Tip of the Week

All tips come from Central Minnesota Mental Health Center. Thank you CMMHC for sharing!

2015 2016 2017 2018

Tip of the Week: July 25, 2019

CMMHC is now offereing a new quarterly orientation to review CMMHC’s mission, vision, values; as well as getting a better understanding of each of our programs and what they do for our communities. Talk to your supervisor to be put on the schedule to attend one of these upcoming events. Want to get more involved? Talk to your supervisor about being a speaker at one of these events and help it continue to grow! – CMMHC TIC Implementation Team

Tip of the Week: May 3, 2019

“Take a moment to reflect on a connection you made with a co-worker and consider how it might impact the work you do.” – Steven Loos, Psy.D, LP

Tip of the Week: March 18, 2019

Over the last decade, smoking cigarettes has decreased, however approximately 10% of pregnant women still smoke during pregnancy (The Physiological Society, July 2018). As we continue to prepare for our All Staff training on May 2nd with Dr. Williams’ presentation on, The Need to Address Tobacco in Behavioral Health Treatment Settings, the impact of nicotine impacts our youngest and even unborn children. Researchers have shown that exposure to nicotine by the mother during pregnancy can affect the baby’s cardiorespiratory system and increases the risk of  many complications such as birth defects, prematurity, respiratory problems, and Sudden Infant Death (SIDS). Research also suggests that nicotine exposure by alternative methods such as nicotine patches or e-cigarettes are also harmful, due to nicotine still entering into the baby’s system (The Physiological Society, July 2018).

“Quitting any habit is difficult and relapse is sometimes a part of the process. The more knowledge that we can share with clients and staff, the more successful and supportive we can be at providing appropriate care and resources.” – Laura Smith, Psy.D., LP

Tip of the Week: February, 28, 2019

The misuse of prescription Opioids and Heroin has been one of the number one public health threats in the United States. Death by Opioid overdose has skyrocketed in the recent years, and now reports show that it out numbers the number of deaths of caused by a car accident (National Safety Council, 2019). In 2016, the rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States was more than three times the rate in 1999 (CDC, 2017). The Opioid epidemic is impacting individuals, their families, and loved ones from all walks of life regardless of class, race, gender, or other demographics. Almost everyone has someone in their life who has been personally impacted in some way by Opioid misuse.

“Integrative approaches are found to be the most effective in addressing the Opioid Crisis. We must all work together to address this concern. Please inform yourself about the signs of addiction and withdrawal, signs of overdose, alternative treatment options and proper disposal of medications.” – Erin Simonson, BA, LADC

Tip of the Week: February, 22, 2019

“Consider the addition of plants to your waiting room or office.  They are inexpensive, take up limited space and help purify the air.  They will be beneficial to you and your clients.

A flower blossoms for its own joy.”   – Oscar Wilde

Flowers are restful to look at.  They have neither emotions or conflicts.”   -Sigmund Freud”                 – Tracy Lord

Tip of the Week: February 15, 2019

“The idea of the chaordic path doesn’t just apply to organizational or systems change, it can apply to ourselves and the people we serve.  When we are on the chaordic path we may give up because it can feel like nothing is getting done, nothing is changing.  By reminding ourselves and the people we serve that this space is where innovation happens, we can get excited about the new connections that are created and the new possibilities that are about to emerge.” – Lisa Powers, DSW LICSW

Tip of the Week: February 8, 2019

“I often think of my role in mental health to be closely connected to that of advocacy and then equality. However, that word should truly be replaced by equity. Equity is the idea that each person is unique in their strengths and challenges. This means the level of help we provide during their experience in our buildings or under our umbrella of services is going to be tailored to those unique circumstances, personality, history, diagnosis, etc. Doing this is vital for trauma informed care, as it normalizes for the client and staff that everyone deserves individualized care because that is their human right.” – Brittany Askelin, MA

Tip of the Week: February 1, 2019

“All staff play a critical role in creating sanctuary for our clients, community and staff. Emailing the Community Tragedy is a simple way to get involved. We would rather hear about it twice, than miss something important.” – Steven Loos, Psy.D, LP

Tip of the Week: January 17, 2019

“From the research, it is clear that breaks are beneficial, but the ideal break and how to fit it into one’s day will differ for each person.  Even though all of our work schedules are busy and it often feels like tasks are never ending, working through lunch or after hours does not seem to actually have long-term benefits (even if you feel you will get more work completed). Research suggests that not taking breaks has detrimental effects to our psychological health and satisfaction. Therefore, it is important to take the time to enjoy small breaks throughout the day, especially lunch, as work will always be waiting for you when you return.” -Laura Smith, Psy.D, LP, Clinical Psychologist

Tip of the Week: January 10, 2019

“I remind myself daily, that I am here to help. The powerful thing is safety can be conveyed in such simple ways as offering a smile and listening respectfully. It’s a benefit and a joy to work in an environment where people count and caring for them is a priority.” – Audra Steffen, LPN

Tip of the Week: December 12, 2018

“Pay attention to the impact that social media can have on our mental health (and the mental health of our clients). As we work with clients consider assessing their social media presence and how it can be impacting their well-being. For ourselves, it’s important to pay attention to how what is happening on social media can be impacting us emotionally. Taking some time away from social media can be beneficial.” – Erin Simonson, BA, LADC, Adolscent CD Counselor

Tip of the Week: December 6, 2018

“Nonviolent communication is broadly defined as any communication that affirms or enhances relationships.  When we listen to others and to ourselves with an intent to understand what a person is needing, we can respond with empathy and compassion instead of judgement or blame.  For free, printable information on “Nonviolent Communication Essential Tools,” please go to https://www.rachellelamb.com/free-tools/– Lisa Powers, DSW LICSW

