Post Author: Kerry Waller Dueholm
“It’s part chemistry, part magic, part artistry,” I tell my four year old loftily. He nods like he cares, as we plunge the stick blender into the bowl of water, lye, and oils. Carefully, we readjust our safety goggles as the mixture emulsifies, beginning to turn into soap. This is the second batch we’ve made today, the fifth this week. It’s much more than we need (though I do sell about two-thirds of what I make), and I can tell I’ve hit my threshold for stress when I deep dive into crafting. One summer in high school I made fifteen pairs of shorts in two weeks when my boyfriend was out of town. Moody teenager in my household always translated into new craft projects.
My professional work these days is as a pastoral counselor. I absolutely love working full-time in a group non-profit counseling center. I have a diverse client base, and I specialize in counseling children and helping people who have survived trauma. It’s interesting, and each day has something new in store for me to learn, experience, or help someone process.
But being the holding vessel for people’s hardships also takes its toll. I have a long history of eating my feelings, and have to be careful not to eat my clients’ feelings, too. Crafting helps with that, which is why I sew, knit, and make soap from scratch. Sometimes when I guest preach, I even manage to work a few crafting references or stories into the sermon.
Crafting shows up in many Bible stories, though for most of those folks, it was less a hobby and more a survival skill. Yet even so, there’s still a beauty to crafting for survival: people have always wanted to create things that are beautiful and useful. Beautiful and useful is what I’m aiming for with the soap.
If you’re going to be successful at making soap from scratch, there are a few important terms you must remember. They all relate to the fragrance or essential oils that are part of the soaping process. The terms are: performs normally, accelerates trace, and will discolor.
“Will discolor” means that the fragrance oil contains a chemical named vanillin. This will make the soap smell delicious, and also turn the soap brown. The depth of brown is related to the percentage of vanillin in the fragrance oil. The soap will likely emerge from the mold in a state of off-whiteness, but gets much darker over time. If you’ve planned a non-brown color for your soap, you need a different plan when your fragrance oil has a lot of vanillin. Or you can embrace the process, and plan for brown colored soap.
“Accelerates trace” means that the soap will emulsify at a much faster rate than normal. New soapmakers often see this as a liability, but one may also plan ahead for this process which can result in the soap’s taking on interesting shapes. The problem is, if things do not go as planned, the soap may instead seize in the bowl, and the soapmaker will be left with a gloppy mess. My very favorite fragrance oil accelerates trace, but if I am flexible enough to roll with the acceleration, amazing soap designs emerge. What can seem like a design flaw is often a plus, given the right situation.
“Performs normally” is what happens with a majority of fragrance oils. This is where life is like soap making: most people want things to perform normally. But in ministry, we’re often focused on the exceptions, the times when things don’t go according to plan. My husband, who is also a pastor, and I joke that if people performed normally all the time, neither of us would have a job.
Soapmaking reminds me of life in general, and ministry specifically: part chemistry, part magic, and part artistry. We can accelerate when things are good and build on success. We can change the way something looks or works–or reframe unpredictable results as part of the beauty of the process. But most of the time, things will truck along just fine. Sometimes, putting the right things (or people) together in the right time can create magic, artistry, and something useful. There have been many times in ministry when I have felt like things were not going to work out, but all of a sudden things did in a way that had very little to do with me, and everything to do with the Spirit. Being able to trust that God will take the right pieces and turn them into the right thing has shown me many things that are beautiful and useful.
There are lots of times when I don’t feel like I’m good enough, or doing enough to bring about God’s peaceable kingdom. But then I can be reminded that life, like soapmaking, doesn’t always turn out the right way the first time, and can take a long time to cure, and be ready for the next step. Soap takes four weeks to be safe to use when made the way I make it. Ministry and understanding our part in God’s plan can certainly take much longer.
When I make soap, I remember that beauty and utility are the result of a process. I myself am crafted by one far greater than me, one who wants me to be a well and whole person. And I am beautiful and useful, not only because I’m productive, but also because I’m crafted by God.
