A Change in Direction…


Hello!  It’s been awhile since I’ve been on here.  Scott and I have made some pretty big decisions in our lives and our business.  We have decided to move to Colorado and relocate our family.  Holy Buckets!!  Totally an exciting, scary, anxiety-provoking time.

Scott and I are raising these two fabulous kiddos and decided that we want to live closer to our families (who are in Missouri, Colorado, and Wyoming) and we want to raise our kids in a small, mountain community.  We decided to take this major step so that we can achieve our personal parenting goals!

That said, we are leaving a wonderful professional community.  Our timeline is still in the air, but we will be moving by August as our daughter starts Kindergarten.  The families and professionals in Billings, Montana have opened their hearts and lives to our vision at Head Quarters for Heart Change.  We have had a wonderful run in our private practice.  We have met amazing clients and worked with outstanding professionals.  I am pleased to say that the therapists who have currently been working with us will continue to stay in Billings as private practitioners.  As our details become more cemented, we will let you know how to get a hold of everyone and continue to stay in contact with the therapists in your life.

As for me and my professional journey, I’m moving into another realm.  I believe in the power of the message we have developed here at HQ4HC. I have learned so much from my clients and my continuing education.  These lessons are going to be part of my next bigger message:  Be What’s Right…In a World Where Too Many Focus Too Much on What’s Wrong.

Yep, I’m going to focus on healing our heads, hearts, and bodies so that we can be healthy role models for our children, our future!

My goal is to get this message out to a million people in the next year.  Stay tuned for amazing things to come!

Thank you for your continued support and desire to Change Our World!

Published in: on March 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm  Comments (2)  

Family, Family, Family

I just got back from a great weekend with my mother, my two kiddos, and my dear grandparents!  What fun to have 4 generations of people in the same space at the same time.  Yes, very different life stages, yet, all needing the same things.  My dear grandmother has Alzheimer’s and my dear grandfather has blood Cancer.  My mother just had surgery and I’m in the stage of constant exhaustion from raising my two fabulous toddlers who are just going a mile a minute. This weekend was an opportunity for all of us to find rejuvenation in each other.

All of this was put into perspective when my 4 year old Stella looked my 83 year old grandfather straight in the eye and said, “Are you getting ready to go to Heaven Pops?”  Talk about a moment of clarity!  Spiritual or not, when a 4 year old talks about dying to an 83 year old, there is a moment when the world just stops!  She put things into perspective for me and reminded me that I was right where I needed to be in that moment.  By the way, my grandfather didn’t respond.  He just looked at her and smiled.

As I reflect on this weekend, I count my blessings and am reminded of how many of the children and families I work with who do not have those long roots reaching out across the generations.  These children and families need the opportunity to have new seeds planted that will grow into deep roots.  An opportunity to create “family” is priceless.  Keep in mind, you may just be the seed needed to help create these roots!

Be in the moment, enjoying right where you are, never thinking about the future and letting go of the past!

Published in: on October 31, 2011 at 3:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Taxes and Politics…

I normally don’t weigh in on taxes and politics.  However, I had the opportunity and pleasure in listening to a speaker this evening about the proposal for a new public library in our community.  It got me thinking about how many of us are so unaware of what is occurring in our community.

How many politicians are aware of the number of children who are homeless in our community?

What about the amount of domestic violence witnessed by children each year?

Has anyone thought about the amount of money spent on programs for adolescents versus the amount of money spent on early childhood education?

Are people aware of the difference between prevention versus intervention?

There really must be a shift in our communities…SOON!  Many of the problems we face in our teenage and adult population are preventable…IF we shift our resources and focus on prevention and educating families and children EARLY in their lives as opposed to later when their problems are complex and multi-generational.

ADVOCATE for what is needed!  EDUCATE yourself and others in your community about prevention!  TALK to your local politicians to get things changed on the local end first!

Published in: on October 10, 2011 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spanish versus German

I find myself constantly talking about communication in my office…what’s your voice tone?  What’s your body language saying?  How are you delivering your message?  What is your child trying to say through his behavior?  What are you trying to say through your behavior?  There is a constant discussion about communication.

