Therapists 
Lindsay South, MA, LLP, LPC, RPT-S
 

Lindsay South is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Limited Licensed Psychologist*

and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor who has been practicing in Portage for 23 years. She completed her undergraduate degree in Art History at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and her master’s degree in Counselor Education and Counseling

Psychology at Western Michigan University. Integrating her background in art and incorporating sand tray therapy in counseling became essential to Lindsay after finishing seven years of Sandtray-Worldplay training. Lindsay has special expertise in the areas of play therapy, body image and disordered eating, depression and anxiety, as well as divorce adjustment. As a credentialed supervisor of play therapists and licensed professional counselors, Lindsay maintains an active practice in training, supervision and consultation. She co-leads a monthly networking meeting for the Michigan Association of Play Therapy.

*Lindsay consults monthly with her supervising psychologist, Dr. Timothy Howard, a benefit for clients wishing added clinical input.

Contact Lindsay:  (269) 323-2553  Email: lsouth@lindsaysouth.com

Shannon E. Aardema, MA, LPC 

Shannon Aardema is a recent addition to this practice but has been working as a therapist for the past five years. Before starting her work as a therapist, Shannon spent twelve years as a teacher for Kalamazoo Public Schools. She taught middle school, elementary school and art. Shannon finds this background to be a major asset when working with children; especially those that are having difficulties in school.  She has a passion for working with children and adults that are on the Autism Spectrum, and assisting the family members around them. Additionally, she enjoys working with kids and adults that are suffering from depression and anxiety. She relies heavily on using play, expressive arts, and sand tray therapy in her practice. Shannon focuses on treating the whole person and is there to assist clients toward healthier ways of living and thinking. She finds the use of creativity and play to often be an effective way to help unlock minds and provide individuals with new perspectives. Shannon has both a Masters of Family Studies and a Masters of Counseling from Spring Arbor University. She also continues to hold her Michigan Teaching License. 

Contact Shannon:  (269) 447-0979  Email: selfdiscovery.sa@gmail.com

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Leslie Pitts, MA LPC

Leslie Pitts, MA LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor with over fifteen years of experience working within the mental health field. She provides individual and family therapy to children, teens, and adults. She is trained in several evidenced based practices including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. She utilizes a variety of tools and methods in order to assist clients through their journey of self-awareness, wellness, and recovery. Leslie focuses on treatment for
individuals struggling with Anxiety, Depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She is available primarily during evening hours at our practice.

Contact Leslie: (269) 377-2241. Email: lesliepitts55@gmail.com

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Sheila Hibbs MA, LPC

Sheila Hibbs is a Licensed Professional counselor with 20 years of experience in the mental health field. She received her undergraduate degree in Family Studies from Western Michigan University and then obtained a Masters in Counselor Education, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, also through Western Michigan University.  Over the years, Sheila has gained experience working with youth, adults, and families through intensive home based, crisis intervention, and outpatient therapy services. Sheila strives to build strong and collaborative therapeutic relationships with the individuals and families that she serves. She focuses on making sure to ensure that her clients feel truly heard while working towards healing, growth, and recovery. Her specialties include working with individuals who experience struggles with anxiety, depression, attention deficits, family conflict, and mood disorders. Sheila utilizes a variety of clinical techniques and interventions in order to meet her clients where they are and to best promote their individual growth. These techniques include solution focused, mindfulness, cognitive behavioral approaches, art, play therapy, and many more. Sheila is available primarily during evening hours at our practice to meet the needs of individuals and families who prefer that time.

Contact Sheila: (269)-888-1636  Email: sheiladianeb@gmail.com 

Debbie Hindman, MA, NCC

Debbie Hindman earned a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood, and a Master of Education in Special Education from the University of Illinois. She continued her formal education by earning a Master of Arts in Counseling from Western Michigan University. She has worked with children and teenagers for the past 35 years as a special education teacher for both pre-primary impaired and high school special education students, and as a high school guidance counselor.  During her years in a high school setting, Debbie has worked with students and their parents helping them both cope with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and planning for life after high school. She also assisted with the organization of the high school's Gay Straight Alliance club. Debbie is currently a member of the Van Buren County Crisis Intervention Team. She utilizes a variety of relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy to help individuals live their best lives. Debbie is primarily available during late afternoon and evening hours to accommodate the needs of students and working families.                                      Contact Debbie:  (269) 341-0399  Email: djhindman@aol.com

