Like many of you, I have experienced times in my life when navigating change and loss has necessitated a period of reflection, reevaluation, and reinvention. Caring for a loved one who is dying, being diagnosed with cancer, going through divorce, as well as the many changes associated with midlife and becoming an empty nester. Experiencing these things myself sparked a curiosity and desire to learn more about what people need in these transitional times, and how best to support those needs. I like to say that I didn’t choose to become a counselor, it chose me.
My personal journey has been down a path of exploration in which I have done a deep dive into learning everything I could about loss, change, grief, resilience, and rediscovery. I began working with hospice patients and their families and was inspired to return to school and earn a bachelor’s degree in applied psychology and then a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling so that I could help others navigate these transitions utilizing the benefit of what I have learned.
I approach counseling from the perspective of being your traveling companion as you find your way through the loss and change associated with life’s transitional times. An experienced guide who has specialized knowledge about what has worked for others, and how your personal strengths and resources can be tapped into to chart your own way through.
COUNSELING – MY “MAP” FOR NAVIGATING LOSS
Counseling with me will be a process of personal discovery about where you have come from, where you are now, and where you are going. The journey looks a little different for everyone depending on the unique circumstances of what losses you have experienced and what has changed for you, however there are guideposts to follow:
FIRST STEPS: CREATING THE KEY TO OUR MAP
In the initial counseling sessions, we will delve into what has changed for you and how you are experiencing the losses associated with this change. These losses have not occurred in a vacuum, your experience of it is shaped by your history, your family of origin, your personal story, and other experiences of change and loss you have had along the way. Together we will explore what is happening now in the larger context of your life to date in order to understand how you respond to and cope with adversity, and what strengths and resources you have to draw from while coping with this transitional time in your life.
NEXT STEPS: ORIENTING THE MAP
Once we have looked at where you have come from, the next step is to orient the map so we can find where you are in the present. Experiencing a major change or loss creates a liminal space in which we are not who we were before, but we are not yet who we will become because of it. This is where we take time to plant your feet firmly in the present, grounded in what is right in front of you, taking stock of what you already have available to you, and determining what we will need to gather for your journey forward.
CHARTING THE PATH AHEAD
In the early stages of coping with change and loss, getting a firm picture of what the future holds can be elusive and unimaginable. This final part of the journey is where we start to look around on the map and think about where the journey might take you next. You don’t have to leave any things or people you have lost behind, they will accompany you as you think about what is next for you. Additionally, there may be multiple pathways to get to where you want to go. I will help you consider options, select things that work for you and identify ways you might move toward them. The goal is not to arrive at a destination, but to travel well, and live in ways that you find meaningful and satisfying. The counseling process will then conclude when you feel like you have what you need to navigate the rest of your journey on your own, ready with map in hand and armed with the gifts of the past, setting off toward a future of your own design.