By J. Scott Campbell, ACSW, LCSW, Clinical Director
At Samaritan we provide both evidence-based as well as faith-based approaches (when indicated) in treating a wide variety of mental health concerns. We believe in “The 3 H’s” – the instilling and offering of HOPE, the providing of HELP – helping people help themselves through our professional services, and the encouragement of HEALING as people find solutions to life’s challenges and move onto a path of Recovery and a life of health and happiness.
Often it is so hard for people to take that “first step” and make that “first call”. Many of us have a hard time admitting the need for help, though all of us know of someone in our family, in our neighborhood, our church or our workplace who have struggled with depression, stress, anxiety, challenges within a marriage or with a child, or with alcohol or substance abuse. One out of every 4 or 5 of us will experience some type of mental health issue in our lifetime, yet seeking help is still a difficult and often scary thing to consider. The stigma of seeking mental health care and acknowledging that an issue may be present is often so difficult to overcome. We worry about the effect that this may have on our job, on our marriage, on our friendships, etc. and therefore often try to “tough it out” or “get through it” ourselves. Much has been written and spoken about Stigma recently and there have been many campaigns to bring mental health issues to the forefront and “out of the back room”. Such campaigns as “Say It Out Loud” encourage becoming more open about the behavioral health issues that we all face
without fear of shame or other repercussions. Much has been learned about the importance of treating
a behavioral health issue the same way we would seek treatment for diabetes or high blood pressure and more and more the approach of integrating primary care medical treatment with behavioral health treatment is considered the preferred approach as research has shown us how the long term effects of a serious mental health problem can negatively affect our physical health and life expectancy.
At Samaritan, we believe in utilizing “People First Language”, recognizing that a mental health problem that a person may be experiencing, does not have to define them as a person. It is an issue or an illness that they are dealing with, but it does not have to define them as a human being. Someone may be experiencing depression or may be struggling with bipolar disorder, but that does not make them that diagnosis as their entire being or identity. We work diligently with the person to identify Strengths in their life that can be built upon and expanded as they move into their “Journey of Recovery” from depression, anxiety or whatever issues have been challenging them in their lives.
Spirituality can also play an important part in someone’s recovery from a mental health issue. Just as the instilling and offering of HOPE plays an important first step in the process, the encouraging and exploring of someone’s Spirituality may also play an important part as they move forward in facing and dealing with life’s issues and finding solutions to their challenges.
Executive Director, Samaritan Counseling Center of the Northwest Suburbs
Holidays are some of the hardest times for those who have lost loved ones recently or who live alone, or who feel outside of the hustle and bustle of holiday parties and religious celebrations. People who have suffered from depression or are struggling with grief often find that Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years are especially difficult times. Trying to put on a happy face gets old fast and if you work or go to any store it’s impossible to avoid the seasonal soundtracks and decorations assaulting the senses. Are you a Scrooge to want to hide until January 2nd? No, not at all. You’re smart to recognize your limits. Here are some ways to cope with the holiday blues.
1. Share your struggle with someone you trust who won’t judge and is a good listener. It could be a friend, family member, clergy or counselor, as long as you feel safe, supported and heard.
2. If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, the memories of the past are both a blessing (because of the love that created them) and a burden (because of the pain missing him/her causes.) Recognizing that the depth of your pain today is equal to the height your joy can remind you of the joy and love that was yours, even though the loss is so great. Gratitude and grief often comingle.
3. Go to a support group in your place of worship, hospital, counseling center or mental health clinic. Also, more and more churches are recognizing that not all of their congregation is in the mood for Advent excitement and Christmas celebrations, and have a Blue Christmas service that can be very healing and supportive.
4. Get outside on a sunny day. Walk, bike, swim (if you’re fortunate enough to live where it’s warm) and let the sun shine on you. Exercise, especially in nature, is a proven antidote to depression and the vitamin D from the sun is also good for your mood.
