Caring. Learning. Sharing.
What We Offer and Why
Ephraim Resources of Appleton, Wisconsin offers free online behavioral health education resources and on-location presentations to help people better understand, prevent and deal with mental health problems, addictions and relationship problems so they might live more healthy, free and loved-focused lives. We offer our presentations to schools, workplaces, places of worship, community organizations and other groups.
Founded in 1995 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, we provided both counseling and community behavioral health education services without fees. After 19 years, we discontinued our counseling services and began focusing entirely on behavioral health education.
As we looked deeper into the research, we found that U.S. prevalence rates for many mental health, addiction and relationship problems have been slowly increasing for decades, as have rates for suicide and other concerns associated with these problems. Yet over the past decade, the rates for a good number of these problems and their associated concerns have been growing in unprecedented ways, especially in children, youth and young adults. Similar things are happening worldwide.
Fortunately, knowledge and understanding of these problems is also growing. There is cause for hope. Still, far too many individuals, families, schools, and other groups are left struggling to deal with the problems on a day-to-day basis, at all levels of society--micro to macro. More practical solutions are needed. We at Ephraim Resources hope to be a part of the solution process.
As a group, we approach mental health, addiction and relationship problems from multiple backgrounds and perspectives.
- As people who studied, worked and volunteered in the health, psychology, counseling, education, business, nonprofit and related fields and professions
- As people who personally dealt with one or more of these problems, and are now recovering
- As people who have loved ones who struggle with behavioral health problems
- As people who approach problems from an integrative whole person--whole lifestyle perspective
- As people who value things such as reliable science, life experience, reasoning, history, literature, the arts, theology and virtues such as love, truth, humility, compassion, kindness, honesty, wisdom and other diverse sources and ways of caring, learning and sharing
Valuing these things does not mean we know them completely or live them out fully, far from it. We know things in part and live them out in part. Still, we have learned some important and helpful things, and share what we can and continue to learn as we go.
What We are Learning
Mental health, addiction and relationship problems often develop as a triad of problems, what we call behavioral health problems. If we have one of the problems, we are at risk for developing one or both of the other problems, or making existing problems worse. We are also at risk developing other health problems and lifestyle problems, or making existing problems worse. All such problems may also be contributing factors to the development and worsening of behavioral health problems, often in cyclical patterns of increasing problems.
Unresolved behavioral health problems frequently result in very serious and sad outcomes, sometimes quickly and oftentimes slowly. Those who struggle with mental illness, addiction and relationship problems suffer and we need to be sensitive to how they affected everyone involved. Yet in order to be most helpful, we also need to be straight-forward about some of what we currently know and believe about these problems, including how they might develop, their consequences and what is needed to deal with them in more effective, complete and lasting ways.
Behavioral health problems are complicated life difficulties that usually develop from multiple contributing factors, some more significant than others. The more significant ones we call root contributing factors. To some degree, we are all affected by root factors, including the harm resulting from genetic problems, unhealthy environments, diseases, accidents, natural disasters, neglect, abuse, genocide, war, and from our own unhealthy and harmful choices and behavior.
We know that identifying the root contributing factors to problem development is critically important to both prevention and recovery. Such root factors can easily be ignored in favor of surface factors and popular quick-fix symptom relief that might hinder identification of root factors and a more complete and lasting recovery. Symptom relief is not unhealthy in itself, depending on the person, problem, circumstances and other issues. Like we said, these problems are complicated.
Solutions to behavioral health problems often require multiple remedies, some more helpful than others. What remedies work for individuals can vary some from person to person, and may include things such as formal and informal assessments, medical treatments, therapies, individual and family counseling, support groups, values clarification, spiritual help, healthier choices and lifestyle changes.
Some of what we share and suggest might be helpful right away. Seeing problems and their solutions from new and multiple perspectives can be highly productive. However, problem prevention and long-term recovery from behavioral health problems often involve making changes in ourselves and in how we respond to life's inevitable challenges. But before we can get to that, we first need to admit that we have problems, and be willing to change.
We believe that all of us are naturally prone to blind spots, including not accurately seeing our problems and our resistance to change. We all tend to deny problems and we are all stubborn to some degree, whether aggressively, passively or both. We may feel afraid and ashamed about having problems and hide them from ourselves and others. We might also resist change by defending and diverting ourselves in unhealthy ways, often times without realizing it.
For example, we might get angry when others suggest we have a problem, minimize our problems or blame something or someone else for problems resulting from our own choices and behavor. In this sense, we are often our own worst enemies. But unhealthy defending and diverting patterns can also come from outside ourselves, from other individuals, family members, peer groups, cultures and more.
