When I sat down after my release on that warm inviting couch I felt a flurry of emotions take me to a place of confusion and comfort.
I will never be the same after that day in October 2017. I woke up an hour before my alarm was due to sound and watched the trees and leaves pick up in a blustery violent fashion. I remember thinking and feeling into this moment as I knew my life would be altered from that moment on. A calmness came over me as I heard a little voice in my head " For the first time in my life, the chaos was outside of my body" as the branches scratched on the roof I rose from my bed to face the day.
One of our assignments at the college I attended was to participate and facilitate a TRS (Therapeutic Release Session) also known as a psychodrama in the therapy world. We were all very new to this concept and anticipated the arrival of the day when we got to experience our own.
At Rhodes the TRS was kind of a legend. From down the halls you would hear screaming and crying that would only be familiar to a mental hospital which would become a great incubator for curiosity as we continued our studies. There were conversations in the lunch room in support of the brave souls that were about to enter into their TRS and a whole lot of buzzing energy in the air.
We began our journey into the TRS with a deeply thorough questionnaire about the way we experienced our childhood. We were assigned to a peer counselor in our class and began the journey of rewinding time to all of the hardships, heartaches and love or lack there of that paved the foundation of our lives. As we spent time going through each question our peer counselors used their basic counselling skills to empathize and coach us forward through the unearthing of the answers. From a clients perspective this was one of the most difficult ventures I had ever gone through.
This is when I knew that becoming a counselor was my purpose.
You see, when you run through your childhood from a child's there are a lot of things that don't make sense and that is okay. You go along and you continue on your marry way with all of your naivety and wonder in tact, but when you begin to dig into pieces of your past with the view of an adult you start to realize where things were inappropriate, abusive, deeply life altering, and even incredibly loving and uplifting. As hard as it was to lay it all out on the table, I believe the most difficult part was the fact that my life was being witnessed by a non-biased educated viewer, my peer counselor. To have someone validate my feelings of pain, sadness, anger, betrayal and joy was an incredibly soul-stretching encounter.
The questionnaire that we went through took hours upon hours and some days I was too tired emotionally and mentally to continue. The amazing thing about being in a college of counselors is the fact that you have unlimited resources of support. I know that this is a unique situation because there aren't many colleges that offer programs in this fashion and usually your only resource is an on campus counselor which can be helpful, but there is something to be said about connecting on the level of empathy that we would on a daily basis.
Once we were able to make our way through the questionnaire we began piecing together my genogram which is very much like a family tree but it shows the relationships and the emotional instances that have happened throughout your family. The patterns that come up in these genogram's are something I have never seen before. For me, as a visual and Kinesthetic learner it is one thing to hear information but it is a whole other level when I can feel, see, or touch the information that is being presented to me. This is where I broke down. I broke down about things I thought that I had dealt with. I broke down about things that I had no idea I had shame about. I broke down about the history of mentally abusive behavior that became very apparent to me as I read through my chart. My heart was ripped wide open and sometimes it was difficult to see the light at the end of this exercise.
I must add as we were doing this each of us was in support of another students journey. That means that as I was revealing the depths of myself I was helping my peer client as I counselled them through their unearthing. I think this was the defining moment when I realized that I can simultaneously help others while I help myself. I am competent enough to deal with my life and be the empathetic listener and witness to the unfolding of another person over and over again. This is when I knew that becoming a counselor was my purpose.