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The See Saw

picture of children on a see saw

Tom and Mary are sitting on opposite ends of a see-saw trying to get it to move. Tom tries to push up on his side of the see saw and expects Mary to give the same effort. Every time Tom puts in a little effort, he wants Mary to put in the same amount of effort. If Mary does not put in the same effort, Tom will complain that he is the only one that is trying and that Mary is not doing anything. As long as Tom keep urging Mary to put the same effort on the board, Tom is sitting on the ground and Mary is dangling in the air. Neither one of them have fun because the see saw is not moving up and down.Tom finally decides to keep working hard to increase the motion from his side of the board, and, eventually the board is moving freely and they both have an enjoyable time....

          Husband -wife relationships, parent-child relationship.
          When a couple is having problems with their relationship, one of the partners often complains that he or she is the only one that is doing all the work in the marriage. If they are doing a good deed for their spouse, they expect the partner to return the favor to him/her. Neither one of them are willing to give unless the other partner is willing to put in the same effort.  Unless one of them is willing to give sacrificially, the battle goes on.   If one of them gives without expecting anything in return, eventually the relationship will start to move forward.  The receiving partner may even be touched by the giving partner’s love. In a couple’s relationship, if both partners exercise this kind of giving attitude with no expectation from the other partner, the relationship becomes very safe. There is no reason why the relationship will not grow deeper.
          The same principle applies to the emotional closeness between a parent and a child. When a parent gives his/her child affection only if the child meets his expectations, the child will always feel insecure about the parent’s love. The child will worry and feel parental acceptance is conditional and based on performance. It creates a gap in their relationship. On the other hand, if a parent is willing to love the child unconditionally without expecting anything in return, the child will feel very safe and secure that he/she is able to share positive or negative feelings and thoughts with parent. The child knows that he/she is loved even though he/she might have misbehaved at time. This security is going to bring their relationship closer together and develop a lifetime bond.

The Squirrel

image of a squirrel

ANALOGY: A squirrel decided to go across the street in a residential neighborhood.
While it was in the middle of the road, a car came swiftly down the street. The squirrel heard the noise and instead of continuing on its quest, it stopped and turned partially around, it considered whether to go back to the original sidewalk or continue to move to the other side of the street.
It quickly darted towards its starting point and then inexplicably turned back towards the original destination. The car proceeded in a smooth line and hit the indecisive squirrel.

APPLICATION: This analogy applies to “decision making”.

EXPLANATION: No one can escape from decision making as it is part of life. Some people like to question a decision after it has been made. They wonder what life would be liked if they did not make that decision and worry about what kind of problems they may face as a result of the decision. When this happens, individuals become so stressed that they may develop symptoms such as anxiety, fear, insomnia, depression and other emotional and physical problems. Individuals who are unsatisfied about a decision have the same struggles as the squirrel trying to decide whether to go back to where it came from or to move ahead to the other side of the street. The squirrel ended up dead because of his indecisiveness. Although those who constantly question their decisions may not ended up dead like the squirrel, the emotional stresses are detrimental to their emotional and physical health.
None of the decisions we make is perfect. There is often unexpected problems arising after the decision has been made. These difficulties make the individuals doubt their decisions. They wonder what life would be like if they did not make that decision; or they would try to ponder what life will be like if they had chosen a different path.
For instance, when individuals encounter difficulties in a job situation, they may feel that they must be in the wrong line of work and they should be at their job. They begin to doubt themselves as a person and their abilities to perform on the job. Longing to be in a different job only makes the present job more unbearable. Every job has different struggles. Staying in the present job and getting help to deal with current issues will empower their inner strength and build confidence in the long run. Quitting the job and moving to a different job will not guarantee that there will not be struggles, It just will be a different set of problems they have to deal with.

Client Stories


recovering from abuse-

"Searching For Love "

My journey with Dr. Rita started about a year ago thru a recommendation from Pastor M-- at my church. I came to her broken hearted and mistrustful of everyone in my life; together we have dug deep; to find my faith again.

At the age of six my parents divorced because my dad was sexually abusing my brother, sister, and I. That was the year that he abandoned me and I realized that what he called love was horribly wrong. I never received a birthday or Christmas card, or an apology. My innocence of childhood was gone, replaced with guilt and shame.

The next few years were very lonely and chaotic for me, my mom turned to alcohol and a parade of men, most were alcoholics and one even tried to kill her. She wasn’t around much and my older sister tried to step up and fill her shoes by taking care of my brother and I, but she couldn’t handle the responsibility at that age and she became angry and resentful towards us. I always felt growing up that my sister didn’t like me and a year ago she blurted out that it was unfortunate I was born, finally I her attitude towards me was confirmed. I really started to believe that I was on my own, that no one cared. As a teenager I was heavily involved with drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous sex, not a huge surprise considering the environment I had grown up with. I didn’t feel safe at home so I began to run the streets and dropped out of school. My life was out of control; I was angry, hurt, and very damaged. I began my own cycle of broken relationships with men and gave birth to my sons when I was seventeen and twenty-one. I spent my twenties trying to replace the broken family that I had, and even ended up in a motorcycle club for about five years, more dysfunction…but sadly still normal to me. At the age of thirty my life came crashing down around me, my oldest son who was twelve at the time was hit by a car. The doctors took me into a room and told me to pray for the best, but prepare for the worst. My mom kept trying to convince me that it was going to be okay, but I knew in my heart that our lives would never be the same. My world got very dark and I went into shock. I lost track of time, I was consumed with worry and I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t get any answers from the doctors, it was always, “we just don’t know”. Many times I found myself in the flower garden behind the hospital, crying and praying that we would make it through all of this. One day something happened that I will never forget; as I left a man was walking towards me. As we got closer I noticed that he looked and dressed just like Jesus. My hair on my arms stood up and if he had spoken to me I would have passed out. I still question that day and my mind tries to rationalize it by thinking that maybe there was a play going on, but maybe it was a sign that I wasn’t walking thru this life alone. Two miracles happened that year, my son survived and my relationship and my relationship with my mother got better. We finally were able to connect emotionally and I was able to forgive her, unfortunately my relationship with my brother and sister became non-existent and it would be ten long years before I would open that door again.