Sadly, some of us deny and resist to the point of an early death, not understanding or ignoring repeated calls to change, things such as physical and emotional pain, medical problems, school problems, job-related problems, financial difficulties, loss of relationships, wanting to die and/or thoughts of suicide. It does not have be to this way. We all struggle with something or someone and some point in our lives, and it's wise to admit our problems and ask for help.
One of the common themes that emerge from people's recovery stories is the important role help played in their recovery. They often share about help received from caring family members, honest friends, competent professionals, healthy support groups, God and so on. Many recovering people also share about the importance of actively helping others--for their own good, and the good of future generations.
Receiving help and helping others are keys to both preventing more serious problems and continuing to make progress in a long-term recovery. To boil this down further, receiving and giving help is one key facet of love. We all need to receive love and give love in order to live well and recover well. We need to be in loving relationships. We also need to define what love is, and what love is not.
Among other things, we believe that love is multi-faceted and often paradoxical. Love is gentle, graceful, patient, forgiving, humble, kind, thoughtful and hopeful. Yet love is also courageous, firm and tough at times. Love teaches, corrects, shares hard to hear truths and resists evil. Love does not enable or take pleasure in unhealthy, disrespectful, disorderly, forceful, neglectful and abusive behavior. Love is not arrogant, selfish, self-centered, self-righteous, condemning, rude, deceitful, boastful and easily angered.
Love is unseen, yet love exists. We cannot touch love, yet it touches our hearts and lives. Love is freely given, yet it can cost us much. Love offers freedom, yet has limits and boundaries. Love may appear to be in short supply and failing, yet it endures in everyday life and is always achieving something good. Even the smallest kind act or encouraging word matters.
We all have beliefs about what love is and love is not, and beliefs about all kinds of other things--ourselves, others, the families we live in, the groups we belong to, why people have problems, how people solve problems, all that exists, or might exist. Beliefs permeate our lives.
Our beliefs may be true or false, or partly true or partly false, and we all have of mix of both accurate and inaccurate beliefs. No one is immune from believing lies and developing false beliefs.
As humans, we base much of behavior on our beliefs, although we can also base our beliefs on our behavior, emotions, wants and other things. More on this in a bit. However we form our beliefs, it is critically important to pay close attention to what we are believing and why we are believing it. Core beliefs are often held deep in our hearts and if we don't access them and question them they can become problematic. It's also important to consider what other people believe about similar things, even if they might have different beliefs than ours. It's one of the ways we form more true beliefs.
Science, history, life experience and more generally tell us that people do better in life when they believe more of what is true and less of what is false. Delusions, biases, believing lies, lying, denying reality and other falsehoods and deceptive behavior are no friends to healthy living, relating well and recovering from problems.
Although avoiding uncomfortable realities may seem to help the short-term, it often lead to serious problems in the long-term. Delusions and other false beliefs are often primary root contributing factors in the development of all kinds of human problems that harm ourselves and others.
We sometimes base our beliefs on our behavior as a form of post hoc rationalization of that behavior, even if it's clearly unhealthy and harmful. Our strong wants, desires and wills can also influence the development of our beliefs. In essence, we can easily believe what we want to believe, so we can do what we want to do. Given our natural proclivity towards wanting to do unhealthy things, it's easy to see how unwise it is to form our beliefs solely on our wants, desires and wills.
We can also believe something to be true or false simply because we have read or heard it somewhere, or because influential people or groups in our lives believe or behave in a certain way. It's important to know that individuals affect the beliefs and behavior of groups, and groups affect the beliefs and behavior of individuals, whether for helping or harming. This also often occurs in a cyclical manner.
Simply because a majority of people in a family, group, community, religious group, political party, nation or world believe something is true or not true, does not make it so. Groups of all sizes are well known for getting things wrong, especially when they do not seriously consider a broad range of evidence, experience and reason for their beliefs, and the unintended and unwanted consequences that can result from false beliefs.
Groups also get things wrong when their leaders, followers and members ignore truth-speaking coming from an individual or groups of individuals inside or outside their groups. Truth is seldom popular or celebrated where problems are being denied, minimized or simply not admitted for one or more reasons.
Some people believe that truth is an illusion and does not exist, or that truth is whatever individuals want it to be. We understand that truth is not easily discerned, but we disagree with both of these beliefs. Truth does not cease to exist because we don't know it, we deny it, or refuse to believe it. It remains a constant, and something to value highly and work to understand more.
When individuals and groups believe more of what is true, they increase their opportunities to live healthier lives and obtain more complete and lasting recoveries from their problems. In general, truth has a way of freeing us from the things that captivate us and a way of reducing the harm we bring to ourselves and others, if we keep our focus on seeking truth and applying truth in a loving way.
When integrated well, love and truth are powerfully transformative, especially when we value them highly and work to live them out in our daily lives. They are essential in preventing problems, improving our mental health, increasing our freedom from addictions and developing more love-focused relationships.
