The Worst Thing About Being a Therapist

0drownFor me, the worst thing about being a therapist is seeing people in pain who are not  yet willing or ready to make a change. This includes people who resonate with the following statements:

  • I don’t think change is possible.
  • I’ve had these symptoms so long, they must be permanent.
  • Therapy can only take me so far.
  • Therapy hasn’t fixed it before, so it can’t.
  • I am my diagnosis.
  • If I’m not sick/mentally ill/in pain, who am I?

These statements are all arguable because the right therapy, the right techniques and therapist for an individual can overcome all of that.

I love proving these statements false! I love when a client comes in who has tried several different types of therapy with a variety of therapists and then discovers me, we’re a good fit, and we work together to clear up the issue. They get better and they are both delighted and surprised. This is my favorite feeling.

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https://lasting-impact.tumblr.com/

And when I see people in pain, living with their symptoms, managing, getting by, doing what they have to, and still experiencing the symptoms, it breaks my heart. I came across the Lasting Impact Photo Campaign recently and it made me sad, not because there is a prevalence of sexual abuse, which is a thing we know, but because these persons have not overcome their trauma yet and are still experiencing the pain of that trauma. This is what breaks my heart. These persons are still victims, still living with, managing, trying, and hurting. I want to sit with them and say “There is a good fit for you. There is a right technique, right therapist, who you will connect with and overcome this. You can be rid of your symptoms forever. You can live again. You can be triumphant over that abuse that you suffered.”

Trauma is an inappropriately strong association is built between the activating stimulus and the body’s response. Good therapy breaks that association, permanently, without reliving the experience.

  • Every time I ____, I then ____.
  • Every time I sleep, I have nightmares.
  • Every time I go to that location, I have a panic attack.
  • Every time I see bearded men, I get nauseous.
  • Every time it thunders, I cower.

Are you ready to explore what change could look like in your life? Are you ready to get closer to change? Are you ready for change? Let’s talk. Call me at 954-612-9553.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Communicating with Infants

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My Mom always treated children like tiny people, because they are. With your infant, when in doubt, do the following, according to my Mom.

My Mom loves babies, both my parents do. Mom always said, babies can’t talk, but they want to, so they cry. And when they cry, do the following, in this order:

  1. Pick them up.
  2. Alter their view (laying/sitting, direction).
  3. Offer them attention.
  4. Offer them food.
  5. Change their diaper.
  6. Take all their clothes off.
  7. Submerge them in water.

I always thought it was a bit of a strange list until I asked one day and she explained.

Pick them up because maybe their clothes are folded under them in an uncomfortable way, or their sock is crooked. Think of the hundreds of tiny adjustments you make to your hair, your clothes, your glasses every day. Babies are incapable of brushing a stray hair from their forehead that is annoying them.

Alter their view from sitting to laying down, from laying down to sitting, from sitting to standing. Face them a different direction. Maybe the sun is in their eyes or they’re getting hot, or they just want to fidget. Adults do this all the time through greater motor control by tapping a foot or twirling a pencil.

Offer them attention because they’re bored or anxious or curious about what you’re saying or doing and want to participate. Allow them to participate, at least through proximity. Offer some mental stimulation and a smile, even if you don’t feel like it.

Offer them food because maybe that cry means “I could go for a snack right now.”

Change their diaper, and this should be an obvious reason. Even if a diaper was not soiled, Mom never skipped this step because “if the thigh is creased from the diaper or the genitals are folded in an uncomfortable position, wouldn’t you want that fixed right away, and not just when there was a mess?” If you’re thinking of the expense (and cost the the environment) of throwing away “perfectly good” disposable diapers, Mom never used them, and with my son, I rarely used them. You can absolutely reuse cloth diapers that are not soiled. [I won’t get on any soap box about cloth diapers, but they’re a great idea, not only for the environment, but also you’ll change the baby more often and there is less rash and other problems as a result.]

Take all their clothes off because something may be pinching, twisted, or in some way uncomfortable. Or maybe they’re hot or sweaty. Or maybe they’ll just enjoy the breeze. My parents were naturalists, and I am almost surprised this didn’t come higher on the list. It does have to feel strange for babies, used to the nude floating in the womb to come into contact with so many textures so close to their skin.

Submerge them in water because it’s what they know and it’s good for each of us to connect with the elements. This can be a quick sink-bath or a dip in the ocean, but she said a person in water was a content person. After all, why do so many vacations take place on a beach?

