Silver Linings Counseling

Helping you find your silver lining



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What do you have to feel depressed about?

Posted on May 24, 2019 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (737)

A common misperception about depression is that it only happens to an individual who is struggling with difficulties in their current environment/situation. It is very possible that individuals will suffer from depression because of current difficulties, but depression tends to be much more complicated than that. A large majority of my clients come into my office stating “I don’t know why I am depressed. I have a good life. I SHOULD be happy.” Hearing “what do you have to feel depressed about?” from a friend or family member magnifies feelings of guilt and questions whether the individual has a valid reason to be depressed.

Instead of saying “what do you have to feel depressed about?” Try saying: “tell me more about your depression” or “do you understand the root of your depression?” or “how can I help? I am here for you.” These statements show interest in knowing more about the individuals depression without questioning it’s validity.

Stay tuned for my blog next week titled "Get it together". 


Erin Touchette MA, LLP

5 Minute Trauma Healer

Posted on May 17, 2019 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (410)

Trauma not only disrupts the connections between the neurons in the brain, it also causes us to lose touch with our bodies. If the trauma is a physical one, that makes sense! We can understand the way pain changes physical function. But we don’t often recognize how much psychological pain impacts the body. Research shows a link between childhood emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and chronic physical pain and health problems later in life.

So let’s get back in touch with the body by practicing a short muscle relaxation activity every day to increase muscle awareness, and decrease and prevent anxiety, panic, flashbacks, and anger. As always, be kind to yourself! If any of the following moves are physically or emotionally painful, just skip it and move on to the next one. No one’s giving a grade, and you benefit just as much from 4½ minutes of practice!

For each step, hold the tightened position for a count of 5, then release and focus on the feeling of warmth, tingling, and relaxation in that space. At the end, tighten your whole body for a good count of 10, then sit a little longer in the full-body relaxation. Notice how your brain feels when your body lets go of all that tension!

1. Curl your toes

2. Next, point the toes to the sky, tightening your calf muscles

3. Pull your upper thighs together

4. Tighten that tushie!

5. Suck in those abs

6. Show off your bisceps

7. Raise your shoulders to your ears

8. Smile as wide as you can

9. Squeeze your eyes shut tight

10. All together now!

This progressive muscle relaxation exercise can increase awareness of where you carry your physical tension, as well as the ability to relax those areas on-command. That ability to relax your body when you are under stress, can reduce the intensity and duration of panic, flashbacks, and anger. BONUS: If you do this in bed at night, it can help you calm down for more restful sleep.

Written by Jamie Overbaugh, LMSW

"I know how you feel."

Posted on May 9, 2019 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (2)

People often state “I know how you feel” in an effort to help someone feel like they are not alone. This can be helpful at times but it can be a risky statement. Stating “I know how you feel” makes some unsafe assumptions. The first assumption is; “I have felt the same as you feel right now and I understand.” The problem with this assumption is that it is impossible to know for sure that you have felt this way. Even if you truly have felt this way before, it minimizes the person's experience in that moment. The second assumption is that you know the entire story. Often, parts of the story are left out due to privacy reasons or embarrassment. Believe me, you probably don’t know the whole story. Even as a therapist I try not to assume that I know the entire story. I have had many client come into my office and state in frustration “everyone keeps saying ‘I know how you feel’ but they don’t. They have NO idea how I feel.” Instead of saying “I know how you feel” try saying “that must be very difficult”, -or- “I can’t even imagine how you must feel right now” -or- “wow, you really have had a difficult day” -or- “I am sorry your day has been so horrible.” These statements show understanding without saying “I understand”. They validate and show acceptance of the individual’s emotion. Lastly, these statements leave room for the individual to elaborate and open up more.

Erin Touchette MA, LLP

Coming up next week: "What do you have to feel depressed about?"

"Say this, not that." Supporting someone with depression.

Posted on May 3, 2019 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (4)

“You shouldn’t feel that way.”

When we are grasping to support our friends or family members who are suffering from depression, in desperation, we often fall into the trap of telling them “you shouldn’t feel that way.” We mean this as a way to comfort, but instead we are likely causing more pain. The statement “you shouldn’t feel that way” is actually being received as: “it isn’t OK to feel that way” or “you are not justified in the way you feel” or “your feelings are wrong.” Instead of creating an atmosphere of support, this statement creates an atmosphere of judgement. Ultimately, if an individual experiencing depression hears “you shouldn’t feel that way” frequently enough he or she will stop reaching out for help. Instead, try statements such as “I am sorry that you feel sad.” -or- “It’s ok to feel sad.” -or- “is there anything that I can do to help you feel better?” These statements are validating statements that will provide a safe environment and will build trust. 

Erin Touchette MA, LLP

This is the first of a series of posts. Stay tuned for tip #2 “I know how you feel.”

Healing the painful past: Am I ready to tackle the past?

Posted on April 17, 2019 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (2911)

Are you ready to talk about trauma?

When it comes to the painful past, my clients often say the same things the first time we meet:

1. Let the past stay in the past, it’s over and I don’t want to dwell on it,

2. I know other people have it “worse” than I do, so I should just get over it, and

3. I’m scared to talk about it because I don’t know if I can handle those feelings

As a trauma survivor, I can appreciate those thoughts and fears, and recognize them as symptoms of post-traumatic stress. As a trauma therapist, I’m also fascinated by the science of the human brain, and how it is capable of healing.

Our brains physically change through a process called neuroplasticity. Trauma trains the brain to avoid triggers which cause pain by creating new neuropathways. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops out of this properly functioning mechanism in the brain which helps us avoid pain. For people who experience post-traumatic symptoms, that mechanism becomes over-active, and needs a little re-training to improve function and wellness.

