eNewsletter - December 2016

Behavioral Health Partners



Self Soothe Kits in Your Behavioral Health Treatment

Self soothe kits are becoming an increasingly popular tool for behavioral health patients to use in recovery. When counseling, family, friends, or other support systems are not available, many patients are turning to a self-soothe kit to address panic attacks, sudden shocks, or other immediate mental issues.

A self-soothe kit is a personalized toolkit individuals can utilize to help manage their anxiety especially when they are in distress, said Jennifer Trivelli, Linden Oaks Behavioral Health Associate. The kits are also often used when utilizing a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) approach to treatment.  

DBT is a form of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan treat borderline personality disorder. DBT has since been used to treat individuals with a variety of other mental health conditions including depression and/or anxiety.  

DBT focuses on teaching individuals life skills including distress tolerance.  One of the techniques for managing distress tolerance is self-soothing to help patients who experience severe mood swings get back to a neutral level.  

Self-soothe kits were developed to give patients a tangible tool to use when experiencing emotional dysregulation. Kits should contain items that encourage use of the senses, Trivelli said. 

Typical items in self-soothe kits include lotions/scents, pictures, stress balls, tie blankets, bubbles, music, clay, sand, stuffed animals, candy, gum, coloring pages, puzzles, stones, songs, recordings, or other items. The containers themselves can also be pleasing to the senses, and can include images, stickers, or textures that can bring good feelings to the patient.

Patients should also put items in the kit that helps him/her personally manage difficult thoughts or feelings and decrease anxiety. They can also be items that remind the patient of past positive moments or experiences, Trivelli added.

The items inside a self-soothe kit are best determined while in treatment with the aid of a mental health professional in order to achieve the maximum benefit. In addition, healthcare professionals should work with the individual patient to identify common stressors and stressful situations that would determine necessitate the need of a self-soothe kit.

This helps patients determine when a self-soothe kit is truly necessary while impeding a patient from overusing the tool. 

Trivelli uses the kits with most of the patients in the adolescent unit at Linden Oaks. All patients in the unit are encouraged to make their own self-soothe kits to bring home and use as a coping method in times of distress. The adolescents are also encouraged to bring the kits to school or other places.

“At the hospital we take the idea a step further by offering a sensory room that is a quiet place a person can go and try multiple sensory tools to teach them to use this skill to manage intense anxiety,” Trivelli said.  

While self-sooth kits do not cure a mental health disorder, they can become an important tool to help patients cope with sudden moments of high distress. This can make times of high stress and emotion easier for the patient, caregivers, friends, and/or family.





2017 Linden Oaks Seminar/Webinar Educational Calendar
Events for Behavioral Health Professionals

Linden Oaks is proud to announce the Seminar and Webinar dates and topics on our 2017 Professional Educational CEU Calendar.  

Our 2017 schedule contains a variety of new and timely behavioral health topics and speakers designed to provide quality educational experiences to community behavioral health professionals.

Our professional Seminars and Webinars are open to community providers, referral sources and other mental/behavioral health professionals.  This is a great opportunity to network with colleagues, stay up to date on current best practices in behavioral health and learn new and innovate ways to help your patients. 

All of these presentations offer continuing education units for professionals. Units are available for IAODAPCA (CADC), LCPC/LPC, LCSW/LSW, LMFT, and Psychologist licensure.   

Our live seminar series takes place at the Linden Oaks Naperville Outpatient Center (1335 N. Mill St., Education Center, Naperville).  Exact presentation dates and times are listed below. Half-day seminars are $30 and full day seminars are $60.    There is discounted admission for students and Edward/Elmhurst employees.  

Our free online webinar series takes place every other month on the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm.       

Registration is required for all educational opportunities.  


  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
  • Continuing education units: 1.0
  • Cost: Free

 Wednesday, January 18
Behavioral Health Integration: The Future of Behavioral Health
Marc Browning, RN, Psy.D.


Wednesday, March 15
How to Respond to Self-Injury Behaviors: Signs, Symptoms, and Finding Appropriate Treatment
Stephanie Bonier, LCPC, CADC


Wednesday, May 17
Motivational Interviewing
Ross Sweeney, LCSW


Wednesday, July 19
The Impact of Dementia on the Extended Family
Charles Ritli Jr, LCSW


Wednesday, September 20
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Lauren Friedrich, Psy.D.


