Schollenberger Helps Others Find a Better Way Through LifeMay 30, 2013 10:59AM ● By By Gisele Siebold
After taking a postgraduate course related to his first job as a drug and alcohol counselor, Craig R. Schollenberger experienced the greatest moment of awareness in his life. The course, Alternatives to Getting High Without Drugs, was taught by a yoga instructor that led the class through a series of poses. As he participated in yoga for the first time, Schollenberger felt an immediate calm come over him and knew he had experienced a positive, life-changing event.
The experience prompted Schollenberger to search for more information about yoga, and he discovered a book on Iyengar yoga, a style formulated and named after B. K. S. Iyengar, which launched him into regular practice. At first, holding a yoga pose for 30 seconds seemed like a monumental task for the former “problem child,” as he was deemed in grade school. Yet, he pursued a diligent practice and read another book, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Schollenberger then worked his way up to 45 minutes of meditation in sitting, another turning point in his life.
Although the courses for his undergraduate degree taught traditional psychotherapy methodology, real-life experiences working with people taught Schollenberger that the old-school therapy was missing something: specifically, it did not teach individuals how to communicate effectively with others outside of a therapy session, nor did it teach them how to apply mindfulness to daily activities.
Seeking alternative counseling methods that would actually help clients, Schollenberger attended a Mindfulness in Education convention where Kabat-Zinn was the keynote speaker. Soon afterward, he searched for training courses related to mindfulness for psychotherapists. Once Schollenberger learned the technique called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), he knew he had found a better way to guide people on their journey through life.
Schollenberger draws upon such personal and professional experiences, along with a sense of purpose for helping others, when he counsels and teaches couples, families and individuals with disabilities and mental illnesses. Asking questions such as, ‘What makes your heart sing?,” “Why do you think you are on this planet?” and “What would you like to do with your life?” helps him to consider the whole person—mind, body, and spirit.
Schollenberger uses therapeutic procedures and skills that he has researched and tested in actual life situations, and he communicates suggestions with those that he counsels in ways that make sense to them. Wellness recommendations include sharing recipes, assisting in planning exercise regimens and helping people establish short-term goals for practicing meditation and other stress-reduction techniques. Committed to helping individuals to rebuild their lives and fill them with joy, Schollenberger delights in seeing changes that people make to improve their lives and rebuild.
Schollenberger's other soul-enriching, rejuvenating pleasures are home renovation and playing the guitar and bass. He feels blessed to be able to employ his hands mindfully to restore a physical structure with tools or to invigorate the senses with instruments. These activities refresh him and recharge his ability to help others to find a better way.
Gisele Siebold lives in Lancaster and is a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings maga