Abby Editorial

By Abby Maher

We live in a society that regards heterosexual and cisgender as the norm. For LGBTQ+ folks, this means we are so often excluded from the institutions and traditions that were built on the premise that heterosexual, cisgender people are the standard against which everyone else is judged. As an LGBTQ+ person, this can feel extremely isolating. It can feel as though there isn’t space for us. When we are simply tolerated by heterosexual cisgender people, it can feel as though we should praise them because they made room for us to simply exist in their world. In my personal experience, the feeling of constantly being on the outside has made conforming to heteronormative ideals seem like the most appealing option. I have felt the pressure to fit myself into the boxes that are considered “normal” in order to get along in an environment that didn’t want to tolerate me as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I have also encountered many kind, well-intentioned people who wish to be inclusive and accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, but I have found that even inclusivity can come with constraints. I think society as whole doesn’t really tolerate things that it can’t explicitly define and place in a box. So for those of us who exist outside of the heterosexual, cisgender boxes, society has created a new set of standards about what a lesbian is supposed to look and act like, what a gay man is supposed to look and act like, what a transgender woman or man is supposed to look and act like, and so on.  Once I discovered that I simply couldn’t squeeze myself into the heteronormative box society tried to place me in, with a swell of pride in my identity, I searched for inclusivity within the LGBTQ+ community. I tried really hard to ascribe to the values, thoughts and ideas I was “supposed” to have as someone who identifies as a lesbian.  A lot of those things don’t define who I am at my core, but after all I am a human and I crave love, inclusion and acceptance. I have had to ask myself however,  if I have to betray my authenticity in order to receive those things, is it even love, inclusion or acceptance?

So therein lies the dilemma, as an LGBTQ+ person I am often outcast from the majority of society because I cannot mold myself to fit, and I often feel outcast and left behind within my own community because I do not see myself reflected in the assumptions society makes about me.

As a future mental health counselor who hopes to work with the LGBTQ+ community, I hope to use this feeling to guide my work. I am aware that these boxes I have mentioned often tell LGBTQ+ people how to love, how to have relationships, how to express themselves, and how to find acceptance. If I had one wish for any of  my fellow LGBTQ+ folk, it would be for them to be able to see beyond the constraints of these boxes, to get in touch with how they want to love, how they want to have relationships, and how they want to express themselves. Above all, I wish for them to feel that their truth does not make them less valid if it doesn’t align with the standard, and finally I wish for them to know that they can find unconditional acceptance through these truths. As a counselor I see it as my role to help clients do the work of silencing the voice that tells us as LGBTQ+ people what we should be, so that they can find their own voice that tells them who they truly are. Beyond that, I see it as my role to help clients feel empowered enough to share that voice with the rest of the world, so that they may be loved, included, and accepted without conditions.

My Experience with Alpha Stim

By Abby Maher

The alpha-stim device has been billed as a drug-free treatment option for pain anxiety, depression and insomnia. It functions by passing a low-voltage electrical charge through the body between two electrodes.  For treatments involving anxiety, depression, or insomnia, the electrodes are placed on each ear via clips. The device is worn for 20 minutes and treatments can be done daily or as needed.

According to research, alpha-stim has been found to assist sleep and elevate mood by stimulating associated brain regions and hormone producing portions of the brain. Devices like this have been in use in the United States for 50 years and have been considered safe.

How does it feel?

Placing the electrodes on my ears, I felt a little reservation. The device comes with instructions that says to gradually increase the intensity of the charge until you feel seasick, then turn it down. I didn’t really believe that the two little clips could make me feel seasick until I felt it for myself.

Once I had it at the correct level for me, it felt like a gentile tap on my earlobes. It was easy to ignore and not painful at all.

Does it work?

When I had the clips in place, I felt a little tired and was fairly relaxed. Once I removed them, the feeling continued for a little while. I am not currently suffering from any of the conditions that alpha-stim is designed to treat. However, I can imagine that the calming effect of the alpha-stim would be effective for use in treating those issues.  I think alpha-stim could be a useful part of a treatment regimen and is worth giving a try.

Infertility, Treatments, and Stress… OH MY!

By Nattalie Roepke

Have you or your partner had difficulties conceiving? If so, you are not alone. According to, 10% of US women struggle with becoming pregnant or carrying to term. Infertility is defined by the World Health Organization as being unable to conceive after 12 months of regular unprotected sex. Some reproductive specialists believe that this is overgenerous. They believe that after 6 months, couples 35 and older should begin the testing process for infertility.