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Awkwardness and Social Phobia

0bigstock-Cow-And-Gate--5928923People with social phobia or social anxiety often worry that they are awkward or don’t fit it with everyone else. However, almost everyone has that worry to some degree. And, we are all awkward at times.

A few weeks ago, I got my hair cut at the same salon I’ve been utilizing for several years. I was in the waiting area, as my stylist was finishing up the appointment before me. A woman I do not know who works there came over as I was absorbed in my thoughts and called my name. I looked up and said, quite loudly, “yes” as I stood up. But it was more like “YES!” in the semi-busy salon. I was clearly heard over all the other conversations and was mildly embarrassed by my volume.

But what could I do? Apologize for being too loud ever-so-briefly? Explain that I was thinking and had to snap back to reality? Blow it off and figure everyone makes mistakes?

The woman looked shocked, but only momentarily. She said “Come on back to get washed.” I followed her back to the sinks and she made small talk, which I returned in my normal voice. I blew it off. No big deal. No need to make a thing when there isn’t any.

With social phobia or social anxiety, people often think they need to have contingency plans for their contingency plans. Blow that off. Skip that extra work. Live in this moment. That moment is already over.

As for me, if that was the story they told one another at the salon at closing time and had a good laugh, then have a good laugh on me. The world needs more laughter and stories.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Get Better Today

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That’s me in a session, at my old office.

A little background: At this point, I’ve been specializing in clearing trauma for over a decade. I studied psychology for my entire 7-year college education. Point is: I’ve been at this awhile and am trained in making people well; but, I’m also trained in making people well, whole, happy, and doing it FAST!

I’m a Certified Practitioner in Rapid Resolution Treatment (RRT), which means that I have the ability to brush up my skills every few weeks, am always learning new techniques, and twice a year I attend an intensive training to get even more polished. RRT allows me to have a client talk about horribly painful events with no tears, no retraumatization, and be talking, laughing, and healing all the while. In a single visit, you feel better. Not just a little better like “oh, now that I talked about it, I kinda feel better”; that’s crap. Better like “I feel like all my problems are solvable and I can go live my happy life.” That’s the goal, and it’s easy – and it’s fun!

0Tissues1 (1)Let me get on an ego trip for a second and tell you that seeing a client’s problems resolved in a session or two is good for me. What used to take 6-9 months of weekly visits, or pouring through pain, of talking about it until it doesn’t hurt anymore, is done in about 5 hours, about 3 visits. Sometimes even less. And that’s just the trauma part. RRT is great for grief over a death or ended relationship, for anxiety and panic attack, depression, weight loss, changing bad habits, addiction, motivation, self-esteem, and nearly anything you come in with. And if it’s that good for me, imagine how good that is for you! You come less often, feel better faster, and we bankrupt the tissue industry that traditional therapy has been supporting.

0Koolaid man Oh yeahI hear you thinking, “oh, but surely you’re blowing this out of proportion. People don’t get ‘cured’ by this, do they? They don’t stay well?” Oh, yeah, Kool Aid!Lasting results from a visit or two. People are getting better through RRT and staying well. They’re coming back and saying “you know, I have this friend…” and referring people they love. That’s my hope for the future, that everyone will feel good, be well, and if they know someone who needs to get better, they’ll say “you know what worked for me? It’s good. Come get some!” And we’ll all be talking and laughing together. Isn’t that the whole point of this crazy life, anyhow?

For further proof, check out a testimonial of mine that was featured at Institute for Survivors of Sexual Violence.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Depression: Common NOT Normal

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Q. What causes clinical depression?
A. Chemical imbalance.

Surprised by the simplicity of the answer? Were you expecting a list of things like: death of a loved one, change of circumstances, lack of resources, inability to participate in previously enjoyable activities, illness, and so forth? Certainly, a feeling of sadness or (more severely) depression could be common after any of those items, but would it be necessary? No. You could be ill but not sad. You could even have terminal illness and not be sad. Perhaps it changes your entire outlook on living and you relish each hour, doing new and profoundly significant things you’d never attempted before. The perception that sadness and depression, are caused by these events are just plain wrong. Is it common for people to feel sad in the face of that stuff? Yes. But is is normal? No. Depression is not normal, especially clinical depression, or diagnosable depression. However, according to the Mental Health Association, 43% of people think depression is normal. They’re wrong. Let’s educate those 43% to the truth.

If you get nothing else out of this, understand that: While a clinical-grade depression after a precipitating event can be considered common, it is not ever considered normal.

