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Nonsuicidal Self-Injury Behaviors


Nonsuicidal Self-Injury Behaviors


Nonsuicidal Self-Injury Behaviors

Posted on by Jill Harp

Teens walking

Samaritan’s Connected Community Wellness Screen program provides emotional wellness screens to students throughout 10 community school systems.

It is important for parents, schools and youth mentors to be aware that this year’s screenings are showing a prevalence of students engaging in nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) behaviors.

What is NSSI? It is self-inflicted harm to one’s body without the intent of suicide.

While adolescents tend to use NSSI to cope with anger, depression, sadness, anxiety and other mixed emotions, those who self-injure are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and behaviors, according to Lawrence University assistant professor and Wellness Screen collaborator Dr. Lori Hilt*.

NSSI behaviors, common among teens, can be difficult to detect since the act is often secretive and involves body parts which are relatively easy to hide.

Types/Signs of Self-Harm:

  • burning, cutting, carving, scratching of oneself
  • hitting or pinching oneself, banging on walls and other objects to induce pain
  • embedding objects under the skin
  • interfering with the healing of wounds
  • consistently wearing long sleeves or pants in summer and/or using wrist bands, bandages, coverings

How can you help your teen if you suspect or detect NSSI behaviors?

Not knowing how to broach the subject of NSSI is often what restrains concerned parents, teachers and coaches from probing. However, concern for the teen’s well-being is often what a self-injurer needs most.

What Parents Can Do:

  • Seek professional counseling/medical help for your teen if you suspect /detect NSSI behaviors
  • Improve communication by being direct, persistent and neutral
  • Be willing to listen to the self-injurer, reserving shock, judgment, shame or pity, to encourage teens to use their voice, rather than their body, as a means of self-expression

Teens who engage in NSSI behaviors can, with professional help, learn emotion-reglation skills that can take the place of self-injury, according to Dr. Hilt.

Learn more about NSSI.

*Note: Lawrence University assistant psychology professor Dr. Lori Hilt has evaluated Connected Community Wellness Screen since its inception (2012) in our community. She and her university students analyze the following data and measures: 1) utilization of mental health services, 2) suicide-related behaviors, 3) reported deaths by suicide.

Parsons Jen 0050To learn more about Connected Community Wellness Screen contact Jen Parsons, Wellness Screen Program Director.


Boosting Workplace and Personal Happiness

Siebers Tracy 2955

Dr. Tracy Siebers

Samaritan Clinical Director Dr. Tracy Siebers recently held a brown bag lunch discussion with the Center’s staff.  Tracy shared ways we can increase happiness in our own lives and encourage clients to do the same.

“Simply by expressing gratitude, among other small gestures, we can boost our happiness, personally and professionally,” Tracy suggested.

Taking this one step further, staff members Lisa Strandberg, Cassie Lauters, Jill Harp and Tracy Siebers have since been putting this tip into practice — exchanging daily emails that list three things each are grateful for.

This article from offers three easy, simple and rewarding steps to boost happiness at work and home.

Lisa, Cassie, Jill

Lisa Strandberg, Cassie Lauters, Jill Harp


Reducing Poverty Through POINT

POINT (Poverty Outcomes & Improvement Network Team) is an initiative to improve poverty community wide. Thank you to the Basic Needs Giving Partners including the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, J. J. Keller Foundation, Inc., U.S. Venture Open and Oshkosh Area Community Foundation for sponsoring this program.  It’s shifting the culture at Samaritan Counseling Center and changing the way we do business. Learn more.

“The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.” – Timbuk 3

Posted on by Jill Harp

gc-li-photoIn the words of outgoing Samaritan Counseling Center Board President Gary Cebulski:

Three years ago, if you would have told me that I’d be attending an Appleton Rotary Club meeting, viewing a panel of chief executives discussing questions on ethics, as an extension of a Samaritan-sponsored “Ethics In Business Summit”, I would have considered that the gold standard for what I envisioned would happen with the Summit.

Three years ago, if you would have told me that the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state of Wisconsin would be scheduled to visit the Hortonville Area School District in January 2017 to review the impact of HASD’s “E3” program – a program in which Samaritan provides wellness screening for teens in school in collaboration with other agencies – as an example of what is possible with a wide-ranging wellness screen program, I would have considered that the gold standard for what I would have thought was possible for Samaritan’s Wellness Screen program.

