It’s Ok to ask for help

It is a beautiful 84 degrees outside today and even with the threat of global warming I enjoyed driving in my car with the window down a bit listening to a classic Beetles album! If you are like me you have old favorites that you play over and over too! I sometimes derive new meaning in tried and true songs that show they really are written from the heart of another human being much like you and I- even John Lennon from 1965.

Help! (vocal John Lennon verse 1)

When I was younger so much younger than today I never needed anybody’s help in any way

But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured

Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors

In my younger years I was pretty certain about many things. I now realize that being too certain was probably a way to cope with the actual UNCERTAINTIES of life, relationships, choices and opinions. I feel now that even with trying to learn and grow that I am certain about far less than I was 35 years ago! Why? Because of learning and growing and interacting with so many people I have realized that being certain is less important than having wisdom and grace.

Perhaps you are wondering if you are quite so sure of your choices, thoughts, relationships, communication or how to process your feelings. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to admit you could use some help. It’s ok to model to your friends and family that strong people ask for help. Give us a call- we can be Somebody that helps.

Alongside you.

Angela Olson LMHC Cedar Valley Counseling





I went on a little road trip last weekend. On the way home, I made a wrong turn and managed to get somewhat lost. I am not the worlds best navigator but I soon realized I was not heading in the direction of HOME and being several hours south of HOME I chose to get help from my GPS. Everyone makes a ‘wrong turn’ sometimes. Maybe we never had a look at the map other people seem to have understood from their youth.  I had plenty of gas. The sun was shining. I didn’t have a hard timeline for arriving home. The roads were clear, yet, I was never going to get to my destination of “Home” without help!

Counseling can be like a GPS-we will not tell you how fast to go. We won’t stop you from taking the scenic route. Counselors don’t decide where you  take your rest stops. However, you want to get to a destination like processing grief, building healthy relationships, Increasing motivation, improving self esteem, learning to set and achieve personal goals etc. Together with a trusted counselor you can process your sense of not knowing and actually set a direction! Give us a call. I set my whole business up as a safe place to ask for help. Angela Olson, LMHC

Medical Insurance

When life gets hard it certainly isn’t made easier when it is difficult to find clinicians that accept medical insurance. It used to be that only people with Medicaid plans had trouble finding therapists that would accept their insurance. Currently, even clients with commercial insurance find it hard to use their insurance! Some groups and private clinicians offer “Super Bills” to their clients- passing on the submitting of claims to the client and avoiding the insurance processes of contracting, credentialing, and billing clean claims to the insurer.

I am a stubborn person. I don’t want to shift the hard work of insurance issues to Cedar Valley clients! I also don’t want to charge the clients MORE money than what the insurance companies allow. I would certainly like to be reimbursed at a higher rate as I feel that the counseling work that is done by Cedar Valley clinicians is valuable and there are quite a bit of costs involved to keep our doors open. However, I don’t feel that my business should make more money while  clients scrape their money together to pay cash or go into debt by using credit WHILE TAKING TIME from their lives to haggle with their insurance company!!!

I have worked hard to accept the vast majority of insurance offered in Snohomish County. Cedar Valley Counseling contracts with insurance companies and credentials the clinicians. We bill the claim. We wait for the money to come in. We chase the reimbursement when it fails to come in. WHY? So you, the client, can come, pay your portion (co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible) and focus on you and your work in counseling!! Coming to see a counselor usually means something has happened that you need help with- life isn’t easy. I hate to burden you with even more work regarding your insurance. Please, schedule with Cedar Valley Counseling and make a faithful effort to keep your appointments. Together we can do something great! Thanks- Angela Olson LMHC, owner: Cedar Valley Counseling

Epidemic of Loneliness

I was watching PBS News Hour last week and listened to our Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, announce that we are experiencing an Epidemic of Loneliness! I am not surprised. According to Dr. Murthy, 1 in 2 adults report measurable levels of loneliness. Loneliness has real consequences for we human beings!

When lonely, we more likely are also experiencing increased levels of Depression and/or Anxiety. We are increasing our risk of feeling like life doesn’t matter and that no one would miss us- suicidal ideation is on the rise. It is harder to be a parent, friend, family member, co-worker, if we feel lonely. It is hard to have the energy to reach our when we feel alone.

Studies (according to Dr. Murthy) show that the risk of dementia, heart disease and stroke are increased among lonely people.

During the long (over 3 years) pandemic, even gregarious outgoing folks, such as myself, experienced higher degrees of alone time and loneliness. It was easy to reach for technology or sit in front of a screen for entertainment and solace. Screens do not replace human interaction and cannot feed our living souls like human interaction can.

Even if it is a bit scary to reach out- call a friend, go to the gym, take a walk, take a class. We at Cedar Valley Counseling realize that much of counseling needed to be remote (via Zoom, Secure Video etc) during the raging pandemic. Now, we are seeing more clients return to the office in real present time. There is nothing better than sitting with a human being and sharing a moment, or two or three in real communion. People learn to regulate emotion easier in the presence of a calm person who cares!

I notice clients coming and going from the office space. Some hold the doors for another. Some stand and view the scenery as they enter our space. Others enjoy a piece of candy or cup of tea. Each interaction is a step toward health and healing in a safe and supportive place.  Give us a call- we are here for you.

Link to CNN’s article on the surgeon general’s loneliness epidemic declaration



Greetings! Due to Covid 19 many of us have have altered our plans for gathering with friends and family for the Thanksgiving Day traditional celebration. I have been thinking about Thankfulness and how we can’t squeeze all our blessings into one day, one meal, one hug. Perhaps we can take the opportunity, though reluctantly, to focus on what we are Thankful for in different ways that might linger on, even when we go back to in person crowded tables and shared meals.

