Women Recovering Together - Attention All Women!

Are you struggling with an addiction? Newly in recovery? In recovery but need additional support? Know of someone who needs support? Or not finding your “fit” within other groups?

Please join me in this 12 week group and discover yourself again!

This group will consist of a small group of powerful women who have the desire not only to change their lives but who also want to support others along the way. A group of giving, receiving, changing, inspiring, caring, connecting, belonging, and understanding.

Our group is a non-shaming, heart-centered, compassionate group. We’ll explore the how to’s and the why’s all within a healing, safe place.

Confidentiality will be at the utmost importance.

My qualifications: Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor, Master Addiction Counselor, Substance Abuse Professional

Pre-registration required. Spots limited – call Debbie @ 304-533-6135

Find on Facebook @ Debbie’s Counseling  - deborahmm@aol.com

Starting: September 25, 2019

Wednesday’s: 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

Private Office in Martinsburg, WV

Fee: $15.00 per session


Starting Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Monthly on the 1st & 3rd Tuesday, 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.

McCormick Center, 2nd floor conference room, Ste 2400

2000 Foundation Way, Martinsburg, WV

Open to anyone with a chronic illness & their supports.

 Each meeting will include a presentation on various topics followed by an open discussion.

 Group Goals:  provide a safe environment to share, find support & encouragement, and gain educational information to guide us to healthy living.

No fees, dues, or registration required.

Contact me with any questions


New - Free Group Starting in September


Do you have high or unrealistic expectations for yourself? Are you hard on yourself when you make a mistake?  Are there things you can’t forgive yourself for?  Do you blame yourself for everything that goes wrong?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, this group is for you!

Come and find out how you can use self-compassion & mindfulness skills as a tool to help you heal wounds of not feeling good enough and to calm the inner critic.

The class is free.  You must be able to commit to attending each session. Registration is required. Contact me to save your spot as seating is limited.

WHEN: Wednesday's, starting on 9/19/18 to 10/10/18

TIME: 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: My office in Martinsburg, WV

Debbie's Backyard Discoveries

Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve written.  Why?  My backyard!  This yard is an amazing and fascinating yard, a world full of excitement.  Walking around this yard is like going on a treasure hunt.  I take my curiosity and go on the prowl.  And I always find something new, something interesting, something that just stops me in my tracks and makes me want to know more about what I am seeing. 

Come walk with me for a moment and let me show you some of my findings…. Oh!  There’s a butterfly feeding on the nectar of a native plant, I need to identify that beauty.  Oh!  Look at that bird’s nest, who’s is it? Any toads hanging out in the tiny toad pond?  Not yet.  Look, there’s a bumble bee deep down in that great tubular flower.  Oh wow!  The birds are going crazy on the cherry tree, eating all the fruits in a hurry.  Wait, what birds are there?  Where’s the binoculars? Let me check on the growth of the bushes I planted last year.  What’s that?  Is that a deer in my suburban yard, say what??  Two deer?   Holy cow!  LIGHTING BUGS!  I love lightening bugs!  I could go on and on, but you get the drift…. I feel so many wonderful things and I feel them throughout my body!  Really, no kidding, something happens deep within me when I find something.  I get curious, I get excited, I get happy.  I feel this in my body, the feelings are of pure joy from head to toe.

Of course, not all my discoveries are happy ones.  I don’t like finding feathers indicating that a hawk has preyed on a song bird.  I don’t like noticing that a section of my lawn has been taken over by the very invasive Japanese Stilt grass.  I don’t like seeing a bird egg laying open in my driveway or seeing the beetles destroying my plants or finding a five-foot-long (harmless) snake.  But, for some reason when I discover these not so great situations I am able to feel my sorrow, regret, annoyance, fear and move on.  I don’t seem to linger in those upsets and they don’t consume me.  Why is this?  Is it because I know right around the corner something delightful will happen?  I think so.