If you or someone you love has ever gone through this, you may understand how difficult it is. 20% of couples who have been diagnosed with infertility, don’t know why. Many others are left with frustrating diagnosis such as premature menopause, low ovarian reserve, PCOS, low sperm count, or endometriosis. All of these disorders are outside of individual control and difficult, if not impossible, to treat medically leaving many couples with no other options except for expensive, and perhaps financially prohibitive, treatments.

There are many aspects about infertility that go unaddressed by medical practitioners. Women and men who discover that they are incapable of having children without medical support experience:

  • Shame
  • Isolation
  • Greif over the loss of this ability
  • Anger at their body or their partner’s body for not working
  • Confusion
  • Regret
  • Fertility hyper-awareness
  • Disappointment
  • Jealousy for other’s who do not have difficulty conceiving
  • Feelings of loss of control over one’s body
  • Guilt
  • Low self-esteem

While you may see a reproductive endocrinologist, gynecologist, and/or urologist for your physical concerns, many forget that mental health is equally important. Because many individual’s experiencing fertility challenges may not feel comfortable sharing them with friends or family, isolation and depression commonly occur.

What Can You Do?

If you have been involved in reproductive treatments for a while, you already know that reproductive health has a vernacular all its own. Step into any online chat community for infertility for the first time and the acronyms and drug names will overwhelm you. Individual’s new to the process may feel completely lost when speaking to doctors and may struggle to even know what to ask.

Reproductive mental health counselors specialize in providing support to individuals who are dealing with the stressors related to this process. As a patient of an infertility clinic, you may dig into supplements and diets all geared to help you produce the best quality eggs or sperm you can. While you are doing all that you can to take care of your body, don’t forget to take care of your mind.

Chronic stress can alter your hormonal balance. In an article written in 2008 in “Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience” researchers were able to tie stress related hormones to worsened pregnancy outcomes when patients are undergoing assisted reproductive techniques (ART). This seems to correlate with anecdotal stories that seem to show that couples are more successful when they are less stressed. Everyone has heard of a couple who tried for years. At some point they stop trying and go on a vacation and come home pregnant. Although this definitely does not work for most couples, lowering stress hormones can increase the effectiveness of treatment.

Help Is Available

Contact a mental health counselor who specializes in treatment of clients experiencing fertility challenges. There are many interventional therapies which can help you reduce stress and become more resilient when faced with the obstacles of infertility.

Meet Abby

Harmony US has a new intern we would love for you to meet, Abby.

Hello everyone, I am a master’s level student in Northwestern University’s clinical mental health counseling program. Having completed a practicum experience through which I provided supervised counseling to a variety of individuals, I am now in my internship year where I am able to provide counseling to individual adults, couples, groups, children and adolescents. My major areas of interest include working with the LGBTQ community, gender, sexuality, and healing from trauma. I am also a major advocate for the idea that counseling is for everyone, ranging from those who wish to heal from trauma to those who are experiencing the stress of every day life. I welcome the opportunity to work with anybody! My approach to counseling is very much relationship based as I believe that a truly safe, warm, collaborative and trusting environment can sometimes be the most powerful aspect of counseling. My hope is that the things you discover about yourself, and the things you learn through our counseling relationship can be applied to your life in order to empower you to become the best version of yourself.

Intern Spot Light

Harmony US is pleased to introduce you to one of our amazing mental health interns, Nattalie.

Hello Everyone. My name is Nattalie Roepke. I am a student at Northwestern University and have joined HarmonyUS to complete internship within my Master’s degree program. I am a Florida native and love calling Tampa my home.

I have worked as an educator and an education administrator for many years. I have my undergraduate degree in psychology and am excited to be completing my Master’s degree program and to be working within the HarmonyUS family.  

I have many areas of interest. I am currently working toward my certification in fertility counseling (which provides specific support for individuals and couples who are experiencing difficulties becoming pregnant, have had miscarriage(s), are seeking or currently using assisted reproductive techniques, or are building a family using egg donor, sperm donor, or surrogacy). I am also familiar with traditional psychoanalytic techniques, cognitive-behavioral therapies, and solution-focused therapies.

I am also familiar with the treatment of anxiety and PTSD with cannabis and can provide information and resources in this area.