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Jennifer Lindsay, MEd, MSW, LMSW

Jennifer Lindsay, MEd, MSW, LMSW, is a licensed clinical social worker. She received her MSW from Western Michigan in 2017, and has been a school-based therapist for 3 years at Woods Lake Elementary, a Magnet School for the Arts. Jenn has been a Crisis Clinician for Mobile Crisis Response through Integrated Services of Kalamazoo (formerly KCMH), where she assisted children and families through emergencies. She also holds a MEd in Higher Education from the University of Kansas (2000).
After finishing her masters, Jenn worked with students in their out of classroom experiences in Residence Life at the Interlochen Arts Academy, University of Kansas, St. Olaf College, Lake Forest College, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There she worked closely with young adults and non-traditional aged students who were struggling with depression, anxiety, sexual abuse, grief, relationship difficulties (both romantic and familial), substance abuse, gender and sexual exploration, eating disorders, and other challenges.

 

Jenn believes in an eclectic approach to therapy, bringing together the tools, techniques, and strengths that are most helpful in each situation. With children, she combines mindfulness with play therapy, art, movement, and music to help with emotional regulation. With adults, she combines mindfulness with aspects of CBT, ACT, and talk therapy. Jenn has had training in trauma-based therapies, including TF-CBT
and research into neuroscience, and is currently working towards certification as a Registered Play Therapist. In her practice her primary wish is to provide a safe and caring relationship through which your change process can occur. She believes it is her responsibility to use her training and experience in helping you resolve the concerns that prompted you to seek help. It is your responsibility to talk honestly about yourself, to take what you learn from our sessions, and to do the work in your day-to-
day living. 

Contact Jenn:  (269) 447-1173. Email: jennlindsaylmsw@gmail.com

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Suzanne DeGraves MA, LPC

Suzanne DeGraves is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 25 years of experience working in a school setting with adolescents, their parents, and other educators on issues like depression, anxiety, grief/loss, self-harm, sexual abuse, relationship issues, and ADD/ADHD. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Secondary English Education, she obtained a master’s degree in counseling from Western Michigan University.

 

Suzanne strives to build positive therapeutic relationships with her clients by meeting them where they’re at and listening without judgment. She employs solution-focused, client-centered cognitive behavioral therapy, tapping, mindfulness, and other evidence-based strategies to assist clients in meeting their goals. Suzanne is also trained as a Global Career Development Facilitator and enjoys assisting adolescents and adults who are struggling with planning for and transitioning to the next phase of their education or work. This allows her to assist those who may be struggling with finding their ideal career path and/or the right college major/program. Suzanne is available primarily during afternoon and evening hours to accommodate busy teens, adults, and families. Contact Suzanne:  (269) 267-9534.  Email: suzdegraves@gmail.com

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Brian Johnson, Limited License Psychologist

I am a Limited License Psychologist* with over 20 years of therapy experience working with adults, teens, children and families. My practice is based on the belief that we all share similar qualities but also that our own individual experiences are shaped by our unique familial, cultural and social histories. In my work with clients, I find it important to address one’s current struggles within the context of his or her specific life story.


I enjoy working with a wide spectrum of concerns including anxiety, life transitions, grief and loss, anger, parenting, relationship difficulties, career contentment, identity, and co-parenting counseling. I will go to court regarding custody issues for my clients. I find that most clients often have multiple concerns when they come in for counseling. I am happy to meet every individual where he or she is and address specific issues as needed.


After agreeing on goals, my treatment approach is individualized for each client and each presenting concern. This approach will often utilize elements of Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Communication and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), while also exploring the individual meaning to each client’s personal experience and culture.


I hold a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University with 22 semester hours beyond the required number of hours, a Master’s degree in Industrial Management from the George Washington University in Washington, DC, and a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana, IL. I am a qualified expert witness regarding custody matters in 7 surrounding counties. In addition to my years of work in the private counseling field, I have designed missile systems for the Navy, designed nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants, and functioned as a technical advisor for nuclear power plant operation. In the mental health field, I have worked at Community Mental Health (CMH) and as an emergency room therapist at a hospital.


