MENTAL HEALTH? THERAPY? Uh-oh… Here I go again. I am notorious for using my online platform to talk about the things nobody else really wants to talk about. With that being said, today I have a VERY special guest here on the blog. So, can you guess who it is? Yep, you guessed it! My therapist, and friend, Sarah Zipfel.
Sarah is a licensed professional counselor, and studied Professional Counseling at Liberty University. She empowers her clients with tools to increase their self-worth, decrease codependency, recover from abusive or toxic relationships, and move forward from crippling mental illnesses. The best part is, she does all of this while leading her patients to God, and always guiding them back to His word. Basically, Sarah is one of the most influential, and kindhearted people I have ever met.
I asked her what her favorite part of her job was, and her answer just shows how wonderful she is. Sarah said:
“I would have to say that the very best part of being a professional counselor is when a client has a major “ah-hah!” moment of insight or awareness. Getting to witness my clients “connecting the dots” of their experience into meaning is beyond rewarding and gratifying. Over my career, I have seen endless evidence as to how self-awareness is the gift that keeps on giving in my client’s lives. When clients hit their therapeutic stride, I know they’ll never be the same again…in a good way. A good therapy experience enables people to improve literally every area of their lives.”
She is truly such an angel.
As a Christian Counselor, Sarah said her relationship with God impacts her work heavily. She even said her goal is to “be an example of Him by modeling unconditional love, empathy, and gentle teaching to my clients”. If you are in the Atlanta area, and looking for a Licensed Professional Counselor, Sarah is your girl. Even if you are not a believer, or a “Christian”, you are more than welcome in her office. She even said:
“I often treat clients who have no religious or spiritual inclinations, which I wholeheartedly welcome. Even without any mention of God, my hope is that they come to feel that there’s something about what they experience in my office that ignites them to explore that unattended part of themselves.”
So, you go to therapy… and then what? What is supposed to happen when you are done? You magically heal? No more mental health problems? Not exactly… I WISH it was that easy, haha! I asked Sarah what the goal for her clients is, and here is what she said:
“My goal for each of my clients is that they leave my office after each and every session feeling heard, validated, supported and equipped. That sounds so neat and tidy; but remember, people do not generally seek me out when life is going well! Most often, people show up on my sofa psychologically broken and emotionally wounded…sometimes beyond all recognition. I want my clients to feel safe to sift through their painful experiences and emotions, make some meaningful sense of it all, grieve it, then learn to grasp and use the tools I gently offer them. Ultimately, I want my clients to graduate from treatment confident that they are empowered to take on the rest of their lives.”
If you have ever found yourself struggling with anxiety, or depression, lacking in the “self-worth” department, or if you have ever been in a toxic or abusive relationship… this post is for you. But, if you have not dealt with any of these things, this post is for you too! Reading this may help you understand what your friends are walking through, and how you can support them through their struggle, or you may realize that you could benefit from therapy, too.
I asked Sarah when she would recommend someone see a therapist, and her answer surprised me in the best way! Here’s her answer:
“Therapy is for EVERYONE. In fact, it’s probably most necessary for people who think they don’t need it. I like to think of therapy as a safe, objective mirror which reveals parts of ourselves that we may not have been ready to acknowledge before we came to therapy. Clinically speaking, however, therapy is indicated for those who are struggling with any issue to the point that it is debilitating to their functional life or relationships”.
If you know my story, you know that I have struggled with severe anxiety and depression for the majority of my life. I am a HUGE advocate for mental health, and I am all about using the resources God gives us (medication, therapy, etc.) I had a few ideas of how I wanted to summarize all that I have learned in therapy in this blog post, but Sarah actually gave me this list of the five things SHE has seen me learn in therapy thus far. I know this is pretty personal, but I also think it is really important to be vulnerable when it comes to mental health. Girlfriend, I am so excited to share these things with you today. I hope they are as freeing, and life-changing for you as they have been for me.
5 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN THERAPY
- “I am not a prisoner to my feelings/beliefs/emotions. Specifically, anxiety is a liar and a power-thief, and it does not actually protect me or keep me safe.”
- “I have an entire Personal Bill of Rights, which I vow to protect in all of my relationships.”
- “Secrets keep you (and/or the system) sick.”
- “Control is just an illusion. But, I can find peace in what I DO have influence over, and try to focus only on that.”
- “I can still be a caring person and love within limits. I am not loving people by blurring the lines of (codependent) responsibility for their thoughts, feelings, and/or problems.”
WOW! Pretty powerful, right? These are just a few of the many things I have learned in therapy, and hold close to my heart. I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to get professional help for my mental health, and I recognize that not everyone has the ability to do that. And that is the heart behind today’s post. My hope for this post is that you leave here today feeling worthy, strong, valuable, and created perfectly in His image. And, I promise that is the truth! If you want to learn more about Sarah, check out her site here! And, if you want to learn more about me, check this out!
Have the most fabulous Friday, and a wonderful weekend.