I’ve been a psychotherapist for over 22 years. It was a professional shift from financial proofreading and copy editing. And, even before that I was an actress supporting myself with many jobs from hostessing to retail. Having a non-traditional path to becoming a psychotherapist and coach provides me with an expansive framework when working with clients. In addition to my professional history, I also was active in the self-improvement movement of the late 70s and 80s. I learned to meditate and practiced yoga. I traveled, went to new age workshops, and I was active in groups that supported the betterment of self and others. Those years made an indelible impression on me, yet I had a hard time translating what I learned into a life that was fully meaningful. My own psychotherapy filled in the gaps. It inspired me to see if being a mental health practitioner was right for me.
I loved studying the social impact on our mental health, as well as the other influences that help to shape our experiences. While in graduate school I found that being empathic and highly sensitive, two traits that were often criticized, were essential for my new found career that began in my late 30s. I have never looked back.
In 2001, I was working for a teen program downtown when the Twin Towers were attacked. The next day I, along with my colleagues, made our way through the thick air to work with children and families who witnessed the attacks, were missing family members, and were traumatized. From there I was asked to come in to companies close to the World Trade Center to lead groups, give talks, and provide counseling. I was even able to work with previous colleagues from the time when I was a proofreader, giving them a familiar face to speak of their suffering.
It was a significantly moving experience prompting me to receive more training in trauma & loss, then going on to work as a trauma consultant and counselor from that time forward. I also trained in other areas of mental health and mindfulness to round out my education. This allowed me to offer more tools and best practices to my clients.
While I find tools to be helpful in our lives, my work and personal experience has taught me that letting go of the beliefs, behaviors, and negative self-talk is essential for our well-being. We have to unlearn the negative messages we received to fully embrace who we truly are. This is an ongoing process. We must all find our own way. As such, I am grateful for the opportunity to work with a full range of diagnoses, issues, challenges, hardships, and successes. In my practice and my writing, I offer up self-care suggestions that can be folded into my clients’ and readers’ respective journeys.