Do You Bottle Up Your Stress??


Today is…..National Alcohol Screening Day

 Alcohol may help you cope in the short term, but over time this strategy may backfire.  

Take an anonymous screening here on the BGC website to assess your alcohol use.  Just click on the Online Mental Health Screening Button to the right here.

Held annually on Thursday of the first full week of April, National Alcohol Screening Day is an outreach, education, and screening program that raises awareness about alcohol misuse and refers individuals with alcohol problems for further treatment. Thousands of colleges, community-based organizations, and military installations provide the program to the public each year.

The Ben Gordon Center has a dedicated, knowledgeable team of clinician and experts to help you in our fight against substance use.  Please call today for an assessment or to speak with an expert.  815-756-4875

Holiday Season Resources

Managing-Holiday-Stress“Holiday Stress” can be caused by many factors: increased stress and fatigue, unrealistic expectations, over-commercialization and the inability to be with one’s family. The increased demands of shopping, parties, family reunions and house guests also contribute to these feelings of tension.  Even people who do not become depressed can develop other stress reactions during the holidays such as headaches, excessive drinking, over-eating and difficulty sleeping.

We offer many resources for you to cope throughout the holidays:  

-The BGC Hotline is also available BGC Response  1-866-BGC-0111

-The Living Room at our Community Support Campus, 631 S. First Street is open Monday – Friday from 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.  Free Crisis program for any DeKalb County residents

-Appointments or consultations can be scheduled at 815-756-4875.  

-Email your questions or concerns to

-Danessa Carter, BGC Clinician will be the Guest DJ on B95 – Wednesday, December 11 from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

-Download the BGC Holiday Survival Guide at the link below and email to share with your friends.


Happy holidays from our family to yours!  


BGC to Host Couples First Aid Program this Spring

Couples First Aid is an evidenced based treatment for a couple’s issues and a state of the art approach for helping people develop more satisfying relationships. 

Our program includes a weekly 90 minute seminar which will consist of 4 sessions. Our first round will begin in Spring 2013. This once a week seminar is a workshop for individuals or couples wishing to develop and enhance habits for relationship success.

We will discuss and learn about various topics including:

  •  Why do relationships succeed or fail? Ten habits of successful intimate partners.
  •  How to gain more understanding, cooperation and respect from your spouse.
  •  How to strengthen your friendship with your spouse.
  •  Keeping sight of the positive in one another. Learning to make and respond to bids for connections.

There is a cost to this program. Payment will need to be arranged, at the same time of sign up.  Please contact Fran Tierney, Manager of Special Programs at 815-756-4875 for all the details.  

Normal Responses to Trauma: When to Seek Help


It is important to remember that everyone reacts differently to trauma and each person has their
own tolerance level for difficult feelings. To cope with these emotions, there are some things
you can do for yourself and others. Experts say that remaining engaged in our world, staying
connected with people, and being optimistic about the challenges ahead are key to riding through
otherwise traumatic times. In fact, in times of turmoil, people can make changes that improve their lives and life satisfaction

Signs to Seek Help
However, when feelings do not go away or are so intense that they impair your ability to function
in daily life, you may have a diagnosable disorder that requires mental healthcare. There are
signs that can help you determine whether you are having a normal reaction to our nation’s crisis
or if you’re experiencing a mental health problem. These signs include:
• Nightmares and reoccurring thoughts about the event
• Being unable to stop thinking about what happened
• Avoiding thoughts, feelings or conversations that remind you of the event
• Avoiding places or people that remind you of the event
• Having a sense of a foreshortened future
• Continued difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
• Feeling jumpy or easily startled
• Being overly concerned about safety
• Feeling guilty, worthless or hopeless
• Not taking pleasure in activities once enjoyed
• Having thoughts of death or suicide

If you are experiencing these symptoms, talking with a mental health professional or taking a
mental health screening test can help you understand how well you are coping with the recent
events. Take that step and get help.

For more Information Call:
Ben Gordon Center …………….815 756-4875

24 hour crisis hotline: 1-866-BGC-0111


Holiday Stressors

It’s supposed to be “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” but a calendar filled with social engagements, shopping for presents and endless errands can leave even the most spirited individual emotionally drained.

