 PM | 1 comments

Autism awareness leads to better options for treatment

by Carolyn King, MD   Since April is National Autism Awareness Month, it provides a great opportunity to offer some information about autism.   What autism is not. It is sometimes easier to say what autism is not . Autism is not mental retardation. It is not a serial killer. It is not contagious. Autism is not that different from our own idiosyncrasies or quirks.   What autism is. The autism spectrum of disorders is a group of developmental...
Posted by at 2:58 PM | 0 comments

“Catch, Release & Replace”- A Mental Health Methodology

by Heidi Vermeer-Quist, PsyD   When I was growing up, every summer my Grandma and Grandpa Vermeer took my cousins and I fishing up in Canada.  Looking back, it was quite a treat, though I often did not fully appreciate it at the time.  We would get up early every morning, usually before 6 a.m., which was “sleeping in” for my grandparents.  Sleepy eyed and chilled, we’d shuffle to the table for a hot fisherman’s breakfast.   During...
Posted by at 3:26 PM | 0 comments

Living with Healthy Boundaries: Watch out for the “O” zone!

by Heidi Vermeer-Quist, PsyD I grew up in the lovely little town of Pella, Iowa. People who grow up in Pella are expected to be well-put-together, responsible, hardworking, God-fearing and independent.  As a good Dutch Reformed girl, I figured I had “boundaries” down pat.  I grew up in a church and community with lots of clear rules.  I never got in trouble.  People liked me (at the least most seemed to like me).  And I genuinely loved God and...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Insomnia: Part One

by Susan Yoder, NP, RN “He never attempted to sleep on his left side, even in those dismal hours of the night when the insomniac longs for a third side after trying the two he has.”   - Vladimir Nabokov   We all have a bad night every once in a while, but It is estimated that 25% of us suffer from more persistent insomnia.  That’s 82.5 million people in the US. No wonder drug companies are making millions selling over-the-counter and...
Posted by at 4:43 PM | 0 comments

Addiction: A physician’s perspective

This column first appeared in the February 24, 2013 edition of the Grand Rapids Press By Bruce Springer, MD   What is addiction? Most health care professionals would agree that addiction is a disease.   Like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, and leukemia, it shares many disease-defining characteristics and like these, if left untreated, is often fatal. Unfortunately, addiction, whether to drugs, alcohol, or even gambling, is a relapsing...
Posted by at 1:43 PM | 0 comments

Words become Worlds

by Heidi Vermeer-Quist, PsyD I did an exercise with a depression support group a few years ago.  I encouraged participants to turn to one another and take turns asking the question, “Who are you?”   One of the ladies graciously agreed to demonstrate the “Who are you?” dialogue with me.  Instead of having her ask me first (which I should have done, so as not to put her on the spot), I asked her first, “Who are you?”  She...
Posted by at 1:29 PM | 0 comments

The Winter Blues are real; some need help to overcome them

by Tom Karel, MA, CAAC Sigh… it is that time of year once again: the after the holidays winter blues that we who live in Michigan have come to expect. For many of us, about 90 percent, we notice a mild decrease in energy and increase in lethargy that mildly interferes with our everyday functioning. However, for about 10 percent of us, the “winter blues” can become moderate to severe in its effect. The problem is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).   ...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Postpartum Depression – What About the Kids?

Part Four in a series (Originally posted on July 26, 2011) by Gretchen Johnson, MSN, RN-BC   The good news is postpartum depression (PPD) is treatable. Those who suffer from it are not bad parents. They are not monsters who will hurt or damage themselves, their child, or others. They do have an illness that can be treated. Postpartum and other perinatal mood disorders (PMD) can have serious consequences when left untreated. These consequences affect not...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Postpartum Depression – Not Just a Woman’s Illness

Part Three in a Series (Originally posted May 2, 2011) by Gretchen Johnson, BSN, RN-BC   While most people have heard of Postpartum Depression (PPD) many do not realize the size and scope of the problem. PPD impacts 15% of new mothers, making it difficult to care for their baby and causes damage to other relationships. And it doesn’t just affect women. Men can get PPD, too. In fact, recent studies have show that 10% of new dads get Postpartum...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 1 comments

Baby Blues or Something More?