Tip of the Week: November 21, 2018

“As many of us prepare for some time off for the holidays, please take a moment to recognize our 24 hour programs. These dedicated staff will be making personal sacrifices to ensure our clients are well cared for during a difficult time.” -Steven Loos, Psy.D, LP, Director of Outpatient Mental Health Services

Tip of the Week: October 31, 2018

“During her presentation Manijeh Daneshpour stated: “I cannot be of service to any movement for equality if I am unwilling to examine my own biases and socialization”. Cultural competency can be learned, and it begins with US.” -Erin Simonson, BA, LADC, Adolescent CD Counselor

Tip of the Week: October 11, 2018

“Be mindful of how changes in the seasons may impact the moods of those around you. Consider the occupations and family cultures of each family when exploring changes in symptoms and moods (i.e. Farming community members experiencing an exacerbation of symptoms as seasons change.) Incorporate these helpful tips from psychology today in your self-care and work with clients;

  • Get access to plenty of natural light by spending some time outside or sitting under a sun lamp.
  • Maintain a regular schedule, even when cold temperatures tempt you to sleep in.
  • Take care of your body. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, at least five days per week. Eat plenty of healthy foods and get enough sleep.
  • Make a list of priorities for the season. Don’t give into pressure. Do the things you really enjoy and forget about the rest.
  • Start your own family traditions, particularly if you have a conflict with your family of origin.


Penckofer, S., Kouba, J., Byrn, M., & Ferrans, C. E. (2010). Vitamin D and depression: Where is all the sunshine? Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 31 (6), 385-393. Doi 10.3109/01612840903437657

Stickland, A. (2018, October 9). Daylight saving time can be bad for your health. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/11/health/daylight-saving-time-health-effects/index.html

Young, J. (2018, October 9). 5 Ways the Change of the Seasons Might Affect Your Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/when-your-adult-child-breaks-your-heart/201710/5-ways-the-change-seasons-might-affect-your-Sarah Maurer, MS, CT, MHP, LADC, NCC, Clinical Trainee

Tip of the Week: October 4, 2018

“The Oxford Dictionary defines cultural diversity as “the existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society.” Culture is considered to be the underlying values that direct how people behave. Cultural diversity in the workplace is a result of practices, values, traditions, or beliefs of employees based on race, age, ethnicity, religion, or gender. The modern workforce is made up of people of different genders, ages, ethnicity, religions, and nationalities. Employers have realized that workforce diversity provides both material and intangible benefits. In order for employers to reap the benefits of cultural diversity in the workplace, they must communicate their commitment to addressing the challenges of a diverse workforce. By increasing our awareness of cultural diversity, we are better able to recognize and build on our strengths and address barriers to better serve our staff, clients and the community.” -Brie Frantesl, PHR, SHRM-CP, Director of Human Resources 

Tip of the Week: August 30, 2018

“Cultural competence is an essential component of Trauma Informed Care. Both require a fearless exploration of self and carry a significant impact on how we “are” with our clients and fellow staff.” -Brie Frantesl, PHR, SHRM-CP, Director of Human Resources

Tip of the Week: August 3, 2018

“Accepting, rather than fighting, the reality of change all around us can keep us from wasting energy and lead us to more calmness and peace of mind.” -Karen Zimpfer, Support Staff

Tip of the Week: July 27, 2018

“When you return to your homes at the end of your shifts, take time to give yourself grace for the major transition that you just went through going from work to home.” -Erin Simonson, BA, LADC, Adolescent CD Counselor

Tip of the Week: July 20, 2018

“Minimalism in our work space can mean the difference between professional and unprofessional. Ask yourself, if you were to walk into your space the way it is right now, with fresh eyes – how would it make you feel? Overwhelmed, distracted and confused? Or safe, secure and relaxed? Having less, to have more room for living is a lesson for both our clients and providers. Here’s to decluttering an over demanding lifestyle or cluttered mind. Enjoy the freedoms of simplicity, for there is no other moment than this one right now.” -Brittany Askelin, MA, Mental Health Therapist

Tip of the Week: May 24, 2018

“If you are looking for more resources on Secondary Traumatic Stress, burnout and Vicarious Trauma, consider checking out the book “Trauma Stewardship: an Everyday Guide for Caring for Self While Caring for Others” by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky. (it is available on audiobook for those who prefer listening). Laura van Dernoot Lipsky also has an inspirting TED talk available here.” -Erin Simonson, BA, LADC, Adolescent CD Counselor

Tip of the Week: May 17, 2018

“At CMMHC we aim to create a safe space where the support staff could talk to their supervisor or peer.

Support Staff: I was a bit rude and irritable with our intake on Friday.

Supervisor/Peer: That is so unlike you. You always do such an amazing job creating a safe space for our clients. Any idea what happened?

This type of interaction allows our staff to explore Vicarious Trauma and how it impacts them both professionally and personally. It happens to all of us, join us at the upcoming training so we can continue to create a culture of moving beyond it.” -Steven Loos, Psy.D, LP, Director of Outpatient Mental Health Services

Tip of the Week: May 3, 2018

“How often do we find ourselves talking about self-care?  What does it even mean?  In her article, This Is What ‘Self-Care’ REALLY Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths and Chocolate Cake, Brianna Wiest noted that self-care is often “unbeautiful” and possibly even “ugly.”  It may mean doing those things we least enjoy (e.g., opening those bills and paying them rather than ignoring them) so we no longer have to worry about them.  Self-care means “no longer just running from your problems and calling the distraction a solution.”  It may mean saying “no” and not trying to be super-human.  Ms. Wiest stated, “Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.  True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.”  Here is the link to the full article:   https://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2017/11/this-is-what-self-care-really-means-because-its-not-all-salt-baths-and-chocolate-cake/– CMMHC TIC Implementation Team

