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Meditation – Do I HAVE to do it?

The simple answer is no…however, there are so many potential benefits that can come from a regular practice that I would highly recommend giving it a go. Developing a meditation habit is a lot like taking a multivitamin. It is not a cure-all, you won’t feel anything immediately, but over time you’ll be healthier for it. Plus, it’s free and you can do it practically anywhere!

Upon suggesting this to clients, I usually get mixed responses that range anywhere from feeling hopeful to intimidated to skeptical. I recommend that a meditation practice be done in addition to continuing work in therapy, utilizing healthy coping skills, improving communication patterns, etc. For those struggling with anxiety, it can help get you out of your head and back into your body. If you’re caught up in a negative head space, it can help create distance between your emotions and your reactions to them. If done consistently, it can foster a sense of internal calmness even when surrounded by external chaos. Results will of course vary from person to person, which is the nature of creating a personalized routine that works in whichever ways are best suited for you.

Below are some ways I have seen people get tripped up when attempting to begin a practice. I share this list in order to provide a framework for successful practice, as well as to normalize the fact that sometimes we can unintentionally get in our own way. If you identify with any of these stuck points, they would be great things to explore and bring up in therapy because they might have relevance in other areas of your life as well.

  • The all or nothing approach – “I’m going to meditate every single day no matter what” can quickly turn into “I was so busy the last few days that I forgot to meditate and broke my streak, so if I can’t do it every day then it’s not worth doing”. – Cut yourself some slack! Set realistic goals and don’t be too rigid. The mantra “some is better than none” could apply here. Doing some meditation is more beneficial than doing none at all. If you fall off, get back on the horse and keep going.
  • The longer is better approach – There are a few reasons why trying to meditate for too long too quickly can be problematic. One of the first concerns I usually hear from people is that they don’t have enough time to meditate, however research suggests that only 3-5 minutes of meditation per day is enough to make marked changes in brain function if done consistently. Also, the skill of being able to notice your thoughts without following them takes time to build. Trying to sit with a head full of thoughts for an hour right off the bat can be overwhelming, so start small and work your way up.
  • The stop all your thoughts approach – The goal of meditation is not to turn your brain off or to stop thinking, but rather to become the observer of your thoughts and learn to notice them without becoming consumed by them. This practice over time will allow you to create space between thoughts and responses in a way that promotes a sense of curiosity without judgement and a more stable sense of self. If your mind starts to wander, just notice that and return your focus to the breath.
  • The “I tried it 3 times and I don’t feel better” approach – I’m going to blame this one on our culture. Quick fixes and magic solutions sound great in theory, but in reality they either don’t exist or aren’t sustainable. Meditation in and of itself is not a panacea. In the midst of a crisis, it’s probably not going to provide much relief. Practice it proactively before a crisis though and it might be influential in how your mind and body respond to the stress. Remember, it’s like a vitamin not a Vicodin.
  • The avoidance of being alone with yourself conundrum – For some people being still and alone with one’s thoughts can be more anxiety inducing than some of their biggest fears. If this is the case, keep it short and sweet in the beginning in order to develop more of a tolerance for the discomfort. This is where guided meditation can be helpful because you can focus on following the instructions rather than getting lost in your own head.
  • The multitasking approach – Listening to a meditation while doing something else can be counterproductive when trying to improve awareness and concentration. Contrary to popular belief we can really only do one thing at a time. I’ve heard everything from “I listened to it while I was driving, taking a shower, cooking, etc.” which is shortly followed by an “it didn’t work”. To put it frankly, the meditation script will only work as hard as you do. Find a comfortable space away from distractions and give yourself permission to invest the time in your own well being. And for those of you who need to hear this, self-care is not selfish 😊

Where to start

So now that you know about the do’s and don’ts, how do you get started? These days there are several ways to use technology to assist you in the learning process. There are seemingly endless amounts of apps, Pinterest boards, and YouTube channels to choose from.

https://www.meditationintexas.org/ is also a great resource.

Some yoga studios offer meditation classes as part of their curriculum. It is a personal preference as to whether you choose to practice alone or amongst others.

A few apps that I have had success with are Head Space, Simple Habit, Waking Up, and Calm. They all offer free versions with an option to pay for more content if you like them.

Happy meditating!