Yet, in my own life, I continue to make some of the same mistakes over and over!  I told my husband the other day…”I think that when you talk I think I’m hearing Spanish.  Then, when I talk, I think you are hearing German.  When we obviously see the other person not understanding, we then repeat our words over and over trying to help them understand.  But, it never works and we get all frustrated with each other!”  Ugh!  It’s important to note here that Scott and I have been married for 13 years and I believe that the times that we speak different languages is fewer (thank God), but still occurs!

So, how does that apply to children, families, and other relationships?  Imagine trying to learn to communicate with someone who speaks a totally different language?  Perhaps a foster parent who is raising a foster child.  Or, a step parent learning how to raise a step child.  Or, a recovering drug addicted parent now parenting their teenage daughter through the eyes of recovery.  Hello, confusion!

What are our choices?  Do we continue to say the same thing over and over, hoping that the other person will understand our language?  Or, do we learn to speak their language? Perhaps we are speaking a language of love and the child is speaking a language of fear…

I think the best solution is for the ADULT to LEARN A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE!!  The parent must learn how to connect with the foster child.  The parent must learn how to view the world through the child who is struggling with trust, connection, attachment, and love issues.  It is the adult’s responsibility to shift, not the child’s.  The child cannot do it. Seek an interpreter if you must…let people help you understand the child’s journey!

So, the next time you are caught in the miscommunication loop, think about what language you are speaking and learn to speak in the language of the other person!

Published in: on October 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cleaning out the Closet

I’ve been embarking on my own therapeutic journey for the last few months.  As my therapist says, “we are cleaning out the closet.”  I’ve become a pretty firm believer that, as a therapist, I should never take any of my clients to places that I, myself, am not willing to go.  So, although I may not have some of the experiences that my clients have, I do have my own baggage.  When I learn new therapeutic interventions or I’m sitting with a complete stranger in my office listening to them tell their story, I know that I need to be able to understand what that experience is like.

About three years ago, my youngest sister asked me if I had ever heard of EMDR.  I said, “Yes, I just haven’t had the training yet.”  She ever-so-matter-of-factly informed me that if I was doing therapy without doing EMDR I was a “bad” therapist.  Now, keep in mind, my sister has a profession in law enforcement and is not one of those touchy-feely types.  So, the fact that she was advocating for therapy made me at least interested in pursuing this integrative therapy.

Fast forward two years…my sister has now decided to go to graduate school to become a licensed therapist who works with law enforcement.  All because her experience with EMDR had been so powerful.  She calls me up and tells me she’s doing the training and invites me to attend with her.  I think about it for about 2 seconds and recruit some other therapists in our office to attend as well.  We go through two intensive weekends and immerse ourselves in the world of EMDR, meanwhile talking with clients about using EMDR in their own therapeutic work.  Soon, I become a believer and embark on my own journey.

So, what is EMDR?  According to http://www.emdr.com, “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a comprehensive, integrative psychotherapy approach. It contains elements of many effective psychotherapies in structured protocols that are designed to maximize treatment effects. These include psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, experiential, and body-centered therapies.”

In layman’s terms, EMDR is another route to help heal the brain and heart.  I’ve been using it in my practice for over a year now and been doing my own work for about 4 months.  I’ve seen changes in my clients that are unbelievable.  They have been able to move forward with their lives and not stay “stuck in the past.”  Through cleaning out their closets, I have seen many clients start to be present, in the moment, with their own lives.  In my own journey, I’m letting go of things that used to hang me up and enjoying my life more!  I’m tuned into my kids and loving the relationship I have with my husband.

I also have a DEEP compassion and love for how brave my clients are.  No one really wants to tackle “their past.”  Yet, these clients come in day after day to clean their closets and tackle tough issues.

Here’s to cleaning out your closet…you are a brave soul!


Published in: on September 30, 2011 at 9:39 am  Comments (1)  

Tolerance versus Acceptance

WARNING:  I will be ranting today!  I have some major energy in the above topic.  So, if you are easily offended or sensitive, please stop reading now and return for a later blog!