5. Meditate. This is different from praying, which typically involves talking to God/Allah/Spirit. Praying is a great thing to do (I highly recommend it) but meditating is even better for depression. It is a discipline of quieting the mind, body and soul and being a listener of the silence, that in my opinion is truly the voice of God. Meditation is a proven therapy for anxiety, depression, PTSD and other mental and emotional issues. Download the app Simply Being, Calm or Headspace or other meditation apps and start to connect with a deep peace.
6. Volunteer. There’s something magical about doing something good for someone else when all you want to do is sit at home and cry. I’m not sure how it works – must be some kind of spiritual wiring God put in us to give us beauty for ashes, and joy for mourning (Isaiah 61:3)
If you find yourself unable to function and too deep in despair to even consider any of these options, please reach out to your clergy, counselor, doctor or call 911. You are not alone, and this, too shall pass. In the dark of winter it is hard to imagine the tender blooms of spring, but they will come and you will bloom again, too.
To schedule a counseling appointment, call 847-382-HOPE (4673) extension 316
Samaritan Counseling Center of the Northwest Suburbs Hosts
“Summer Soiree” Fundraiser at Barrington’s White House
Inspires Hope, Help and Healing for Mental Illness
BARRINGTON, Ill., May 19, 2016 – The Samaritan Counseling Center of the Northwest suburbs is hosting a “Summer Soiree” fundraiser to inspire hope, help and healing for those suffering from mental illness. The fundraiser will be held at Barrington’s White House on Saturday, June 11, 2016 from 6-10 p.m.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.
— 43.8 million — experience mental illness in a given year. Nearly 20 percent of youth aged
13–18 experience a severe mental disorder at some point in their teen years. Whether struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, divorce, or everyday stress, mental illness can affect anyone.
“It is our mission to offer hope, help and healing to all who need it,” said Jon Stickney, president of Barrington Bank & Trust and Samaritan Counseling Center Board member. “We have always strived to ensure that no one who calls Samaritan is turned away, which means we must raise enough funds through grants and contributions to cover $100,000 of charity care we provide on an annual basis.”
As a non-profit organization, Samaritan helps individuals, couples, children and families achieve emotional, mental and spiritual well-being through psychotherapy, psychiatry, behavior modification, mediation and educational programs. Clients range in age from
3–98 and are helped by thirteen licensed, seasoned and compassionate counseling providers.
“The fundraising goal for this year’s event has increased because the need for mental health services is greater than ever and it should be accessible to people of all ages and incomes,” said David F. Nelson, Cuba Township Supervisor and Samaritan Counseling Center Board member. “We need to help heal our local community and an event like this brings funding, as well as increased awareness, for mental health services. We are very grateful for the sponsors who have already committed to our cause.”
Marquee sponsors of the Samaritan “Summer Soiree” include Barrington Bank & Trust,
Wintrust Mortgage, Wickstrom Auto Group and McHenry Savings Bank.
Tickets for Samaritan’s Summer Soiree are on sale now at www.SCCNW.US for $125.00. Local businesses, families or individuals who are interested in sponsorship opportunities or in donating auction items can contact the co-chairs listed below. You can also keep apprised of Samaritan activities and “Summer Soiree” updates on the organization’s Facebook page.
Summer Soiree Co-Chairs:
Heidi Seagren firstname.lastname@example.org
About Samaritan Counseling Center of the Northwest Suburbs
The mission of inspiring hope, help and healing through professional counseling and
psychiatry has motivated Samaritan Counseling Center to serve over 3,000 clients since
- Many of our clients struggle with depression, grief, anxiety, compulsions, trauma,
suicidal thoughts or the ongoing challenge of bi-polar disorder, paranoia, psychosis or other brain illnesses. We also counsel couples struggling with their marriage, parents needing effective parenting skills or youth dealing with the many challenges of growing up in today’s world. www.SCCNWS.US
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We have so many great resources in our community that offer services to help support everything fro a temporary need to working through a lifelong illness. We plan to share resources and ideas of how you an handle your own needs or support those of a friend or family member without any attachments of stigmas people sometimes assign to mental health needs.