I spent the next ten years putting my life back together and being a mother to my boys. I now had a child with special needs and I tried to become a “super woman” trying to handle it all on my own. It took a lot out of me and with no support group in place I began to turn back to alcohol and drugs to cope. About this time, another man entered my life and I really did like him, but he had issues of his own. By this time, I was just tired of all my failed attempts at previous relationships. I wouldn’t allow him to get too close to me and it caused him a lot of pain, he dealt with his pain by turning to other women any love or trust we felt for each other was buried under anger and hurt. I felt that I had no choice but to walk away. I didn’t have the tools to fix it, I was scared and hurt and I still hadn’t dealt with my own issues. He asked me to start going to church and I agreed as a last ditch effort. I wasn’t convinced that it would help us, but I wanted to start a healing in my heart not just from another broken relationship, but my whole life. It wasn’t easy to let go of the anger and hurt. The first few times I went to church I just sat there and cried. I started listening to Pastor M-- till the story of Jesus’ life and how he forgave and still loved us even after all he had gone thru and I began to understand why it was important for me to do the same, why I had to let it go so I could open my heart and have joy in my life again. We made an appointment to see Dr. Rita. We have brought God into our lives and by working with Dr. Rita we are learning to communicate better and be supportive of each other’s needs. We go to church every week and I no longer question whether he is committed to me. This is the first man that showed that he would stay thru the good and the bad, he takes care of my boys and me, and I know that he loves us. I am truly blessed. Our relationship isn’t perfect, but we now have the tools to build it into something great and lasting.

I finally opened the door to my brother and sister and even though my brother isn’t healthy enough to be in my life, I pray for a good outcome and love him from afar. My sister and I are working at it, and talking to Dr. Rita has helped me to understand how our childhood has affected her and today I have more compassion and less resentment towards her.

My journey hasn’t been a fairy tale, but it sure has been quite a ride, and I have survived all the bumps in the road. I’m stronger and wiser, and it’s brought me closer to God. My children are my greatest accomplishment and I have learned thru mothering them to be compassionate and proud. I have a loving man in my life that wants to grow old together, he’s not perfect but he is perfect for me. I don’t know what my future holds but I believe that if I continue to keep God in my life and do my work I will continue to be blessed, that is my faith.

Overcoming cancer-

"Physical, emotional and Social Healing "

I was diagnosed with cancer; I felt hopeless even though I had a good medical team working with me. They listened well, but explained that I had to go through surgery within a few days. There was no time for processing any of the procedures.
After surgery, I was scheduled for weekly chemotherapy visits and I had to give myself shots daily for 140 days. I was trying to deal with the anxiety while doing the daily shots. It was good that my husband J. was retired so he could accompany me to every appointment. When I finished chemotherapy treatments I had to start with radiology treatments. I spent a lot of time sleeping. Then I began to develop anxiety problems. The anxiety became so overwhelming that I thought that I heard noises and I became so scared. I was nervous about any phone calls or appointments. J. had to speak for me in all the doctor appointments; in one doctor’s office, the nurse was confused about who was the patient. I was prescribed an antidepressant. The doctors wanted me to see a psychologist, and I insisted that I wanted to meet with Dr. Rita.
The first few times J. took notes and spoke for me. When Rita asked me questions, I would only answer in few words. The medication was not working well because I still had anxiety attacks. Dr. Rita told me that the anxiety really came from my thoughts. She helped me calm down and realize that I wasn’t going to die from anxiety because it was not a physical problem. Rita taught me some coping skills to deal with anxiety.
I became able to take control of my thoughts and I experienced my first victory. Rita told me that I could continue to use the same method and I would have more victories. I began to have one victory after another in coping with my anxieties. Eventually my confidence in myself began to rebuild. I felt more and more confident to do many things. Then Dr. Rita suggested that we start sessions without my husband. I was able to put my thoughts together and talked. I could remember my childhood. And I was not afraid of the anxiety anymore, because I knew how to deal with it. All because of the care of my physician, Dr. Rita and God’s strength that I became free from anxiety problems.
I was becoming more active and I felt like I am back to my normal self. Since I was doing so well, my doctor was willing to start tapering off my medication. As the antidepressants tapered off, I continued to claim more victories in my life.
Throughout the whole process, we all experienced God’s presence. We always prayed at the end of the sessions and gave everything to God. In one of the sessions Dr. Rita told me that God inspired her to talk about my mother whom I had not seen for a year or so, we had some misunderstandings and she had lived out of state, but now she was closer.
A few days after that session, Jerry and I drove past the nursing home where my mom had just been placed since moving back to Michigan. I told J. that I needed to visit her. So we went that very day, I know she was sick. I got to kiss her on the forehead. We were again glad to see her and within two weeks my mother passed away.
I was glad that I did not go to see a secular counselor because God worked through the healing process when I went to see Dr. Rita. God was working on my mom to make her ready for the visit. He was working on my heart to make me ready. He also was working on Dr. Rita’s mind to inspire her to talk about my mom in the session.

An adult's recovery from abuse-
" Once I was lost, now I am saved"

Hello, I consider it an honor to speak about my experience working with Dr. Rita from Trinity Counseling. She has been a very important and positive part of my life for many years. My ability to stand here before you and talk about this is a testimony of the healing that has taken place inside of me through Rita’s guidance.

To give you a little background, I was brought up in a physically and emotionally abusive home. My dad was an alcoholic and my mother abused prescription medications. My parents were very cold and unloving. It was common for my father to do things like flip the dinner table upside down in the middle of dinner – or for my brothers and I to lay awake at night while my mother was being beaten by my father.  