That said, let’s chat about tolerance versus acceptance.  I see the word “tolerance” everywhere…teach kids tolerance, we need to tolerate others, human resources departments that have tolerance policies…ugh!  This drives me crazy.  The reality is that tolerance is much different and less positive than acceptance!  I don’t want someone to “tolerate” me, I’d like them to “accept” me…for who I am…even if I am different than they are. Telling a child you tolerate them has a much different energy and tone than telling that same child that you accept them.

Dictionary.com’s definition of tolerance is “a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.”

Whereas Dictionary.com’s definition of acceptance is “the act of taking or receiving something offered or favorable reception; approval; favor.”

As my husband and I raise our kids and as I sit with families who are raising children a bit “out of the range of normal development,” I observe how tolerance and acceptance play out very differently.  A parent may tolerate a child’s bad mood for a couple hours.  A teacher may tolerate a teenager dying her hair or wearing his pants too baggy.  I will be “free from bigotry” and not say anything negative about your differences.  Yet, I may not totally accept you for who you are.

What about just being accepting?  Forget the tolerance piece.  Think about the following words…”I tolerate you” or “I accept you.”  Which phrase gives you warm fuzzies?  Which one makes your heart feel warm?  For me, the answer is “I accept you.”

I accept you knowing that you are different from me.  I accept our differences and will embrace those differences so that my life will be more enriched knowing someone different than me.

I accept you just as you are…whether you have a mental illness or your sexual orientation is different than me or you have blue eyes or our political views are different or you are a different religion. I accept you.

I accept you because we connect on an emotional level, even though our life experiences are no where near similar.  I accept you because we have mutual respect for each other and because you accept me.

Thank you for accepting me.  I need that in my life.  This world is tough enough to get through.  I need people in my life who will accept me.  Through your acceptance, I feel your love.  By the way, acceptance doesn’t mean that you agree with me or the choices I make.  It merely means that you will accept me through my choices and let me deal with the outcomes.

Thank you for accepting me!

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 9:43 am  Comments (1)  

School’s Out for Summer

I cannot believe that it’s been over a month since I’ve written a blog…so sorry for the delay!  As you can tell, the end of the school year is always a combination of excitement and dread!  There are so many things to get accomplished before school lets out of the summer.  Teachers are busy squeezing in every last ounce of academics that they can.  Parents are busy getting prepared for the extend break and deciding what to do with the kids for the summer.  Kids are working, some hard and some not so hard, at getting work completed at school so that they can be “free.”  Then, summer hits!  Whew…May flies by and summer rolls in and then what?  For many, both kids and parents, summer is filled with anxiety and stress.  The lack of structure, change in predictability, and ample free time can leave kids and parents feeling stressed to the max without the ability to enjoy the gift of more time together.

Here are a few tips to survive the summer:

1.  Make a plan.  A daily plan will help kids to know what to expect for the day.  A weekly plan can be even better.

2.  Let kids have some input.  Giving them a voice of goals or things they want to do over the summer will help them be more involved and motivated to help out doing the things they do not always enjoy.

3.  Stay in the moment.  Usually, being in the present is not a crisis.  The crisis comes when we worry about the future or think about what happened in the past.  Stay in the moment with your children…you will enjoy them much more and they will realize you are not stressed and enjoy you.

4.  Have fun every day!  Find fun, make time for fun, and include fun as much as possible.  Make the best of each day.

Enjoy your summer!

