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Trail Mix

When I first got my hands on my actual physical license, it was a trail mix of feelings. On the one hand, I was so excited to be holding this government-issued piece of paper that was the culmination of all of my academic efforts and the gateway to a new career focused on helping others. Think of all the things I’ll learn, all the people I’ll help, all the good work I’ll contribute to the bigger picture! On the other hand, I was so terrified to be holding this government-issued piece of paper that was the culmination of all of my academic efforts and the gateway to a new career focused on helping others. What if I can’t do this? What if I was only ever good at the academic stuff? What if I mishandle this responsibility I’ve been given? What if I hurt someone? Turns out there were more raisins than M&Ms in my trail mix. I wasn’t sure then how long it would take for me to feel like I had an actual shot at being a good therapist. 

Today, I am a 1-year-and-8-months-old therapist (or a 20-month-old for all you therapist parents), and with the help of each of the clients and colleagues I have had the privilege to work with so far, I think I am finally starting to feel the momentum I was so unsure I’d ever feel at the beginning. So, here’s a quick list of some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a therapist so far:


  1. Life is hard (that doesn’t mean it’s bad).

  2. I don’t have all the answers (that doesn’t mean I’m bad).

  3. Emotions are morally neutral. They’re like the indicator lights on our internal dashboard, there to tell us something about who we are and what we need. They are not our enemy, but an important part of us.

  4. When our emotions get too big, our best bet is to focus on keeping ourselves grounded – no more, no less.

  5. Navigating life requires tools (some simple, some complex), and we only know how to use the tools we’re given. When we recognize that our strategies for coping are no longer helping us navigate life successfully, we don’t have to be ashamed – we just have to learn to use new tools. 

  6. Genuine connection is a basic human need, and it’s presence (or lack thereof) contributes greatly to the experience of one’s own life. We don’t do well for very long without feeling connected. 

  7. People are mostly doing the best they can, and that deserves acknowledgment and grace.

  8. Change is something we have to willingly participate in. It doesn’t happen to us, and it doesn’t happen without us.


My trail mix of feelings looks different now than it did nearly two years ago, and with any luck it will be even more refined (dare I say… seasoned?) in another two years. I encourage you to take a look at your own trail mix. If there’s something about it you want to explore or change, consider letting therapy be your kitchen.


 

Savannah Citron, LMFT - Associate


I aim to create a therapeutic experience that is collaborative, creative, and compassionate by combining the best of evidence-based practice with the firsthand, real-time experiences of the human heart, mind, and soul. Together our goal will be to learn, to heal, and to hope.


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