The fear inside my home grew as my father’s anger intensified. One particular incident has stuck with me throughout the years. As a form of discipline, my father forced my brother to kill my pet rabbit, forced my mother to cook it and forced me to eat it. As my brothers got older, my father switched from using belts to attacking my brothers with knives and baseball bats. As I grew older I started cutting myself with razor blades because watching myself bleed was the only way I could tell that I was alive because I felt dead inside. I was going to school with black eyes and telling the school counselors that I fell down the stairs because I was so scared to let anyone know what was happening at home. It was our horrible family secret. 

When I was 17, I decided to run away from home and to be on my own. I managed to find a job, find a place to live and graduate from high school. But from that point on, I was wandering haphazardly through my life. My struggle with anxiety and depression had only just begun. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere -- like I was always on the outside looking in—with no real connections. In my 20’s I hung out with friends in nightclubs and developed unhealthy relationships. I was looking for a way to replace the love I never felt as a child.  I ended up finding men who were emotionally and sometimes physically abusive toward me. If these men rejected me, I felt my world crash in around me. To me -- Love was pain and pain was love. Stress overcame me and I developed severe panic attacks, insomnia, depression and I became suicidal.

Over the years I went to several counselors trying to find out what was wrong with me. Some of them were not very helpful. I told one of my counselors that I was so angry at my parents that I wished they were dead. The counselor stood up and said he was going to call the police – so I quit counseling. Several years later I confided in a coworker who was a Christian and he referred me to Dr. Rita. I was not a Christian and was I very nervous to go back to counseling. I had written everything down on paper the first time I went to see Dr. Rita. But I soon learned that I didn’t need a list. I could be me. I finally felt totally accepted and understood. And most importantly, I felt loved by Rita.  She talked about Jesus and God and the best thing was that she would pray with me. She explained to me that I could fill up my empty love tank with Jesus.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from Rita is that it is okay to cry. It seems so simple for most people but when I started seeing Rita I couldn’t cry. I was the oldest child, always feeling that I had to be strong. Because I had so much sadness inside of me, I used to think that if I started crying, I would never stop. With Rita’s help, I learned that crying is healing – and that I wasn’t physically able to cry forever. I also learned that since my parents could never give me affection, I needed to learn how to love that little scared girl inside of me.  As I began to work with Rita, she helped me to begin to feel safe expressing my emotions with her. I really liked it when she gave me homework assignments. The assignments really helped me to focus on the lessons I learned in counseling.

When I started seeing Rita, I felt very alone in this world. I had been estranged from my family since I left home.  With Rita’s help, I was able to reestablish a relationship with my mother and brothers. In one of our sessions, Rita had me go to another room and write a letter to my mother, who had divorced my father and had remarried. I wrote an eight page letter and I experienced some serious emotions while I was writing it.  I mailed the letter to my mother she responded after a long period of time. Thanks to Rita, I was able to have some kind of relationship with my mother before she died. I also managed to reestablish contact my brothers. One of my brothers passed away but I have developed a close connection with my younger brother. We now get together with each other during holidays and  I finally feel like we’ve become family.

Over the years, I would stop going to Rita when I was able to get back my own feet.  Whenever I have a crisis, I always came back to her just like a college student bringing dirty laundry back home.  I feel like she is my family. We connected easily every time I came back; it was like there was no time space between the periods of time I went to her. 

My family attended church on and off during my childhood. As an adult, I developed mixed feelings about God and the church. I stopped going to church. Love was pain to me.  Recently, Rita prayed with me to accept Christ as my personal savior.  My friend, Dave and Rita encouraged me to go to church.  Within the church, I found my family. To day, I am actively involved in Meridian Christian Church. By the way, we are planning a pink slip party for those who are unemployed. If anyone from you church who is unemployed, please encourage them to come. It is free. 

I am very happy with where I am at in life now. I will graduate in November with a Master’s degree. Thanks to Rita, I found out I could do many things that I thought I was incapable of doing before.  Rita told me there was gold in any bad situation if you looked hard enough. Some of the gold I found is  that because of my dad’s abusive behavior toward animals, I’ve developed a love of animals today and as a result of the abuse I experienced at home, I left home early and learned to be independent at a very early age.  If I have crisis in life,  I can go to God and come home to Rita! They will be there for me!

A Child ′s Recovery after Divorce -

"Butterflies in my stomach"

My mom and dad fought all the time before the divorce. I was tired during the day at school because I could not go to sleep until I did not hear my parents fight anymore. Later, I found out that my mom had a boyfriend. Then my dad married my mom’s best friend.

I had to go to my dad and my mom’s home on different weeks. My stomach hurt when I had to go to my dad’s home because I was worried if mom was going to be okay by herself. It was very hard for me to call someone “mom” when I knew she was my friend’s mom. I used to be the youngest one when dad and mom were together because I only had a big brother. When I was at dad’s home, I had to share a room with my younger sister and she did not want me to be there. She got mad at me a lot because she missed her dad. My big brother was no longer protecting me because he had another brother now. My stomach hurt whenever I was with my dad and my step-mom. 

Coming to Dr. Rita was very fun.  We talked, played games, did crafts and made a book together. She actually helped me, she is so understanding. I looked forward to going every week. We made a necklace that reminded me to pray for my mom whenever I missed her. It really helped because I knew God would answer my prayers and He would protect my mom. Dr. Rita showed me ways to deal with my brother when he was not nice to me. I learned to play school with my little sister and of course, I was the teacher. I liked playing dolls with her because I could be the mother and tell her what to do. Dr. Rita helped me to look at the good things in both dad and mom’s home. I liked going to dad’s home now. The step-mom was nice to me. I still liked to be with my mom more; but I was able to enjoy going to my dad’s home a little more. My brother was not treating  me badly anymore. My little sister was excited for to come. Dr. Rita was right. My little sister needed me because I knew how it felt to miss a parent. I could even comfort her. Dr. Rita also taught me that it is up to me to be happy wherever I go. I decided to make the best of it whether I am with my dad or my mom. Although I still have butterflies in my stomach when I have to stay with my dad for a few weeks, but I just try to enjoy the time with dad so the days go by very fast. Before I know it, I get to go back to my mom. I love coming to Dr. Rita. It is so much fun and she actually had helped me. I am happier now.

