Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan

Healing for the heart, mind, and soul.

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Negative to Positive

Hello readers, we hope your summer has been filled with family making memories and time spent doing pleasurable activities whether it is recreation, gardening, home improvement, or hobbies. In the rush to savor the last remaining summer days and warm nights, we get blindsided by all that needs to be done to prepare for fall.

With fall comes many changes, children returning to school, seasonal layoff, and this being an election year, changes in our government. If you are an avid news watcher, or maybe not, either way you cannot escape the constant bombardment of negativity. It is easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom of local, national, and world events. We are influenced by what we hear, read, and watch in the news and on television. Listening to or watching the news consistently every morning or evening has a profound effect on our thinking. If we feed our minds a constant diet of negativity soon we start to feel the effect in our thought and emotional processes.

In order to guard ourselves from negativity, it is helpful to fill our minds with positive thoughts. This can be done by starting your day with a devotional dedicated to hope. Sarah Young author of the “Jesus Today” devotional is a great way prepare yourself for the challenges that you face. With Jesus Christ all situations are possible to live through no matter how tragic or life changing. It is possible to have joy, peace, and contentment while experiencing grief over changes.

We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:20-22

-Catherine Thorington, M.A., LLPC

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Children of Changing Families

Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan will hold a support group called Children of Changing Families for children experiencing family divorce or separation. It will begin on April 28th and be 5 weeks long ending May 26th. The group will meet weekly for 1-1/2 hours per session. The cost is $10 per participant, with a maximum of $20/family. Scholarships are available in cases of financial hardship.

Children who have recently experienced parental separation or divorce are welcome to participate. The group may also benefit children whose parents have separated or divorced in the past, but who are struggling to accept it. Those interested may sign up or receive more information by calling Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan at 989-317-4664 by April 26th. There is a maximum of 6 group members so early sign-up is encouraged.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder

If you have lived in Michigan for any length of time, you are aware of how very long those winter months can feel.  Although winter can often be beautiful, it can be difficult to enjoy day after day of clouds, cold, and being confined indoors.  Fortunately, March is upon us and we are starting to enjoy the warmer days, the slices of sunshine, and the ability to stretch our muscles outdoors.


However, for many individuals that suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it can be an even slower recovery from the effects of winter. SAD is a mood disorder associated with depression and is related to the decreased amount of sunlight through the course of the colder seasons.  SAD directly affects half a million people every winter most commonly between September and April.  The majority of individuals feel the greatest effects in December, January, and February.  Symptoms of SAD include:  Depression, Anxiety, Mood Changes, Sleep Problems, Lethargy, Overeating, Social Problems, and/or Sexual Problems.


SAD is treatable throughout the winter with Phototherapy, Time Outdoors, Counseling, Exercise, and/or Antidepressant Medication.  However, it is important to recognize that this is what is happening so that you can seek help when those winter months return and start to affect your mood.  


Fortunately, we are at the end of winter here in Michigan, and the effects of SAD tend to lessen as our exposure to natural sunlight hours increase.  So, if this has been an especially difficult winter for you, recognize that something more might be going on.  And, get yourself outside so you can bounce back in our great warm weather!


For more information on SAD, check out:


-Emily DeJong, L.M.F.T.

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Another Self-Help Tip!

I recently read an article on self-help tips, by the former editor-in-chief of The Oprah Magazine, Amy Gross (no relation). She had been asked for advice on maintaining calm in the face of change. The person asking was not interested in trying the usual recommended strategies since they had been tried and failed. Amy’s response was to compare that to trying to stay fit without exercising. This reminded me of the struggle faced by many others in overcoming obstacles, either with interpersonal relations or for self-improvement, that often bring one to counseling.

Self-help tips are wonderful ways to jump-start your personal improvement project. There are plenty of articles written in popular magazines and newspapers filled with self-help tips on how to de-stress your life, de-clutter your closets, lose weight, stay happy, or raise perfect children. And with New Year’s Eve right around the corner, resolution time brings new promises for some type of change. Most of us will start off on the right foot and have some degree of success, only to give up at the first obstacle encountered, thus derailing the entire effort. Excuses often used include, “It’s too cold to go to the gym”, “The kids just have too much energy and I don’t have time”; “New TV shows make it hard to get off the couch”, etc…

Every good self-help tip requires willpower to maintain when what is really needed is a mindset change. Willpower requires lots of energy while habits and unhealthy habitual reactions are difficult to change. We need to acknowledge that. It is important to forgive ourselves for the small slip ups and not give up the whole ship just because there is a repairable leak in the boat. If perfection is the only acceptable outcome, it will always be out of grasp. Often, an all or none mentality undermines the small successes. What is needed is to acknowledge what works and then to do more of it. At some point it is important to embrace consistent efforts as “good enough”. The most helpful mindset is often one of “trying and practice” which, through prayer and meditation, is possible to achieve.

So, this year, my resolution is just to practice. Practice calm. Practice love. Practice forgiveness. Practice kindness and generosity. Practice ethical behavior. Practice compassion to achieve understanding and tolerance. Practice good health habits. And practice patience. If I keep directing the calm, love, forgiveness, compassion, tolerance and patience to my self as well as to others, many of the obstacles to self improvement may disappear.

Anita Gross, MA, LLPC

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New Employment Opportunity Available

We currently have an opening for an Afternoon/Evening Mental Health Specialist (Independent Contractor).

Position for an out-patient mental health specialist specializing in children and families at a faith based non-profit agency. This position requires an M.A., M.S., M.S.W.,  or higher degree from an accredited university. Applicant must be licensed by the State of Michigan and experienced in mental health treatment planning and counseling. The applicant should have skills in working specifically with families, adolescents and children. This is a part time position for afternoons and some evenings, although counselor will have a choice in scheduling times and size of client caseload.

Please see our Employment Opportunities page for more information.

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Bridging the Mental Health Gap

Christian Counseling of Mid Michigan (CCMM) has been operational since 2008 as a mission of Community Church. However, last year CCMM became a non-profit agency and we are striving to more independently sustain the agency.

Our community has been responsive to meet the needs of the homeless and hungry. However, there are many in our community who have serious mental health needs and no (or limited) resources for securing such assistance. Community Mental Health has numerous state-mandated restrictions that have disqualified a sizable number of would-be clients who desperately need mental health treatment. Therefore, a group of six of us, all licensed counselors or psychologists, have been offering counseling services to those families, children, and individuals who might not otherwise receive professional assistance. Together we strive with passion to bridge the mental health gap. Indeed, we work to improve the lives of children and adults for generations to come. Without counseling intervention, the future for many in our community is discouraging.

Here are some facts to assist you in understanding our organization.

  1. Our administrative costs are minimal. One part time-receptionist manages schedules, keeps records, maintains financial accounting, bills insurance, etc.
  2. Our director receives no salary for agency management and leadership.
  3. All clients are served regardless of race, age, faith, or sexual orientation. Any discussions of spiritual issues are client initiated.
  4. All six clinicians are paid $35.00 per session, regardless of their credentials. Some clinicians make donations back to the clinic.
  5. We are pursuing CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accreditation. Written documents are in process.
  6. Currently, we have 286 open client cases.
  7. We have met with eleven clergy from six local churches to offer counseling and consultation services to them and their parishioners. In fact, consultation with one church is currently ongoing.
  8. There are 147 homeless children in Isabella County. Some have resulting mental health issues.

In conclusion, we are a team of caring mental health professionals working to bridge the mental health gap in our community. Our intention is for counseling services to be available and affordable to all who desire such services. Call 989-317-4664 for more information.