Silver Linings Counseling

Helping you find your silver lining


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

Posted on April 17, 2019 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

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 (0)

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 (3)

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 (0)

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 (1)

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 (2)

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.

How to Love Valentine's Day Even if You're Single

Posted on February 7, 2017 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (1)


It is everywhere! Walk into any store and you are hit with an explosion of magnificent hues of reds; whether it be heart shaped boxes of chocolates, a sea of roses and balloons, or Hallmark cards with loving sentiments. The jewelry stores entice us with advertisements for brilliant diamond rings and marriage proposals, while the restaurants are full of delectable delights for romantic dinners. Valentine’s Day symbolizes the celebration of our love for that special someone in our life.

It can; however, be a completely different experience for some people who are single. Walking into the “sea of red” in a store could be a reminder that they are alone, or trigger such feelings as grief over the loss of a spouse or partner, sadness and anger over a divorce or relationship that did not work out, or even hopelessness that one has not found their soul mate yet.

How could Valentine’s Day be positive or beneficial for single people? One way could be shifting the focus to the relationship that we have with our self. This is called the aspect of self-love and it is a sacred journey of appreciation for oneself. It grows from actions that support our psychological, physical and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic and enables us to have: compassion for ourselves, acceptance of our weaknesses, confidence with our strengths, definition of personal meaning and purpose, value in our core beliefs and the ability to live intentionally. Whether we have contemplated self-love or are already in the process of discovering it, this is one of the most important relationships you will ever have! Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our love for others, but it is also a beautiful reminder to love ourselves first! Self-love can be a gift that lasts a lifetime.

The following includes several ways to practice self-love in our lives:

• Practice Mindfulness

• Create Purpose & Meaning

• Assertiveness for Needs & Wants

• Respect & Express your Feelings

• Set Healthy Boundaries

• Honor & Practice Spirituality

• Increase Awareness & Insight

• Practice Self-Respect

• Practice Self-Forgiveness & Learn from the Past

• Practice Self-Acceptance

• Self-Care (nutrition, exercise, sleep hygiene, intimacy, social interactions, etc.)

• Take Responsibility for Your Actions

• Live Intentionally

Single people could also celebrate Valentine’s Day by sharing their love with those in need. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities available in our communities such as homeless shelters, foodbanks, Boys and Girls Club, etc. There are also a lot of animal shelters that would benefit from a Valentine’s Day visit. Volunteering connects us with the community and makes it a better place. Even the smallest tasks done in love can make the biggest differences in the lives of people, animals, and organizations in need. Volunteers are said to have better health (lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life), more empathy, meaning and purpose, stronger social bonds and an overall increase in feelings of happiness and love. Volunteering on Valentine’s Day is an act of love that not only benefits the receiver, but also the giver.

Being single on Valentine’s day can be a great opportunity to celebrate the love of self and others. Consider the benefits of self-love or collective love through community involvement. The power of love is amazing, and transforms every life that it touches!

Megan Atkinson, MA LLP



Welcome to Silver Linings Counseling!

Posted on August 29, 2016 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Silver Linings Counseling is proud to announce that Ron Shier, MA, LPC and Andrea

Gross, LMSW have recently joined our practice.

Ron Shier, MA, LPC

Ron has worked in the mental health field for over 2 years. He has experience working with

adolescents, adults, and couples. He works with a wide variety of issues from

codependency and relationship issues to depression and anxiety. Ron takes a proactive

approach with treatment, and helps his clients identify concrete goals, while providing the

necessary support to help them make positive changes in their lives. He fosters a

therapeutic relationship that includes trust and support, and creates a safe environment for

his clients to develop an action plan and learn new coping skills.


Ron specializes in the following:

• Christian Counseling

• Codependent Relationships

• Couples Counseling

• Drug and Other Addictions

• Grief/Loss

• Trauma Resolution


Andrea Gross, LMSW

Andrea has worked in the mental health field for over 18 years and has extensive

experience working with clients of all ages in various settings (foster care, community

mental health, and outpatient facilities). She also managed an out-patient therapy and

psychiatry program, behavioral program, and supports coordination program for individuals

with developmental disabilities. Andrea has also been trained in Trauma Focused

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy during a year-long training initiative through the State of

Michigan in Lansing.


Her specialties include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Anxiety

• Depression

• Divorce

• Life Transitions

• Peer Problems/Social Skills

• Relationship Counseling

• Trauma Resolution


A Therapeutic Review of the Movie "Bad Moms"

Posted on August 5, 2016 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Last night, myself and a group of moms went out to watch the movie “Bad Moms.” Wow, what a movie! The movie was very funny, very inappropriate, and very touching. I could relate to this movie in two ways: as a mom and as a therapist.


