The Creative Blog

An ongoing series about mental health topics.

How to Protect Your Mental Health During the Holidays

Nicole Hoffmann, PLMHP, ATR-P

December 20, 2022

The holidays are supposed to be meaningful time spent with loved ones near and far. However, this time can be very stressful for many people, and some just want to avoid the holidays altogether.

Why is this? There are several reasons. One reason may be because there are a lot of expectations. Everyone wants to have professional holiday photos taken for their Christmas cards, and gather for elaborate meals, and buy nice gifts for everyone on their lists.

Another reason may be that some people are grieving the loss of loved ones from the past 2 ½ years and haven’t been able to grieve appropriately. Getting together with other people and acting like nothing happened can be traumatic for some.

It doesn’t have to be this complicated. Here are some tips to make the holidays more enjoyable for everyone:

  1. Think about what you want. It is perfectly okay to put yourself first during the holidays. Think about what stresses you out during the holidays, and what you enjoy. Write this down and keep it in mind from year to year. Then you can prioritize what is important and what is not.
  2. Communicate with your loved ones. Make your wants and needs known among your family and friends. If you are on a budget or are only able to visit on a certain day, let them know this. Have respectful responses ready in case they need clarification or become upset.
  3. Establish boundaries. For example, if you aren’t willing to see old friends every night that you are home for the holidays, that is okay. Tell them you are sorry to miss them this time, but you hope to catch them the next time you are both home.
  4. Give yourself grace. If things don’t go according to plan, give yourself grace and know that nothing is perfect. Be truthful with your emotions, both with yourself and with your loved ones. Take a step back if needed, or remove yourself from an uncomfortable situation.
  5. Reflect. After the holidays, reflect on what you enjoyed and what could have gone better. Make notes for the next holiday.

If you need additional support, reaching out to a mental health professional is always an option. There are several therapists at Creative Counseling and Studio taking new clients, and we each look forward to working with you.

For more information, please call (402) 401-4445 or visit

Image: obtained from


The Benefits of Virtual Art Therapy

Nicole Hoffmann, PLMHP, ATR-P

July 20, 2022

Many people are intimidated by the idea of art therapy. The COVID epidemic changed the way many of us conduct meetings, and now art therapy can be done in person or virtually. If you have been thinking about trying virtual art therapy, now is the time to do it.

You also do not need to be an artist or have artistic ability to benefit from art therapy. Art therapy is used to tell your story, and that can be done using stick figures, shapes, colors and ‘childlike’ images. The process of creating the art is what is important in working with an art therapist. Art therapists are trained to provide creative self-expression techniques to help clients become comfortable with creating art and gain emotional insight from the end result, no matter how it looks.

Many people find virtual art therapy beneficial, in that it saves time and money by eliminating the need to drive to an office. Clients also enjoy having therapy in the comfort of their own home, or during a lunch break at their place of work. The connection between art therapist and client can still be built and strengthened over time through virtual art therapy.

Telehealth services are secure with a HIPAA compliant platform and appropriate ethical guidelines. Your privacy is protected because sessions are never recorded. Also, notes are saved on the same secure platform, accessible only to your therapist.

A few things are necessary to prepare for virtual art therapy sessions:

1. A safe and private space: It is essential to have a quiet, private space to meet with your therapist. This allows to proper HIPAA compliance, as well as the opportunity for candid expression during the session.

2. Good lighting and technology: It is important for the art therapist to be able to see their client clearly, to assess for overall well-being. It is best to have good lighting above you or to your side, but not behind you. You will also need a computer, phone or tablet to sign in to your telehealth appointment. You need a good Internet connection and the latest version of your preferred browser.

3. Art materials: You are welcome to use whatever art supplies you have on hand, even if it’s simply notebook paper and a pencil.

4. The most important thing: YOU! It is okay to feel nervous or anxious before a session. Be sure to communicate your feelings with your art therapist, and you can work through them together.

