Finding the Right Counselor – No Matter Where You…
You are probably standing at the crossroads, realizing that some things about the way you have been managing your life just don’t work anymore. You could be facing scarcity, loss, anxiety or anger and you’re looking for a way through the resulting labyrinth. Or you could be facing such abundance that you need to find a way to manage it all well and maintain a healthy balance in your life.
Anne, a 36 year old woman living in Atlanta Georgia finds that she wants to go back to work after taking care of her beloved 4 year old child for the past few years. Just nine months ago she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. And though she has made great progress, she finds herself blocked from reaching outside of her current position. Anne knows that she needs to be discerning about where she places herself so that potential stressful situations do not tip the fine balance she has worked so hard to maintain for herself; so she can participate in her life without succumbing to the devastating symptoms of fatigue that she experienced last year. To top the challenge off, her son is the same age her brother was when their alcoholic mother abandoned them and she is experiencing fear and encroaching panic that she might manifest the same qualities of being the abandoning mother, even though she rationally realizes that the supportive environment she has created for her son doesn’t at all resemble the world that she grew up in.
Mary and Alan, a couple in their early 40’s living in a small New England town, have been spending the past fifteen years working within their passion. They have been putting in 50 to 80 hour weeks of work they enjoy, traveling widely, and have accrued many assets, some providing residual income. They realize that, though they have enjoyed their ‘fast lane’ lifestyle, they are both finding themselves drawn to a new spiritual path. Also, they have the sweet surprise that now they would like to raise a family. This is a desire that they haven’t had before. Their biological clock is ticking, as Mary is turning 41 next month. How are they going to provide the space in their lives for a family and a spiritual journey and continue to experience life in the passionate way that has worked so well for them up to now?
These are just two examples of people at a cross road in life. In both examples the individuals have done what they can to work through the difficult questions posed by their life challenges. Anne has done extensive reading on the subject of spirit and has reached out to her church for support. With the reading she has done, she finds herself desiring to walk through life from a place that is not colored with fear and her wounds, but she is having trouble implementing that skill set alone. Her church is sympathetic, but praying is not fulfilling the need she feels for putting all the pieces of her internal landscape into a perspective that she can understand well enough to navigate this new chapter in her life. Mary and Alan have also studied and read about the spiritual journey and they ‘get’ it in an intellectual way but the actual implementation of it in their lives is bringing up feelings of bewilderment and fear. They find themselves with very few role models on how to implement a shift from working towards monetary success to relaxing into a life that is inclusive of spirit and a quantity of quality time with raising a family.
These individuals have the opportunity to head in a spiritual direction. And so do you. You aren’t limited by locale. Supportive professionals are available to help with your transition into a more spiritual life.
You can connect with a spiritual counselor or director in your neighborhood; if you find one that works for you. Because of the mainstreaming of technology you can also extend your search to include the internet. There is now easy access to counseling that can provide you with options and possibilities, that may not be available locally. If you live rurally, the local options available may appear archaic to your needs. If you live in another country, you may not be able to find the counseling you need locally because the culture doesn’t support the kind of spiritual growth that you are looking for. If you live in an urban area you may want a perspective from someone who is successfully living in a quieter environment which would be inaccessible to you locally.
When you choose to do your counseling or spiritual direction over the phone you place a priority on your time, your money and your spirit. There may be a challenge for you to relax into counseling on the phone. There has been a strong cultural bias toward face to face meetings with counselors and there are certainly reasons for this. Phone counseling, because the therapist is not watching you as you speak, can let you off the hook if you choose not to pay attention to the messages that your body is sending. On the other hand, creating a safe space in your own home in which to explore, free from being seen, can allow you to discover a deeper level of self-awareness. An additional question to consider when preparing for a phone session is whether you are prepared in your own space to create the boundaries you need in order to get the most out of your time. Can you allow yourself to shut the door and take the time for yourself, even when distractions may await you in the next room?
Given that, phone counseling may not be for everyone. If the answer to the above question is ‘no’, it might be better in the current situation to seek out counseling outside of the personal environment. There are also situations and stages of life that benefit greatly from a face to face counseling experience; one that takes place in an environment that is not one’s own. This can provide you with an opportunity to see your everyday machinations from a different perspective.
We appear to be called to connect with each other more and more these days.
You may be facing the daunting challenge of creating a meaningful spiritual life for yourself that does not necessarily fit well with the beliefs of those closest to you. The way your parents, peers or coworkers live in the world may not be working for you and you have struggled to bring a spiritual practice into your life that is meaningful – and supported. You may have to reach outside the box. Scheduling a series of phone sessions may be a perfect place to begin the spiritual journey that you are looking for; the kind of journey that will lead you into fuller connection to yourself and others – no matter where you are. There is someone on the other end of the line waiting to hear from you….to support you….to invite you into your next unfolding.