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Nicole Elliott, MS, NCC, CYT

Yoga is everywhere. From hospitals to schools, and even Fortune 500 companies, yoga is being offered in more unexpected settings.  So, why not a therapist’s office?  Research from Stanford, Harvard, and Boston University suggests that yoga does more for you than stretching and strengthening your muscles.  Yoga can help alleviate symptoms of mild depression and anxiety, as well as ward off panic attacks and calm racing thoughts.  As a therapist and yoga instructor, I often integrate yoga postures (asanas), deep breathing (pranayama), or relaxation (meditation) with traditional talk therapy.  From a holistic perspective, yoga is a way to engage mind, body, and spirit, promoting mental, physical, and emotional health.  Each week this series will share a yoga practice designed to promote overall wellness.

Before rolling out the yoga mat, it may help to explore some yoga philosophy.  It is said that all of Nature has three qualities (gunas) – Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas.  These qualities exist in all beings, in various concentrations.

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Secrets kill” is a therapy concept I refer to often refer to.  What I am seeing from my clients is there is an intense loyalty to the abortion secret that is driven by an incredible sense of fear of disclosure.

With decades of guilt and shame as an emotional backdrop, many women never adequately process the deep grief aspects of abortion.    As long as the cloak of shame surrounds this issue in the hearts of women, they will stay loyal to their “dirty little secret.” 

Being healthy in mind and spirit means all of us must work through the grief issues of our past.  If our human souls do not take this journey into grief in all areas of our lives, we will just spend our future days managing our sorrow.  This “managing of sorrow” can manifest itself as anger, depression, alcoholism, eating disorders and other serous distressing emotional and behavioral problems.

Some wisdom from Dr. Doka author of “Disenfranchised Grief”

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I am a Masters in mental health counseling student at Walden University. This week we are talking about duty to warn and duty to protect. I am confused as to the Florida statutes concerning this. When I went on Lexis/Nexis to look it up I found 10 cases on duty to warn and 34 on duty to protect, Florida statutes where mentioned. My issue is finding an article that explains the statutes themselves. Does anyone out there know of a good link that would explain them? Thank you in advance
Alicia Bellman

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The petition released on March 24rth to gather 200 names in support of Organizational Affilate status at ACA has already garned the support and signatures of more than 162 ACA members. (That's only 8 days!) The goal of the group is to support the responsible use and development of technology for the counseling profession.

Read about the group and sign the petition here:

With the formation of this exciting new group and the enthusiasm it is generating at ACA, counseling is taking a turn toward embracing the many technologies that are evidence-based and show how to safely and effectively: improve outcomes, decrease costs and reach many more people who need our help.

Your support is appreciated. Please circulate this history-making news and ask your ACA-member colleagues to take a minute to sign the petition. Help us reach the 200 signatures needed today!

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ACT has made a fantastic start please help keep the momentum going!

Petition for a new American Counseling Association (ACA) Organizational Affiliate: "Association for Counselors in Technology" (ACT). Please join us in forming this new OA if you are interested in Counseling and Technology at the ACA

An exciting new group is forming at ACA to support the appropriate use of technology in counseling. Called the Association for Counseling and Technology (ACT), an Organization Affiliate of the American Counseling Association (ACA), this group needs 200 signatures from ACA members who support the effort.

Interested? Supportive?

Please sign the easy petition linked below and `share this email with all your colleagues who wonder about using Skype, practicing over state lines, communicating with clients in email, having a Yelp or Facebook page, developing an app, conducting supervision by video, using video games with clients, delivering counseling in virtual worlds, starting to use EHRs , worrying about Health Care Reform --

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Hello everyone!
     Im a grad student at the University of Akron in the process of receiving my MA in MFT/C and I am looking for any offers for possible internships for the summer and fall of this year. Im looking forward to pursuing an intern position that will give me an amazing experience for my future which I will benefit from as well as being in a new area and environment. I am hoping that I can network at the Conference and find an opening for a chance to explore what is out there for me in other places and grow in a plethora of ways from such an opportunity. Hopefully I will find some answers from all of you or from going to this conference!

