Sunday, February 27, 2011

Get Out and Experience Spring!

The last of the snow is melting, the temperatures are warming, and the birds are returning. This can only mean one thing – spring is here! Mother Nature is shedding the old and welcoming the new. By applying this rebirth analogy to our own lives, we can do the same. Many of us are dissatisfied with certain aspects of our life. But now is the time to throw away our mental baggage, wipe the slate clean, and start fresh.

Here are some great (and free) places to visit to experience Mother Nature’s beauty and inspiring message:

1) Baker Park

2) Catoctin Mountain Park

3) Cunningham Falls State Park

4) Memorial Park

5) Fountain Rock Park and Nature Center

6) Gathland State park

7) Gambrill State Park

8) Greenbrier State Park

9) Utica Mills Covered Bridge

10) Monocacy National Battlefield

11) The Bridges of Washington County

12) Crystal Grottoes Caverns

As you get in touch with the physical changes happening around you, it can be easier to get in touch with your own physical presence in this world. A fun way to increase your mindfulness is to compile a digital diary. You can do this with a digital camera, or even your phone. While you are walking through any of the above mentioned parks, take photos of what you see. Later, reflect on these photos. What thoughts or feelings surfaced? What self defeating or self inhibiting thoughts can you reframe into a more positive light? Return to the same spot a week later. How has Mother Nature changed? How have you changed? How has your perspective changed?

Mother Nature can be a profound instructor. Let’s take a lesson from her.

By: Jess Heckerman, NCC

301-712-9015, Ext 1024


We've all heard the expression "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." Well, I would argue that that is not true and that we are often the biggest culprits of hurting ourselves with words. How many times have you said to yourself "I can't do anything right" or "I'll never be able to do this" when attempting something new or challenging? Or said to yourself "I'm too fat" or "I'm not good enough" when looking in the mirror. These words, spoken to ourselves, gradually chip away at our self-esteem, confidence and energy. They become part of who we are and hold us back from becoming our best selves.

A wonderful way to counteract our inclination towards negativity are Affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements that we repeat to ourselves. Over time, affirmations help us to feel content in the present and to reach our goals in the future. Affirmations should be written in a positive form and set in the present. For example, if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and telling yourself that you will never get everything done, close your eyes and imagine how it would feel if you were calm and in control. What would things look like if you had "everything done"? Once this vision is firmly in your mind, create an affirmation that is a reflection of the image and feeling. Possible affirmations could be "My mind is calm." , "I am in control." or "All that I do is enough." Write this affirmation and post it somewhere that you can see and then repeat it to yourself throughout the day. Affirmations can be used in every area of your life and you will be amazed at the power of positive thinking.

by Kristi Hallman, LCSW-C

Kristi can be reached at or (301)712-9015 ext. 1012

Therapy Groups Being Offered

Writing as a Tool for Healing

This new therapy group will offer adult participants an opportunity to explore places where they are stuck in their lives or in need of healing through the creative act of writing. The group will offer a sacred and safe space for sharing insights and growth from each person’s writing process. Writing activities will be designed to assist participants in accessing their inner guidance and finding their authentic voice. No writing experience necessary! Please call Pam McDonald, LCSW-C, for more information at 301-712-9015, x1022. The group will meet weekly for 10 weeks on Thursdays from 6-7 p.m. Starting date to be announced. Cost: $60/session.



Explore the concept of self-care and stress management while you learn a variety of techniques to help you manage stress. Tuesday night and Friday morning groups available. Both start in March and will run for 6 sessions.

For more information contact Kristi Hallman, LCSW-C at (301)712-9015 ext 1012 or www.KristiHallman.c



Help your child feel more confident by providing him/her the opportunity to explore issues related to self-esteem, friendship, communication and conflict resolution. Groups will begin in April and will run for 6 sessions.

For more information contact Kristi Hallman, LCSW-C at (301)712-9015 ext 1012 or