The Advantages of Online Therapy

The Advantages of Online Therapy

Healthy Living

While you might be aware that some psychologists perform psychotherapy sessions online, you might not be aware of the advantages that this mode provides.

Practical Advantages

  • The client can participate in the session from any location that allows for privacy and an Internet connection. When Internet connectivity is not good, the session can occur via a phone call.
  • Therapy is accessible to those who reside far from a good-fit therapist.
  • A person who has difficulty leaving home due to a disability or due to a lack of transportation can participate.
  • Avoiding a drive to and from a professional office means avoiding stressful and dangerous traffic conditions.
  • A client might not have to take leave from work in order to attend an appointment.
  • The contagion of a head cold would not prevent the therapy session from occurring.
  • Clients who have children are not limited by the availability of babysitters. A marriage therapy couple might be able to leave their school-aged children in the next room for an hour in the evening in order to engage in marriage therapy.
  • Clients who frequently travel are able to keep their therapy sessions.
  • In marriage therapy or family therapy, if one family member is away, the session may be held with multi-user videoconferencing.

Therapeutic Advantages.

  • A client who is uncomfortable disclosing personal matters might find it easier to disclose when the therapist is not sitting in the same room.
  • A client might feel more relaxed at home, making it easier to engage in therapy.

The Session Format. In my practice, at the appointment time, the client and I each connect to the meeting through the user-friendly website of a company that is a major provider of videoconferencing services. That company’s videoconferencing service is certified as HIPAA-compliant, which means that the transmissions meet high standards for security. For about an hour, we engage in discussion of the client’s concerns and issues. Typically, the session ends with a plan for the client to take certain actions before the next session, which will typically be one or two weeks afterwards.  My approach tends to be solution-oriented with an emphasis on skill development.

To explore the opportunities to participate in online therapy in our faith-based practice, please visit our website at, call our office at 334-744-3694, or email us at

-Dr. Thomas Maple

Dr. Maple is an Alabama-licensed psychologist and the founder of Crosswalk Psychological Services, LLC.  His clinical background includes work in private practice and in university clinics. Born and raised in the Birmingham area, he now resides in Auburn with his wife and his two daughters.

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Latest in Prevention & Treatment of Concussions

Latest in Prevention & Treatment of Concussions

Healthy Living

Attendees at the recent Concussion Summit at Children’s of Alabama learned the latest about concussion prevention, early identification and post-concussion care,

Children’s of Alabama, UAB Sports Medicine and the Wise Up! Initiative recently hosted their fourth annual Concussion Summit. The day-long event geared toward coaches, athletic trainers and parents emphasized the importance of post-concussion care, including “Return to Learn” protocol. Renowned pediatric neuropsychologist Gerard Gioia, MD, PhD, from Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. and director of the SCORE Program (Safe Concussion Outcome & Recovery Education) talked about early identification of concussion and prevention. Parents, coaches and trainers were encouraged to speak to a medical professional about how to recognize early concussion symptoms. UAB Football Coach Bill Clark emphasized that safety of athletes should be paramount for all schools and sports. To learn more about concussion prevention and treatment visit


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STRESS FREE in 10 Easy Steps

STRESS FREE in 10 Easy Steps

Healthy Living

  1. Take control of your health – Make a conscious effort for your personal health to exercise, eat right and get that physical check-up we all need every year. The easiest of these is exercise – and the easiest way to begin exercise is to take a walk! Get back in control!
  2. Change it up – Whether it’s cleaning out clutter at home or taking that long overdue vacation, a change in pace can pull you out of the monotony of your life and make a big difference. You know it’s been nagging at you so go ahead and do it!
  3. Live for today – Escape from worrying about tomorrow or fretting about yesterday and focus all your efforts on today. That’s why it’s called ‘the present’.
  4. Give yourself a pep talk – Instead of being your own worst enemy and focusing on the negative, you can be your own personal cheerleader. Write 5 positive things about yourself/that you can be thankful for on a sticky note, place it where you will see it every day and read it out loud!
  5. Laugh out loud – Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol (associated with belly fat), epinephrine (adrenaline), dopamine and growth hormone. It also increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins. You know what tickles your funny bone so LOL! No joke!
  6. Pray/Meditate – A still mind is a stress-free mind. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and hold it in for 10 seconds. Repeat a few times until you feel the calm take over your body and your stress melt away. Do this for at least 10 minutes a day and give yourself a re-charge!
  7. Listen to music – Studies have shown music to be a wonderful tool that can promote wellness and help us overcome many of the obstacles we face in life. Listening can help reduce blood pressure and help our bodies build serotonin (the feel-good hormone) in the brain. Music therapy, promoted and endorsed by the American Music Therapy Association, has shown music to be effective in managing stress, promoting physical rehabilitation, memory enhancement, emotional expression, pain management and better communication. Rock on!
  8. Accentuate the positive – Negative thoughts enter our brain every day. Start by picking just one and look at the positive side of the situation. Then keep your focus there. Over time you will re-train your brain!
  9. Pay it forward – Sometimes the best way to help ourselves is by putting our focus on someone else. Putting someone else’s needs and how you can help them in the front of your mind allows you to step away from your own thoughts and challenges. And it makes you both feel better!
  10. Get out there – Making time for connecting with the people around you, spending time outside and doing things you love with family, friends and your spouse are all stress relievers that are good for your health in many ways. Social connection is tied to longevity, since it helps you feel like you’re a part of something larger than yourself and helps give you perspective.