Starting therapy when life gets overwhelming is one of the best things you can do for your overall well-being. Telehealth is an easy way to access this service when you need it most. Creative Counseling and Studio has art therapists who meet with clients via telehealth. To set up an appointment, please call us at (402) 401-4445 or visit

Ways to Maintain Your Identity While in a Relationship

Nicole Hoffmann, PLMHP, ATR-P

June 28, 2022

It is easy to compromise or sacrifice so much for or with your partner that you start to lose yourself in your relationship. One day you may stop and realize, “Who am I? What do I want and need? How did this happen?” It is a very isolating, fearful feeling.

Here are some tips to maintain who you are while in a romantic relationship:

1. Maintain ‘me’ time. It is easy to always want to spend time or enjoy hobbies with your significant other. However, it is important to do things you enjoy on your own, also. Remember your personality, quirks, likes and dislikes, and spend time cultivating them.

2. Spend time with family and friends. Sometimes people cut family and friends out of their lives over time, in order to spend most of their time with their partner. This can lead to isolation and resentment, especially if the relationship declines. It is important to keep family and friends close, in order to maintain an honest, well-rounded circle of support around you.

3. Set boundaries with your partner. When you start dating someone, it is optimal to set boundaries early. How much space do each of you need? What things are most important to you? You should be with someone who likes you for you. Clear communication and understanding will help set the relationship off on the right foot.

4. Continue to think logically. Even though new love can be exciting and all-consuming, it is important to continue to think logically. Think about what you value most in your life, and what you need to be happy in your own space.

5. Let go if you need to. Not all relationships are fairy tales, and sometimes it is best to end something that isn’t authentic or isn’t good for you. Breakups are painful to move through, but finding the person you are meant to be with is worth it in the end.

If you are struggling with how to maintain your identity in a relationship, please reach out to us at Creative Counseling and Studio by calling (402) 401-4445 or visit

Source: “9 Things You Can Do To Avoid Losing Your Identity While in a Relationship” by Taylor DuVall. Accessed June 23, 2022.

Image: obtained from 

How to Find the Right Therapist for You

Nicole Hoffmann, PLMHP, ATR-P

March 31st, 2022

There are many factors that go into finding a therapist that is right for you. Various sources of therapist information exist today, including word of mouth, online therapist directories, websites and social media. This makes it easy to access information, but can also be overwhelming. Here are some things to consider when looking for a therapist:

1. What are you wanting to work on in therapy? Take time to ponder what you are wanting to focus on in therapy. Determine the top one or two items that you want to prioritize.

2. What kind of therapist are you looking for? Think about specifics when it comes to your potential therapist: Do you prefer a male or female? Do you want someone who is direct or someone who is more laid-back? Consider ethnicity, religious, and other intersectional qualities of potential therapists. Also think about whether you are comfortable with telehealth, or prefer in-person sessions.

3. What will my insurance cover? Many potential clients look for a therapist who accepts their insurance. This is important to consider ahead of time, in order to avoid unexpected costs.

Once you have thought about what kind of therapy and therapist would be best for you, start searching online or in your local area. There are many therapist directories available, including Psychology Today and Therapists usually list their specialties and skill sets, so look for one that closely matches what you are wanting to work on and what type of therapy style you would prefer.

After you have found a therapist that you want to try, call their office and schedule a screening. There, the therapist’s team will ask several screening questions about you and your therapy goals. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions, also. Most offices are very helpful and happy to answer any questions regarding the therapy process.

During your first session with the therapist, it is important to be clear in what your goals are and what you expect from therapy. Check in with yourself after the session to see how you feel. Do you feel better/more hopeful after the session than before? Are there some things you want to clarify with the therapist in the next session? It is imperative that you feel comfortable, in order to achieve optimal therapeutic success.

If you have a few sessions with the therapist and communicate what you need from them, and the sessions still don’t feel right, it is perfectly fine to switch therapists. It is vital to find the right therapist for you, and sometimes change is the best thing.

The therapists at Creative Counseling and Studio specialize in a variety of mental health needs, and offer telehealth and in-person sessions. To contact Creative Counseling and Studio, call (402) 401-4445 or visit

holidays, covid-19, 2020

Celebrating Black History Month at Creative Counseling and Studio!

Nicole Hoffmann, PLMHP, ATR-P

February 23, 2022

In honor of Black History Month, we want to take the opportunity to highlight our wonderful Black therapists and staff at Creative Counseling and Studio.

