Gurnee Women’s Business Association’s Women’s Clothing Drive

TONIGHT is Gurnee Women’s Business Association’s 12th Annual Clothing Drive located at Chocolate Sanctuary! Please stop by to drop off donations and enjoy shopping and networking with Gurnee’s women-owned businesses. All donations go to Love INC of Lake County and A Safe Place.
If you can’t make it tonight, feel free to drop off donations in the box marked in our lobby.


Warren Township Food Pantry Collection

Gurnee Counseling Center is collecting donations for Warren Township Food Pantry through Friday, December 14th. Donations can be placed in the box labeled in our lobby.

The food pantry will accept any non-perishable food, hygiene supplies, and paper goods. They have specifically asked for holiday foods such as mashed potato mix, boxed stuffing, canned gravy, canned yams, canned potatoes, canned green beans, canned cranberries, etc. They are also low on pancake mix, peanut butter, and paper towels.


If you or someone you know might benefit from the generosity of Warren Township Food Pantry, please visit for more information.

Are they Ready? 7 Ways to Prepare your Kids for College

1. Teach Daily Living Skills

Do you still do your teen’s laundry? Ever remind them to brush their teeth or take their medication? Daily living skills are important not only important for their own self care and health, but socially as well.  A dirty dorm room or poor hygiene could impact your college student’s ability to make friends. Ensure they can perform basic household tasks and have a system for remembering daily self care skills.

2. Talk about Money

Learning how to manage money is difficult for many college students.  First, you’ll want to address what expenses you will help your college student with.  Do they have a monthly or weekly budget for food, school supplies, or other necessities?  Will you be giving them any spending money to go out with friends or are they expected to have a part time job to cover these expenses? College students are often enticed with free gifts paired with credit card offers, while not fully explaining interest charges and fees.  Ensure they understand banking and how to build credit responsibly.

3. Establish a Communication Plan

How often to you expect to hear from your college student?  Work together to find the right combination of texts, calls or video chats that make you comfortable your child is doing ok, while also being careful to not be overbearing.  Let them initiate as they’ll still be getting used to their new schedule and balancing classes, homework and meeting new people.

4. Set Academic Goals

Have a realistic conversation regarding what types of grades you expect from your college student.  Take into consideration that they may need a little bit of time to learn the difference between homework expectations and exams in college vs. high school. This doesn’t mean though that failing grades 1st semester is part of a “learning curve.”  If they start struggling academically, talk about where they can get some additional help whether it come from individual meetings with teaching assistants or tutoring centers on campus.

5. Talk about Safety

Whether you talk about walking home alone after a night of studying, the dangers of binge drinking, or keeping dorm rooms locked you’ll want to review personal safety with your college student.  Some schools offer late night rides home or emergency call buttons placed around campus. Review what is available at your child’s school with them.

6. Encourage Socializing

Making friends can be difficult and scary the first few weeks of college.  Encourage your child to attend welcome activities, join clubs or intramural sports, and take advantage of various social opportunities on campus.

7. Make Mental Health a Priority

Mental health concerns should be taken seriously both before and after your child goes away to college.  If they already have a therapist, talk about whether they’ll continue counseling through skype sessions or phone calls, or if they should seek a new therapist on campus.  Consider setting up their first appointment before they even start their first week of classes. While you’d never want to anticipate your child experiencing symptoms like depression or anxiety, it’s important to talk about how they would cope with these emotions and remind them you’re only a phone call away if they need support.


The transition from high school to college can be a stressful one but talking about these areas will hopefully prepare you for this exciting journey your child is about to begin.  If there is anything the staff at Gurnee Counseling Center can to do help as you prepare your child for college, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 847-336-5621.


Calm Classroom at Lyon Magnet School in Waukegan

Lyon Magnet School is in their second school year using Calm Classroom mindfulness training for staff and students. Principal Amanda Pryce and Wellness Practitioner Ismael Rosa have led the way for staff, students, and parents to benefit from using breath control, stretching, and relaxation to improve focus and remain energized and engaged through the school day.  Ismael works with entire classrooms at a time as well as small groups of students. The Calm Classroom initiates offers alternatives to traditional disciplinary actions and offers students opportunities to calm themselves. They have a mindfulness recess club and use it as part of their Restorative Discipline Plan to help students decompress.

Lyon is implementing mindfulness practices daily.

Pictured below are Principal Amanda Pryce and Ismael Rosa in the Peace Room space at Lyon.

Happy holidays from GCC

Happy holidays from Gurnee Counseling Center!

We consider ourselves fortunate to work alongside so many wonderful people in our community. Thank you for trusting us and thank you for growing with us. We wish you a happy and peaceful 2018.

