Counseling Services

Counseling Services

In addition to services provided by The Mentoring Institute, Dr. Schaeffer and Dr. Amidon offer clinical counseling services at their Portage office, Partners for Growth, and their Sturgis office, the Sturgis Consultation Center.


Description of Counseling Services Offered by:

Partners for Growth & Sturgis Consultation Center


Partners for Growth and Sturgis Consultation Center are full-service counseling centers treating a wide range of problems and concerns. Our Licensed Professional Counselors assist their clients with matters such as: personal problems; marriage, family and relationship concerns; issues related to divorce and divorce adjustment; abuse and trauma issues; stress management; problems with addictions; coping with death, loss and grief; eliminating self-defeating behavior; maintaining health and managing illness; depression and anxiety; and crisis intervention.

         Our philosophy of counseling includes the notion that each client is capable of change and growth and has the resources necessary for problem resolution. Our Licensed Professional Counselors have the training and skills to assist clients in overcoming disorders which interfere with healthy functioning, improving personal adjustment, clarifying and resolving problems, increasing effectiveness, and enhancing self-satisfaction. Counseling is a partnership arrangement where both counselor and client work together toward the client's health, adjustment, growth and fulfillment.


Office Policies and Procedures:

Length of Sessions, Frequency of Appointments and Duration of Counseling:

         A full session is forty-five to fifty minutes in length. Your counselor will let you know when it is time to end the session. Occasionally clients request to continue the session beyond the full session. If the schedule permits, counselors attempt to honor such requests. Such extended sessions will be billed at the regular fee rate.

         Usually appointments are scheduled weekly. However, depending on each client's needs and circumstances, appointments may be scheduled more or less frequently.

         During your first session your counselor will discuss with you the frequency of your appointments and what you can expect concerning the duration of your counseling. Often we ask the client to commit to a few sessions to work on initial counseling goals and then to review with the counselor the progress made, any work remaining to be done, and the probable time it will take to complete this work.


Office Hours:

         Office hours vary slightly from week to week. Every effort will be made to schedule your appointment at a time most convenient to you.


Fees and Statements:

         The fee for counseling is one hundred dollars ($110.00) for each full session of forty-five to fifty minutes. The fee is the same regardless of whether the session is with an individual, a couple, or a family. The first session must be paid in full, and clients are requested to make payment in full at the end of each session. Those who do so will receive a ten dollar ($10.00) per session discount.   A number of payment options are available. These will be discussed with you during the first session. Personal checks should be made payable to Partners for Growth or Sturgis Consultation Center. Mastercard, Visa, and Discover payments are accepted.

         Employers sometimes negotiate rates other than those shown for their employees through our Counseling Connection Plan. Feel free to ask if your employer participates in this plan.

         Sometimes group counseling is offered at Partners for Growth/Sturgis Consultation Center. Fees for group counseling vary depending on the nature of the group and length of sessions. Information on fees and method of payment will be provided to all group counseling clients prior to the beginning of the first session.


Insurance Billing:

         Clients who choose to use insurance, are expected to check with their insurance carrier to verify coverage or obtain necessary authorizations. If their insurance covers their treatment, they are asked to submit their own insurance claims for reimbursement. We will assist by providing any information requested to the client for submission to the insurance carrier including receipts and statements verifying the charges, procedures and diagnoses. When a diagnosis is requested, the diagnosis provided will be discussed with the client. Some insurance companies cover our fees while others do not. Clients should check with their individual insurance companies regarding coverage. 


Changing and Canceling Appointments:  

         Appointment times are reserved for the client. Clients are responsible to change or cancel appointments with a minimum of twenty four (24) hours notice. Missed appointments or appointments canceled with less than twenty four (24) hours notice will be charged directly to the client.



     Historically, complete confidentiality has been applied to communication between psychotherapist and client. The law which licenses counselors in our state includes this confidentiality. Recently, however, legal developments have occurred which require clarification with regard to confidentiality.  

