ALPENA – Northern Michigan counselor and author Alison Neihardt will visit Olivet Book & Gift for a book signing on Saturday, May 7. The event will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Olivet, on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Chisholm Street in downtown Alpena.
Neihardt’s most recent book, “Helping Kids to Thrive, Not Just Survive, After Trauma,” provides a faith-based approach to navigating childhood trauma. It is meant to offer guidance to parents, caregivers, and other adults close to the child or children who have experienced trauma.
“I’m a child therapist,” she explained. “I’ve been counseling kids for 14 years. And I have seen a lot of stuff, in my office.”
Neihardt lives in Kalkaska, with her office in Traverse City.
“I felt compelled to share my knowledge with others that may never set foot in my office,” Neihardt said.
Over the pandemic, she started writing, since she was stuck at home 24/7.
“I just started writing books,” Neihardt said. “I started self-publishing on Amazon, and I felt like I was not getting the full results that I wanted, so I decided to go through a publisher.”
She chose Mission Point Press because they are local to Traverse City.
“I wanted to support local business, and I also wanted somebody that I could meet face to face, if I needed to,” she noted. “They were wonderful to work with. I would recommend them to anybody.”
So far, she has written 10 books and three lesson books.
She counsels kids from 3 years old up to young adults.
“I’ve worked with homeless kids, I’ve worked with kids of abuse and divorce and domestic violence, and all those things,” she said. “I felt the need to share what I have learned about trauma with others in hopes that I can help somebody else.”
Her book is faith-based for a reason.
“I very much promote that healing that only comes from God,” Neihardt said. “When it comes to trauma, God is the only one who can heal that … God is the ultimate healer.”
She has dealt with children and young adults coping with grief as well.
“I’ve worked with kids that have had a parent pass away, or a close grandparent pass away,” Neihardt said. “Grief can take many different forms and come from many different things. Divorce is considered a grief process because it’s a big loss … foster care can be considered a loss because they’re being removed from what they thought was a normal home life. It’s very traumatic for kids when they’re removed from their parents into foster care.”
She said more and more people have come forth needing mental health care in the past two years.
“I have definitely seen a huge uptick in the need of mental health services,” she said. “My caseload is about double to almost triple what it normally is. I’ve never had this many kids on my caseload, ever.”
She saw the need, and is trying to help fill it with both counseling services and her new book.
Appropriately, her visit is also scheduled during May, which is National Mental Health Awareness Month.
The best advice she has for parents is to just listen to their children and help validate their feelings.