Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a warm, wonderful and healthy holiday season and a happy new year!

If you are looking for support in making changes and growing the life you always wanted, feel free to contact us here at Another Look at Healing, LLC at 240-274-5680 or by emailing Our website is for more details.

Take Good Care,
Amy Hooper, LCSW-C, Director &
Abbie Mortimer, Executive Assistant  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Creating Space for Self and Hospitality for Others

The colors of fall have most certainly changed to brown and the sun disappears earlier in the evening. Meanwhile, the smells of food have turned to warming cinnamon, brisk peppermint, and hearty stews.  In addition to the visible changes of the season, hospitality comes to mind when we begin to think of the holidays approaching. Welcoming guests, whether family or nearly complete strangers, involves preparation, commitment, and generosity.  These components may initially feel as though they are only about a home or a physical place, but preparation, commitment and generosity are also about the way we prepare ourselves to welcome a guest and to be more gracious and compassionate with ourselves.

In a recent article, “How to Create Safe Places” by Chalese Dunton, she writes: “I have come to realize no matter who we are, we all crave spaces where we can be known and loved in the most authentic ways. When we step out in courage to create those spaces for others, we find our own souls fed and our own lives changed.”  She is right, it does take courage to step out and create space for others. We can see this as a life of hospitality towards others and toward yourself.  To have courage to be hospitable and create spaces, it takes a certain amount of personal preparation.  Have I made time to relax and calm the inner chaos that can creep up with life’s responsibilities?  Have I set aside time to prioritize what is most important to me and my family in this season of our life? What have I done recently as a creative outlet?

In order to create spaces for the self and for others and connection with them, a level of commitment is necessary. New relationships and community take time and commitment to grow. A small note to a friend or an invitation for the neighbor kids to come out and play have been small but meaningful acts of intentional relationship building among the community. Time sitting and quietly breathing or finding inspirational quotes can be fulfilling and a healthy way to practice self compassion.

Finally, generosity from within myself creates a hospitable atmosphere for another person or yourself to be welcomed and not judged.  While staying safe and being true to yourself, you can remember to treat the other person as you would a new dear friend, and to treat yourself the same way.  You can strive to share your authentic self in order to connect beyond a superficial level.

It can be easy to become discouraged from time to time!  Trying something new takes courage and vulnerability.  If you want to work on making these shifts, you deserve support during these challenges. Talking to a trusted or therapist can help you reflect, support you and help you to aim at the goals you have set for yourself.  You may often be taken by surprise that life changes, for the better, when we work at creating these spaces of hospitality for others and for yourself.

For support in making changes and growing, feel free to contact us here at Another Look at Healing, LLC at 240-274-5680 or by emailing Our website is for more details.

Take Good Care,
Amy Hooper, LCSW-C, Director &
Abbie Mortimer, Executive Assistant  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Stress Management for the Fall

We hope you had a WONDERFUL summer. While we worked on balancing work, home and finding some time for relaxation and travel this Summer, we now look forward to sending out more regular blogs as the weather cools off and Halloween is around the corner. In these upcoming blogs, we plan to include tips for how to make this seasonal transition filled with more health and happiness, help us all learn how to appreciate what we have, and look to make improvements as well as add more acceptance and peace in your life. Wishing you a wonderful Fall season!! 

Take Good Care,

Amy Hooper, LCSW-C, CEAP
Director, Another Look at Healing, LLC 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Stress Management for Easing into Fall...

Here are a few tips for easing into Fall this year:

- Make plans: plan a trip or a walk, something to look forward to on the calendar.
- Be in the moment: be spontaneous and have an outdoor picnic or take a day trip.
- Embrace the change of season: take a walk on a cooler evening or go apple picking.
- You get to choose your attitude towards the shifting seasons: choose to enjoy the good parts (cozy sweaters and hot apple cider).

Feeling more down than usual or other changes in your mood and typical behavior can be difficult to change on your own. So, get support and make sure you discuss this further with a therapist to help get you on a health track this Fall.

For more information, visit or contact us at or 240-274-5680.

Take Good Care,
Amy Hooper, LCSW-C, CEAP, Director & Psychotherapist and
Jill Gordon, LCSW-C, Psychotherapist

Friday, August 29, 2014

Does the change of season get you down?