We will be closed December 24-26 and December 31-January 1 with limited holiday hours that week. We will return to normal office hours on Tuesday, January 2nd. Meditation and Tai Chi will not meet on January 2nd, but will resume on January 9th.

15 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Grief

Grief doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but understanding the grieving process will help you discover what was lost, what is left and what is possible. This hour-long program will explore 15 things you may not have known about the grieving process including grief’s impact on the mind and body, and how you may be at risk for post-traumatic stress syndrome.  Also examined will be tools for coping with grief, how to handle those pesky comments from well-intentioned friends, and warning signs that your grief has turned into something more serious.

Please join Licensed Professional Counselor Donna Oldenburg on Monday, October 30, 2017 from 7 – 8 pm. Please register by calling (847) 336-5621 x121. Cost of the event is $15 and can be paid when you arrive.

An ongoing grief support group with Donna Oldenburg, LPC, will begin Mondays in November. In this confidential, non-judgmental group setting, you’ll have the opportunity to explore your grief, learn tools for coping, and receive the support you need to move forward with your life.

Helping Kids Cope with Tragedy by Emily Hasselquist, LCSW

As the news of the Las Vegas shootings came out, I prepared myself to have conversations with the children, teens and families I work with about how this horrific event impacts them.  Unfortunately, stories of shootings in schools, public spaces, or communities are no longer uncommon.  As a parent, you may be wondering the best way to talk to your children about this type of violence.  You may even question whether or not you should talk about it at all.  Below are some tips to guide these difficult conversations.

Consider Their Age

Where your child is at developmentally can impact how you choose to talk to them about violence.  Their age, maturity and understanding of the impact the event has had can determine how much detail you go into.  The American Psychiatric Association recommends a child be at least 8 years old before your discuss these topics unless they directly impact your family. For elementary age children, be prepared to answer questions.  It may also be helpful to focus on the positive, such as talking about the great impact first responders have.   For pre-teens and teens, let them share how they’re feeling and follow up with how they can help.  This may be through making a donation as a family to the victims or discussing positive ways to give back to your own community.  It is also important to be factual when having these conversations. Be sure to refute any rumors or unconfirmed details about these events.  

Help Them Cope

Let your child show emotion and teach your children healthy ways to cope with these difficult emotions.  Encourage them to express themselves through activities such as art, music, writing and especially through talking to you or other trusted adults such as teachers or school counselors.  Validate how they’re feeling by letting them know it is very normal for them to be scared, sad or nervous after hearing about the event.  One thing you may want to monitor is their exposure to the event.  Constant exposure or repeated images of a violent act can be distressing.  Try to jump back to your normal household routine rather than letting the media coverage alter your normal family activities.

Help Them Feel Safe

Reassuring your child that they’re safe is one of your biggest roles as a parent.  Children often wonder if it could happen to them when they hear about a tragedy.  Talk to them about all the ways in which you, your child’s school and the community are working to keep them safe on a daily basis.  An extra hug, special trip to the park, or one more story at bedtime are just a few small ways in which to show your child some extra love on difficult days like this.  

If there is anything the staff at Gurnee Counseling Center can to do help you process these types of tragedies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (847) 336-5621.

4th Annual “Give Them a Voice” Fundraiser

Our very own Ismael Rosa and his gym, Outpost CrossFit, are hosting a fundraiser for sexual abuse/assault awareness. Please consider attending the event or making a direct donation. Any contribution will make a difference.

Why participate? If you yourself are not a survivor, it’s highly likely that you know a survivor suffering in silence. Participate to give survivors a voice!

The staff of the Lake County Children’s Advocacy Center work diligently to provide the following services to child victims, their non-offending family members and the community at large:

  • Investigations of child sexual abuse and severe physical abuse allegations
  • Court advocacy and crisis intervention
  • Referrals to area agencies and/or private therapists for on-going counseling needs such as Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center
  • Assistance to local police departments
  • Coordinate specialized medical examinations
  • A Speaker’s Bureau, offering presentations and trainings to interested agencies, civic groups, etc.


Current research regarding child sexual abuse reveals the following:

  • 1 in every 3 girls and 1 in every 5 boys will become a victim of a sexual assault before age 18
  • More than 3 children die each day in the U.S as the result of abuse or neglect
  • An estimated 80% of all instances of child sexual abuse remain unreported
  • 90% of abused children are abused by someone they know and trust
  • Child abuse occurs among all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Children are often threatened or intimidated into keeping abuse a secret
  • Months or years pass before a child discloses that they have been abused

Keeping your Kids Busy this Summer By Emily Hasselquist, LCSW

The arrival of summer is exciting for kids of all ages. Parents may worry though about how to keep their children occupied, active and out of trouble.  You may find yourself scrambling to keep your kids busy through the months of June, July and August.  Below are some ideas on keeping your children happy, healthy and busy this summer.