Okay, so now everyone who’s depressed is abnormal? No, of course not. But the depression itself, as a severe reaction (severe enough to be considered diagnosable, to be more than “sad”), is abnormal, yes.

Depression is caused by chemical imbalance. When a person reacts to stressors, there is an increase in cortical fluid. This increase effects the entire body. It can cause an increase in cholesterol, an increase in heart rate and respiration, an increase in blood pressure, a thickening of the blood, and so forth in persons with medical conditions or medical predispositions. This is your perfectly normal person, now with possibly blood pressure and cholesterol issues, and a general crummy feeling from the cortisone, just because of stress. This is why managing daily stress is important. The brain is a part of the body and as such needs to be treated appropriately and medically at times.

What happens in the body of a person with medical conditions?

  • A person who has a heart attack and is given a good prognosis and sent home will be 3-4% more likely to die in 6 months if they also have clinical depression.
  • A person who has a stroke can have personality changes if they also have depression at the time of the stroke.
  • A stroke victim who also has depression generally takes 10 extra months in rehabilitation (closer to a year, than the non-depressed person who takes an average of 2 months to rehabilitate).
  • Some medications, like cancer medications can cause the kind of cortical imbalance that leads to depression. Extra caution must be taken with these patients.
  • Similarly, diabetes causes changes in the body that can cause clinical depression, and vice versa. Depressed people are more likely to develop the lifelong diagnosis of diabetes, and all the lifestyle changes that come with it.
  • Dementia may be over-diagnosed in the elderly because there is a such thing as delusional depression, and it may be under-diagnosed as a result of dementia diagnoses.
  • People with Parkinson’s Disorder are more likely to have increased problems with movement and decreased concentration or ability to make decisions if they also have clinical depression.
  • People with clinical depression are more likely to have comorbid back ache and gastrointestinal problems, which may or may not be psychosomatic.
  • Fibromyalgia shares the same symptoms and treatments as clinical depression.

Q. Okay, so what can I do with this information?
A. Manage your daily stress in ways that keep your cortical levels…level.

  • Exercise daily; even a 10-minute walk helps.
  • Do something fun; again, 10 minutes of a puzzle book or reading or talking to a friend on the phone or petting an animal.
  • Eat well with lots of fresh foods like veggies and fruits and limit the junky stuff.
  • Sleep properly on a steady routine.
  • Work toward goals; even little stuff like learning something new or finishing up a project. Looking forward has tremendous effects whereas looking behind you generally is detrimental.
  • Connect with something beyond yourself, whether that’s spirituality, religion, or community involvement through volunteer work.
  • Seek help. If you need help getting/staying on track, I can do that. If you need help reaching out, I’m happy to do that with you, hooking you up with volunteer organizations, and so forth. If you want to correct any sadness that you’re having, we can get that done, too; quickly and painlessly!
  • If you see someone who seems to have some sadness or depressive symptoms, refer them for help and a good daily regiment to keep their cortical levels in tact. You may just be saving a life.

Which of these tips did you find most practical for you life?

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Qualifications Explained

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The world of psychological credentials is confusing to laypersons. Here is your handy guide:

LCSW
A licensed clinical social worker has at least a master’s degree and has passed the state or national exam. There is a minimum amount of continuing education to be done each year to maintain good standing with the state, who oversees this license.

LMHC
A licensed mental health counselor has at least a master’s degree and has passed the state or national exam. There is a minimum amount of continuing education to be done each year to maintain good standing with the state, who oversees this license. The benefit of seeing an LMHC over an LCSW is that the LMHC can see an individual, that individual’s spouse, and/or family and be within our code of ethics. An LCSW is not allowed to see individuals who are also patients as a couple or a family due to their code of ethics.

MHC-RI or CSW-RI
The “RI” refers to the person being a registered intern for one of the professions (Mental Health Counseling or Clinical Social Work). The state is aware that the practitioner is learning and is under supervision for a period of time and then can apply for licensure after that time is completed successfully. Registered interns are not allowed to be in private practice on their own, but they are allowed to have their own caseloads of clients, even seeing clients individually. They can work at a private practice, or for an agency.

LPC
A licensed professional counselor is a psychotherapist who may have a social work degree or a mental health counseling degree. These persons have passed a national exam. This designation is used in certain states, not including Florida.

NCC
A nationally certified counselor is a psychotherapist who may have a social work degree or a mental health counseling degree. This designation is used nationally. I am not sure if the practitioner also needs a state license or not.

