The Importance of Play • Medication Management • Staff Spotlight
Care & Community
S E P T E M B E R · 2 0 1 9
The Importance of Play
The Importance of Play
As childhood becomes more regimented and school more demanding, children and teens now are more stressed than ever. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that between 2009 and 2017, rates of depression rose by more than 60 percent among those ages 14 to 17, and 47 percent among those ages 12 to 13. Some blame the increase in screen time, academic and performance pressure, or the lack of unstructured free time. There is no simple, singular cause leading to higher anxiety, depression and suicide rates.

Increasing time for free play and recess for children appears to help curb the impact of anxiety and depression. Time to react and interact with other children can work wonders on a child’s self-worth and self-esteem, providing an opportunity to discover their imaginations, develop friendships, and work out conflicts.

In this New York Times opinion piece, a doctor is quoted as likening an hour of free play to “a drop of water if you’ve been in the desert.” Play can be a beneficial and educational tool for children, relieving the amount of pressure and anxiety they feel.

If your child is anxious or stressed, we can help. We can provide play therapy and counseling for youth of all ages, as well as medication management when needed.
Staff Spotlight
JD Dreiling
Raised in Stone Mountain, JD Dreiling, our new play therapist, began working here this summer after completing his studies at Georgia State and an internship with City of Decatur Schools. “I work with the entire life span, utilizing feminist theory for talk therapy and am pursuing certification in Adlerian play therapy,” he said. “I work with chronic illness, children, individuals, couples, families. I do sex therapy and work with LGBT+ and cultural identity issues.”

His interest in counseling began at an early age, thanks to an unlikely source.

“When I was 7, Star Trek: The Next Generation came on. I was watching it with my dad and I told him that I understood everyone else’s job on the ship, but not Deanna Troi’s. He explained to me what a counselor was, I was so amazed that that was a job. I tried university fresh out of high school and I was not prepared. At the age of 34, I went back to school full-time intending to be a clinical psychologist, but a professor turned me on to the counseling program and I knew I’d found my home.”

Dreiling enjoys his work and the mission of CCCG.

“I am thrilled to be able to work with such diverse clients on such diverse issues. The honor to work with underserved populations was a huge draw for me,” he said. “Getting to utilize my play training is just great.”
Tina Ezeolisah
Sometimes our kids and teens – as well as adults – need more help than therapy alone can provide. With the addition of family psychiatric nurse practitioner, Tina Ezeolisah, DNP, PMHNP-BC, to our staff in August, CCCG now has the capacity to provide psychiatric evaluations and medication management for children and adolescents as well as adults.

Tina Ezeolisah is available in our main Decatur location, as is Rebecca Pihera, APRN-BC, to assist clients with psychiatric evaluations and prescriptions. The medication management program allows for efficient patient care, because it allows CCCG to become a one-stop shop where all aspects of treatment are handled in one place. Our person-centered counselors and nurse practitioners collaborate to assure that persons receive the best care possible. 

Sometimes traditional therapy that teaches coping skills serves the patient just fine, she said. But, if a patient is unstable, medication can allow the person to function. In those cases, collaboration with the patient, parents (if the patient is a child), counselor, and prescriber is ideal. “When you prescribe medications, you want to make sure there is pharmacotherapy,” she said. “Combining the two is the best approach.”

CCCG is better able to help its clients this way. “It’s the best thing for the patient to have all aspects of care in-house,” Ezeolisah said.
Medication Management
Medication Management
CCCG is proud to provide psychiatric medication management. We are now accepting appointments for psychiatric assessments and medication management for children, adolescents and adults.

To schedule an appointment with Rebecca Pihera, APRN-BC, or Tina Ezeolisah, DNP, PMHNP-BC, please call 404-636-1457, ext. 505 and leave a message or you may send an email to Our intake coordinator will call you back for an appointment.

For prescription refills, please email Rebecca at or Tina at .
Ongoing & Upcoming
Offered below is a brief listing of upcoming and ongoing CCCG events.
with AnnMarie Lehrer, MS, NCC, APC, at CCCG’s main office. Do you or does your teen struggle with depression, anger, anxiety, low self-esteem, or communication problems? Learn to be more mindful, to strengthen effectiveness in relationships, to tolerate distress, and regulate emotions! Mondays, Sept. 30 – Nov. 4. Cost = $180 for the whole series. Click here for more information and to register, or contact AnnMarie Lehrer at or 404-636-1457 ext. 472.
AnnMarie Lehrer, MS, NCC, APC, will begin another 6-week dialectical behavior therapy boot camp at CCCG’s main office. Learn to apply DBT skills to help with mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness in your struggles with depression, anger, anxiety, low self-esteem, or communication problems. Tuesdays, 6–8 pm, Sept. 17–Oct. 24. Cost = $180 for the whole series. Click here for more information and to register, or contact AnnMarie Lehrer at or 404-636-1457 x472. · Learn more ·
ASAM Level 1 care and support and for persons using alcohol and other drugs, or for those suffering from process addictions such as gambling, sex, internet, shopping, who have concerns or want to stop. Our scientifically based treatment includes motivational enhancement, emotional coping skills, mindfulness, personal empowerment, and experiential learning. Tuesdays from 6-8 pm. Cost: $70/session. Click here for more info or contact Janay Whittaker, APC, at or 404-636-1457 ext. 409. · Learn more ·
Saturdays at 10 am. FREE! (donations accepted). This is for you if you would like a Buddhist-based approach to recovery—from substances, eating disorders, process addictions, and much more!
A recovery group based in cognitive skills and thought restructuring. This is a community-based, educational support group that can supplement or replace traditional 12-step meetings. Wednesdays, 7:00–7:45pm FREE!
Support Groups
Eating Disorder Support Group : Every Thursday from 7-8 pm. FREE! Contact Gayle Benator at or 404-636-1457, ext. 422 for more information.

Women’s Growth Group : At CCCG in Decatur with Carol Pitts—$45 per session. Contact Carol at for more information.

Weekly Grief Support Group at Oak Grove UMC : For individuals who have experienced loss and are looking for a community of support. Tuesdays 6:30–7:30 pm. FREE! Contact Jonathan Yellowhair at or 404-636-1457 x428 f or more info.

Monthly Grief Support Group : FREE! Meets the last Thursday of every month at 6 pm at CCCG at our main office in Decatur and is sponsored by A.S. Turner & Sons Funeral Home. It is open to the community and free of charge. For more information contact JD Dreiling at or 404-636-1457, ext. 425.
Donate to CCCG
Care and Counseling Center of Georgia (CCCG) has been bringing healing and hope to the communities of Georgia for more than 55 years. Please help keep us providing high quality affordable behavioral health services; caring support for children, adults, and families; and counseling and chaplaincy training.
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