Hough Counseling and Assessments PLLC

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Troy, Michigan 48083

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Author Archive

A Moment of Pause

Posted on: March 5th, 2021

“Ask yourself: Where am I? Answer:  Here

Ask yourself: What time is it? Answer: Now. Say it until you can hear it.” – Ram Dass

In therapy we explore the idea of mindfulness. The concept of mindfulness is the state of open attention to the present. The process of observing personal thoughts, feelings and body sensations without judgment. This moment of pause allows us to lower tension, diminish anxiety and foster a greater sense of self awareness. As we move throughout our daily lives with numerous external stressors, a moment of pause can create a sense of control. I encourage my patients to practice those moments throughout the day. Step away from distractions and pause. After the pause and moment of mindfulness comes a time to reset and refresh. Just like our computers, if too many programs are running at the same time we find that we need to pause and restart for optimal effectiveness.  I encourage the reader to make a moment of pause and mindfulness a daily practice.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes … including you.” — Anne Lamott


Alicia Lurry MA LPC

Making Connections

Posted on: February 23rd, 2021

The other day I was in the grocery store and as I passed by other masked shoppers in the aisle it occurred to me that in our quest for safety during this pandemic we are losing our sense of connection. Simple gestures such as a smile from a stranger, a quick conversation about some small incidental thing, the feeling of community and comradery as we attend a sporting event, theater production, or music concert. All of these are activities and actions we took for granted in a pre-pandemic world.  I assert that although we must at this moment in time deny ourselves of these experiences it does not change our innate desire and need for connection.  If you are struggling with the effects of isolation at this time I have few suggestions that may help:

  • Take time to talk with loved ones on a regular basis.  Although it isn’t the same as face to face, spending time on a call or zoom can help remind us of our shared connectedness.
  • Plan for the future. Difficult situations often feel permanent but planning for the future reminds us they are not.
  • Take time for personal growth.  Times of solitude can be times of growth and preparation. Identify how you can positively impact the lives of others with your gifts, talents, and insights.

As we continue to navigate this unusual and disruptive moment in time it is important to remember we are all connected in one way or another.  We will come out of this experience stronger and with sincere gratitude for the gift of connecting.


Alicia Lurry  LPC

Becoming Your Own Cheerleader

Posted on: January 2nd, 2021

We have come into 2021 after one of the most difficult years in our lifetime. The pandemic of 2020 brought many challenges. We have had to struggle with the effects of the emotional anguish of grief, economic uncertainty and isolation. As we begin to recognize that so many things are out of our control, we need to recognize the power of our thought life. Our thoughts are constant and can often feel like a loop in our mind. It is important to be mindful of what we are saying to ourselves in the midst of difficult times.

Take time to encourage yourself. Remind yourself there is only so much you should do. Take a moment and assess where you are and identify what is good in your life. Take pleasure in your gifts and talents, don’t dismiss them as if they are not important. Be kind to yourself and take time to rest when you need it. Be sure to eat nourishing food. Be careful of the messages you receive from others. Find moments to laugh.

We are making it through a very difficult time. You are strong. You are resilient.

Happy 2021!


Alicia Lurry MA LPC

Stay Encouraged

Posted on: December 7th, 2020

Here we are in the last month of what we all can agree has been one of the most challenging years in our world’s history. As a therapist I must admit it has been a challenge to encourage others through the effects of fear, isolation, and frustration that this pandemic has brought. I struggle with the same emotions and somedays it is more difficult than others. I do believe however that there is strength in hope. This is but one chapter in many of your lives. It is important to recognize this present state as temporary, because it is. I have found it important to continuously count my blessings. I could complain about being stuck at home or I can be grateful I have a home in which to live. Families can complain about being together so much or be grateful to not be alone.  I can complain about the restrictions imposed because of the pandemic or be grateful for life.

We are experiencing a difficult time but we are not without hope. We will come out the end of this and when we do my hope is that we all will be even more grateful and value all we have.

Stay Encouraged.


Alicia Lurry MA CRC LPC

How to Move Beyond the Hate

Posted on: November 9th, 2020

The 2020 United States Presidential election has been symbolic of the confusion and chaos that has been 2020. It is now the 4th day after voting day. There has been no declaration of a winner as yet. There is clear division and confusion throughout the country. The anxiety is palpable. There are people including the current president calling to stop counting votes as others identify continued vote counting as essential to our democracy. It is essential that we begin to shift our thinking to how we can move beyond the hate.  There are three points that are key to healing the wound of hate:

  • Respect diversity of perspective. The beauty of human experiences is learning from one another. It’s important to recognize the beauty of diversity of thought, culture, and experiences.
  • Recognize the greater good. There is a Biblical scripture that states a house divided amongst itself will fall. When we are divided we cannot move forward. Division does not create positive change.
  • We often have more in common than we know. Once we have a conversation with our perceived enemy we often find more common ground in which we can grew.

We can move beyond the hate but it takes work, empathy and a desire to change.


