News & Events in Kalamazoo

[Notice sent via email to all clients on 6/1/2020 at 5:29pm and also posted on my professional Facebook page, titled “COVID-19 Response Plan”; updated last on 7/1/2020 at 2:48pm]

COVID-19 Response Plan

[updated last on 7/1/2020 at 2:48pm]

“I do not need to remind you that this is an uncertain time. I greatly appreciate your patience as I have worked to stay in communication relative to sorting out what are the actions I need to take as a business owner in order to respond best to the current COVID-19 pandemic. After much collaboration and consultation with various agencies, boards, and individuals who can provide guidance on “best practices,” I now have more clarity and a formal “Response Plan” for my business, Inner Peace Counseling, PLC.

Although there is still much in flux, at this time I plan to continue to maintain my practice solely via telehealth until there is a formal removal of COVID-19 being a “pandemic.” This decision is based on feedback I have received from clients and due to my desire to have an abundance of caution for everyone’s safety until we know more about both the current and projected state of this public health crisis. Taking all things into consideration, I expect any change in resuming in-person sessions to happen no sooner than this Fall.

Therefore, I am notifying you of the following plan purely in accordance with Governor Whitmer’s Executive order 2020-91 from May 18, 2020, which requires business to have a response plan “readily available to employees, labor unions, and customers, whether via website, internal network, or by hard copy” by June 1, 2020.

My practice will continue to follow best practices to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 on site. Efforts I personally will be taking at Inner Peace Counseling, PLC to reduce transmission include the following:

  • Increased distance between chairs in my waiting room.
  • Reduced access to the public restroom located in my suite unless access is formally requested at the time of your appointment.
  • Wiping down communal surfaces between in-person visits.
  • Eliminating access to the communal water cooler in my waiting room.
  • Personally wearing a face covering during in-person visits.
  • Adjusting the distance of my therapy chair to be 6 feet apart from clients.
  • Avoidance of physical contact (e.g. handshaking) when in the office.
  • Requiring face coverings to be worn when on site. If someone arrives on site and does not have a face covering, or if someone requests additional protection (e.g. gloves), they will be provided such Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
  • Washing my hands or using hand sanitizer in between visits.
  • Opening doors for clients upon their exit in order to minimize the touching of communal space.
  • Continuing to have the office professionally cleaned on a regular basis.
  • Having all clients sign an Informed Consent of risk before an in-person visit can be completed.
  • Requiring that those on site report any symptoms of illness prior to their visit.
  • Relaxation of office policies to allow for a waived no show/late cancellation fee if an absence is due to suspected COVID-19 infection.
  • Screening all clients prior to in-person visits if they have any symptoms of any illness, have traveled recently, or have come in contact with anyone they know who is at higher risk for COVID-19 infection (e.g. someone else who has traveled recently or has symptoms of COVID-19).
  • Compliance of the regulation to notify local health authorities if a client or myself have tested positive for COVID-19; in addition to informing clients if anyone who has been in my office tests positive for the virus. This notification will, however, only include information that is absolutely necessary for medical purposes.
  • Posting this Response Plan on my website and office door.
  • Updating any policies as needed in order to maintain best practices for prevention.

Related to such a Response Plan, I also ask that, per both the CDC guidelines and my landlord’s requirements, you adhere to the following precautions when in-person services resume in order to help keep everyone safe. If you have any concerns about any of the following or are uncomfortable maintaining telehealth services until otherwise notified, please contact me to discuss options.

  • Unless not possible due to a medical condition, wear a face covering while on the premises. If you would like additional protection (e.g. gloves), they will be provided to you.
  • Notify me if you are deemed an “essential worker.”
  • Avoid touching your face or eyes with your hands.
  • Keep a 6 foot distance from others and do not engage in physical contact with others.
  • Avoid non-essential contact with communal surfaces/areas (e.g. countertops, books, children’s toys, restroom).
  • Immediately upon entering my office, use the alcohol-based hand sanitizer provided to you in the lobby to clean your hands.
  • Avoid having any guests accompany you to your appointment unless medically necessary or unless previously planned with Inner Peace Counseling, PLC.
  • Arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. If you arrive to your visit and there is another person waiting in the lobby, please return to your vehicle and wait to enter until that person has exited the building. Or, if you feel more comfortable doing so, message me (e.g. email or secure message through your client portal) at the time of your appointment to get confirmation that you are ready to enter.
  • Notify me immediately if you are experiencing symptoms of any illness (e.g. fever, cough, difficulty breathing).
  • Do not attend your in-person appointment if you have symptoms of any illness. Telehealth services will be gladly provided for you, instead.