I am available to see clients on a limited basis. I look forward to meeting you.

4 Methods For Cannabis Learning & Design

Generally, Learning and Development (or L&D) professionals ask themselves the question when developing training for the cannabis industry: “How can I deliver services as quickly as possible in accordance with the wishes of the customer?” On the other hand, others ask a more fundamental question: “Does the service actually work?

To determine the effectiveness of any service, the L&D professional looks for scientific evidence. Scientific evidence will help decision-making about learning services. The question is, is this evidence-based or evidence-informed?

Evidence-Based Medicine

For physicians, evidence-based medicine in the cannabis industry is the norm and can be described as striving to base diagnosis and treatment on scientific research. Guidelines and protocols for diagnosis and treatment exist on the basis of evidence-based medicine.

This increases the quality of diagnostics and treatment and supports the culture to improve existing practice, guidelines and protocols. It also helps to renew each of these based on new scientific research. Evidence-based research is also used by doctors to develop a better do-not-do list.

Under the motto: “if it does not help, it will harm,” for example, the university medical centers in the Netherlands are working together to build this list of 1,300 pointless medical procedures for the time being. Similar programs are running in the US and other countries.

The better do-not-do list supports physicians in making informed choices about implementation or omitting diagnostics and therapy. Doing nothing is certainly an option if it is scientifically proven that a certain treatment does not work or is even harmful.

The better do-not-do list is good for the patient and the doctors and is cost-effective. Nurses have developed similar initiatives. Yes, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Medicine has been working with evidence-based processes and work for more than 100 years.

There is much to learn for educational science for the cannabis industry from the approaches medical science has been taking for many years. For example, in medical science, despite the lively debate, the principle of evidence-based medicine is not under discussion.

There are, however, questions about how to improve scientific research for the cannabis industry, how to guarantee the autonomy of doctors, how to guarantee patient participation and so on. Moreover, there is still a lot of work to be done, because around half of current diagnosis and treatment is not (yet) evidence-based.

Evidence-Informed Educational Science

It is difficult to compare educational science with medicine in terms of the disciplines and possibilities for scientific research in the cannabis industry. Tougher scientific research is the norm in medical practice. An example of this is the randomized controlled trial method with quantitative outcomes.

Educational science is a social science and measuring effects are more difficult due to changing circumstances and studies that cannot be repeated (under comparable, controlled conditions). In evidence-based research, processes are more rigorous and outcomes more distinct. It is also possible to use treatment guidelines and protocols for better outcomes.

Restraint is important in educational sciences because the research is less rigorous. That is why the medical community talks about ‘evidence-informed’ research. This refers to scientific research in educational sciences as the basis for decision-making about the effectiveness of learning solutions.

Evidence-based’ provides fairly hard results so that doctors can use research to develop with guidelines for care provision. ‘Evidence-informed’ is less hard, but still very useful with a higher chance of success if applied, the importance of evidence-informed work as follows:

Use the evidence in the cannabis industry to increase your knowledge and expertise so that you can have conversations with clients or partners, parents and colleague teachers, directors or school principals/headmasters, and so further on WHY you recommend certain design decisions.

It will improve your expertise, our value in cannabis organizations, and, the most important our designs so that our learners can learn more effectively, efficiently, and enjoyable! In the cannabis industry learning world, there is a practice that leading professionals contribute and actively recommend evidence-informed work.

How To Promote Evidence-Informed Working?

It is no exaggeration to state that the practice of corporate learning (or L&D) is still far removed from consistent evidence-informed research and work.

Take, for example, the persistent myth about learning styles that have existed for many decades. Scientifically, there is no evidence that people learn better when the instruction is tailored to someone’s learning preference or style.

Nevertheless, in many countries, 80 – 95% of education professionals and people, in general, believe that learning styles matter to educators. It seems difficult for scientific evidence to penetrate into L&D practices. In this case, despite the many articles and tweets from scientists and L&D professionals that learning styles are not effective.

In addition to learning styles, there are more myths in education that are relevant to L&D professionals. Two (2) more examples are:

  • Self-discovery learning (insufficient evidence) versus direct instruction (lots of evidence).
  • People remember 10% of what they read (no evidence of the percentages and misuse of experience).

More information about myths is available to promote evidence-informed working within L&D. As is often the case in evidence-informed work, it is clear that being accepted practice is not the same as being right. Below are four recommendations to promote evidence-informed L&D practice.


