Connecting to Your Inner Voice

 “Who am I?  What do I believe in?  Which relationships and life pursuits really matter to me?”  These are common questions I hear from my clients, and they typically appear when an individual is feeling stuck or has reached a fork in the road and they are unsure how to step forward.  The person struggles to know how to proceed because he/she/they seemingly do not have access to the “inner map.”  That map, or one’s inner voice, cannot predict the joys, pitfalls, or the outcome of a given path.  However, it can provide information on a) how you feel about each choice and b) whether a given option moves you in the direction of being who you want to be and the life you want to live.  While the inner map, or voice,  comprises several parts, we’ll dive a little deeper into the two aforementioned components, your emotions and values.


People often find themselves struggling with their emotions, particularly those that are uncomfortable or painful to feel.  They work hard to distract themselves or to push the emotions away.  The strategies used to accomplish this may work in the short term, but in the long term, the emotions return and can be accompanied by new concerns (e.g., addiction, financial crisis, etc.). 

Instead of fighting with, or trying to ignore, your emotions, the alternative is to connect with them and tap into the information they provide.


Emotions have messages to tell us; they show us the heart’s desires, needs, hopes, etc.  For example, loneliness tells us of our need to be seen and known, and it will move us to pursue social connections.  Anger energizes us and points us to our passions; it sends us into action – to stand up for what we believe in and to advocate for change when we witness injustice.  If we breeze past these indicators of how we feel, there is an increased likelihood of pain because we choose a path that is not in line with our authentic selves; we stay disconnected and alone or we remain in discomfort and dissatisfied with the status quo. 

In my view, emotions are essential ingredients for decision making, and we do not want to miss the information they are trying to share.  


Values, like emotions, serve as part of our inner map and guide us in the direction of our life’s goals.  Not only are the goals meant to align with our values but also our steps along the way toward reaching the goal.  In other words, values will indicate whether our choices and actions are congruent with our living in a manner that is like the individuals we want to be.  So, who do we want to be?  How do we want to show up in our close relationships?  In what ways can we serve our communities and how do we want to be remembered?  Values can be situation specific or they can be enduring across the lifespan; either way, they provide an answer to these questions.  As a mental health counselor, my values include being accepting, authentic, compassionate, mindful, and supportive.  These qualities describe how I relate to my clients and how I hope they will remember me after our work has concluded.  Values can be applied to any “hat” we each wear, such as parent, spouse, friend, mentor, volunteer, boss, etc.  They highlight whether we are living in line with who we want to be (e.g., parental values may include being loving, caring, trustworthy, and patient) or the need to course correct because we have become remote from our identified values.  When you notice the path toward your goal has stalled, I encourage you to be kind and understanding toward yourself; listen to the emotions that have surfaced (like anger or sadness) and use them, along with values, to connect to your inner voice, as they light the way back to your desired path and assist in helping you get unstuck and move forward. 


The content of this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for a therapeutic relationship.

If you’re wanting to connect with your inner voice, or if you want a talk therapist who can help you through life’s challenges and transitions, as well as self-worth and acceptance, you can book with Kathleen here.

Kathleen is EMDR and ACT trained.

The Link Between Diet and Mental Health

What we eat doesn’t just impact our physical health, it can also impact our mental health and overall wellbeing. Think about our body as a working machine – all parts are related! The fuel for this machine, or our body, comes from the foods that we eat and what’s IN the fuel, ie the quality, can make all the difference. Read on to learn how food impacts our mental health and mood.


How are diet and mental health linked

While the relationship between diet and mental health is complex, it’s well known, (and studies have shown,) that they are closely connected. The connection between diet and mental health stems from the link between our gut and brain. This link is called the gut-brain axis. Don’t worry, we won’t go too sciencey about this, but we’ll give you the gist!


Your gut is filled with billions of bacteria that impact the production of chemical substances that are constantly carrying messages back and forth from the gut to the brain. Having a healthy and nourishing diet promotes the production of “good” bacteria. This good bacteria has a positive influence on these chemicals. A poor-quality diet can increase inflammation which hinders production of the good chemicals.


Think about it this way: a good-quality diet equals good communication within your brain and therefore your emotions can articulate it. When the communication goes awry, emotions and mood can be negatively impacted. It all comes down to the communication. 