How About You?
Are you or someone you know struggling? Maybe the struggle you or they have is not with a full-blown behavioral health problem, but some kind of persistent stress, unhealthy habit, sin, relationship issue, aging issue, imbalance, extreme belief, unhealthy group affiliation or other concerns that could develop into more serious life-diminishing problems. Or maybe you or they have a mild version of a behavioral health problem that could be affecting you and others in ways you do not understand.
Are you wondering if this site and the education resources and services we suggest and offer might be helpful to you or someone you know? Please check out these questions. If you answer yes to any number of them, we think you will find something helpful.
- Are you or someone you know struggling with one or more the of the following: fears, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, depression, hopelessness, irritability, anger, pride, shame, thinking problems, mood swings, unintended weight gain or loss, lack of self-care, abuse, conflicts with others, isolation from others, parenting, obsessions, compulsions, or lack of self-control with alcohol, drugs, food, money, sex, tech use, gambling, shopping, working and/or other things or behavior?
- Are you in recovery, but not doing as well as you hoped?
- Are you interested in learning more about an approach to behavioral health problems that includes more of your whole person and whole lifestyle?
- Do you need to select a presenter for your group or organization?
- Are you an instructor or professional in a field of study or work that deals with these problems and would be interested in hearing from and conversing with people living out long-term recoveries?
If you do struggle with some of the concerns listed above, it's vitally important to take an good look at yourself, but also to get some helpful feedback from two to three reliable and honest people in your life--people you trust, live with, work with or go to school with. Ask them if they have any concerns about you, your thinking, beliefs, behavior and/or lifestyle. Ask them to be specific about their concerns and then really listen. We all need the reflections of trustworthy others so that we might see ourselves more clearly.
In addition, there are a many helpful and free education resources available online and in local libraries and other places. Many of these resources have lists of signs and symptoms of problems or self-assessments that may be helpful in getting a clearer picture of yourself. Be mindful though that the reliability of resources vary. Please consider our list of online suggested resources.
To help in the ongoing process of understanding, preventing and dealing with behavioral health problems, we are developing an integrative behavioral health education approach and tool designed to help us all understand more about who we are as persons and how we can be more healthy and live more healthy lives.
We call it The Whole Person - Whole Lifestyle Tool and will often share an overview of it in our presentations. It contains lists of our whole person and lifestyle parts and brief descriptions of them. The lists help us assess our strengths and weakness and give us some direction in using our strengths to improve our weaknesses.
Listed below are some of the problems and topics we address in our talks, workshops and other presentations. We tailor our programs to meet the specific needs of our audiences.
Mental Health Problems
- Eating Disorders and Related Problems
- Anxiety Problems and Disorders
- Depression and Mood Problems and Disorders
- Trauma and Stress Related Problems and Disorders
- Personality Problems and Disorders
- Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic and Delusional Disorders
- Alcohol, Drug, Food and Other Substance Addictions
- Processing and Behavior Addictions
- Money Related Addictions
- Relationship Related Addictions
- Dysfunctional Family Relationships
- Behavioral Management Concerns In Parent - Child Relationships
- Manipulative, Oppressive and Abusive Relationships
- Estranged Relationships
Solution and Prevention Topics
- Reasons Why We Often Fall Short in Our Healthy Intentions, Resolutions and/or Recovery Goals
- A Whole Person--Whole Lifestyle Approach to More Complete and Lasting Changes
- Building Your Team of Helpful Education Resourcers, Treatment Providers and/or Support People
- Hopeful Stories - Helpful Information: Recovering People Share What's Working for Them
- Managing Healthy and Unhealthy Thinking, Beliefs, Emotions, Wants, Choices and Behavior
- Understanding and Managing Healthy and Unhealthy Defenses and Diversions
- Staying Healthy When Helping the Hurting
- When Loved Ones Struggle: Helping Without Unhealthy Enabling
- Finding Freedom from Manipulation, Oppression and/or Abuse
- Keys to More Loving, Peaceful, Healthy and Lasting Relationships
- Reconciling Relationships with Love, Humility, Wisdom, Patience, Amends and Forgiveness
- Understanding and Managing Obstacles to Living a Healthy Lifestyle
- Managing Emotions in a Stressed-Out-Age
- Avoiding Extremes and Increasing Balance in Everyday Life
- Whole Love: Integrating Compassionate Care and Wise Behavior Management in Parenting and Beyond
As a group, our presenters share what they learned from years of professional and/or personal experience in dealing with mental health, addiction and relationship problems. People find their helpful information and hopeful stories informative, encouraging and applicable to their lives.
Fees and Funding
We have no fees or charges for our resources and services. We are funded by voluntary contributions from the people and groups we serve, and by gifts from other generous donors. Payment of some expenses may be required depending on costs.