If you have decided to place your traditions on hold this year I realize that it can be hard to figure out how to do so graciously and in a way that can still bring joy to your heart. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Make an acrostic poem for each of your loved ones naming a quality you love about them (each letter of their name begins a new word or sentence about their awesomeness!)
  2. Deliver a homemade safely prepared treat to the homes of those you love
  3. Send a photo montage of happy times together
  4. Zoom or Skype and share “Gratitude Lists”
  5. Instead of a dinner, an outdoor bundled up walk or hike anyone?
  6.  Take a rain check on 11/26— Thanksgiving can be had in style on a later date when we can all be safe
  7. Make a completely different kind of meal– not having the traditional food may make it easier. I am thinking of Phad Thai!!
  8. Collage (rip up magazine photos and glue them down on a poster board) all the feelings you have around this strange and unusual pandemic year. Put at least 2 images bearing hope for Thanksgiving 2021!
  9. Call Friends and Family and sing a song of blessing- if you don’t know one–make one up! This is a year to be remembered! If you don’t want to sing— try making up a Cheer or a Happy Dance! You can record yourself and send this to family and friends. Keep it Thanksgiving Grateful!
  10. Light a few candles, sit in a comfy chair, rest, imagine those you love including those who have passed on ahead and Thank each of them, in your heart, for what you have learned and gained from them. Include some kind thoughts for yourself and your own ability to rise up and learn new things- even how to get through a pandemic!

Thanks for each one of you who give me hope that we can overcome anything together! If you are losing hope- give us a call, talking through things is helpful even on telehealth!

Angela Olson for Cedar Valley


Hello- recently I have been thinking of clinical blunders. Believe it or not- therapists are not perfect! We sometimes misunderstand our clients. We might write the time of an appointment down wrong and miss a session (occasionally!) We might assume we know what you think and feel and forget to check with you about your own life!! All of these blunders and more can be more than mistakes, they can present an opportunity for you!

In a therapeutic relationship (you and your counselor) you have the opportunity to try on new behaviors when you are angry, disappointed, feel unheard or somehow missed. Most people, in their personal lives, when hurt or angry or disappointed tend to follow the same patterns of ‘stuffing’ the feelings, ‘denying the problem,’ ‘blowing up’ over the issue or even cut people completely out of their lives. In a counseling relationship you have the chance to appropriately call out the problem and ask for what you would like different from your counselor. The expectation is that your counselor- though human- is actually a good person who made a mistake- not an actually untrustworthy or harmful person who doesn’t care at all!! In being able to speak to your counselor about how you actually think and feel, even when you are hurt, disappointed, angry or feeling missed you get to practice and see what works for you!!

Considering all therapists at Cedar Valley Counseling work for or are contracted to work with me I can guarantee to you that each of the counselors is good hearted, growing and willing to meet with you to help you reach your goals. Give counseling a try- we can’t bring you soup, go out for coffee or visit you at home but the relationship is REAL- we care about you and want the best for you and your life. Angela Olson for Cedar Valley Counseling


2020 has been a difficult year for us all, and we’ve all experienced a degree of loss: the ability to live our lives as we knew them, job losses, a loss of freedom and entertainment, and whether or not we can safely see friends and family.

Day-to-day losses continue to prevail in our lives as well. I recently experienced one: I managed to leave my purse unattended and someone else took possession of a pretty important cluster of items—cell phone, wallet, cash, credit cards etc.

I noticed myself going through the classic stages of grief:

  • Shock/Denial: I can’t believe my eyes!!! Maybe I didn’t bring my purse with me at all today? Perhaps it is at home in its usual place? I kept looking in every possible spot expecting to find my purse- it was gone.
  • Anger: How dare people take what isn’t theirs! How could I be so irresponsible!!! I managed to be angry at the unknown thief and at myself at the same time!! Quite a feat!
  • Sadness: I was so busy today- now I am even busier. A feeling of shame too— that I hadn’t paused to think long enough to protect what is mine.
  • Acceptance: Wracking my brain to recall the items in the purse as well as every bank account/credit card possibly affected and staying coherent to make the calls.

Today, I am thinking of loss. Many people have lost homes and possessions to the rampant fires. The greater loss is that of those we love- people we have to say goodbye to on this earth. I am reminding myself that a purse and financial security and a disrupted few days is not the worst event that could happen.

I am sure you can recall loss. Loss comes in many forms: loss through death, loss of relationship,  health, job, security, dream. Perhaps you, like me, try to find all the things that could be done so that this ‘loss won’t happen again’ or at least we could be ‘better prepared to face it when it inevitably comes.’ As human beings, no matter how hard we try we will never be error free, able to see the future perfectly and plan accordingly or leap buildings at a single bound.

I have found in the counseling world- being a counselor myself, that counselors experience loss too. Counselors are unable to guarantee a bright and rosy future for themselves let alone for their clients. However, with life experience, education and a willingness to listen and come alongside others, Counselors are able to mitigate some of the pain of Loss. If you would like to experience someone making a good faith effort to hear you, understand your pain and come alongside as you hunt for what is missing in your life- give us a try. Angela Olson- for Cedar Valley Counseling


Getting Tired

Hello- welcome to the Cedar Valley Counseling blog! If you, like me, are getting tired of living in a pandemic it can feel hard to focus on basic tasks, keep our patience with loved ones and manage any semblance of healthy eating! I look for the ‘good news’ of each day but it seems ‘good news’ is scarce ‘bad news’ abundant. Today I suggest, eat a healthy meal, take a walk in the lovely outdoors, let someone know you care about them, give yourself a pat on the back for hanging in there. Tell yourself you are ok and that you are doing the best you can! If you need to talk to someone— for depression, anxiety, relationship issues or just that feeling of carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders give us a call. A listening ear and a supportive space, at least via telehealth, awaits!