As the days begin to shorten and Summer swiftly drifts away it can be difficult to come to terms with the warmth and sunshine dissipating. It seems we often wish away our winter months awaiting blissful spring and summer weather. Daylight dwindles, temperatures drop, kids are back in school, vacation season ends, the pools close, and the lush fruits of Summer have passed. For some, the end of summer can trigger a drop in mood among other feelings of the changing seasons. Does the change of season get you down?

It is normal to have some Summer regret; the “I didn’t get in shape and run everyday like I said I would”, or “I told myself I was going to learn to swim this Summer”, “my house is just as unorganized as it was when the kids got out of school”. Do you have any summer regrets? If so, what are they? Ask yourself—Is it too late to still do what I wanted to do? Beyond every turn and change is an opportunity. Do you still want to get the house organized? (or whatever didn’t actualize on your “to-do” list). If you still want that-you can make it happen.
You are the only one that can make that happen. So why wait? There can always be an excuse - if too many excuses or worries are getting in your way of accomplishing your own goals talking to a therapist can help. Make the most of what might be left of summer and helps you ease into Fall.

For more information, visit or contact us at or 240-274-5680.

Take Good Care,
Amy Hooper, LCSW-C, CEAP, Director & Psychotherapist and
Jill Gordon, LCSW-C, Psychotherapist

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guide to Ending Back to School Stress!

This is a wonderful article I read on that is applicable to this back to school season. See below:

Eight Immediate Stress-Busters

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stoppler, MD
Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD

Most of our lives are filled with family, work, and community obligations, and at some point we feel as though we are "running on empty." Here are eight immediate stress busters to help "fill up the tank!" So take deep relaxing breath and read on.

Watch for the next instance in which you find yourself becoming annoyed or angry at something trivial or unimportant. Then practice letting go, making a conscious choice not to become angry or upset. Do not allow yourself to waste thought and energy where it isn't deserved. Effective anger management is a tried-and-true stress reducer.
Breathe slowly and deeply. Before reacting to the next stressful occurrence, take three deep breaths and release them slowly. If you have a few minutes, try out a relaxation technique such as meditation or guided imagery.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed by stress, practice speaking more slowly than usual. You'll find that you think more clearly and react more reasonably to stressful situations. Stressed people tend to speak fast and breathlessly; by slowing down your speech you'll also appear less anxious and more in control of any situation.
Jump-start an effective time management strategy. Choose one simple thing you have been putting off (e.g., returning a phone call, making a doctor's appointment), and do it immediately. Just taking care of one nagging responsibility can be energizing and can improve your attitude.
Get outdoors for a brief break. Our grandparents were right about the healing power of fresh air. Don't be deterred by foul weather or a full schedule. Even five minutes on a balcony or terrace can be rejuvenating.
Drink plenty of water and eat small, nutritious snacks. Hunger and dehydration, even before you're aware of them, can provoke aggressiveness and exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress.
Do a quick posture check. Hold your head and shoulders upright and avoid stooping or slumping. Bad posture can lead to muscle tension, pain, and increased stress. If you're stuck at a desk most of the day, avoid repetitive strain injuries and sore muscles by making sure your workstation reflects good ergonomic design principles. There is information about ergonomics and healthy workstations to assure your station ismore ergonomically safe.
Plan something rewarding for the end of your stressful day, even if only a relaxing bath or half an hour with a good book. Put aside work, housekeeping or family concerns for a brief period before bedtime and allow yourself to fully relax. Don't spend this time planning tomorrow's schedule or doing chores you didn't get around to during the day. Remember that you need time to recharge and energize yourself. You'll be much better prepared to face another stressful day.

For extra help, feel free to visit our website at for more articles, or contact us at 240-274-5680 or to set up an appointment for some counseling to help you through a difficult time.

Take Good Care,
Amy Hooper, LCSW-C, CEAP
Director, Another Look at Healing, LLC

Monday, June 30, 2014

Another Look at Healing, LLC - Gaithersburg Counseling Center Moved!

Come by and check out our new office in Gaithersburg, MD!!! We move into a beautiful new suite.
We are now offering daytime, evening and weekend counseling for individual, couples, family and group therapy. We help children, teens and adults live happier, healthier lives!

Contact me for more information at or 240-274-5680 or visit our website at

Pictures to follow soon!!!