So how does this affect mental health?

When we eat a poor-quality diet, such as a diet filled with empty-calorie foods, high-sugar desserts, and lots of refined carbs, we’re more likely to have greater mood fluctuations. This can increase our likelihood of developing or increase our periods of depression and anxiety. Eating these foods has also been shown to lead to a poor outlook and increased negative thoughts.


The quality of the food that we eat also impacts our concentration and productivity. Both of these can have a long-term effect on our mental health.


So, what should you be eating?

We’ve mentioned that foods that are filled with empty calories and high in sugar and refined carbohydrates should be limited, but what about foods that we can eat MORE of? 


Whole Foods

Whole foods, or those free from preservatives, additivities, and are minimally processed can help to promote the production of good bacteria in our gut. Look for foods that have fewer ingredients or come in a “raw” form such as fruits and vegetables.



Antioxidant-containing foods, such as berries and leafy greens, fight inflammation in our body. 


Complex Carbs

Complex carbs are those that take longer to digest than the simple form, and therefore sustain our energy longer. Complex carbs include whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats, and quinoa. Complex carbs also contain fiber, which has been shown to promote the production of good bacteria in our gut.


Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps with the production of one of the chemical substances, serotonin, that assists with sleep and mood. While we usually think of vitamin D as coming from the sun, we can also get it from dairy sources, we can consume vitamin D in tuna, fortified juices, and mushrooms.


Next steps

Although it’s still important to think of the way that food makes us feel physically, don’t forget how it also makes us feel mentally and emotionally! Try incorporating more of the foods mentioned above while consuming foods with poor nutritional quality in moderation. Healthy eating is just one component of your mental health that is in your control.


The content of this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for a therapeutic relationship.


Do You Want to Fuel Your Mind and Body?


The Whole You 90-day holistic coaching program takes a multi-faceted approach to wellness, with the help of professionals that will give you the guidance to kick start a change in your life, equip you with knowledge and know-how, and encourage you to stay consistent.


  • Two (2) 50-minute sessions with your Certified Holistic Life Coach
  • One (1) 50-minute Nutrition Coaching Session
  • One (1) 50-minute Energy Work session
  • A personalized program and game plan, made just for you.
  • Check-ins and journaling prompts 5 days a week via our virtual platform.
  • Curated content from our extensive resource library. We do the research for you and send the best nuggets of insight to you weekly, to streamline your growth.



Finding Authenticity and Purpose


“When was the best time in your life?” When someone recently asked me this question, I found myself nostalgically wandering to the past, searching for the exact right answer. But, of all the joy-filled eras that I’ve lived, I realized that those times pale in comparison to RIGHT NOW


Just a couple years ago, I finally gave myself permission to show up as my true, authentic self. This wasn’t something that simply happened one day, it was the result of 1) my mental exhaustion from striving to be perfect, and 2) lots and lots of self-work to figure out who my authentic self actually was. When this door was unlocked, everything became richer – my relationships, my work, previously mundane experiences, etc. I finally began to feel like I was living my purpose, without doubt, and felt it deep into my bones. It was liberating. 


“This timeline isn’t adding up,” you might say, “You started The Happy Hour 5 years ago, so you were living your purpose for longer than the last couple measly years.” Well, let me let you in on a little secret…you can’t live your purpose without knowing who you truly are, and you can’t live your purpose without loving that person. 


Want another confession? When I first started putting together plans for this business, I was embarrassed to tell people about it. I had wrapped my identity so tightly around my former title and fancy corporate job I worked years to achieve, that I would strategically go out of my way to avoid talking about this concept. This concept upon which my heart and soul was completely sold. I didn’t want anyone to see me differently than all the ways for which I had previously been praised. I didn’t want to be seen as anything but predictably perfect. 


Sure, I had all the usual self doubts, “Should I concentrate on my kids and stay at home with them until they’re older?”, “Should I go back to a more stable and steady job that might not have as much stress?” (There is nothing wrong with those options, btw). But, I had always known since I was a kid that I had a gift in helping people and I needed to use that gift. But I didn’t truly believe in myself or that I could live out my purpose, until I started my journey to authenticity, did my own hands-on research, and started training to coach others. You can’t give (or guide) what you don’t have, and that lit a fire in me to let down the 34-year old walls and commit to living authentically. 


