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3 posts from June 2009


A personal note from Sandee Nebel

Sandee Nebel, MS,
Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Our team is expanding! Liz and I are pleased to welcome two new registered interns to the White Picket Fence Counseling Center, LLC:


Tara Harvill, MA, is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern and Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern and Meredith Hirshhorn, MA, is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern. Tara and Meredith will be co-facilitating some of our groups and workshops, and we will be adding their bios to the website soon at


And we can't forget to mention Joe Bruner, B.S., Business Development Coordinator. If you've called the office, chances are you've spoken to Joe on the phone. He has also been working behind the scenes as our liaison in the medical and mental health community, helping to spread the word about our work.


In celebration of our team here at the White Picket Fence Counseling Center, today's feature article is a team effort. Stress seems to be the one thing almost everyone we know has in common. However, the way we all deal with stress is not typically the same for each individual. We all have our own ways of handling the stressful situations that can be part of our daily lives.  We have an endless supply of tools to share with our clients.


We think it is important to have a couple of coping strategies for stress on hand – things that you can turn to when you feel your stress level begin to rise. So we decided to present our own favorite stress management tools.


But just for fun, we're going to keep you guessing. There are tools here from Sandee, Joe, Liz, Tara and Meredith. Can you guess who contributed each tool?

Stress Management Tools

Stress comes in all forms -- sometimes it helps motivate you to accomplish a task, such as meeting a deadline for work or school.  Other times, it impacts your relationship with food, people and yourself!  Check out these tools and join us for upcoming workshops to apply them!

Stress management tool #1: Creativity and the arts

In my spare time, I use various therapeutic modalities to relax and de-stress. I have always enjoyed using creativity to spark a thought, vision, or to provide a sense of calmness to my day. I mainly use art mediums--clay, paint, or drawing to relax and re-focus. I find myself painting abstract work when I feel relaxed, which takes me back to feeling like a child again. I also enjoy photography when I want to express how I feel without words. I find myself using the expressive arts as a therapeutic tool, not only in my own life, but also in my work with my clients.


If there is a form of creative expression you've always wanted to try – or one that you've been longing to get back to – there's no better time than the present. Focus on enjoying the process, instead of what the final product looks like. This is just for you.


Stress management tool #2: A furry friend

Research has shown that pets actually provide extraordinary health benefits, in addition to improving one’s quality of life? Pets, such as dogs and cats, have been shown to improve mood, control blood pressure, reduce stress, and diminish feelings of loneliness and isolation. I, myself, own several animals and often find comfort and peace from spending time with them. My pets demand nothing more from me than my company. They offer unconditional love and don’t mind how I’m dressed, if I’m having a bad-hair day, or whether or not I’ve made the bed!

If you have a pet at home, try setting time aside for your furry companion and reap the rewards from a relationship that is comfortable with silence, trustworthy of all your secrets, and abundant with love and affection!


Stress management tool #3: The water's edge

Even though the weather is often warm enough to go to the beach here, it's in the summer when I really plug into the relaxing effects of having fun in the sun. Summer is the perfect time to "chill out" by the water's edge, and I've done it all my life – from summers on the Jersey shore to winter vacations in South Florida, to today at New Smyrna Beach or Long Boat Key. But it's not just at the beach where I find my stress melting away – it's being near any body of water, even lying by the pool! Physically, I feel refuelled by the sun and the fresh air, emotionally and spiritually I feel rejuvenated in the presence of nature.


Take a trip to the water's edge and see if it helps to melt your stress away. Just be sure to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays – safety first!


Stress management tool #4: A good book

For me, reading a book is an automatic stress reducer. Lately, I have been enjoying memoirs about people's personal experiences. I think this is because it is a way of getting out of my own head and into someone else’s for a while. Reading can be a great escape, transporting you to another world for even just a couple of minutes, which is often enough time to lower your stress level.

If you like to read, try committing yourself to reading something you enjoy for at least twenty minutes a day. If you're more visual, look for magazines or art books that inspire you. Or if you're more auditory or musical, find a spoken word recording or a piece of music that you find soothing. The important thing is to take that time for yourself.


Stress management tool #5: Coaching Sports

A great way I’ve found for me to reduce the stress in my life is through coaching.  Coaching provides me the opportunity to do two of my favorite things, be around sports and interact with people.  The enjoyment I get from sharing my knowledge is very rewarding.  The unselfishness of helping others helps me forget about what stresses I have going on and to focus on teaching, while encouraging that individual be the best they possibly can. 


It was really fun to chat around the office about our different stress management tools. We noticed that what we all have in common is that we've thought about the tool that works best for us, and we have a plan to make that a regular part of our lives. That helps keep our stress levels down, AND it keeps the tool right at our fingertips and on our minds when life throws a curveball and we experience some unexpected stress.


Did you guess correctly? Tool #1 was from Meredith Hirshhorn, tool #2 was from Tara Harvill, tool #3 was from Sandee Nebel, tool #4 was from Liz Strong and tool #5 was from Joe Bruner.

Upcoming workshops

Know of a friend who may benefit from one of our workshops or groups?  Please feel free to forward our newsletter. 

Beating Bulimia – Do you eat or binge and compensate with purging, restricting or exercise? Join a dietician and a therapist for this group discussion.

Date: June 8th from 6:00-8:00 p.m.


Stress and the Link to Eating Behaviors – Do you eat to calm your nerves? Do you feel uncontrollable cravings? Join us for:


Stress Eating workshop (June 15th)


Tips and Tools for Stress Management (June 29th)


Overeating Recovery Group – Do you emotionally overeat? Do want to work on these issues and move into action?

New group sessions are starting on Thursday, June 11th


Coming soon:  Communicating Assertively and Breaking Free from Overcaring


To register, please call our office or click here to email us.