One of the best things about being a counselor is that counseling is relational. We know from the research what leads people to feel successful in therapy, and that is the quality of the relationship between therapist and client. This matters more than the age and experience of the therapist, the particular struggle of the client, the type of therapy used by the therapist, or any other potential influence on counseling. Like other types of relationships, the therapeutic relationship is one in which there is both give and take.
Whitney Storey Blog
If you have spent any time on TikTok lately, odds are you have come across some videos where folks (with a healthy helping of good humor) discuss the specific behaviors that have led them to discover, usually later in life, that they might actually be neurodivergent.
I can count on one hand the number of times I, as a cis-White woman, have been a minority in any space I have been while in the United States. Growing up in this way means that while I was aware of some differences that exist between myself and my non-White peers, I never really came face-to-face with the ripple effects of this way of living until my young-adult years.
October of 2022 was a huge month for me. It was in this month that I finally earned my certification in Perinatal Mental Health, which was really the culmination of a decade of work in mental health and in my own journey as a mother. Naturally, I have been wanting to celebrate with the folks around me, but I have noticed one important barrier to this - people just aren't quite sure what a perinatal mental health specialist even is! Let's break it down.
Humans are natural story tellers. We have long histories of using stories as a way to explain the unexplainable, to teach and guide our children, and to give our lives a sense of direction and purpose. We have stories about ourselves - like, I'm a good person, I love music, I'm a natural with animals, I'm bad at math... One story I have about myself is I am a good mother. But what if I told you that stories like that, even the positive ones, can get us into trouble?
Most mental health professionals prefer to work with clients individually. Each person has such unique needs, learning histories, beliefs, fears, and goals - and there's so much benefit from being able to focus all of the therapeutic attention to that one person.
Growing up I made a number of assumptions about who I was going to be and what my life would be like in adulthood. I assumed I would go to college, meet a nice man, get married shortly after graduation, and begin my family as a stable and capable professional - a working wife and mother. Of course, things aren't that simple. It has been an incredibly bumpy ride.
As I'm writing this, we have just come out of another Mother's Day and I am thinking ahead to the next few holidays and what my family will be doing. Holidays, and family get-togethers in general, can really cause a lot of anxiety in me and in many of the folks I talk to (in and out of the therapy room). There is just so much pressure - so many shoulds, have tos, musts, and can'ts. When it comes to these rules, as I call them, who is in charge?
I love that as a culture we are embracing the idea that "it's okay to not be okay." It's so accepting and welcoming of folks with all kinds of struggles and has reduced the stigma around seeking help. But, can I be honest with you for a second? Sometimes when I think "it's okay to not be okay," I find myself meaning it only for other people. It's okay for other people to not be okay. Not me. And I have a hunch I might not be the only one.
I have a long history of being involved in the arts and finding benefits from making art by myself and with others. While I had folks who encouraged me in my practice, I also found that many people (mostly my peers) didn't understand my love of art. The stigma I felt about my artistic self lead to feelings of shame. My best friend in undergrad even told me one time, as we were discussing dating, "maybe you shouldn't tell them you're a theatre major" - as if distancing myself from the arts were possible, let alone preferable! Art fills me with life.