 

One of the dirtiest words in therapy…

Our entire profession is based around helping and sometimes lovingly pushing clients towards it. There are models and stages focused specifically on attempting to understand it. Clients come to us hoping to grasp it or being told by someone else that they need it. It is especially relevant this time of year as people make resolutions for themselves to achieve it. That seemingly simple, yet incredibly powerful word is change. What does that look like and how do we define it?

Change for the purposes of this discussion can be defined as, “the act or instance of making or becoming different”. Seems fair enough, right? Here’s the issue that I have run into: when applied to a human being this term can actually impede progress. There is the implication that if one changes then maybe they were inadequate before. Their very state of being was “wrong” or “not good enough”. It reinforces all or nothing thinking, I’m either the same or different, which is something we actually spend a lot of time trying to teach clients not to do. I would like to pose the idea that in some ways using the term “change” with clients can actually get in the way of growth.

Case in point, the work I have done with juvenile delinquents. They were repeat offenders who were put into a residential facility and told by every authority figure under the sun that they needed to change. Guess what they absolutely didn’t want to do? They dug their heels in deep and told me time and time again that they didn’t want to change. They liked who they were and no one was going to tell them who to be. This was when I started to see the power of language unfold before me. Adolescents are black and white thinkers to begin with, and then when you tell them to “stop being you” they’re going to meet you with a wall of defenses, plus or minus some choice expletives.

The more I thought about their resistance, the more I realized that they were kind of right. Upon taking the time to get to know them, they were so much more than their poor choices. I didn’t meet a single kid who I felt needed to change the core of who they were. They did however need to reinvent their perception of themselves and their role in society.

So, one day I led a group and explored this topic with them. I gave them the example of a phone. Phones have been reinvented many times throughout history. From the old school rotary phone to the latest smart phone, they have come a long way. Each reinvention of the phone has improved upon it’s predecessor, but one thing has always remained constant: they’re all still phones. They didn’t change into something else, rather they became better versions of themselves.

It was at this point that I began to see lightbulbs going off with the kids. The fact that I was giving them permission to still be who they were and grow at the same time seemed to be such a relief for them. Honestly, isn’t this the crux of the adolescent experience anyway? It is a time marked by self-exploration and fine-tuning, not a journey to turn into a completely different person.

What is the alternative to change anyway? If you don’t do it then you fail? How is that helpful? A sense of failure can bring up such strong feelings of guilt and shame that any remaining motivation goes down the drain. So here we are back at square one. Repeat this sequence a time or two or ten, and you almost can’t blame someone for saying to hell with the whole thing.

So if you’re reading this, I encourage you to think about yourself, your goals, and your life as a perpetual work in progress. It’s the idea that you’re doing the best you can, and you also want to do better. Reinvention is a continuous process, and in my humble opinion that will never change 😉

Creating meaning through grief and loss: How to find yourself and become someone else

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is a field where you truly never stop learning, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a Masters Series workshop at my alma mater, Texas Wesleyan University. Dr. John Winslade is a prominent narrative therapist in the field, and he presented about ways in which we can assist clients who are experiencing grief. Spending a Saturday exploring loss may not sound thrilling to the average person, but as a therapist it is crucial that you become comfortable working with it because it will come up time and time again in practice.

As I was going through this training, I started to think about the ways in which loss has assisted me in becoming the professional that I am today. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be at the point that I’m at without experiencing some of the difficult feelings that accompanied losing close relationships in the past. I wouldn’t be me. I have become who I am because of the meaning I have been able to uncover and hold onto. I’ll speak more on this in a bit.

So, Dr. Winslade started off the presentation by discussing stoicism. It might seem a bit odd to associate a school of philosophy with counseling theory, but many of the principles align quite well with narrative practices. The stoic focus on creating a life and living wisely, well, and ethically. It is the philosophy of becoming rather than being. Under these assumptions people are actually freer than they think they are. In the narrative perspective this can be seen as empowering clients to re-author their dominant stories in ways that allow them to regain a sense of control over their own trajectory through life.

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In particular, we honed in on the stoic conceptualization of time. They hold the idea that there are actually two types of time, chronos and aion, that govern our experiences of the world. We need both and have the ability to switch back and forth between them.

Chronos is the favored approach in our culture, as it is comprised of the past, present, and future. They are very discrete, separate categories, and in relation to loss this view tends to emphasize staying in the “here and now”. We are urged to accept loss as quickly as possible because the dead are gone now and now is what is important. Take a few days off work, grieve the way the steps tell you to, and then keep moving forward. It sounds a bit harsh, but much of grief psychology is grounded in the idea that we need to stay present-centered. This is not totally wrong, but may only be part of the framework necessary to allow people to grieve effectively.

