We had the good fortune of connecting with Samantha Silverman, LCSW and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Samantha, what do you want your legacy to be?
As a survivor of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent ear damage as a result, I am a survivor. NOT A VICTIM. In my work as a therapist, I notice that many of my clients identify as a victim of their trauma. Adopting a victim’s mentality not only hinders self -growth, but blockades future self-actualization. It is important for me to de-stigmatize that conception and provide psychoeducation on Post Traumatic Growth, which is the result of healing from one’s trauma.
Self-Actualization, achieved when an individual reaches their full potential, is paramount to my legacy. I believe that each individual can grow and heal from their trauma if one is motivated and vulnerable to change. Following the terrorist attacks, I developed insomnia, depression, anxiety, chronic ear disease, and cholesteotoma (a rare upper respiratory tract disease as a result of the implosion created when the planes collided with the towers and inhaling harmful contaminants at ground zero). Rather than pummeling into more depressive waters, I used my experience as an opportunity to expand on my life. I changed my career path from Wall Street associate to Clinical Social Worker, relocated back to family, and rebuilt my life from the ashes.
Having survivor’s guilt and PTSD, I recognized the fragility of life and piloted my own. I began maximizing and expanding on my strengths in order to minimize my weaknesses. I adopted healthy lifestyle changes that included daily physical activity, outlets for creativity, and connectedness with loved ones. I took control of my own life and love empowering my clients to do the same.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Silver Linings Counseling provides counseling services to adults, older adults and those with disabilities who have difficulty accessing transportation or ambulating to an office location. Through online, telephonic and home visits, our therapists conduct sessions without clients having to leave their home. We currently have eight therapists who all specialize in working with older adults. My team is passionate about working with this population, as we believe this is an underserved demographic prevalent in our society.
I chose to specialize in working with older adults as a result of working with Holocaust survivors for ten years through a non-profit community service agency. Working with Holocaust survivors was both a triggering and humbling experience. My own PTSD shrunk in comparison to the atrocious stories I encountered. The survivors’ stories of resilience and hope empowered me to set purposeful goals and intentions. Hearing the survivors’ incredible stories taught me that you can derive meaning and purpose from significant trauma.
I was a single mom when I started Silver Linings Counseling and worked two other jobs to make ends meet. While my son was with his father, I doubled up on my caseload. This enabled me to both pay bills and spend time with my child. I was fortunate to have the guidance of mentors who have since become close friends. Not only did my mentors help with business logistics, they also referred initial clients to my practice. I now try to pay it forward and help some of my other colleagues struggling with starting their own practice. As a female entrepreneur, I believe we need to rely and depend on one another for success and banish negative feelings of jealousy and competitiveness.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Denver is such a progressive, multi-faceted city that lends itself to interpersonal growth and adventure. It never ceases to amaze me when picking guests up at the airport and hearing an audible gasp of awe at the Rocky mountains!
When entertaining out of towners, we usually start by taking them to our small downtown of Old Town Arvada. We love grabbing ice cream at Scrumptious or grabbing a drink at the Blue Grass Lounge. School House, Arvada Tavern, and So Raddish are three of my favorite restaurants in Old Town. I always need to sneak a peak inside the Old Town Exchange-a cute and quirky second-hand shop run by two best friends.
Next we would spend a day driving into one of the nearby mountain towns. Golden is always a wonderful option for a quick trip, as it provides a glimpse of an Old West mountain town you would encounter if you meandered your way further through the mountains. Heading further west, I would showcase Evergreen and Evergreen lake and dam. Of course we would have to dive into the Muddy Buck-once a bordello now a coffee shop/bar built into the side of the mountain for afternoon coffee.
A ride on the Carousel of Life in Nederland is always a great option for kiddos and adults alike. Circling back into Boulder, I would either do a short hike in Chataqua park or a stroll down lively Pearl Street Mall whilst shopping, eating, and drinking.
Of course, no visit to Colorado is complete without experiencing downtown Denver. I love the ambiance of Union Station and having a drink at the bar or eating even more ice cream. Larimer Square is one of my favorite places including eating butternut squash pizza at Osterio Marco or trying to find the elusive Green Russell speakeasy. Rhino Art District also incredible-the quirky art galleries and nuevo restaurants. On a night out, I love Nocturne and dancing at MLK lounge-another hidden outlandish gem located in a random alleyway in Capitol Hill.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My husband has been my #1 supporter-thank you Erik for always believing in me, encouraging me to surpass my goals and never missing a single one of my uncomfortable ENT appointments.
My son, Jordan, for providing me with a purpose to be an exemplary role model.
My clients-the best teachers I have encountered-for helping me practice my practice.
My friends, family members and mentors who goaded me before I believed in myself.