Many people believe that talking about the details of their trauma is the only way to heal. There is no pill that can fix the past, and research shows that talk therapy is the leading treatment for PTSD. However, this does not mean you need to talk about the details of your trauma the first time we meet. Or the second. Or ever! There are coping strategies which can help you to feel better quickly without ever disclosing any information about what happened. I recommend seeing a therapist who uses trauma-informed techniques to maximize your outcomes.

Once you have a toolbox of coping skills to work with, you may find you feel more comfortable beginning to share your experience. Again, talking about it is not essential for healing, though many people find it to be helpful. It can be hard, but freeing.

Still not sure?

If the idea of opening up to a stranger is a bit overwhelming, I still appreciate that fear, and also encourage you to challenge the urge to avoid!

There is wonderful literature about trauma treatment if you want to start your work at home. I highly recommend starting with something that focuses on the physical body and how we carry our stress. Some of my favorites are The Body Keeps the Score by Dr. Bessel Van der Kolk, Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga by David Emerson and Dr. Elizabeth Hopper, and The Art of Healing from Sexual Trauma: Tending Body and Soul through Creativity, Nature, and Intuition by Naomi Ardea.

If you worry that learning about trauma will trigger flashbacks or panic, I hope you will consider reaching out to a trauma specialist to guide you through some basic coping strategies to avoid re-traumatization. Take good care of yourself on your healing journey. If you are ready to get started, contact me at Silver Linings Counseling to schedule an individual consultation.

Jamie Overbaugh, LMSW, CCPT

Welcome, Jamie and Rachel!

Posted on February 18, 2019 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (4)

Silver Linings Counseling is proud to announce that Jamie Overbaugh, LMSW, CCTP, and Rachel Massimilla, LMSW, have recently joined our practice.

Jamie Overbaugh, LMSW, CCTP

With nearly 20 years of mental health experience, Jamie has helped hundreds of people from a variety backgrounds learn to cope with life's challenges. Using compassionate listening skills and elements of cognitive behavioral, dialectical, and trauma informed strategies, Jamie is prepared to help you with many mental health issues. As a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Jamie is prepared to support you as you learn to heal the painful symptoms from past events, nourish safe and loving relationships in the present, and find the peace, meaning, and beauty in yourself and the world.

To learn more about Jamie, please visit her SLC page.

Rachel Massimilla , LMSW

Rachel has over 15 years of experience as a therapist and has a strong passion for working with children and families. She has been certified in an evidence-based parenting program which empowers parents to promote cooperation and pro-social skills in their children. Rachel’s objective is to provide a supportive and encouraging environment in which children and families work on identifying meaningful goals.

To learn more about Rachel, please visit her SLC page.

Welcome, Donna!

Posted on May 18, 2018 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (2080)

Silver Linings Counseling is proud to announce that Donna Berry has recently joined our practice.

Donna is a nationally certified master’s level Licensed Professional Counselor. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Counseling Psychology from Rochester College and her Master of Arts in Counseling from Spring Arbor University. As both a Clinical Counselor and former School Counselor, she has experience in many areas. Donna enjoys working with all age groups using Cognitive Behavioral, Client-Centered, Emotionally Focused, Mindfulness, and Child/Play therapies.

To learn more about Donna, check her SLC page.

Welcome, Rick!

Posted on February 19, 2018 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (20)

Silver Linings Counseling is proud to announce that Rick Sweet has recently joined our practice.

Rick is a Limited Licensed Psychologist. He completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology at Wayne State University and his master’s degree in clinical psychology at Eastern Michigan University. Rick has 30 years of experience working with adolescents and their families in the Juvenile Justice system. He also has experience working with children in the community mental health system and adults in outpatient settings.

Rick conducts individual and family therapy. He utilizes a client directed, collaborative approach to therapy. He believes that the positive, supportive relationship built with his clients will provide them with a safe and comfortable setting for self-exploration, identifying personal strengths, and developing confidence in their ability to improve their lives.

To learn more about Rick, check his SLC page.

Welcome to Silver Linings Counseling, Jerrilynn!

Posted on September 9, 2017 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (171)

Silver Linings Counseling is proud to announce that Jerrilynn Pearson has recently joined our practice.

Jerrilynn has worked as an educator and psychotherapist for over 25 years. She has extensive experience working with all age levels across the life span including family therapy and substance abuse/addiction issues. Jerrilynn has degrees from Michigan State University, Oakland University, Wayne State University and University of Detroit Mercy, plus certification in the area of alcohol and drug counseling. Her other areas of expertise include special education and chronic health challenges. Jerrilynn primarily takes a psychodynamic approach to psychotherapy but also uses a variety of therapeutic styles, including, but not limited to, motivational interviewing and play therapy with children. She is committed to providing a safe, comfortable and confidential environment to help all Clients achieve their personal goals and make positive change.

To learn more about Jerrilynn, please visit her SLC page.

Welcome, Jennifer!

Posted on May 24, 2017 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (393)

Silver Linings Counseling is proud to announce that Jennifer Gee has recently joined our practice. Jennifer is a Licensed Masters of Social Work with 25 years of experience working in mental health settings. She received her Bachelors of Social Work from Ball State University and her Masters of Social Work from Wayne State University.

Her professional background includes working with a diverse population experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, severe and persistent mental illness, personality disorders, and substance abuse. She provides therapeutic counseling that utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy and a strength and solution focused approach. We are excited to have her join our SLC family!

To learn more about Jennifer, check her SLC page.