Aion, on the other hand, is more about a sense of how things endure through time. The past, present, and future are seen as fluid, meaning that they flow into each other. The past continues into the present, and the future too influences and creates the current moment. They are not seen as mutually exclusive categories, but rather as infinitely subdivisible based on perspective and awareness. So, in this type of time death does not have to mean the end of a relationship. We can hold people from the past in our present and future by incorporating them into who we are becoming. Death ends a life, but not a relationship. This is a counter to the current perspective, which encourages people to “let them go”. From this lens, they’re still there because we can remember them and they live on through us.

I don’t know about you, but I found this idea to be incredibly comforting. It frees us from some of the constraints imposed upon us by societal standards and allows for a richer experience of connection and life. Again, being very much about balance I think there is a use for both types of time, but it seems that a lot of the current views our culture has about death are heavily based in chronos. Keeping aion in mind during conversations gives the therapist an opportunity to help clients explore loss in a more holistic way. If you are a clinician and really interested in this topic, check out the narrative practice of re-membering and also read Michael White’s article entitled, “Saying Hullo Again” for more information about clinical application.

With this background in mind, one significant loss in my own life came to mind that I want to share to help illustrate the depth that can emerge from using this approach.

I have always been a dog lover. I worked in the veterinary field for 14 years before becoming a therapist. I have truly seen the good, the bad, and the unthinkable. While going through grad school, I worked as a vet tech and as I was getting closer and closer to moving on to another career I remember feeling quite sad that I would be leaving all of my knowledge and skill behind.

At the same time, my old Rottweiler, Suzie, was diagnosed with bone cancer in her front left leg. Because I worked at the clinic I was able to diagnose it early, keep her as comfortable as possible with medication and acupuncture, and monitor the progression of the tumor over time. When she was first diagnosed she was given about 6 months to live, but stubborn old Suz ended up sticking around for 1.5 years.

She was my first dog that was just mine. I got her when I was 19 and she was just 10 weeks old. She stuck by my side through failed relationships, moving across the country and back, and my journey to becoming a counselor. I’ve never had a dog who was so in tune with what I was experiencing on the inside, even if I wasn’t showing it on the outside. It was like she could see right through me. If I was sad, she would literally come lay on top of me. If I was happy, she would greet me with her big toothy smile and be full of life.

Suz

I loved the level of trust between us. I could let her off leash anywhere, turn my back, and never have to worry about what she was doing. If we were hiking, she would run up ahead but never too far. She would stop, turn around, and wait for me to catch up. She wouldn’t let me out of her sight. I really believe that she took care of me just as much as I took care of her.

Watching her slow down after her diagnosis was tough. Every day I would assess her comfort level and try to make the most of the time she had left. Then came the study abroad trip to London. I committed to this trip with the thought that I would likely have lost her long before we were set to depart. She had other plans though. I struggled with leaving her for two weeks and feared that she might take a turn for the worse while I was gone. Luckily, I had my parents to care for her and my veterinary colleagues were on board to help out if necessary. So, I gave her a million hugs and kisses and set out for the airport. I knew that this trip was going to be a once in a lifetime experience, but I never could have imagined just how much it was going to influence who I would become.

I could go on and on about this trip (which I may do in a future post), but for now I will just say that London was where I discovered my love for narrative therapy. We spent a week immersed in learning theory and practices from two of the finest clinicians across the pond, Mark Hayward and Amanda Redstone. Mark broke the concepts down into a way that profoundly shaped my view of the therapeutic process. His presentations appealed to the theory nerd in me, and I really appreciated his authenticity.

Amanda, well she struck a chord that I had been trying to protect, and at one point I left the room in tears. This sounds awful, but it was actually quite healing. Her presentation about using narrative therapy to address grief and loss was my first exposure to the unique way the narrative perspective uses re-membering to keep relationships alive even after someone has passed. We did an experiential exercise where we worked through these conversations about lost loved ones to uncover what they gave us and what we gave them during life, as well as ways in which they still impact our present/future. The most powerful questions to me were, “What do you think they would say about where you are in your life today?” and “How do they influence who you are in this moment?”.

