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Brookhaven Retreat Blog
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 19:28

The Pain of Divorce

Divorce can emotionally break a woman and leave her feeling abandoned or unworthy of love. It can trigger depression, substance abuse or other mental health issues. Women who have experienced a divorce often suffer from shattered self-esteem, but are given the opportunity to create deeper meaning in their lives.

We place a lot of value on the things we perceive as ours. When we lose those people or things, we feel a pain unfathomable by others; regardless of how poorly we were treated or how much we may benefit from the loss, we feel that we have lost something valuable.

Women mourning a lost relationship place a value on that relationship that may not actually exist: without that man, they feel like less of a person, and fear they will grow old alone and never experience happiness. Much of the time, these thoughts could not be further from the truth.

Because we invest so much in relationships, we feel that we owe it to ourselves to keep trying to salvage them. When we lose the ones we care about, we feel that that effort was lost, that we should have kept trying.

Above all, women fear regret and aloneness, without knowing why. Can we really not live with just ourselves? Are we really such bad company?

Learning to care for the self is the first step not just to recovery from loss, but to create a fulfilling life in which loved ones add meaning rather than defining us. Healthy women create beauty and worth within themselves rather than looking for it from without. Residential treatment can help women find the self-esteem and respect needed to create such a life.

When a woman finds activities she enjoys and puts her values and happiness first, she tends to find relationships supportive of mental health. Those healthy relationships last longer and tend to nurture the emotional skills needed to recover from loss.

Stop letting others define your worth and happiness. Love yourself, and the rest will come. Love yourself, and you will be enough. Everything else will only add to your inextinguishable inner joy.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 04:11

Ingredient Profile: Blackstrap Molasses

If you haven’t tried it already, it may be time to add blackstrap molasses to your pantry. It is a dense mineral and a flavorful source of many nutrients that women need more of, especially iron and calcium.

Many women suffer from decreased energy and slowing metabolism associated with an iron deficiency. Iron is a critical component of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen throughout the body. Without it, we can feel tired, sluggish and depressed.

Research also shows that many women have trouble consuming enough calcium. This mineral is critical to a plethora of life-sustaining body functions, including muscle contractions, blood clotting, nerve impulses, enzyme activity, bone maintenance and the removal of toxins from the colon. Like iron, calcium deficiency has also been associated with depression.

A mere two teaspoons of blackstrap molasses provides 13 percent of our daily iron requirement and nearly 12 percent of our calcium.

A byproduct of sugar production, blackstrap molasses is antioxidant rich, with a syrupy sweetness and dark flavor perfect for adding depth to a variety of foods. It can be cooked in savory dishes like beans or added to baked goods for that complexity so famous in gingerbread. It also makes a wonderful addition to smoothies: add a spoonful of blackstrap molasses to any morning smoothie recipe for a boost of nutrition and energy. Just make sure to find the blackstrap variety, which is deeper in color, richer in flavor and higher in nutritional benefits than regular molasses. Try this smoothie for a taste of winter:

Gingerbread Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsulphured blackstrap molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Pinch of allspice
  • Additions of your choice

Add all ingredients together in a blender and enjoy. For additional nutrition, add vanilla protein powder, pumpkin puree, blueberries or other additions of your choice.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Monday, 28 October 2013 18:09

Soothing Lavender Bath Bombs

It seems with our busy schedules that there is never enough time in the day. Balancing family and work life can at times seem overwhelming. Stress is a normal reaction to the increasing demands of life. Over time, increased levels of stress can lead to health problems. Therefore stress management becomes very important. One of my favorite stress relievers is a warm bath. A warm bath can relax tired muscles as well as provide a temporary escape from stressors.