Psychiatrist
A psychiatrist has a medical degree and a doctorate. They are able to prescribe medications like any other medical doctor. Most psychiatrists spend about 15 minutes with a patient to check for medication side-effects or assess for increasing or decreasing dosages. Typically, they do not give therapy. Psychiatrists must maintain a state license, just like a doctor.

Psychologist
A psychologist has a doctorate degree but does not prescribe medication and has very little, if any, medical training. Many psychologists have a PsyD instead of a PhD, which means they have a clinical specialty. This is often a more appropriate specialty for providing counseling. Psychologists must maintain a state license, just like a doctor.

Life Coach
A life coach is NOT a therapist. Coaches legally cannot provide therapy. Many therapists also provide coaching as an addendum to their services, generally in a specialty area like career coaching, relationship coaching, etc. Life coaches have to take a training course to become certified, but they are not required to have any education in counseling, nor is being certified essential. There is little oversight into coaching, so be cautious if you choose to use one by looking into their credentials and specialty expertise.

CHt
A certified hypnotherapist (or certified clinical hypnotherapist) has a minimum amount of training in the specialty of clinical hypnosis to become initially certified, and an amount of training each year to maintain certification. There are many types of hypnotherapy and you should ask about their given specialty to see how this will fit for you. The board that oversees hypnotherapists is national, not a state agency.

Hypnotist
A hypnotist can be anyone trained in either clinical or stage hypnosis. A hypnotist does not need any counseling training and is not a therapist. Hypnotists are allowed to work with “minor” issues like weight loss, quitting smoking, motivation, and things you might go to a clinic to do without working through any underlying issues. A hypnotist is not allowed to give therapy. Be cautious by asking about their training and what sort of issues they cover. Too broad a scope is a warning sign that they may be practicing outside of their scope of work. The state does not oversee this specialty, so be careful.

CP
A certified practitioner (or master certified practitioner) has at least 50 hours of training per year in Rapid Resolution Therapy® (RRT) and may or may not be a licensed clinician. Again, one can be a hypnotist and a CP. Do check what other licenses the practitioner holds before you book an appointment.

I am a licensed mental health counselor, certified clinical hypnotherapist, and a certified practitioner in RRT.
Autumn Hahn, LMHC, CHt, CP

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

SPD in Adults

Am I Normal?I was never diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) as a child. Although Sensory Integration Dysfunction (it’s predecessor) was coined in 1972, I didn’t learn about it until 2013, while having dinner with two colleagues who work with children. Upon hearing about the symptoms, I identified with many of them, asked my colleagues many questions, and took a quiz to self-diagnose. Fascinating stuff. It explained many things about my childhood and adult life.

You can watch a video on what SPD is by clicking HERE.

Of the 4 types of SPD, I show symptoms of only one. Others may have symptoms from another cluster, or many, or all of the clusters. The 4 subsets are: Sensory modulation disorder, Sensory discrimination disorder, Postural ocular disorder, and Dyspraxia.

Sensory modulation disorder: I have the kind that causes an over-reaction (as opposed to an under-reaction) to stimuli. I hated having my hair brushed as a child, but am happy to brush my own hair. It would have been best to have taught me to take control of that behavior as soon as possible as I can control the pressure. I am sensitive to textures and only wear certain kinds of fabric (linen, cotton, rayon, silk), and am bothered by tags or seams inside my clothes. I am sensitive to light and sound: I experience loud sounds as pain and cannot tolerate bright lights. As an adult, of course, I brush my own hair, buy my own clothes, and can generally adjust the lighting and sounds in my home. However, I cannot control the volume of the outside world and do avoid certain situations (hockey playoffs, concerts). I can excuse myself from certain situations, like when the sound quality is poor on a training video, but not others, like being in a florescent-lit room in the workplace. I have learned to tolerate these experiences, probably by being repeatedly exposed to them throughout my life, and understanding that I need to make concessions to live in the world with others.

SPD is often linked to certain populations and disorders: autism spectrum disorder (ASD), premature babies (throughout their lives, not just during infancy), schizophrenia (perhaps as a constant annoyance that is intolerable, perhaps as a dysfunction of the vestibular system which may be linked to temporal disturbance), and anxiety (correlated to the vestibular system making the person hyper-alert). But think, also, of how other disorders may be impacted, such as PTSD or depression. Or what is it like for a toddler who is diagnosed with ASD, who is constantly lacking control of the temperature of their bathwater and unable to communicate that desire? Could it be that the toddler is having a tantrum at bath time each day because that is their only way of communicating the desire to change the water temperature and they are misdiagnosed?