What I found interesting was the different “mom” personalities that we witnessed in the movie. There was “the stay at home mom” that was so lost in being a mom she did not know herself. “The absent mom” that was uninvolved and disconnected from her child’s life. “The career mom” who was trying to maintain a career and be a good mom to her children. Lastly, “the PTA mom” who showed up to all the events and took everything to the next level.


The movie takes the personalities and magnifies them in such a way that makes the plot highly unlikely yet hilarious and enjoyable to watch. The touching part of the movie is that as the mom personalities are battling it out they begin to recognize that they are all the same. They all love their children and are working very hard to protect their children while making ends meet.


The moms begin to join together and as they do this they begin to make positive changes. As the moms are developing and learning about themselves, they begin to recognize changes in their children, husbands, and bosses.


Interestingly, this movie essentially outlines how people can develop by investing time in therapy. It is an important development - instead of running around like a lunatic in the grocery store because you have pushed yourself beyond your breaking point (a very dramatic and hilarious part of the movie). For those frequently finding themselves in these breaking point situations, it may be beneficial to look into individual therapy as a way to learn more about yourself.


Part of the therapeutic process is to help you identify your personality traits. The next step is to identify how you can use these traits to strengthen certain areas of your life. The last step is to recognize how these personality traits may hinder you in your personal development as well as your relationships with other people. You can use this knowledge to help with reducing depression, reducing anxiety, raising self-esteem, developing anger management skills, and developing healthy relationships. As you learn more about yourself, your life will change in ways you did not even know was possible.


So should you watch the movie “Bad Moms?” Yes! There is a lot to be learned from this movie! Just keep the kids at home.


Erin Touchette, MA, LLP


Summertime Parenting

Posted on July 25, 2016 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Parenting school-aged children over the summer can be a challenge for any parent. For nearly ten months out of the year, we have a routine and a strict schedule where we are typically very busy managing our own personal and professional lives. It is difficult to switch gears mid-June as all the busy-ness seems to come to a screeching halt. There are so many concerns that plague the minds of many parents over the summer. How much studying or learning should my kids be doing so they do not “fall behind?” How much play time and free time should I give my kids so they can learn to entertain themselves and get all the value from the experience of play? How do I keep them from being bored, being rambunctious, and making me lose my mind?


These worries alone can put a good deal of unnecessary stress on you and your family during a time that is supposed to be fun and relaxing. These worries may cause you to begin counting the days until your kids can go back to school and wanting to pull out your hair more than ever. Let us consider three tips on how to make parenting over the summer more enjoyable and less stressful and worrisome.


1. Seek out balance.


Despite all the concern in our society about our kids falling behind academically, we have to remember that they spent all year getting a lot of new information crammed into their brains. The summer can be the time to let that information sink in more and be applied in ways they did not have time for during the school year. If given enough and a variety of opportunities, our kids will naturally apply those skills and capitalize on what they learned. We can, perhaps, expect a small amount of time dedicated each day to reading, writing, spelling and/or math, but it does not need to be an all-day activity. Summer is great for being casual about learning through an array of opportunities and experiences. Finding balance in work and play is key to having a successful summer with your kids.


2. Consider what works for YOU as well as what works for your children.


When it comes to how much time to dedicate to different types of activities, summer gives us the freedom to decide not only what our kids need but also what works and does not work for us as parents. The summer can be a time to take a break from the frustration and arguments that often revolve around homework, so do not force your child to do more sit-down work than they can tolerate as it will cause stress for them and you. Let them do the hard work of figuring out how to entertain themselves. In the summer, as parents we have the ability to accommodate ourselves better than we do during the school year. Take the opportunity not to force yourself into a stressed-out state, if it does not work for you….let it go!


3. Have fun.


The summer is a great time for families to be together, to have fun, and to learn and grow together. There are so many places to go, and there are options for every family with every level of income. Find the things your kids like to do and engage with them, ask them questions, get their brains thinking while having fun and bonding. Let them have fun on their own and with you. Remember that children develop differently, and different traits develop at different rates. What you worry about in the winter, your child may catch up on over the summer (but probably not if you and s/he is stressed out).


Overall, let summer be what we all want it to be - fun and relaxing for the family. You will see the information your children learned over the school year pour out of their little minds, and you will feel relieved. There is so much more to life and learning than academics and so much can be done together as a family and with fun.


If it turns out that you continue to have serious concerns about your child’s development and learning capabilities, there are resources to address this. Consider psychological and neurological testing, therapy, community and educational resources. There is no reason to suffer and struggle. My colleagues and I are here to support you and your families with all of those needs.


Stacey Dalton, MA LPC