     If anyone has any suggestions or internship positions that they are aware of you can email me at Thanks a bunch!
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Equipping Professionals for Abortion After-Care

Safety and non-judgment are the most important aspects of the professional who helps a woman process her abortion grief.  Taking honest self-inventory, If you cannot separate the procedure from the issue of grief after abortion then you shouldn’t get involved in this caring field.  Additionally, if you have your own unprocessed abortion grief you have the potential of doing more harm than good if in your heart you hold your own judgment or are suffering your own pain.

You are the right person if you have a natural heart to help clients who suffer from secret shame and grief and can receive their story with compassion and grace.

  • Change the Labels

It is my opinion that professional therapists must lead the way to change the terminology if we are to bring this therapy model into our culture.  As mentioned before we must be the trailblazing components of this new aspect of care in our culture.

  • Understanding Assessments
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For those who’ve chosen abortion there is no evidence of any loss so why wouldn’t it be confusing as to whether it is an actual grief situation?  In addition, if it is our choice that creates the loss, isn’t that yet another reason not to have permission to grieve? 

It is at this point that vpt clients go around in circles.  They seem to fall into a vortex of the trauma grieving cycle detailed by Dr. Patrick Carnes.  They bounce back and forth between confusion with the thought of whether or not this is actually a grief circumstance and the fear and shame surrounding the decision that keeps them locked in denial.

This thought process creates a “tornado” of emotional distress for the vpt woman.  Add to the mix that the tornado of emotions must be kept hidden deep inside out of fear of exposure and we have the “perfect storm” for depression, anger and/or anxiety.  If you have clients dealing with unexplainable depression, anger or anxiety, it might be wise to assess for unprocessed grief after abortion.

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Women are afraid to disclose a past abortion even though 43% of women in our nation have made at least one abortion choice, ( Women who’ve had abortions are the largest demographic in our nation.    Choice decisions affect every level of our culture, every race, and every religion. 

Professionals need to understand how hard it is to self-disclose an abortion choice.  Because of the fear of judgment or disenfranchisement over the sadness they feel, women walk alone in their processing of grief after abortion.  It is my experience in working with women in this area that it takes an average of nine hours of therapy before they will admit an abortion choice. 

Dr. Christiane Northrup, states “abortion is not an easy issue for women to talk about freely.  Yet if every woman who ever had an abortion, or even one-third of them, were willing to speak out about her experience…not in shame, but with honesty about where she was then, what she learned and where she is now…,this whole issue would heal a great deal faster.”

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As a board member of the local Charleston, SC National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) I am aware of the dire needs of the mentally ill in our communities in this country. Housing is at the top of the list along with food, health care and employment. Funding for research is not as well advertised as for other diseases and disorders. In sum, resources need to be improved in all areas of support. Any input on improving the plight of the mentally ill would be appreciated. My efforts: Polarized, a bipolar memoir is an educational tool found on It is a low cost way of reaching the mentally ill with needed therapeutic ideas and insights.  
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Did you know that it can take as many as nine hours before a client will disclose a past choice decision?  Working in the area of helping women process their grief after an abortion has been a passion of mine for many years. Besides walking through my own abortion experience, I also began helping other women to do so.  It wasn't until I became a professional therapist that I began seeing how a secret abortion could affect therapy outcomes for my clients.

As I worked with women suffering from depression, anxiety or other related disorders I began to see a pattern and realize the fear of self-disclosure that women face even in the professional setting.  I began tabulating therapy sessions in relation to when a client might feel safe enough to share her abortion secret.  What I've come up with is that it takes around nine hours of building a relationship with her before she will know that I am a safe person for her to talk about this past issue.