SPD needs to be taught in the broader learning environment. In graduate school, we should be talking about SPD as a differential diagnosis, potentially ruling out certain clusters of symptoms. Therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and occupational therapists need to be working together to teach children, and adults, to tolerate and work around the symptoms of SPD to have the most functional life possible.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

 

Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month

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April is National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. As a trauma specialist, I work with many persons (men and women) who have been the victims of sexual assault in clearing that trauma in a painless way without retraumatizing them through the course of therapy using Rapid Resolution Therapy®, a method that is quick and lasting.

Here is a smattering of articles of how you can be of service this month:
4 Ways to Support a Friend who has experienced sexual assault by RAINN
Resources for raising awareness, getting help by Stop Street Harrassment
Participate in Denim Day on 4/27
Participate in Take Back the Night in your community or campus – or virtually on social media this month

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, either recently, or not recently, get or suggest help to overcome any issues surrounding the trauma.

Not sure if there’s trauma? Can you fill in these blanks:
Every time                 , I              .

This could be:
Every time I see a man with a beard, I get nervous.
Every time it thunders, I feel afraid.
Every time I am home alone, I get scared.
Every time I travel, I feel shaky in the dark hours.

Effective therapy clears up all the associated negative feelings for good. If a therapist does not have an end date or end goal for you that they have clearly expressed and reiterated during your therapy, change therapists. Good therapy is focused on the end goal of resolving the problem. RRT® generally only takes a handful of sessions.

Call for an appointment to resolve your issues, or refer a friend at 954-612-9553

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

What Hypnosis Isn’t

What Do You ThinkThere are many misconceptions about hypnosis from exaggerations on television and in movies. So what is it? And what isn’t it?

I practice hypnotherapy, which uses hypnosis to enable the inner mind, or subconscious, to make changes that are more rapid than in traditional talk therapy, or many other kinds of therapy. I am a therapist first. I have the training, education, and experience for my profession. I added hypnotherapy as an adjunct to my practice because I saw the value in working with both parts of consciousness in treatment. Going to a hypnotherapist, as opposed to a hypnotist, means there is a board of ethics and a minimum of training in psychology, as well as hypnotherapy, to be upheld and maintained.

It is not mind control. It is being in touch with your own mind and allowing change to take place. I tell clients, “If at any time you feel uncomfortable, you might simply open your eyes and stop participating, or walk out.”

It is not being out-of-control. In fact, there is a heightened sense of awareness during the hypnotic/trance state. I tell clients, “Notice your body in the chair. You can feel your clothes touching your body. If anyone were to touch your hand, you would be able to feel that also. Move your arm. See how you are in control of your body at all times.”

It is not barking like a dog. There is no purpose in asking you to do silly things in the context of therapy. People volunteer to be in stage shows, knowing they will be asked to do silly things, and they choose to participate as part of the fun of the show. Therapy is not that situation, and we’ll make the best use of your time instead.

It is a fast, effective way to make lasting change in the conscious and subconscious mind to the best benefit of the client. If you have additional questions about hypnosis or hypnotherapy, please call me and ask. If you have had a positive hypnotherapy experience and would like to share that information (maybe you quit a bad habit?), please leave it as a comment below.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Trusting After a Betrayal

Relationship DifficultiesWhen a spouse cheats, there can be the thought of “I should have known” by the betrayed party. The person may feel foolish or blind and doubt his/her ability to move forward with trust.

Trust is a concept without form. Assessment is a skill we constantly use. However, trust is conceptual and an illusion.

Imagine that you are to hire someone for a job. You do so and the applicant filled out the resume while leaving off several jobs from which he/she had been fired, not mentioning regular drug use, or a history of workplace violence.

Based on the information provided, you assessed the situation and moved forward accordingly.

When sometime later you find out the hidden information, you will assess them differently with this new body of knowledge. Whether you work with or fire the employee depend on many factors and is your choice.

Will you ever see the employee as being free of that history? Certainly not; that would not make sense. Can the employee change? Absolutely; people change constantly. You will automatically bring the new information about the employee into your awareness and assess them on an ongoing basis based on their continuing behaviors.

Your powers of assessment are just fine and always have been. You were merely given misinformation from which to make the assessment. There is nothing to be done with regard to trust or assessment beyond what you have always been doing.

For individual therapy or couples’ counseling after a betrayal without judgment, call for an appointment at 954-612-9553.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.