So, in the evenings after each one of these training days, there were a lot of thoughts and emotions swirling around in my head. I was fortunate enough to have some really awesome colleagues to debrief with while we went sightseeing and experienced the city. One night I was talking about how much I missed Suz and how I felt sad to eventually leave my job working with animals, when my friend said, “Why would you have to totally leave working with animals? You should look into animal assisted therapy.” That got my attention. I always assumed animal assisted therapy was akin to bringing dogs to nursing homes/hospitals or having a comfort dog. Not that I was opposed to those things, but it had never occurred to me that I could actually use a dog in a therapy session with a client. I was ecstatic.

London

The Suz made it through my absence just fine and greeted me with her wagging nub when I returned home. As I researched more and more on animal assisted therapy, I began to think about what an amazing therapy dog she could have been. She certainly helped me through my fair share of struggles. She gave me confidence, taught me patience, and showed me unconditional love. When the day came a few months later to say goodbye, I held her in my arms, kissed her head, and vowed that I would keep her memory alive through my work. And so, the idea to incorporate animal assisted therapy into my future practice was born.

It took me two years to feel ready to get another rottie. I wanted to be at a place in my career where I could devote the time to preparing and training my dog to be a reliable work companion. In May of this year, I brought Gretta home. She is almost 8 months old now and full of energy. Even as a small puppy I could tell that she had the right disposition to help people. She loves people and is always curious rather than fearful of new situations. She reminds me of Suz more and more every day, and I like to think that Suz had a paw in bringing her into my life. If it weren’t for her I would have never gone down this path and I will be eternally grateful.

More news to come on Gretta. She can’t take her certification test until she’s at least 1 year old, so for now we’re working on her training outside of the office. In the future, the hope is that she will become a fixture in my practice and an ambassador for her breed. I think Suzie would be proud. Until then you can follow her on Instagram if you’d like: gretta_makesyoufeel_betta.

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It is through loss that I have learned about living life. My best hope is to help clients find their own meaning through some of life’s most difficult moments. With the use of these ideas, as well as a trusty canine companion I am optimistic about what is to come. Memories endure over time, and time doesn’t have to end unless we allow it to.

 

 

 

All I was searching for was me

Music has such an interesting way of transporting you back to certain feelings and memories that may have otherwise been long since forgotten. I heard this song while I was getting ready this morning, and my mind went back to a place that feels far away today. Here’s the story…

While in graduate school, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Australia for two weeks. I was going through a bit of a rough transition in my own personal life and struggling to deal with the ambiguity that lay ahead.

One evening I took a stroll through some gorgeous and incredibly hilly Sydney neighborhoods with a few colleagues, who have since turned out to be great friends. We stopped in a local pub and began chatting with the bartender. Interestingly enough he was from Ireland and felt just as out of place down under as we Americans did.

The place was pretty quiet and he was working alone, so he started to play DJ and tell us about his favorite bands. I was born and raised to be a music lover, so naturally I began talking shop with him. I can’t make a lick of it myself, but I have an ear for a wide range of styles.

So he starts telling us his story about how he moved there with his wife and kiddo. He’s describing the cultural differences and the quirks of the neighborhood. The things he likes and the things he misses about home. I guess it’s the inner therapist in me, but I really enjoy getting to know about someone’s background. It helps to put them into context in the present and highlights the complexities of being human.

He’s describing some of the hardships he’s been through, and we’re commiserating over times we’ve felt down on our luck. Then his face lights up and he runs over to the stereo. He says that I must listen to this song. It literally changed his life and got him out of some dark places. “It is impossible to listen to this song and still be unhappy”, he says. Cue the song…

“Keep your head up” by Ben Howard

It was just what I needed to hear in that moment. For the rest of the trip I walked around with my earbuds in listening to it over and over again. I ventured out by myself on lunch breaks from training, admired the giant fig trees in the park, and started feeling more alive. The fog that I had been walking around in started to lift. Looking back now it’s incredible to me that a chance meeting with someone from halfway across the world who I will never see again changed me in such a profound way.

So here’s my take away. As great as Ben Howard is, I don’t think his song has magical powers or anything. I do however think that storytelling can be healing both for the author and the audience. We are social creatures with a natural propensity to want to relate to one another. We want to feel understood. Stories give meaning to our lived experience and motivate us to keep moving forward. This was yet another unexpected lesson in narrative therapy that reinforced just how well this theory fits with my worldview.

