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, balance, moderation, 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 with interested and concerned others.
A Few Things We Learned
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 them worse. Such problems may also be contributing factors to the development and worsening of existing behavioral health problems, often in cyclical patterns of increasing problems.
Unresolved behavioral health problems frequently result in very serious and sad outcomes, sometimes quickly, oftentimes slowly. Those who struggle with mental illness, addiction and relationship problems suffer and we need to be compassionate. 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 factors we call root contributing factors. To some degree, we are all affected by a number of these factors, including things such as genetic problems, unhealthy environments, social problems, diseases, accidents, natural disasters, and our own unhealthy and harmful choices and behavior (whether knowingly or not), including neglect, abuse, excesses, extremes and more.
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. In itself, symptom relief is not unhealthy, depending on the person, problem, circumstances and other issues. Like we said, these problems are complicated.
Because contributing factors are often multiple, effective solutions to behavioral health problems often require multiple remedies, some more helpful than others. What remedies work for individuals will vary some, and may include things such as education, assessments, medical treatments, therapies, individual, couple, family and/or group counseling, coaching, mentors, support groups, financial help, spiritual help, healthier and wiser choices and lifestyle changes.
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, not always seeing our problems accurately. We all tend to deny certain 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 and we may 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. Sadly, some of us deny and resist to the point of developing serious life-diminishing problems, even to the point of an early death. But unhealthy defending and diverting patterns can also originate from outside ourselves, from other individuals, family members, peer groups, cultures and more.
All of us experience some degree of frustration, disappointment, trouble, trauma and harm. Life in a dysfunctional world can be hard and we often learn unhealthy ways of coping. Fortunately, we also experience some level of grace, blessing and opportunity to make changes in our lives, particularity as we age, gain experience and realize we have options and freedoms to change our thinking, beliefs, choices and behavior.
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, knowledgeable professionals, healthy support groups, God and so on. Many 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 share love in order to live well and recover well. In other words, we need to develop love-focused 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, hopeful, patient, forgiving, humble, kind, thoughtful, faithful and sacrificial. 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, neglectful, disrespectful, disorderly, forceful, abusive and violent behavior. Love is not arrogant, selfish, self-centered, self-righteous, judgemental, condemning, rude, deceitful, boastful or easily angered.
We believe 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 not receive much attention in various media, yet it endures in everyday life and is always achieving something good. Even the smallest gesture, word or deed matters. When we love, we do good things.
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. We could not function without beliefs. Beliefs make it possible for us to take risks and venture into a world we know little about.
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. Why? Because 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, developing false beliefs and spreading them around.
Core beliefs are often held deep in our minds and hearts and if we don't access them and question them, they may become quite problematic. For example, if we think too highly of our abilities, serious difficulties are likely to develop. 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 many the ways we form more accurate 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 certainly no friends to healthy living, relating well and recovering from problems.
Although avoiding an uncomfortable reality may seem to help in the short-term, it often leads 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 false beliefs on our behavior as a form of post hoc rationalization of that behavior, even if it's clearly unhealthy and harmful. Our strong feelings, wants and wills can also influence the development of our beliefs and behavior, for better or worse. Extreme fear, anger, hurt, sadness, shame and other feelings can trick us into believing things are true when they are not. Our wants (desires) and wills (choices) can do the same.
In short, we often believe what we want to believe, so we can do what we want to do. We choose our beliefs to satisfy our desires. But given our natural proclivities towards wanting to do what feels good and to avoid suffering, it's easy to see how unwise it is to choose our beliefs solely on our wants or wills. Feeling good and avoiding pain are not harmful in itself, but it's how we go about seeking pleasure and avoiding suffering that can cause serious problems and inhibit our recovery.
We can also form our false beliefs based on what we read or hear somewhere, or because influential individuals or groups in our lives believe in certain things, especially if we give little thought to what they are actually saying. It's important to know that groups can affect the beliefs and behavior of individuals in the group, whether for helping or harming. In the same way, individuals can also affect the beliefs and behavior of the group. This often occurs in a cyclical patterns.
Simply because a majority of people in a family, community, religion, 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 thingswrong. This is particularity true when the group believes they got things figured out and they no longer open to considering the evidence, experience, thinking and beliefs of others.
Groups also get things wrong when their leaders, followers and members ignore actual truth-speaking coming from an individual, group of individuals or resources inside or outside their group. Truth-speaking is seldom popular in groups where problems are being denied, minimized or even sanctioned as something good.
Some people believe that truth is an illusion and does not exist, or that truth is unattainable, or that truth is whatever individuals want it to be. We disagree with these beliefs. We understand that truth is not easily discerned. However, truth does not cease to exist simply because some call it an illusion, do not know it, refuse to believe it, or believe it does not apply to them. We believe truth exists and is something to value highly and work hard to understand more wholly.
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 blind and 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-definedlove and truth are powerfully transformative, if we work to live them out in our daily lives. They are essential to 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 with a behavioral health problem? Maybe it is not a full-blown problem, but some kind of persistent stress, unhealthy habit, harmful behavior, relationship issue, aging issue, imbalance, extreme belief, unhealthy group affiliation or other concern 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 concerns, 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.