My little red tether is my anchor in running with my friends. A beautiful guide dog has been my tether/anchor in mobility and independence for 17 years: 1. Pantera 2. Cricket, and now my beautiful 3. Georgina (Georgie). A life of family and friends is my joy and anchor in life.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. CC Scott

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Therapist's Thoughts on Thursday

A few answers to some of the questions I am asked frequently about my profession:

What do you do? I am the business owner, director, and licensed professional counselor of an office which has nine amazing therapists, an accountant/bookkeeper and me. Our practice is in its seventh year and is busy. My favorite comments are when someone indicates - it feels so calm/serene/peaceful here. An intern recently said, I want to work in a place like this -- everyone is so nice to each other. I feel very fortunate to have such a great group of people on our team.
How does your blindness impact your work? Really very minimal - other than coordinating rides to the office and having print/detail read. There is an awareness in the office to keep things cleared. I walk out and greet my client and we go back to my office. We process their journey and Cricket is in the corner of the office. Yesterday after seeing a client for several months, I dropped a paperclip. She helped me find it and indicated - that is the first time that it has been evident to me that you can't see. Office management - I really enjoy this aspect of my job. I have a colleague that is amazing with the details and paperwork and keeps us running smooth. I love planning office events that keep us connected and supporting one another.
Are your clients blind? I spent several years working at the Moran Eye Center with patients who were blind or had a degenerative eye condition and were losing their eyesight.  I enjoyed this position very much.    For the past eight years I have worked in an agency and in my own private practice where on occasion I have had a client who was blind but 98% of my clients are not blind or visually impaired. However, I have enjoyed the clients that I get to see who might happen to be blind. My specialty is Grief/loss/trauma and work with all ages who are experiencing losses in their life. I think my youngest client has been three and my oldest 89. I also enjoy working with people who are experiencing the effects of depression and anxiety. I love implementing the work of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion and Positive Psychology.
How did you go to school? Like anyone who completes an advanced degree ... lots of hard work. There were times of being creative with transportation, getting textbooks on tape (okay, I'm dating myself, I know :), readers for the tests, and simply being innovative in getting the job done. Determination and persistence are important attributes whether blind or not, in grad school. I enjoy having interns at our office to help them have experience and also encourage them that they can do it!
How did you believe you could start your own business? I am grateful to have a super supportive husband that believed in me and helped me navigate some of the business aspects of the whole process. I had a therapist call me today asking for some business input ... I laughed and said, build it and they will come. I said its hard to put into words but if you have a passion and work hard, I believe it can happen.

I had the chance to speak yesterday to two of my mentors, who are blind and to thank them for some of their past wisdom which has helped me immensely. I recognize one of the tools they gave me that has helped the most was to help me to see that blindness does not define me -- it is one of many characteristics of mine.

Dress at our office is comfortable and casual. I usually look at my schedule for the day and dress more casual if I have clients who are kids, and I might be on the floor playing. I choose a little dressier if I have a meeting or adult clients. Today was a casual day with some sessions on the floor with kids. Cricket and I enjoyed a walk up to the Market where we picked up some lovely smelling flowers for the office and eclairs for a birthday celebration. Some accessories about this outfit that I love: this little bracelet - had no idea how often I would wear it!  With all its colors, it seems to go with a lot of outfits. This necklace can be long or short, thanks Natalie for teaching me! These sandals are so comfortable. They pass the walking a few miles with Cricket test! I'm not sure if these colors go together but it just felt like a day to wear bright colors, so I did :). It was an early morning for Steve so I didn't get my visual okay from him.


Lydia Criss Mays said...

This was such an informative post that I believe captures why and how your practice is such a positive place to grow and get to better. Your outlook on everything reads beautiful. From school to playing on the floor to listening to trying out shoes with Cricket, you live in a state of seeing beautiful and creating more for others. That was special to synthesize from this post.

Erin said...

I loved this post Becky! It was so fascinating to me to hear about your job. You are amazing and the next time I am feeling grief or depression I am coming to you!! Your outfit alone would cheer people up. :) And I don't think you need Steve to do a visual check - you look DARLING every time you share a picture of yourself on your blog. You are such an inspiration in so many ways. I always leave your blog feeling happy. :)


Hi there Becky,
Yes, I too loved this post and the opportunity to read a little bit more about you. It was fascinating to read that one of your specialities is depression and anxiety. You haven't really mentioned this before although I 'presumed' this to be the case.
Three weeks ago, I addressed a support group of SADAG (SA Depression & Anxiety Group) about my journey with Maxdog. What an incredible experience that was.
Well done on all the amazing work you all do and congratulations on being such an inspiration to all of us.
Sending lotsaluv

Fran said...

I remember that our first meeting was in an arena of helping others. I was impressed with you then and even more so today! You are a light to others, a joy to know, and a ray of sunshine each time I read your blog. You radiate hope and calm and sweetness. I am so happy our paths crossed so many years ago. Thanks, Becky, for who you are!

Myrna R. said...

So nice that you have a successful practice. It sounds like a great place to work.

I had several blind clients. Very little of our work revolved around their blindness, but they taught me much. When my mother became blind, I think I understood a little better. Wish she hadn't gone blind at such a late age, after Alzheimer's had devoured her brain. She died two weeks ago of kidney failure. She had never had any kidney problems, and in my mind I know she really died because she couldn't cope with being blind. So, help all you can Becky. I think you do, just by being who you are.

By the way, your outfit's terrific.

Beth Finke said...

Love, love, love this post, Becky. I’m wondering whether you’d allow me to put it on my own “Safe & Sound” blog as a guest blog sometime? I’d introduce you to my blog reader’s, link to your site and then publish this post – readers are so curious to know how we do things without being able to see well, and this post explains it oh so beautifully.
Also wanted to thank you for linking to Lauren Weidener’s guest post on my blog, and for leaving a comment there to credit her for her fine, fine essay about what it’s like to be married to someone who is blind. Your response there wished my husband Mike good luck with his upcoming surgery, just wanted to let you know that the post about his surgery was from a ear or two ago, somehow he survived, even with a wife who is bllind(!)and is doing fine!

Becky said...

Thank you So much for your ever so kind comments, Lydia and Erin!

Oh Fran, I remember our first meeting - how kind you were/are to me! Thank you and hoping our paths cross soon.

Caryl; Your sharing your journey is so awesome. Thank you for the impact you and Max have had miles away.

Myrna, So sorry about your mom. Sending you love and sympathies at this time.

Oh Beth, oops! Glad the surgery is in the past :) for Mike. Yes, most certainly - I would be so pleased!