My journey in becoming a therapist has been a long and winding road rather than a straight and narrow path. It was not always clear to me what I wanted to do; however, looking back on my personality as a child I see how being a counselor fits me to the core. It always has. It is my life calling. Growing up I tended to be the peacemaker at home. I always felt terrible when I did something wrong and made it a point to apologize to my parents and brother (okay maybe not my brother) as much as possible. I can remember having feelings as a child although I wasn’t real sure what to do with them.
With the confusing middle and high school years and lots of normal changes physically, emotionally, and relationally, I kept feeling uncertain, timid, and shy. I felt like a doormat most of the time. I pleased others at the expense of what I wanted (even though I usually didn’t know what I wanted). I struggled with anxiety and depression, and continued to wrestle with these after a broken engagement in college. After college, I finally took that scary step and reached out for help. Yes, I have been a client. I know what it feels like to walk into that waiting room and then the therapist’s office for the first time and feel SCARED TO DEATH. I also know how RELIEVED I felt that I was finally doing something to take care of myself and deal with the pain.
About the time I began to get therapy to work on the years of anxiety and depression, I also began a new job at Partnership for a Drug-Free North Carolina, Unlimited Success. While there I not only learned to teach teenagers alcohol and drug prevention techniques at their school, but I was certified in Applied Control Theory by the International Association of Applied Control Theory. This type of therapy is similar to reality therapy which looks at what you can and cannot control about yourself around personal feelings, choices, and behaviors. I LOVED this job! This job was another step along this long, winding road to becoming a therapist. I began to get some clarity about my future career.
I then got married, moved, and decided that I wanted to go to graduate school through Liberty University. While at Liberty, I provided individual, couples and group therapy during internships at Pregnancy Support Services, an unplanned pregnancy center, and Daymark Recovery Services, a substance abuse treatment agency.
After a year of interning, I received my Masters of Arts in Professional Counseling in April 2011. I then began working for Youth Villages. There I helped teenagers in their homes providing individual and family therapy for those who were in legal trouble, at risk of running away, and in danger of being placed outside the home by the Department of Social Services. It was there that I was trained in Multi-Systemic Therapy, which is a highly researched theory that looks at the many patterns occurring in the overall family system. Then in December 2011, after taking the National Counselor Exam (and YES passing the first time), I received my official North Carolina state license from the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors. Another step on my journey was now complete. Another BIG goal was accomplished.
After choosing to make a change from an in-home therapy setting to an agency setting, I began to work at Lighthouse and Biblical Counseling Center in March 2012 providing outpatient therapy to self-pay and Medicaid clients. It was there that I began to understand that outpatient therapy was exactly what I wanted to do. In August 2013, I decided to go BIG or go HOME (literally, as a stay-at-home mom)! It was time for me to fly and jump into PRIVATE PRACTICE on my own to be my own boss, create my own schedule, and have a freedom I had never known before.
Today, I am being extensively trained in Experiential Therapy which has been my newfound passion in counseling approach to my clients. Experiential Therapy involves the use of props and creativity to bring hidden emotions to the surface. I have watched experiential therapy change lives and provide those ‘aha’ moments.
AND…in the last few years, after experiencing a short period of postpartum depression, having three miscarriages, and wrestling with my own secondary infertility, I have become REAL clear on my specialty areas. The reason I get up each day is to empower women and moms everywhere to bravely face their infertility, postpartum challenges, and pregnancy/infant losses. I get it. I have been there and continue to walk through these arenas. I have faced opposition, challenges, and great personal loss. However, I believe that in our pain and suffering great purpose, meaning, and healing always come.
So this is where I am today and plan to stay – in private practice thoroughly enjoying this adventure living out my mission.
My journey continues…
Since my first time in therapy, I continue to get counseling and help when I need it. Getting my own therapy makes me a better therapist. I have been in your shoes. Not only do I have training and experience in being a therapist, but I have the personal experience of being a client. May you feel and be at ease.
Be BRAVE. Be BOLD. Be COURAGEOUS.
Thanks for viewing and reading,