Therapy Redefined

I have unbelievably blessed to work with two of the most amazing therapists during my life.  My first was twenty-five years ago.  For my regular readers you will know something about Jan already.  She was my therapist and later became my best friend.  I talk about her in several blogs including this one.    After her sudden death, I decided to return to therapy.   A friend’s recommendation led me to Rhonda Baiocco.    If you are in the Charleston, SC area and ever need a therapist, call her.

I haven’t been in therapy now for over a year, although I will admit to calling Rhonda and popping in for one quick visit before making a huge, huge life decision.  During my drive home after an intense workshop last night, I started thinking about the other “therapists” in my life.   I am not going to go into a long dissertation on the different types of psychotherapy, counseling, etc.   (I hope you realize my use of the term therapist from this point on does not include anyone who is licensed practicing therapist.)

Rachel is my massage therapist.  She knows me pretty well by now.  She begins my session by sitting down and asking, “So what is going on? Let’s get all this out there before we start.”  I give her the quick update on what has been going on in my life and then we talk about body areas might need work.  During my massage, we often discuss our lives, our issues, and our solutions.   Yes, we talk during massage.   Occasionally I will be quiet and listen to the soothing music, but I love talking to Rachel.

Ginger has been a source of a couple of blogs including this one.   She has been my hair therapist for about 9 years now.   We have formed a friendship apart from the salon.  However, every three weeks I am in her chair and shop for at least a couple of hours while she does her magic.  We catch up on life and help each other figure out what we are doing wrong or right.  We have been through some similar life experiences and that gives us courage to share with each other.

Karate is my newest passion.  I love the physical experience but I am learning so much about myself in the process.  Our Sensei (teacher) is Joyce Stech.  You can read more about her here.   Her teachings are to develop the individual to understand their personal truth and essence.  I am learning as much about myself at the Dojo as I am about Martial Arts.

Last, but certainly not least, are my trusted friends.  I have many friends that I enjoy and love having in my life, but  there are only a few with whom I share my true self and all my joys, fears, issues, ideas, laughter and tears.  These are the people I can truly say I love.   They are the ones that know me best and call bullshit when they hear it.  They expect the same from me.  We counter that with support and encouragement.

One of the things these people all have in common is faith. While their ideas may vary, they all have faith and are willing to share that with me.  They have opened my heart and mind to building and growing my relationship with God.   My Grandmother told me things like psychiatry, psychology, and therapy showed a lack of faith and were not necessary for a true believer.  I disagree.  I know God put these people in my path and have used them all in my life.

One last therapist doesn’t have a name.  It is writing.  Writing in blogs, writing a book, or writing in a journal all have an impact on my life.  I learn so much about myself by writing.  Jan F. was the first one who taught me write my thoughts, ideas, and just to do free writing.  Sharing my writing publicly has given a new world of people from whom I can learn.   Here is a quote from my favorite author.  If you are a blog follower, you have the opportunity to read many of Anne Lamott’s quotes.  I hope you have picked up one of her books by now.

“We write to expose the unexposed. Most human beings are dedicated to keeping that one door shut. But the writer’s job is to see what’s behind it, to see the bleak unspeakable stuff, and to turn the unspeakable into words – not just into any words but if we can, into rhythm and blues. You can’t do this without discovering your own true voice, and you can’t find your true voice and peer behind the door and report honestly and clearly to us if your parents are reading over your shoulder.”
Anne Lamott

My first therapist Jan said the goal of a good therapist is make you your own therapist.  She helped me do that.  I also knew I was in a place where I needed a refresher course and I am grateful that I found Rhonda.  She helped me sharpen my tools and added a couple of new ones to the toolbox.     I don’t know if I will ever need to go back to therapy.  I hope I have learned the lessons well.  I believe having these other “therapists” in my life will help me continue to grow and learn.

16 responses

  1. Beautiful tribute Cathy! We were not meant to do it alone were we? Writing may seem like a solitary event but it definitely is not.


    1. Thanks…I agree. Alone didn’t work for me. My life is redefined by the writing, friends, and faith.


  2. Really enjoyed this a lot. Thanks for helping me see others in a different light.


  3. Did you ever hit publish and realize you forgot something? Well I did. I meant to include my “group of wise women” and Kathy Murphy in this blog post. So consider yourself included.


    1. Thanks for helping me re-categorize all my little “helpers” in life.


  4. I absolutely loved this post. Thanks Cathy for sharing your experiences. I think the true power of any therapist is absolutely in helping you find your own way and your own methods and your own therapists. The last paragraphs particularly struck a chord for me – writing is total therapy for me, and I try and encourage others to use this technique if it works for them. Lovely. Thank you.


    1. Writing is such a powerful tool whether you share it publicly or not. Thanks for the comments.


  5. What a lovely blog and a great way to feel appreciation for those around you. Thank you for presenting that angle.


    1. Thank you Kama


  6. This was a really enjoyable post and it is always good to pay tribute to the people in our lives.No man is an island no matter how we sometimes want to think so. Thank you for being my therapist by writing this. God bless.


    1. Thank you Jessica. I tried being an island and almost drowned. Love having all my therapists around.


  7. I enjoyed reading this. Opening up, admitting vulnerability and trusting can be difficult, but often that’s the way we find our true strength.


    1. Finding our true self and strength can be difficult but sometimes it just takes a moment to breathe in and out. Thanks for commenting.


  8. Your honest words do make “rhythm and blues”, Cathy. And I’m listening.


  9. Loved this. Great post.


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