My Journey as a Soul-Stitcher
I am not sure what it is about the summer that puts me in an increased state of self-reflection. It’s true that I spend a fair amount of time in my head and sometimes I just hibernate with my thoughts; during this past summer I have spent time thinking about my practice of psychotherapy, where I am, where I want to go and where I have been and I would like to share some of those thoughts with you.
I remember walking down Mass Ave in Cambridge the winter before graduating, 2002, & thinking to myself, “Huh, I am going to be a soul-stitcher like Nana was.” My grandmother worked in the shoe factories of Lynn, stitching soles. For me the differences and similarities were both sweet and sad. At graduation I was clear in my intentions; I was moving to Mid-Coast Maine and had accepted a position as a home-based family counselor, a soul-stitcher, to families whose tapestries had become unraveled. See, that is what I believe; our lives are a beautiful tapestry that we began creating before our birth. Every person in our life is represented by a strand of thread or perhaps by a color, events are patterns, rips and worn spots simply show us times that were challenging but add beauty, depth and character to the tapestry. Out tapestry is not complete until we die, and maybe not then. At any time we have the ability to weave new patterns with new colors or re-work the old pattern and strengthen what has become weak, reinforce what has become worn.
My work as a home-based family counselor remains a highlight of my professional career. I am certain there were many contributing factors, amazing colleagues, a superstar supervisor plus the natural beauty of the environment and living in the most peaceful place one could imagine. The agency also recognized the importance of counselors to take care of themselves and supported us in doing so. However, I think what made it so perfect was that I knew I was doing what I was meant to do, I was stitching souls and that was a reverent experience for me.
As the years went by I found myself accepting different positions within the mental health field and found myself back in Massachusetts. Some of these changes were motivated by ego, some by pride and some by money. I knew that making decisions rooted in money and ego would almost guarantee a less than happy ending. I also knew that the Universe would knock me upside of my head and shove me on path in alignment with my true calling. Well, I think the Universe was a tad harsh… I misplaced my job… I didn’t lose it… I wasn’t fired… I didn’t quit… The job disappeared… Perhaps the Universe was harsh because I had ignored the previous signs that were more subtle. In any event I found myself in private practice; first as part of a large group and then as a solo-practitioner.
I feel as though I am where I am supposed to be and doing the work I am supposed to do. I have recently expanded my practice to include family mediation (which includes divorce mediation) and I will be expanding again, hopefully in the spring of 2017. My love of horses and my love of helping people are going to come together and I will be offering equine assisted psychotherapy along with equine assisted professional development and team building. The certification process is intensive and I will be partnering with an Equine Specialist who will also go through the process to be certified. I will still offer traditional psychotherapy along with family mediation and I am excited to share my passion of the healing way of horses with those who are interested and for whom this model would fit well.
I encourage you to examine your life using the tapestry metaphor. What do you see? Can you see the beauty? Are you happy with the vibrancy? The patterns? Is it time to begin weaving differently? Is it time to examine some of the rips and worn spots to see what knowledge can be gained? Call me; I would like to accompany you on your journey, if even for a short while. Perhaps we can avoid the Universe smacking you on the head!
~Katherine Ryan is a LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) and owner of Harmony Counseling in Topsfield, Massachusetts. She enjoys helping adults, children and teens become unstuck. Please visit Harmony Counseling on FaceBook @ https://www.facebook.com/KatherineRyanTherapy