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5 entries from September 2014

Creative Solutions Counseling Launches First-of-its-Kind Mental Health Urgent Care Program in West Michigan

Creative Solutions Counseling Launches First-of-its-Kind Mental Health Urgent Care Program in West Michigan

CSC NOW gives clients the ability to be seen promptly for their urgent mental health needs without having to wait for an appointment.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – Sep. 23, 2014 – All it takes is a fight with your spouse, a bad day at school, a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, or the loss of a loved one to send a person into a state of sadness and depression.

Creative Solutions Counseling (CSC) is part of the Joe Martino Counseling Network, and is one of West Michigan’s largest independent counseling practices.  Creative Solutions Counseling has launched CSC NOW, a new program dedicated to providing urgent, specialized mental health care that requires no wait and no referrals.

“Almost everyone at some point will experience a traumatic event in their life that will leave them uncertain of the present and future” said Joe Martino, Clinical Director of the Joe Martino Counseling Network. “Our goal with CSC NOW is to treat people when their crisis occurs. We want them to be heard.”

The concept behind CSC NOW gives clients the ability to speak promptly with a CSC Mental Health Specialists who is specially trained in the area of crisis management for their urgent mental health needs.  This saves clients time bypassing a hospital ER, a call to their doctor, or therapist.

Anyone who has experienced a mental health crisis knows they usually only have two options: To be admitted to a mental hospital or wait for an appointment with their therapist. Being admitted to a hospital has a certain stigma behind it that prevents people from seeking care plus, if you go to an emergency room you may have to wait a long time and fill out countless forms just to be heard. If your situation is not life-threatening, then we want you to come to our clinic and be seen today.

The CSC NOW program, located at 2305 East Paris Ave, Suite 203, Grand Rapids, gives client’s access to CSC established specialized clinical services.

  • Evening hours: CSC NOW is open from 11 am to 8 p.m. to treat after hour’s urgent mental health care issues.
  • Triage Care: CSC NOW clinic will provide each individual that enters our clinic a session with a Mental Health Specialists who will answer their questions, listen and provide directions, but most importantly they will help you with continued care by scheduling future appointments.
  • On-site support services: Most diagnostic and intervention services can be handled by our team of CSC NOW Mental Health Specialists, however, if you are unsure about the nature of your emergency, and if that emergency would require further treatment, our team of mental health therapists are available to help assess your situation and make recommendations.

While it is the first of its kind in West Michigan, the CSC NOW concept follows a growing trend in the Western United States.

Mental Health urgent situations are usually characterized as any situation that causes a person to feel hopeless, afraid, or uncertain of their future.

About Creative Solutions Counseling

Founded in 2010 Creative Solutions Counseling (CSC) is one of the largest non-hospital affiliated clinic in Western Michigan. Creative Solutions Counseling in Grand Rapids and the Joe Martino Counseling Center of Lowell, MI are both part of the Joe Martino Counseling Network.

CSC NOW, a program dedicated to providing urgent mental healthcare requiring no wait to get in and no referrals. The program features extended hours until 8p.m Monday through Thursday.  Visit to learn more about these services.

5 Truths about Parenting

  1. Parenting is about shaping the adult your child will and is becoming.
  2. Parenting is about building trust and teaching real, honest vulnerability.
  3. Parenting is about inviting your children into adulthood, which means we have to teach them to think. This means they may grow up to think differently than we do.
  4. Parenting is about teaching our children the meaning of unconditional love. This cannot be understated.
  5. Parenting is about helping your child deal with their fears and processing their emotions and feelings.


5 Ways to Change How We Are Raising Boys. (Guest Post)

This post come from my friend Ty Woznek. You can find him online here. His thoughts are sure to start some conversations today. A picture of his boys can be found at the end of this post.

I agree we need to reprogram how we raise boys.

Some suggestions:

1) End crazy zero tolerance policies. Suspending a boy for punching a bully is nuts. May not be the correct course of action, but it's not suspension worthy.

2) Bring back winners & losers. If a boy hates losing, he'll work harder on winning.

3) Let boys play with guns. Let them take risks. Let them achieve glory. Let em prank. Will they go to far? Yes. But robbing boys of failure also robs them of success. Let them take the risk at work, not just playing sports. 10668682_10204683532879394_939512397_n

4) Train them to be gentlemen and not label such as misogyny. It's not, it's being classy, romantic, and civil. And yes, part of that means we can say: "Man up!" and not be accused of meaning "UFC fighting, beer guzzling, BBQ dripping from mouth barbarian."

5) STOP PORTRAYING DADS AS DUMB OR DEADBEATS. We have a dad problem more than anything.

What do we do with Ray Rice, Domestic Violence and how do we talk to our kids?

Yesterday, I was interviewed by a local news agency regarding domestic violence and hero worship. You can see the interview below.
By now, you've probably seen the video of Ray Rice knocking his then fiance out. It's a violent and disturbing video.


Perhaps more disturbing to me is how we handle the reality of domestic violence in our society.

First, let's look at some numbers that honestly cause my stomach to tighten in knots.

