Silver Linings Counseling

Helping you find your silver lining


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Prayer: A healthy coping mechanism

Posted on July 21, 2016 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Prayer is one healthy way to help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and grief. There is a saying that says, “let go and let God.” Letting go of worries and handing them over to God and trusting that he will take care of you can help.


As a Christian, we hear over and over that we can find strength and healing through prayer. However, we struggle to find time to focus our attention on God instead of the normal hustle and bustle of our lives. It is not that we do not want to spend time in prayer – it is that we simply feel we do not have time.


Believe me, I understand this struggle. Being a mother of three small children, keeping up with my chores at home, and carrying a full caseload as a therapist is like having three full time jobs! So how do I make sure I am giving God the time that he deserves? I have been able to spend more time in prayer by taking these three steps.


The first step is listening to Christian music. God has blessed some amazing musicians to help lead us in prayer. I love Christian music, and the most awesome part is that there are all different genres of Christian music. So, it should not be hard to find some that you like. Listen to it in the car, in your home while you are cooking or cleaning, or even at work (if you can). Just listen to Christian music whenever possible. You will find that this simple step can change your mind set for the entire day. It will also help to reset a negative or depressed mood.


The second step is reading the bible. I have found that if I read the bible before bed, I end my day in a positive mood and I sleep like a baby. I also recommend using the bible as a tool to help you make decisions or understand difficult life circumstances. Simply do an internet search for “bible verse about _________.” You will find that the bible has hundreds of verses to help you. You can also find a list of verses that are helpful in the index section of most bibles.


The third step is talking to God all day long. Throughout the day, thank God for little victories in your life. Ask God for help, strength, or understanding. My little prayers are, “Thank you, God, for keeping me safe during my drive to work. Thank you, God, for giving me patience while dealing with my tantruming 2-year-old. Thank you, God, for giving me the right words to help my client in our therapy session today. Lord, please help me to understand why you made me sick today and please give me the strength to make it through the day. Lord, please help me to speak your truth in all my sessions.” Speaking to God does not need to be formal. Talking to God can be like talking to a friend.


Am I perfect at following my three steps? Absolutely not! However, I have found that when these steps are a part of my life I feel better. God is amazing. Philippians 4:13 states “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” God is here for you. Reach out to him and he will answer.

Erin Touchette, MA, LLP


Change isn't Easy: Trust the Process

Posted on July 19, 2016 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Each person brings a set of hopes and dreams to the first therapy session. He or she is asked to take a chance and share what a better life would look like. For some, that means worrying less, sleeping better, and laughing more. For others, it means finding a place to learn about themselves and trying out new ways of relating to others. What I have come to notice is that despite having a goal for seeking therapy, few people know just what to expect from therapy or understand how the therapy process works.


The therapy process takes place within a relationship between the client and the therapist. For me, that means that my clients get to learn something about me, but mostly, they get to feel what it is like to have someone really wanting to understand them and work beside them as they figure out the next steps to reaching their goals. Through the relationship I create with each client, each client is able to sort through ideas, gain insights, learn skills to manage problems or symptoms, and become empowered to direct their own path to wellness.


Sometimes I sit with clients and see them struggling with feelings of inadequacy or self-blame because they feel they “haven’t done enough to get better.” Sometimes I sit with clients who feel that I have not done enough to “solve the problem” or have not told them what to do. For clients struggling to make progress, it is important to remember that change is a process.


The process of change takes time. Therapy is hard work. Being vulnerable and taking chances to act in new ways is scary…but, the process of therapy can lead to lasting change and personal growth. The process of therapy takes time and sometimes takes unexpected turns as goals are revised, as life transitions take place, and as people experience new events. Learning more about ourselves, recognizing our strengths and weaknesses, and working to improve our lives is a courageous endeavor and requires us, therapists and those seeking therapy alike, to trust the process.


Dustin Shepler, PhD, LP, HSP


How do I know I need therapy? My life is so good but I feel unhappy.

Posted on July 11, 2016 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (0)

As a therapist, I often hear the statement, “I don’t even know why I am here, I feel like I am wasting your time. Do you think I need to be here?” Generally, my response to this question is “yes.” Therapy is not just for people with a diagnosable mental illness. Therapy is helpful for a whole host of reasons. If someone feels the need to seek out a therapist, then there is a reason and a purpose for therapy in that person's life.


