“And I’ll Find Strength In Pain” – The Cave by Mumford & Sons

Everyone who walks through my office door has a problem or issue they would like to work on or they wouldn’t be seeking therapy.  I believe that the problem that brings you to counseling is only a part of your story and that within each narrative there are strengths to be discovered.  I believe that the person is not the problem, the problem is the problem, and the problem doesn’t define you.  Therefore, my goal in therapy is to assist you in unpacking the problem while honoring your story and your strengths.  I named my practice “Embrace Strength Counseling” because of my inherent belief that every person has strengths.

I realize that when you seek help from a therapist, you most likely are not feeling strong in that moment.  Yet by contacting me and coming to therapy, you are demonstrating strength.  The strengths I see in my clients are numerous and include internal strengths such as resilience, the desire to grow, the search for meaning, motivation to change, personal awareness and knowledge, previous experiences of overcoming problems, and adaptive coping skills, to name a few.  I also see external strengths, for example, a client may come in with a strong support system or a religious or faith-based belief system that provides strength.  In addition to internal and external strengths, there are also different areas of our life in which we demonstrate strength; for example physical, mental, and emotional strength.

I personally have experienced periods of pain through which I came out stronger in different areas of my life.  My most recent example of finding strength through pain is related to physical strength.  In 2011, I had surgery on both of my ankles for two unrelated injuries.  For those of you who don’t know my story, I have been an athlete for many years and currently coach a college cross country team.  Therefore, physical strength is an important aspect of my life.  My most recent injury was a right ankle fracture and I have spent the last 6 months coping with the pain and impact of this injury.  The fracture was unstable and needed a plate and 6 screws to repair it.  It has been a long process of recovery and I lost a great deal of physical strength after spending three months on crutches.

Although this was the most painful injury and longest recovery time I’ve ever experienced; I strive each day to accept the injury, the healing process, and embrace the opportunity to rebuild and find strength within myself – physically, emotionally, and mentally.  That’s the thing about pain; it may start out in one area of your life (i.e. physical) but it has the tendency to impact the other areas as well (i.e. emotional pain as a result of physical pain).

Similar to the plate and screws that now stabilize my right ankle, sometimes people need support in their emotional lives to help them heal, grow, and thrive.  Just as my physical therapist has spent the last 4 months working with me to increase my ankle’s flexibility, balance, and strength; a therapist can support you in your goal of living a personally meaningful and fulfilling life and you, too, can find strength in pain.