Yasmin Tucker, ATR, LIMHP, LPC, LADC, CCTP, is a child, teen and adult therapist who specializes in art therapy, EMDR, CPP, DBT, trauma-informed & multiculturally sensitive care. She received her Master of Science in Art Therapy from Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Yasmin is a nationally registered art therapist, licensed independent mental health practitioner, licensed professional counselor, licensed alcohol and drug counselor and certified clinical trauma professional. She has worked with children, adults, persons in recovery from substances, people struggling with severe and persistent mental illnesses, parent-child dyads, families, and couples. Yasmin has over 16 years of experience in social services and 7 years as a practicing therapist.

Yasmin founded Creative Counseling and Studio in 2019 to provide an affirming and expressive space for multicultural folks struggling with mental illness and addiction. In Yasmin’s spare time, she enjoys art making, crafting, watching documentaries, dancing, short road trips and spending time with her family.

Zhomontee Watson, MS, PLMHP, graduated with a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She is a provisionally licensed mental health practitioner. 

Zhomontee Watson, MS, PLMHP, treats young adults with mild to severe mental illness. Her specialties are depression, anxiety, trauma, life transitions, setting boundaries, cultural issues, daily stressors and grief. Along with talk therapy, Zhomontee provides creative, expressive, and hands on approaches to mental health counseling.

She is body positive, Queer Allied, Transgender Allied and Racial Justice Allied. She practices: cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, rational emotive behavioral therapy, trauma informed care, drama therapy, narrative therapy, play therapy, role play, strength based, multicultural, integrative, motivational interviewing and Christian counseling.

Zhomontee is also an established actress and singer in the Omaha area. You may recognize Zhomontee from her roles as Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act (Omaha Community Playhouse), Washing Machine in Caroline or Change (Omaha Community Playhouse), Miss Medda Larkin in Newsies (The Rose Theater), and Asaka in Once on This Island (SNAP! Productions and South High School) and most recently Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus at The Rose. She has received multiple awards, including the OEAA for Best Actress in a Musical in 2017 for her role as Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act.

Rose Payne, MS, PLMHP, PLADC, is a behavioral health and substance abuse counselor. She received her Master of Science in Clinical Counseling from Bellevue University. She specializes in solution focused interventions and traditional individual, family, and couples therapy, in addition to smoking cessation and strengths-based trauma informed care. Rose also specializes in multicultural adults and teens who are struggling with early recovery, addiction, anger issues, depression, anxiety and daily stressors.

Rose has 18 years of experience in human services with a variety of populations including: people experiencing developmental disabilities, urban low income, multicultural backgrounds, elder care, and families involved with child protective services. Rose has practiced counseling for four years and primarily utilizes CBT and DBT based interventions.

Rose is passionate about caring for her loved ones. They include her children, grandmother and pet cats. She spends her self-care time engaging in physical fitness and social events. Rose is interested in understanding the human condition and making an impact on her community.

Gaynelle Calloway, BS, PLADC, is a certified peer support and wellness specialist and provisionally licensed drug and alcohol counselor. She specializes in adults struggling with addiction and early recovery from drugs and alcohol. She is verse in SMART Recovery, 12-Step, NA/AA, Motivational Interviewing and community resources.

Gaynelle has 15+ years experience providing case management for adults in recovery from addiction. Her support includes: connecting to with landlords and helping to establish housing, coordination with community service providers, crisis counseling and sobriety accountability. Gaynelle is trained to provide smoking cessation and productive engagement with legal parties.

Ti’Esha Jones, BS, is a graduate intern in the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. She is expected to graduate in August 2022 with a provisional license in mental health counseling.

Ti’Esha, BS, has worked with the homeless population of Omaha/Douglas County for the past three years, specifically with individuals of all ages who struggle with co-occurring disorders and substance abuse disorders. Working with this population has given Ti’Esha experience in working with those struggling with life adjustments. As a fourth-generation US Army soldier, Ti’Esha also has experience with the struggles that military personnel and their dependents face on a daily basis.

Ti’Esha works with clients to adjust their mindset and lifestyle in respect to mental health struggles using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, narrative therapy, and trauma-informed approach. Ti’Esha’s goal as a mental health professional is to support young adult clients on their journeys to living lives aligned with their personal values and redefining who they are on their own terms despite pressures and stressors from society.