Take Good Care,
Amy Hooper, LCSW-C, CEAP
Director, Another Look at Healing, LLC

Friday, May 30, 2014

How To Improve Your Mood FAST by Changing Your Environment

Have you considered how your environment affects your mood?  Consider these factors as part of your overall emotional health:

Light:  If you are feeling down or sluggish, look around and see the lighting, are your curtains open?  Are your windows free of cobwebs and dust?  Could an outside tree be trimmed back to allow for more natural light?  See how it feels to allow more natural light into your living space.  

Fresh air:  Though the pollen is high this time of year, take some time for a short walk, sip some tea in a lawn chair and see who walks by--consider waving and greeting your neighbors.

Organization:  Tackling a cluttered space in your home can bring physical order which may also lead to a sense of calm and satisfaction within yourself.  Just start small… choose your dining room table or a drawer and try tidying up one area.  Step back and see how you feel.

“Green Space”:  All too often we wake up, get in our car or on the metro, walk in to a building to work, back to the car, and in our home.  Consider taking part of your lunch time for a ten minute stroll outside.  Pack a picnic to a local park with your family or plan a bike ride on one of the many trails in the area.  Sounds of nature and physical activity can be a piece to the puzzle of feeling better.  

Music: Music can prompt changes in mood.  For a practical example, take the common event of preparing dinner and having a family meal.  This time of day can seem daunting with small children under foot or children just home from school.  Tempers are short and hunger is setting in.  Try playing some fun, upbeat music or some silly childrens songs while giving each child an important task (taking silverware to the table, choosing cloth napkins and carefully folding them for each family member, or picking a few blooms off an outdoor plant to be placed in water as a centerpiece).  Observe how stress turns into a movement (dance even!), singing, and cooperativeness.  It may take a number of tries, but soon this can be a new habit for your home.

Keep a journal and see for yourself the concrete ways you have taken action to improve your emotional health.    

If these tasks seem too daunting or you are having trouble making changes on your own, consider exploring your mood and personal feelings with a therapist. Together, you can explore different areas of your life where you may wish to change.  For more information about the therapists at our center, contact us at 240-274-5680 or email us at with any questions or to get set up with an initial appointment.

Take Good Care,
Amy Hooper, LCSW-C, CEAP &
Abbie Mortimer, Executive Assistant

Another Look at Healing, LLC - Counseling Center for Women

Friday, April 25, 2014

How to Reduce Overeating and Start Loving Yourself!

A wonderful article from our friends - Judith Matz, LCSW & Ellen Frankel, LCSW, who emphasis acceptance and compassion around eating and body image:

What if there was a simple practice to help you build your positive experiences with attuned eating? We've been so impressed with the work of Rick Hanson, and we've applied his strategy of "Taking In The Good" at our workshops. Take 30 seconds to give this a try the next time you have an attuned eating experience!
Frequently, people who struggle with issues of overeating use all or nothing thinking, so that a "bad" experience may lead to a belief that nothing is going well in your relationship with food. As with other aspects of life, it's important to deepen and embody your positive experiences as they occur. In our updated edition of Beyond a Shadow of a Diet, we adapt them as follows:
  1. With your eyes closed, think about a time you were hungry, ate exactly what you were hungry for and stopped when you were full.
  2. Now, savor the experience as you hold it in your attention for the next 10, 20, or 30 seconds rather than getting distracted by something else. Soften and open to the experience; let it fill your mind; give over to it in your body. The longer something is held in awareness and the more emotionally stimulating it is, the more neurons that fire and thus wire together, and the stronger the trace in implicit memory.
  3. Intend and sense the experience seeping into you, perhaps as a warm glow spreading through your chest.
As Rick so eloquently explains, "any single time of taking in the good will usually make just a little difference. But over time those little differences will add up, gradually weaving positive experiences into the fabric of your brain and your whole being." This is a wonderful technique to use on your journey to become an attuned eater.

Wishing you a light and breezy season,
All the best,
Judith and Ellen
Judith Matz, LCSW
Ellen Frankel, LCSW

For more help with loving your body, decreasing your critical inner self, and increasing positive eating and body image experiences, talking to a counselor today can help! We have wonderful psychotherpists at our counseling and wellness center, Another Look at Healing, LLC. For more information, contact us at, or 240-274-5680 or visit our website at

Take Good Care,
Amy Hooper, LCSW-C, CEAP
Director & Psychotherapist
Another Look at Healing, LLC

Friday, March 28, 2014

How To Guide: Cultivate your Relationship this Spring

How to let your relationship grow this Spring...