Try making these bath bombs for your relaxing bath. Lavender essential oil is often used for its soothing qualities as it aids in stress and anxiety relief.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1-cup baking soda
  • ½ cup citric acid
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup oats (ground in blender)
  • ¼ teaspoon borax

Wet ingredients:

  • 2-½ Tablespoon sunflower oil (or other light oil)
  • ¾ Tablespoon water
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon of Lavender essential oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Vitamin E oil
  • Witch Hazel (must be poured into a spray bottle)


  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients (except Borax) until completely combined.
  2. Combine all of the wet ingredients and the Borax into a large bowl.
  3. Slowly pour the wet ingredients onto the dry ingredients and blend thoroughly.
  4. Mix with your hands until all of the ingredients are combined.
  5. Lightly spray the mixture with 2-3 sprays of witch hazel.
  6. If the mixture is not sticking together spray it with a little more of the witch hazel.
  7. Pack tightly into molds (I used cupcake molds).
  8. Let the molds harden overnight.
  9. Then, drop into warm water whenever you need a soothing bath.
Published in Brookhaven Blog
Sunday, 27 October 2013 18:36

The Importance of Accepting Grief

Last week, our only indoor-outdoor cat was hit by a car and died. We all face such losses in life, which give us a chance to reflect on our grieving process.

The loss of a pet triggers the same grieving process as the loss of a job, relationship or loved one. Familiarity with the five stages of grief does not prevent us from experiencing them or soften our surprise when we see how effectively we move through them.

Acceptance is the key to healthy grieving. When we fail to accept an event, we prevent ourselves from healing the pain we have experienced. To reach a stage of acceptance, we must first pass through stages of denial, anger, bargaining and depression. When we become stuck in a stage or attempt to find relief elsewhere – substances or addictive behavior, for example – we prevent ourselves from completing the healing process. The more entrenched in these coping behaviors we become, the longer and more difficult the emotional healing journey becomes.

Substance abuse, shopping addiction, gambling, eating, or any other behavior women use in an unhealthy way to make themselves feel better may offer momentary relief, but since the source of pain has not been addressed or experienced, she cannot move onward.

As my family and I go through this process, I have had the opportunity to watch Mojo, our black cat and Hugo’s best friend, experience his own stages of grief. Mojo’s touching goodbye to his feline best friend is something I will never forget – watching him put the pieces together and gently paw his friend’s cheek was poignant yet beautiful.

We all must grieve, cat and human, young and old, man and woman alike. By nonjudgmentally and mindfully observing each feeling as it comes, we can move into the ultimate goal of acceptance.

Grieving is not easy. It takes time. For traumatic losses, residential treatment or therapy can make a world of a difference in the journey. Regardless how or why we embark on the path of grief, we all have the same destination: to accept what is, rather than become mired in memories of the past or grief for the future.

Radical acceptance is a DBT skill practiced in Brookhaven Retreat that teaches women to accept reality, whether we feel all right or not, as our truth. From a place of acceptance, we can change our circumstances and grow as people into new moments in which we find peace and happiness.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Saturday, 26 October 2013 08:02

Chicken Roulades with Sun-Dried Tomato & Feta Orzo

Orzo, though much like rice in appearance, is actually a type of small Italian pasta. Served alongside chicken and topped with sun-dried tomatoes, it makes a flavorful and filling meal. To put this all together, boil the orzo before making the chicken roulades and finish adding tomatoes and feta while the chicken finishes simmering.

Ingredients | Chicken Roulades

  • 12 pitted kalamata olives, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons minced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 oz. each), trimmed of fat
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 1 ¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

Ingredients | Orzo

  • 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup dry orzo pasta (4 oz.)
  • 2 tablespoons minced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese (1 oz.)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preparation | Roulades

  1. Dice 6 olives and set aside.
  2. Process remaining 6 olives, breadcrumbs, tomatoes, zest, garlic and oregano in a food processor until minced.
  3. Using a meat mallet, pound chicken between plastic wrap to a thickness of ¼-inch.
  4. Spread olive-tomato filling on chicken.
  5. Roll chicken; secure with toothpicks.
  6. Sauté roulades in oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, 4 minutes.
  7. Remove chicken to a plate.
  8. Add onion to the skillet; sauté 2 minutes.
  9. Add chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil; add diced olives and chicken rolls.
  10. Cover skillet; reduce heat.
  11. Simmer chicken rolls 10 minutes; remove chicken to a plate.
  12. Whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch; stir into sauce in skillet.
  13. Simmer for 1 minute.
  14. Slice rolls and serve with sauce.