-Jennifer Neil 

YMCA of Greater Birmingham,

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Legal Matters


What You Need to Know About Children with Special Needs & Guardianship

All parents face stress as they watch their children grow into adulthood and try to guide them on their life’s journey. Parents of children with special needs face even more challenges as their child reaches adulthood.

In Alabama, a child is considered an adult at age 19 (18 with the Social Security Administration which operates under federal law). Upon reaching age 19, the child will be considered to be a competent adult able to make his or her decisions. The parents lose all rights to make decisions for the child. This means that the parents have no authority to make medical decisions, financial decisions, or any other decisions for the child. This is true even if everyone associated with the child agrees that the child is disabled and not capable of making decisions.

Practically, parents often continue along for many years after the child reaches 19 without any problems because the child’s treating physician typically continues to work with the parents. Additionally, Social Security will usually allow a parent to be a representative payee and receive the child’s SSI check. However, eventually, an issue will arise where the parents are told that they have no authority to make decisions for the child. Typically, this happens when the child goes to a different doctor and the doctor refuses to talk to the parents; or, the parents want the child to attend a special event, try a new therapy, or enter a facility for some type of treatment. At that point, the parents are told they have no authority to release liability on behalf of the child, authorize the treatment, or force the child to go anywhere. The parents may even be told they cannot see the child’s medical records or be told the medications or treatments that are being administered to the child.

What can parents do in this situation? The parents need to be named the legal guardians for the child. To be named as the guardians, the parents will want to hire an attorney and go through the process of being named guardian by the probate court. Once this is done, the parents will have all the decision-making authority to manage the disabled child’s life and provide for his or her well-being.


Legal Matters Bradford and Hollliman_Bradford Head Shot-Melanie B. BradfordAd Bradford & Holliman TOP ATTORNEY LOGO

Partner, Bradford & Holliman, LLC

Practice focuses on estate planning, elder law and special needs trust.

2491 Pelham Parkway, Pelham, Ala. 35124Ad Bradford & Holliman Logo eps


This article is for educational purposes and is not intended for specific legal advice.



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Healthy Living

Fight Mental Decline by Staying Socially Engaged

 Recent research shows that people who actively use hearing devices have a lower risk of mental decline as they age. They tend to stay more engaged in an active social life. Healthy hearing helps since using proper hearing technology decreases the effort and stress associated with discerning speech.

healthy living birmingham speach and hearing IMAGE hearing device

No more tunnel hearing. Until now, traditional hearing aids have not been able to process sound quickly enough to help you hear all the way around you. They would focus just on the speech directly in front of you and suppress everything else. You could hear the person you were looking at, but not much else. It wasn’t perfect, but has been the best that hearing aids have been able to do. Now, a revolutionary hearing device allows you to hear the way you should –All the way around. The Oticon Opn™ represents a giant leap in hearing device technology. Its processor chip is 50 times faster than anything Oticon has ever built — a quantum leap in speed. That’s fast enough to break out of the tunnel and help you hear in all directions, the way you were born to hear. When Opn unwraps hearing to a full 360 degrees, many amazing things happen. Sounds are adjusted and balanced all around you, not just directly in front of you. Opn separates speech from noise and lets you focus on what is important. Opn works in harmony with your brain to process sounds exceptionally fast, yielding better speech understanding, less listening fatigue, and better retention of conversations.

Opportunity to Learn More. Birmingham Speech and Hearing will premier this exciting new hearing technology at an Oticon Expo Event August 1-4, featuring Oticon Audiologist Mr. Norm Greenleaf. Call 205-871-3878 today for an appointment time to participate in the Expo and find out more about how Oticon Opn could help you enjoy better speech understanding and reduce your listening effort.
Healthy Living Birmingham Speech_Cynthia Serota, Director
Cynthia J. Serota, Director 

Birmingham Speech & Hearing Associateshealthy living birmingham speach and hearing LOGO

4 Office Park Circle Suite 301, Birmingham, 35223


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Healthy Living

Presented by: Henderson & Walton Women’s Center P.C.