Part 2 in the series on Post-Partum Depression and PMD (Originally posted April 4, 2011) by Gretchen Johnson, BSN, RN-BC   Many women can relate to the emotional roller coaster that dominates the first few weeks after a baby is born—and who wouldn’t be a mess? You’re sore, sleep deprived, in a totally new role (even if this is not your first child), your hormones are out of wack and you have little time to take care of yourself. The term...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 1 comments

What Happens When There is No Joy?

Why You Should Care About Postpartum Depression (Originally posted March 11, 2011 ) Part 1 in a Series by Gretchen Johnson, BSN, RN-BC   A happy time filled with excitement and joy – that’s what most of us envision when someone is having a baby. It’s a celebration of new life – right? The media offers us pictures of smiling (or sleeping) babies and happy, slim, confident, and well groomed mothers. We are so inundated with these images...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 1 comments

Pine Rest to open a mother and baby day program

  by Gretchen Johnson, MSN, RN-BC Pine Rest is pleased to announce the start of a new Mother and Baby Program which will open in mid-December. Only the second of its kind in the country, the program is a day program lasting on average five days.   The partial hospitalization program will treat a number of perinatal mood disorders including postnatal depression, postpartum psychosis, postpartum anxiety and perinatal depression. It provides a unique opportunity for...
Posted by at 10:34 AM | 0 comments

Coping with grief during the holidays

  By Judith A. Froedtert, LMSW, CAADC  If you have lost a loved one, you might be wondering how to cope with your grief this holiday season.   From Thanksgiving through Christmas, the rallying cry is “home for the holidays.” Holidays are special times of the year. We look forward to them, wanting to make each one special and memorable. But for those of us who are experiencing grief or the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be a time of sadness,...
Posted by at 8:40 AM | 0 comments

Aging is the leading risk factor for the onset of Alzheimer’s Dementia

  By Jack Mahdasian, MD   Bob Hope said “You know you’re getting old when the candles cost more than the cake!”   Currently there are over 40 million Americans over the age of 65. By the year 2030 that number will exceed 72 million. Of those, 5.5 - 8 million will suffer from a mental illness – which may be a conservative estimate.   This led Dan Blazer, MD, the Chair of the Institute of Medicine, whose group recently...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Change

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW Have you been contemplating a change lately? Are you thinking of taking a risk or beginning something new? Maybe you are feeling ready to learn a new skill, heal a relationship, or make a decision that you know will impact your future. Change can bring up all different kinds of emotions in us—it can be exciting and scary at the same time.     I’ve learned a lot about this lately as I’ve made some professional...
Posted by at 9:17 AM | 0 comments

SuperMom And Other Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression

  by Gretchen Johnson, MSN, RN-BC I really don’t know of any women who go into pregnancy wanting or expecting to be a bad mom. We want to do it all: have the baby, get back in shape, feel rested and refreshed, have a clean house, healthy meals for the family, start the new baby in music, swim, sign language classes, and all of this while having a great hair day.   This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but many women set very high expectations for themselves...
Posted by at 2:36 PM | 0 comments

Depression in late-life: When it is more than “just the blues”

  by Suzann Ogland-Hand, PhD Sleeping problems, sadness, forgetfulness, increased physical complaints, withdrawal from friends and typical activities are behaviors we may accept as we age – but these symptoms are not a normal part of aging. They may be symptoms of depression.   Everyone has experienced feeling “blue” or “down in the dumps.”  In fact, sadness, loss and grief are normal parts of life. But when the feelings become...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

You can recover from an addiction

  by Donna Ecklesdafer, MSN, RN The thought of recovering from an addiction can be overwhelming or seem impossible. The recovery path can seem long, scary and lonely. It may feel there are a lot of road blocks to hinder the process and the fear of failure lurks around every corner. Despite all these negative feelings, there is hope.   You can recover from an addiction. This is a powerful truth. Help is available to you and your family. There are many resources that...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 3 comments

Marijuana: friend or foe?

by Jon Weeldreyer, Limited Licensed Psychologist, CAADC As an addiction counselor since the mid 1980’s, I’ve seen many changes in how the American public views marijuana. These patients fall into two general groups:  1) those externally motivated, forced to come to counseling, and 2) those internally motivated who realize they have a problem.   Those forced into treatment, by courts, schools or family members, are usually frustrated being in my...
Posted by at 4:18 PM | 0 comments

Best of the best?