Three years ago, if you would have told me that Samaritan would take the lead on expanding bilingual mental health counseling services in the Fox Cities, establishing an advocacy and training program to support such services, I would have considered that a breakthrough program for Samaritan.

Three years ago, if you would have told me that Samaritan would be considered a “model agency” in an initiative that the majority of Fox Cities’ non-profit agencies are participating in (the POINT initiative), I would have said, quoting a popular commercial from the 1960’s, “we’ve come a long way, baby”.

As I complete my third and final year as Board President, I’m amazed at the progress the Samaritan Counseling Center has made. It is all due to the consistent, tireless efforts of the Samaritan staff and the contributions of so many dedicated volunteers and board members. And what I am most excited about is the heightened awareness of Samaritan in our community, and the quality of the people that are joining Samaritan’s efforts through board participation and volunteering.

I cannot think of a more exciting time to be connected with the Samaritan Counseling Center, and I am excited to see where it all goes from here. THANKS to all of you for your dedicated efforts to support Samaritan and advocate for strong mental health counseling in this community!

Note: Gary Cebulski served as Samaritan Counseling Center’s board president from approximately January 2013- December 2016.

Employee Incentives Prompt Unethical Behavior? – Topic at Fox Valley Ethics in Business Summit

Dr. Ann TenbrunselEmployee reward systems can be dangerous if not carefully constructed. Just ask senior leaders at Wells Fargo.

The company will pay $185 million in penalties, according to this NPR story, as a result of its employee incentive program gone awry.

Dangerous reward systems and three other ethical blind spots will be Dr. Ann Tenbrunsel’s focus as she keynotes Samaritan’s 2016 Fox Valley Ethics in Business Summit on Oct. 4.

NPR reports that companies need to be careful with employee incentive programs, because they can unwittingly prompt widespread unethical and unlawful behavior, as happened at Wells Fargo. The company has fired 5,300 employees nationwide.

To learn from the likes of Wells Fargo and explore how you can overcome such ethical blind spots, register for the 2016 Fox Valley Ethics in Business Summit.

  • Understand four causes of blind spots:
    • Dangerous reward systems
    • Ethical illusions
    • Ethical fading
    • Motivated blindness
  • Earn 2.5 CLE/CPE/HCRI/SHRM credits (for attorneys, CPAs and HR professionals)


Got A Serious Case of SAD? Seek Professional Solutions.

Posted on by Jill Harp

September is approaching, and with it comes the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for many in Wisconsin. During the past two weeks, I’ve blogged about SAD symptoms and strategies to self-treat mild SAD cases.

If your case of the “winter blues” seems severe and you find yourself unable to handle it on your own, I would highly recommend seeking professional help.

  • Start by talking to your doctor. He or she may suggest medication or psychotherapy to help you with SAD.
  • Light therapy is another option. However, it is important that you speak to your doctor first before trying to treat a severe case of SAD on your own.

If you end up seeking professional help for SAD, you still can benefit from the self-treatment tips in my previous post. Those techniques can be used in combination with any other treatment you receive. Using those skills, you may eventually be empowered to manage the “winter blues” on your own.

I hope you now better understand the “winter blues” and SAD. If you notice the symptoms, apply the self-help techniques, and reach out for help when you need it, winter can be just as enjoyable as summer. I encourage you to be attentive to your mood so you can feel happy and healthy all year long!

*Information gathered from

Lorenz Kayci 5247


Kayci Lorenz is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Training. She focuses on young adults dealing with a variety of mental wellness concerns, including anxiety and stress management. She sees clients at our Menasha location and at the UW-Fox Valley campus.

Strategies to Self-Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Posted on by Jill Harp

middle aged couple

If, as summer turns to fall, you find yourself feeling depressed or experiencing other symptoms I described in last Wednesday’s blog post, you may have SAD or the “winter blues.”

There are several steps you can take to relieve a mild case of SAD:


Get as much natural sunlight as possible. Try to step outside for a few minutes to get that Vitamin D!

Exercise regularly. Activity will boost the feel-good chemicals in your brain.  Exercise is also relieves stress and keeps your body strong and healthy.