CLICK TO VIEW
Dr. John Gottman, Ph.D, author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, is one of the world’s foremost marriage therapists. He’s spent four decades studying couples at The Gottman Institute in order to determine what really causes a rift between two people-and how to fix it. Here’s where it gets interesting: After all that research, Dr. Gottman noticed a clear pattern among couples that didn’t stay together, identifying what he says is the #1 predictor of divorce. Ready for it?
Yes-as in eye-rolling, disgust-feeling, negative-thinking contempt. Many of us have felt it for a partner before-but even if you’re feeling it right now, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to separate. Here, Gottman Institute expert Mike McNulty, PhD, LCSW, breaks down what every couple needs to know, including why contempt is so detrimental to a relationship, how to spot it (in both your partner and yourself) and-perhaps most importantly-how to stop it.
How Contempt Occurs
It’s normal to feel annoyed at your partner or to disagree on things, but when you allow yourself to reach a level of contempt or disgust for him or her, that’s when McNulty says it becomes unhealthy. Every couple fights, and every couple has issues: “All relationships involve ongoing, perpetual problems that will resurface,” says McNulty. But it’s how you handle them-either with kindness or contempt-that can make or break you as a couple. “Partners who do not handle discussions of these problems well are at the most risk of divorce,” he says. Imagine discussing a recurring issue, such as a difficult mother-in-law or major difference in libidos. “Partners who are headed towards divorce have the following tendencies: They become angry and use what we call the ‘four horsemen of the apocalypse or negative patterns of communication, which are criticism, contempt, stonewalling, and defensiveness,” says McNulty. “This leads to something we call ‘diffuse physiological arousal’ or ‘flooding’ [which involves] one or both partners’ bodies releasing hormones as heart rates accelerate, muscles become tense, the skin becomes hot or sweaty, and the stomach feels nervous.” Sound familiar? If you’ve ever experienced a “heated” argument in which you felt your voice or blood pressure rise, you know that this mental state isn’t conducive to a civil conversation. “In this state, partners cannot take in new information and they lose their senses of humor and creativity,” explains McNulty. In other words, you’d be better off speaking later when you’re both feeling more calm. “All of these factors make discussing the important ongoing problems totally unworkable,” McNulty says.
The Good News About Anger
Even if you and your partner have been having some heated arguments lately, it doesn’t mean you’re headed for disaster. “Relationships die by ice rather than fire,” says McNulty. “Some couples eventually stop trying to dialogue. They find working on key conflicts to be too difficult or painful. They give up. They grow more distant, and live more like roommates than spouses. In the end, emotional disengagement is truly the ultimate sign of a relationship headed towards divorce. “If you’re both still arguing you haven’t yet reached the point of surrender,” says McNulty.
What to Watch For
Rolling your eyes at something your partner says is one of the most common ways people express contempt. “Besides the eye roll, another sign is the lifting of the upper lip to make a sneer,” says McNulty. “It’s an overall attitude of disgust at one’s partner and/or a sense of superiority.”
Sometimes it’s subtle: “For example, when discussing how to keep their home [tidy], one partner may say to the other, ‘In my family, we cared more about our house.’ The unspoken ending to that sentence is, ‘…than your family did.’ The implication is: ‘My family is superior to yours.'” McNulty adds that people who are perfectionists can easily fall into this trap.