The Journey to a Better Body

At Henderson and Walton Women’s Center, P.C., we think of our patients as family. So when one of our family members does something extraordinary, we can’t help but brag. We hope Sheree Reeves journey of overcoming her struggle with her weight inspires you as much as it does us to choose a healthy lifestyle.


Healthy Living Henderon Walton Sheree Reeves before and after_weight loss

Through her determination and forgiving herself every time she sidetracked, Henderson Walton patient, Sheree Reeves, lost over 110 lbs.

We all have a breaking point. The point where circumstances collide to give us the realization that what we are doing is not working. For a lot of women like Sheree Reeves, who struggle with their weight, the realization deals with making healthy choices. Reeves, 40, married with two children, came face to face with her breaking point two years ago, when her mother fell ill. Watching what her mother was going through opened Sheree’s eyes to the fact that her lifestyle didn’t just need to change, but had to change. Not only did she need to start making healthy choices for herself, but also needed to make them for her family. Sheree’s children did not have weight issues, but with the family history of heart disease and diabetes, she knew that looking healthy does not mean that you are. Sheree took action.

Nutrition. Sheree had used several weight loss programs before, but none of them worked for her. So Sheree did what most people do, looked at the internet. In her case it was the app store. There Sheree found her best sidekick/tool for her weight loss journey, the MyFitnessPal app. With it, she could plug in her calorie intake, set goals, track her steps, and find restaurants. Her favorite part of MyFitnessPal is the bar code tool. All you have to do is go to the store, scan the bar code using the app, and it will give the health information needed for you to continue your healthy choices. Sheree’s daily routine is to have three light meals, and throughout the day snack on healthier foods. Her meals consist of high protein such as salmon, tuna, and grilled chicken. Her snacks include apples and peanut butter, fiber bars, and pretzels. Her favorite snack is sunflower seeds. Not only are they delicious, but she can control the amount she eats by snacking on the ones with the shells. It takes her a longer time to eat them, because she has to take each out of the shell.

Exercise. Sheree admitted that going to the gym to exercise was not in her plan, she does however work exercise into her daily routine. She says all she knew was that she had to keep moving. She thought of different ways to move. For example on her break she would take the stairs to the third floor instead of using the break room on the first floor, where she was located.

Forgive & Move On. “Life is going to get in the way, but don’t let that stop you from making healthy choices. It’s about preservation and perseverance. You will have a bad day. Maybe you decide to stuff yourself with a heavy calorie burger. It’s okay,” Sheree says, “just don’t let your bad day turn into a bad week. Forgive yourself for the choices you’ve made, move on to the next day, and make the right choice for yourself. Find out what works for you!” Sheree reminds readers, that everyone is different, so their diet will be as well. Lastly, Sheree emphasizes that you are never done. Maintaining a healthy life is going to be a constant challenge throughout your entire life but it’s worth it. Sheree says now when she takes trips with her family to places like Disney World, she’s not constantly worrying about if she’s not going to fit in the seat or slow her family down. She’s more active now. She’s not weighed down by the worries of what people think of her. She’s not going to be afraid of going swimming in her bathing suit. Her choice of being and staying healthy for her and her family has changed her life in the happiest of ways.

The physicians of Henderson & Walton Women’s Center, P.C. are advocates of educating women regarding healthy lifestyle choices and we applaud our patients, like Sheree Reeves, who are examples of it!†

Henderson Walton MD GROUP PIC

The physicians of Henderson & Walton Women’s Center, P.C. are accepting new patients in their Birmingham, Alabaster, Chelsea, Cullman, Gadsden, Jasper and Tuscaloosa locations. Call 1-800-264-1075 to make your appointment. Visit to learn more about the practice, physicians, and services offered and why they have been voted BEST PRACTICE for the 4th consecutive time!





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Healthy Living

Effort to Educate Alabama Youth on the Dangers of Tobacco & Electronic Cigarettes

Healthy Living Childrens Susan Walley MD_SDM_0953rs12

Susan Walley, M.D., who treats patients at Children’s of Alabama and is the author of the American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on electronic cigarettes, shares details on a new grant to educate area youth on the dangers of tobacco and electronic cigarettes. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in every four Alabama high school students is a current tobacco user.

Children’s of Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Department of Pediatrics recently received a grant from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) with the goal of protecting Alabama youth from secondhand smoke exposure, tobacco use and initiation, with a particular focus on electronic cigarettes. The $80,000 grant will be utilized to collect data on youth tobacco use in the Birmingham metro area. Data will to be used to promote policies that protect youth from tobacco use and tobacco smoke exposure. The grant will also provide education to middle and high school students in the Birmingham City Schools and other area schools on the health risks of tobacco use and tobacco smoke exposure.