Tip of the Week: April 6, 2018

“The power of my mentor’s response was immense. It normalized my experience, helped me to alleviate fears about my suitability for the work and provided me with a pathway to attend to burnout throughout my career. Vicarious Trauma is a significant challenge facing us that can negatively impact our professional and personal satisfaction. We hope our upcoming All Staff training will help you identify symptoms of vicarious trauma, normalize the experience and provide you with self-care strategies to care for yourselves.” -Steven Loos, Psy.D, LP, Director of Outpatient Mental Health Services 

Tip of the Week: March 30, 2018

“Please go to https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-life-changing-story-oprah-reports-this-week/ and watch the video.  There are two segments featuring Oprah Winfrey, so please be sure to watch the “Treating Childhood Trauma” one.” -Lisa Powers, DSW LICSW

Tip of the Week: March 23, 2018

“Mental health is not an easy field to work in and it is important to incorporate self-care into your routine to prevent burnout. Know you are valued and if you can take time for yourself to do things you enjoy, your job satisfaction is proven to increase.” -Caleb Mol, MS, LMFT, Outpatient Mental Health Therapist

Tip of the Week: March 19, 2018

“Connection is why we’re here, it’s what gives us meaning and purpose in life.”-Brene Brown

Since 40% of Americans report feeling lonely, make it a personal goal to really connect with a friend/group/family member, at least once a week. It will serve to keep you healthy-both physically and mentally, and will boost your spirits!” -Tracy Lord, Office Manager

Tip of the Week: March 9, 2018

“Let’s try something different. How about we start with learning about trauma and the purpose of these symptoms. Let’s develop some positive coping skills to develop a way of dealing with the stress that will absolutely come when we work on the trauma. Then, and only then, you choose which corner of the box to start with. Slowly peel back the corner and start there. How are you doing? Are the coping skills sufficient to deal with what we are choosing to let out. Should we peel back more or close this a bit to rest? Trauma is about loss of power and control, so you should have the choice on how we proceed down the path towards recovery.” -Steven Loos, Psy.D, LP, Director of Outpatient Mental Health Services

Tip of the Week: March 1, 2018

“Research has demonstrated the benefits of gratitude, including improved sleep, reduced anxiety and depression, increased energy, and feeling more or improved social connectedness.  Take time each day to think about things you are grateful for in your personal lives, careers, and in or about yourselves.  Identifying good things that happened and your part in them builds resilience and optimism.” -Lisa Powers, MSW, LICSW

Tip of the Week: February 20, 2018

“When treating adolescents who are presenting with severe emotional symptoms be aware of the possibility that they may be trafficked. Some indicators include

  • an inability to attend school on a regular basis and/or unexplained absences
  • frequently running away from home
  • references made to frequent travel to other cities
  • bruises or other signs of physical trauma, withdrawn behavior, depression, anxiety, or fear
  • hunger, malnourishment, or inappropriate dress (based on weather conditions or surroundings)
  • signs of drug addiction
  • coached or rehearsed responses to questions
  • a sudden change in attire, behavior, relationships, or material possessions (e.g., expensive items)
  • uncharacteristic promiscuity and/or references to sexual situations or terminology beyond age-specific norms
  • a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” who is noticeably older and/or controlling
  • an attempt to conceal scars, tattoos, or bruises
  • a sudden change in attention to personal hygiene
  • tattoos (a form of branding) displaying the name or moniker of a trafficker, such as “daddy”
  • hyperarousal or symptoms of anger, panic, phobia, irritability, hyperactivity, frequent crying, temper tantrums, regressive behavior, and/or clinging behavior
  • hypoarousal or symptoms of daydreaming, inability to bond with others, inattention, forgetfulness, and/or shyness
  • multiple cell phones
  • significant amounts of money” -Paul Thinesen, MA, Psychologist

Tip of the Week: February 8, 2018

“As a community mental health center, our clients and colleagues represent diverse backgrounds. Take time to learn and celebrate cultures different from your own and how they impact everyday interactions, treatment, and intervention effectiveness. As our society continues to struggle with justice and equality, the culture we create within the walls of CMMHC is a significant factor in how our clients and colleagues can have a restorative process instead of perpetuating an unhealthy cycle.” -Laura Smith, Psy.D., LP, Clinical Psychologist

Tip of the Week: February 2, 2018

“At a basic level TIC is about treating clients with respect and creating environment where staff feel supported. Health integration at a basic level is working collaboratively to attend to the whole client. The complexity is making this happen moment by moment, but the results are worth it for our clients, staff and community.” -Steven Loos, Psy.D, LP, Director of Outpatient Mental Health Services

Tip of the Week: January 19, 2018

“Experiment with one or more of the following activities to see if it lightens up your mood this winter: go for a hike, try to appreciate the beauty of winter, volunteer or plan a summer vacation. This dark period is only temporary and we have brighter days ahead (pun-intended)!” -Erin Simonson, BA, LADC, Adolescent CD Counselor

Tip of the Week: January 5, 2018

“Identify your goals based on what matters to and for you, not what you or others think you “should” do.  Make daily “resolutions” and find personally meaningful ways of rewarding yourself for your success, no matter how small.  Instead of trying for a major overhaul, think about things you are already doing and aim to do a little more (e.g., if you already go for walks three days a week, think about adding a day or increasing the time/distance).  Identify potential obstacles and create a when/then plan to overcome the obstacle (e.g., When it’s too cold to walk outside, then I will walk indoors at the mall).  Change is hard.  Stop beating yourself up over slip-ups and set-backs and don’t let all or nothing thinking get in the way of your goals.” -Lisa Powers, MSW LICSW