Maybe it’s the same way with life.  Maybe we can get excited each day by the new discoveries we’ll find.  Maybe we can embrace this mindset and search for the good.  Sometimes we may have to dig deep, look real hard, but knowing it’s there somewhere.  And maybe when we encounter those things that are not so happy or joyous, to take notice of it, tenderly care for it non-judgmentally, deal with it as needed, as necessary, but also keep moving ahead still searching and seeking for those moments, or even seconds of pure, innocent, bliss.  Maybe? Can you? 

Could it be “what we seek we’ll find?”  Could it be that easy?  Research says we have the capability of changing our brains, actually rewire them!  Maybe we can change it to find the joy, and not continuously focusing on the difficulties.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t feel the negative emotions.  Anyone who knows me knows that I think we should embrace all our emotions and feelings, even the dark ones.  All our feelings and emotions have meaning, a purpose and need to be explored and processed. But, we don’t have to live in the dark, in the dread, in the negative, forever or for long.  We can stop the battles, change the course and place your attention on something joyous.

So, what are you focusing on?  Can you hunt for the beautiful treasures each day that life has to offer?  They’re there, and some days you may have to look real hard, but look, you may find that moment that’ll turn you around and put you in a new direction.

Let me know what you find exciting in your world!  What brings you this type of passion?  Get curious, get excited, explore and discover all the goodness that you can. 

Quote for the day:

“Learn to master your thoughts and watch closely what you deposit into your spirit. Speak over your life. Living in peace has transformative power.” 
― Germany Kent

Full disclosure.  If you saw my yard you wouldn’t find it to be anything special.  You wouldn’t drive by and say, wow, look at that!  There are no majestic mountain views, fields of lavender or rolling streams. It’s a very plain, ordinary suburban yard, 1-acre lot, on a flat parcel of land, with neighbors all around me.  But, to me, it’s a treasure chest and I see nothing but pure beauty and bliss.  Now, let me start pulling those nasty weeds, remove the never-ending ivy, start weed-whacking and watering, and continue to uncover all the beauty that surrounds me even in the mist of all the turmoil, work, and drudgery. 

Check out a few of these resources regarding Positive Psychology.  Trust me, there are tons of info out there, this is just a start. 

YouTube Video’s:

What is Positive Psychology?  3:38 minutes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVcn3nzMoEw 

How to Reprogram Your Mind (for Positive Thinking) 15 minutes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmx_35rQIRg&t=453s 

Martin Seligman, Ph.D. has written several books in the field of Positive Psychology.  He is also on YouTube.  Website for more info regarding him:  https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/faculty-profile/profile-dr-martin-seligman  

Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)

Recently I heard about a new counseling technique/therapy.  Well, let’s say new to me, but apparently, it’s been around for about ten years.  I was so intrigued when I heard about this therapy that I immediately wanted to know more.  There are several things that attracted me to this technique, but the main point was the “accelerated” part.  This therapy can work in one to four sessions?!  Really? After investigating it further and wanting to go forward, luckily, I was able to find and complete training for this therapy.

So, let me briefly introduce you to Accelerated Resolution Therapy, also known as ART.   ART was founded and developed by Laney Rosenzweig, MS, LMFT.   ART is an evidence-based treatment.  It uses back and forth eye movements (another attraction, no equipment needed).  There is little dialog during this treatment which, for many people, is a good thing.  As Laney says, it’s “less gab more grab.”  Along with the eye movements we process body sensations and emotions and use scripts to uncover stored memories while making new connections to resolve issues.   We replace a negative issue with positive imagines.  This is not hypnosis or EMDR and it appears for most, the changes are long standing and permanent.  It sounds simple enough and it really is.  Along with the simplicity there is actual science behind the working parts of this treatment, but I’ll leave that for another time, another blog.  Just know that we store memories and the emotions and body sensations associated with those memories.  And we can recall those memories and alter the distressful parts associated with it in a positive and manageable way (watch Nova, Memory Hackers). 

This therapy can help with various problems such as post traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, phobias, addictions, and much more and all without the need of medication.  I know it seems to good to be true, but clinicians everywhere are reporting fantastic results.  In order to train and practice this modality you must be a licensed professional.  I state this fact because it would be unethical for any license professional to report false claims or statistics.  There are psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurse practitioners, counselors, drug and alcohol counselors and more, reporting great success with the use of ART.  I believe their feedback and experience to be truthful and factual.   