If you are overwhelmed by your to-do list and have not been feeling like yourself lately, take an anonymous mental health or alcohol screening online by visiting: and click on the ONLINE MENTAL HEALTH SCREENING BUTTON on right side of the site.

You’ll receive immediate, customized feedback as well as the opportunity to schedule an appointment for further evaluation if necessary.

Some helpful hints to help you manage the holiday season:

• Set realistic goals. Plan ahead, shop and make travel plans early and pace yourself. This will help decrease last-minute anxiety.
• Don’t do everything on your own. Get everyone in the family to help with holiday tasks.
• Scale down your expectations.
• Manage your time and make sure you leave extra time for last minute changes or crises.
• Try to relax. Deep breathing exercises, relaxation tapes, and gentle yoga are some techniques that may help you.
• Exercise. If you already have a regular exercise routine, maintain it through the holidays.
• Monitor your feelings and share them with a good friend. Even a quick phone call or email exchange can help you feel better.

The experts at the Ben Gordon Center are here to help.  To talk to a counselor or set up an appointment, please call 815-756-4875.  You can also send us an email or “Like” our facebook page to get daily inspirations and BGC Center updates.

How Gratitude Combats Depression

Count your gains instead of your losses.

Published on November 26, 2012 by Deborah Serani, Psy.D. in Two Takes on Depression

It’s holiday time. When many of us will gather with friends and family. Where gratitude and appreciation take up residence in our hearts.
Stopping to give seasonal thanks is a wonderful thing, but what’s even better is practicing gratitude year round. In fact, studies show that consistent positive interactions, particularly ones that involve gratitude, increase happiness and decrease levels of depression.

So, what are the gratitude techniques research says help alleviate depression? Here are 7 that will not only deck your halls, but offer you an antidote to depressive symptoms all year long.

1) Gratitude visit – Deliver a letter of gratitude in writing or email to a person you are grateful to, but have not thanked appropriately.

2) Three good things - Write down three things that had gone well for you this week and an explanation why those things happened.

3) Using signature strengths in a new way – Use one of your best strengths in a new way every week.

4) Three funny things - Write down three funny things you experienced or did this week – and an explanation why those things happened.

5) Counting kindness - Count and report the acts of kindness you offer every day. Or the ones you receive every day.

6) Gift of time - Offer at least three ‘‘gifts of time’’ by contacting/meeting three persons about whom you care about each week.

7) One door closes, another door opens - Write about a moment in your life this week when a negative event led to unforeseen positive consequences.

So, why do these gratitude experiences boost happiness and alleviate depression? Scientists say that these techniques shift our thinking from negative outcomes to positive ones, elicit a surge of feel good hormones like dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin, and build enduring personal connections.

The insight and reflection of counting these moments is what makes the practice of gratitude so powerful. But the key to combating depression is making these positive experiences part of the fabric of your life.

You don’t have to do all of these techniques. Do some. Or one. Just get out there and be grateful.

And don’t forget to keep score.

Holiday Survival for Women

Please join us on Thursday, December 13th from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00p.m.
at BGC – 12 Health Services Drive, DeKalb IL
For “Holiday Survival for Women”

A presentation on stress management, finding balance, managing conflict, & physical, emotional and psychological self care strategies.

Presented By:  Ben Gordon Center Special Programs Staff
Fran Tierney MA LCPC
Vanessa Osmer MA LPC

Please call 815.756.4875 to RSVP

Ben Gordon Center Care available at Kishwaukee College: Tips for Managing College Stress

At any given point in time, most college students are stressed about something; it’s just part of going to school. Sometimes, however, you may find that you would like to talk about your stress or other feelings and thoughts that may be contributing to depression & anxiety, relationship issues, body image concerns, fears, or any other challenges that go beyond what you consider to be “normal” daily stress. Because we know that often times, there is more than just stress in your life, the Ben Gordon Center has partnered with Kishwaukee Community College to offer counseling services at their campus, in Malta IL. The BGC office is located in the Student Counseling & Advisement department. If you are a student and are interested in setting up an appointment with one of our licensed therapists you can call 815.756.4875 and request an intake assessment at Kish.

