Blog, Announcements, & Newsletter


posted Aug 29, 2017, 1:58 AM by Holly J

SCC has moved to a bigger home! Please come visit us at:

3131 N. Country Club Rd. Suite #202
Phone: (520)344-0056
Fax: (520)414-4169

We are at the top of the stairs above Casa de los Ninos. 
More exciting announcements to come....Stay Tuned! 

Finding Your Calm - Opposite Action

posted Apr 30, 2017, 7:08 PM by Holly J   [ updated May 14, 2017, 11:10 PM ]

by Sue Dolence, LCSW

It was a cloudy Saturday. My right headlight needed to be changed, so off I went to the auto shop. I picked out the headlight, gave it to the mechanic and went to pay. I took out my debit card, swiped it, and to my dismay, saw a “REJECTED” message. “What…” I thought. “This must be a mistake.” I swiped it again, and again…”REJECTED”. I paid with another card, went to my car and immediately called the bank.  I knew what had happened, because it had happened to me two other times in the last six months. Someone had gotten ahold of my debit card number and had charged items. The bank, thankfully, had stopped the use of my card. But I WAS ANGRY, I mean REALLY ANGRY. All sorts of thoughts were flying through my head about how unfair it was, how my bank is not doing enough to stop this and how, this time, I would get even. I could feel my temperature rising. My jaw was tense, I felt hot and I had the urge to yell. I was on hold with my bank for what seemed like 15 minutes, waiting for the Fraud Department. I felt terrible. I knew I needed to calm down, but I was just so ANGRY! I decided to turn the radio on. The song that was playing was one I loved. It was upbeat, positive and one I liked to sing along to. I noticed, within a few seconds, that I started to feel less angry. I decided to sing and noticed that I felt even less angry. By the time the song was over…I was calm. “Wow,” I thought, “This really works!”

"This" is a therapeutic technique called Opposite Action, used to help regulate emotions. Sometimes our emotions, or the intensity of them, does not fit what is actually happening. This is more about our perception of things than anything else. I perceived that the bank is not doing their part, which does not fit the facts. The bank is doing all it can- I just don’t realize it in the moment.  Every emotion has an action urge, i.e. something we want to do when we have a particular emotion. Some urges, if acted upon, will decrease our ability to be effective in meeting our goal, especially if our emotion does not match reality.  For me, I was angry at the people who did this and at the bank.  My action urge was to yell at the Customer Service Representative, which would not have been very effective in getting my problem solved. So, I practiced taking a time out and doing something that increased my happiness. When we find that our emotions do not match the facts, there is something we can do about it. 

Some common emotions, their action urges and opposite actions are as follows:

1. Fear: We want to run away and avoid. To help with this, do what you are afraid of doing over and over. Do things to give yourself the feeling of control over your fears.

2. Anger: We want to attack. Try avoiding the person you are angry with for a short time. Take a time out, and be kind instead of insulting.

3. Sadness: We want to withdraw and isolate. Instead, get active and participate in events you find pleasurable.

4. Shame and guilt: We want to hide and avoid others. Try sharing the behavior that sets off the shame and guilt with a trusted person. Also, repeating the behavior that sets off the guilt over and over will in turn reduce it.

I was successful that Saturday in decreasing my anger and as a result, I was able to work with the bank on a solution. The next time you find yourself in a similar situation, try doing some opposite action and see if it works for you!

Susan Dolence, LCSW, is a therapist at Sunlight Center for Change who runs the Dialectical Behavior Therapy group and sees individual clients. For more information about her, please check out her bio on our Staff page. 

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

posted Apr 2, 2017, 11:21 PM by Holly J

Child safety and attachment starts in the homes, but it takes a community to keep our kids safe. Kids who are abused or neglected don't always know that what's happening to them isn't right. They're not necessarily going to tell anyone or ask for help directly. Instead, they have difficulty with paying attention in school or getting along with peers. They may steal food or other items that they're not getting from home. They might be dirty, smell bad, wear the same clothes, not have a lunch, or have lice. Sometimes they will lie to say they had an accident if they're asked about an injury. These kids are everywhere and in every school.

Watch for the signs. Pay attention. Do something.

The number for the Department of Child Services is 888-SOS-CHILD (888-767-2445).

Sometimes people don't call because they're afraid people will be angry with them. If you as an adult are afraid, imagine what the child must be going through. Make the call anonymously if you must.

Sometimes people don't call because they don't know if it is a child abuse report. Remember, it's not your job to investigate, that's for DCS to determine. They'll tell you if it's not something they will do.

If you can get it, be sure to have the name of the child, date of birth, pictures of any injuries you see, address of where they live, and names of anyone else in the home including other children. If you know if there is a dog or a weapon in the household that information is important too.

If a child is in imminent danger or you feel threatened, call 9-1-1. Don't wait.