  1.  Keep their brains active

I recently read that children lose an average of 2 months of reading and math skills over the summer.  Keep their brains active by encouraging as many learning opportunities as you can. Challenge the entire family to a summer book reading contest and visit the local library often.  Encourage your children to try a musical instrument or look into opportunities in the community for kids to learn another language. These are just a couple of activities that may ensure their brains are continuing to grow over the summer.

  1. Get moving

Keeping your kids physically active should be an important part of their summer. Rising temperatures can result in more time indoors playing video games, watching tv and relying on cell phones for entertainment. Break this habit through involvement in sports camps, outdoor games, family walks or time playing at the local park. With childhood obesity growing, it’s even more important than ever to keep your kids active. Encourage healthy eating as well by doing things like planting a vegetable garden or cooking together with your kids.

  1.  Plan ahead

If ‘I’m bored’ is a statement you heard all too often last summer, plan ahead this year. Sit down with you kids early this summer and have them make a list of 25 things they can do when they’re bored. Have crafts, art supplies, sports equipment and books easily accessible.  The combination of summer school, sports camps, classes and playdates may get overwhelming. Keep a visible 3 month calendar somewhere in the house for the entire family to see.  For older kids, hold them accountable for knowing their schedule.  Consider a shared calendar with your partner or coparent so there is no miscommunication about your kids’ schedules.

  1. Keep the peace

More time together can result in some amazing bonding between your kids over the summer. On the other hand though, you may find sibling rivalry at an all time high during warmer months. Be sure that expectations regarding behavior are understood by all. Rules and consequences for misbehavior must be extremely clear and consistent. Consider letting your children workout their issues on their own rather than having them rely on you to step in and choose a side. Teach and model healthy communication and respect towards one another. By engaging in many of the family activities discussed in the article, ideally your children will remember the positive interactions they had with each other this summer as opposed to the negative ones.

  1. Embrace your community

Support Gurnee and Lake County by attending some of the great events and activities they have planned this summer.  Live outdoor concerts at your local park, roller coasters at Six Flags and a walk through Independence Grove should all be summer bucket list items for your family. Visit some of the websites below for ideas and a calendar of events in the community.

From all of the staff at Gurnee Counseling Center, we wish you and your family a wonderful summer!


Digital Detox Part II: Getting Your Kids Off Their Phones by Emily Hasselquist, LCSW

Children are becoming experts on technology younger than ever before.  It’s not uncommon to see toddlers entertained with iPads, elementary school children with cell phones and middle school kids on social media. If you have a teenager, you’re well aware that their entire life seems to revolve around their phone.  Social media has replaced in-person interactions which makes us question whether or not our children’s social skills are suffering.  Cyber bullying is far too common as kids feel a level of anonymity on the internet.  Many children and teenagers are unfortunately learning the hard way that what they type or post is forever.  Below are 3 things to consider when exploring how to get your kids off their phones.

  1. Phones are a privilege, not a right.  While your child may boast that everyone in their class has a phone, there should be no pressure to get them one.  Having a cell phone is a privilege that is earned, and can also be taken away at any point.  Some parents may not provide that day’s wifi password until chores are complete.  Or only allow the phone to be used once all homework has been completed. Grades dropping? Take the phone away until they come up.   
  2. Plan tech free activities. If you are spending time as a family, set the expectation that phones are off limits.  This includes everyone.  Attending a sporting event or going out to dinner does not require cell phones.  Teach your child that if they’re too focused on the world they see through their phones, they make actually miss out on enjoying the world around them.
  3. Set limits. Parents have every right to limit the use of electronics.  There are many parental controls put in place by cell phone providers or programs that allow you to set what hours your child can use their phone, limit which apps are downloaded, monitor internet activity, and access who your child is communicating with.  While they may argue that you’re not allowing them privacy, consider an agreement that you’ll only access this information if you have a reason.  

Not all technology is bad though when it comes to your kids.  Some parents find a sense of relief knowing their children can access them immediately if there were to be an emergency.  Setting up location services on your child’s phone can keep you informed of their whereabouts. Assistive technology for children with disabilities, homework help websites, and apps designed to teach kids coping skills are just a few examples of the ways technology can support positive child development.  It is also common for teachers and schools to rely on different websites, apps and email to communicate information and enhance learning.   Cell phones can be a valuable tool in your child’s life, but it’s up to the parents to teach responsible use.

If you are concerned about your child’s dependence on electronics, the staff at Gurnee Counseling Center can help.  Contact us at (847) 336-5621 for more information.