Beyond her passion for mental health and wellness, Ti’Esha is an avid planner and enjoys both functional and decorative planning. Although she’s lived in the midwest US for the past 6 years, Ti’Esha spent her upbringing in Japan and Korea. She hopes to work with the military population in South Korea further along in her mental health career.

Denesha Duncan, BS, is anticipating the upcoming completion of the Master Clinical Social Work program at Walden University. She will then continue her journey to obtain the Master and Clinical Social work dual state licensure in Georgia and Nebraska.

Denesha is a proud New Jersey native, currently residing in the state of Georgia. She practices through a Trauma Informed and Strength-Based approach through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in including reality therapy, mindfulness practices and motivational interviewing as she empowers others to recognize their inner strength and innate resilience.

Denesha cultivates an open dialogue communication which welcomes others to share their experiences and goals without judgement. She collaborates with others to achieve goals through creative expressions custom to the individuals’ desires.

Ayla Carson, administrative operations manager, welcomes new clients, coordinates with scheduling and keeps Creative Counseling and Studio connected via social media. Ayla joins the team with 10 years of professional experience.

Ayla's passions include traveling, enjoying nature and cooking. She has two daughters and a dog. The family enjoys exploring new places and volunteering within their community. Ayla is in school for healthcare management and aspires to be an office administrator after graduation.

Ladies, thank you for all you do for Creative Counseling and Studio and your clients! You are more appreciated than you know. To contact Creative Counseling and Studio, call (402) 401-4445 or visit

holidays, covid-19, 2020

The Benefits of Online Art Therapy Groups

Nicole Hoffmann, PLMHP, ATR-P

February 18, 2022

Even though the idea of an online art therapy group can seem intimidating to some people, there are many therapeutic benefits to this specific practice.

This has especially rung true in the last couple of years, during the COVID-19 pandemic. People have struggled with isolation, loss of control and loss of support during the pandemic. This pandemic has been traumatic for many people, especially healthcare workers and people in vulnerable populations. Providing the opportunity to create and express emotions in a safe space, without having to leave one’s home or office, can be paramount in maintaining one’s mental health.

Indeed, art therapists have acclimated to teletherapy and have adapted digital art therapy practices. Telehealth and virtual studios have enabled clients to maintain relationships with others, safely express their emotions and reconnect with coping strategies.

During online art therapy groups, people engage in art making, using whatever art supplies they have at home or work. They create art with the potential to express emotions, improve relationships, and learn mindfulness and relaxation techniques to mitigate burnout. After people have finished creating their images, they can be shared with the group if desired. The engagement level is up to each group member. Other group members can provide support by offering examples of similar experiences, sharing their feelings, and describing their methods of coping. Group members have the chance to learn from each other and lean on each other for support. Group members can further engage in the therapeutic process through reflective writing, which can help change perspective, foster insight and identify strengths.

Online art therapy groups have the power to benefit therapists, also. Mitigating the group experience and observing how group members interact with each other can be very inspiring. These experiences can help therapists learn what the group members need and how they can be optimally served in the therapeutic setting.

Creative Counseling and Studio is offering an online art therapy group, starting February 21 at 6:00 pm CT. We will provide a different theme each week, to foster the creative process and provide emotional support. Please join us and spread the word! To register for the group, please visit or call (402) 401-4445.


Jordan S. Potash, Debra Kalmanowitz, Ivy Fung, Susan A. Anand & Gretchen M. Miller (2020) Art Therapy in Pandemics: Lessons for COVID-19, Art Therapy, 37:2, 105-107, DOI: 10.1080/07421656.2020.1754047

Zsuzsanna Geréb Valachiné, Szilvia A. Karsai, Adél Dancsik, Raissa de Oliveira Negrão, Michelle M. Fitos & Renáta Cserjési (2021) Online Self-Help Art Therapy-Based Tasks During COVID-19: Qualitative Study, Art Therapy, DOI: 10.1080/07421656.2021.1976023

Image: obtained from 

holidays, covid-19, 2020

Promoting Mental Health In the Workplace

Nicole Hoffmann, PLMHP, ATR-P

January 31, 2022

Everyone has struggled with workplace stress at some point in their lives. Mental health issues can impact employee wellbeing and health, while also impacting organizations’ productivity. Psychosocial stresses in the workplace, such as job uncertainty, low control, poor management, harassment or bullying, poor communication and long hours have been shown to affect employee mental health. Negative working environments can lead to physical and mental health problems, substance use, absenteeism, low morale and lost productivity.