Tip of the Week: December 22, 2017

“As you work with individuals, children and families consider assessing for the trauma that they experienced as result of substance use in their homes. Too often, parental substance use goes under-reported and the problem continues to persist in the background. Consider that a behavior or a malady that you are seeing in a client might just being trying to communicate something. A method that they have had to use in the past to get their needs met. The holidays tend to be a time of higher stress and higher prevalence of substance use, so it is a good time to remind ourselves to have and keep this on our radar.” -Erin Simonson, BA, LADC, Adolescent CD Counselor

Tip of the Week: November 21, 2017

“As many of us at CMMHC prepare for some time off for the holidays, please take a moment to recognize our 24 hour programs. These dedicated staff will be making personal sacrifices to ensure our clients are well cared for during a difficult time.” -Steven Loos, Psy.D, LP, Director of Outpatient Services

Tip of the Week: November 17, 2017

“We can help the people we serve begin to create their new “brand” by using person-first language to help them remember they are more than a diagnosis.  We can empower them by reminding them of their resilience and encouraging them to think outside of the box (and outside of the DSM).  We can harness the creativity of our “sheriff” and all of us “deputies” to help our clients tap into their own creativity as they find and redefine themselves.” -Lisa Powers, MSW LICSW

Tip of the Week: November 2, 2017

“Do not let stress control your life! Take time to identify ways to decrease your stress, in order to enjoy the moments that you have. This also relates to the week 4 Wellness Committee challenge, which is to find 20 minutes to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. By practicing ways to become less stressed, you will be more present for your family, friends, clients, colleagues, and most importantly yourself.” -Laura Smith, Psy.D, LP, Clinical Psychologist

Tip of the Week: October 23, 2017

“Even though we may often fall into the trap of needing to do grandiose acts to make meaningful impact, small and simple acts have immense amount of power to do a great amount of good.” -Eric Raisler, MS, LMFT, Outpatient Therapist

Tip of the Week: September 29, 2017

“The invitation to attend the All Staff meeting, is truly that. We are not requiring all staff to attend, but we truly hope all staff will come. This is not just for providers, as we all have a vital role in this critical work. ” -Steven Loos, Psy.D, LP, Director of Outpatient Services

Tip of the Week: September 19, 2017

“What does this mean for those in our agency who often work with clients around unpaid bills or collecting payment?  It’s so important to remember that there is a very high likelihood (76%!) that our clients who are most struggling to pay bills have experienced one or more Adverse Childhood Experiences and are four times as likely to have 5 or more ACES.  At the training, you will learn more about what this means to our clients, their experiences, their functioning, and our interactions with them.” -Stephanie Barnes, MSW, LICSW, Buffalo Clinic Manager

Tip of the Week: September 12, 2017

“Lisa Frederickson wrote a blog entry back in March, 2017 which provides a recommendation for how an employer can raise awareness of ACEs:

  1. Help a company or agency become trauma informed — meaning to understand how trauma (ACEs, childhood trauma) affects a person, an effect that can be reversed once understood and treated.

In simply attending the ACEs training with the intent to learn and grow, we move ourselves naturally in the direction of becoming further trauma-informed.” -Eric Raisler, MS, LMFT, Outpatient Therapist

Tip of the Week: September 5, 2017

“Wayne Dyer stated, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  ACEs effect all of us, in ways we may not realize.  The ACEs Interface training offers us the opportunity to learn new ways of seeing people and problems.  It offers ways to learn about the life-long impact of childhood adversity, as well as ways we can build resilience and work together to create hope and healing in ourselves, our children, our coworkers, our communities, and the people we serve.” -Lisa Powers, MSW, LICSW

Tip of the Week: August 24, 2017

“ACEs helps us understand one of the guiding principles of Trauma Informed Care and the importance of asking ‘What happened to you? Vs What is wrong with you.'” -Steven Loos, Psy.D, LP, Director of Outpatient Services

Tip of the Week: August 17, 2017

“We are living in a time that continues to have heightened racial tensions and an openness to express hatred. Many of these acts are targeted towards our clients, families, friends, and colleagues. On an organizational level, it is crucial to continue to create safe spaces for all clients and staff. When meeting with clients or colleagues, a feeling of safety or feeling unsafe can be felt right away in the smallest ways such as through someone’s tone of voice, body language, how different cultures are discussed, and an acknowledgement and openness or not to learn about different cultures. We must continue to be mindful of how our own actions, intentional or not, are impacting others. As our society continues to evolve, we must try to continue to create safety within our walls, because some individuals cannot find safety anywhere else.” -Laura Smith, Psy.D, LP, Clinical Psychologist

Tip of the Week: August 8, 2017

“One of the clients I work with became very dysregulated as we were walking out of my office. I was not comfortable having my client leave in that state and decided to stay with the person to help the client get regulated enough to go home.  One of my coworkers checked on us outside, unobtrusively offering to get another coworker whom the client trusted, which would have allowed me to meet with my next client, who had already arrived.  My first client was able to calm down and safely catch the bus home.  As we waited for the bus, another coworker was leaving the parking lot, and stopped to make sure the client and I were ok.  Both coworkers (who asked to remain anonymous) exemplified trauma informed care in these interactions with my client, my next appointment, and with me. I appreciated their ability to ask simple, but sensitive, questions to make sure everyone was ok.