Please note that we are all doing out best to stay abreast of changes and requirements as they continue to shift. Therefore, please also note that this formal Response Plan may be updated at any time and that it is your responsibility to check for any updates prior to your visit and to inform me if there are any changes in the status of your health or concerns related to such policies. Please review an adhere to the above policies to promote safety until you are notified that such a Response Plan no longer applies. You can find an updated copy of my practice Response Plan at this location of my website: http://kalamazoo-counseling.com/newsevents-kalamazoo/.

Thank you for your patience with all of this. If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback, please let me know. You can contact me at ashley@kalamazoo-counseling.com or at 269-254-1211. I look forward to being able to “see” you through more than a screen again soon!”


[Notice sent via email to all current and new scheduled clients on 3/18/2020 at 11:25am titled “COVID-19 Response: Transition to Digital Sessions”]

Greetings,

Upon keeping up-to-date with recent governmental recommendations and reflecting on what I feel is my social responsibility to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), I have decided that I will make the transition to completing sessions solely via telehealth effective immediately. This applies to both new and existing clients. Although I view this change as temporary, the length of time for this transition is indefinite and will be dependent on continued governmental advisement.

This decision is partly due to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s encouragement to transition to digital services during this time. Due to this recommendation, this has also caused insurance companies to cover remote communications with the same cost to you as in-person services given the public health emergency. (Because of the constantly-shifting nature of things, there may be some exceptions to this for certain insurers like Priority Health or Blue Care Network so please contact me with any concerns prior to your next appointment.) You can find more about this formal notification here.

This recommendation even releases the requirement of communicating remotely via HIPAA-compliant sources. So, although I have a secure environment created in my home to promote privacy and you can complete secure sessions simply by logging into a secure portal (contact me directly to obtain this information) more informal platforms such as Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, or Skype are now allowed during emergencies such as this.

I know we are all feeling the stress of shifting societal norms. So, I would also like to take a moment to encourage you that this is not a time to fear. It is merely a time to respond and practice showing love and support to one another in this time of need. Given this, if you or anyone you know is struggling, I would like to be more accessible via different communication methods and also through doing some additional pro bono work.

Given this desire to be more accessible, you can connect with me through normal communication channels (e.g. email, secure messaging through your portal). However, I am also transitioning to being available via secure (end-to-end encrypted) text messaging via the WhatsApp application for smartphones. You can reach me at (269) 213-5002 using this method of communication. And, although I will still be responding to communication through my general office number, (269) 254-1211, I would encourage you to use the WhatsApp application for number (269) 213-5002 to communicate with me via phone during this time due to the ease of accessibility and its privacy features.

As I mentioned in a previous email, based on trends around the world, I continue to suspect that further changes related to social interactions will be required. And, I view it as my ethical responsibility to stay proactively ahead of the curve to offer digital options in order to create a smooth transition in continuing to offer you therapeutic support during this unprecedented global climate. This decision was not made lightly, nor out of fear, but was made with love and the desire to support others as best I can during this difficult time.

I appreciate your patience, understanding, and continued efforts for your own support throughout this societal shift. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me. And, as a reminder, until further notice, you can meet me here for any upcoming sessions that we have: (contact me directly to obtain this information). Just make sure you log on with either Firefox, Google Chrome, or via your Safari browser (for those using an Apple device) as the platform is not supported by Internet Explorer. And, due to the nature of unpredictability with technology, logging on prior to your appointment to work out any kinks with telecommunication is always advised.

Sending you peace and resilience,


Posted February 16, 2018 – It is around Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. Here is an article for all of the lovers out there, even the ones who are already married. Thanks to The Greater Kalamazoo’s Women’s Lifestyle Magazine February 2018 edition, we can spread the love. Click here to learn how to prepare for marriage.


Posted February 16, 2018 – Thanks to Natural Awakenings magazine for the features in this month’s magazine!


Posted January 31, 2018 – Effective immediately: After much consideration, to make way for some bigger and better things coming down the bend, I will no longer be hosting monthly meditation groups at my office.