Through therapy, coaching, reading, writing, listening, meditating, praying, learning and living by mindfulness, and exploring my spirituality through so many mediums, I came to redefine myself, but this time without using any labels. I’ll never forget the day I sat on my therapist’s couch and said,

“I don’t even know who I am anymore, but I feel like myself for the first time in my life.” 


Getting started on this journey isn’t easy. And, in my experience, it works best if you come at it from many different angles, receiving information from multiple viewpoints, then putting it all together in a way that feels true to you. For me that meant doing a 180 on my long-held beliefs, and learning about myself in an honest way that pushed me out of my comfort zone. This leap of faith led me to some spiritual healers and health professionals that changed my life through giving me a variety of tools to support my mental health that covered all the bases: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Here’s some wisdom I learned that I’ll carry with me forever, and I invite you to try on: you are more than your title(s), you have everything you need within you already, and you are loved no matter what. 


The content of this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for a therapeutic relationship.


Are you ready to find your authenticity and purpose?


The Whole You 90-day holistic coaching program takes a multi-faceted approach to wellness, and is built on the foundation that becoming the best version of yourself is a journey, not a one-size-fits-all approach.  This program gives you the autonomy and the support to dive deep and set YOUR goals, and work towards them in a way that works for YOU, instead of chasing generalized predetermined ones. All with the help of professionals that will give you the guidance to kick start a change in your life, equip you with knowledge and know-how, and encourage you to stay consistent.



The Importance of Holistic Wellness

Have you ever started on a journey to improve one aspect of your life and found yourself losing steam  and eventually giving up? You may have beat yourself for not being more disciplined, for not having enough willpower, and not having what it takes to achieve your goals, but what if we told you it’s not your lack of willpower holding you back?


Often what we see as forward movement  in others, is actually (whether by design or intuition) the result of approaching wellness holistically. Frequently, the most profound growth comes down to considering what you need for your mind, body, and soul to thrive in harmony.


This isn’t some new-age woo-woo. This is cold, hard science.


Take your emotions for example. Stanford Neuroscientist, Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. explains

“The vagus nerve is responsible for emotion, and the way it does that is to pool – to aggregate – the conditions of your gut, the conditions of your heart, and the conditions of your breathing, which includes your diaphragm and lungs, and takes that kind of as a collection of information and sends it to the brain, and controls what we call your emotions.”


Now you might be thinking, “If that’s true, why do I still feel anxious when my gut health is so good it would make the supplement gal at Whole Foods jealous?” 


That’s because your emotions are controlled by your body, but they are also influenced by cognitive events like processing stressful news, being hurt by someone you care about, or hearing great news that gets you excited. Dr. Huberman explains that your brain doesn’t act on information alone, so it combines the external factors with your body’s response to those factors, which in turn creates your moods.


Let us break that down:



So what does this have to do with your personal growth? Everything.


Knowing how your mind, body and soul are connected allows you to approach your wellness journey holistically. Having simultaneous support for your mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual/social health allows you to work towards your goals in a way that has built-in safety nets. Supporting yourself in this inclusive way helps minimize setbacks when life throws you curveballs.


You could be working hard on your mental health with your trusted therapist or coach, but find yourself not progressing how you’d like. You might be feeling held back by brain fog and energy levels so low that you simply can’t motivate yourself to take action. This is where working with a dietitian or health coach could be the key to unlocking the next level of your mental health journey. Optimizing your nutrition to make sure you’re getting a wide variety of brain-boosting and blood sugar balancing nutrients will make sure your body and mind are being fuelled in a way that supports your wellness journey.


Similarly, you could be carrying a lot of your emotions physically. Headaches, stiff muscles, and belly aches might be so frequent you’ve just chalked them up to simply “getting older”. PSA: Getting older doesn’t mean you have to feel like crap. Those aches and pains are your body’s way of letting you know something needs attention. One of the best ways to get unstuck emotionally is to move physically. Introducing a physical aspect to your stress reduction strategy, like walking, yoga, or massage can help shift the tension out of your body. Working with a coach can help you examine your routines in a way that doesn’t add another thing to your to-do list, but finds natural opportunities to integrate movement into your day.  A practice like energy work combines physical relaxation with introspection and mindfulness in a way that can really take your holistic wellness to the next level.


