The Gift that Keeps Giving

Happy New Year!

Usually, we reserve gift giving for special occasions. We usually give gifts to others….do we think about giving gifts to ourselves?

Newsflash:  in 2016 we don’t need a special occasion to give gifts to ourselves or others every day!

Let’s start with ourselves… check out this link to learn about 23 things we can do to improve our mental health in 2016!


23 things we can do to improve our mental health   

Call 724-256-9881 or email [email protected]  if you would like to find a therapist to work with in the New Year! You can also use our convenient Ask an Expert page! We provide ‘all kinds of therapy for all kinds of people’.

The Gift of Faith

The Gift of Faith by Amy Swigart.
I got a surprise on Facebook from a woman that I worked with over thirty years ago when she was just a little girl. Finding and contacting me could not have come at a better time. I was really questioning whether or not what I did made a difference, I was tired, run down, letting negativity creep in and just plain uncertain. Because of June contacting me, I was reminded that the work that we do, the time that we spend helping, does make a difference. We enter into people’s lives to assist. Sometimes we assume that it’s just a simple drop of water in a huge ocean. We question ourselves; do I really make a difference?
I would like to share this communication with you. My hope is to help individual service providers to know that what we do, no matter how small WE may think it is….DOES MATTER! We don’t get pats on the back, big raises, win academy awards or trophies. We don’t hear a stadium roar for what we do or have an audience scream our name. The work that we do is mostly unsung. That may be why we question our effectiveness or let our batteries run down. Sometimes we think that people don’t care about what we do.
I thought by sharing this, some batteries may be charged, and that we may be reminded that our work is very important! Every little drop that we contribute to that big ocean does MATTER!
As we celebrate the season of giving, myself and all of the professionals at Inspiring Change, LLC want to sincerely thank all service providers for the dedication, work, sacrifices, and expertise that they UNSELFISHLY provide to families.
My response is faith based and is strictly my view/practice as to how I perform. While this may be offensive to some, it is meant to show that even more than thirty years later, what we do does MATTER. Even though it may have seemed like our helping was only a little ripple in the huge ocean, what we do does make a difference. Thank you for reading this:

To Amy from June: I’ve wondered where this ANGEL went to…Many years ago…She was my caseworker. She saved my life. She did her job well. She actually cared for me. And for that I love her. I haven’t seen her since foster care. Been about 30 years. She took us to McDonalds for the very first time. We were so hungry. I can’t help but smile with tears in my eyes. She had to go into our home to find us clothes. We didn’t have any. Just what we had on. Which was rags. No undergarments. But she made sure we got some. Amy Swigart, if it’s the last thing I do on this earth I will hug u One more time. U see u were my angel.
Bless u

To June from Amy: June what a wonderful surprise! I have to share something with you: Working as a Caseworker/investigator/therapist/probation officer takes a toll on us. We question, am I doing the right thing? Did I do that correctly? Did I ask the right questions to get the answers that I needed? Do I really make a difference? We second guess ourselves and question if we are truly helping and making a difference. What I continue to do every time I go into a home, interview a child, do a therapy session, I say a prayer:

Dear God, give me the wisdom, understanding, skills needed and the special Insight that I need to see what needs to be done to help this child and family. Bless me to say the words that this child needs to hear to know that it’s safe to talk and tell me their deepest darkest secret that they fear to tell anyone. Give me the courage and wisdom to say what is needed for the parents to hear and the courage to do what is needed to be done for these lost souls. Amen

I was an instrument of God that intervened for you. The Glory goes to God. Here is the real kicker June….when I recently let negativity enter into my mind and my heart I asked God for help, guidance and a sign. The next day when I checked my Facebook I could not have received a bigger sign or message from God. You said something that I needed to hear just at the perfect time that I needed. Wow! God really does work in mysterious ways!!!!

As we celebrate our faith during this season of giving: Please say a prayer to guide all professional helpers in their work and to know what they do does matter! Thank you for the service and work that you do.

If you would like to meet Amy Swigart or any of the other mental health professionals at Inspiring Change, LLC, please contact us using the form below, or send us an email from our ASK AN EXPERT page. As we continue to provide ‘all kinds of therapy for all kinds of people’, please know that YOU and our FAITH continue to INSPIRE us.

The Gift of Perseverance

This is the second in a series of messages from the people that we serve. This was written in response to the documentary that aired recently on 20/20. Thank you for reading: The Gift of Perseverance.

I’m a 17 year old girl who was diagnosed with RAD around age 7. It’s a very hard thing to deal with in parent’s lives and in the kids who have been diagnosed. I’ve been struggling with it and I’m almost done with services, therapy because I’ve been overcoming RAD.

Now, RAD isn’t something that goes away, it never does. People with RAD have to work extra hard in everything they do especially relationships… You can’t change a RAD child but you can help them overcome it at a distance away, their goanna have to want to change and you can’t make them want to it’s something they have to want to do on their own. If you are constantly close to them it’s going to make the child lash out and push you away because they are scared of being too close to people from previous things in their lives.

My adoptive parents have been married for 27 years and it really tested how strong their marriage was by having a RAD child come into the picture. I used to hurt my parents on purpose when they got too close, comforted me or anything of that sort because I was scared of yet more rejection. I used to turn my mom and dad on each other because if I was miserable and scared they had to be too.

