I chose counseling out of deep calling within my soul to care deeply for those who are hurting. I can tell you this much, I didn’t choose counseling to just survive. It’s not survival me. Life is absolutely boring and meaningless if it’s just about survival, even animals do that. I think we are much more than animals. We have a dignity from God, endowed with gifts to help those around us, to be better people, while lifting up our communities.
I chose counseling because I saw that through my own self work and counseling, I became a better person and was able to become a better helper. I was first inspired starting back in 2008 after coming through 2 years of severe depression. I had always wanted to work with people but I didn’t have a solid grasp on what context I wanted to help these people in. Going through depression solidified the counseling setting for me.
I truly believe that I went through depression specifically to help others, and not just to gain personal development and a deeper faith in Christ. I can’t tell you how much God has used my experience of depression to bless others. I was able to work at my church for almost 3 years while bringing normalcy to mental health. About 8 months ago, I was a guest on a podcast where there was an episode done on depression, briefly going over my experience. It was reported that this was one of the most listened to episodes. Before Covid-19, I was talking with my barber about my experience of depression and got the idea to offer a free workshop for all the customers who come into the shop. I think the, mostly men participants, seeing my transparency encouraged them to open up as well during the free workshop and it was a thing of beauty.
I chose counseling because it allows for me and others to be vulnerable and we can see people for who they are. Since day one, my approach and disposition to counseling has been to be vulnerable and to be a great listener. When we listen well to people, it communicates to them that they are valuable and they have something to contribute. It tells them that we care. When we are vulnerable it says, you are not alone in your struggle and “I can be trusted” and “I don’t have a secret agenda”.
I chose counseling because I wanted to help POC accept as something they can take advantage of without shame. When it comes to therapy and medications among POC, I am starting to notice some very positive things. I think the idea of going to therapy or taking medications is certainly improving and I can say that by just seeing it with my immediate family. I think by me being so open about my past condition, and continued use of medications, has helped my family to feel much more able to seek help for their issues. I had two siblings in the past year, look into their mental wellness. This was unprecedented in my family, and most families of color.
In conclusion, this is why I chose counseling as a profession. I love hearing of other people’s personal journey, and if the opportunity permits itself, I like to share mine. It is empowering and fulfilling to share stories while knowing that someone is being healed in the process. To top it off, I just generally love people. So, if you are a counselor, I encourage you to keep doing what you do. Enjoy it and serve the people you counsel well. If you never been to counseling, I would encourage you to give it more than one chance. You might find a lifetime of change waiting.