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW Olympic fever has hit! Many people I’ve been talking to are enjoying the games, watching with friends and family, and even staying up so late into the night catching the gold medal rounds that there are plenty of yawns the next day. I think that it is amazing to watch athletes who have given so much of their time to develop the talent they have. Athletes in the games exemplify commitment, dedication, and perseverance. Watching...
Posted by at 8:57 AM | 0 comments

Parenting: Talking to Your Children About the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW I was driving to an early morning meeting last week Friday when I heard on the radio, the senseless and horrid acts of violence that had happened in Colorado just hours earlier. I immediately called my brother, who lives in Denver, hoping that neither he nor any of his loved ones were involved in what has now been called the largest mass shooting in American history. Thankfully, he was not involved and was not personally connected with anyone who...
Posted by at 10:03 AM | 1 comments

Students Need Structure During The Summer Months

By David S. Jangda, MA   Summer break from school can be a very healthy and well deserved break for students and their parents, but is it really? I will explore some of the realities of children having extended time off from school during the summer months and give some ideas of how to provide structure during this period that can help maintain some consistency in their lives and yours.   During the school year children develop a natural routine that forms...
Posted by colleen.cullison@pinerest.org at 9:58 AM | 1 comments

Feeling Flooded?

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW This morning I was irritable…I was frustrated...and trying not to let my three little ones on to the fact that I needed space but couldn’t get it. Summer is here and I’ve adjusted my work schedule so that I can enjoy the mornings with my three, six, and seven year old. This morning was just difficult getting from point A to point B—I’m sure many of you can relate to this reality, especially now that school is out....
Posted by at 8:53 AM | 0 comments

Children and Emotions

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW “I told him there was nothing to be scared of” says a mom regarding her 5 year old son who’s scared of the dark.   “You don’t need to be embarrassed, just say what you are thinking!” says a father to his 12 year old daughter who is talking to him about a recent encounter with a boy.   “My 7 year old is so angry lately, how do I make it stop?”   a recently...
Posted by at 1:50 PM | 0 comments

Autism is a biological or medical disorder; it’s not caused by bad parenting

  by Rebecca Barcy, PhD, NCSP April is National Autism Awareness month. People are more aware of this disorder today than just five years ago due to increased media coverage and personal experience. Many readers will know an individual with this diagnosis – perhaps in their own family, in their friendship circle, in their child’s classroom.   The most recent prevalence estimate of Autism Spectrum Disorder, referred to as ASD, released by the Centers for...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Parenting Toddlers: A Resource List

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW Many of you know that I have three young children. My youngest is  a toddler—he’ll be three in June. So, I, like many of you, am in the thick of parenting in this stage. Time outs and tantrums are frequent. “Me do it” is an overly used phrase in his vocabulary right now. And “me do it” does not mean “I’ll take it from here, Mom.” A more accurate interpretation is “I’ll reverse...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Rest

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW My family and I are getting ready to pack up later this week and head out of Grand Rapids…we’re headed to Tennessee! It fit our list of Spring Break standards—at least 70 degrees average temp, drivable with our young children in tow, and a place where outdoor recreation is readily available. The little ones are excited too—my five year old is telling us that the first thing she’s going to do in Tennessee is...
Posted by at 9:25 AM | 1 comments

Alive

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW Isn’t this weather amazing? I’m hoping that all of you have gotten a chance to step outside lately and feel the sun on your faces, or open some windows in your home and smell the sweet breeze of spring. It’s always a lovely time of year in West Michigan when signs of life emerge again after the winter—this year it just seems to be coming a little early (not that anyone is complaining!)   One thing I notice when...
Posted by at 2:00 PM | 0 comments

