Welcome to Awareness Counseling
Elle Garfield, LMSW


Stress Friend or Foe?
When my children were young I played a silly game with them.  Before I could see them, I would hear them coming from around a corner or up the stairs and I would call out, “Who goes there, friend or foe?” They would always laugh and answer, “Friend!”  Yes, I was always glad to see their familiar faces even though at times the stress of parenting felt like the answer might be “foe!”>>Read More

Big Anxiety, Small World

      During my meditation this morning a thought floated by about the world getting smaller. Of course, the world is not getting smaller but how is that illusion created? How often do you hear yourself say it’s a small world when you recognize a connection to a person you were not aware of having before. A client of mine will say, “Your husband is my foot doctor”, or a neighbor will share that the very place I’m planning to go on vacation is the city she grew up in. “Small world”, we say when we recognize less and less degrees of separation. >>Read More

Your Own Yoga Mat

Jean (not her real name) lost her husband suddenly when he died in a car crash only minutes from their home.  With two small children and a mortgage to pay off, Jean needed to get back to working full time only two weeks after the funeral. Friends and family were in awe of how much calm and grace she displayed in the face of the grief and loss she felt on a daily basis. When asked how she was coping with the grief and the additional stress in her life she thought of her yoga/breath practice. >>
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How to Face Your Fears on Paper

Nancy’s Story

Nancy (not her real name) woke up most mornings gripped with fear. The weight of the dark murky feeling made it hard for her to even get out of bed. Sheer willpower got her up and she pushed herself to get into the shower and get dressed for the day. Even though Nancy, retired now, had lots of opportunities to be active with friends and family most days were spent feeling frozen, unable to will herself to do the things she really wanted to do.>>Read More

Yoga Talk: The Power of the Spoken Word to Transform Dark Feelings

Shhh…. Yoga class has started. You’re a little late so you tip toe in, carefully rolling out your mat so you don’t disturb anyone. As you find your comfortable seat you glance from side to side to see your neighbors sitting tall with their eyes close. So you close your eyes too. Next you hear the teacher’s instruction to deepen your breath. You know the teacher will let you know what to do next. There is no need to ask any questions or comment on what you are experiencing. So starts the journey that is a typical Hatha yoga class.
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Stress, Crisis and Reaching Out

According to the American Psychological Association:

1) Fifty-four percent of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives. (APA Survey 2004) 

2) In June 2008, more people reported physical and emotional symptoms due to stress than they did in 2007, and nearly half (47 percent) of adults reported that their stress has increased in the past year.(APA, Stress in America, 2008)

And of course, we already know that: 

3) Having good mental health helps you make good decisions and deal with life’s challenges at home, work and school. (APA, How Psychotherapy Helps People Recover from Depression, 1998
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Inspiration From Within

Are you waiting for the motivation to:

•    Get that project done?
•    Exercise?

•    Meditate?

•    Eat right?

•    Start a new routine?

How long have you been waiting? Wouldn’t it be great if you could access the motivation you need as easily as you access the electricity that is needed to run your computer.
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Give Yourself the Gift of Gratitude

Looking for that perfect holiday gift for family or friends? How about treating yourself? Wouldn’t you like to have something that will delight you and give you a warm comforting feeling any time? Well you can and you don’t have to bother with your checkbook or credit card. There is no charge and it’s always available to you at any time. What’s the catch, you say? You will have to stop rushing around frantically, take a deep breath and put some effort into a practice of gratitude.>>Read More

A Client's Experience with Depression/Anxiety and Awareness Counseling

March 2, 2010
Here is one woman’s experience with depression/anxiety and Elle Garfield/ Awareness Counseling:

My depression began in my teenage years, but my family and I just chalked it up to teenage hormones.  It continued to develop through my college years, but I chalked that up to a stressful schedule.
>>Read More.

Calm Fears with CBT and Yoga

Jane (not her real name) woke up too early most mornings. Fear gripped her as her eyes popped open. “Oh, no not this awful feeling again!” “I’ll never get better.” These were her first thoughts although she was more aware of the feelings that overwhelmed her.
>>Read More.

Anger Part 1

Do You Ever....
•    blow up in times of stress?

•    focus on things, situations and people then become angry?
•    feel out of control sometimes?