Sexual Abuse Victim
"Recovering My Life"

I spent thirty years of my life being abused and I also spent thirty years of my life trying to minimize the damage that the abuse caused.  After I became a Christian, it became easier to minimize the damage, because anytime I would think of all the horrible things that happened to me, I would remember the scripture in Philippians 3:14 that says to forget those things that are behind us.  If I had any problems that had anything to do with the abuse, I learned that I was free from my past.  I have learned over the past months that to get rid of my pain I must face it and it must be brought to the light of Jesus.  Truth and light is the way to healing, not hiding.
Although I had been a Christian for many years, there were a lot of areas that I struggled in.  I had a lot of problems with my emotions being out of control.  I could not trust people and any kind of criticism would send me on a crying jag for days.  I always felt like there was something terribly wrong with me.  I would never have guessed that all of those problems had something to do with my abuse.
I am so very thankful that I had a Pastor who loved me enough to stop me from my self destructive ways.  I remember sitting in his office and him telling me that I needed to go to counseling.  I remember being so angry and so afraid.  I spent two months trying to persuade him that I did not have a problem and he spent two months telling me I did.
One day I was at the Bible bookstore looking at books.  I picked up a book called “The Wounded Heart”.  It was a book about sexual abuse.  As I read it, the Lord spoke to me and told me how much he loved me and how he wanted to heal my wounded heart, finally I began my journey of healing.  What a wonderful powerful God we serve.
At the next meeting with my Pastor, he prayed with me that I would be able to find a counselor I could trust.  I found the listings for different places, and when I read about Trinity Counseling, I felt the Lord speak to me and tell me that Rita was the person he wanted me to see.  I had not told my Pastor yet and at my next meeting with him he gave me a paper that had a testimony of a girl that was sexually abused.  At the bottom of the paper it said Trinity Counseling.  It was the confirmation I needed.
I remember my first meeting with Dr. Rita, I was so frightened.  It makes me laugh now, because every week I look forward to my time with Rita. Dr. Rita has helped me to face my past.  By facing my abuse God has healed me of so many things.
When I was abused I learned to deaden my emotions just so I could survive what was happening to me.  The sad part is, I spent most of my life trying to hide from the painful emotions that were locked inside of me.  Rita helped me to see that it was healing to release those emotions.
Before I came to counseling I always had so much sadness, even when I was happy there would be a part of me that felt so sad.  For the first time in my life I am actually able to feel pure joy.  The place of sadness is gone.
Another thing that has happened is that I can cry without feeling guilty.  I was always taught that it was wrong to cry.  Every time I would cry I would feel so guilty and I would feel like something was wrong with me, but I have learned from Rita that God gave us tears for a reason.  They are given to wash away toxic emotions.  When we repress them we just shove all those toxic emotions inside of us.  Even Jesus wept.  I cry a lot now, but most of the time they are tears of joy and tears because I feel so overwhelmed about how great God is.
One of the most wonderful things God has done is he has taken away the condemnation I felt.  I used to sit in a room with people and all I could think of was how inferior I felt and how everybody in that room did not like me and would rather not be with me.  Even when I was with family or close friends I would feel that way.  As I began to face my abuse those feelings began to subside.  My most wonderful gift at Christmas was that my Pastor took my husband and I out to supper and I sat in the room and I actually felt totally loved and accepted.  It was such a wonderful victory.
I am so thankful that I am able to share my feelings more openly.  I had always been very distant even with my own family.  Since God has began healing my heart, my relationship with my children has also changed immensely.
I am very thankful that God has changed my relationship with friends and family, but the relationship that has changed the most is my relationship with Him.  Even though I had been a Christian for 25 years, I had always loved God from a distance.  I knew that He loved me, but I thought that He could never truly understand how I felt, because He had never gone through the things I had gone through.  One day as I was talking to God, I began to think of a terribly abusive situation I had gone through.  I said, “Lord, they beat me and almost killed me.” And He showed me Jesus being beaten.  Then I said to Him, “Lord they made fun of me the whole time they were abusing me.”  And the Lord showed me how the soldiers had mocked His Son the whole time they were beating Him.  I said, “Lord, after two days of tortuous abuse they threw me to the side of the road like a piece of trash.”  God showed me that they had treated His Son the same way.  That He come to this earth to die for us and people treated Him like a piece of trash.  I said, “God, you can totally understand how it feels to be tortured and abused, but how can you ever understand how it feels to be sexually abused.  He spoke to me and said, " I do understand how it feels to be sexually abused.  They ripped off all my clothes and I stood before people naked and exposed.”  Those two words ripped through my heart, because those were the two words any sexual assault victim feels.  Naked and exposed.  That day began a new and much deeper relationship with my Lord.  He truly had partaken in the same suffering that I had felt and He had done it willingly.  I had been forced to participate, but He had willingly submitted to that kind of pain so I could be free. 
Today I stand before you a free woman who is being healed of a very wounded heart.  My freedom happened because of the love of a Pastor, the guidance of a wonderful Godly counselor, but most of all because of a wonderful, loving God.