TIC Tip of the Week:

I felt supported by my co-workers knowing my next appointment was in good hands, that my team was willing to help, and also cared about my personal well-being.  Sometimes the “little things” are actually big things.” -Lisa Powers, MSW, LICSW

Tip of the Week: August 1, 2017

“Discussion of sexuality, while a potentially uncomfortable and challenging topic, is a vital part of promoting healthy and safe living with our clients. If you find it difficult to talk about sex, remind yourself of all the difficult areas in which you have confidence and channel that energy. Also increase your accountability by asking yourself this: ‘If I’m not talking about sex with my clients, who is?'” -Eric Raisler, MS, LMFT, Outpatient Therapist

Tip of the Week: July 20, 2017

“If you feel like your job has become a routine and a chore, shake it up and engage with your co-workers to create an upbeat environment that others, including our clients, can react to in a positive way. It may be true that one bad apple can spoil the bunch, but it’s also true that a smile is infectious!” -Marie Fisher, MS, LPCC, Mental Health Therapist

Tip of the Week: July 7, 2017

“When completing documentation, always consider that your client will read what you write.  Are your words and your language respectful?  Are you writing concisely in a way that protects your client’s privacy, yet provides the necessary medical documentation?  Consider who the records may be released to (other health providers, courts, the client) and what information may be damaging to share in excessive detail.    Better yet, complete your documentation collaboratively with your client.” –Stephanie Barnes, MSW, LICSW, Buffalo Clinic Manager

Tip of the Week: June 19, 2017

“I find it important to bring awareness to the burnout or vicarious trauma that frequently occurs within our field. It is also important we are taking care of ourselves, as well as we are taking care of others. Burnout is a serious problem and preventing it sometimes takes help from others. If you are feeling overwhelmed whether it be this time of year, or if it is some other personal matters, please be sure identify your needs and know that it is ok to take time for yourself to re-energize. It is worth it and your job satisfaction is important.” -Caleb Mol, MS, LAMFT, Outpatient Mental Health Therapist

Tip of the Week: June 8, 2017

“I find it helpful to acknowledge the power/immediacy of negative coping skills and that positive coping skills will not be as fast acting. The payoff of positive coping skills is they can bring us relief from our symptoms and contribute to our values and life experiences in a way negative coping skills never will. That is something worth working for.” -Steven Loos, Psy.D. LP, Director of Outpatient Services

Tip of the Week: May 12, 2017

“May is Mental Health Awareness Month, please work in your sphere of influence to reduce the stigma of mental illness.” -Steven Loos, Psy.D, LP, Director of Outpatient Services

Tip of the Week: May 3, 2017

“When talking about uncomfortable and emotionally-charged topics such as suicide, it is important to be aware of our use of language to decrease systemic stigma, shame, and judgement.” -Eric Raisler, MS, LMFT, Outpatient Therapist

Tip of the Week: April 27, 2017

“Practice patience with folks who are different then ourselves and what we may be use to or assume to know.  We all have differences no matter our gender, race, religion, culture, political status, social status, sexuality, and even food allergies.  Instead of telling ourselves and quite possibly others of what we find to be an inconvenience, embrace it, learn about it, educate our younger generations so they grow to be more open to others and their differences, and appreciate what makes us each unique individuals.” -Kristy Cohman, Mental Health Practitioner

Tip of the week: April 21, 2017

“April is Child Abuse Prevention Month: social connectedness and strong, healthy, nurturing neighborhoods are key protective factors in preventing child abuse.  When parents feel connected to other adults or parents, they feel more supported and less isolated.  There are other people who can offer help, and parents feel more comfortable asking for help when they feel supported and connected.  For calendars with ideas for parents, programs, and community partners on how to build protective factors through fun and simple activities, go to https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/calendar_en_2017.pdf” -Lisa Powers, MSW LICSW

Tip of the week: April 14, 2017

“We all come from different backgrounds and have stories to tell. Being from a different culture than another is what makes life so interesting and beautiful. Embrace and appreciate the differences in one another. You never know what you could learn from someone that comes from a different walk of life than you. Always remember the golden rule as you go through life; treat others as you’d like to be treated. Regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religious background, sexual orientation, culture, etc. After all, we’re all in this together.” –Lani Brouwer, Support Staff

Tip of the week: April 7, 2017

“To begin thinking about cultural humility, I offer a challenge to you to write down all of the cultural influences, past and present, that explain your identity. What are the most and least important influences and why? Is it a lack of experience with a certain influence or is it bias? Or is it both (APA working group for addressing racial and ethnic disparities in young mental health, 2017)? This short exercise begins to promote one’s own cultural lens and how this directly and indirectly impacts the work we do with the individuals we serve.” –Laura Smith, Psy.D., LP, Clinical Psychologist

Tip of the week: March 24, 2017

“Cultural competence is an essential component of Trauma Informed Care. Both require a fearless exploration of self and carry a significant impact on how we ‘are’ with our clients and fellow staff.” –Steven Loos,, Psy.D, LP, Director of Outpatient Services

Tip of the week: March 16, 2017

“First impressions. They mean everything.” –Kim Duke, BSN, RN, Integrated Care Manager

Tip of the week: January 12, 2017

“Consider how your behavior every day may contribute to the stress and/or health of another. Warmth, genuineness and empathy is a good place to start.” –David Earl Johnson, MSW, LICSW

Tip of the week: December 29, 2016

“Trauma therapy is the process of seeking to understand in a non-judgmental stance. It is also about teaching and exploring different ways of being. I find I am most effective as a therapist when I am able to genuinely bring my personality into therapeutic interventions.” –Steven Loos, Director of Outpatient Services

Tip of the week: December 22, 2016

“Be mindful of how our clients and colleagues may hold and perceive the spirit of the holidays. Take time to learn about traditions that may be different from your own as well as recognize the difficulty others are having during this time. Take care of yourself during this season and take a look at the following resources to help deal with holiday stress.

These resources were taken from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network

For educators:

For families:

For mental health professionals:

Laura Smith, Clinical Psychologist

Tip of the week: December 15, 2016

“Lean in and give yourself the gifts of Vulnerability: Joy, Connection, Creativity, Change, Love, Strength, Wholehearted living.

