top of page

Subscribe to KS Services, LLC Blog

Thanks for submitting!

KS Services is pleased to announce an ongoing Community Connect group. This virtual group will meet the first Friday of each month starting Friday, June 2nd from 12:00-1:00 pm. Each group will provide a place for parents of children and teens with ADHD to receive support, connection, resources and psychoeducation.

The group will be led by Laura Waller, a Nationally Certified Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor. Laura is also an ADHD Certified Clinical Services Provider with hours of continuing education regarding the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.

We'd love to have you join us. This is a session by session commitment. If you are interested in being a part, please reach out by commenting here or emailing Laura Waller at We will be sure you get all the information you need to join in now or in a future meeting.

8 views0 comments

Spring is a time when we turn our attention to our yards again after the winter has passed. We clean out weeds, prune bushes for new growth, prep the soil, plant flowers, and set up garden beds to make them ready for seedlings or new plants. Once we have done the work, we cover the beds with mulch to inhibit weed growth, to retain moisture, and regulate soil temperature. But all this work is done outside the home.

As we plant, cultivate our gardens, and create optimal spaces for flowers and produce to grow, we can equally cultivate and foster growth in our character and in the personal lives of our children and families. Just like mulch serves several different purposes to our garden and flower beds, promoting empathy in ourselves and our children assists in preventing the following in regards to others: reduced compassion, avoidance of connection, and resistance to help.

Learning to be empathic means developing an understanding of another’s point of view and their experience. It means noticing and paying purposeful attention to the emotions of both yourself and others. It is like walking in another person’s shoes and imagining fully their experience by embracing their perspective in any given situation. Developing and fostering empathy in others and ourselves is important because it determines how we respond to others. It means asking ourselves if we can comprehend the effect of someone’s lived experience and the impact upon their well-being or ability to function.

A great place to start is by increasing your emotional intelligence vocabulary by using an Emotion Wheel. Identify what emotion you or another person is feeling, whether it is a comfortable or uncomfortable emotion. A simple emotion wheel can be used for younger children. After identifying the emotion of another, provide an explanation of why the person would feel this way. For example, expressing empathy with your child may sound like “You feel hurt by the words that were said about you by some of your classmates” or “You are sad because of how your friend was treated today because their feelings are important to you.”

Giving recognition to the feelings and experiences of another along with expressing care, concern, and understanding of that experience is showing empathy. Teaching our children to develop greater emotional awareness towards other people can often look like asking them “What do you think they are feeling, and what do you imagine that experience was like for them?” It’s teaching kids to have another's oriented focus and response. Research has shown that teaching empathy is more challenging after the age of 14.

Another way we can cultivate empathy is to provide our families with altruistic opportunities of service. When children witness and identify another person’s discomfort or suffering and comprehend the needs of that person as greater than their own, they are beginning to learn empathy. There are plenty of opportunities we can use to engage our families in conversations that foster empathy. For example, as we discuss the details of our school or work day or even when driving from our homes to children’s activities. Just like we plant, cultivate our gardens, and create optimal spaces for flowers and produce to grow, we can be cultivating and fostering empathic responsiveness in ourselves and the lives of our families.

Images credit

Sondra Horst, MA

Resident in Counseling

54 views0 comments

This blog has to start with a bit of neuroscience, a focus on the brain. The key term that must be understood is neuroplasticity - a term highlighting the brain’s ability to change even past childhood. Neuroplasticity means that the brain can rewire and even create new connections and neural networks. Neuroplasticity means that it is possible to alter dysfunctional and harmful thoughts and behaviors. Neuroplasticity is why our thoughts matter.

Altering neural networks, creating new neural pathways and rewiring connections is a byproduct of use and habit. The more one particular synapse and pathway is activated and used in the brain, the stronger it becomes. When a pathway is avoided, the brain prunes away the synapse noting it is no longer needed. Think of this like your math formulas from high school. If you finished your academic career and went into a career that did not require you to access those formulas, your brain will note this information is no longer needed and prune away these synapses. You may not even realize the pruning occurred until your teenager needs help with his math homework, and you cannot recall much of the information at all.

Neuroplasticity is why our thoughts matter. When we are stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts (be it anxious thoughts, thoughts about our self-worth, or thoughts stemming from our inner critic), we strengthen the pathways in our brain that carry these thoughts. When we choose to shift away from these thoughts and create new pathways, we begin to decrease the power of the synapses. This process is one step in recovery from anxiety, depression, eating disorders, trauma and other mental health concerns. However, you do not have to have a mental health diagnosis to understand the importance of neuroplasticity and its implications for overall wellness.

Here are a few steps you can implement to begin taking advantage of the brain’s neuroplasticity:

  1. Work to identify your thoughts - specifically thoughts that may be repetitive

  2. Evaluate the thought - ask yourself if this is a thought you still want to be having in five or ten years

  3. If it is not a thought that you want to strengthen, challenge the thought with a more helpful thought or choose an entirely new area of focus

If you are having difficulty implementing these steps, it may be helpful to request support from a trusted friend or family member. You can also reach out to KS Services and a clinician will be happy to walk alongside you as you create and structure neural pathways that bring you wellness and joy.

Happy pruning!

Laura Waller, MS, LPC, NCC, ADHD-CCSP

Licensed Professional Counselor

52 views0 comments
bottom of page