I feel like the least I can do is pay it forward and share this song with the hope that someone else will be in the right place at the right time and need to hear it. And to my Irish bartender friend, I hope that life treats you well. Cheers!

Sydney

Only the curious have something to find

In my ever-evolving journey to grow as a therapist, I have started challenging myself more and more. It only seems right that if I’m going to push my clients to explore the boundaries of their comfort zones, then I should do the same for myself. To put it simply: nothing changes if nothing changes, and it is up to you to make the change. No one else can do it for you.

So, what is it that keeps us stuck? Why is it so hard to venture outside of what we are used to? For many the answer is one of the most hated, avoided, and despised words imaginable…fear. There, I said it. You can too. Go ahead and try it. Admit that you are afraid of the unknown, and I promise you’ll still be standing after you do.

Our culture treats fear in such a paradoxical way. Going to see a horror film about a demented clown -well naturally you’d pay for those nightmares. Screaming your head off at a haunted house – what a fun thing to do with friends and family. Admitting to your partner that you’re afraid that one day they’ll get tired of you – whoa, hold the phone…there’s nothing enjoyable about that conversation. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

It seems that irrational fears fueled by social acceptance are easy to share/post/blog about/whatever, but our here and now fears that are grounded in reality are more apt to be ignored/avoided/misunderstood because they can lead us to question ourselves. We like being scared of things that are safely outside of our control, but when it comes to something that speaks of our own self-worth, value, or character – no thank you!

Am I good enough? Can I really do this? What if I fail? What if people don’t like me? The “what if” rabbit hole is an incredibly hard place to get out of. So, here’s a “what if” that might help shift your thinking in a more positive direction: what if you were able to replace fear of the unknown with curiosity? Instead of fearing that your partner will bore of you, now you’re curious about ways to maintain excitement in your relationship. You could even collaborate together and brainstorm about it. This alteration in your mindset could be the difference between growing closer rather than drifting apart. In one scenario you allow fear to threaten your sense of self in the relationship, and in the other you actually reach out and deepen your connection. When I’m afraid, I feel stuck. When I’m curious, I make space for creativity and free-flowing thought.

Truth be told I was terrified to go it alone and start my own practice. It was always this thought floating around in the back of my head, but being the risk averse person I am I would ruminate over all of the infinite ways it could go wrong, which meant in the end I would do nothing. Later I told myself, I’ll do it later. Then one day an opportunity came my way from a colleague that I just couldn’t ignore. I felt like later was knocking on my door and trying to break me out of my safety net. So I took a deep breath, and I did it.

I left behind the security of working for an agency I loved. I started with zero clients and minimal knowledge as to how to run my own business. Marketing was an incredibly daunting task in which I had to find the confidence to advocate for myself and branch out. This journey is far from over, as I’m only a few months in. In the end though, when I am able to be curious and open to learning from the process, I realize that facing my own fears has been one of the best ways for me to help clients face theirs. I’m afraid that old comfort zone is going to have to make way for some fresh ideas. I’m way too curious to let fear get in my way.

The power of a label

Labels are absolutely everywhere. In a literal sense, they are stuck on food products, prescription medications, and medical folders across the globe. Check out your mattress – there’s a label, the inside of your jeans – another label, the sun visor in your car – ok you get the point. Their purpose is to give us a sense of what the product contains so that we don’t have to deconstruct it and do the research ourselves.

Labels help us improve efficiency, categorize things, and in turn become more productive. But what happens if a label is inaccurate? Maybe it gets mixed up or it’s not up to date? Someone with a food allergy just ate their worst nightmare, someone takes the wrong medication, or a record gets misfiled forever. How helpful was that label then?

While working as a counselor in juvenile detention, I became acutely aware of the ways in which labels could limit, and in some cases damage, any hope my clients had for their own future. They would call themselves criminals, bad kids, no good, and worthless. These labels had been given to them by society, their families, and sometimes even each other. Because of this I made it my mission to get know who they were, rather than just what they had done.

It is difficult to describe the feeling that you get when someone with their whole life ahead of them looks at you and tells you that they have given up. Honestly, my first instinct was to very directly (and respectfully) challenge that thinking. My goal was to empower them to say to hell with anything in life that doesn’t support who you want to be. I wished so badly that they could see themselves the way I saw them. This approach would work for a while, but you better believe that after any setback or struggle all of the old thought patterns would come rushing back in. I found myself at odds with these pervasive labels in almost every interaction I had with a kid. Every. Single. Day.

