Porter-Starke Services Foundation’s Living Health, Balance, Hope Symposium features Christine A. Padesky

Symposium educates community on practical tools to improve moods and boost happiness

The Porter Starke Services Foundation’s eighth annual Living Health, Balance, Hope Symposium featured keynote speaker Christine A. Padesky, Ph.D., author of “Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think.” During the keynote breakfast, Dr. Padesky discussed her book’s practical tools to improve moods and boost happiness.

Over 300 community members and clinicians joined together in Valparaiso University’s Harre Union for the program.  

The morning began with remarks from Porter-Starke Services Foundation Board Chair Nick Sommer, Vice President of Clinical Services Sandra Carlson, and Porter-Starke Services President/CEO Rocco Schiralli.

Schiralli said in his address, “All of us at Porter-Starke Services are proud to walk with our community members on the path to recovery and wellness, and I am very glad you have joined us on this path today, to learn more, develop practical tools to use, and celebrate every member of our community.” 

Dr. Padesky started her presentation by explaining the inspiration behind her book, co-written by Dennis Greenberger. Dr. Padesky, a renowned psychotherapist, wanted to take the skills she taught in therapy and write them in a book, so people who can’t afford therapy or don’t want to go could have the opportunity to improve their well-being.

Dr. Padesky provided tools to shift people’s ways of thinking to improve their moods. For example, she explained to the audience how you can change your thought patterns and handle negative situations more positively. She said one way to do this is by practicing acceptance.

“A natural human tendency is to feel bad for ourselves in our struggles,” said Dr. Padesky. “But we can practice acceptance then think ‘what’s a way we can get through this in a better way.’”

She also gave practical activities to complete regularly, such as writing in a gratitude journal once a week. Mood sheets were also provided, so that changes in mood could be tracked each week.

Throughout the presentation, Dr. Padesky provided personal experiences and stories, as well as a call to action. She said everyone in the audience had the ability to use her techniques to make a positive difference in not only their own lives, but also in the lives of others.

“I think all of us can do these experiments to change the communities we live in,” said Dr. Padesky.

Porter-Starke Services is a community health center serving over 14,000 people in Northwest Indiana through a range of services, including counseling and case management.