Sturgis Consultation Center was established in 1987.
Husband and Wife:
Dr. Sara Sue Schaeffer, LPC, LMFT, ACS
Dr. Schaeffer has nearly 30 years of experience as a counselor in private practice, clinical supervisor, school counselor, counselor educator, and hospital administrator. She was the first chair of the Michigan Board of Counseling and is past president of the Michigan Counseling Association.
Dr. Donald Amidon, LPC, LMFT, ACS
Dr. Amidon has served as a counselor, marriage and family therapist, clinical supervisor, navy chaplain, and hospital service chief for over 30 years. He is an
ordained minister and has served as board president for Hospice and Visiting
Sara Sue Schaeffer and Donald Amidon are owners of Sturgis Consultation Center.
Drew Colbert, MA, LPC,
Drew is a fully licensed professional counselor as well as a limited licensed marriage and family therapist.
In addition to his focus with couples and families, his counseling expertise includes existential therapy; multicultural counseling; issues related to coping with loss and grief; integrated care; mindfulness maintenance; patterns of depression; concerns of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT); phase of life changes; and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
Heather Huber, MA, LPC
Heather is a licensed professional counselor.
Heather works with individuals of all ages, couples, groups, and families to change unhealthy or unwanted lifestyle patterns in order to achieve goals and enjoy an overall sense of satisfaction in relationships and lifestyle. Heather’s experience includes working with people who have concerns regarding anxiety, depression, food disorders, transitional life issues, grief and loss, and boundary and relationship issues.
Sarah Webb, MA, LPC, ACS,
Sarah is a fully licensed counselor, who is also a certified advanced addictions specialist.
In addition to working with adults, children, adolescents and families on living healthy and productive lives, Sarah specializes in trauma informed treatment, all types of addiction treatment and cognitive behavioral approaches to depression, anxiety and pain management to achieve health and well-being.
Ask the Counselors:
Therapy dogs are valuable in a
variety of settings
I understand that you use therapy dogs in your practice. Is this true? How does it work?
Answer: Therapy dogs have been an important part of our practice for over 15 years. Not only have they helped us with patients in our office, but have worked with us as Red Cross volunteers to help military families, supported breast cancer patients, visited patients in nursing homes, and been “presenters” at a program on pet-assisted therapy at the Michigan Counseling Association’s annual conference.Therapy dogs work in a variety of settings in addition to psychotherapy offices and nursing homes including schools, hospitals, courtrooms and prisons.American Humane Association defines animal-assisted therapy, or AAT, as “a goal-directed intervention in which an animal is incorporated as an integral part of the clinical health-care treatment process. AAT is delivered or directed by a professional health or human service provider who demonstrates skill and expertise regarding the clinical applications of human-animal interactions.”Cynthia Chandler is a counseling professor at the University of North Texas, Center for Animal-Assisted Therapy’s founder and director and the author of “Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling.” Chandler shares a study that showed working with a therapy dog resulted in a significant drop in stress hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and aldosterone and an increase in “health inducing and social inducing” hormones such as oxytocin, dopamine and endorphins after 20 minutes with a therapy dog. Other studies show that the use of therapy dogs benefits heart patients and lowers of blood pressure, helps autistic children with relationship skills, and reduces anxiety for patients undergoing MRI and for children and adults involved in court proceedings, and reduces depression in the elderly with dementia. Chandler believes the key to these positive benefits is an increase in the hormone oxytocin, which she describes as “one of the best, most powerful, wonderful, healthy social hormones we have and it’s the one that’s the most grossly affected in a positive way through human-animal interaction.” We have seen firsthand the healing value of animals as we have worked with our therapy dogs. When our first therapy dogs, Amber, a cocker spaniel, and Lacey, a toy poodle, died, we were so touched by the many messages from people whose lives they touched, sharing with us what a positive difference they made. Our newest therapy dog is our toy poodle, Lexi, who has just earned her therapy dog credentials. She joins big sister and fellow therapy dog Carly, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Sara Sue Schaeffer and Donald Amidon are owners of Sturgis Consultation Center in Sturgis.