1. Unlocking Research And Identifying Myths

The proceeds of scientific research in the cannabis industry are not always accessible to L&D professionals in practice. This has to do with pressure, focus (work in progress), background knowledge and the often-inaccessible nature of research studies.

That is why it is to be welcomed that more and more books, articles and blogs are being published to make the academic knowledge of educational sciences accessible to a larger audience. People put a lot of effort into making academic knowledge available for L&D practice.

Signaling of myths often goes on through social media (TwitterLinkedIn, etc.) The nature of the messages varies greatly. Signaling can easily be done by pointing out to people that, for example, learning styles are not effective or that direct instruction works better than self-discovery learning.

In fact, the signaling function is intended to support people to work in a more evidence-informed way. This is not always reflected in the tone of social media expressions. Tweets and other messages are occasionally characterized by frustration, cynicism, irritation or personal attacks.

This is dysfunctional and does not fit with the principles of educational sciences, where development is core business – and this applies not least to the development of evidence-informed L&D practice.


2. Integrate Into Education

The L&D function in organizations can be found throughout the world. As a result, there are different systems of cannabis industry training in every country and continent that qualify people to work as a trainer, coach, educationalist, educational technologist, learning data analyst and so on.

The field of study of training is broad and diverse. Moreover, the large multinationals particularly employ not only people professionally qualified in L&D roles to develop formal educational services. This makes the challenge of working in evidence-informed ways even greater.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to integrate evidence-informed work into educational qualifications for L&D professionals. This is an important task and responsibility at the national level.


3. Implement And De-Implement In Practice

Collaboration is required to bring evidence-informed educational sciences to L&D practice. This can be done by giving scientists, professional associations, policymakers, managers and L&D professionals their own role and responsibility in initiatives such as the following:

  • Policy and practical promotion that evidence-informed working is the new standard for L&D practice.
  • Developing a database (copy from the doctors) with an overview of the evidence-informed learning solutions to support L&D professionals in practice.
  • Give L&D professionals access to online databases of scientific publications.
  • Pay attention to de-implementation through a better do-not-do list drawn up to reduce inappropriate learning solutions. Work smarter by copying by doctors and nurses.


4. Work Together With Other Scientific Disciplines

Learning in organizations is not limited to educational sciences. Professionals do not only learn in an educational setting but also by working (together).

Learning is also not limited to individuals. Organizations (teams and individuals) also learn and that affects disciplines such as knowledge management, economics, and organizational development.

Evidence-informed working can benefit from the output of scientific research in other disciplines. The proponents of evidence-informed educational science form the basis for the further professionalization of our cannabis industry. That is also necessary because there is still a world to be gained with regard to the quality of designing, implementing and evaluating learning solutions.

To this end, it is necessary to join forces and to support L&D practice through a coherent set of measures to make evidence-informed working the new standard. This goes further than merely signaling that L&D is not yet working well, or not sufficiently evidence-informed.

This is a responsibility for everyone who wants to contribute to a golden future for L&D in organizations.

Let us know what you think.

What is Alpha-Stim

The brain works on an electrical and chemical process. The chemical process comprises only 2% of the brain’s activity, leaving 98% as electrical activity. Alpha-Stim treatments are safe and effective therapy to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression, and pain. Cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) device delivers a natural level of microcurrent, using small clips worn on the earlobes, through the brain to stimulate and modulate specific groups of nerve cells. The microcurrent so gentle and small, just millionths of an ampere, most people don’t even feel it.

Alpha-Stim treats patients with microcurrent technology using two protocols: Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES) and Microcurrent Electrical Therapy (MET). CES process uses a microcurrent of less than one-half milliampere, delivered directly into the brain with ear clip electrodes for 20 to 60-minute sessions and treats anxiety, insomnia and depression. MET used the Alpha-Stim Smart Probes or self-adhesive AS-Trodes to deliver a microcurrent of less than one milliampere through the body with a two to five minute protocol for peripheral pain.


Research shows that the Alpha-Stim waveform activates certain groups of nerve cells located in the brainstem. The nerve cells produce the chemicals serotonin and acetylcholine, which in turn can affect the chemical activity of nerve cells located nearby and at distant sites in the nervous system. These cells control the activity of afferent nerve pathways into the brain and efferent nerves that course down the spinal cord. The Alpha-Stim appears to strengthen activity in some neurological systems and neutralize activity in others, creating an increase in Alpha rhythms. These alpha rhythms are accompanied by feelings of calm, relaxation and increased mental focus. While in an alpha state, the neurological mechanisms appear to decrease stress effects, reduce agitation, stabilize mood and regulate both sensations and perceptions of specific types of pain.