It's Just a Feeling Not a Fact

Of all of our feelings anger has the worst reputation. It's thought to be the cause of everything from divorce to murder. Yoga teaches us a different way to look at this much maligned emotion - with wholeness. To do this we need to step back and look at a bigger picture.>>Read More.

Anger Part 2

Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness. -James Thurber

Summary of Anger –Part 1:

In Anger Part 1, we saw that a lapse in self care often precedes feelings of anger. As we examine our triggers for anger we have the opportunity to discover patterns of behavior that may have begun in childhood. Our yoga practice can help us to look at anger in its context and take responsibility for all of our feelings. When we are able to compassionately observe the sensations in our bodies with C.O.A.L., (curiosity, openness, acceptance and love)* we are able to take better care of ourselves, changing patterns and behaviors that are no longer serving us. If you would like to read this article see above.

Ready to fight?
Now let’s take a look at what occurs in your body and brain when you are angry. First your senses pick up a threat of some kind. >>Read More.

Anger Part 3

Summary of Part 1 and 2
In Anger Part 1 and 2 we looked at what comes before anger, what happens when you are angry and what helps in these situations. If you would like to read these articles see above.

Now let’s take a look at anger in other people and what yoga teaches us about that. Yoga is rooted, founded and based on ahimsa or nonviolence. So we learn early on that in order to truly practice yoga we need to commit to nonviolence. When we are in a pose we don’t force or push ourselves.  We are encouraged to honor our limits and be kind and nonjudgmental.>>Read More.

Staycation- The Trip From Your Head to Your Heart

A More Affordable Way

Travel has gotten more and more complicated. Even if your plans are clear you could miss your flight, get into some bad traffic or spend more money than you intended. Even so, summer is the time when many of us dream of taking some time off work and exploring a fun or relaxing vacation destination. Whether you have planned a great trip or your budget this year keeps you close to home there is an exciting journey that is always available for your exploration.
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How a Yoga Class or Group Can Help You Stay Connected

With yoga mat in hand, Rose rushed from her car to the door of the yoga studio. Not wanting to be late she hurried in just in time for the next class. As she rolled out her mat and saw that the class had not yet started, she wondered if she had time to send a few text messages>>Read More.

Exploring Expectations

"Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” John Lennon

Enter Thoughts
Expectations are our thoughts about how we want someone or something to be. Expectations are not real.  We can expect something and be surprised (pleasantly or unpleasantly) by what actually happens. Haven’t you ever felt sure you would love a movie you ended up hating or were convinced you were a certain size only to realize with glee, you hadn’t gained the weight you thought you did, when you actually tried on the clothes?
>>Read More.

5 Easy Ways to Lift a Mood

Ever since Allen (not his real name) was laid off from his job, he worked hard to find a new position. His day started at 7am. He was showered, fed and at his desk by 8am. He had a full day of sending out resumes, researching companies and contacting resources to help him secure a position as soon as possible. In between job search activities he worked on chores that needed to be done around the house. Because of the economy, the companies in his field just weren’t hiring so the weeks turned into months of hard, fruitless work. Like many people, Allen was raised to put work before pleasure so he naturally set having fun low on his list of priorities. Before long Allen’s daily routine felt more and more like pure drudgery and his mood was so low he wondered if any company would want to talk to him let alone hire him.
>>Read More.

Open Your Heart and Access Courage with Yoga

“Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.”  Martin Luther King, Jr

During my first yoga teacher training in 2004, I learned how to move into upward facing bow or wheel pose*, which is an advanced back bending, heart opening pose thought to require a great deal of strength. It’s done by lifting the body up into a bow as you press your hands and feet into the floor. It was not my goal to learn this pose nor was it the objective of the course. It came to me as the result of all the increased opportunities to practice the basic postures I was learning to teach and the more challenging postures I found easier to access over tim
e.>>Read More.

Making Sleep A Priority To Improve Your Well Being

Do you want to….
feel happier?
be more energized and relaxed?
be more productive?

Making sleeping-well a priority could hold the key. Getting enough continuous quality sleep helps the body to repair itself, helps the mind to process the days events and contributes to how we feel and perform daily. If we sleep soundly we wake up refreshed, able to face our day. If we don’t every area of our lives can suffer.>>Read More.

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