If you’re working on your physical wellness with a goal to have peak energy and feel strong and confident in your skin, excessive calorie restriction and endless hours on the treadmill are unlikely going to help you see the progress you’re after. If you’ve been down this road before, you’re likely familiar with the burnout and misery that accompany this approach. A life coach can help you identify what is holding you back from reaching your goals. They might work with you on boundaries and stress reduction. Introducing a mindfulness practice and more active rest might seem counter-intuitive, but they might be the missing piece in your overall wellness puzzle.


It’s starting to make sense, isn’t it? How wonderfully, intricately connected we are. How we can’t thrive in one aspect of our lives, while neglecting others… not for long, at least. 


At the end of the day, that future version of yourself you’re working towards is not going to be found through immense willpower and relentless grind. It’s going to be achieved by supporting your mind, body, and spirit so that they can work together to help you achieve your goals in a way that doesn’t require willpower. It’s going to be achieved by finding a state of flow, balance, and intention. A place where you feel grounded in yourself and where your potential is limitless.


Do you want to Transform Your Life using a holistic approach?


Consider this: feeling grounded, confident and unshakeable by building a lifestyle that uniquely supports your total health. Encompassing the four areas of health: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual, the Whole You program will lead you through a 90-day lifestyle evolution.



Finding Calm with Active Meditation

For many of us, the thought of sitting alone with our thoughts and having to be still for more than 5 minutes doesn’t sound too appealing. Sure, we’ve all heard that there are benefits to meditation and mindfulness practices, but who has the time and the patience? There are better ways to decompress, like watching Netflix or mindlessly scrolling through social media… right?

What if we told you there were ways to practice meditation that don’t look like that of an experienced yogi? If the mold you think you should fit into isn’t working for you, find what does. Believe it or not, you can be meditative during your everyday tasks or hobbies. Have you ever attended a workout class, listened to your favorite artist, participated in a workshop, or even just taken a shower  – and felt that clarity, bliss and sense of comfort afterwards? Congratulations, you’re already a pro at meditation! If it’s helping you relax, clear your mind, and evade distraction, then you’re on the right track. Ultimately, meditation is whatever you want it to be and however it works for you. BUT – like many things in life, to get the most out of it, you need to be intentional and practice. If you need some help, or ideas – that’s where we come in. 😉



Whether it’s taking a walk, or attending one of our mindfulness classes at the beautiful Cheekwood Estates, being outside is a great way to practice meditation. During a traditional meditation practice, although you’re to sit criss-cross-apple-sauce and remain still, you’re also welcome to observe your surroundings and take in the present moment rather than dwelling on your thoughts. You can do this on a hike or while swimming outside too! Being outside is a great way to be mindful of the beauty around you, while also getting some much-needed vitamin D and fresh air. Give it a try yourself!



As you can probably guess, a cluttered mind can be directly tied to a cluttered environment. If you look around at your bedroom and realize clothes and dishes have been piling up without you noticing, you’re likely going through life on autopilot rather than approaching it mindfully. It may seem difficult to start viewing laundry day as self-care and time to yourself rather than a chore, but your body and mind will thank you for it. 



We know what you’re thinking: how is something as simple as bathing a form of meditation? It’s kind of like the cleaning thing. Any mundane task can free up your mind just enough to be meditative. Next time you’re in the shower, try tuning into your senses — noticing the smells of your shampoo or how it feels to scrub your skin. Be gentle with your body and give your mind a break from everything else.



I’m sure your mind immediately went to yoga, and we don’t blame you. Meditation is basically built into the practice, so yes, yoga is a great option, but it’s not the only one! Any form of exercise requires you to focus on your breath and be present, or otherwise risk falling, pulling a muscle, you get the idea. Not to mention the endorphins aren’t a bad way to forget what’s stressing you out on the day-to-day!



