My Personal Life Model Story
Sometimes I wonder if most mental health counselors are drawn to the field of psychology because of their own complicated life story. I know that has been true for me and many of my colleagues.. We all have some pain in our story, and as therapists, we often find hope through processing our pain and coming out the other side of our healing journey stronger. Of course, the journey is long, and none of us ever fully arrives at psychological perfection. However, there is so much opportunity for growth, and with each step toward greater maturity, life becomes richer. I often compare going to therapy to going to the dentist. There is always work to do! It just depends how deep you want to go to heal problems, prevent future issues, and become your best self. Whether you are looking for brighter and straighter teeth, or a brighter and straighter life path, there are always more opportunities!
So….that brings me to the topic of my personal emotional wellness journey. Throughout my own life, I have struggled with emotional dysregulation, sometimes displaying itself as anxiety, and other times as depression. From a fairly young age, I became motivated to find healthy ways to regulate and heal from my life’s traumas. I read books and talked with therapists (and eventually became a therapist!). I went to healing seminars and sought out mature mentors. I tried various programs and therapeutic techniques. As a therapist, I even learned specific techniques and practiced them on myself at home when I couldn’t find a therapist who specialized in that modality! Still, I found myself craving more. I wanted to more holistically and consistently feel peace, regulate my emotions, relate to others well, and heal from the difficulties of my past. For years, I prayed often that I would find a key to unlock the healing and freedom that I so deeply desired.
Then, after years of searching, I came across the Life Model curriculum. It was the fall of 2014, and I had been doing therapy with adolescents living in an inpatient setting when the director of the program handed me a book entitled Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You. Now, you have to understand that as a therapist, I had so many books on my shelf that I was NOT planning on reading the book he gave me any time soon. Nonetheless, I politely accepted the book, and it sat on my nightstand for several weeks before I cracked it open. Then, one Saturday morning in October, I was lounging around the house and decided to open the book for the first time. When I tell this story, I often say that the moment I opened the book, the “nexus of my universe converged, and it changed my life”! This nexus was an integration of information; it was a conceptual bridge, a way of making sense of the confusing and conflicting messages I had received throughout my life. As I read the first couple of paragraphs, I just knew I was in the right place. The book beautifully blended psychology and faith in a way that spoke to both of these vital aspects of my life, then gave me new hope for finding the answers I had been searching for so many years. As I digested book after book in the Life Model curriculum, I continued to be amazed at the profound insights and deeply satisfying truths that I found in the pages. This has led me on a journey of healing and freedom that I had almost given up on finding. This journey continues to this day as the Life Model produces more curriculum that I read then apply for my personal and professional growth.
Because the Life Model has been a therapeutic companion to me, I wanted to offer it more completely to readers in this blog series so that it can benefit others. This article has focused on my personal life model journey and is the first in a series of five articles. The next article will provide a detailed overview of the conceptualization of the Life Model. The final articles will discuss the Life Model as a model for personal growth (article #2), relational growth (article #3), and spiritual growth (article #4). It is important to note that our counseling practice, The Center for Family Transformation, is considered a Life Model practice. All of our therapists are well studied in the model, and we are seeking ways to not only implement the model in our personal lives and in our therapy sessions, but we are also considering how we can best offer the knowledge of this model to other therapists so that they can benefit from the wisdom the Life Model offers personally and professionally.
I am passionate about the Life Model as a guide for personal, relational and spiritual growth, and I couldn’t be more excited to offer this information to you! I believe that no matter your unique life experiences, personality, or perspective, the Life Model will help you understand yourself and grow to the next level. This series of articles will offer insight and direction on not only the foundational understanding of the model, but also how to apply the Life Model for maximum effectiveness. Thanks for reading, and I look forward to connecting again soon!