Susanna Schlarf started Acorn Counseling in February of 2023. A graduate of the University of Michigan’s Masters in Social Work, Schlarf completed her clinical work in medical settings
where she learned more about the connection between the body and the mind.
“As a person who navigates life with chronic illness, I am passionate about practicing with a holistic view, recognizing and supporting all facets of a person’s health,” says Schlarf. Although her counseling practice treats a variety of concerns including medical trauma, grief, anxiety and depression—she is especially focused on helping people with eating disorders. Her practice has a foundation in intuitive eating and Health at Every Size (HAES) frameworks.
Health at Every Size is a way of approaching medicine for people who are considered to be overweight. Instead of solely focusing on weight loss, HAES proponents feel that healthy activities are important for everyone, regardless of body weight. And that focusing too much on weight loss can have negative health consequences. Intuitive eating is a philosophy that rejects diet culture and tries to rebuild a healthy, trusting relationship to food and our bodies.
Scharlf says, “I bring an anti-oppressive lens to my therapy practice, and I aim to create a safe, non-judgmental, and welcoming space. I decided to start my business to prioritize the mental health of our community and to create a space where all people are welcome.”
She wants residents of Holt to know that while counseling can be helpful, it’s okay to shop around for the right fit. “It’s important to make sure you feel comfortable with the counselor you choose. Not every counselor will be the right fit for you, and that’s okay! Please don’t give up if you try it once, twice, or even three times and you still don’t find the right fit. There are so many great counselors out there.”
She recommends that those seeking counseling for any concern check out Psychology Today – a free, online therapist directory.
Although she is now based in Holt, Susanna loves to visit her native Traverse City and walk the beaches, collect rocks, and take picture after picture of the water. When she’s not working, she enjoys knitting and cross-stitching, cuddling under one of her many blankets with her cat, Stella, and spending time with her husband, saying, “He’s my teammate in this life.”
She says that since moving to the Greater Lansing area they’ve loved exploring everything the region has to offer. But they can usually be found at home playing cards and board games, or taste-testing Susanna’s homemade baked goods.
She wants everyone to know that seeking counseling is an act of bravery, “We all have stories to tell, and we all deserve a person who is there to listen without judgment.”
Acorn Counseling is located at 4180 Keller Road Suite D Holt, MI 48842. Call (517) 798-6186 or visit acorncounselingmi.com for more information.