We can’t all be Picasso or Shakespeare, but that shouldn’t stop us from getting creative! It’s the same idea of busying your hands and the technical part of your brain with an activity that frees up the rest of your mind for mindful thoughts. Tune into what you’re creating and spend some quality time with yourself. You could try coloring, playing an instrument, or writing in a journal. The possibilities are endless, and who knows? You might be proud of what you come up with.


Is meditation feeling any less intimidating yet? Good! That’s the goal. There are so many ways to practice being mindful — so many that you’re probably already doing, but just didn’t realize could be made into a meditative practice! Join us for Meditation off the Mat to discover the purpose of meditation and learn how to connect with the nature of it. This workshop will give you tools that you can use to immediately improve your overall mindfulness and reduce your stress response. Say “so long” to meditation frustration, and “hello” to feeling grounded in the present moment. 


Are you ready to make meditation a habit, no matter what that looks like, and start reaping the many benefits: better sleep, increasing self-awareness, chronic pain, anxiety and stress management skills, and more? You got this!

The Beauty of Mindful Moments

Your alarm sounds and autopilot kicks in. You get out of bed, put on a pot of coffee, jump in the shower, get dressed, grab a bite to eat as you hurry to start your work day. You get into a flow, working through your endless to-do list, relying on coffee to keep your battery charged. Doing everything you can to feel good about being devoted to “the job”. At the end of the day, when it’s time to check out, you feel too mentally exhausted to do anything that fills you up before you fall asleep and do it all over again tomorrow.


Let’s take a second to think about this. Our current state of navigating constant change and uncertainty has left us feeling consumed and stressed by expectations we’re supposed to live up to. Simply making it through the day feels like an achievement in itself.


Do you experience this kind of reality? How do you shift to bringing life and purpose back into your days? By giving attention to self. Mindful moments allow us to channel productivity and progress in the direction of wellbeing, by focusing on small, present moments of time, versus adding another thing to your to-do list.


Ask yourself this question, what do I want to experience today? If your answer is calm, peace, quiet, and de-escalation, then these precious moments called mindfulness are for you. Now ask yourself, am I open to something new, different and enlightening? If your answer is yes, then light up your day today with a little something for yourself that will only cost you moments. Here’s how we do it.


Take some time to think about what you truly enjoy, you can make a list or just apply thought. (examples:  sunshine, music, favorite colors, scents, sports)


Reflect on what your day-to-day is like, and come up with the best time or way to have your mindful moments. (examples:  mornings before starting your day, before bed, during a lunch break).


Then begin. At your desired time, intentionally bring into thought that which you enjoy.  Allow yourself to be in a comfortable or stable position whether standing or sitting.  Visualize this or physically look at it, touch, taste or smell, depending on what it is.  Allow yourself to dwell upon it, notice its nuance with direct attention. Does it shine, is it soft, is it cold or warm? 


As you engage that favorite color, melody of sound, calming scent, allow yourself to breathe, noticing the inhale and exhale while engaging something that brings subtle joy and feels good. Just for a moment, allow the presence of subtle joy and breath.


The more we do this, the better we get at receiving calm. Quieting the constant chatter of our thoughts and dimming the escalation of the hustle and bustle of our environments. Instead of rushing back to your to-do list, take a pause to experience calm and quiet. Finding the joy in present moments, appreciating the little things.


Give yourself this stop, this pause, as often as you can throughout the day and allow it to grow into your personal feel good moments.


Need Help Developing Your Mindfulness Practice?

Join us for Meditation Off The Mat, where you’ll learn to bring meditative moments into your day-to-day, no mat, fancy poses, or app required!


What life coaching can do for you

If you are looking for a space to process your past, understand the effects of an experience, dive deeper into an emotion, or heal from a trauma, then therapy is the exact right place for you.  But, I have found that often, people use therapy for everyday obstacles, like decision making, communicating, navigating relationships, life transitions, or even for a non-judgemental place to talk with someone. Let me be clear, therapy is a vital and necessary resource for many people. I just think that sometimes people go to therapy as an automatic choice, without even considering coaching as an option. So I am going to give you a breakdown, using examples, to show you what life coaching can do for you. 


Let’s start by understanding what coaching is. Jill Manaco absolutely nails the definition of what coaching is:

“Coaching is set apart by the way a coach approaches a conversation with a client. Coaches do not teach but help you through a process of discovery by using active listening skills, asking powerful questions, expanding thought processes, identifying limited beliefs, designing action steps and following up. 