There is little information for professional therapists on this topic.  For this reason I began developing resources for professionals a few years ago.  I developed some free downloadable forms for professionals to use to help in assessments.  Taking a grief evaluation is sometimes helpful.  As you talk about the disenfranchised grief of abortion and also going through the grief assessment, you can begin to build safety and community in this area with your client.
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Hello Everyone,  

I am looking to open a private practice and I am trying to find the most efficient way to securely store documentation. I want to secure these documents without using paper or as little paper as possible. I would like to for go being locked into an electronic records system. Is this possible? I have heard some information on using PDF’s but I am not certain? I would greatly appreciate your feedback.


Thank you,


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Hi Everyone:

I have a habit of trolling the Internet for articles about trauma and trauma treatment.  I thought I'd share some links on an occasional basis on this "ACA Community" to keep us informed and to spark our own creative processes.  Note that I have personal interest in the specific sub-topics of "neuroscience of trauma" and "trauma treatment," so the article links I share will "lean" in these directions.  Hope these are interesting and helpful to you as you pursue excellence in the field of traumatology.  Let me know if you have questions, comments, whatever:  -- Carol Smith

BBC UK piece on PTSD -- what it is, how it develops, and so on, in accessible, non-technical language.  Includes an 18-minute audio.

"Social Consciousness" blog entry on the mind-body connection.

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Many Mental Health Counselors throughout our nation are growing concerned about the attempts, both successful and unsuccessful, to insert graduation requirements from CACREP accredited universities into licensure laws, TRICARE, Veteran's Administration employment, admissions to PhD Programs, and appointment to faculty positions. The movement to insert CACREP language into these spheres may be moving at a pace that discounts the unintended negative consequences to those who did not graduate from a CACREP institution. Depending on the source and the age cohort, a majority of mental health counselors did not graduate from a CACREP institution. Those who seek universal CACREP accreditation at this time may be preceding at the risk of excluding or undermining the state licensure of many highly qualified mental health counselors and counselor educators. The Maryland and Massachusetts Chapters of AMHCA believe the rights of individual counselors should be balanced against the benefits of universal CACREP accreditation. We feel our national associations must be engaged in a dialogue to encourage them to seek this balance. We are concerned that if the counseling community remains silent on this issue, many mental health counselors could be inadvertently harmed. If you share our concerns, please join us in insuring that the rights of all counselors are acknowledged and protected by the national organizations who we support and entrust to represent our interests. Larry Epp, President, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors of Maryland,

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Looking for counseling agencies in or near Wheeling, WV that offer therapy and psychological evaluations.


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Hello everyone,

My name is Randy Melick and I am a third year grad student at Regent University in the Clinical Mental Health Program. However, I also write music for therapy.  I combine the songs sung by whales with classical  and acoustic guitar melodies. The arrangements are designed  for clients who suffer from ADHD, ADD, anxiety, stress, and even pain; you can visit my website for additional information.

If you are interested in hearing my music please go the above website and click on the Discography Page. The song 'Whale's Delight' is from my latest CD entitled " Whale Song II"  and is available from I tunes or my website.

Randy Melick
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I love explaining to folks that I practice Social Therapy,a powerful and effectivestyle of therapy that takes a differentapproach to group.Our groups are made up of people of various ages, genders, sexual orientations, class backgrounds and different reasons why they came into therapy.

When I tell people that I am a group therapist, they often respond with great interest, and ask about my group therapy practice.This iswonderful for me, as it is one of my favorite topics!Once we start talking, folks will inevitably expose an understandable assumption about group therapy.People will say things like ‘oh yes, therapy with others who are like you, that must be helpful,'or people will ask, ‘what is the topic or theme of your groups?’

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I had a lot of trouble working with these kids in core services.  There is a tremendous amount of stigma and misinformation going around regarding this dx.   I've had family members and significant others (advocates/court personnel)  warn potentially adoptive parents that these kids are dangerous,  broken, and irredeemable, which ends up contributing to their problems and pain. I'm sure the intentions are well meaning, but misinformed and harmful.  The intent is to advise potential parents that these children require special care, however, the result can create fear resulting in loss of opportunity for children that have already been through a tremendous amount of neglect and trauma. I hope you can get this message out in your research paper.     

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