A College Student Overcomes Panic Attacks-
"There is hope when I felt hopeless "

 It started with me sliding down to the ground and laying on the floor in my towel. I didn’t know what was happening to me. The only thing that I remember is lying on the floor crying.  The next thing I knew it was 10 minutes later and my friend Kelly was comforting me and telling me to take a deep breath. My leg hurt immensely and I didn’t know why until I look at it. It was bleeding. What I had done is taken my nails and scratched it till it was bleeding. I didn’t know why. This was my very first anxiety attack. After that it seemed to get worse. Throughout the whole next week I had 8 or 9 anxiety attacks. Some were right after the other in the same day. They just seemed to be getting worse and worse. 
This had to do with the sexual abuse that happened in my past that I had not been dealing with. It had been hidden from my world for 10 years. I didn’t talk about it with anyone; I just tried not to remember it. I put all of my feelings in a box, locked it and threw away the key. But after 10 years of holding in so many emotions my mind, my heart didn’t know what to do anymore. I never felt good about myself. I felt dirty, used, and unworthy of any close relationship. I only had girl friends. I have only been able to really open up to 2 of them in my whole life. I rarely ever had guy friends. I just didn’t’ trust them. The only man that I ever did really trust was my father. He was the only one that I could ever be close to. It never seemed like I could ever me my real self with anyone. There was always a big part of me that I felt like I had to hide from the world. It was kind of like being an iceberg. There was only a small part of me that anyone ever saw. I always had a wall up with people. I was afraid of what people might think of the real me.
After my anxiety attacks my parents realized there was something seriously wrong with me. I needed help. They knew that, and I knew that but I was too afraid to face it. When I first started to see Dr. Rita it became a chore for me. To be honest, at first I hated every minute of it.  I didn’t really think that she could help me.  It was so awkward he first time I told Dr. Rita about my abuse.   I really didn’t know what to say or what to do. I had never ever talked about it with someone in my whole life. The first few weeks were so difficult for me. It was so hard to balance my life and my meetings with Dr. Rita. It seemed like my abuse was taking over my life, and I couldn’t control it anymore. I didn’t want that to happen. I had controlled it, or so I thought, for that past 10 years. I was not about to let me beat me, or run my life. I had to face it. 
 It wasn’t until 2 months later that I really began to really see a huge improvement in my life. What changed everything was Dr. Rita told me to write down in detail what had happened to me. So I had to write down all of the times that I could remember being sexually abused. At first I didn’t want to. I fought it actually. It took me few weeks to really consider it. The first time I sat down to write it out it seemed like I couldn’t stop. I just kept going and going.  I felt so good to get it out. I am never really good with expressing myself in speaking, but when it comes to writing it down, I really had it easy. I then brought what I wrote to my next session with Dr. Rita and she told me to read it to her.    She stopped me from time to time to allow me to go back in time and felt those feelings again and she helped me to relax my body as I was going through. After the next couple sessions with Dr. Rita I really began to open up and I was comfortable with really sharing how I felt with her. I felt like a new person.
 I began to feel like the person I was before the abuse happened. It was amazing! I never though someone could feel so good about themselves before. Not only did I notice the change but my parents did too. They told me I was more myself, and they could see that I was able to express my feelings more. They could really tell how counseling made a wonderful difference. Before this change my parents felt like they had to always walk on eggshells around me. They were afraid that if they did or what to say because they though one day they were going to say or do something that was going to upset me too much and I was going to go into another anxiety attack. After my later sessions with Dr. Rita it seemed like the biggest burden in the whole world was just lifted right off of me. There was this part of me that held me back from really being the child of God that I was meant to be. Thanks to Dr. Rita, myself, and the one person that helped me though all of this, my Jesus, my Savior I had gotten though the toughest most burdening part of my life that I had ever had to go though.
Another thing that I noticed that changed was my relationship with my Savior. I have always grown up with the knowledge of God in my heart. I have also grown to love him and trust him more and more each day. But to really explain to you how this whole experience in my life has really changed I need to explain how my faith had been in the past. My faith has always been the rock that my house has been built on. I have based my decisions and my actions on my Faith. That is the way that I was raised. That is the way that my parents lived their lives. All my life I have been active in my church. I volunteered for VBS, Sunday school, and the children’s choir when I was younger and gone on Mission trips to Haiti and Macau, China. Not one of those faith experiences changed my spiritual life as much as this has, though each of them has changed me as a person and in my walk of faith. I would have not been able to get though this if I didn’t have my faith and my Jesus at my side. A few things that have changed are my own view of my faith. Before this I really saw myself as just trying to do as many good things that I could to be faithful Christian. I had heard so many times that good works did not and could not get you into heaven. I knew that. But I always seemed to be involved with so many things. I don’t think I really did those things to work my way into heaven, I think I did them to help myself. I think I did all of my volunteering so that I could view myself better. To show myself that I deserved the wonderful life that God had given me. I know now, after all of that has happened, that I never needed to think in this way at all. God had given me gifts and riches because he loves me, not because I needed to prove myself with them. I see myself as the wonderful child of God that he would do anything for; even give his own Son to die for. 
I also leaned on God so much during this whole thing. I really relied on him for everything. That is not how it always was in my life. In the beginning of my journey, I thought that I could do it all by myself. I thought that if I was strong enough these past 10 years then I was strong enough to get though the healing process. That was Satan talking. He tried to make me believe that if I just kept doing what I was doing I could handle it all by myself and that I didn’t need God to help me though it. Everyone needs God in their life. He is the friend that is there at all hours. He is the friend that you can talk to about anything and you know you don’t have to worry about what they might think or if they will love you after everything. God loves me no matter what.
I also saw myself as undeserving of God’s love. In the beginning of my journey I thought what happened to me was my fault, that I could have stopped it and that I chose not to. So I thought that because I didn’t do anything to stop it, he bruised me for life. Because I thought I was bruised and used, God didn’t deserve a dirty child. All of this was just another evil plan of the Devil. He wanted to make me feel worthless and unworthy of God’s love; because he knew that God has a plan for me. God does have a plan for me. That is definitely just one of the many things that I have learned though all of this. I am a wonderful child of God and he has a planned and designed life for me.

Overcoming Cutting Issues-
"Life Transforming Experience "

When I first went to therapy I doubted that it would help me. I was emotionally in the worst place I had ever been. I had anxiety, depression and I was a cutter. In my life I had been molested, physically and emotionally abused, and to top it all off my boyfriend, the first guy I felt I could trust in my life, had just broken up with me.