In my free time, I enjoy the outdoors, camping, going to National Parks and photography. I also like trying new places to eat with friends and family.


*Brian consults monthly with his supervising psychologist, Dr. Timothy Howard, a benefit for clients wishing additional clinical input.

Contact Brian: (269) 352-3454  Email: briandj@charter.net

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Jane Connon, Limited License Psychologist

Jane Connon is a Limited Licensed Psychologist (LLP)* who enjoys working with adults, adolescents, and the elderly.  She completed her education at Western Michigan University.  She obtained an undergraduate degree in Behavioral Analysis and received her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. 

 

Jane has over 20 years experience in providing therapy to adults, families and teens.  She has worked as a professional in Community Mental Health agencies.  She also provided coordination and support as a family and children’s advocate for the State of Michigan.  Jane has expertise in trauma, anxiety, addictions, grief/bereavement, reconciliation, and co-parenting.  Her primary orientation is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).  She is committed to supporting her clients in developing a balanced, healthy emotional and behavioral lifestyle.  

 

In her free time, Jane is a talented musician.  She has a long history of performing at professional musical engagements.  Currently, she is a Music Director and performs for a congregation in the greater Kalamazoo area.  Jane is committed to supporting her clients in all genres of artistic expression, which can be used not only as a vehicle for relaxation but also as an avenue for self-identity and personal growth.

*Jane consults monthly with her supervising psychologist, Dr. Timothy Howard, a benefit for clients wishing additional clinical input.

Contact Suzanne:  (269) 484-4502.  Email: connonja22@gmail.com

Recent Articles:

 

It takes a village to Raise A Child

 

"As school winds down, the summer comes rapidly upon us. For many parents, the question of what to do with your young tween or teen who tells you he or she just hopes "to relax" all summer and "do whatever I want" becomes a bit of a conundrum."

Perfectionism and Eating Disorders: A Match Made in Heaven?

Your 14-year-old daughter decided to get in shape and wants "to eat healthy." Although the meals you prepare in your home are pretty well rounded, your daughter's goal doesn't sound like a bad one. Cutting out some of the typical teenage foods like pizza and occasional trips out for fast food with friends could be reasonable.

 

 

Coping With Loss During the Holidays

Changes that affect our family lives are keenly felt at the holiday season. The loss of a child suddenly is present as the family Christmas card photo is sent; the child who is laughing and clowning around in the middle of picture surrounded by all his cousins is no longer there. A divorced father faces Hanukah without his children for the first time. A newly formed, blended family or young, married couple faces a sudden burst of tension as two family sets of traditions collide; which rituals do we keep and what do we need to create anew? 

 

 

Stress, Anxiety Affect Children, Too

School starts in a few weeks. Your seven-year-old keeps complaining of a stomachache and wants to come home from his favorite soccer day camp. Headaches pop up too, and temper tantrums erupt. You contact the pediatrician and tests reveal no physical problems. You are both relieved and disappointed. Your son is miserable... and so are you.

 

Watch for Warning Signs of Eating Disorders

As summer is in full swing and bathing suits and shorts abound, many young teens become self conscious about their bodies. Both boys and girls are feeling more and more pressure to maintain a certain body type.

Our Practice
 

Lindsay South, MA, LLP, LPC opened this office in 2004 after practicing therapy for 16 years. Her background in community mental health, inpatient adult psychiatric hospitals, college counseling centers, and small group practice provides a solid background for working with a diverse array of clients. As Lindsay's practice developed in the mid-2000s and she had children of her own, she became increasingly fascinated by the emerging field of play therapy.  The office at 1591 W. Centre provides room for Lindsay's growing sand tray collection, art supplies, therapeutic games, and toys, along with space to take clients outside. 

 

The need for quality counseling services incorporating play, sand tray, and art therapy has continued to grow. In 2016, Lindsay expanded her practice to include others, who share Lindsay's enthusiasm in meeting an ever-increasing demand for quality counseling for children and teens, as well as their parents and families.

THE PRACTICE