As a therapist, it’s an interesting position to be in as I think about what to ‘self disclose’. In the therapy room, it’s all about the client and not at all about me. Sharing about myself in this way feels vulnerable and increases the empathy I feel for my clients who are opening up and sharing some of their most personal and vulnerable parts of themselves. I am constantly in awe at the trust they place in me as well as the courage, bravery, and strength they show as they journey through the healing process.
I lived in the Western United States until about four years ago when I married my husband and moved to Ohio. We currently live in northeast Ohio and I will never get used to the humidity (my husband who has lived in Ohio all his life says, “What humidity?”). What I love about living here are the changes in the seasons. Spring and Fall are my favorite as they symbolize growth, change, and renewal. The colors of the greenery and the leaves are spectacular.
I enjoy traveling, spending time with my family, a good book, and learning something new. One of my favorite things to do is get a Starbucks and walk around Target by myself (that’s the key). I highly recommend it! Through overcoming challenges and hardships, and engaging in my own healing journey, I can say with conviction my life is worth living.
I am often asked some variation of the following questions…”Why do you want to be a therapist? Why do you want to listen to people’s problems all day?”
Most kids when they are young want to be a teacher, a policeman, a super hero, etc etc. I wanted to be a social worker. I don’t remember ever wanting to be anything else. I had a few experiences in my youth that cemented this desire including being a volunteer in the local hospital, service projects with my family and religious community, and caring for the young and old. As a student, I had service learning opportunities in a homeless shelter, facilitating groups for children and adults and other projects that would further increase my desire to continue working with people and advance my educational goals.
In my working career, I have had many different roles that always included working with people. These roles included social worker, advocate, therapist, resource person, and program manager.
The settings for these roles included homeless shelters, family advocacy centers, domestic violence shelters, housing authority, hospitals, jails, homes, and now private practice.
The mission statement for my practice is “Hope. Healing. Resiliency.”
These three qualities are the foundation of my work as a therapist. It is an honor to be able to stand next to someone as they enter their journey of healing with very little hope, offering to share your hope with them until they are able to find their own. Then to walk side by side with them through their own healing journey. To witness the resiliency of the human spirit and the empowerment, strength, and peace an individual feels when they look back on their progress and all they have accomplished is inspiring. It is an amazing journey to witness and an honor to be a part of.
While shopping one day, I came across an old Irish Proverb wall hanging that said “In the shelter of each other, the people live.” This resonated deeply in my soul as I pondered on the experiences in my life and those people who cared for and provided that shelter, safe haven for me as I learned to live my life.
It is my hope that I can be that shelter, safe haven for someone who is struggling. To be the person that can be relied on and trusted when it’s difficult to know who to trust. To be the ear that listens, really listens with understanding and without judgement. And the open heart that feels empathy and compassion. To be the person that inspires others to believe that within all of us are unique strengths and gifts. We are strong. We are courageous. We are brave. Together, we will live.
And that is my why.
I’d love to hear from you… What is your why?