Alicia Lurry LPC, CRC

Confronting Life’s Issues

Posted on: September 9th, 2020

I often encourage my patient’s to take periodic self checks. The idea behind my encouragement is that we often move through life without paying attention to ourselves. Life forces us to be outwardly focused. As a wife, mother, friend, sister, aunt, and therapist I can easily spend my days focusing on the needs of others. The needs of others can often eclipse my own personal awareness. Continuing in the process of ignoring self does not lead to healthy outcomes. The process of self-awareness is the first step in confronting the issues of life. The following are examples of patterns of behaviors that can be subtle obstacles towards healthy confrontation:

  1. Avoidance- It is a natural reaction to avoid that which is painful or difficult. Sleep, watching TV, spending time on social media are common forms of avoidance. These activities are harmless when done in moderation but when done excessively or in the place of dealing with something important, then it becomes a barrier.
  2. Rationalization- We can often be our own greatest deceiver. We can often tell ourselves something doesn’t matter or isn’t a big deal even when it really is in order to avoid confronting an issue. When we do this we fail to recognize that ignoring an issue does not make it go away.
  3. False Guilt- I often find this phenomenon in care givers. The idea that if you take a moment for yourself you are somehow failing everyone else. I have to often repeat the reminder that self-care is not selfish.

As we are continuing with many new challenges this year it is  very important that we be aware of our own needs and be mindful to seek peace.


Alicia Lurry MA LPC

The Struggle is Real

Posted on: August 11th, 2020

So here we are in August. Still coping with the fears and uncertainty of the Covid- 19 pandemic. We have gone from the hysteria of March to hopefulness in early summer to a sense of resolve and acceptance as the summer comes towards its end. We have all attempted to find a place of normalcy in an extremely abnormal situation. My message in this blog today is short and exact. It is important that as we attempt to cope with these challenges, that we are mindful we are all experiencing a form of trauma.

Some common responses to trauma:

  • intense emotional distress when reminded of traumatic event
  • intrusive and or anxious thoughts
  • sleep disturbances
  • depressed mood
  • irritability

I encourage my patient’s as well as myself to never give up hope. Hope allows you to recognize there is going to be another day. I encourage my patient’s and myself to practice self care. It is very important to take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally during times of trauma. Most importantly do not feel bad if you are not getting everything right. Be kind and understanding to yourself. Slow down and breathe. Take a moment and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Remember to laugh. Instead of focusing on what you have lost begin to be grateful for what you have. It’s ok to feel how you feel. This is just a moment in time.

Be safe and keep moving forward.


Alicia Lurry MA LPC


Posted on: July 10th, 2020

It’s has been a very stressful few months. We are now in July of 2020. The 5 months of the reality of Covid-19. We are all struggling to create small glimmers of normalcy while experiencing the anxious thought of trying to avoid the virus that is all around us. Some of us have returned to our places of business but it does not look or feel the same. We long for human companionship while remaining socially distant. Our children have experienced an extended time away from school which under normal circumstances would be a source of excitement for them but now seems like a punishment. We wait with a mixture of hopefulness, fear, anticipation and some pessimism for what the coming months will bring. So, what are we to do?

We must be intentional in self maintenance. Continue to pay attention to your needs. If you start to feel overwhelmed be ok with taking a break. Take deep breaths to relieve stress. Exercise when at all possible. Be sure to eat healthy meals. Talk to someone when you need support. Don’t be hard on yourself if you make mistakes. This is a more than unusual experience. Nothing could have prepared you for what we are experiencing now. Continue to do self checks. It’s ok to not be ok.


Alicia M. Lurry LPC

Dealing with Hard Issues

Posted on: June 7th, 2020

It is June 2020. In the midst of a worldwide pandemic we are now seeing worldwide protests sparked by incidents of negative police interaction and communities of people of color. As a nearly 50 year old African American woman race has been a constant factor in my life. I was raised in the 70’s during a time period when we were encouraged to embrace our African American heritage, I have seen so much more growth in our society as far as representation in media, more opportunities than my parents or grandparents could ever even consider. I have seen the election of the first Black President of the United States, an event I never thought I would see. With all these shining examples of hope there has always been an accompanying cloudy more sinister presence of racism.

Racism doesn’t always present as we see it in the movies. It isn’t always a burning cross, an angry mob, or signs that designate where you can sit, eat, stand, shop, or sleep. No racism is often more subtle to the untrained eye. Racism says that someone is a threat simply because of the color of their skin. Racism says this person may not be suitable for this job or intelligent enough to educate my child until they prove otherwise simply because of the color or their skin. Racism says you should become nervous because that person of color has moved into your neighborhood. Racism questions the presence of a person in your community just doing regular activities like having a cookout, bird watching, selling lemonade, jogging, or going to the store to buy skittles and iced tea,

The hard issues are those issues we choose not to look at because it causes us to identify our own implicit bias. I believe however in order for real change to occur we all must take a deep look inward and then be willing to have hard conversations with one another. As a therapist I am a firm believer in whatever is concealed cannot heal.

My hope is that our present difficulty will provide an opportunity for honest dialogue and real healing.

We are stronger together.


Alicia M. Lurry MA LPC

Moment of Pause and Reset

Posted on: May 17th, 2020

Here we are entering the third month of an unprecedented event. We have been in the lockdown due to this world wide pandemic. Once we get to the point of acceptance of our new normal, we need to be able to hope again. What can we gain from this moment of pause? We can mourn the loss of life as we knew it. The freedom of being in the outside world without anxiety and worry. Close connection to friends and family. As we contemplate this new reality, we have to remember that with every situation change can occur. We will eventually return to the world.

So back to my initial question. What can we gain from this moment of pause? We can look at this experience as an opportunity to gain perspective. We can also look for an opportunity to reset and start anew. Keeping in mind that this is temporary we must decide how we will be when we come out of this moment of time. How many dreams and visions have we put on hold for years because we didn’t have the time to pursue them? How often did we lament over not having a moment of rest. Well now is that time we longed for. Let’s seize this moment and use it to our advantage. It can be empowering and bring a little joy in this difficult time.

Be at peace.


Alicia Lurry MA LPC CRC