Welcome to Mosaic…


My name is Cherilyn and I am one of the therapists at Mosaic, as well as the Clinical Supervisor. We are hoping to share information with you in this blog that you find helpful, even if you decide not to come in and see someone. We are also working on a Resources page where you might also find helpful information to provide guidance in meeting your goals and dealing with issues that may cause you discomfort. It is normal to have issues in life that you prefer not to think about and finding a professional to help you deal with these issues can sometimes be a daunting task. If you decide you might want to talk to someone about these things then give us a call – we have a variety of services, such as individual, family, and group counseling, to also help you meet these needs.

For those considering seeing a therapist, check out this article on the Huffington Post about the “8 Signs You Should See A Therapist.” We also welcome feedback from you – please send us an email with any questions or concerns you may have. Once a week we will anonymously post and answer a question we receive on the blog – so check back to see when your question is answered!

We hope you enjoy our site and blog…


Teen Substance Abuse – Yes, there is Help!

Substance abuse is starting to be recognized as an increasingly complex problem in our society. Historically, people thought the person using substances was ‘making a choice’ to do so, and whatever consequences came about were the result of the bad choices being made. As we learn more about brain development, the effects of trauma, and co-occurring mental illness we realize there are more factors to consider in substance abuse treatment outside of simply teaching someone to make better choices. In 2014, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (www.drugabuse.gov) brought us good news: the overall use of all substances by teenagers is continuing to move downward. While this is good news, it appears the long-term effects of teen substance abuse are occurring at a greater cost.  As a therapist, I see the negative effects that drug use has on teens and their families, and it’s good to know that fewer teens are using substances. Without going into a debate on the criminalization of substance use and the societal impacts of such, I think it’s pretty clear that any substance use by teens has the potential for catastrophic outcomes. A young person’s brain continues to develop into their early 20s – and a very important part that is developing during these years (the frontal lobe) is the part that impacts judgement, higher level decision-making, emotional expression, impulse control, and moral decision-making. This is not a part of the brain that anyone wants compromised by substance use. Along with more well-known street drugs, there is a rapidly growing concern over the use of newer synthetic drugs such as “bath salts”, spice, and flakka among others. These drugs can and have caused psychotic breaks from reality in adolescents and young adults. That kind of break from reality is difficult, and even impossible in some people, to come back from and can lead to lifelong mental health problems. Keeping this in mind, it is important to not only educate kids about the effects of drugs, but also prepare kids for when they are approached about drugs. The ‘Just Say No’ stance of the 1980’s is not enough, as kids today, as are the drug dealers, are more sophisticated today than in the past. While education is an important component, showing kids how to be assertive in getting their needs met and teaching kids good communication skills will help them have the tools they need to resist a pressured approach. Additionally, knowing how to manage emotion in a constructive way and creating regular family activities help kids make healthier decisions. Over the next 4 weeks we will have a series of blog posts that focus on how to teach kids these skills and how to address substance abuse concerns as a parent. Feel free to also respond with any questions you have and one of our therapist will be glad to help you out! Working as a team, we can help prepare kids for the pressures of society and give them the tools they need to make healthy decisions.

Mosaic Counseling Center will be offering YOLO (You Only Live Once), a Teen Substance Abuse Treatment Group. This group will run 12 weeks and will help youth ages 14-17 years old learn how to live life drug free. We will also be offering a FREE Parent Support Group during this time. YOLO starts Wednesday, October 21st at 6 p.m. Contact us at 661-665-6077 to schedule an assessment today. Most major insurances are accepted, including Victim Witness (CAL VCP), and cash pay participants get 50% off the cost of the program. Partial scholarships are available. The 12 week treatment group will be followed by a 26 week afterward component.

Only 12 spots are open and everyone must be signed up by 10/7/2015!


The stats above are found on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website

Why Practice Happiness?

Happiness is an interesting term. What is being happy? What is feeling happy? How do we define happiness for ourselves? Often times we fine tune our lives; get bigger houses, nicer cars, and buy more shoes. Are these the things that make us happy? What happens when these things are no longer fulfilling, or no longer available? What then?

What we do know is that happiness feels good. When we can experience happiness, we feel lighter, less weighed down, less heavy with stress and worry. Happy people feel good to be around, they exude positive energy. Studies have found that happiness can improve aspects of our lives. In her 2007 book, The How of Happiness, positive psychology researcher, Sonja Lyubomirsky describing happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” Here you can find her talking about The Benefits of Happiness:


So now that we know there are benefits, Why Practice Happiness?

