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Friday, March 10, 2017

Private Practice Therapist Listings

Mental Health Therapists: Hood River | The Dalles | Maupin | White Salmon | Bingen
Columbia Gorge Healers
To find therapists, please click on city tabs at the top of the blog. If you are on your phone please go to the bottom of the page and choose "web version."

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Washington Basic Health - Apple Health

Washington Basic Health (Medicaid) is called Apple Health and is capitated to Comprehensive Mental Health (White Salmon 509-493-3400).

PacificSource Community Solutions

Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) is called PacificSource Community Solutions and is capitated to Mid-Columbia Center for Living (Hood River 541-386-2620).

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Help for Stress

Hood River psychologist Scott Rower, PhD will be offering a research-based course called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  It is an 8 week program for learning how to tame a busy mind.  It is created for people with no prior experience in meditation (but often benefits even long-time meditators).

You can think of it as a crash course, owner’s manual on how to get out of your head.

If you struggle with chronic stress & want to find a healthy way to address it then this might be helpful for you.

The course will teach you to…
  • Identify stress triggers
  • Understand how these affect your mind and body
  • Develop tools to create change & balance
To learn more visit scottrowerphd.com/mbsr

Monday, November 21, 2016

Therapist in Dufur

Therapists in Dufur

Claire Sierra, MA, LFT 
Art Therapist & True Purpose (TM) Master Coach
Author of "The Magdalene Path-Awaken the Power of Your Feminine Soul" Spa & Wellness Director, The Balch Hotel

Visit MagdalenePath.com to download a free chapter and buy The Magdalene Path book Download your FREE Light Breath meditation at BlissBreakthrough.com
Connect with me on Facebook 
Connect with me on LinkedIn 
Connect with me on Twitter  

Claire Sierra, MA, LFT, An Arts Therapist, True Purpose™ Master Coach, Esthetician and author of The Magdalene Path – Awaken the Power of Your Feminine Soul©. I use intuitive, creative, spiritual practices to help women (and men) who feel lost and confused in life to find hope, meaning, clarity & confidence about your true path. I’ve offered soul-centered creativity retreats, groups and individual sessions since 1989. With clinical expertise in Depression and Anxiety, I offer brief and long term counseling and coaching. For free resources on your path, go to: MagdalenePath.com for sample chapters, meditations, audio interviews and more. 

Claire sees clients virtually (via phone or Skype) or in her cozy Bliss at the Balch spa office at the Balch Hotel: an elegant boutique inn in sunny Dufur, that she owns with her hotelier husband. To learn more: BalchHotel.com. She does not accept insurance. Call or email to schedule a complimentary discovery session to explore ways we can get you on track and feeling better again.

Claire Sierra, MA LFT Claire@MagdalenePath.com 541.659.7284 | 40 S. Heimrich St. Dufur, OR 97021

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mindfulness Class

Announcing a new mindfulness skills class in Hood River

Mindfulness Skills Class: Exercise for Your Brain

Announcing a new mindfulness skills class in Hood River
  • Looking for a way to handle the stress of life better?
  • Interested in taking action on the idea of ‘becoming more present in my life’?
  • New to meditation & curious?
  • Experienced but looking for a community to practice regularly?

If any of these thought above apply to you, I’m happy to announce the start of a new, weekly mindfulness skills class.

New to Mindfulness Meditation?

There’s no experience needed to come.  This is a friendly atmosphere to try out mindfulness meditation and to see if it will be something that will add to your life.
What is Mindfulness?
People have many definitions of the term mindfulness but it can be put simply as the gentle effort of paying attention in a particular way.  It is focused on the present moment (instead of getting lost in planning for the future or rehashing the past) and it is non-judgemental.  Practicing non-judgemental awareness involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in ideas about a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment.
When we allow ourselves to let go of having to listen to our mind’s opinion about if something is good or bad and relieve ourselves of having to prepare for a future then some amazing growth can happen.
Not a religious practice
Although meditation is associated with Buddhism, this is a secular practice backed by many scientific studies that will not involve religion.  You are most than welcome to bring your own spirituality to the practice but none will be imposed on you.
Here is more info.  Animated mouse explains meditation in 2 minutes…

Experienced Meditator?