He was the reason I went for help. He had caught me in the bathroom cutting myself and he told me he would no longer be with me until I got into therapy. I was so in denial I couldn’t see why he was so angry about what I was doing. I wasn’t suicidal or anything. It was just something I did to feel better. It was almost as if I had to punish myself for all the things I felt I wasn’t good enough for.

The abuse that I been through in my life had scarred me to the point where I no longer was able to function like a normal person. I was terrified to make decisions. I had no friends because I was scared to meet people, and I constantly was putting myself into the victim role. I trained myself to be weak, and shy, and to never speak up for myself. I had convinced myself that this behavior would make people like me. I was so sure that everyone would end up hurting me that I put up a guard to keep everyone out. Even my boyfriend of five years was only just learning about my past abuses. I probably would have never told him except for the fact that he found out that I had been cutting myself.

Finally things got to the point where my boyfriend gave me a choice: Get help, or else he would be gone for good. I had no idea where to go for help, and the idea of it was so scary. My grandmother called the pastor of her church and he was able to recommend a counseling center that would not only help me heal, but also help me grow in relationship with God.

My first few sessions were so frightening. I felt scared, weak, anxious and helpless. I couldn’t be alone, and I felt like everyone was against me. In therapy I could not hide, I had to face myself. It was very difficult. As time went on I started feeling more comfortable. I started to see that I could trust Dr. Rita, and that I could tell her my past and she would never judge me like everyone else. I had always been someone who hid from my pain, but with the help of Dr. Rita I was able to face my issues, and have her there to help me cope without fear. I realized that I not only needed to deal with my past but also with current issues. I had always made myself the victim because then I thought that people would feel like they needed to protect me and love me. I finally realized this only made it tougher to have relationships and why I had only bad relationships in my life. I had a hard time trusting people; I was filled with low self-esteem, and had no close friends.

Once I got used to therapy it was so easy. It even felt good to talk and be able to vent about my past. As time went on I became a stronger person both emotionally and spiritually. I realized that I wasn’t a victim of my past abuses, but a victor! I had survived all those things and managed to get on with my life. Through the course of my therapy I started to learn my triggers that would set of my anxiety. I was able to see that I was doing the most damage to myself by thinking negative thoughts. There was no reason that I should have felt guilty about my past, the things that happened to me were not my choice.

The toughest, but the most rewarding thing to learn was that assertiveness is not the same thing as aggressiveness. I always thought in order to stand up for myself I would have to be mean to others, which is why I never did it. I now realize I can be assertive and be a good person who people respect. As I realized this truth my faith grew more and more.

Dr. Rita helped me to pray and accept Christ. I started to see that I wasn’t alone. Through all the bad things that had happened to me God had been with me. If he hadn’t I doubt I would have had the strength to survive it all. I used to see myself as a broken person who had no hope. I now no longer have angry outbursts. I have more friends, and I’m not scared to ask for what I want. I now have a second chance to enjoy my life and experience things that I choose as opposed to what others choose for me. I am no longer afraid of being along because I know that I always will have God with me. If I don’t feel that I have the strength to handle a situation I know now that I can pray for God to help me.

A Couple's Story
"At the End of Our Rope"

His story                
    Ever since we moved to Michigan, we experienced one hardship after another.  We came to Michigan so that my wife could go to law school.  I managed to find a job to support my wife through law school and to provide for my family with four children.   It was very hard because the job was not paying very well.  Then the work hours kept being cut shorter and shorter, so my income was insufficient to support the whole family.  Eventually, I lost my job and I was on unemployment.   In the mist of these financial difficulties stress was building from law school, so my wife and I argued every night.  We knew we had to get help. That was when we walked into Dr. Rita’s counseling clinic.
    While we were in counseling, I found another job with limited income.  Dr. Rita used the Silver Lining Scholarship Fund to help us pay part of the counseling fee.  For that we are very grateful, we would not have been able to receive help without the scholarship fund.  The first sessions were very rough because we continued to argue in the sessions as usual.  Dr. Rita identified our communication problem and coached us how to talk to each other.  We tried to apply those skills. Sometimes it worked; but other times it didn’t because we were so used to our old way of communicating. 
     I felt very inadequate as a husband and a father because my wife continually found fault in me. She had angry outbursts whenever she did not get her way.  I felt like I was walking on eggshells trying to please her, yet constantly failing. Especially when it was her exam week, everyone in the family was yelled at.  
    My wife yelled at me at home and my boss yelled at me at work.  I just wanted to hide in my mother’s basement and escape from reality. I knew I needed to take care of my family, but it was too hard.  I contemplated filing for divorce. But I realized I still loved my wife even though she was an angry person. I felt trapped. 
Individual sessions with Dr. Rita helped me to realize that I was responsible for some of my wife’s anger. Whenever she expressed her feelings to me, I could not wait to defend myself to justify my position. This was a result of having a mother who was verbally abusive towards me as a child.  Whenever I saw people’s facial expression showing any kind of unhappiness, I immediately interpreted it as an attack so I needed to defend myself.  When I started to listen first and allow my wife to express her feelings instead of simply defending myself, her anger outburst became less and less.  
    Our communication has been improving, and then I lost my job again.  We could not come for counseling any more for we had used up all the sessions that were provided by the scholarship fund. But we started seriously using the techniques we learned in the past couple joint sessions.  We started praying together often as Dr. Rita suggested during our sessions with her.  When all the doors seemed shut to us, God opened another way. God wanted to send both of us away from our extended family and move to a different state.  I got a job there and my wife got an internship there.  Our relationship is better than ever.  If we did not have God or Dr. Rita, our marriage probably would be dissolved by now and my children would be suffering.  We are very happy together now.