  • Coaches don’t talk, they listen.
  • Coaches don’t give information, they ask questions.
  • Coaches don’t offer ideas, they generate ideas from clients.
  • Coaches don’t share their story, they tap into the client’s experience.
  • Coaches don’t present solutions, they expand the client’s thinking.
  • Coaches don’t give recommendations, they empower clients to choose.”


Now that you have a clearer idea of a coach’s approach, you might be asking yourself “How do I choose between therapy and coaching?” When deciding what avenue to choose, the first question I encourage you to ask yourself is: What am I hoping to get out of this session or sessions? 


Here’s an example: a work decision might be really stressing you out. Maybe you are plotting out your small business’ marketing plan for the upcoming year. This sets the tone for the rest of the year. You don’t know how to navigate it and the whole experience is causing immense stress, causing you to lose sleep and affecting your day to day.  You might think– “I should go to a therapist.” Right? 


Welllll maybe… it depends. Your therapist can help with your stress response, but ultimately is not going to take the situation away. While stress management is totally within the wheelhouse of a therapist, marketing planning and strategy is not. This is where a coach would be PERFECT. Like Christa Booker, she is an absolute WHIZ at business coaching and has years in consulting for marketing and planning. She also is an expert at mindfulness practices, tools that you can use in the moment when a stressful situation occurs. Working with a coach in this case would look like being empowered to make decisions that are both strategic and authentic. That means that the coach would work with you to generate ideas rather than telling you what to do without your input. All of the coaches at The Happy Hour believe that you have the answers within you. Sometimes it just takes a conversation to dig in and find them.


See how asking yourself what you need is ultimately so helpful?


Just like therapy, the frequency at which you go to coaching matters. When going to coaching, one of the biggest pieces of advice I can recommend is avoiding the “one and done” approach (lol, we aren’t that good). Similar to the mindset of going to therapy, working with a coach is a process. Yes, you will walk away with your compass pointing a little more north, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll have the whole thing mapped out. 


Example time.

Let’s say you had a brutal break up 6 months ago. After some time and self healing you are finally ready to date again, but you have no idea where to start. You want to get back out there, but you want to do it in the right way. And let’s be honest, your friends have given you terrible advice up to this point. 


A coach (ehem, yours truly) can guide you through learning about your values in a relationship, deciphering what you are looking for in a partner, how attachment styles can cause relationships to thrive or die, how to set and honor boundaries, how to put yourself out there, heck, how to even set up a dating profile that actually represents who you truly are. The areas in which a coach can help you are numerous. But let me say, we are not going to get through all of this in one session. What we will do in the first session, is set you up on the right path, one that involves all of the resources and support you need to take the first step. This is where being a part of our Whole You coaching program would establish and encourage massive growth. By having that wrap around care, you are truly supported in mind, body, and spirit during a time when all three of those are being put to the test.


Maybe you’re ready for a big life change. Possibly you’ve just gone through the transition from working full-time into retirement, or you feel restless or unfulfilled in your day. Authenticity coaches, like Clara, have years of experience guiding individuals through the process of discovering their passions, mapping their values, learning to trust and listen to themself, and ultimately uncovering their truest self. Coaches like Clara, can actually walk with you through the process by sending you resources throughout the week and checking in to help you stay accountable. This is another example of where Whole You is the best fit (next cohort starts in June!). 


So those were three fairly specific examples, but what about getting help with the everyday stuff? Well, all of our coaches are uniquely qualified to help with this because they operate from the present moment to help orient you and help you discover what step is next. Like Erin, she has worked with people on how to make friends as an adult, navigating a tough conversation, learning to make decisions that feel good in your body and your mind, and understanding how to prioritize your schedule in order to find greater fulfillment in your day. I think that one thing coaches are really good at is understanding the importance of the first small step . It is really easy to get wrapped up in the big picture, but the tiny, small actions that happen everyday, is the difference in becoming who you want to be. Or as I like to call it, ‘showing up’.