It is important for workplaces to promote mental health awareness, de-stigmatize mental illness and support employees with mental disorders. Employers must also help protect mental health by reducing work-related risk factors, creating positive aspects of work and developing employee strengths, as well as responding to mental health problems when they occur. Simply informing staff that support is available, involving employees in decision making, and recognizing and rewarding the contribution of employees can greatly affect the mental health and morale of an entire organization.

Here are some steps employees can take to maintain mental health in the workplace:

1. Maintain good communication with coworkers and supervisors. It is important to let your coworkers and/or supervisors know when you are struggling or need a break. Forming strong relationships with others at work enables people to work as a cohesive unit and support each other. Teamwork makes the dream work.

2. Practice self-care. It is important to practice self-care when not at work. By finding ways to relax or focus on hobbies that bring you joy, you will be able to recharge and return to work rested and focused.

3. Seek additional support when you need it. Talking to family and friends is usually very helpful, but when you need additional support in an especially stressful environment, it is vital to reach out to a licensed professional. Talking to someone who is unbiased can provide clarity and help you see what is needed to reduce work-related stress and anxiety.

4. Make hard decisions when necessary. If you follow all these steps and still feel extremely stressed out at work, it might be time to consider a job change. While leaving a job is never easy, changing your career path or pursuing other interests may be the best thing for your mental health.

Each therapist at Creative Counseling and Studio is trained to help with workplace stress and anxiety. For more information, please visit or call (402) 401-4445.


Paterson, C., Leduc, C., Maxwell, M. et al. Evidence for implementation of interventions to promote mental health in the workplace: a systematic scoping review protocol. Syst Rev 10, 41 (2021).

WHO. Mental health in the workplace [Internet]. WHO. World Health Organization; 2019. Available from:

Image: obtained from

holidays, covid-19, 2020

Using Art Therapy to Treat Trauma

Nicole Hoffmann, PLMHP, ATR-P

January 20, 2022

Trauma is defined as an event during which an individual has experienced a threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others. It can also be defined as any type of negative event and how the individual experiencing the event processes and assigns meaning to it.

There are different types of trauma, including complex trauma and cumulative trauma. Complex trauma stems from early interpersonal events that interrupt healthy attachment, while cumulative trauma is the experience of two or more different types of trauma in one’s lifetime. Examples of trauma can include loss of loved ones, abuse or neglect, war, natural disasters, and negative relationships or random events.

People who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) because of trauma can experience symptoms such as anxiety, depression, feelings of panic, decreased quality of sleep, increased alcohol or drug use, and numbness or dissociation.

There are several therapeutic treatments for trauma, including eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), as well as trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. (TF-CBT). Art therapy can be used in combination with either of these modalities to effectively treat trauma, in people of all ages and backgrounds.

Some types of trauma are very difficult or impossible to verbally express. Art therapy can help treat trauma by creating new or different ways of recalling the trauma in a safe manner, as well as accessing the emotions and memories associated with that trauma. Creating art in response to trauma can reconstruct the experience in a nonverbal manner, and provide closure to move beyond the event. It is very important to express these emotions and memories in a safe space, and to have a strong relationship between the client and therapist.

Ultimately, a client’s self-worth can be strengthened, and hope for the future can be instilled, using art-making to express traumatic feelings.

Several therapists at Creative Counseling and Studio are certified to perform EMDR and TF-CBT with their clients. There are also three art therapists on staff. For more information about EMDR, TF-CBT and how art therapy can help treat various forms of trauma, please contact Creative Counseling and Studio at (402) 401-4445 or visit


Naff, Kristina (2014). A Framework for Treating Cumulative Trauma with Art Therapy. Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, 31(2), pp. 79-86.