So after some reflection, here’s my take on the matter. In life, we are going to receive a lot of feedback about ourselves, whether it be from the media, the judicial system, or our closest relationships. We have a choice as to whether we are going to accept or reject allowing someone to use super glue to slap a label on us for all of eternity. It is important to be selective about which labels you choose to embrace and show the world, and which ones you refuse to be associated with going forward. Just because I make a mistake does not mean that I am one. Language makes a huge difference.

The trick is that it’s not really how others see you that matters, it’s about how you see yourself. No one can make you feel or think a certain way. Not even me (this would usually get a chuckle out of the kiddos). I will always look back on my time at juvie fondly and with a full heart. I am certain that I learned just as much from working with those kids as they did from me, if not more so. And to set the record straight, in my opinion there wasn’t a “bad” kid to be found there. Just too many expired labels.

Walking with the dinosaurs

Two things you should know about me: I love to hike and nothing excites me more than a good metaphor. These things will be important later…

Flashback to when I’m fresh out of grad school, and I’ve landed a job as a real deal, bonafide therapist. No more spinning plates working a part-time job, attending night classes, and seeing clients at two different off-site locations. I suddenly find I have time to read and do research about issues my clients face. I can get more creative in planning activities for sessions and groups. I am even shockingly able to do that enigmatic thing called self-care that I kept hearing about in textbooks course after course, but ironically never had time for during my training.

So what do I do? I go to Dinosaur Valley State Park on my day off to unplug and hang out with this guy:

DV dino

Which way is the trail? I have waded across the river and according to the map it should be right here, but it’s nowhere to be found. I keep going, trudging through taller and taller brush along the riverbank. There are sticker burrs the size of my head stuck all over my shoelaces, and my arms are getting scratched up by all the sharp branches.

I probably make it a good half mile or so before I come upon some rocks that I am not about to scramble over. I’m hot, sweaty, and frustrated. Ok, take a breath and think. I look at the map again, follow the bends in the river, and decide that I need to swallow my pride and turn around.

As I make my way back, I can see now how rough the terrain I just crossed really was. On the way in I was so bound and determined, driven by excitement, that I hardly noticed the struggle. Now I’m cursing myself for not realizing sooner that I was clearly not headed in the right direction.

I get back to the spot in the river where I originally crossed, look about 100 yards to my left, and there through some trees is the trailhead. Onward I go. Ahhh this path is much better. This path makes sense. I’m actually gaining elevation with every step, but I feel content. Then it hits me. My mind, which as a narrative therapist has been trained to look for metaphors, starts replaying what I have just been through while I continue to hike.

I am on the other end of the struggle. In life, I have not always felt so sure about myself and what I wanted to do. Many times I went down paths that in retrospect would not have brought me to where I am today. Paths that were at times dark, lonely, and full of thorns. At other times bright and fun, but chaotic and confusing. I realize that just as I stubbornly followed the wrong path down the riverbank on this hike, I have always been smart enough to know when to turn around, even in my own life.

I keep hiking up, up, up. There are amazing live oak trees at every turn and wildflowers dotting the trail. The sky is blue and the only sounds are a few birds having a lively conversation with each other.

The reward of this hike is a fantastic view of the river and valley below. There is a welcome breeze and plenty of Texas sunshine to soak up as you admire the beauty. I look down to that treacherous spot where I started my journey. It is in this moment that I know I am right where I am supposed to be, struggles and all.

DV shoes

And so it begins…

As a therapist, you truly never stop learning. I don’t mean in a traditional, textbook type of sense (although you keep doing that too). You learn just by noticing. By allowing yourself to fully connect with your senses, your environment, and other people. It’s a total perspective shift that I’m not sure even the best graduate school could bottle up and sell. You just have to live it.

Choosing to go on this journey was by far the hardest and best thing I have ever done. Along the way I have had the privilege of training with some of therapy’s finest practitioners. I found my theory of choice halfway across the world (oh narrative, how I love you), and gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about myself in the process.

That being said, my intention for this blog is to share my story with the hopes that 1) if you’re a client, you can get to know me better, 2) if you’re a fellow therapist, we can connect in some way, and 3) if you’re considering going into this field, you can get an honest idea of what it’s like.

I may be a fish out of water when it comes to blogging (see picture…get it?), but I’ll give it my best shot.