Kicking Contempt to the Curb
Now that you know how harmful contempt can be, here are five things you can do in your relationship to handle conflict better:
1. Be on the lookout for common no-nos, like rolling your eyes, sneering, or making passive-aggressive comments.
2. Give your expectations a reality check. “Partners often idealize one another, and then expect so much,” explains McNulty. He suggests you remind yourself that your partner is a different person with different opinions and a different set of fundamental needs. You will not agree on everything, and you have to learn to be okay with that in order to maintain harmony. Why? “With most couples, 69 percent of the problems in any marriage are perpetual or ongoing issues, and only about 31 percent of problems are solved in a straightforward manner,” McNulty explains. In other words, the majority of your problems will not go away or be solved-you’ll just have to learn to compromise.
3. Turn the issue around on yourself. When something really ticks you off, “Think, ‘Why does the behavior bother me so much? Can I learn to live with it?'” If not, you can seek counseling to learn some coping mechanisms, but as McNulty points out that “in marriage, we have to learn to pick and choose our battles.”
4. Instead of feeling anger as your partner is speaking his mind, challenge yourself to listen more deeply to your partner’s point of view. “This helps partners be more patient when they dialogue,” says McNulty.
5. When it’s time to voice your feelings, remember to “complain gently without blaming the other person,” says McNulty. Talk about your feelings, and how you feel, versus blaming or criticizing their actions. “These shifts in behavior are fairly simple but really do make a difference,” McNulty says.
From MSN, 2-23-16
TOPICS COVERED Before you can know how to help, you need to know when to help. MHFA training will give you a basic understanding of what different mental illnesses and addictions are, how they can affect a person’s daily life, and what helps individuals experiencing these challenges get well.
You learn about: Depression and mood disorders Anxiety disorders Suicide Trauma Psychosis Substance Use disorders
Mental Health First Aid teaches about recovery and resiliency – the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better, and use their strengths to stay well.
Mental Health First Aid is an 8 hour training that can be taught in one day, or two 4 hour sessions. It is appropriate for any adult who has someone in their life, be it a neighbor or friend or family member or coworker, who is experiencing or will experience a mental health concern or crisis. And given that one in four Americans has a mental health crisis or concern every year, that means it is helpful to almost everyone. Groups that have been trained locally include police departments, church groups, and community groups.
If you would like to hear more or schedule a Mental Health First Aid training for your group, please contact Kerry Dueholm at email@example.com or 847-382-HOPE (4673) x 326.
By Scott Campbell
Each year over 40,000 individuals die by Suicide – this is over 110 individuals each day! More Americans die by Suicide each year than by Homicide. Another 1500 individuals attempt suicide each day! The person most likely to PREVENT someone from taking their own life is someone they already know!
What are the WARNING SIGNS of Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors?
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to commit suicide.
- Feeling Hopeless and Helpless or feeling trapped or a burden to others.
- Looking for ways or means to kill oneself.
- Drastic changes in behavior or mood.
- Withdrawing from friends, family and activities.
- Difficulties in eating or sleeping.
- Giving away prized possessions/making a will or “final arrangements”.
- Increasing use of alcohol or other drugs.
- History of previous suicide attempts.
What Can We Do?
- Be Direct- talk openly- ask the person if they are thinking about killing themselves. Question the person openly, honestly and directly.
- Be willing to Listen and encourage them to express how they are feeling.
- Show that you Care and are available and willing to help them.
- Offer HOPE that there are alternatives and that HELP is available.
- Remove any objects or means that are available and could be used in a suicide attempt.
- Do not leave the person alone.
- Persuade the person through open, honest, and caring listening to agree to seek help.
- Get Help from any available resource skilled in crisis intervention and suicide prevention- A local Crisis Line or Suicide Prevention Line; the National Suicide Prevention Life Line (1-800-273-8255); the closest Emergency Room; local community mental health agency or other mental health professionals. Make these Referrals and if necessary take the person to an appropriate mental health professional or Emergency Room.
Your willingness to Listen and to Help can rekindle HOPE and CAN make all the difference! HOPE Helps Prevent Suicide!
For Help, additional information or to schedule a QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer Suicide Prevention) Training, contact Clinical Director Scott Campbell at 847-382-4673 (HOPE), extension 316