Great!  We’d love to have you too.  Each class will be guided but will likely be beneficial to experienced meditators as well.


When: TBD based on interest
Where: 409 Sherman Ave in Hood River
Facilitated by Scott Rower, PhD Licensed Psychologist
Weekly drop in, donation-based ($10 suggested)

Monday, September 5, 2016

Your Brain is a Control Freak

By Scott Rower, Phd

Humans are motivated by two things…
A) to move TOWARD what we want
B) to move AWAY from what we don’t want
Very simple right? This makes sense since our brain’s main priority is to keep us alive, to survive. Get safe shelter. Get lunch, don’t be lunch. Find a mate. Stay away from people that want to hurt you. In short, the strategy is to control or avoid potential threats. So of course the brain craves to control as much as possible, it’s only doing its job.  However, this instinct can often get us into trouble and can be responsible for some of the most significant suffering possible as a human.
Think of one person you know that is really struggling with a lot right now in their life.
If you think about what’s not going well for them and how they’re reacting to it I bet you can see how they are striving for some type of control.   And it’s not working well for them. Yet, they continue to do it anyway.
Part of the problem is that us humans did something no other animal has done – we invented language. With language we had the new ability to communicate about the things INSIDE of us (our thoughts, feelings, sensations and memories).  Our human brains that evolved to be motivated by the two rules above now applied to these same rules to our ‘inside the skin’ experience as if they are ‘outside the skin’ experiences (a bear, a storm on the horizon). This is important – your brain has a very, very hard time telling the difference between an emotional or imagined threat (I’m going to be late, she’s not going to call me back) and a physical threat (that guy over there has a knife and is looking at me weird).
Insecurity, anxiety, and sadness are now automatically seen as things to move away from. Joy, excitement and appreciation are experiences to move toward.
Why is this a problem? Think of something in your life that was difficult but was really worth it. Finding a way to be open and trusting with a partner. Going on a first date. Studying hard for an exam. Running a race or completing a hard workout. Quitting cigarettes, alcohol or drugs.
What was it like at the very beginning of these experiences. What was happening inside you? Was it things like…
  • “This is too hard”
  • “I’m going to fail”
  • “I’m not good enough”
  • “I don’t have time”
  • Sweating
  • Heart racing
  • Fear, shame
  • Memories of being rejected or giving up in the past
Look at anything in your life right now that is working well and you are proud of (work, relationships, health). When you first started working on getting this didn’t you have experiences like those listed above?
The short-term result of moving TOWARD important, meaningful and rewarding experiences in life is a good dose of uncomfortable experiences inside your skin (thoughts, feelings, sensation and memories).  When these experiences get seen as a threat it sets off the whole network in the brain to motivate you to get away (the famous fight or flight system) and it’s quite hard to stay in contact with long-term rewards.  Guess what happens as soon as you move away. Sweet relief! It feels good. Procrastination pays off… for the moment at least.
This is the trap of avoidance. Avoidance can move us away from what matters most in life. Life becomes about feeling comfortable and safe. We get instantaneous comfort, relief and satisfaction but suffer ultimately with a smaller, less meaningful and less rewarding life.
The self-reinforcing cycle of avoiding feeling can be called depression. The self-reinforcing cycle of trying to anticipate and control fear can be called anxiety. Thankfully there is a solution to this trap! It is outlined in a brilliant and modern psychotherapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
FIRST – get clear on what values are most important to you (e.g. health, authenticity, simplicity, fun)
THEN – build your willingness to experience uncomfort in the service of what’s important to you. This is a skill. It is a ‘muscle’ that can be built up over time with practice. There are many techniques that can help with this, one of the most powerful is mindfulness meditation.
We can’t have success without risk of failure. We can’t have love without risk of rejection.
If you courageously risk in your life you will feel uncomfortable. You don’t get a choice in that. But you do get a choice of if you move AWAY from fear or TOWARD what’s truly important to you.

By Scott Rower, Phd