Nili Sigal & Rob (2021) Dual perspectives on art therapy and EMDR for the treatment of complex childhood trauma, International Journal of Art Therapy, 26:1-2, 37-46, DOI: 10.1080/17454832.2021.1906288

Image: obtained from

holidays, covid-19, 2020

4 Ways to Deal with the Winter Blues

Nicole Hoffmann, PLMHP, ATR-P

January 13, 2022

Each winter, people living in temperate climates sometimes struggle with the lack of daylight hours and the cold, wet weather. Symptoms can include depression, social withdrawal, increased appetite, and increased duration of sleep. This can be referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder, and affects anywhere from 1-10% of adults, prevalently women, worldwide. Causes of this disorder include possible chemical changes in the brain and disruptions in people’s circadian rhythms (sleep/wake or rest/activity cycles).

Here are some ways to alleviate symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder:

  1. Talk to someone. Whenever you are feeling down, reach out to people you trust. Whether it is family, close friends, or a licensed professional, it is important to know that people care about you and are willing to help.
  2. Spend time outdoors. Even when it is cold outside, it’s important to spend time in the sunshine. Vitamin D found in sunlight has proven beneficial for people’s sense of well-being. Taking a brief walk around the block can also get your heart pumping and activate endorphins.
  3. Try a new hobby (or revisit an old one). During the dark hours of winter, it might be a good time to try something new, such as a different form of exercise, reading, journaling, crafting, cooking, etc. If you used to enjoy a hobby but have fallen away from it, now might be a good time to reconnect with it.
  4. Don’t be hard on yourself. It is important to remember that no one is perfect, and we all struggle with mental health at one time or another. If you want to take the time to rest and recharge during the winter season, then do so. Take care of yourself as much as you can.

The good news is winter does not last forever. The days are already getting longer, and spring will be here soon! But until then, listen to your mind and body and take care of yourself.

For more information about Seasonal Affective Disorder or to schedule a consultation with one of our therapists or art therapists, please call (402) 401-4445 or visit


Andres Magnusson & Diane Boivin (2003) Seasonal Affective Disorder: An Overview, Chronobiology International, 20:2, 189-207, DOI: 10.1081/CBI-120019310

Sue Penckofer, Joanne Kouba, Mary Byrn & Carol Estwing Ferrans (2010) Vitamin D and Depression: Where is all the Sunshine?, Issues in Mental Health Nursing,31:6, 385-393, DOI: 10.3109/01612840903437657

Image: obtained from

holidays, covid-19, 2020

Tips for Returning to Work After a Relapse

Julie Morris- Life and Career Coach

May 24, 2021

Heading back to your professional life is a natural step in the addiction recovery process. In fact, work can be beneficial to sobriety as it creates purpose, connects people to a social network, and contributes to one’s sense of identity.

That being said, work can come with myriad stressors (a problematic boss, unruly co-workers, etc.) that promote addictive coping mechanisms such as alcohol consumption and drug use. Returning to work after a relapse can be particularly difficult and may require you to take a few steps to manage workplace stress.

Ask for Help

Relapse recovery is a complex process that often requires help from addiction experts. If you have been in contact with an addiction treatment professional, consider continuing this relationship even if you feel equipped to cope on your own. If you have not yet worked with a professional, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to be connected to an addiction professional in your area. From counselling to outpatient programs, there are resources available to help get you back on track after a relapse. 

Working with the mental health professionals at Creative Counseling and Studio during stressful situations can reduce your likelihood of another relapse.

In addition to professional help, try surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family members. At the same time, avoid individuals who encourage addictive behaviours. No matter who you choose to be in your support network, ensure these individuals want to see you succeed on the sobriety path.

When you decide to begin looking for work, find people (or mentors) who will help you get ready for the workplace. This could include anything from polishing your resume to picking out suitable attire for interviews. Also, look up common interview questions online and ask your friends or loved ones to help you practice. Although it may have been a while since you’ve interviewed for a position, you’ll soon feel your old self-confidence returning if you take some time to practice before the big day.