‘To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.’ ― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

‘If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.’ ― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” –Theresa Solarz

Tip of the week: December 5, 2016

“The past and much of our history are often seen as a dungeon of darkness that we and our clients make attempts to avoid discussing and addressing. Through witnessing multiple offenders in my treatment groups avoiding their pasts, I have noticed that it is easier to avoid accountability and avoid taking responsibility if we refuse to acknowledge our pasts. True healing occurs when we fully acknowledge our pasts and examine the traumas which we have both been victim of receiving and perpetrator of committing. The healing we have also been attempting to create through TIC implementation has also only been possible by acknowledging and examining the darkness of our pasts in order to move forward.” -Eric Raisler, Outpatient Therapist

Tip of the week: December 1, 2016

“Resilience helps us bounce back after adversity, it helps us cope with and manage stressful events or situations, and it can mitigate the effects of ACEs.  Take a few minutes to find out your Resilience score (the Resilience Questionnaire and the ACEs Questionnaire can be found at https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/).

Use this information to help parents build resilience in their children.  Encourage the people we serve to tap into their own resilience.  And think about ways you can help others in your communities increase their own resilience.” – Lisa Powers, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker

Tip of the week: November 18, 2016

“As many of us at CMMHC prepare for some time off for the holidays, please take a moment to recognize our 24 hour programs. These dedicated staff will be making personal sacrifices to ensure our clients are well cared for during a difficult time.”

Tip of the week: November 11, 2016

“The process and results of the election serve as a reminder that there are multiple viewpoints, perspectives, and interpretations of “right versus wrong.” Some may see defeat, some may see victory, and others may see democracy in action. It is easy to surround ourselves with those who share our perspective in the hopes to hide in comfort and safety. However, we often see that comfortable does not automatically equate as healthy. While we challenge our clients to work through their discomfort to make positive changes, it is just as important for us as helpers to work through our discomfort to continue to make positive changes. Change remains a process, not a destination.” – Eric Raisler, Outpatient Therapist

Tip of the week: October 28, 2016

“The MHFA training day was filled with sharing of experiences, learning from each other, and finding some of the common ground we all share.  We wished we had been able to spend more time with each other, sharing stories and supporting one another as we navigate through painful experiences and the after-effects.  We don’t all experience the same situations, but I think it is safe to say we have all felt pain, loss, and fear.  As we work to meet the growing requirements of insurance and DHS, we must never lose sight of the importance of connection with our clients around stories.”- Lisa Powers, Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker

Tip of the week: October 20, 2016

“We all have our experiences with mental health and mental health symptoms and how it can debilitate people and make them/us lose hope. I try to live by a certain code when I come into work every day: how do I take what I am about to receive from those trusting me and turn it into something positive. I sometimes forget when I am getting stressed out by “normal” world issues that there are others who may be less fortunate or burdened by life’s unplanned circumstances and have never had the opportunity to experience “normal” in my world. So I find myself asking the big question how do I make a difference in this person’s life today? Although I don’t believe there is any one right answer I believe that a great first step is serving our clients so they can experience their own “normal” and have hope that there will be a day where they feel they have the power to manage their symptoms effectively and the control to dictate how their future will unfold.” –Caleb Mol, Outpatient Mental Health Therapist

Tip of the week: September 23, 2016

“Thank you CMMHC Staff! This has been a challenging few years, as we have dealt with an incredible amount of change. We know it has been hard, but we need to get back to the core values of a community mental health center. Thank you for all your work helping us create this lived experience for our community, our staff and our clients. I am proud to be an employee of this agency.”- Steven Loos, Director of Outpatient Services

Tip of the week: September 16, 2016

“Do we look at our clients and see their arrest records, numerous failed treatment attempts, history of no showed appointments? Or do we ask what has happened to them? Why haven’t they been able to complete treatment? What keeps them from coming to therapy? Sometimes our clients have given up all hope, or don’t even know what hope is, and we have to be the ones to provide the first glimmer of hope.”- Stephanie Barnes, Buffalo Clinic Manager

Tip of the week: August 25, 2016

“Is there an inherent conflict of interest in the roles of clinical and administrative supervision? I don’t think so. The effectiveness of supervision and management is based on what works with people. Those methods are very similar to what works with clients. Its all about the relationship and the foundation of honesty and trust.

Think about those difficult experiences you’ve had with the supervisory relationship. How many difficult experiences could have been avoided? We often hear that supervision is not therapy. There are some important differences. However, how might they be made more similar as a way to decrease negative experiences? There are some tried and true models of management/supervision that seek that balance. I will explore them in a future article.” –David Johnson 

Tip of the week: August 19, 2016

“A simple change in an office, such as updating artwork, can have a greater impact on one’s entire experience. It has been fun to witness the positive impact that this has had on the office and that clients have shared this feedback. As the novelist Jerzy Kosinski once stated, “The principles of true art is not to portray, but to evoke.” As a trauma-informed agency, we are all aware that the feelings evoked inside of ourselves, our clients, and our colleagues differ. We as an agency cannot control these feelings, but we can hopefully contribute to the type of experience someone walking into the clinic may have. This often begins by how clients are greeted, the layout of a waiting area, and small touches, such as artwork, that can help to bring about more positive feelings and a higher level of comfort and safety.”- Laura Smith, Clinical Psychologist

Tip of the week: August 11, 2016

“Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS) is the emotional duress that may occur when health care providers, first responders, support staff and others who repeatedly hear about other’s trauma. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has published a fact sheet on STS, which I found informative and helpful. I know I can be adversely affected by the trauma stories I listen to daily and need to be aware of how it affects my professional and personal life. I have leaned heavily on my peers from time to time for support, and wanted to share this information.”- Paul Thinesen

