You, me, and counseling in 2016.

We’re nearing the end of 2016. About to make some major anxiety-invoking-political-decisions (the American Counseling Association is actually offering resources for folks dealing with election-anxiety this cycle). It’s been a leap year. And I think it’s safe to say we can blame Mercury in retrograde for some other off-kilter happenings.

2016 has brought about so many changes, including my transition to focusing on developing and growing my private practice and being able to help folks that otherwise have a hard time attaining it.

What does that mean to you?

Well, to be honest, it can mean a lot of things or a lot of nothing. One of my goals of counseling at my private practice is changing the stigma around mental health challenges. Reaching out for help doesn’t need to mean there is something blatantly awful going on in your life. It can mean you’re dealing with some difficult transitions and would benefit from some insight from an outsider’s perspective. It can mean you have a very concrete issue and you need some goal-directed action to overcome that specific obstacle. Or it could mean you’re not exactly sure what is going on in your world, but you know you don’t feel right and you know you deserve to be happier but don’t know how to go about getting to that more fulfilling phase of your life.

So many people report how nervous they are about taking the first steps- making the call to different therapists and then showing up to that first appointment. And while it can be nerve-wracking to meet someone new, especially someone you plan on baring your Self to, that’s okay and completely normal. Being open and vulnerable can be terrifying. But you should also be proud of yourself for overcoming those steps and reaching out. When you attend your first session, we’ll talk through your nerves and attempt to discern what the best mode of action for you is and what your options may be.

I receive several inquiries about whether I do *THIS* type of counseling or *THAT* other specific technique that is all the current rave. And while these are great questions and it’s awe-inspiring that you are taking an active role in your treatment,  I like to encourage folks to be open and willing to try different things. Sometimes you may come in for a very specific challenge and realize there are some other underlying thoughts causing some maladaptive feelings and behaviors.

I’ve also revamped my logo thanks to some common themes that have come up with clients. I like to use the tree analogy in our work together. You, the individual, are the tree trunk; it’s core. While anxiety or autism or schizophrenia are parts of your Being, branches if you will, they do not compromise your entire Self. They do not solely define you. They’re merely different facets of who you truly are. Sometimes we get caught up in a diagnosis or a specific barrier, but I like to remind clients that these aspects are a fraction of the whole; you are more than just your problems.

Since this post, I’ve officially been granted my PA license to practice as a Professional Counselor, moved, and had a little minion that wrecks havoc on the world.

Anyway. Drop me a line. Let’s have a conversation.


16 Weeks and Pregnant: A Therapists Perspective on Pregnancy, Adulthood, and Community.

*Insert obligatory, “oh my goodness it has been so long since I last updated”*

Yes, it’s been two years since I’ve utilized this lovely blog. And in that timeframe I’ve:

  • Gotten married (and had an amazing ceremony with our family and closest friends)
  • Gone on some amazing vacations
  • Ran my first half-marathon
  • Paid off a ridiculous amount of debt
  • Had my client load triple, including starting up hours at a different office
  • Became a group leader for a Mental Health Association local support group
  • Trained my dog to become a certified therapy dog
  • Had to return to school for my PA licensure due to state discrepancies between NY

Oh, and I’m currently four months pregnant with our first (potentially only) child. Continue reading “16 Weeks and Pregnant: A Therapists Perspective on Pregnancy, Adulthood, and Community.”

Love and Marriage

Note: the following post is a departure from the usual content of michellekanhelp. Instead of the usual mental health tips, I’d love to gain your insight into “the situation”.

I told myself I would keep this blog relatively unbiased. As in, I wouldn’t self-disclose too much. But over the weekend, something happened. Something most people consider big. Something many people spend there whole lives waiting for. Something I’m expected to jump up and down with a certain kind of joy about.

But to be honest, I’m not that person.

My partner and I have been together for several years. We’ve lived together for about 90% of that time. We are well acquainted with each others families. We go on vacations together. We split the bills down the middle and help each other out if a paycheck is a bit on the short side that week. We’ve discussed having children in the future. We’ve said we are committed, life-long partners. And most importantly, we adopted two puppies together.

But apparently, this is not enough for society.

We became engaged over the weekend. We made a subtle announcement on Facebook (because nothing is official unless it is on Facebook). And we have received an outpour of congratulatory compliments from friends and long-lost acquaintances.

Don’t misunderstand me, I genuinely appreciate the loving comments we have received from all. And my partner and I are no more or less committed than we have been over the years.

But in today’s society, when many no longer respect “old-fashioned” traditions, where people still say and do hateful acts towards their fellow-man, and worst of all, people barely appreciate Thanksgiving and are rushing to put Christmas decor on sale before Halloween has even happened.What’s the big deal with marriage?

Why is it despite the staggering divorce rates and broken homes, people still feel the need to have the legality of a piece of paper to validate their relationship? Instead of making a big deal about an engagement, why do people fail to recognize the fact that our already stable relationship has lasted longer than most marriage’s today?

I’m not trying to stand on a soapbox and preach feminists philosophies. And don’t get me wrong, there have been a few fleeting moments where excitement stirs (as in, “YES! We can get the animals to walk down the aisle with the rings!“)

I’m a believer in the fact everyone is entitled to their own opinion, their own beliefs. And for personal reasons, I agreed to make the socially expected committment.

But I’m genuinely interested in the thought process of others when it comes to marriage. What are your ideas on commitment and marriage? Please, drop me a line and share your thoughts! Help me gain some insight into this wild tradition! And if you don’t feel comfortable disclosing on the interwebs, please email me at !

-Dr. Seuss
-Dr. Seuss

Olympic Fever

Now that the Olympics are over, I have a confession: the past few weeks I have been unnecessarily preoccupied with the Olympics.Why? Sure the athletes are ridiculously amazing and have the ability to make me analyze my own abilities. But my minor obsession with the games goes beyond the superficial layer of athletic glory.

It’s the underlying message of the game that has me hooked. Be passionate. Be determined. Strive for your personal best. Don’t give up.

As cheesy as it may sound (especially to quote a breakfast cereal commercial), “why does the finish get all the glory? there is no destination, without the journey…”-Kellogg’s

Think about it:

  • How often do we examine our current circumstances and start planning for the next move?
  • Or maybe live in a bubble of nostalgia surrounding our past transgressions?
  • We  say we are living our lives fully, but are we?
  • Are we zooming past the nuisances of our daily lives to get to some ultimate goal?
  • What happens when that goal is attained? Do we feel disappointment or relief? Is there a new, more impossible goal to reach?

It’s easy to look at the Olympics and take on one of two perspectives: the pessimistic view (“Oh, I will never amount to anything like these athletes) versus the optimistic view ( “watch me be amazing). Which view are you going to take?

While the Olympics have been able to keep me distracted, thankfully those silly Kellogg’s commercials have reminded me of one thing: enjoy each moment by living the best way I can.

Oscar Wilde (source unknown)