I don’t blame people for not knowing how coaching can help them. Let’s be honest, therapy has just started to be recognized and valued for what it’s worth. The great part about The Happy Hour is, both therapists and coaches work under one roof. Actually, therapy and coaching work great together. Using information from our past experiences can help us make more informed decisions for our present and our future. Our staff can help you when trying to determine what’s best for you, so you don’t have to decide alone. Most importantly, if you are talking to someone about your mental wellness, you’re doing the right thing. We just want to make sure that you get the most out of your time here.


Are You Ready to Transform Your Life?

Consider this: feeling grounded, confident and unshakeable by building a lifestyle that uniquely supports your total health. Encompassing the four areas of health: mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual, the Whole You program will lead you through a 90-day lifestyle evolution.


What is EMDR?

You know when you feel like you have done a lot of work on yourself; you’ve spent hours in therapy, read all the self-help books on the shelf and whatever else to care for yourself and still do not feel quite right? There can be more layers to discover and process through. These unhealed wounds or negative self-beliefs keep us stuck in old ways of living. EMDR is a helpful tool to work through some of those deeply rooted issues.


EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and it is a form of trauma therapy that allows for us to find freedom from old thinking patterns that are not particularly helpful to us. At one point, they may have served or protected us, but now, they are preventing us from succeeding in certain areas of life. Therapy and EMDR enable us to examine where we sabotage, disconnect from, and disable ourselves. It shows us where we hold ourselves back and promotes new pathways of thinking where we can be more mindful and present in the world.


EMDR is an eight-phase treatment.

Here’s what you can expect during EMDR therapy:


Phase 1: History and Treatment Planning

Your therapist will determine if you’re a good fit for EMDR, and help you identify which traumas you will focus on.


Phase 2: Preparation

Your therapist will ensure you’re able to handle emotional distress and may teach you a variety of mindfulness and stress management techniques that you can use during the session, but also going forward in your life.


Phases 3-6: Assessment, Desensitization, Installation, and Body Scan

This is when you process the target memory or trauma using bi-lateral stimulation including eye movements, taps and tones. Your therapist will talk you through visualizing the memory, feeling the negative and/or positive beliefs attached to it, as well as any emotions that arise or sensations present in your body.


Phase 7: Closure

Here comes your homework! Your therapist will ask you to keep a journal of any feelings related to the processed memory that come up after your session, and will encourage you to use the stress management skills you learned in phase two. It can be helpful to note which stress-management skills worked for you!


Phase 8: Reevaluation

Your next session with your therapist will begin with a discussion of your journal, and assessing the progress made so far.


If you are wondering where exactly to start, consider therapy as a great place to start. Therapy is the door to start recognizing ways in which you are impacted each day. From your thinking to your emotions and your actions, you can name changes that are needed to gain awareness and accommodate what you’ve learned. Then, if your therapist suggests EMDR, this would be a secondary gain to your mental wellness. It’s that longed for and awaited health you have wanted. You are worth investing in yourself.



If you’re curious about whether EMDR is a good fit for you, or if you want a talk therapist who can help you find, befriend and love yourself again, you can book with Ariel here.  

The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work

Dolly Parton once said,

Love is sent from Heaven to worry the Hell out of you.

Dolly, using her usual wit, is correct; love makes life worth living, but also can create pain. While difficulty in our personal relationships is an unavoidable part of life, it is possible to develop an understanding of healthy relationship dynamics and enact positive change in your relationships. 

So, what makes a healthy relationship? How do we recognize and understand our unhelpful communication patterns? What steps can we take to ensure that the relationships we are in can be as good as possible?

Luckily for those of us who decided to pursue lifelong partnership, Drs. John and Julie Gottman have spent over 40 years studying couples and their dynamics. Through their incredible careers, they have developed Seven Principles that, when committed to and maintained, foster healthy and happy partnerships over the lifespan. 


Here is a breakdown of the 7 Principles we will discuss March 4th and 5th:


What in the world is a love map, you ask? It’s the familiarity and fondness you have and cultivate for your partner. The stronger and clearer our love maps, the more intimacy and care exists in the partnership.


Your partner needs to know you actually like him/her! This is not groundbreaking news, but something we all neglect from time-to-time.


This is based on the idea of staying connected, and positively so.  It’s all about making positive deposits in our “emotional bank accounts.” If you are feeling connected to your partner, you’re better able to handle conflicts as they occur. 