Reach out to friends and family. Isolation may exacerbate your symptoms.

Eat a well-balanced diet. SAD often comes with carbohydrate cravings. Resist the urge to fight the blues with empty calories.

Make time for fun activities. Doing something you enjoy can lift your spirits.

These tips are just suggestions. You don’t need to do them all at once. Try one or two to see if they make a difference for you. It may take some trial and error to assemble your perfect personalized “winter blues” tool kit.

If these strategies don’t provide relief, your “winter blues” may be a more serious case of SAD. Next Wednesday I’ll cover how professional help from your primary care provider and/or therapist can help.

*Information gathered from

Lorenz Kayci 5247


Kayci Lorenz is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Training. She focuses on young adults dealing with a variety of mental wellness concerns, including anxiety and stress management. She sees clients at our Menasha location and at the UW-Fox Valley campus.


’Tis the Season for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Posted on by Jill Harp

Smokey Mtns_Harp 1608There is something about the summertime that gives me a whole new perspective on life.  I feel reinvigorated during these months and have more motivation to get things done.  The longer days and warmer air elevate my mood, and I get excited about venturing outside and admiring the flowers and sunshine.

Unfortunately, summer can’t last forever. As all Wisconsinites know, winter will soon return. It is not that I do not like the colder months; I just notice myself feeling a little less energetic and enthusiastic than usual. You might say I get a case of the “winter blues.”

These “winter blues” are a mild type of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression associated with winter – but it usually begins in September or October.

It is estimated that one to two percent of the population suffers from SAD. It is most common among people living farther north (ding ding, Wisconsin!).

Do I have Seasonal Affective Disorder?

If, as summer turns to fall, you find yourself experiencing the following, you may have SAD.

  • Hopelessness, sadness or tension
  • Decreased interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Depressed mood
  • Irritability
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Weight changes (usually weight gain)
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating

Mild symptoms usually start in September and October and worsen as the days get shorter and colder.

If you notice these symptoms in yourself or someone you love, there are several steps you can take on your own to help you move through these months without feeling so weighed down. I’ll cover those steps in next Wednesday’s blog post.

*Information gathered from

Lorenz Kayci 5247

Kayci Lorenz is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Training. She focuses on young adults dealing with a variety of mental wellness concerns, including anxiety and stress management. She sees clients at our Menasha location and at the UW-Fox Valley campus.

Want to Express Your Feelings Clearly?

Grok cards

Grok Cards are a great tool to have both in and out of the therapy room!  They are non-violent communication cards that promote honesty, compassion and connection.

Each Grok box comes with both feelings and needs cards, as well as instructions for an assortment of games and other ways to use the cards. I use Grok cards in therapy sessions with adolescents, adults, couples and families to help them clearly express what they are feeling about a person or situation. The cards also help my clients articulate unmet needs.

Grok cards can be used to improve empathy, clarify values and goals, and resolve conflict. These cards are especially helpful for those who have a hard time expressing what they are feeling.

Grok offers a variety of options to choose from and explore!

Kinas Katelynn 5523Katelynn Kinas is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Training. She sees adolescents, adults, couples and families for issues that include relationship struggles, sexuality and gender, depression, anxiety, body image and eating concerns.

Samaritan Counseling, Spirituality and the Healing Connection

Posted on by Jill Harp
Siebers Tracy 2955

Dr. Tracy M. Siebers, Ed. D., LPC

Dr. Tracy M. Siebers joined Samaritan Counseling in mid-June in a dual role as new clinical director and therapist.

Tracy recently shared how during her 20-plus years of experience in the mental health field she has continuously witnessed the important healing connection between mind, body and spirit in helping individuals, couples, families and organizations function most effectively.

“Based on the research I’ve done, Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley is an industry leader in utilizing an individual, couple or family’s spirituality in the counseling relationship in order to help them in obtaining wholeness and healing,” Tracy said.

Samaritan’s impressive Clergy and Congregation Care program has been part of this mission, she said, as well as the recent Creating Hope conference for faith leaders that equips them to understand and minister to those who have been affected by trauma.

“I am proud to say that I am in a leadership position at an organization that supports this connection for clients, as well as for staff,” Tracy said.