For more resources on strengthening families or for child abuse awareness information, please visit the Department of Child Welfare:

Pay It Forward Tucson and Sunlight Center for Change Collaboration in the Tucson Weekly

posted Feb 8, 2017, 11:18 AM by Holly J   [ updated Feb 8, 2017, 11:20 AM ]

Community Connections

Pay It Forward Tucson becomes nonprofit

by Danyelle Khmara

January 12, 2017
Engel Indo

Engel Indo started the year by paying a client's $750 rent. The previous week he helped a family whose house was destroyed in a robbery, brought Christmas baskets to families in need and gave away an Arizona Bowl ticket.

He opened last year by giving his car away to a single mom.

Indo single-handedly runs the Facebook-based charity Pay It Forward Tucson even though he has a 9-to-5 job, drives Uber on the side, plays in his band Los Guapos and takes care of his kids and grandkids.

And after four years in operation, PIFT is finally on its way to becoming a non-profit.

Indo started PIFT as a way to connect people who needed assistance, particularly veterans, with the resources and individuals who can help. PIFT helps people with everything from baby clothes and furniture to paying bills and mental-health assistance. It's even helped low-income veterans get haircuts.

Now, officially a corporation, Pay It Forward, Inc., and in the process of becoming a nonprofit, Indo hopes he can attract more donations from the community. Although he has a network of contacts willing to help, more often than not, he solves people's problems with his own money, to the tune of around $10,000 a year.

Indo puts all his money, after taking care of his basics, into PIFT. He also had a clothing line and put out a book of poetry "Thoughts and Poetry for the Soul and out of Boredom." All the money he made from these endeavors and what he makes from playing with Los Guapos goes to PIFT.

"The need is greater now," he said of the growing number of people asking for help. "It's become so big that it's out of my hands."

Although the nonprofit status is still pending, PIFT can now accept tax-deductible donations, said Holly Joubert, founder of Sunlight Center for Change, a clinic that offers mental health services for low-income families.

SCC is backing PIFT's effort to become a non-profit after seeing the good it does for the community. Joubert also partnered with PIFT to develop a mental-health program for veterans, now being offered at SCC.

Eladio Rodriguez is a veteran living on Social Security and a long-time client of PIFT. He's also one of the reasons Indo started the charity. Rodriguez was behind on his rent and asked Indo for help.

He couldn't believe how quickly Indo came to his aid, he said, adding that any other program would have taken longer and left him homeless.

"Open and shut case—that's the way it was," he said. "He's an angel. He's my rescue."

There are government services which can help people in the same way Indo does, but those services are often stretched thin or require more time than someone has when they're about to get evicted.

"I went to Salvation Army, and I went to the county, and I started making friends," Indo said about starting PIFT. "I found a backdoor."

One of these backdoors is a connection at Tucson Electric Power who gives PIFT clients extensions in emergency situations.

Indo is also an accredited mental-health first-aid instructor. As part of PIFT, he teaches classes when he can afford to. He doesn't charge for the classes and also invests in books for the students.

"Every single penny that I have goes into Pay It Forward Tucson—goes into helping people," Indo said. "As of right now, I'm working on trust and good faith."

Indo knows it's been hard to get greater assistance without being a nonprofit.

"People really have to know who I am and what I do to give me money," he said. "Everything that has been done, so far, has been in good faith."

And the people who know him, do trust him, like the sales manager at A Family Discount Storage, who got to know Indo through charity work with veterans. She gave PIFT a free storage unit for a year, which Indo used to store donations awaiting homes, such as clothing, TVs, furniture and a wheel chair.

Another PIFT project is teaching English through music to at-risk youth. Indo has been doing this project on trips to Peru, where he's from. Joubert said they hope to develop more of the English through music classes locally.

While there's local interest, funding has been slim. Indo hopes becoming a nonprofit will help inspire donors to fund local English through music classes and mental-health first-aid classes, which Indo can teach for free.

"Engel has a really big heart, and he's been running Pay It Forward out of his pocket for the past four years," Joubert said. "It would be nice to see the community back it a little bit more because they do a lot of really good work."

To find out more about PIFT, go to or email 

Sleep, Wonderful Sleep.....

posted Jan 23, 2017, 9:14 PM by Holly J   [ updated Jan 23, 2017, 9:34 PM ]

by Sue Dolence, LCSW

Sleep…wonderful sleep…. Or is it sleep…elusive sleep? If you are one of the 60 million people who suffer from insomnia in the U.S. each year, the idea of going to sleep can leave you with a feeling of dread. Some people have trouble falling asleep, some people get up in the middle of the night, unable to fall back to sleep, and some people cannot wake up in the morning.

