Allow me to tell you a story of a girl who wanted to break the mold. She had been trying to blend with the crowd her entire life. She never wanted to stand out or be the center of attention. But then, that same girl grew a backbone years later and wanted to do everything in her power to ensure that everyone knew what she had to offer.
Life Before Counseling
In case you have not figured it out yet, I was talking about me in that intro.
When I was nine years old, my parents had a bad breakup. That was an understatement, given that my mother urged me to testify in court against my father regarding his abusive behavior towards both of us. I did not want to do that for obvious reasons, but I felt the need to do so in the end. Otherwise, the judge would have sided with my father, who filed for joint custody. That would give him a chance to beat me up again.
Since we came from a small town, though, everyone knew about the court proceedings. I guess it only needed a speck of ember in the form of a court marshal to talk about what went down there to his wife for the gossips to spread. When I went to school the next day, most kids looked at me weirdly, while the teachers pitied their eyes whenever they looked at me. I only understood what their looks meant once my best friend hugged me and told me that everything would be okay from now on and that everyone knew what I was going through.
I would not say that I became reclusive after that, but I honestly preferred to stay away from crowds. That was especially true when news came around about my father getting raided in his house during a drug bust operation. He chose to open fire at the policemen who turned up instead of turning himself in, so they had no choice but to take him down. By that, I meant they shot him.
The buzz grew louder a few days later when my father died at the hospital. People were not just contented with looking at me from a distance anymore. This time, many of them would come up to me, offer their condolences, and ask how I felt.
The unwanted attention that I had been getting became too much for me one day. I eventually begged my mother to relocate somewhere where no one knew about our family history. Unfortunately, she did not understand why I felt so frazzled, especially now that my father could not bother us in his grave. I had no choice but to keep to myself most of the time until I finished high school.
After high school, I initially had no plans of going to college. My only goal was to get out of that small town because everyone still remembered me as that little girl who testified against her father, who later died during a drug bust operation. That was too much for me to handle, so I needed to make a quick escape.
One day, though, I picked up a leaflet on the restaurant floor where I was waitressing. I was about to throw it in the trash when I saw a university brochure containing a list of programs that they offered. As I read it out of curiosity, my eyes widened in mild surprise when I found out that they offered a degree in psychology and counseling.
Back then, the judge who handled my parents’ divorce did not suggest counseling to them or me. Perhaps he did not know that it existed, or he did not believe in it. However, things might have gone differently for me if there was a mental health professional that I could turn to while dealing with confusion, frustration, and other emotions. Thus, I set aside my plans of leaving town and decided to enroll in the university.
Life As A Licensed Psychologist And Counselor
Many years passed since the day I picked up that university brochure. I worked at night and studied during the day to afford my education. After getting my licenses, I chose not to join an established mental facility but to open my clinic.
I know what you might think. It’s a bold move, right? Doing so meant that I had to have the mind of a businesswoman to ensure that the clinic was always full. But I wanted to do it because I knew that I could help more people in distress this way.
I did not account for in the beginning, though, that I had to be a marketer on top of being a businesswoman. Still, I did not allow that to overwhelm me. I took a crash course in marketing and learned that social media marketing could work for all business types, including counseling. I had a business account set up on various platforms in no time; I even hired a social media specialist to handle all the posts and comments masterfully.
My efforts paid off. When I started, I only saw two or three clients every day. Once the clinic’s online presence bloomed, I had to hire another psychologist/counselor to accommodate everyone.
My life is far from what it used to be, and I am genuinely happy about coming out of my shell and healing while helping others.