Forgiving Yourself

For years, addiction has been associated with low self-esteem and self-confidence. Not only can this make an individual more prone to substance abuse, but it can also make it difficult to remain in recovery. After a relapse, you may feel guilt and shame. While it may be impossible to eradicate these feelings, accepting them and moving forward is incredibly beneficial to overall mental health. Forgiveness is the process of acknowledging your value as a person and not letting past actions determine who you are. This process involves letting go of past missteps as well providing yourself with the tools to succeed in sobriety. Forgiving yourself after a relapse is an essential part of preventing future transgressions.

Create and Adjust Sobriety Strategy

As you return to work, it's important to prepare for how you will handle work-related stress. This is especially pertinent if your relapse was tied to your work life. Because there is a strong correlation between work stress and drug/alcohol abuse, you'll want to have a plan in place to ward off another relapse. Creating a sobriety strategy involves developing effective, healthy coping mechanisms during times of stress. For example, if you feel the need to drink after a stressful day, you need to have a process in place to help mitigate these feelings. Maybe this involves calling your addiction sponsor or a close family or friend.

Alternatively, many people find it helpful to adopt healthy hobbies to replace their former addictive behaviors. After a relapse, it is necessary to adjust your sobriety strategy. For example, if a particular co-worker encouraged you to have a drink after a stressful day, you may need to develop a strategy to avoid similar encounters. Making needed changes to your sobriety strategy can ensure that your coping mechanisms stay relevant and effective.

For many of us, our homes can be a source of stress which makes relapse more likely. By creating a less stressful environment at home through cleaning, decluttering, and opening your windows, you can create positive energy and prevent negative thoughts.

Returning to work after a relapse can be difficult. For many, workplace stress can make it more difficult to stick to the recovery path. Because of this, it is necessary to develop healthy coping mechanisms in response to stress. Whether it’s talking to a professional, reminding yourself of your personal worth, or adjusting your sobriety strategy, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of another relapse. 

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holidays, covid-19, 2020

What is Art Therapy? 

Jane Polinski

December 11, 2020

Do you imagine yourself lying on a couch while a person in a big fancy chair scribbles down notes and only occasionally nods? In reality, therapy is so much more fun and interactive than that, especially here at Creative Counseling and Studio, LLC. Therapy is about learning about yourself so that you can grow as a human. Therapy can be used for everything from helping to treat a mental illness, to wanting to have an unbiased opinion to bounce your problems off of. Admittedly, therapy is uncomfortable sometimes, because growth is hard! But we are here to help you through it. Yasmin Tucker and myself are striving to create a safe and exciting environment to help you talk, heal, and gain new skills so that you can be the best version of yourself!

Have you ever heard that people who go to therapy are ‘weak’ or ‘crazy’? WRONG! Did you know that 1 in 5 people in America will suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime? Depression is the leading cause of illness in the USA today, yet more than 66% of people suffering from depression don’t seek treatment. Seeking out help and working on yourself shows just how strong you really are! We have ideas and activities that we think you could benefit from and we are here to help you!

Another myth: You have to have a mental illness to go to therapy. While depression and anxiety currently affect more than half of the US population, we at Creative Counseling and Studio, LLC believe that anyone and everyone can benefit from therapy! Therapy should be a part of your health routine just like going to the dentist (speaking of, have you gone for your annual check up this year?)! Therapy can help you to improve your understanding of yourself, and this can help you to better identify emotions, improve your communication, and lead to better self esteem. Speaking for myself, therapy definitely helped me to become a better version of myself and I’m so grateful for that every day. Now I want to share these skills and successful feelings with you!

Still think you can’t have fun while in therapy? Think again! Creative Counseling and Studio, LLC makes therapy as fun as possible while helping you to work through life’s stresses. Art therapy is all about improving self esteem, promoting self-awareness and insight, and creating emotional resilience. These skills help us to create the confidence and space to deal with our trauma, resolve conflicts, and foster change. How do we do that through art? We use different mediums to create communication that focuses on therapeutic change! Art therapy is about letting your creative self shine through kinesthetic symbolism while allowing dialogue to lead you through your own unique experience. The visual dynamics of art therapy helps you to explain where words might otherwise fail to capture what you are trying to say!

Do you feel like you better understand art therapy now? How does it sound to you? I, for one, am very excited to be able to combine creativity and therapy! If you are excited about the idea of this, call or email us today to start your art therapy journey!