Wednesday, November 15
The Power of Resiliency
Todd Fink, Behavioral Health Associate



  • Linden Oaks Outpatient Center, 1335 N. Mill Street, Naperville
  • Cost: $30 half-day/$60 full-day*

Friday, January 13
When Words Are Not Enough: Expressive Therapy in Behavioral Health
9:00 am - 3:15 pm
Continuing education units: 5.0
Speakers: Wei Chiung Chen-Martinez, R-DMT, GL-CMA, LPC, Mike Fredrickson, COTA, Robinlee Garber, MA, ATR-BC, LCPC, Michelle Kraner, CTRS, Ashlea Palafox, MA, R-DMT, GLCMA, and Jacquie Stone, MAT


Friday, February 17
Treating Special Populations of Eating Disorder Patients
9:00 am - 3:15 pm
Continuing education units: 5.0


Friday, March 10
Preserving Ethical and Cultural Competence in Behavioral Health
9:00 am - 4:15 pm
Continuing education units: 6.0 (An LSW/LCSW 3.0 Ethics and 3.0 Cultural Competency Workshop)
Brenda J. Barnwell, DSW, LCSW, CADC and Tatyana Fertelmeyster, M.A


Friday, April 14
Advances and Alternatives in the Treatment of Depression
9:00 am - 12:15 pm
Continuing education units: 3.0
Philip Janicak, MD


Friday, May 12
Coping with Grief and Loss: Treating the Mind, Body, and Spirit
9:00 am - 12:15 pm
Continuing education units: 3.0
Kelly Ryan, Psy.D.


Friday, June 9
Learning Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Group Treatment
9:00 am - 12:15 pm
Continuing education units: 3.0
M. Joann Wright PhD


 Friday, July 14
Updates in Psychopharmacology
9:00 am - 12:15 pm
Continuing education units: 3.0
Walter Whang, M.D.


Friday, August 11
Workplace Violence: Why it’s Happening and How it Impacts Mental Health Professionals
9:00 am - 12:15 pm
Continuing education units: 3.0


Friday, September 15
Addiction State of the Union: The Arguments and Policies Shaping Our Clinics and Communities
9:00 am - 12:15 pm
Continuing education units: 3.0
Aaron Weiner, PhD


Friday, October 13
Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with School Anxiety and Refusal
9:00 am - 12:15 pm
Continuing education units: 3.0
Laura Koehler, PsyD and Heather Treat, PsyD


Friday, November 10
Trauma Informed Care
9:00 am - 12:15 pm
Continuing education units: 3.0
Erin Terada, PsyD


Friday, December 8
Suicide Prevention
9:00 am - 12:15 pm
Continuing education units: 3.0
Kristina Koeppl, RN and Dylan Panuska, Psy.D. CADC






Physician Recognition Awards for Walter Whang, MD and Janice Kowalski, MD 

Linden Oaks is proud to announce Walter Whang, MD and Janice Kowalski, MD recently received physician recognition awards for their exemplary behavioral health treatment at Linden Oaks.  This recognition was voted on by their colleagues and presented on December 7, 2016.  

Walter Whang, MD received his award for his outstanding work in collaboration, mentoring, and educational achievement.  His colleagues expressed these sentiments while presenting his award:  

  • "[He is] a gifted teacher, who has taught  all levels of staff from therapists to nurses, to mid-levels, to physicians.”
  • “Dr. Whang serves as a leader of LOMG with excellent vision for the group and where it is headed.”
  • "Dr. Whang has received “Teacher of the Year” awards year after year while on faculty at the University of Chicago"

Janice Kowalski, MD received her award for the amazing innovation and creativity she has brought to her role.  Her colleagues expressed these sentiments while presenting her award:

  • “Dr. Kowalski is a calm and assured leader who has helped cultivate a fantastic, united adolescent unit.”
  • “Dr. Kowalski and her unit have produced some of the most innovative and useful patient and family education programs and materials; they are utilized at by other units in the hospital”

Linden Oaks would like to commend Dr. Whang and Dr. Kowalski for their inspirational work and thank them for their continued dedication to psychiatry.  


Walter Whang, MD, Gina Sharp, Linden Oaks President, and Janice Kowalski, MD


Janice Kowalsi, MD and Susan Ahmari, M.D.