         A.   If you are an adult, anything you do or say in the context of psychotherapy is privileged. However, if you are behaving in a way that poses a threat of a physical nature to another person or to self, privilege is waived. Your counselor is required by law to contact the person's) involved and warn them of possible danger.  

         B.   Parents or guardians of minors hold privilege, and are entitled to information communicated by their children in psychotherapy. However, our office policy and professional ethics require the counselor to communicate such information only in ways that will be helpful and in the interest of maintaining the client-counselor relationship. Such communication will be discussed first with the minor client.  

         C.   Michigan law requires certain professionals to report suspected incidents of child abuse and neglect. Your counselor may be required to report such incidents.  

         D.   Any time information is released to a third party, such as an insurance company or attorney, confidentiality cannot be assured.


Release of Records:  

         Occasionally, we are asked to send records to, or request records from other health care providers or by the court should you be involved in litigation. On these occasions, you will be asked to sign a "release of information" form, without which records will not be sent, and even with this release, we will send only that information which is specifically requested.


Reaching Your Counselor Between Appointments and In Emergencies:  

         In case you need to reach your counselor you should call our office. If your counselor is with another client please leave a message on the answering machine. Your call will be returned promptly. If you do not receive a return call within a few hours, you should try the alternate number given on the office answering machine. If you have an emergency you should leave a message and call the alternate number immediately. If there is no answer, leave a message on this answering machine as well. Be sure to leave a number where you can be reached. If you do not receive a return call shortly, you should call your local emergency room or the emergency number for Community Mental Health in Sturgis (800-622-3967).



         On occasion a counselor may determine that another health care professional with specialized expertise, skill and competence in the area of the client's concern should be consulted. In this case the counselor will inform the client of the need for the referral, make the referral, assist the client as necessary in making an appointment, and, with the client's consent, provide the professional accepting the referral with relevant information.


Some Information About Your Counselors:


Dr. Donald A. Amidon  

         Dr. Donald A. Amidon received his Masters of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary and his Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Michigan State University. He obtained a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Western Theological Seminary through a doctoral research project on the rehabilitation of Vietnam Combat Veterans suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. He served an internship in Clinical Pastoral Education at E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital, Buffalo, New York. He has been a Chaplain Supervisor in a V.A. Medical Center since 1969, and serves as a specialist in substance abuse rehabilitation. He is credentialed as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor (LMFT), a National Certified Counselor (NCC), a Certified Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC) and an accredited Clinical Pastoral Counselor. He is a member of the Association of Mental Health Chaplains, The American Counseling Association, the American Mental Health Counselors Association, and the Michigan Counseling Association.  

         In addition to working as a Chaplain Supervisor in a V.A. neuropsychiatric medical center, Dr. Amidon also works as a counselor in private practice. He specializes in marriage, family, and relationship counseling; death and grief counseling; substance abuse recovery; trauma and abuse issues; adolescent issues; career development and vocational rehabilitation; biofeedback; and mind /body/spirituality issues.                                                                                                                                          


Dr. Sara Sue Schaeffer 

         Dr. Sara Sue Schaeffer received both her Masters (M.A.) and Doctorate (Ed.D.) from Western Michigan University's Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology, a program which is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). She has been a practicing Professional Counselor since 1971. She is credentialed as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), a National Certified Counselor (NCC), a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC) a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Social Worker (CSW). She is a Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, the American Counseling Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Mental Health Counselors Association and the Michigan Counseling Association. She is also listed in Who's Who Among Human Service Professionals.  

         In addition to working as a counselor in private practice, Dr. Schaeffer has worked as a school counselor and as Associate Chief of Staff for Education at a neuropsychiatric medical center. Her counseling specialties include marriage, family and relationship counseling; divorce adjustment and related issues; abuse and trauma issues; eliminating self-defeating behavior; stress management; working with adolescents and children; coping with loss and grief; career development and change; anxiety and depression; maintaining wellness; and helping clients cope with physical illness.  


Licensed Professional Counselors are regulated through:  

         Michigan Department of Community Health 

         Health Investigation Division  

         P.O. Box 30018  

         Lansing, Michigan 48909  

         (517) 373-1737