Elizabeth Gilbert said, “The women I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong and they handled it.”
This quote resonates with me because it validates my experience. My background does not follow the idealized story line of, I had an idyllic childhood, went to school, got a degree, began my career, got married, had children, balanced it all beautifully and lived happily ever after.
My experience was much different.
I moved a ton as a child and lived in a variety of housing situations in multiple states. I worked my way through college, got my degree, married young, had children and then homeschooled my children. Then, my family became ill; we suffered greatly and faced poverty. So, I worked hard to create businesses and income, I got divorced, I continued school and worked more jobs and I graduated. I got diagnosed with cancer—I recovered and finally, I started my counseling practice…but the story continues.
While I have collected academic degrees—a Bachelors in Psychology from Franciscan University and a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Kent State University—I also have specialized training in Gottman Couples Counseling, trauma training in EMDR and I have myriad continuing education credits. However, I don’t consider this the education that makes me good at what I do.
What makes me a unique therapist are my life experiences.
With help from these, I can relate to my clients not just intellectually, but emotionally and spiritually.
Another author whose work impacts me is Brené Brown. In her book, The Power of Vulnerability, she shares that we connect best with people who can admit that life is messy and difficult and share their difficulties with someone. This is part of the human experience. It’s harder to connect with people who seem perfect and have their life together, because you feel like you have to fake it to be like them. People who have similar struggles as me are those who “get it.” They get ME, warts and all. I don’t have to be perfect—I just have to be me.
The most meaningful interactions in my life have been from people who can relate to what I am experiencing without judgement. “I hate it when that happens” can be the most validating, healing phrase. When someone says that, I no longer feel alone or defective. Maybe they have experienced something similar in their past. That experience can become a beacon of hope, that things can and do get better because here they are, a survivor of their experience.
This is where I marry my personal experience with my clinical skills to provide a safe and healing environment to explore what is going on in your particular life right now. I hope to earn your trust. I hope that you will experience safety and a nonjudgemental, corrective relationship within our counseling sessions, because that is my goal. I am trained, I have clinical skills and I have tools that can help you make positive changes. I want to offer tools to get through this (whatever “this” is), skills to encourage you to face whatever life throws your way and empowerment to know that you can handle whatever is next on the horizon.
There can be gifts in adversity. Strength grows from the struggle, and resilience is often the result.
Resilience is the experience of, “shit happens—life happens—and I can handle it!”
I invite you to call me at 330-705-9521 for a free 15-minute consultation to see if I’m the right therapist for you. Through counseling, I am willing to help you learn how to move forward from difficult situations and to help you connect more deeply to yourself.