In addition to feeling good, studies have found that our lives can improve by being happy. Happy people cope better with trauma and stress. Happy people have more fulfilling relationships. Happy people are more productive and more creative.

Based on her research, Lyubomirsky concluded that approximately 50 percent of happiness is determined by our genes and 10 percent from our life circumstance. However, 40 percent is a result of our daily activities. Lyubomirsky and other researchers suggest ways in which you can boost happiness.

These include:

  • Build Relationships
  • Give Thanks
  • Start a Gratitude Journal
  • Practice Happiness
  • Give up Grudges
  • Exercise
  • Practice rest and relaxation
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Don’t focus on material wealth

Happiness is a process and a personal experience for each individual. Not everyone requires the same experience to be happy; however, we all want it, crave it and can certainly achieve it. So there may be wisdom to the song as it goes, “If you’re are happy and your know it clap your hands.” Here you can sing along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfCMRk-osJ8

Contact Mosaic Counseling at 661-665-6077 or email me at Kristie@IAmAMosaic.org to find out about our free weekly meditation group – and start practicing happiness today!

Kristie Esquivel, IMF

The Benefits of Effective Communication

Effective communication is essential in any type of relationship. It is especially important in building strong bonds within marriages, between siblings, and between parents and their children. Poor communication can lead to a breakdown in family functioning, including a lack of intimacy or togetherness, excessive conflict, and the inability to solve problems or accept differences. Poor communication, or a lack of communication, is a common complaint among couples and families seeking counseling. In order to promote healthier family relationships, individuals must try to express themselves in a way that others can understand, actively listen and try to understand what is being said to them, and be able to recognize non verbal cues, which often accounts for more communication than actual spoken words.

Communication is a way to express our likes and dislikes, our hopes and fears, and to find ways to have our needs met. As technology advances to improve communication, many of the subtle nuances of effective communication have fallen by the wayside. Although email and texts are much faster than previous ways of communicating, those using these technologies should remember to take the time to think about what they are about to say before saying it. Many families find that taking a little bit of time out of their busy day to sit down and have a meal together can open the door to communication and drastically improve their functioning as a family. Previous research has shown that children whose families eat dinner together 5 or more nights a week are much less likely to use drugs or engage in other self harming behaviors. Going for walks and playing board games are good times for parents to communicate with teenagers or younger children without the pressure of direct face to face contact or with it feeling like a lecture.

Sometimes poor communication styles are the results of what individuals learn in their environment. But even couples who have been together for many years and have previously had good communication can suffer a breakdown in that communication. Good communication takes practice and effort. Own your words and try not to fall into a pattern of shaming or blaming. Know that it is not possible to make everyone happy all of the time, and that a compromise doesn’t mean there is a winner or a loser, just that a new solution has been found. It is important that each person in any kind of a relationship be heard and their feelings considered. It is in this way that not only the individual can thrive, but the couple or the family can thrive as well.

Andrea Hawk, ASW

Feel free to fill out our poll and share what you think about your communication style!


Transfer Trauma: Mitigating the Effects on the Elderly

Due to my medical background and working with the aged I decided to share information on “Elder Transfer Trauma” and ways of assisting in the transitioning from one home to another. Have you ever thought what it truly feels like when you have to give up the only place you know? When I ask this question it could occur at any age. Take for example having to move to a new school, transferring to a new job or having to relocate your entire family. As we get older and we are unable to care for ourselves and we depend on our children or families to care for us. What happens when we are stricken with a grave disease such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s? This in itself is such a hard process of understanding and not knowing what changes are taking place in our lives. To fully understand or acknowledge these changes is very difficult.

In Kate Jackson’s recent article, “Prevent Elder Transfer Trauma: Tips to Ease Relocation Stress she explained that the symptoms of transfer trauma may occur before, during, and for several months after a move and may be mild or severe depending on the individual and the circumstances. We must realize when we move our loved ones from their home along with taking away their free agency we must not forget how hard this will be for the person. We need to be observant to the feelings and emotions they are experiencing. In this same article it discussed a person’s mood may change, they may feel depressed, sad, experience bouts of crying, or even become irritated or angry. Along another line these individuals who are experiencing memory difficulty may truly believe they have been kidnapped, taken from their homes, or call 9-1-1 for help. At times these individuals may say “I want to go home.” This is where the symptoms of Transfer Trauma could develop if not addressed, which can affect a person’s cognitive and physical functioning.