Personally, so far, I am seeing positive results from this technique.  It hasn’t worked for all but it has for most.  So, although this type of treatment may not be for everyone, it just may be for you.  If you are interested in trying this, or any other therapy modality, call me - 304-533-6135. 

As Laney Rosenzweig says -  "KEEP THE KNOWLEDGE LOSE THE PAIN"

If you are interested in knowing more about ART, please check out the reading and some of the video’s listed below.  Let me know if you find it as fascinating as I do!

ART is listed in the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices.  https://nrepp.samhsa.gov/ProgramProfile.aspx?id=7 


TED Talk by Laney Rosenzweig, MS, LMFT, Founder of ART



Wade Lang, Licensed Mental Health & Addictions Therapist & Nationally Certified Gambling Counselor



News clips:





Looking Back at Your Story in 2017

This year I received a beautiful Christmas card from a friend, enclosed was a lovely note sharing all the joys of her year.  It was a testimony to a wonderful year, a wonderful family, and lots of wonderful memories and experiences.  It read like a short, beautiful, engaging novel and, as often is the case, I was heartfully touched.

I started thinking… maybe as a way to reflect over the last 365 days of our lives we should all write our yearly stories.    

Your story doesn’t have to be about big achievements or grand adventures (or maybe it does).  Maybe your story is more about your on-going kindness, your good deeds, your willingness to be of service to others or for others.  Maybe your story is more about deep reflections, gratitude’s, or favors.  Maybe it’s about who you are, who you’ve become, what you are, what occurred, what you experienced.  Sometimes I think we forget to give ourselves praise and credit for our achievements, both big and small.  This isn’t about being grandiose, it’s about acknowledging the good things, the things to be proud of.  Positive thoughts can motivate us, can boost our self-esteem, and give us the power to continue in the future with confidence, care, and compassion. 

Not all stories, or years, are happy stories.  Your 2017 story may be about all the obstacles you overcame, endured or survived through.  Some stories are filled with grief, pain, sorrow, and extreme heartache. Maybe just being able to survive the year was the biggest accomplishment for you.  Unfortunately for some, just getting through the days, even the moments were an accomplishment.  I am often in awe of those who suffer great tragedy and still find the ways to go forward.   Those stories matter, they also need to be heard, to be felt, to be told.  Those stories are reminders to all of us on how fragile life is, how in an instant your life can change dramatically and tragedy or how deep sadness can be felt in the heart, body and mind.  No, not all stories read like fairytales with happy ever-after’s.  But when I hear these heartbreaking stories I gain something.  I gain the knowledge of how much strength, determination, and will power people have.  I don’t know if I could handle some of the tragedies I hear and all with such dignity, grace, and love.  These stories change me too, they make me a better person, a kinder person, a more loving person. 

I guess what I am saying is all stories are meaningful, all are worthy of telling, sharing and most importantly, reflecting on. We all have a story to tell, a story to be heard.  Let’s find ways to keep track of our events during this new year.  We can do this with journaling or any other means suitable to you.  And at the years end review your story, share your story, find meaning, understanding, compassion, strength and wisdom from your story.   Your story may help others, it may connect you to their pain, it may encourage someone, or like my friend did with her story, bring a smile to someone’s face.

Many thanks to all who have shared their stories with me, the good and the not so good.  I felt honored that you allowed me to step into your world to see your pain and your joys.  Thank you for sharing some very difficult experiences but also seeing the roads of peace, healing, strength and recovery.

So…. what did your 2017 story say?

Lend a Helping Hand

Let me tell you about my dear friend, Abigail Benjamin, the one who gave me the inspiration and motivation to kick-up my game.

Abigail is extremely devoted to her faith, husband and family. She home schools her six children (yes 6).  She is active with the children’s extracurricular activities.   She is a true advocate for the environment, the under privileged and the marginalized.  She’s been known to knock on the doors of congress in our state capital of Charleston and locally to such places/people as townhall meetings, the Mayor’s office and even the Chief of Police. 