Another focus of the grant is education on the health harms of electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarette use has skyrocketed among youth, and 2.4 million students in the United States reported using electronic cigarettes in 2014. The CDC reports that electronic cigarettes are now the most common tobacco product used by high school students. “As a pediatrician, I am very concerned about the potential for electronic cigarettes to addict a whole generation of youth to nicotine and tobacco,” said Susan Walley, M.D., an associate professor at UAB who treats patients at Children’s of Alabama. “Studies have shown that youth who use electronic cigarettes are more likely to go on to smoke conventional cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes also pose health risks to children from the secondhand aerosol, which is not merely ’harmless water vapor,’ and is a poisoning risk from the concentrated electronic cigarette nicotine solution.” There has been a dramatic increase in the number of calls made to Children’s Regional Poison Control Center about toxic exposures from electronic cigarettes – from just two calls in 2012 to 95 in 2015. The Center has already received 22 thus far in 2016. Learn more at

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Healthy Living

The Heart of the Matter- The Signs & Symptoms of Heart Disease in Women & Ways to Reduce Your Risk

Every minute in the United States, someone’s wife, mother, daughter or sister dies from heart disease, stroke or another form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). woman doctor heart healthMore than one in three women is living with CVD, including nearly half of all African-American women and 34 percent of white women. Although heart disease death rates among men have steadily declined over the last 25 years, rates among women have fallen at a slower rate. One challenge is that the heart disease symptoms in women can be different from symptoms in men. Fortunately, women can take steps to understand their unique symptoms of heart disease and to begin to reduce their risk of heart disease.

Symptoms. The most common heart attack symptom in women is some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But it’s not always severe or even the most prominent symptom, particularly in women. Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain such as neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort; shortness of breath; nausea or vomiting; sweating; lightheadedness or dizziness. The symptoms are often more subtle than the obvious crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks. This may be because women tend to have blockages not only in their main arteries, but also in the smaller arteries that supply blood to the heart.

Risk Factors: Although the traditional risk factors for coronary artery disease — such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity — affect women and men, other factors may play a bigger role in the development of heart disease in women. For example metabolic syndrome has a greater impact on women than on men, mental stress and depression affect women’s hearts more than men’s, smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women than in men, and low levels of estrogen after menopause increase the risk of heart attack. Women under the age of 65 who have a family history of heart disease should pay particularly close attention to the heart disease risk factors. The older a woman gets, the more likely she is to get heart disease, but women of all ages should be concerned about it.

Prevention: Take steps to prevent heart disease by practicing healthy lifestyle habits. Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day on most days of the week, maintain a healthy weight, quit or don’t start smoking, and eat a diet that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and salt.

The physicians of Henderson & Walton Women’s Center, P.C. are advocates of educating women regarding their risks for cardiovascular disease and knowing their family history. If you are at a high risk for cardiovascular disease, talk to your physician and make the appropriate lifestyle changes to ensure that you will be on the road to a healthy life.

Henderson Walton MD GROUP PIC


  • The physicians of Henderson & Walton Women’s Center, P.C. are accepting new patients in their Birmingham, Alabaster, Chelsea, Cullman, Gadsden, Jasper and Tuscaloosa locations. Call 1-800-264-1075 to make your appointment. Visit to learn more about the practice, physicians, services offered and why they have been voted BEST PRACTICE for the 4th consecutive time!

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Parenting Points

4 Tips to Leading Your Child toward Good Decision Making

Good decision making is not a skill with which we are born. We can look back at examples from our past when we made very poor decisions that were not properly thought out and the unfortunate consequences that accompanied those decisions. There are two very real reasons for the lack of prudence children and teens show in their decision making. One reason is biological and the other is spiritual.

Biologically, the part of our brain used to reason and weigh outcomes, the prefrontal cortex, does not fully develop until we reach our mid 20’s. Research indicates it is one of the last regions of our brain to fully develop. On the other hand, the part of our brain that controls our response to pleasure is fully developed by age 13.


So when we see our children and teens making decisions that seem totally void of thought or reason, there are actual biological reasons this may occur. The main reason prudence is a struggle for all of us is our sin nature. Sin infects all that we do. We don’t automatically choose to define what is right and wrong based on God’s definitions of right and wrong, but based on what is best for “me.” Sin takes our focus and attention away from God, the source of all things good, and turns it on ourselves.

As parents, we need the love of Christ to combat both the biological and the spiritual roadblocks to prudence. We need to show Christ’s love and grace as our children learn prudence and we need His love in our own hearts to lead them into the realm of good decision making. Here are four keys to help develop godly prudence in your children.

  1. Demonstrate prudence for your children.
  2. Affirm your children when they make good decisions.
  3. When they make poor decisions, help your children think through other options they had and see how the consequences could have been different.
  4. Above all, train your children to seek what is right in the character and nature of Christ as He is revealed in Scripture.

Parenting Points Head Shot Drew Phillips_Byline pic

-Drew Phillips, Chaplain 

Covenant Classical Schools & Daycare

To learn more about Covenant Classical Schools visit

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