Preparation | Orzo

  1. Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan; stir in orzo.
  2. Return liquid to a boil.
  3. Cook orzo, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed, 9 minutes.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat.
  5. Stir tomatoes and feta into orzo, mixing until feta melts slightly.
  6. Season orzo mixture with salt and pepper and serve with chicken rolls.

Serves 2

Source: Cuisine Lite

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Friday, 25 October 2013 19:26

The Art of Collage

Collage is a great medium for those who are just beginning to tap their creative energy, and it can also be attractive to seasoned artists. Collage tends to be a more inviting and versatile medium—it relies less on skills of drawing and perception and more on skills of collecting and combining interesting elements.

Collage comes from the French word, coller, which means “to glue.” Essentially, you are gluing together interesting elements to create a composition and point of view. Collage differs from “mixed media” in that it is usually 2D elements. There are many pieces you can combine in a collage: ribbon, fabric, patterns on paper, written documents, words, and photographs, to name a few. A collage can give unique insight into sources of depression, stress or hope along your journey.

Take a look at Pablo Picasso, Romare Bearden, and Hannah Höch’s work. You may also recognize Eric Carle’s books, such as The Hungry Caterpillar, as collage too! Eric Carle paints on pieces of paper first and then combines them to create his compositions. The possibilities of collage work are endless.

One way to start diving into collage work is to begin collecting interesting images. Begin a collage box! Collect images that inspire you, images with great texture or pattern, images of people doing interesting things, colors you enjoy, etc. Sometimes for creative inspiration it takes having some of these elements already there.

Once you have your images, begin to assemble them. Perhaps you notice a theme happening, or the combination of elements becomes humorous or surreal. Have fun with this activity! You can go with these themes, or you may also start with an idea, such as:

  • a Visualization Board, that contains images of goals and dreams
  • a celebration of your accomplishments, with photos and items from the past
  • a self portrait
  • an image telling a story in your life

Let the imagery inspire you, and let the stories and reflections unfold.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Thursday, 24 October 2013 16:02

Holiday Stress

In Great Britain the word “holiday” has the same meaning as vacation. Many Americans would find this laughable. For most of us, the holidays come with our own to-do lists. It is easy to feel not-so-wonderful at this most wonderful time of the year. When your holiday to-do list stretches longer than Santa’s beard, it is time to reevaluate and eliminate whatever is unnecessary.

Easing up on yourself over the holidays is important. We often have higher expectations for this season than for any other time of the year. Planning for the holidays can leave us feeling stressed, impatient, cranky, and in some cases depressed. When the stresses of day-to-day life conflict with our efforts to make the holiday season perfect, anxiety is the end result. Especially when these extra activities get squeezed into an already busy schedule. The average person spends 42 hours a year on holiday activities. That’s one standard workweek spent shopping, wrapping, cooking, attending holiday get-togethers, and traveling from place to place!

Try the following steps to help manage holiday stress:

Planning family get-togethers

  • Buy prepared foods instead of cooking everything from scratch
  • Ask others to bring their favorite dishes
  • Cook and freeze foods ahead of time

Pausing before the holiday spread

  • Avoid overeating
  • Avoid starving yourself in anticipation of eating at holiday parties. This approach can lead to eating too much of the wrong foods.
  • Continue exercising

Giving the perfect gifts

  • Ask people what they want instead of trying to find the perfect gift
  • Shop early
  • Stick to your budget

Managing your time

  • Set priorities and let go of impossible goals
  • Stop to enjoy what you have accomplished
  • Don’t try to finish everything at once
  • Ask others for help
  • Rest when your body tells you to
Published in Brookhaven Blog
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 18:45

A Slice for the Sniffles

Do you need an excuse to eat a piece of pie? These classic desserts actually offer plenty of nutrients to help boost the immune system and ward off colds.