Tip of the week: August 4, 2016

“In our communication with others, it is essential to convey we are interested in what they have to say. “Eye contact during communication is vital. It shows attentiveness and interest in what’s being said. Eye contact can be used to show empathy, concern, and help manage feelings,” (Schulz, 2012). “When you keep eye contact with the person you are talking to it indicates that you are focused and paying attention. It means that you are actually listening to what the person has to say,” (Evernesis, 2016). It is important that health information technology doesn’t restrict a clinician’s ability to make eye contact with clients. The results from a 2013 study published in the Journal of Participatory Medicine showed that, “eye contact is particularly important in establishing empathy; therefore technologies and systems should be designed to facilitate positive face-to-face encounters,” (Montague, 2013).”- CMMHC Consumer

Tip of the week: July 15, 2016

“Maybe the superordinate goal is that we have to create an environment that evokes a common feeling we all deserve. This environment would mean we don’t fear authority figures, experience hate, violence or judgement. The environment would be one of non-judgement, it would seek to understand, it would be safe. We would love and respect each other. Can we work together on this? We could start with a fearless self-inventory of our bias, our worldview, and the process in which we came to learn about other ethnicities. Lean in further to explore any racism that lurks in your thoughts and your heart. Can we own this and work to move past it? Can we look for the good in others and strive for human connection. Isn’t this a meaningful goal that would be worth working together on? If we are committed to this it also means that we will have to work together to establish trust. We will have to work together for self-healing, community healing and racial healing. Let’s commit to looking for places in our sphere of influence to create pockets of this and build momentum.” – Steven Loos, Director of Outpatient Services 

Tip of the week: July 7, 2016

“I’ve recently come to think that this is similar for our emotional health.  As stress within and outside of the workplace begins to rise, completing basic tasks may also take more emotional spoons.  As the weight of challenges among the world and violence against our fellow humans comes to light, it makes completing paperwork and coping with changes all the more difficult.  Perhaps it is essential to learn to “take it easy” on days that our emotional health needs some extra attention as well.  Taking time to care for ourselves will make our lives better and improve our clinical care.” – Devon Whitehead, Licensed Psychologist

Tip of the week: June 23, 2016

“Become part of the team again! No matter what our titles are within the agency, we are all a part of something great. When we feel part of the team our spirits lift and morale is raised and it is when we are up there, we are our best for ourselves and our clients!” – Laura Vernier, Lead Child Mental Health Targeted Case Manager

Tip of the week: June 23, 2016

“Silence is deafening, but a very necessary and useful tool for working with men and women who have been affected by traumatic experiences.” –Jerrion Richardson, School Based Therapist, Clinical Trainee

Tip of the week: June 17, 2016

  1. The LGBT community is still at risk for emotional and physical violence.
  2. This event (the Orlando Shooting) has re-traumatized many people in the LGBT community.
  3. You never know who is around you that could be part of the LGBT community or has friends and/or family that are. This impacts them too.
  4. Put up your Safe Space signs so that clients know you are safe.
  5. June is Pride month around the US.
  6. The last weekend in June is always the Twin Cities Pride Festival.
  7.  Below are resources for you and your clients.  Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions regarding the LGBT community.- Becky Martin-Facer, Supervisor, Therapist

Tip of the week: June 3, 2016

“We should take time to get to know each other as providers, colleagues, allow time to debrief together as a team, and to recognize when a colleague is struggling. It should be taught within the work setting that secondary trauma can happen to all of us and that we are in this field because we care. We should care about each other enough to a create an environment where you are able to feel comfortable. Open up to colleagues by sharing what you are struggling with or asking someone questions such as: I realized that was a difficult situation or call, how are you doing and how I can support?

There are a number of possible behavioral changes that might result from vicarious traumatization, including:

  • Becoming judgmental of others
  • Tuning out
  • Having a reduced sense of connection with loved ones and colleagues
  • Becoming cynical or angry and losing hope or a sense of meaning
  • Developing rescue fantasies, becoming overinvolved, taking on others’ problems
  • Developing overly rigid, strict boundaries
  • Feeling heightened protectiveness as a result of a decreased sense of the safety of loved ones
  • Avoiding social contact
  • Avoiding work contact” –Amal Hassan, Crisis Response Team

Tip of the week: May 26, 2016

“Imagine how you would feel if you needed the assistance of a service animal. You might already be traumatized by the fact you will easily stick out in public. Then imagine having to prove your animal is actually there to serve you for a specific reason – so you can function at a higher level in our society. Simply put, people who are already treated very differently in our society were put in a place of fear and the new law can help alleviate some of that.
So the next time a horse walks into a bar, it may not actually be a joke.
For some more information on this topic, you can find a story here: http://www.accesspress.org/blog/2013/08/10/no-id-required-for-service-dogs/” – Zachary Dorholt

Tip of the week: May 20, 2016

“Sometimes adjusting to uncomfortable changes is more trouble than we would care to admit.  Whether it is a neighborhood, an agency, coworker’s behavior, or our perception of a client’s stubbornness, we would do well to consider these changes within the context of each member’s personal trauma history to gain a broader perspective.” – Jerrion Richardson, School Based Therapist, Clinical Trainee

Tip of the week: May 6, 2016

“Please consider using some of your established trust to vouch for our Healthcare Integration Collaboration (HI-C) program in Midtown. As the ACE research indicates, our clients are in need of excellent medical care in addition to the Chemical and Mental health services provided at CMMHC. Let’s work together to provide holistic healing for our clients and community.”- Steven Loos, Director of Outpatient Services

Tip of the week: April 15, 2016

“Open your perspective and your heart to truly listen to others and try to understand them.  In doing so we truly connect with others.” – Kristi Sandin-Rieck