In my experience I have found that the people who question whether or not they need therapy are the people who benefit the most from it. These clients tend to be the clients that are very high functioning in all areas of their lives, however, for some reason they are struggling with anxiety, depression, or relationship problems. These people often ask me, “why am I so unhappy? I feel like my life is so good. I have everything I want and need.” Through therapy, we are able to find the answer to this question. Simply understanding the underlying cause for the onset of symptoms often relieves the symptoms. If the symptoms are not relieved, then we are able to identify positive coping mechanisms to reduce the severity.


If you find you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or relationship problems, then it may be time for you to invest the time in therapy. I have found that weekly therapy for six months to one year, depending on the severity of symptoms, can help to reduce, if not eradicate, the symptoms completely.


Erin Touchette, MA, LLP


Therapy & the Golden Years

Posted on July 7, 2016 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Most people look forward to the Golden Years, especially after raising families or retiring from the workforce. It can be a very positive time in our lives with a shift from former responsibilities and routines to a positive focus on personal goals which can include discovering new hobbies/interests or enhancing creativity, self-exploration, and developing social networks. As the Golden Years expand and longevity becomes our “new norm,” there will be more time to enjoy these fulfilling activities. As a result, our lives can be filled with new meaning and purpose, hope, and positive mental health and well-being.


Most people face some sort of challenge when transitioning and adjusting to the Golden Years. There can be an increase in grief or loss as we age (loss of a spouse, family members, or peers). Retirement could also be seen as a loss. Other challenges that may arise include: the questioning of our own mortality as well as our sense of purpose, an increase in health issues, changes in cognitive abilities, feelings of loneliness, new financial difficulties, and the role of caregiver to a loved one. As a result, many of us could feel overwhelmed, anxious, depressed or develop other mental health concerns.


Therapy can help older adults cope with the adjustment and transition to the Golden Years. It has become less stigmatized with an increase in acceptance as life expectancy expands. Many people at this stage of life tend to take therapy more seriously with the realization that time is limited, and they are able to obtain results more quickly than younger people do. It can help ease the transition to the Golden Years by facilitating the development of coping skills to help manage emotions more effectively. Therapy can also help improve communication skills, provide a support system, help to discover new areas of meaning and purpose or creativity, establish personal goals, facilitate healing from trauma and loss, work on self-discovery, and help to process fears that may be associated with facing one’s own mortality.


At Silver Linings Counseling, we have caring and compassionate therapists who strive to assist you, or a loved one, transition and adjust to this next step in your life. If you need some assistance, please, let us help you find your “Silver Lining” in the Golden Years!


Megan Atkinson, MA, LLP


Supporting ALL Members of Our Community in the Aftermath of the Orlando Shooting

Posted on June 16, 2016 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

By this time, it’s well-known that several people lost their lives during a recent act of violence directed at the LGBTQ community in Orlando. While the hate-fueled attack has impacted each of us in some way, there is no singular “right way” to mourn or process feelings after such a heart breaking event. As part of our community, we at Silver Linings Counseling are here to help those who need support or a safe place to work through their feelings.

For some people, it is easy to distance themselves from the continuous coverage of this tragedy, many of us, however, find ourselves compulsively checking and re-checking Facebook and news outlets for updates on those who survived the attack and to learn more about the lives of those who did not. It is normal to want to understand and to try to make sense of what seems so senseless. We hope that by figuring out what caused the attack, we can prevent future attacks and ensure the safety of ourselves and of those we love. It can be hard to accept the lack of certainty in life and this can cause feelings of nervousness and anxiety.


Some people have noticed a drop in energy, and struggled with feelings of sadness and anger, and maybe have even had difficulty focusing at work or in school. Feelings of isolation or loneliness can creep in and we may not fully understand our reactions or how to process or manage our feelings. Many in our community may find advice from the American Psychological Association helpful in coping


For those who have children, family, or close friends who identify as a member of the LGBTQ community, for those who recently came out, and for those who have yet to come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning, this event can be especially isolating. It can be hard to know where to turn for support or where to go to find someone who can help you work through your thoughts and feelings. Please know that I and my colleagues are here to support you, your families, and our allies as we all process our reactions to this senseless attack.


In Community & Solidarity,


Dustin Shepler, PhD, LP, HSP