Until next time!

holidays, covid-19, 2020

Navigating the Holidays and COVID-19

Yasmin Tucker 

November 11, 2020

The holiday season is filled with sweet smells, festive sights and most importantly family. With the changes in our ability to gather due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, we will have to get creative on how we connect with our loved ones this holiday season.

First, acknowledge the pain. Notice the thoughts in your mind, the physiological sensations and the feelings you experience when apart from loved ones. Give this phenomena light and allow the process to take its course. As you mindfully notice your feelings, give the feelings a place to be. Whether it's in a magical treasure chest in your mind or a thick undiscovered jungle willing to be traversed. Allow those feelings to nourish something else outside of you.

Second, reframe your perspective. Imagine that feelings are like the holiday buffet at your favorite restaurant. Instead of scooping a hefty portion of contempt toward the pandemic, try curiosity and acceptance. Think of this holiday season as an opportunity to connect in a non-traditional way. In spite of the isolation in 2020, our online connections have expanded our access to and ability to maintain important relationships.

Thirdly, get creative! Here are three fun festive ideas on navigating being away

from family this holiday season.

1. Make a physical greeting card. Mail it to your loved one and encourage them to do the same. Inside of the card, place a small holiday paper craft that you all can complete together via video conference. Make a date of it and experience the magic of opening the gift together in real time.

2. Host a movie marathon. Login to your favorite streaming platform and watch a movie at the same time as your loved one. Create a routine of being together, with your favorite snack at the same time. Laugh, cry and be with one another in a new intimate way.

3. Create synchronous video self-portraits. Open your video-conference, grab a sketchbook and pencil and get to drawing. Notice the lines, shapes and forms of your loved ones face as you create your work of art. Turn on some holiday jams and enter a creative flow state in a re-imaged way.

art therapist, omaha, black therapist

Be Still..

Yasmin Tucker

April 19, 2020

As I sit here thinking about what I should write about (my first blog EEEEK!), the thought that keeps racing across my mind is “stick to what you know.” You are established-ish, don’t change a thing! Maybe you are a little bored (okay a lot bored), but things are going great! You are healthy, all of your loved ones are healthy; what do you have to complain about?

Or maybe this discontentment is more complex than the binary of ‘change or do not change.’ Maybe this ambivalent feeling is a global stillness we are all experiencing related to not knowing what is next with COVID-19. The last time I remember being still in my daily living was middle school, more than 16 years ago.

That was a time in my life were the only goal was how to navigate good grades and fitting in. I was not consumed with the next step or benchmark. Over the past five weeks, I have had the opportunity to be still and learn how much of the English language my four-year-old son knows; and his new drive toward independence. Cherishing every nursing session with my 10-month-old as I know these days will come to an end soon. Creating a whole new level of connection with my partner while we both work at home. Noticing that I need quiet time more than I would like to admit.

All the while, my artist identity has not had much space, despite it being the life blood that keeps my body together. So, for my very first blog post, I am going to practice being still. Being with myself and the present moment. No pressure to perform, create, organize, etc.

Although freight-training my goals (spirituality, art, family, business, health- not in that order) is my shtick, I am going to try to simply chill and be. Not worry about COVID-19, or anything else for that matter. If you can relate to this and have been missing out on stillness, try this with me.

Steps to Stillness (at least the steps I am going to try):

- Turn off all your devices.

- Find somewhere comfortable to be.

- Hold something important to you (blanket, toy, etc).

- Look around your environment and see what you can see.

- Try not to judge your wondering mind, it is what it is.

Let me know how it goes, eh? Well wishes, stay safe and be still for a change.

AATA Featured Member Series

Yasmin Tucker

February 14, 2020

In this Featured Member series, AATA celebrates the work of our members. During the coronavirus epidemic, we are inviting members to share their experiences about how their professional and personal lives have changed.

What has changed (or remained the same) in your job during the COVID-19 global crisis?

The global crisis has impacted my private practice in many ways. In a typical week, I hold 15-20 individual, family and couples’ sessions. Following the national recommendation to shelter in place, I am providing a few less sessions from home via two telehealth platforms. In addition to this, I am facilitating an eating disorder art therapy group with four or more...

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