Tip of the week: April 8, 2016

“Tell an appropriate joke. Sing a song, Act a little goofy. Let our clients know that everyone has tough situations to handle and that it’s okay to see a brighter side. Our clients maybe don’t see as many bright sides as other people do, so it is up to all of us to help it along.” –Sue Bauer, Mental Health Practitioner

Tip of the week: January 22, 2016

“It may be easy for many of us to teach stress reduction and emotional regulation skills to the people we serve, but are you able to put these same skills to use in your own life? The ability to work through our own “stuff” is paramount to our own wellness, as well as, the people we serve.”- Rebecca Richel, Vocational Specialist

Tip of the week: December 24, 2015

“We wear many hats in our roles as mental health workers, regardless of what our actual job title may be.  Among our roles, we are called to advocate and educate the community at large. Trauma Informed Care principles call upon us to not only make changes within our agency, but also to the greater community we serve.”- Rebecca Richel, Vocational Specialist

Tip of the week: December 17, 2015

“We all know that there are statistics out there describing a shocking number of people who have experienced trauma or traumatic events, but what comes with that is an infinite number of ways of how it impacts people. At Northway, every day I am seeing our work come to life in the way we are working towards gaining a deeper understanding by realizing we really can’t assume things about people. Ask questions. Every day we are getting better and better at realizing that we are not the ones who are the experts here, our clients are because they are the ones who know themselves best. We guide and we encourage, but most importantly, we listen, because they are the ones who actually have the answers. We seek first to understand. The rest falls in line after.”- Carly Reyes, Treatment Director for Northway IRTS

Tip of the week: December 10, 2015

“Discover the natural process within yourself that helps you heal traumas in your life and those of our clients. The human being has an amazing capacity for self-healing. Tapping into our own strengths, we can help our clients discover their own natural process of recovery and guide them towards a healthy process.” –David Johnson

Tip of the week: November 23, 2015

“Collaboration is a key part of being a trauma informed provider and agency. Take a look at what other CMMHC providers are assigned to your client. Send an email, reach out, and build a team. In working together we can only better help our clients and ourselves!

‘When ‘i’ is replaced by ‘we’, even ‘illness’ becomes ‘wellness’.’SCHARF”-Laura Vernier, Child Mental Health Targeted Case Manager

Tip of the week: November 13, 2015

“In graduate school we learned the “Basic Counseling Skills” of empathy, connecting with your clients, and reflective listening. I have always been frustrated with this term, as the implication is that we should move beyond these skills to more “advanced techniques.” Please remember that these skills are not basic, but essential.”- Steven Loos, Director of Outpatient Services

Tip of the week: November 6, 2015

“Remember, the five senses set the tone prior to Therapy even occurring.
During the month of October and November, the TIC Environmental Subcommittee will collect Company-wide environmental information via surveys. After that, we will review the survey results and prioritize the importance of specific environmental features. Finally, we will work collectively at all of the sites, to continue to improve our surroundings, so as to offer our Clients the best possible ‘time to heal and place to start'”- Tracy Lord, Office Manager

Tip of the week: October 9, 2015

“We owe our clients the best that we can give them each and every time they walk through our doors. We never know exactly what brought them here, or what they have faced in the week since we have seen them.”- Stephanie Barnes, Buffalo Clinic Manager

Tip of the week: September 30, 2015

“At the core of recovery is self-awareness” Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.

“This experience puts into play what I have been learning through reading “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. I am drawn to the areas of the book which focus on the recommendation for people to learn the skills of mindfulness as a means to recognize and begin to change their reactions to stressful triggers. Imagine how hard it must be for the people we serve to open the door to face their triggers, rather than remaining inside the comfort of their own “home”. When a client arrives late or perhaps, misses a scheduled appointment, do you wonder or inquire about the cause? And if you discover it was because of the “snake” at their door, what is your next action plan to offer help?”- Rebecca Richel, Vocational Specialist

Tip of the week: September 10, 2015

“Kindness is something we should always be practicing no matter what, no matter who, no matter where. Clients, co-workers, strangers and family alike, we are all in this together. It’s the easiest thing to do! Say hello, make eye contact with others, ask someone how their day was. This week, September 7th-13th, marks National Suicide Prevention Week. For anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts or experiencing a crisis, remember a few (kind) minutes may ease the pain. TXT4Life and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline want all to know that, every minute of your life is important, and provide some ways to get through the tough ones:

  • Visit your neighbors
  • Go for a walk
  • Talk or text it out with someone (Text “life” to 61222)
  • Watch a movie
  • Tell a (bad) joke
  • Bake cookies
  • Do whatever makes you feel happy, good about yourself, and keeps you safe!” –Laura Vernier, Child Mental Health Targeted Case Manager

Tip of the week: September 4, 2015

“Take a moment to recognize the outstanding work of one of your colleagues. Be mindful of your own level of stress and how this shapes your communication with your peers. Let’s work together to create a lived experience of safety in which we can all flourish.”- Stephanie Klein

Tip of the week: July 31, 2015

“Playing video games there is often a “cheat code” to obtain more lives, more skills or more abilities. I believe there is a cheat code to the metaphor above. Invest 5 coins in self-care on a regular basis and you may find yourself with some spare coins to spend.”- Steven Loos, Director of Outpatient Services

Tip of the week: June 23, 2015

“Take a moment and reflect upon the space in which you interact with clients. What small things can you do to create sanctuary and choice for your clients? Start small and build momentum with the Environment and Client Experience Subcommittee.”- Nicole Wolf

Tip of the week: February 3, 2015

“We are all beautiful, and we are all wounded.  There is no end to healing and maintenance. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and others is to challenge ourselves to re-look and be mindful of our own wounds and to be gentle and forgiving along our healing journey.”- Theresa Solarz

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