The quest for perfection

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW Even the title of this blog might make you feel uncomfortable. Maybe you know this is something you struggle with—always striving, trying to prove, reaching for that next rung in the ladder of your own or others goals and expectations for you. If you are someone who is prone to anxiety—whether it be due to your genetics, your personality type, or life circumstances—it can be even more of a struggle. The truth is, this quest is...
Posted by at 1:42 PM | 0 comments

Bullying: Equipping children to respond

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW Most of us are familiar with bullying in one way or another—maybe you were made fun of as a child and those memories come to mind when you hear about mean things said to your own child at school. Perhaps you are a teacher and wonder how and when to intervene with student behavior. Or, maybe an important child in your life is struggling with not wanting to go to school because of what they fear they will face. It is clear that...
Posted by at 9:28 AM | 0 comments

The challenge of resolutions

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW   How are your resolutions coming along? Even though we’re still hanging on to January, it can be difficult to maintain momentum at this point in the year. The routine has started again, the stresses have returned. Winter has now arrived, so we often end up just wanting to do what is comfortable and familiar.   I’m sure many of you have set goals about improving fitness and exercising more frequently. Perhaps your...
Posted by at 11:15 AM | 0 comments

Recovery From Addiction; A Process Of Progress Not An Event

  By Larry VanderPlaats, LMSW, CAAC Addiction is a disease. Recovery is a process of spiritual and emotional growth that begins with acquiring abstinence and regaining physical health. It continues with rebuilding a life of mutually trusting relationships with family, friends and community.   Recovery always begins with some form of crisis or an accumulation of crises that eventually collapses our denial system. This brings us to the admission that we have become...
Posted by at 1:39 PM | 0 comments

New Year, New You?

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW 2012 has arrived—can you believe it? For most, the parties are over, the gifts unwrapped, school has begun. I’m enjoying hearing my clients reflect on the past year —listening to them share how they are growing and how they are working to overcome the obstacles they face in their lives.  Being a goal setter myself, I look forward to carving out new ways to focus my time and energy this year. A lot of the goals that...
Posted by at 11:28 AM | 0 comments

Find the source of your joy this season

  By Mark Eastburg, PhD Everywhere you look during the holidays – the malls, your neighbors’ yard, television, your mailbox – a word jumps out: Joy.   This is the season of joy, we’re told. But do you experience a solid rush of Joy from Black Friday through Christmas day?  Most of us don’t. In fact, ask around and you’ll hear things like “I’m just so busy during the holidays.”  Or, “the last few...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 1 comments

An Opportunity This Season!

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW Around this time of year, I hear a lot of “gimmies.” At home, I see my children creating their Christmas wish lists, thinking of the toys and games that they want so badly. In the office, I hear about families figuring out how they will get through this season without breaking the bank, or the stress of all the parties and entertaining, or the challenges dealing with children who don’t seem to be satisfied with any gift, always...
Posted by at 11:40 AM | 0 comments

Electroconvulsive Therapy Can Be A Lifeline In Treating Major Depression

  by Donna Ecklesdafer, MSN, RN   When you think about a defibrillator, most people think about an up to the date, state of the art and life saving treatment. When you think about Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), do you think about the 1940’s and the movie “ One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” ? The stigma of mental illness and ECT is still prevalent.   ECT is a safe and effective treatment in treating the debilitating symptoms of major...
Posted by at 8:24 AM | 3 comments

An Attitude of Gratitude

  By Michael Reiffer, LMSW On a recent family vacation to Tennessee, my three boys, ages 5, 3.5, and 1.5 had a few bouts of complaining and fussing. Since we were on vacation, my wife and I decided to pilot a new family policy: Anyone, including adults, who complains is to then list five things for which they are thankful. Not only did it really curb the whining, but we were blown away with some of the precious comments. “I love my brothers.” “I am thankful...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 1 comments

Happy Thanksgiving

  by Kristin Kuiper, MSW, LMSW Thanksgiving week is upon is—many travel plans, feasts to savor, some time off from work to enjoy—these are all good things! I am wondering what comes up for you when you think about spending time with family this Thanksgiving —happiness and excitement? Anxiety and dread? Somewhere in between ? For many, spending time with family brings to the surface the realities of the challenges relationships can face . I know that this...
Posted by at 1:19 PM | 0 comments

What is Anxiety?