Do you always need to win in an argument? This may indicate that you’re not accepting influence from your partner- you just want to be right.  Unsurprisingly, this stubbornness is often met with harshness and withdrawal from the other partner, creating even more distance.


 This section focuses on understanding the types of conflicts. How can we solve the solvable conflicts and accept the unsolvable conflicts?


Every couple has that “hot issue,”- that fight that just keeps coming back up, over and over. Gridlocks happen when people‟s life dreams (hopes, aspirations, wishes) for their life are not being addressed/respected by each otherThis section will offer practical tips to work through that dreaded gridlock.


Maintenance is just as important as learning the new skill.  The Gottmans teach us about the importance of creating “rituals of connection” and how to continually apply the principles in your everyday life.


I’m so excited about this workshop because I truly believe in its worth. Good relationships aren’t just built without effort, and problems just don’t “go away.” Join me in March to make a positive difference in your relationship!




Take a deep dive into building a stronger relationship with Amy Jackson, LCSW-MPH as she leads the groundbreaking 2-part workshop, 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work, on March 4th and 5th.


What Grounds Me as a Mother

I will never forget the feeling. I was sitting in the bathroom of the hospital room in a postpartum haze. I could hear my husband and the nurse talking jovially in the other room as they discussed discharge instructions for my newborn baby girl. I was quietly sobbing in the bathroom as hormones and fear took over. I didn’t want to leave the safety of the nurses and care team to attempt to keep this child alive. Alone. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing. 


In the years after college, my big group of friends became career oriented, moved to different cities and ran in new circles in our 20’s. We saw each other occasionally at weddings as we started to marry, and at couples’ Christmas parties. At the end of our 20’s, we all started finding out we were pregnant within months of each other. The baby showers started and we all gathered and shared the excitement and nerves for what we were about to experience. The birth announcements via group text came and conversations about bottles and breastfeeding commenced. We were all simultaneously experiencing this new version of our lives, and all simultaneously experiencing the overwhelming need for connection and support. There was an unexplainable need we had for each other. We started Friday “play dates” while our babies laid (sometimes) quietly in our arms as we discussed and connected over the nuances of motherhood. As I went back to work, I found myself requesting Fridays as a work from home day with my daughter just so I could continue these play dates with these friends in the same stage of motherhood as me. I couldn’t imagine getting through my weeks without them. 


Life Coach, Christa Booker with her kids.

Life Coach, Christa Booker with her kids.


I cannot begin to describe the importance this group of women has held for me. We are now almost 11 years in, and the experiences we have had together have formed a bond that I never knew was possible. There have been incredible times like holidays, birthday parties, first days of school, adoptions and births of 2nd, 3rd and even 4th babies. We have had Monday night mommy dance parties, lunch dates, Christmas parties, birthday celebrations, and even a girl trip to Vegas. We have also experienced tears over kindergarten, kiddo broken arms, behavioural issues, car accidents, marital problems, cancer diagnosis, the death of parents and even the death of one of the children. And through it all we were all just there – for the good, bad and ugly. 


Throughout the years things have changed. We all have evolving careers, kid sports, new friends and different life paths. Some relationships grew stronger, some grew apart. We still share the occasional group text, lunches and celebrations. We are all busy with life. But on the occasional times that we are able to get together, it is like no one has missed a beat. This group of women will forever take up real estate in my heart and will always be a gift that I never knew I needed, but I am immensely grateful for.  


Whenever a new mom asks me for advice, I always say the same thing. Find some other moms to connect to. Ideally find the group that shows up with messy hair and tear streaks that will be truthful about how hard and beautiful the role of motherhood is. The support and compassion of another mom is invaluable and priceless.

You actually DON’T have to do it alone. 



At the Happy Hour, we are offering a 5-week bi-weekly Moms Group every other Thursday at noon with Christa, and monthly at 5:30pm with Clara. Feel free to show up with messy hair and a tear streaked face if that is where you are.

We will be guiding you through discussion topics such as self-care, setting boundaries, and working through transitions. Most importantly, we will just be there for you to hold space – for the good, the bad and the ugly. 

Learn more and sign up here