If you are still interesting in learning more about mindfulness and meditation, look for my upcoming two-part article on the topic in the Natural Awakenings magazine or contact me for other local resources to deepen your practice.

Thanks for sharing space with me. May your awareness only continue to grow!


Posted December 4, 2017 – Not sure to do when a loved one needs help? You are not alone. Hopefully this article, found in The Greater Kalamazoo’s Women’s Lifestyle Magazine November 2017 edition, can offer some guidance! Here is a link to the content.


Posted December 4, 2017 – Stressed? Sure! We all are! Here is an article with some tips on how to manage that stress that we can never full escape. Thanks to the The Greater Kalamazoo’s Women’s Lifestyle Magazine for the publication in the September issue! Here is a link to the content.


Posted December 1, 2017 – Due to illness, I will not be hosting the free meditation group at my office tomorrow. But, we should be back at normal starting in January. I hope to see you then.


Posted November 16, 2017 – Thanks to News Channel 3/WWMT for the mention!
Let’s keep using our voices (and bodies when we need to) to defend. And, look for some exciting opportunities to learn how to heal and defend. There are some important things in the works! So, stay tuned.

http://wwmt.com/…/local/a-fighting-chance-decision-to-defend


Posted November 10, 2017 –

ANNOUNCING A RELOCATION AND CHANGE IN CONTACT INFORMATION! 

I am excited to announce that I am transitioning into solo practice under the name “Inner Peace Counseling, PLC” and will be working from a new location. This change will be official on Monday, November 27, 2017.

My new address, only 5 minutes away from my current location, is: 4155 S 9th Street, Suite D Kalamazoo, MI 49009. My updated solo practice phone number is 269-254-1211. My new secured fax number is 1-844-965-9223. While all other professional contact information will stay the same, I am also now fully-licensed as both a Clinical Social Worker and a Marriage and Family Therapist.

I will still be accepting Blue Cross, Blue Shield, MESSA, and Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance; self-pay or sliding-fee scale reimbursement, as well as being able to bill Out of Network for those with other insurance plans (e.g. McLaren Medicaid, United). Over time, I also will continue adding new insurances to the list of those that I can accept, including Blue Care Network. I encourage you to follow me on my professional Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ACarterYoungblood for continued updates, photos, and directions!

I am eager explore the level of intimate quality of care that being a solo practitioner allows. And, I look forward to continuing to grow with and for you in order to continue to serve you even better.

Please contact me with any questions or for more information. Thank you for your support. I can’t do what I do without wonderful people like you!


On Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1st – Join me at ArtPrize 2017 at The BOB with professional face and body painter, Kristen Adams (vote code 66289), to see some beautiful body art and to hear more about community resources and steps to recovering from trauma and tragedy. Recovery is possible! Let’s break those stigmas!

Visit for more information: http://kalamazoo-counseling.com/vlog-artprize-2017/


Posted November 1, 2017 – Do you feel like or have you been told that you are your worst critic? The Natural Awakenings magazine, November 2017 edition, has some tips from yours truly. Learn how to quiet the bully in your head and start thinking positive today by checking out this article.


Posted August 29, 2017 – ANNOUNCING AN EXCITING NEW PROJECT:

I am being featured as a Clinical Consultant to an ArtPrize 2017 project, “Healing through Body Art.” I am partnering with Kristen Adams, an amazing local professional face and body painter, who is doing live body paintings illustrating the resilience of those who have been through and are healing from trauma. Given that Grand Rapid’s ArtPrize is one of the biggest art competitions around, partnering with Kristen Adams is truly an honor! The live body paintings can be observed from September 20th through October 8th and yours truly will be on location on September 30th and 31st to offer support and resources to those who have questions or are looking to also recover from tragedy.

In her piece, Kristen is illustrating stories of recovery from anorexia, PTSD, drug abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse, living as a transgender person, and others. She is also looking to fill 4 more slots for volunteers who want to tell their stories through art: on October 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. Please contact her if you are interested in sharing your story. It is our hope that this project will raise awareness to taboo issues that are not usually talked about. Please call, text, or email Kristen at (269) 501-1451 or kfxbodyart@yahoo.com.

Stay tuned for a T.V. interview on this topic and other exciting updates!