Published in: on June 8, 2011 at 11:36 am  Leave a Comment  

The Power of a Mother

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, I cannot help but reflect on the special relationship between a mom and daughter.  A relationship that is intense, enduring, emotional, and rewarding.  I have a colleague who once told me, “Stacy, sometimes therapy is about being whatever clients need you to be when they walk into your office…maybe it’s an ear to listen or someone to lay out the truth, perhaps it’s being a mother or a friend to the client, someone they may never have had in their own life.”  I take that suggestion very seriously and see how it plays out each day.  Many of our clients have had a connection to their own mothers in a way that is unhealthy or unloving.  For these clients, I try to emulate what a healthy mother might be-someone who gives them encouragement or nurturing, someone who will comfort them in their pain, someone who will celebrate in their success.  As you reflect on Mother’s day and your own connection to “mother,” I encourage you to reach out to your own mother in a loving way.  Or, just be the mother that you have always wanted to be to your own children!  Act from a place of love, the rest will fall in line.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Published in: on May 4, 2011 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Do you ever wonder…

Do you ever wonder what the bigger plan is for your life?  That question was brewing in my soul this last week and I’ve had some clear answers set in front of me!  I had the opportunity to sit with a parent today and listen to her journey of raising a child with a severe mental illness.  As I listened to her speak, I couldn’t help but feel the strength that exudes her as a mom.  For a period of time there were so many people who were non-believers, people who thought her parenting was bad or that she was making up the stuff that was happening on a daily basis.  I’m here to tell you, a parent of a mentally ill child cannot make up the stuff that occurs!!  I also had the opportunity to see a major turn around in another young lady who finally got the correct medication combination and is now exploring the world with curiosity instead of paranoia.  Yay!!  Though those two stories are successes, there have been some bumps this last week.  I must say, as I sat with a kiddo who is near homelessness because of a sick caregiver, I again felt like I was right where God had intended me to be.  To hold all that emotion with a young person really is a privilege, even if it’s painful.  That’s just it, painful feelings lead to vulnerability and to be in that vulnerability with others is something I hold close to my heart.  Everyday, millions of people are walking this world with stories that won’t be heard.  For those few people who share with me, I am honored.  Thank you for letting me be a part of the journey!!  Each of my clients helps me understand My Bigger Plan!

Published in: on May 3, 2011 at 3:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Easter Bunny, Santa, and the Tooth Fairy

As I celebrated Easter with my family this weekend, I pondered all of the “make believe” personas in our lives.  I believe that many of these make believe personalities are important for childhood development.  When we look at normal childhood development, we recognize that pretend and make believe is important and necessary for children to understand how their world works.  Children pretend and re-create much of what occurs in their world as a way of processing what is occurring within their experience.  Being in a relationship with others, is the crucial piece of development as the children continue to pretend and make believe.

Take the Easter Bunny, for instance.  During an Easter Egg hunt, we watch children fascinated by the hunt, the wonder in their eyes when they “find” and egg and the excitement when they open it to see what is inside.  The actual prize inside can be as simple as a little sticker.  That’s really not the point, it’s the entire process that occurs in the seeking and finding.  We see them share the adventure with others and we, as adults, watch in delight as our children show faces of pure joy.

Santa has become a big topic in our household.  Whenever we go to the store, our children ask for something or express a “want.”  We say, “Put it on your list.”  And, they make believe they are writing to Santa right in that moment and telling him what they want.  Now, that doesn’t mean that they get everything they want.  They merely get the option of expressing everything they want.  This is of major importance!  How many adults struggle with expressing what they need or want?  This skill is developed early on in life.  Besides, what’s the harm in letting our children believe in Santa?  Children need lots of love and attention.  The idea that Santa would be working year round to create the gifts for our children that they have shared they want is a pretty harmless idea!

Then, there’s the tooth fairy…losing a tooth is a big deal!  It is a developmental milestone and celebrating this milestone is important also. I know that when someone I love shares in my accomplishments with me, I only feel more loved and the accomplishment has more value.  Children feel the same way.

A major development that occurs with the Easter Bunny, Santa, and the Tooth Fairy is that traditions or rituals are being developed.  As children get older, they will have memories formed of these experiences.  They will reflect and say, “When I was little…” and go on to tell others what their memories are of the Easter Bunny, Santa, and the Tooth Fairy.  What do you want their memories to be?  How do you want them to reflect on their growing up years?  Take these opportunities to create happy memories for yourself and your children.  The more you are in a relationship with them, the better your relationship will be!

Published in: on April 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm  Leave a Comment