In the meantime, while having stress in your life is normal and often unavoidable, being stressed is something you can control. Follow these ten tips to learn how to keep your stress in check and how to relax when it gets to be too much.

  1. Don’t stress about being stressed!
  2. Get some sleep and time for rest/relaxation.
  3. Eat healthy, well balanced meals.
  4. Get some exercise.
  5. Enjoy some quiet time.
  6. Make time to see your friends and family.
  7. Have some fun!
  8. Seek out supportive people who will listen to you and encourage you.
  9. Gain perspective on what is important to you at this point in your life.
  10. Ask for help – professional therapists can assist you in making changes and challenging
  11. your choices to help you enjoy your college experience! Call 815.756.4875.

6 Reasons You Should Spend More Time Alone

The Healthy Aspects of Solitude  Published on January 31, 2012 by Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D. in High Octane Women

The great omission in American life is solitude; not loneliness, for this is an alienation that thrives most in the midst of crowds, but that zone of time and space free from outside pressure which is the incubator of the spirit. — Marya Mannes, author and critic

In today’s constantly connected world, finding solitude has become a lost art. In fact, Western culture tends to equate a desire for solitude with people who are lonely, sad, or have antisocial tendencies. But seeking solitude can actually be quite healthy. In fact, there are many physical and psychological benefits to spending time alone.

Benefits of Seeking Solitude

1. Solitude allows you to reboot your brain and unwind. Constantly being “on” doesn’t give your brain a chance to rest and replenish itself. Being by yourself with no distractions gives you the chance to clear your mind, focus, and think more clearly. It’s an opportunity to revitalize your mind and body at the same time.

2. Solitude helps to improve concentration and increase productivity. When you remove as many distractions and interruptions as you can from your day, you are better able to concentrate, which will help you get more work done in a shorter amount of time.

3. Solitude gives you an opportunity to discover yourself and find your own voice. When you’re a part of a group, you’re more likely to go along with what the group is doing or thinking, which isn’t always the actions you would take or the decisions you would make if you were on your own.

4. Solitude provides time for you to think deeply. Day to day responsibilities and commitments can make your to-do list seem as if it has no end. This constant motion prevents you from engaging in deep thought, which inhibits creativity and lessens productivity.

5. Solitude helps you work through problems more effectively. It’s hard to think of effective solutions to problems when you’re distracted by incoming information, regardless of whether that information is electronic or human.

6. Solitude can enhance the quality of your relationships with others. By spending time with yourself and gaining a better understanding of who you are and what you desire in life, you’re more likely to make better choices about who you want to be around. You also may come to appreciate your relationships more after you’ve spent some time alone.

Self Injury Recovery Program

Ben Gordon Center Announces a New Program Dedicated to Recovery and Improved Self Care.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions? It is estimated that 14% of our population engage in some type of self-injury behavior.

Self-harm is a way of expressing and dealing with deep distress and emotional pain. As counterintuitive as it may sound to those on the outside, hurting yourself makes you feel better. In fact, you may feel like you have no choice. Injuring yourself is the only way you know how to cope with feelings like sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, and rage.

The problem is that the relief that comes from self-harming doesn’t last very long. It’s like slapping on a Band-Aid when what you really need are stitches. It may temporarily stop the bleeding, but it doesn’t fix the underlying injury. And it also creates its own problems.

If you’re like most people who self-injure, you try to keep what you’re doing secret. Maybe you feel ashamed or maybe you just think that no one would understand. But hiding who you are and what you feel is a heavy burden.  Ultimately, the secrecy and guilt affects your relationships with your friends and family members and the way you feel about yourself. It can make you feel even more lonely, worthless, and trapped.

We offer specialized individual and group therapy.  If you or someone you know would like to learn more about our special program at Ben Gordon Center, please call 815.756.4875 and ask for Fran Tierney.

Treatment works, and recovery is possible.