    •    1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
    •    Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
    •    Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
    •    Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
    •    Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.
    •    Every year, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.
    •    Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at high rates (30% to 60%).
    •    A 2005 Michigan study found that children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to have health problems, including becoming sick more often, having frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more tired and lethargic.
    •    A 2003 study found that children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death (All numbers from here).

Those numbers disturb me. With those numbers, it is probably safe to assume that someone you know, someone your children goes to school with, maybe multiple someones is the victim of domestic violence.

Someone is going to sleep tonight afraid of the person sleeping next to them.
I think one of our biggest problems is that for too many people, domestic violence is something that is just in the background of life. It's not actually something we engage or try to change.

I'm on record as loving Facebook. Yesterday, Facebook was disturbing to me. So many people wanted to defend what Ray Rice did and some went so far as to say that he shouldn't lose his job.
One person even said that they (the Ravens) are playing the hated Steelers this week and that "lot's of men have hit their women and still had a job."
I think another problem highlighted by this incident with Ray Rice is that we tend to excuse the worst of behaviors from our sports heroes. I am afraid we do this in too many high schools and colleges.
We want to feel like winners. Badly.
In order to feel like a winner, we want to pretend that these athletes exist purely on the field.
But they don't.
And this not so subtle message of it's OK to beat your woman if you're on my sports team tells our kids there are some poeple who have a different set of rules.
We need to explain to our kids that domestic violence is never OK. It's never Ok to hurt someone because they have made us mad.

Winning isn't the only thing.

There are many things that are way more important than winning. If your team loses because a key person isn't on it because he's been suspended for beating his wife/girlfriend/fiance, then so be it.
Winning a sports game just isn't that important.

Lastly, we need to stop villifying Janay Rice and all victims of domestic violence. I don't know what she said in that elevator. I don't know the current situation but she seems to believe it was a one time event.

She has the right to do whatever she wants to do with her life in regards to this situation, even if you or I think it's wrong. We need to treat her with respect.

We tend to go to extremes with our responses to the victims. Too often, we imply that they must have done something to deserve it (Stephen A. Smith, anyone?) or we call them gold diggers and other derogatory names because we don't understand why they are choosing to stay.
I do not believe that any person should stay with a person who is abusing them and men get abused as well, but I have to give each person the dignity afforded to every human being to make their own choices.

Domestic violence is real. It is tearing at our society and it needs to be addressed.

To watch my interview, click here.

Why am I so emotional today?

I have random memories from first days of school.
I suppose that’s true for many people.
One positive one is cutting grass the night before. Back then, ABC or some such station had Monday Night Baseball and I wanted to watch the Dodgers play with my mom.
She loved Tommy Lasorda, him being Italian sealed that deal.
I also remember the night before sixth grade. I was going to a new school.  I wasn’t sure what to think. It was pretty much a train wreck.  I hated that year.
Probably at least some of that angst was just normal middle school stuff.
But today my oldest daughter started sixth grade. Photo
I almost always get a little down when we start the back to school ramp up. I like having my kids home. I like the freedom they (and I have) to visit the office and stay up late swimming.
I know education is a necessity (the grammatical errors that are sure to run through this post aside), but there is a lot of school systems that I don’t truly understand.

I’m also a pretty optimistic person. I hardly ever get too down, nor do I get grumpy for an entire day too often.

But yesterday I was grumpy.

And today as I drove away from the school where I had just dropped my daughter off for her first day, I fought back tears.
I woke up at 5:15 and didn’t fall back asleep this morning.

This caused me to what my family jokingly refers to as “therapize” myself. That is to say, I started to deconstruct my feelings so I could better understand them and process them.

I think there are a couple of things going on. For whatever reason, the loss of my mom has been really poignant this week.

But of course, there is more.
I think my daughter starting sixth grade has caused me to relive some of that and worry for her.
I mean, isn’t that the heart of parenting?
We don’t want our kids to suffer as we did.
We don’t want our kids to face the same bullies we faced.
We don’t want them to feel the searing hot pain of being misunderstood or outright rejected.
My daughter is so excited for middle school. She had a year, where a bully targeted her because my daughter had success at a project that the bully did not experience.
My daughter is a lot like me. She enjoys discussions about deep and random things.
I haven’t told her about my own troubles because the time isn’t right yet. Some day I will tell her all of it.

For now, I will hold my breath and hope. I will hope that her sixth grade year is better than mine was all those years ago. If it is not, we’ll deal with that as a family.
I will hope that her infectious desire to learn and process things will blossom through this year.
I will hope that I lead her well by walking beside her and her sisters as they traverse this next chapter of life. For some reason, the younger grades don’t seem to get to me as much.

I will also grieve.

I love being a dad. Seriously, besides getting married, it is absolutely the best thing I have ever done. And my kids are growing up. They are moving through the stages and its wonderful.
Wonderful change.
Years ago someone told me that all change is loss. I believed him then and I believe him now. We tend to think that grief is inherently bad. I disagree with that sentiment. Grief simply exists. It's a reminder that we are all growing and dying. It is a reminder that life is too short and time is too fast. It is a reminder of all that we've loved and all that we've lost.

So to you, my friend, I say wherever you are right now on the kids spectrum. May you find contentment and peace. May you find the courage to process your own stuff that having (or not having) kids brings up in you. May you find the next step while enjoying the current one.