Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

April 29, 2013

PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Center brings healing ideas to community

By Jean Clark
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — There is a new business in the town of Pleasant Hill, albeit a “Center for Healing and Growth,” which is everyone’s business. Jerry Ziegele and Rebecca Kilmer have combined their counseling professions after purchasing the former Sycamore House at 44 E. Main St.

Ziegele LPC, (Licensed Professional Counselor) with a mental health service provider specialty, has practiced in Cumberland County since 1990. She was the first Director of VORP (Victim-Offender Reconciliation Program) in the county. She has a general private practice treating mental disorders and also has been the contracted provider for Avalon Center for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault since 1993. Jerry is a certified EMDR practitioner, which is an effective approach to treating traumatic memories without rehashing them in typical talk therapy. This has been successful in  quickly treating PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as well as other disorders. She has relocated her office from Main St. in Crossville to the new Pleasant Hill building.

Rebecca has worked as a counselor for Medicare recipients at the Cumberland Mountain Mental Health Center in Crossville for the past year and a half. In addition to offering counseling services at Earth Heart Center, Rebecca will offer Thai massage therapy and Buteyko breathing education. These therapies treat depression, anxiety, sleep and breathing disorders, and mobility and balance problems. She and her husband, Hugh Thomforde, moved to Pleasant Hill last year after many previous visits to Hugh's parents, Phil and Winnie Thomforde, and have come to love this community.

Present activities at the Earth Heart Center include massage therapy, counseling and breathing education. Clients can also take advantage of a health center or day spa, complete with workout equipment, exercise tables, a hot tub and a sauna. The center houses a prayer/meditation room and plans to offer space for health-related meetings, classes, workshops and retreats. The Center also contains an office for lawyer Jeff Strain, a Social Security claimant’s representative.

The Sycamore House was built in 1999 by Gordon and Carol Wheeler as a bed and breakfast with a full kitchen, several bathrooms, beautiful floors, a gas burning fireplace and enchanting views from every window. Ziegele and Kilmer intend to keep two bedrooms for overnight lodging guests.

Earth Heart’s entrance has already become a home for the Jamaican Truck owned by Maureen McDonald, providing Jamaican food on Mondays and Wednesdays for lunch and dinner. The barn beside the center will feature a flea market this Friday and Saturday, May 3 and 4, with clothes, household goods, crafts, vegetables and food. Spaces are available for a token fee of $5. Call the center, 287-2826, if you are interested or wish to come and shop. This may grow in the future as more items are added. There is space on the grounds for a community garden to provide produce for the center and the flea market.

They held a brain storming session before opening, inviting members of the local community to share ideas for activities they would like to have at the Center. The ideas ranged from the mundane to the esoteric. Some they have already instituted and others are possibilities for the future. Several people were interested in learning more about cooking, especially with vegetarian dishes, juicing, raw foods, and other healthy life style practices. With the full kitchen and dining room, those types of demonstrations and workshops are possible. Suggestions were made for providing a place for local talent to perform concerts on the spacious porches of the center. They may provide a computer room with free Internet access for local students.

The owners envision the center as providing a place for meetings, retreats, an art gallery, fair trade products, perhaps even a coffee house with poets, writers or musicians to share their creations. For these talented caring women, there appear to be limitless possibilities for using the center to serve the Cumberland County community.