Therapy AND….

Well, I’ll admit, I’m at a bit of a crossroads with counseling.

As a Licensed Professional Counselor (clinically trained in the mental health field),  I was taught to be egalitarian and inclusive. I was taught to approach my clients with “unconditional positive regard,” nodding thoughtfully to what they were saying and validating how they were feeling. I thought my role was to create a safe space where my clients felt heard, validated and supported. So for years I would listen and reflect back what I thought a client was saying, to emphasize that I was hearing them.  I didn’t think it was my job to challenge someones beliefs, or call someone out when they were wallowing or hiding. I thought that could be hurtful or inappropriate.

But after several years into Private Practice I realized that I felt incongruent if I validated a client if they were not willing to taking ownership of their life.  I learned that nodding thoughtfully when I disagreed was in a way, lying.  I realized that counseling as I knew it, was often enabling my clients to stay stuck in old dysfunctional patterns and left me feeling drained and unhelpful.  Anyone can nod thoughtfully and validate, but I have more to offer and so I chose to step out and be more active in my sessions. Because I am in the room too.

That’s when I began exploring the concept of mentoring.  Mentoring isn’t necessarily that much different then counseling.  In fact, a mentor is technically a “trusted counselor or guide.” But the role of a mentor is, at times, to impart wisdom on a mentee. The mentee seeks to gain knowledge that can help them grow.  A mentee has a desire to be parented (even when that includes “tough love”), and most importantly, challenged.

Because if we are not challenged, we will not grow! 

Many of the clients I work with now, spent years in therapy before they found me.  Years in therapy without seeing significant changes!  They often describe their past experience with therapists as something like this: “Well, my last therapist was supportive and caring, she listened to me, but I didn’t really change that much, and I kept falling back into the same patterns.”  Feeling heard and supported is only half of what it takes to make changes. And I think what we are gravely lacking in our society is trusted and supported mentors, who are willing to say the hard things, share their knowledge and wisdom, and in turn – show the mentee (client) that they can do better in their lives.

If I choose to work with you, its because I believe in you. 

And I believe that I can help you grow into the life you want for yourself – but that means, sometimes we will look at things you might not expect to look at.  That means, we will sometimes talk about things you have never talked about before. 

Yes, I have all those conversations from a caring and compassionate place.  AND my style at times can be direct, because I don’t want to waste your time or your money.

I have keen insight. I have over a decade of experience working with clients, on top of over a decade of doing my own personal work. It would be a disservice to both of us if I sat quietly and nodded, while you went on and on about something that was perhaps a distraction from the real issue. 

I want to hear you and understand you and I want to support you, but I also want to challenge you, encourage you and push you.  I don’t settle for complacency anymore – because I want a society where people are willing to go beyond their fears to live extraordinary lives – and as a mentor, that is what I believe I can offer.