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2019 Best of Holland Award

Thomas Mullens Counseling Receives 2019 Best of Holland Award

Holland Award Program Honors the Achievement

HOLLAND December 5, 2019 — Thomas Mullens Counseling has been selected for the 2019 Best of Holland Award in the Mental Health Service category by the Holland Award Program.

Each year, the Holland Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Holland area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2019 Holland Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Holland Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Holland Award Program

The Holland Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Holland area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Holland Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Holland Award Program

Holland Award Program

Starting Counseling

Time to Heal

Bruce Springsteen on his own psychotherapy.

“In all psychological wars, it’s never over, there’s just this day, this time, and a hesitant belief in your own ability to change. It is not an arena where the unsure should go looking for absolutes and there are no permanent victories. It is about living change, filled with the insecurities, the chaos, of our own personalities, and is always one step up, two steps back.” (Springsteen, pg. 312)

Time to Heal

Recently, a young couple came to me and agreed to enter into therapy for the very first time. It was a constructive beginning and during the assessment session they were able to identify the main difficulty in their marriage. At the end of every assessment session, I ask if there are any questions of me. The husband raised his hand and asked “How long will this take?”
This question, in the context of therapy and the healing it intends, is unanswerable. In today’s digital and processed world, most completion times are known and measurable. The instructions on the frozen pizza box tells us how long to keep it in the oven and at what temperature. MapQuest tells us how long it will take to drive to Detroit and back again. But the human psyche and the human heart do not operate that way.

In my experience of working with people who have addictions, depression, anxiety, insecurities or fears, the road to balance and healing can go on for an undetermined amount of time. Some people come in looking “to be fixed”, as if therapy were changing a lightbulb or installing a new battery, but therapy does not work that way. We are constantly changing, constantly evolving. As Springsteen correctly observed “it is about living change” and the change never stops, because our journeys never stop. We continue to move forward, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. We continue to have days of good functioning and days of not so good functioning. Days when we can manage our own personal chaos and days when that chaos threatens to overwhelm us. Days when the shadows of our past are manageable and days when those shadows threaten to engulf us.

What is often not well understood is that therapy is a journey of self-discovery. It attempts to answer the question “how did I get here from there?” The journey continues, because the self-discovery continues. And it is the calling of the therapist to walk the journey with the client as long as needed.

Springsteen, Bruce. Born to Run. Published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster. Page 312.

Depression, Self-Esteem

In Praise of Failure

It has always fascinated me that the three most popular New Year’s resolutions involve improving physical health. They are, in no particular order: lose weight, exercise more and quit smoking tobacco. Statistically, nearly 80% of all New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by February 1st.  “Another failure”, we might say, “just one of many times I’ve failed.”

However, “failure”, in and of itself is not necessarily a disaster, but rather could be a valuable learning opportunity.  Many years ago I enrolled in a computer programming course at a local community college.  Computers were a relatively new invention and the career opportunities seemed unlimited.  My college roommate, Larry, was a computer programmer and he seemed to enjoy his work. It seemed challenging, exciting and rewarding. Besides, I reasoned that I was at least as smart as Larry and if he could learn programming, then I could learn programming too!

After twelve short weeks of computer classes, I discovered that I was indeed as smart as Larry, but not in the ways of programming logic and linear thought patterns.  I failed the class terribly and my career in computing was effectively over.   After some reflection and soul searching, I realized that I had failed the class, but that I personally was not a failure.  In those twelve weeks I learned something very valuable about myself. I learned where my gifts and talents were not.  This probably spared me from a career of unnecessary struggle and unhappiness.  Success usually feels good and if we are attentive it can teach us a little about ourselves.  Failure feels terrible, but it also provides the opportunity to learn a lot.  Failure says “Okay, so Plan A didn’t work out well, but this is not the end of the world. What might Plan B or Plan C look like?”

We are all going to experience failures.  It’s hard to believe, but those failures are often a gift.  Failure shows us what doesn’t work, so that we can begin to focus on what does.

Holland Sentinel, Published Articles

My Take: Valuable lessons to be learned from the past

Originally Published in the Holland Sentinel By Thomas D. Mullens

Jan. 23, 2016 at 2:01 AM

Holland, Mich.

January is a time of cold weather, gray skies, frequent snow and taking down Christmas decorations. Originally, the month was named for “Janus,” the Roman god with two faces; one looking forward into the future and the other looking backward into the past. While we may be excited about the prospects of a new year, it may also be valuable to reflect on the past.

Though a quirk of social media I recently became acquainted with a young woman who lives in the Philippines. I had posted some observations on the site of a respected author and psychologist, and the next day I received a message from a 23-year-old woman who received her nursing degree at the University of Luzon, but cannot find work and is “doing absolutely nothing” with her life. She wrote: “When you were 23 years old, what exactly were you doing in your life? Did you ever feel lost? How did you know that being a therapist is the one truly for you? Looking back 20 years ago in your life, did you have any regrets? What lessons have you learned in your life that every 20-something should know?”

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The Psychological Secret to Great Exercise Habits

How to make exercise a habit that’s hard to break!
Focusing on how habits are initiated is key to getting regular exercise, a new study finds. It’s all about making sure there are regular cues which prompt you to automatically exercise.

The cues are likely different for different people. Some people may automatically get up and exercise first thing in the morning.
For others, the cue might be the end of the working day. The cue could even be an internal feeling that you’ve been sitting down too long why not try these out.

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New approach to cause of depression may help treatment using established therapies

It’s often assumed that it’s depression that causes a pessimistic view of the future. But it could be the other way around, a new study finds. Being pessimistic about the future may actually cause depression.

Professor Martin Seligman and Ann Marie Roepke reviewed the research on prospection. Prospection refers to how we think about the future. Their conclusions are published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology (Roepke & Seligman, 2015).

They find that there are three ways in which thinking about the future may cause depression:

Poor generation of possible futures.
Poor evaluation of possible future.
Negative beliefs about the future.
Depression also likely feeds back into more negative views of the future, creating a vicious circle.

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Holland Sentinel, Published Articles

My Take: Take on the holiday blues

Originally Published in the Holland Sentinel By Thomas D. Mullens

Holland, Mich.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” We now begin hearing Andy Williams’ 1963 ode to family, tradition and merriment on the day after Halloween.

However, for many people, the days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are not the “hap-hap-happiest season of all.” All too often, the season is filled with anxiety, depression, obligations and expectations. Additionally, in West Michigan we get fewer hours of daylight and more cloudy days, and the holidays can become a season to be endured rather than celebrated.

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