What made you decide to become a counselor?
I first came to appreciate counseling as a teen struggling with the loss of a friend to suicide. This was a very trying time for me, and being a teen is already challenging enough without major traumas. In counseling, I appreciated the space to get in touch with what I was going through, and to find growth out of struggle. The whole experience was really meaningful for me, and it began to give me an idea of what I would want to do with my life.
In my personality, I also naturally gravitate toward the role of listener. I have learned that to get out of the way and let someone talk lends itself to meaningful conversation and establishing a connection. I believe good counseling requires those elements.
If you could teach the world one skill or technique to improve their lives, what would it be?
Mindful breathing. It can be broadly used to help with many problems like anger, anxiety, and depression, however, it can also promote positive health targets like healthy blood pressure, lowered stress, and hormone balance.
What is the most common problem your clients bring to you?
The most frequent issue is when a person is beginning to feel depressed and has experienced it before, so they hope this time to do something about it earlier. I think many people have a previous experience with depression and know how bad things can get if they don’t reach out, and they also probably know how much it can help once you do start talking about it.
Have you personally been in counseling and if so, what did you learn about yourself?
I have been in counseling at various points in my life. Counseling is something I think all people would benefit from at some time or another during their lifespan. One thing I learned was to be mindful of the things I carry. That could be self-imposed responsibility for taking care of others, criticism for myself or others, expectations, regrets, unhelpful thoughts, they all have a weight that adds up emotionally. All of those things make up your context, and it helps to manage stress when you are aware of those things. So I learned acceptance in holding lightly and gently the tough experiences I had but maybe did not want.
If you could recommend one book to all your clients, what would it be?
Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong: A Guide to Life Liberated from Anxiety by Kelly G. Wilson and Troy DuFrene. I think this book has a lot to offer in terms of learning helpful ways to face worry, challenge, and adversity.
What inspires you to help others?
I find inspiration in kindness. Kindness is not always easy but is often powerful, and I believe it brings us closer to our better human nature. I found that witnessing the kindness of the gulf communities as they responded to hurricane Harvey was deeply inspiring. I know what it is like to be in need, and I know the feeling of thanks when someone is there for me. Counseling is one way I get to practice kindness and help others learn kindness toward themselves.
Who is your ideal client?
My ideal client has a long history of living with anxiety, and likely feels they have ‘left a lot on the table’ in life, so to speak. They have a sense that life is passing by, and they just won’t get what they want. They find themselves stuck in decision paralysis. They have high expectations for themselves, tend to be hard on themselves, and struggle with self-esteem. This person spends far more time daydreaming about the past, wishing they could get a redo, than they would like to admit. If you’re reading this and those things ring true for you, consider reaching out, these are issues I love to work with.
How do you personally practice self-care?
I believe self-care is about being true to yourself, meaning we honor that fact that we are made of a mosaic of pieces. Favoring any one piece at the cost of others is not sustainable. I think it is really common nowadays that many of us find most our time dedicated to work, and then the other areas of our lives are a dumpster-fire. Self-care for me starts with attention to both the mind and body.
With regard to my body, I have found that routine exercise, attention to nutrition, and making time for rest are pillars of self-care. In valuing my physical health, my energy and mood have a more pronounced feeling of vitality, which helps me get out there and do some living. That’s where my mind gets the care it needs.
Self-care activities for me include having fun barbecuing, experimenting making pepper sauces, taking my dogs out hiking and watching them play, and game nights with friends. I would also add that as an introvert, another huge part of finding life balance for me is making time for solitude. In this space I enjoy silence, I can meditate, read a book, and just make room to ‘be me’.
About Our Blog
Here you will find articles contributed by members of our team. We hope to provide helpful information here to inspire mindful living and general wellness. The information provided here is not a substitue for professional mental health advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need to speak to a professional regarding your mental health, please make an appointment.