I came to this profession the way that many people do: as a wounded healer. What that means is that I’ve had my share of rough patches, and in learning to overcome my own struggles, was inspired to help others do the same. It took me a long time to recognize the patterns in my life that weren’t working and to finally be willing to make changes to fix them, but once I did, the world opened up to me in a whole new way.
I was an anxious child growing up. My mother used to tell stories about me staying up till midnight in a near panic studying my multiplication tables in the 3rd grade. I also used to suffer from chronic headaches, which were likely one part allergies and at least two parts stress. And when I got a little older, I had nervous facial tics. Let me tell you how much fun THAT was in middle school! I tried to cope with my anxiety as best I could using the tools available to me as a kid, which mostly involved trying to be increasingly more perfect at everything I did and keeping everyone around me happy. But the goals I set for myself were impossibly high, and when I inevitably failed to achieve 100% perfection, I would beat myself up and fall into depression.
That pattern continued for much of my early adult life and, unfortunately, perfectionism is highly rewarded in our society so my bad habits were unwittingly reinforced by my employers. I spent 10 years working a variety of corporate jobs and being compensated handsomely for my perfectionism and workaholism. All the while growing increasingly miserable, anxious, and depressed on the inside. I made several ill-founded attempts to cope with my anxiety and depression on my own, none of which worked. Finally, I gave up trying to pretend everything was alright and admitted to myself that I needed help. Over the next few years I slowly worked towards greater balance and health in my life with the help of 3 key things: (1) Professional help, (2) mindfulness, and (3) time in Nature. My therapist and my meditation practice helped me to identify and shift patterns that weren’t working in my life. And although I didn’t know it at the time, research now proves the many benefits to mental and physical health of time spent in Nature. I just knew that when I went for a walk in the woods, I felt better.
After going through my own healing process, I realized there was so much I’d learned that I wished someone had told me when I was younger about how to cope with the world in a more healthy and balanced way. That’s what motivated me to go back to school and become a therapist myself. My goal as a therapist is to provide people with tools to help them find and maintain balance in their lives, and to offer that helping hand we all sometimes need to get back on track. Mindfulness and nature-based healing are a big part of my work with clients because I have seen the benefits first-hand that they have on mental and physical well-being. I have witnessed their power while leading outdoor trips for teens, mountain retreats for cancer survivors/care givers, and in teaching mindfulness for several years to folks from all walks of life struggling with addictive tendencies.
In my work with Strength in Motion I offer both individual therapy and groups, all of which incorporate an aspect of mindfulness. I’m facilitating two groups coming up in January 2018 that I am excited to share with the community:
1. A Mindful Recovery group for young adults, which will use mindfulness to bring greater awareness to patterns that are no longer working, and shift them towards greater health.
2. A Support and Skills group for parents of adolescents who are struggling.