All Posts by Jonathan Held

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called to thrive - wellness wheel
Aug 28

Wellness Wheel: Family and Friends

By Jonathan Held | Blog , Coaching , Counseling

called to thrive - wellness wheel

Today I wanted to talk about our first category of the wellness wheel (family and friends) and how strengthening relationships in this area of life can contribute to overall wellness. I talked quite a bit in the introductory blog about family, so my goal in today’s writing is to keep it short, and to offer some practical ways to thrive in this category.

Let me begin by discussing balance. I think we all struggle to find balance to a certain degree (especially with our busy lifestyles) however, it is important to find balance in life amongst family, friends, and work. When I was younger, I often struggled to balance family and friends. I’ve said before that I’m far from a perfect person, and certainly I have made many mistakes in this area. 

 When I was first married, my focus was probably more on going out and partying with friends than on strengthening my marriage. Over time, I learned that if my marriage was going to last, I was going to have to shift my priorities. Through the grace of God, and much humility, I was able to turn towards my wife (and young children) and away from the excuses that “allowed” me to turn away. I’m sure most guys have used them: “I need some me time,” “I just worked all day and need to relax,” etc. If we’re not careful, we can fool ourselves into turning away from our spouses and towards things of this world that do not last. 

 Unfortunately, the next phases of life can give birth to a marital enemy that is much more insidious – WORK. Jesus said “you cannot serve both God and money,” yet this is precisely where I found myself. The truth is, the pattern was the same as the one discussed above – I was looking for excuses to not focus on the hard work of pouring into my family because it was easier to be gone all the time. So, using the excuse of needing to pay the bills, I took a job that valued time and commitment to the organization, over what I believe would be God’s will: time and commitment to marriage and family. 

 This is how I found myself at Grace Wellness Center: an organization that believes that family is vital to overall wellness in life!  In the last few months I have strengthened my family relationships and have been able to get to know my children again. So if you’re thinking lucky you, I can’t just up and change jobs, my challenge is this: find small ways to turn towards your spouse and your family. 

 Perhaps finding new employment is the only way to save your marriage or family, but that would be something to prayerfully consider. Instead, my belief is that if you put these steps into action in your life, you will hopefully find healing in your dearest relationships:

 Step 1: find one on one “date” time with your spouse at least once a week.

Step 2: do one activity as a whole family at least once a week.

Step 3: find time to get together with friends (as a couple or family) at least once a month

 I know many people probably feel that they would not have time or space to do the steps listed above, and so part of this challenge is to make it your own.  Sit and talk with your spouse and modify the steps to what works for your family and then stick to them! My wife and I are rarely able to go out on dates, but sometimes will get together after the kids go to bed – and stay up just talking to each other. As a family, we might have family game night once a week – or go out for ice cream in the summer. As far as time with friends, we generally get together with others that have kids, as opposed to finding a sitter. 

 The important thing is that you are carving out time and being intentional about spending that time together. If you can take small steps in these directions, I know your family can thrive! 

   Jonathan Held, LCSW


As always if you are interested in meeting with me or another counselor, either face to face or online you can email me at or call our intake at 724.863.7223

called to thrive - struggles
May 31

Integrated Wellness: My Personal Struggles, Successes, and the Relation to Family Therapy

By Jonathan Held | Blog , Coaching , Counseling , Life , Wellness

Hi, my name is Jonathan Held, LCSW. Today I wanted to talk about my personal struggles, and successes with wellness and how family and/or couples therapy can fit into overall wellness.

First allow me to share with you some of the ways I have learned to bring wellness into my own life. I should start by saying that if you’re thinking why would I listen to this guy he thinks he has it all together, I can assure you that is not the case. Like most people, I struggle to maintain balance in my life. As a teenager I was probably about 100 pounds overweight. One of my greatest accomplishments was losing this weight; however, through most of my life I was rarely able to motivate myself to exercise. About one year ago (at 32 years of age) I discovered Beachbody and set a goal for myself that I would exercise six days a week for a year. I am happy to say that I achieved this goal and still continue to have daily exercise in my life. (I also – through Beachbody – have been turned onto Shakeology, which is what I am about to enjoy in this picture!). Like most accomplishments that stick, I did not try to do anything extreme, but instead attempted to bring balance by exercising 20 to 30 minutes a day and often modifying so as to not injure myself. You’re probably thinking wait a minute, I thought you were going to talk about family therapy – the tie in is this: setting small goals each day can sometimes produce the greatest results!

Other areas of life in which it is important to set (and maintain) small goals include family life, parenting, and romantic relationships/marriage. Generally speaking, I attempt to maintain a positive outlook on life and work towards maintaining positive relationships with all of those in my circle of influence – especially my immediate family. One of the best ways that I have found to do this is by making sure that each of my children – and my spouse – has a small amount of individualized attention each day, I will also attempt to have significant family time daily and weekly. Sometimes this can just be as simple as sitting down at the dinner table together, or going for a family walk/bike ride. The important goal is to maintain connection through family rituals.

In my practice, I often focus on relationships and the building of effective communication. I find that this can be a great step to maintaining overall wellness (I’m sure most of us can attest to the fact that we just don’t feel well – or make healthy choices – when we are not getting along well with our loved ones). The areas I am most passionate about  in practice are marriage and family. It surprises me how often couples and families state that they do not spend quality time together. I believe that part of the barrier to this is that we get stuck in negative patterns and ultimately avoid communication – which I believe is one of the magic pills to getting un-stuck in families (perhaps I should have said effective communication).

EFFECTIVE communication is where family therapy comes in. Through family work, I help others to communicate more effectively with each other, and help families to restructure in a way that children can thrive through an appropriate balance of structure and bonding/nurturing. One of the keys to this is helping parents discuss areas where they can more effectively align/work together to parent and to help talk with their children about emotional needs.

Of course family therapy is not the only focus – even in individual therapy, relationships (and wellness!) often become a part of the focus. Through assessment we will work together to determine areas of emotional stuckness in past/current relationships, work through ways to heal these hurts, and plan for ways to build and continue to maintain healthy relationships in the future.

One of the most important parts of therapy is YOU. Through counseling we will work together to help you come up with goals that make sense for your life (or your family) and establish a pace that works for you with an appropriate balance of pacing and challenging/meeting achievable goals. If you are ready to begin a journey towards healing and integrated wellness please call us at 724.863.7223 or you can email me directly at