Posted August 9, 2017 – Are you starting to feel a bit down realizing that summer is almost over. The “Winter Blues” is a real thing and it’s treatable. Check out this article in the August 2017 edition of The Greater Kalamazoo’s Women’s Lifestyle Magazine to help guide you through the upcoming seasons. Here is a link to the content.


Posted July 28, 2017 – Notice regarding the monthly free meditation group: Due to being out of town in August and October, the meditation groups will be held on the second (instead of the first) Saturday of those months. The location and times remain the same. So, I hope to see you on Saturday, August 12th and Saturday, October 14th. Stay mindful!


Published July 1, 2017 – Thanks to Natural Awakening’s Magazine for publishing my article on how to deal with toxic people. Hopefully it helps to provide helpful tips on how to breathe a bit easier. You can find the content of this article here.


May 29, 2017 – Starting today, you can find me at my new office location, 6963 West KL Avenue in Kalamazoo, Michigan 49009. You can find more information here.


April 18, 2017 – Due to my pending location to my shiny new office, May’s meditation group will be cancelled. Here is an updated flyer so that you can keep in touch. We should be back on schedule in June! Watch here or my Facebook page for more updates.


Published February 24, 2017 – Thanks to Natural Awakening’s Magazine for publishing my article on how to live as an Empath successfully. I’m hoping it touches the lives of all those reading! You can find the content of this article here.


Published February 1, 2017 – Interested in knowing more about the human-animal bond? Here’s an article from the Greater Kalamazoo Area Women’s Lifestyle Magazine that tells you all about it. You can find the content in the February 2017 edition or here, on my blog. Enjoy!


Published December 27, 2016 – Thanks to the amazing Natural Awakenings Magazine for publishing my article, “Quick Tips for Healthy Sleep” in your January 2017 edition. Click here to read the content of my article.


kalamazoo-counseling-grief-and-lossPublished December 2, 2016 – Thank you to The Greater Kalamazoo’s Women’s Lifestyle Magazine for spreading the word on how to cope with a non-traditional holiday season. Here is a link to the content.


kalamazoo-counseling-natural-awakenings-december-2016-articlePublished November 22, 2016 – Thanks, Natural Awakenings Magazine, for publishing my article in your December edition. Click here to read the content of my article.


meditation-group-poster-picAnnounced October 26, 2016 –

Mindfulness and meditation are becoming popular concepts related to the way they can help us manage our stress and improve our mental health. Are you interested in learning how to meditate? Are you looking for a FREE meditation group, ways to improve your stress management, or simply for some quiet time? If so, come join me for a FREE monthly meditation group every first Saturday of the month from 10-11am at my office. Seating is limited, so please remember to RSVP. But, bring whomever you want. The more the merrier!

Those of any religion, or even those with no religion at all, are welcome to attend this casual, nondenominational group. Also, feel free to bring your friends, family, or acquaintances to the group to share the serenity. Even other professionals looking for some relaxation are welcome to attend. The hour timeframe will include introductions, a brief meditation instruction, time to meditate, and a portion for questions and answers. Please arrive on time in order to respect the silence once the time for meditation has started. And, while I honor your role as a parent, in order to keep the atmosphere as relaxing as possible, I ask that only those who are well-behaved and at least 13 years old attend.

You are welcome to bring your own meditation cushion or comfort device as needed in order to attend to any physical needs you may have. Otherwise, we will be practicing sitting on chairs.

Click to here to view or download the flyer. Feel free to share with or distribute it to whoever you want! This information is also available on my Facebook page.


tau-panel-picEvent on October 14, 2016 –

Thanks to Western Michigan University’s Teaching Assistants Union for hosting me for such an esteemed panel. It was a pleasure  to talk about the important topic of stress management.


kalamazoo-counseling-womens-lifestyle-magazine-october-2016-articlePublished September 30, 2016 –

Thanks, Women’s Lifestyle Magazine, for publishing my article about “What Women Need to Know about Anxiety and Depression”, in your October 2016 edition! Find the content on the article here, on my blog.


Ashley Carter Youngblood, LMSW, LMFT, CADC, ADS – offering counseling in Kalamazoo, Texas Corners, Portage, Mattawan, Battle Creek, Paw Paw, and the surrounding areas of Southwest Michigan. – Click Here to Call Me Now for a Free Consultation!