In additional to all of this she has a chosen career of a practicing attorney!  Can you imagine?!

And with all this activity, all this busyness, she still found time to mentor a friend.  Think about that for a moment…..  she still found time to mentor a friend.

My gratitude goes beyond words.  I’m deeply touched by her kindness and willingness to help.  She is a true example to me of how we should walk in this world….. by reaching out to others and lending a helping hand no matter how busy you are (or think you are).

So, how busy are you?  To busy to help your friend, a family member, your neighbor?  Are you willing to sacrifice a little of your time to enlighten someone’s life?  Or to embrace and share in someone else’s dreams or success?  Are you?  Can you?

I’d like to ask everyone to pause their lives at various moments and lend a helping hand to someone else.  Good Karma, good will, good vibes, good going, good deeds.  It feels Good to do for others!

And who’s there for you?  Do you have an Abigail in your life?  If so treasure those kind souls who give so selflessly.  Nurture those relationships because that is the true meaning of friendship. 

If you lack for these types of positive relationships call me.  Let me be the one to give you a helping hand, to cheer you on, to stand in your corner.

Thank you again my dear friend, thank you for extending your hand.  I will never forget. 

Maya Angelou says:

            People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Thanks Abigail for making me feel special and important.

**Oh, I forgot to mention, Abigail is also an author who is in the process of writing a book!  Talk about amazing!**

Stretching Myself

I have a smart and loving friend who gently encouraged me to update my professional website and suggested that I first start with a professional photographer.  My first thought was No.  Don’t want to. Too hard, too much money, too fat, too old, don’t know how, no, no, no.  When she mentioned it a second time along with a referral to a photographer I thought about it and decided maybe it was time for some updates.

After subjecting some very kind friends to a parade of various wardrobes, I meet with the photographer, Claire.  My anxiety was initially high (old tapes playing again, to fat, to old) but Claire quickly made the experience delightfully fun.  I felt good and I felt energized!  And by the way, she does great work!

Step 2, the website.  I wanted my smart and loving friend to DO the website for me.  Here’s the info, go to town.  But, it didn’t work that way, she wanted me to do it WITH her.  Here we go again, no, I can’t, I don’t know how, I have a headache already!  There was some back and forth about me be stretching into a new area and with pushing back with basically, I don’t want to, not my area of expertise, and a ton of other excuses.  She persisted, and she won.  And guess what?  It was interesting, and I started to relax and not be fearful! I gained some confidence.  I can do this!

Next, this dear friend now suggested that I write a blog.  WHAT?  Are you kidding me?  No, not just no but Hell No!  Grammar, sentence structure, spelling?  But she gently pushed and said try to come up with some topics.  I said okay, and she said what are they?  I don’t know, I’ll get back to you (no way was I going to do this!).  But before I got off the phone ideas were popping up all over the place, I had over a dozen topics!  It appears that I have a lot to say!  Oh but what is no one cares, no one listens….. S T O P   I T.   I’m going to do this regardless!

Author, researcher, Brene Brown, states “the foundation of courage is vulnerability-the ability to navigate uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.”  So, here I go!  I’m going face all my fears, leap into an unknown area, risk criticism and whatever else.  But mostly, I’m going to just have fun with it all.

And here I am!  I really thank this friend for hand-holding me along this new path of learning.  Without her gentle persistence I would have never ventured out this way.  

When someone offers to lend you a hand or wants to lead you on a new path, go!  Explore!  Be willing to take a risk and allow yourself to be vulnerable.  

So, Stretch Yourself!  Be courageous! Be bold! Face those fears head on!  Trust me, even in failure you’ll gain rewards. Without trying you lose your dreams, the chance to grow, to build confidence, and you lose gaining valuable insights.  What old tapes are holding you back?

Call me if you need some gentle encouragement or a little nudge!  304-533-6135

*See my Curiosity Tab for links to Brene Brown Ted Talks.*