  by Kristin Kuiper, LMSW, MSW When is the last time you have felt worried? When you sent your child off to their first sleepover? When your teen took the car out for the first time last week when it was raining? When you think about your work week and the presentation coming up? When you contemplate the failing health of your parent? Worry is a pretty common emotion for all of us. It is part of the full range of emotions that experience because we are human. But, for some,...
Posted by at 3:51 PM | 0 comments

Halloween and Family Connection

  by Kristin Kuiper, LMSW, MSW Halloween is right around the corner! My hope is that you are planning for this weekend, keeping in mind how to keep your children, friends, and family having a fun but safe time. Are you heading out doors to trick or treat? Attending a “fall harvest” party at your church? Going to school or neighborhood events? There is no shortage of fall fun in West Michigan—a delightful season for sure! In my household, we have a princess, a...
Posted by at 9:25 AM | 0 comments

Early dementia detection is crucial to treatment

  by Scott Halstead, Ph.D. Everyone knows that we become forgetful as we grow older, right?  Wrong.  Memory problems are not a normal part of aging, but it isn’t always easy to know the difference between normal changes that affect us as we grow older and more serious symptoms that might be the sign of real memory problems that we normally associate with dementia.   Dementia is the descriptive term for any medical condition that causes memory...
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

Pine Rest Research Adds To The Body Of Scientific Knowledge

  by Eric Achtyes, M.D. For years Pine Rest has been a cornerstone in our community for patient care and educating students and trainees about psychiatric illnesses. We have a wealth of experience and expertise in these areas. By involving ourselves in research, we are not only aiming to provide the best evidence based care available, but we are discovering and defining the best practices of tomorrow.   There is also an ethical imperative to participate in research....
Posted by at 12:00 AM | 0 comments

The person with dementia – What’s behind the behavior?

  by Susan Koons, MSN, RN, CNL Behavior has meaning. When a baby becomes irritable and cries, we wonder - is he hungry, cold, tired or in pain? If we knew the cause of the behavior, perhaps we could soothe the irritability. As a child grows, we’re relieved when he is able to tell us the reason behind the tears.   For the caregiver of the adult with a progressive dementia, when challenging behaviors surface, the caregiver is often faced with a similar set of...
Posted by at 3:32 PM | 1 comments

Bullying - What’s a Parent to Do?

  by Rebecca Barcy, PhD, NCSP As I meet with parents and children, a common concern that is often raised is how to handle bullying behaviors in the neighborhood or school. Both parents and children relate worries about how to respond when they or someone they care about are the targets of aggressive behavior or intimidating threats.   Bullying behaviors range from physical violence to more subtle, yet equally destructive, patterns of verbal or social cruelty. You...
Posted by at 3:57 PM | 0 comments

This Week, Become Aware!

  by Kristin Kuiper, LMSW, MSW Do you or someone you know:   Struggle with depression and have difficulty feeling like you can experience joy Have ADHD that makes school really difficult Have relationship challenges due to bipolar disorder Drink too much and your family is concerned Have a hard time keeping a job because of anxiety Have panic attacks that have affected your ability to work toward your goals   These are just a couple...
Posted by at 1:11 PM | 0 comments

Code of Secrecy

  by Kristin Kuiper, LMSW, MSW I talked about secrets in my last blog and received a specific question about how to address the issue of secrets with teenagers. What is a parent to do when it is discovered that your teen, or a teen you know, is keeping a secret about the behavior of a friend or peer from you? How do you get your teen or your tween to share this information with you? This is such a tough call—to report what is going on to someone who can be helpful (think...
Posted by at 9:02 AM | 0 comments

Secrets

  by Kristin Kuiper, LMSW, MSW One of my children is in the stage where secret keeping is fun. “Tell me a secret, Mom!” is something she tells me often, and most frequently in order to help her feel like she has a one up on her sister (I think!). Secrets can be fun—anticipating sharing something special can be exciting. I remember when my husband and I held the secret that we were pregnant—it was so wonderful to watch the reactions on our family and...
Posted by at 11:08 AM | 0 comments

9.11.11: Responding to Children’s Questions

  (Editor's Note:  K