Pumpkin pie is abundant in Vitamin A, which can prevent germs from invading your body.  You can tweak the recipe and cut calories by using skim milk for whole milk and egg whites for whole eggs.  Two egg whites are equivalent to one large egg.  Also, low-fat graham crackers can be used for the crust.

"An apple a day will keep the doctor away"? -- Maybe.  Some researchers report they have found those who consume the fruit can increase their chances of warding off viruses.  These individuals may also recover more quickly if sick.  Make your apple pie healthier by using fresh apples and a low-sugar filling.

This cold and flu season, stave off the achiness and depression that can accompany illness by incorporating apples and pumpkins into both meals and desserts. The things we like can be good for us; all it takes is a little creativity.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 19:41

What Did You Harvest

Harvest time is here. Though all summer long we have enjoyed the bounty of our gardens - with blackberries, peaches, tomatoes and beans gracing our plates - autumn is a special time of hearty, warming produce seasoned with spices exclusive to this time of year.

Autumn, more than any other season, is about gratefulness for the material things we have, and a period of appreciation for family and loved ones. As the season draws to a close, we take stock of the fruitfulness of the year – what we have accomplished in our careers and family lives, and what we have brought forth into the world.

Perhaps this year you set about to write a book, create a garden or pick up painting. Take stock of what you have spent the year creating. Oftentimes we can feel that we have gotten lost in the mundane tides of our lives and forwent doing anything worthwhile. But even the little milestones count; have you started a bedtime ritual to improve the quality of your sleep? Made a habit to see friends once a week? The small seeds we plant today emerge later to improve the quality of our daily lives.

Think about what you have planted for the past 10 months. If you aren’t happy with it, begin new habits. Just as we do in our gardens, think of what seeds you could plant this harvest-time. Go back to school or create a weekly family dinner night. With a little effort, we can invite many blessings into our lives.

What projects have you started this year? Which do you want to begin this fall?

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Monday, 21 October 2013 21:01

Clear Skin Juice

Masks, peels, moisturizers and steams are all great ways to pamper our skin and get a bit of self-time in. But beautiful skin isn’t just the result of external self-care; what you put on the inside counts, too.

One great way to nourish your cells and improve your skin is to juice fresh fruits and vegetables. Our bodies detoxify themselves through the liver and skin. An inside-out approach combines powerful nutrients to help the skin clear itself of blemishes and impart a healthy glow.

Clear Skin Juice:

  • 2 carrots
  • 1-inch knob of ginger
  • ½ cucumber
  • ½ to 1 celeriac root
  • 1 green apple (can also use pear depending on your tastes)


  1. Wash all ingredients well.
  2. Cut apple into smaller pieces and remove core and seeds.
  3. Cut celery root into small pieces.
  4. Juice and enjoy!

Celery root has a delicious fresh flavor, but if you do not care for it, you can use less or add an extra apple or pear. The root is full of electrolytes, potassium and magnesium. It also can stimulate kidney function, helping the body rid itself of toxins, and it normalizes the body’s pH balance. Other vegetables add more than bright flavor; the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of carrots and cucumbers calms inflamed skin and helps cells regenerate themselves, leaving you with a plump and healthy glow.

A combination of balanced diet, external self-care and positive attitude does wonders for the health of our skin. Eating healthfully and making plenty of time to recharge helps decrease stress and anxiety. When we are emotionally revitalized, we experience the physical benefits of good mental health like decreased inflammation and better skin. Try adding juices to your weekly self-care routine and see how they make you feel.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
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We are a private pay treatment center and do not accept any type of insurance. Costs associated with care are the responsibility of the client.