So, why do we need sleep? If it’s been awhile since you’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, you probably can name a long list of the ways lack of sleep interferes with your life, including difficulty making decisions and solving problems, controlling emotions and behavior, and coping with change. But did you know that chronic lack of sleep also affects physical health? Ongoing sleep difficulty is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

Insomnia is all about behaviors and thoughts. Over time, we can develop behaviors around our sleep which actually interfere with getting sleep. In addition, once we start losing sleep time, we start to have all kinds of thoughts about sleep, or lack thereof, which increases our anxiety and, once again, interferes with our ability to sleep. It’s a vicious cycle.

Many people begin talking about their sleep problems with a physician and usually get some sort of sleep aid prescribed. Many sleep medications are proven to work for a short period of time and then either lose their potency or stop working altogether. So, where does that leave us?  There are a few simple strategies that people can try to improve their sleep:


1.)    Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning.

2.)    Create a “buffer zone” between nighttime activities and bedtime. This should be a time when you can participate in “wind-down” activities, such as taking a bath/shower, reading a book and/or doing some meditation.

3.)    If you choose to read on a kindle or other electronic device, get yourself a blue light screen protector to filter out those light rays that can interfere with sleep

4.)    Limit caffeine intake to 3-4 hours before bedtime.

5.)    Use your bed only for sleeping and that other S- don’t read, eat, watch TV or surf the internet while in bed.

A therapist can help guide you through these and many other non-pharmaceutical solutions to sleep and elaborate on other behavioral interventions available. Treatment approaches may also use Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) which addresses both the behaviors and thoughts that interfere with sleep. CBT-I is shown to work better than sleep medication over the long-term and will help people learn the tools they need should they have another period of sleeplessness within their lifetime. The best part is, that it usually takes between 2-3 sessions before people start to find some relief!

 If you suffer from sleeplessness and feel this is something you might like to try, Sunlight Center for Change offers therapy to those seeking a better quantity and quality of sleep. Please contact our front desk to schedule an appointment (520) 344-0056.


Sue Dolence, LCSW, is a licensed therapist who recently joined the SCC team. She has worked in the field of social services for the past 16 years. She is trained in evidence-based therapies and specializes in working with veterans, teens, families, and older adults. 

Scholarship Applications Now Accepted for Therapy for Low Income Families

posted Jan 23, 2017, 9:10 PM by Holly J   [ updated Jan 23, 2017, 10:17 PM ]

DBT Group at SCC

posted Jan 23, 2017, 8:22 PM by Holly J   [ updated Jan 23, 2017, 10:18 PM ]

Preparing Clients for Court-Related Matters

posted Nov 26, 2016, 10:37 PM by Holly J   [ updated Jan 23, 2017, 8:21 PM ]

Overcoming Holiday Blues

posted Nov 26, 2016, 10:16 PM by Holly J   [ updated Nov 26, 2016, 11:59 PM ]

The holiday season is a rough time for some people. Looking out for one another is important. It is equally important for those who struggle to get professional help.

Most people go to their primary care every year for a check-up. People tend to know what their blood pressure and cholesterol are and share it with everyone including the waiter at a restaurant. When someone has symptoms of a heart problem they go to the doctor. The doctor prescribes behavioral changes like a healthy diet, moderate exercise, and smoking cessation. The doctor also prescribes medical interventions like a pill or surgery. We accept these as truths when it comes to the heart as an organ.

Now think about your brain as an organ. This organ gets sick too, just like the heart or the kidneys. The brain is not just ANOTHER organ, but is the most IMPORTANT organ. It's the one that controls the rest of the body AND the one that affects the mind and personality. Getting a regular prevention check-up in this case means going in to see a psychologist or therapist when having milder stress. It means doing things like decreasing stressful situations, deep breathing, and doing mindfulness. And, yes, having a healthy diet and getting moderate exercise too. The doctor may also prescribe medications or other medical interventions.

SCC offers a variety of services for prevention and treatment of the mind and body. 

Please call our front desk to schedule an appointment:

(520) 344-0056

Mental Health First Aid

posted Nov 26, 2016, 9:37 PM by Holly J

Ever think to yourself, "I hate feeling  __________" or, "If only I could feel _____________." People sometimes label certain types of feelings as good or bad. Looking through Facebook this holiday week I saw someone reach out for support for grief and someone else reply, "Stay strong." Another friend shared feeling depressed and hopeless only to get replies of, "It'll be fine." 

While these responding friends are well intentioned, they are not giving helpful messages. What they're actually saying is, "Stop sharing a bad feeling. It makes me uncomfortable." Intentional or not, that person then gets the message, "Just say you're fine and don't bother anyone else. You're not important."

So what do you say? How do you handle it?

SCC offers Mental Health First Aid classes to the community. This class can better address how you as the average ordinary person/friend/coworker/boss can help someone experiencing a mental health concern. 

Call to find out when the next class is offered: 
(520) 344-0056

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