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Bringing Back Client Care

Written by: Maria Lockwood | Oct 12, 2015

Creative Counseling Group LLC lived up to its name Wednesday. There were no posed desk photos for this team; they opted for puppets and playground equipment.
“I think our environment is really different; it’s a good feel here,” said receptionist Peggy Weber. “It’s a very calm, relaxing environment to offer to our clients.”
The mental health clinic pulls together a band of professionals with decades of experience in the area.

“We have an all-star team of people, each bringing to the table a unique set of skills,” said Dr. Donald Mattson.

The clinic offers therapists for a multitude of issues and ages, from children to senior citizens.

“And we’re very kind people,” said licensed counselor and social worker Linda Toppings. “You don’t usually get this many kind people in one group.”

Mattson is a published researcher in the field of child therapy. He specializes in the treatment of children, offering art and play therapy to those 4 years and older presenting with behavioral issues.

Dr. Jeff Ballou, a retired psychologist, serves as the group’s consultant. Ballou worked in a variety of settings, including the Recovery Center, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and his own private practice. He runs a group on male issues and uses both traditional and holistic approaches to consulting and coaching.

Toppings holds over 25 years of clinical experience within the community. She is skilled in relationship issues and provides counseling to those with trauma and identity issues. Toppings specializes in the treatment of mature citizens.

Sarah Leininger is a licensed marriage and family therapist who works with individuals, adolescents, couples and families. She uses a holistic approach to treatment in conjunction with behavioral and experiential techniques.

Although they’d worked together in different settings, the team members shared a dream.

“We had a vision of a workplace where everyone had the freedom to practice their own style of therapy in an effort to better serve our clients,” Mattson said. “We sought to bring the focus back to the client through operating on a smaller, more efficient level. In essence, it became our mission to bring back personalized client care.”

To that end, Creative Counseling Group offers a streamlined intake process and the use of confidential electronic health records.

“More time with the client and less time monkeying around with excessive paperwork,” Leininger said.

They take all major insurance carriers and serve clients from both Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“One of the first questions that people ask is ‘Do you take MA’ and oftentimes therapists say ‘No,’ because of their reimbursement rate,” Leininger said. “And our answer is ‘Absolutely. Without a doubt.’”

The clinic is starting fresh with no waiting lists and a view toward a long-time presence in the Tower Avenue Business Center.

“This is not going to be one of those places where you open and you’re moving and you’re changing,” Toppings said. “This is it.”

The clinic will also be able to provide Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) in the office.

“There are many documented mental and physical health benefits to this service, “Leininger said. “We are looking forward to bringing the AAT presence to Superior.”

Creative Counseling grew from friendships.

“We have a peer relationship built in trust and commitment to the people who come in and we’re all on the same page,” Toppings said.

“We recognize that our clients are our neighbors, and that by joining with them through service, we can build a stronger community,” Mattson said.

The Tower Business Center, beside Campbell Lumber and across Tower Avenue from Dunkin’ Donuts, was an ideal spot for Creative Counseling, Mattson said. The building is on the bus line, handicap accessible and located on the busy Tower Avenue corridor near local health facilities.

As they open for business, the newly-assembled team aims to cut paperwork down to the essentials and keep things flexible.

“We’re bringing back client care,” Ballou said. “We’re having fun, actually.”


Seasonal Affective Disorder and Blue Monday

SUPERIOR, WI-Psychologists have named the third Monday in January as Blue Monday. It’s supposedly the gloomiest day of the year based on debt, weather, and the post holiday blues.
Seasonal affective disorder is often times the culprit. It’s caused by the shift in the day and night cycles and can begin as early as October or November.
A lack of sunshine causes the hormones that affect our moons to become unbalanced and can lead to problems like depression.
“You just may not feel like yourself. A lot of these symptoms are interlined with major depressive disorder, so you’ll see a drop in energy, low mood, changes in appetite and sleep, irritability, feeling of worthlessness those kinds of things,” said Donald Mattson of Creative Counseling in Superior.
Creative Counseling said that they see a spike in the number of clients they care for this time of year. They say to not hesitate in asking for help if you feel any of the warning signs.


Child Therapy

Calument, MI-A different approach to child therapy as described by Dr. Donald Mattson. Parents seeking help for their child may consider play therapy as a form of intervention. With this type of treatment, the child typically chooses toys within a playroom
and then essentially work through their problems. With this type of therapy, play is the language of children while toys are their words. Overexposure to media may be one factor in the rising prevalence of developmental disabilities.


Superior Speedway Raises Awareness to Suicide Prevention, Stigma

Written by: Jessie Slater | Aug 16, 2019

SUPERIOR, WI–The Gondik Law Speedway in Superior is working hard to raise awareness of suicide prevention and eliminating mental health stigma in the community.

Friday night, during a special racing event, hundreds gathered at the track to show their support for the cause. But for one family, it all hits very close to home.

People suffering from mental health issues in silence is becoming all too common nationwide.

“Really when you think about mental health, you don’t think about coming to the racetrack,” says Dana Stroschein, organizer of the racing event and psychotherapist specializing in suicide prevention and assessment.

The Superior Speedway is striving to bring suicide and mental health awareness to places you wouldn’t commonly talk about it. Stroschein says, “we want to normalize those thoughts and kind of break the stigma because talking about it is really the only way we’re ever going to prevent it.”

Friday night, the track hosted the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Race to shed light on this important yet often avoided topic. “Study’s have shown that by talking about it, verbalizing it reduces your chances of completing suicide by 80%.

But for the mother of Charlie Robinson, the topic is all too personal. “May 5th, 2018, my 15-year-old son took his life,” says Cheryl Riedash.

When a local race car driver, James Vendela, approached Charlie’s mom Cheryl, she was honored.

She says, “he asked if in Charlie’s memory he could use Charlie’s football number on his car and also make these fantastic decals and then also use the suicide prevention symbol as well.”

Vendela races with the number 15 on his car to honor Charlie. He partnered with another race car driver in Flordia who rides with the number and decal as well.

Friday’s races honored and remembered people around the Northland who died by suicide by presenting trophies in their names. Riedash says, “Charlie isn’t forgotten. People still think about Charlie and it also means that people who maybe are struggling you know with their mental health, they know that there is help.”

A community supporting those who feel hopeless, aiming to make them feel less alone in with their thoughts.

Stroschein says “if one person can come out of here and feel more comfortable talking about those feelings, those dark thoughts. If one person can do that, I’m happy.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or suicidal thoughts you can call the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or click here for more details.