Her story:
    I was under tremendous stress going through law school; but I know I had to get through it so that our family could have a better life. With my husband‘s job being so unstable, I was afraid I would not be able to finish law school. My frustration turned into anger and my family had to deal with my anger during the time I had to prepare for the examinations.  I knew I had anger problems, but I could not seem to be able to control it.  I requested to have a few individual sessions with Dr. Rita to work on my anger problem. 
     My father left my mom and me when I was a little girl.   My mother had to work so hard to support us that I was often by myself.  I determined to study hard as a child to make something out of myself. I did not want to grow up being poor.  Being a high achiever was also a way to cope with my emotional pain of being abandoned.  That is why I had so much fear of being a failure. My fear was overwhelming me so much that it turned into anger. Once I realized this through counseling, my husband and I were able to talk about our schedule each week so that I had enough time to prepare for all my exams.  I was feeling a little more relaxed.
     I told Dr. Rita about situations when I had angry outbursts.   She found out it all centered on abandonment issues.  Dr. Rita helped me to find ways to deal with those situations when my husband was late coming home or late coming to bed with me.  Now I started to feel like I was more in control of my life.  I can take responsible for my own feelings rather than blaming others for my reactions.   
     Our communication is a lot better than before as we used the techniques we learned in the sessions.  We can actually discuss problems and come into a resolution.   We have never done that throughout our marriage.  
     Our financial situation is a lot better than before.  Our relationship with God is much stronger. God did not move us to a different state and give us stable jobs until our relationship was reconciled.   It was so amazing that God worked things out in a miraculous way.  We were once at the end of the rope, God showed us that He was there holding us. We think about Dr. Rita often, our family would be broken without her help.  

Overcoming anxiety-

"I knew that I was always adapting myself, but I believed that the anxiety I had was the problem rather what was underneath it, namely how I viewed myself."

I have been seeing Dr. Rita for about a year and a half. I began seeing Dr. Rita a few months after graduating from Michigan State University. I’d accepted my first teaching job and was in the middle of orientation when, because I was so overwhelmed with all the changes and new responsibilities in my life, I had a nervous breakdown. Up until that point, anxiety was a routine part of my life, but I’d always been able to either control or push through it. This time, however, I’d hit a point where that was no longer possible, and I realized that if I didn’t figure out what was going on I was going to continue being crushed by anxiety.

When Dr. Rita and I first started meeting, I felt awkward and embarrassed of where I was at personally. I was also unsure about the counseling process in general, and had a tough time communicating what I was thinking because I didn’t even know where to start. As time passed, however, I slowly allowed myself to open up, and things I didn’t even know existed in my heart began to emerge.

In each session Dr. Rita and I talk about my week, she asks questions about the issues she knows I’m working through, and we discuss why I’m having trouble in those specific areas. Many of the realizations that I’ve made in the past year and a half have been sparked by comments Dr. Rita made during a session. For example, during one of our beginning sessions Dr. Rita pointed out to me that I didn’t understand the concept of grace. Because grace is central to the gospel, and at that point in time I knew I was having a tough time applying the gospel to my life, her comment didn’t come as any real shock to me. What did come as a surprise, though, was that over the next several months this one comment would serve as a catalyst for drawing out other issues from my heart.

For example, one of the issues where I needed grace was in the way I thought about myself. Growing up, I was constantly nagged and criticized by my mother, and felt like I was never able to measure up to her expectations for me. Over time, I internalized her negative opinion of me and also extended it to how I perceived others viewed me. My way of dealing with this was constantly trying to change myself into a different person who others would like and accept. However, the problem was that I couldn’t please everyone all the time, and each time I didn’t measure up I felt like I was proving once again to myself – and everyone else – that I wasn’t good enough. This perceived failure caused me to be constantly anxious around people because I felt like my worth as a person was always on the line, depending upon how well each social interaction went.

Before seeing Dr. Rita, I knew that I was always adapting myself, but I believed that the anxiety I had was the problem rather what was underneath it, namely how I viewed myself. I thought that I just needed to get rid of my anxiety and then everything would be fine. This was completely unrealistic because I was in a cycle that didn’t allow for me to get rid of my anxiety; if anything it exacerbated the problem. Dr. Rita showed me the cycle I was in and helped me to understand it was my thoughts that were the problem, and that my anxiety was simply the manifestation of a more deeply rooted problem: my beliefs about myself rooted in my relationship with my mom.

As I’ve worked through those issues I’ve made so much progress that I am no longer controlled by what my mother says about me. I’ve rejected her negative comments and replaced them with the truth that God loves me and he designed me to be who I am, and it’s his opinion of me that truly matters. Now I know who I am, I like who I am, and I believe that I do have something to offer to the world as myself. I no longer feel the need to adapt myself to others because I’m confident in myself and know that my value is not defined by others’ opinions of me.

One of the things I’m most grateful for is that Dr. Rita discouraged me from taking medication. I remember times during the past 18 months where I became so frustrated with how slowly my progress was taking place that I just wanted my problems to go away right then. But Dr. Rita insisted that medication alone wouldn’t fix my problems, it would only mask them. And now that I’m at the point where I do see the change that took place because I chose the harder route, and I understand that the problems I was dealing with had nothing to do with the chemicals in my brain; they were linked to sin – both my mother’s and my own – and what I needed was grace to cover them and truth to change the way I viewed myself. That change would never have taken place if I’d simply gone on medication to numb myself from my anxiety.

Since I began meeting with Dr. Rita, God has transformed my perspectives about myself, the world around me, and the gospel. I’ve worked through other issues in the same fashion as the anxiety I experienced as a result of my mother, and have found permanent healing and change in those struggles as well. God has shown me the ugliness of sin – both my own and that of others’ sin which has affected me – and has enabled me to repent, forgive and heal. I’m grateful for what counseling has done for me thus far, and look forward to where God is going to heal me next.
Going through counseling and waiting for a year, I finally get a teaching full time position again.  I am on my way to be a full time teacher for the first time. I feel anxious, but I do not have the anxiety like I had last time.  Counseling helps me to see myself in a positive light. I am excited about how God is going to use me in my job. With God's help, I know I can be the teacher He wants me to be.  Dr. Rita will continue to help me to adapt to my new job by counseling me on the phone. She told me that I do not have to be a perfect teacher. Being a teacher, you grow into your job. You learn each day to be a better teacher through out my whole life. It eases my mind to know that I do not have to be a perfect teacher.  In fact, it is better for me not being perfect so I can depend on God.