My mother went to bed every night crying herself to sleep. But that was years ago, I have a stable loving family who I can get close too, to some extent without lashing them and hurting them there is light at the end of the tunnel and it will be forever before you get to see the light. But if you keep working and parents understand how to cope with a RAD child it will be beneficial in everyone’s lives. A lot of people don’t know much about RAD and we need to get the word out.

At Inspiring Change, LLC,  trained mental health professionals can help you or a child that you love to deal more effectively with symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder…If you would like to make changes in yourself or your family, please contact us through this web site. You may use the contact form below, or use our ASK AN EXPERT page. We will get back to you immediately. Thank You!

Susan Roop, Amy Swigart and Susan Johnson are trained mental health professionals who help families to deal with childhood developmental trauma. For adoptive or biological families with children or adolescents who may be experiencing difficulty attaching with caregivers, we understand the anguish that comes from realizing that ‘love is not enough’. Contact us today so that we may help you and your family members connect with one another for a more enriched and stress-free life.

The Gift of Difficult People

The team at Inspiring Change, LLC is celebrating the season by feeling inspired by the gifts that we receive through others. Look for regular blogs from ‘Trauma Mama’. This is the first blog that she is sharing with us.


We all have people in our lives that are sometimes difficult to get along with. Some of us have people who are chronically hard to get along with and sometimes we actually live with these people! We know there is good inside of them, but for whatever reason, it is difficult for them to show it. It may be mental illness, severe depression or in our case Reactive Attachment disorder. We love our son, but let’s be honest…he is very difficult to live with.

Years ago my father said that many people have more friends when they are dead than when they were alive. He meant that many times people visit a funeral home and didn’t visit the individual. He shared this when a “friend” of my cousin had died at the age of 14. He said that many people became that boy’s “friend” the day he died. The same is true of what we say about the dead.  We stop saying all the things that bugged us about the individual and we start sharing all the great memories and fun, kind things the person did. I was reading a description of a mother’s son that the mother wrote after she lost him in a car accident. Though her child wasn’t a difficult child, I think there are some things that she left unsaid. Maybe we should try to do that with our living children….even the difficult ones. That said; let me introduce you to Paul….only the good stuff.

Paul will be 17 years old soon, he was born to a different set of parents than he has today. He is a remarkable young man who has overcome many obstacles. He suffers some physical and mental limitations, but has defied the professional’s opinions in many cases. He can ride a bike, visit a store alone, count money and is very technically apt. This is all contrary to what the professionals thought. He is a loving and compassionate guy who sincerely prays for and encourages others in their time of need. He spends countless hours visiting the sick and the elderly and befriends people who aren’t even aware that they are in need of a new friend. He leaves a lasting impression with everyone he meets. Everyone knows Paul and calls him by name.

He speaks his mind without a filter which is at times the most important thing to do. When a friend of ours was battling brain cancer, Paul saw me standing at the kitchen sink and said, “Are you praying for Nicholas?” When I responded that I wasn’t, he said, “Well, maybe you should.”

On another occasion, a friend shared a story about something she witnessed at the local grocery store. When she pulled into the parking lot, she saw Paul sitting on a display of potting soil stacked in front of the store. He appeared to be greeting each person who entered. Then she noticed a big burly man in a beat up truck pull in and park in the handicapped spot. She noticed that the truck was in the inappropriate spot, but she said nothing. The man exited his vehicle, threw his burning cigarette into the lot and walked toward the store. Paul calmly mentioned, “Hey, maybe you weren’t aware of it, but you parked in a handicapped spot.” The man shrugged his shoulders, grumbled a swear word, returned to his truck and moved it. Upon entering the store again, he looked at Paul and said, “Thanks man.” Paul never shared these events. They weren’t big deals to him, they just were. They represent who Paul truly is.

We have a summer home along the Allegheny River where Paul is known as the “Mayor of Rimer”. I know the neighbors two doors to our left and two doors to our right. Paul knows everyone along the 1.1 miles worth of road, he knows their friends and their families. He makes a point of greeting them and asking them about something he knows that they are interested in. When I introduce myself, it’s easier (and often more advantageous for me) to refer to myself as “Paul’s Mom”. No other explanation is needed and I am welcomed to any picnic or party along the river.

He is polite and courteous and what he lacks in intellect, he makes up in his incredible ability to ask others for help. He gets what he needs and he blesses others by allowing them to utilize their God given desire to serve others. It takes a village to raise Paul. The village is a better place because of him.

So when dealing with difficult people, in case you forget, there is goodness in them. It may be helpful to write it down and refer to it often. Play the good things that the individual does through your mind as often as you replay the bad things they have done. Also, in case you forget, you just might be the difficult person in someone else’s life and you may want them to do the same thing!  Trauma Mama, December 2015

At Inspiring Change, LLC, our team of therapists and mental health service providers work to help others enrich their lives through celebration of the here and now. If you or a loved one needs counseling services to enrich their lives, send us an email through ASK AN EXPERT, OR leave us a comment below, we will be in touch. We provide ‘all kinds of therapy for all kinds of people’.