So, who is at risk for Transfer Trauma? Basically, according to Green Mitnz, “any time there’s a move, there’s potential for transfer trauma. But the risk is greater, she says, for individuals with dementia who can’t participate in decision making and have difficulty assimilating new information.” We also need to be mindful of those of suffer from Alzheimer’s and how the progression of that disease can impact the elderly person’s perception of current events.

So it is important for families who make the decision to move their loved ones from their home to remember the following:

  1. Advocate for appropriate services for eldery patients to decrease transfer trauma
  2. Advocate for communication among all involved parties.
  3. Remember to involve the person who is going to be moving in the discussion and take into account their wishes and ideas.
  4. Arrange for the individual visit the facility prior to transfer.

Kim Warchol, OTR/L founder and President of Dementia Care Specialists suggested the following strategies:

  1. Overemphasize welcoming the person into the new community.
  2. Work on building strong relationships between staff and residents.
  3. Remember to use appropriate language. Do not refer to the new home as a ‘facility’ or a ‘lock down facility.’
  4. Reiterate the person is a valued.
  5. Gain trust and respect.
  6. Relatives can provide information to staff. For example, what their love ones habits are.
  7. Keep families in the loop of normalcy for change does occur in a person.
  8. Remember adjusting to a new place takes times so all parties involved must be mindful of this.

Change is not easy so be mindful of our elderly family and friends when decisions have to be made on their behalf. We must remember taking a person away from their home because of safety reasons also takes away their freedom. We must remember how hard of a decision it is to have to remove our loved ones from their home and place them into a family home or placement into a long-term facility. Remember it is not easy for you to make the decision, but it is not easy on your love one either. If you remember one thing think back to when you were stressed and worried about moving to a new town, leaving your children at daycare, or having to be displaced because of today’s economy. This gives a small sense of what people who are experiencing Transfer Trauma could be experiencing.

I hope this gave some insight on Transfer Trauma and how to help loved ones cope with this issue.

Petra Gil-Vigie, MSW, ASW Mosaic Counseling Intern

Happy Easter!

Image result for easter 2015

We at Mosaic Counseling are hoping you are enjoying your Easter holiday. During holiday times, I like to reflect on my life and think of ways to improve myself and become more balanced. One of the areas I am personally working on right now is Work – Life balance. I think we all suffer from feeling like we do not have enough hours in the day. Check out this TED Talk from Nigel Marsh: How to Make Work – Life Balance Work. He gives some interested insights and practical advice to help you meet all your obligations while also leaving some time for yourself! Check it out in your spare time 🙂 ….

Please check us out next week as we resume our normal blog schedule …


Grief is a Journey – by Kristie Esquivel, IMF

Grief is a personal journey, never the same for any two people and as unique as your life and your relationships.  To understand grief is to understand it is not one-dimensional; it can be a mix of many emotions all at once.  Although loss is an inevitable part of life, how you approach and decide to face this reality can either involve meaningless pain or can promote understanding and wisdom.

In her book “On Death and Dying”, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross described a type of emotional journey among people who are facing death.  Her approach has been used in similar terms to describe people’s reaction to loss. Sometimes people grieve losses and think it is over; however, birthdays of loved ones, anniversary dates of when a loss occurred, can sometimes cause grief to reactivate.

The 5 General Stages of Grief include: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

Typically the first stage, Denial, comes after shock or disbelief. Often Anger occurs as a result of feeling resentful and that the situation is unfair. Often times we ask ourselves. “Why Me?” Anger can also create a desire to blame others.

Guilt is associated with Bargaining. Bargaining is often a promise to change in order to alleviate the guilt. Guilt is a way to make sense of what is happening. Sometimes we try to regain control over the situation in this stage by having self-blame.

Often Anger can be associated with Depression and the fight with our own personal demons. Depression is often the manifestation of feeling cheated on life.

Acceptance is the true use of the lessons learned in life and coming to terms of what is real. Acceptance means we are no longer angry or depressed and no longer overwhelmed by grief.

Grief is normal when we suffer loss. It can be difficult and overwhelming; however it is a natural and logical process. Letting the process occur can lead to healing. Grief therapy can provide that guidance and healing environment.

If you find yourself experiencing any of these stages or feel you have grief that you are struggling to process, this article may be beneficial to you.


Post published by Marilyn Price-Mitchell Ph.D. on Jul 25, 2014 in The Moment of Youth.

If you need assistance in reaching your goals or walking through your journey of Grief and Loss, contact Mosaic Counseling. We have different services to help meet your needs, including therapeutic and support groups.