A Family's Story
"Devastated by an Accident"

 My husband and I owned a family run gasoline station. We lived in the upstairs apartment over the store we all worked together. I would even watch my baby granddaughter while my daughter was “taking a break” by working with the customers. One day everything changed. I was upstairs playing with the baby when I felt a tremendous explosion, I ran downstairs worried about my daughter, if she was pumping gas and there had been an explosion. I suddenly remembered to get the baby, I looked down and there she was, I hadn’t realized I already had her in my arms. It turned out my daughter was fine, but a loaded fuel truck had hit the buildng as the driver had a heart attack.
I lost all memory of the morning but not the memory of the explosion. I was having a hard time dealing with the loss of both our business and home. Then we tried to get things rebuilt so we could go back to work. Things were frustrating and confusing, there were so many things to deal with while I was still trying to get that day out of my head. I’d wake up at night thinking my daughter had died in the fire and she was no longer with us, but she was ok. So many sleepless nights and I became depressed to the point that I couldn’t do things. It was getting so I couldn’t even think. All I did was cry. I tried to talk to people and help with our insurance claim but I would just cry. My husband and I were not getting along, we were fighting with each other all of the time.
I went to my doctor and he said we needed help. So he gave us a name and a phone number. Dr, Rita Huang. She saved my life. We had our first meeting in February, of course I cried all most the whole time. I felt like I was falling apart day by day. Before, I was very self-sufficient, a good worker and could take care of things in a heart beat –now I was nothing. But Dr. Rita said things to me that made sense and started me to thinking things will be OK; yes, I could see how things will work out. She gave me hope, something I had lost. We prayed and it gave me strength to go on.
I didn’t get better overnight. But knowing I could come and talk to her and she had the answers I needed. I had tried talking to family and friends but they could not help me, they mostly just told me how they would do things.
Dr. Rita told me God would take care of us. He had already taken care of us by steering the truck away from me and my granddaughter and daughter. God had done so many things for us and Dr. Rita helped remind me of this. She was my life line. I knew each week I could go talk to her and she comforted me. Then, she told me clearly what I needed to do. I talked about feelings I was having and she helped me work through them and explained why I was feeling the things I was feeling. The loss of our home and business was hard to leave in the past.
In around July my daughter was pregnant with twins. She had lots of problems with bleeding with babies and was ordered to stay off her feet and in bed most of the time. She only was to get up to do what was absolutely urgent.
She was not allowed to pick up her toddler daughter or laundry. So during the day I took care of her, and her husband took care of her and their daughter at night. Dr. Rita told me if we had the gas station I would not be able to take care of my daughter and granddaughter. God had a plan and we needed to focus on that. So I did and it helped me to pray to Him and pay attention to the important things, and not material things. I was so stuck on the material side of things. I’m still working on that but feel so much better about the important things in life.
In October my son-in-law broke both of his feet. So now I had a daughter finishing her high risk pregnancy, a toddler to take care of, and son-in-law that was bedridden. I was having a tough time dealing with this for I had to do all the running for their household and mine. I took my son-in-law to doctor appointments, surgeries, did all the cleaning and laundry, cooking and so on. The bad thing was, I was without money and they were also having a hard time financially. They had to pay their own health insurance out of their pocket and my son-in-law was on workman’s compensation. I let Dr. Rita know about our problems and she contacted the church to get help for us. Once the church found out, things really started to happen: meals, baby things, people that came to clean, cook and help beyond what we could have asked or imagined. This truly turned our lives around. I was crying, but happy tears now. There even was a man that paid $100.00 a month for the health insurance for the kids. It was a tough time. But because of all the help they didn’t lose the house or their health insurance. After 6 months my son-in-law was back to work and the twin boys were born and they are healthy and happy. We have a new life now starting over with God in our hearts now. We have a house now and God has taken very good care of us.
I still need to keep seeing Dr. Rita for a while. I’m doing so much better. I don’t cry all the time like I did, even though there are many tears in writing this letter for you. There was so much pain in my life. I’m learning how to deal with things in my new life with God in it. I love it and I think we will just grow and grow the more we learn in church. My granddaughter is in Sunday School and she is learning about Jesus. She prays to Him. She know Jesus loves her and it will get her through life so much better.
In closing, Dr. Rita has the experience to help those in emotional need in the community. She is a great person and has a wonderful way of treating her clients.


Dr. Rita (PhD, PsyD, M.A., M.Ed.) is a qualified and compassionate Christian therapist with 20 years of clinical experience. Her counseling expertise is now available to the community. Her office is at Executive Office Park, 5020 Northwind Dr., Suite 101, East Lansing, 48823

Contact us today to start on the road to healing.

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Office Hours are by appointment only. Please contact us or call (517).332-6300.


  • We accept almost all insurances

    Also, many of clients pay on a sliding scale. We want to make professional counseling accessible for those who need it. Please contact us soon to find out how you, or your loved one can get the help that is needed.

  • Dr. rita has special certifications in--

    • Family and Marriage
    • Child and Adolesence
    • Mental Health
    • Bereavement
    • Domestic Violence
  • why people come--

    • Depression
    • Additctions
    • Aging & Retirement
    • Anger Management
    • Anxiety
    • Children's Issues
    • Grief & Personal Loss
    • Illness
    • Life Adjustments
    • Marital Concerns
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  • Office hours by appointment only

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    Please call 517.332.6300
    Executive Office Park
    1770 East Grand River,
    Suite 100,
    East Lansing, 48823
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