Couples in Conflict:The Top Three Articles for Conflict and Repair

Manage Conflict: The Six Skills

Today on the Gottman Relationship Blog, we continue the discussion of Manage Conflict by introducing Dr. Gottman’s six skills of conflict management. Many of us connect all too well with comedian Mitch Hedberg’s feelings when he quips, “I got in an argument with a girlfriend inside of a tent. That’s a bad place for an argument, because I tried to walk out, and had to slam the flap!”

While his commentary on the frustrations all couples feel in the face of conflict may hit close to home, or deeply amuse us, we know that problems in real relationships are rarely solved through stand-up comedy. In the interest of finding more constructive solutions, we would like to direct you to a different quote, that lovely old adage: Love is saying “I feel differently” instead of “you’re wrong.”

Read More

Managing vs. Resolving Conflict in Relationships: The Blueprints for Success

In The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman’s research proves that 69% of problems in a relationship are unsolvable. These may be things like personality traits your partner has that rub you the wrong way, or long-standing issues around spending and saving money. Their research findings emphasize the idea that couples must learn to manage conflict rather than avoid or attempt to eliminate it.

Trying to solve unsolvable problems is counterproductive, and no couple will ever completely eliminate them. However, discussing them is constructive and provides a positive opportunity for understanding and growth. Let’s look at three “conflict blueprints” to help you and your partner constructively manage conflict around unsolvable problems.

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5 Steps to Fight Better if Your Relationship is Worth Fighting For

Conflict is inevitable in every relationship. Psychologist Dan Wile says it best in his book After the Honeymoon: “When choosing a long-term partner, you will inevitably be choosing a particular set of unresolvable problems.” However, Dr. Gottman has found that nearly 1/3 of all conflicts can be resolved with the right approach.

The popular approach to conflict resolution, advocated by many marriage therapists, is to put yourself in your partner’s shoes, listen to what they say, and communicate with empathy that you understand their perspective. It’s a decent method if you can do it.

But most couples can’t. Even happily married couples. After studying couples for the last 40 years, Dr. John Gottman has recognized that even happy couples do not follow the experts’ rules of communication.

By studying what these couples did, Dr. Gottman developed a new model for solving your solvable problems in an intimate relationship.

Read More


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life


Similar Titles

"If you don’t imagine, nothing ever happens at all." - John Green, Paper Towns

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Author: Mark Manson
Pages: 212
Category: Self-Help
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: 2016
Signed? No
First Edition? No

Purchase this title at:


#1 New York Times Bestseller

Over 3 million copies sold

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.

Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—"not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault." Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

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Holistic Psychotherapy

The treatment of emotional and psychological pain that manifests itself in the form of anxiety, depression, physical pain, and other physiological disorders. It is an approach that specifically focuses on the use of traditional psychotherapy combined with alternative medicine and treatment modalities such as acupuncture, massage, herbology, and nutritional counseling in order to achieve harmony between the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of our clients. Unlike western based methods of treatment, this method uses both physical and mental therapies to explore and address the root of your symptoms. Initially, we determine what the client defines as distress and then establish how this distress is manifesting itself. For example, many forms of disharmony can result in symptoms such as interpersonal conflict (fighting), irritability, depression, lethargy, pain, or other disorders. We then work towards finding the root cause of the disharmony and establish a multidisciplinary treatment plan towards healing. This approach to the treatment is especially useful in treating distress caused by severe traumatic experiences such as rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence, war, combat and various crimes. It is also very effective in less severe instances such as divorce, change in lifestyle (e.g. loss of job), or life transitions ( e.g. loss of loved one).

Whatever the source, holistic psychotherapy works to restore the balance between mind, spirit, and body. It is a blending of ancient eastern methodologies with modern western psychotherapies that reach into your inner self and helps you experience a better life with less pain, disharmony, and stress. At HarmonyUS, we are devoted to helping you restore strength and balance to where you can begin to engage life again on a level to where you will feel enriched. We work to help you release the negativity around you and focus on positive aspects and behaviors designed to enrich your life. Our goal is simply to help you experience more joy and well-being in your everyday living.