The warmest and happiest of “HELLO'S!” to all reading my first ever Talk with TE blog post! If you’re reading - THANK YOU! Whether you’re a potential, past or present client, a family-friend or a former colleague your presence on my webpage symbolizes your support of me in the next chapter of my life and for that I am deeply grateful. This post marks the beginning of my adventure as a private-practice mental health counselor, which yes, feels huge to both write and say aloud - huge because finding purpose for the lives we live may not happen easily or often and I am blessed to have found at least one of mine! It's’ also such a powerful blessing to know that all of life’s previous “lemons” have the potential to come together to make the sweetest of lemonades, it just depended on my perspective.
I’ve long wondered where my passion for working with families began. My own current family is … an interesting makeup. My husband and I met in college and married almost 5 years ago this summer, I have one “full” sibling, one “half” sibling from my bio-dad, two cousins that have always been regarded as sisters, a paternal aunt that I call my second mom, my bio-mom in heaven, and an estranged relationship with my bio-dad. I’ve been raised by numerous members of my family and entities from my grandparents, to the foster care system. I have “auntie’s” I couldn’t even tell you how we’re related, in-laws and family I know exists but I’ve never met! PHEW! Got all of that out. For a second it felt like a biblical genealogy passage. All of that to say - since family has been such an ever-changing definition in my personal life its’ curious I’ve always been so drawn the idea of the family system - my experience is not nuclear in the slightest sense.
I frequently remember experiencing polarizing emotions throughout random patches of life when thinking about my various family makeups over the years. Sometimes feeling jealous of others who had the “all-American” family made up of a mother and father in one home, somehow seemlessly coexisting together. Other times feeling shame. At other times I would look upon my little funky unit, my tribe with a sense of pride and contentment. We were the overcomers, the underdogs, the “southpaw people” as my husband calls it. Having been through tough times somehow brought us closer and made me more determined to 1) create a better circumstance for my own “family” one day and 2) serve families throughout the course of my life.
The intention I set for my practice is to normalize the experience of … NOT being normal! What is normal, anyway? Especially when it concerns family. We all have a weird aunt or a sibling with mental illness or step-fathers, two moms, a single dad or live with our extended family. I mean, even the Brady Bunch were a blended, unique and definitely awkward family. And what I know from my husband’s experience is that being raised in a two-parent home doesn’t necessarily equate to a consistently happy home. So, if we all have something about our family’s that is different or challenging, it seems counterintuitive to suppress the truths about who we are. We’re never alone in our differentness.
Sometimes the truths of who we are mean we’re traumatized by things we’ve seen or things that have happened to us. Often times, a challenge with one family member can cause challenges throughout the entire family unit resulting in mental health diagnoses like depression or anxiety. Maybe your truth is that you feel embarrassed you don't know what to do to help the child in your care. Whatever the truth of your family situation is I know from personal experience that ignoring it won’t make it go away AND you deserve to be seen for your most true and authentic self. There is never shame in being genuine.
So bring me the awkward, the step-kids, the adopted. Bring me the exhausted moms, the single fathers, the grandparents back in the role of mom and dad. Come, all you foster parents and siblings raising siblings. Nothing is “weird” about where you and your family are in life at this very moment. But you could use support, ideas to address challenging situations or even clinical mental health treatment. In my office, you’re welcome - with open ears and unconditional acceptance.
I am excited for what this opportunity to serve in this capacity will bring me as well as the clients I come across along the way. Through this blog I welcome feedback on posts, questions that you’d like answered or sharing your experience on topics written about. I’ll post a new blog every Sunday and all blogs are representative of my thoughts/feelings on family related issues. They should not be viewed as mental health treatment or interventions. Thank you for the outpouring of love as I step into my purpose and passion!
In the spirit of realness,