Spring is officially here…. or so the calendar says it is!  Spring brings new life. The greys and browns of the earth turn to vibrant green and bloom with color. The grass emerges, the trees bud, the flowers bloom and almost as though a switch was flipped, our eyes are filled with the season’s telling of new potential and growth. Each year, relationships and marriages also deserve periods of growth and new life too.  Maybe your relationship feels dormant like the winter season and the longing for “spring” is due.  But, how is this possible?

Here are some things to consider:

It may also be good to think about and discuss these questions with your partner. Discussing these questions can help you both to spark your memory of why your relationship is important to you.  After the kids go to bed, spread out a tablecloth, light a candle, have some dessert and discuss:
When did you first meet?
What was your first date like?
When did you first talk about your relationship or possibly getting married?
What was your first home together like or the first place you lived?
What qualities attracted you most to the other?

Getting Support:
There are a number of marriage and couples conferences around the country ranging from a few hours on a Saturday to week-long getaways.  Instead of each of you being on your own phones, take some time with your loved one and look together to see if you can find a workshop that looks interesting and see if you can make one of those work for you. If a weekend feels like too big of a commitment, what about finding a couples counselor to help you reconnect and find joy in your relationship. If you want help finding a couples counselor to help you with any relationship issues, contact us at 240-274-5680 or email us at  

Loving relationships are worth seeking out a springtime and allowing for your relationship to grow with the changing of the season.

Take Good Care,
Amy Hooper, LCSW-C, CEAP
Abbie Mortimer, Executive Assistant

Another Look at Healing, LLC - Counseling and Wellness Center for Women

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Keys to Happiness - Learning to feel good about you!

Last month we looked at  some suggestions on how to identify your strengths and how that can lead to more happiness and fulfillment in your life!

A few suggestions on how to identify strengths:
1. There are a number of free inventories on line that can be a great starting point (VIA, etc:

2. Call a close friend or invite your spouse and set a coffee date. Try this little exercise: Take 10 minutes and write down 3 situations in your life that you worked on or helped with and of which you are proud. Then, take 10 more minutes and tell those stories to your friend. Think about: What was it like to tell those stories?  How did it feel?

2b. To take it one step further, you can ask your partner or friend help you out. Ask your partner listen for different strengths that emerge through your stories and ask them to share with you about your areas of strength? You can also offer to do this exercise for them if they want to share stories of their proud moments.

3. Think about the last few weeks, and try to remember when you were feeling the most happy and fulfilled. What were you doing during that time? Who were you with? What did that activity (or inactivity) come to be happening? Then consider adding more of this particular activity into your regular routine.

Maybe these couple of exercises helps you feel more positive, grounded and balanced. Or maybe they leave you feeling stuck. Have you considered talking to a therapist or counselor about these issues?  At Another Look at Healing, Counseling Center for women, we can help with this search for greater self-awareness and finding those strengths to help you feel happier and more fulfilled. For more information, you can email us at or call us at 240-274-5680. Or for more information, visit

Take Good Care,
Amy Hooper, LCSW-C, CEAP
Director, Another Look at Healing, LLC


Friday, January 31, 2014

What are you good at and does it make you happy? Identifying Strengths

Work, caring for small children, spouse or dating partner, “me time”, in-laws and other family members and the typical routines of life can feel exhausting at times. It can be so overwhelming that we just go through the motions, day after day without direction. It can be helpful to take some time to stop, evaluate and regroup to be sure you’re living the life you want! It can help to sort out the answers to some questions like…

What are my strengths?  
What am I good at?
What brings me satisfaction?
Of what am I proud?  

Taking time to identify some strengths and areas that bring you energy can be a rewarding exercise to pull through a slump or difficult time and get back on track to feeling happier and more fulfilled in your every day life. So, take a minute to answer these questions and spend some time feeling good about you!

Stay tuned next month for some suggestions on how to identify your strengths and how that can lead to more happiness and fulfillment in your life!

Take Good Care,
Amy Hooper, LCSW-C, CEAP
Director, Another Look at Healing, LLC