“Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling of worthiness. If it doesn’t feel vulnerable, the sharing is probably not constructive.”
Welcome to the first blog portion of Hough Counseling! Each month, we will explore a single topic relevant to the world of counseling that we hope will inspire each of our readers to reflect on the complexities of life and the role of counseling within it. Before we begin, I would like to provide a bit of a background on myself, my place in the Hough Counseling family, and where this blog fits into it all.
Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Kris Harrison, I am finishing my Masters of Counseling at Oakland University and currently completing my internship at Hough Counseling. I previously worked alongside Tami and Alicia at the Bureau of Services for Blind Persons assisting high school students with visual impairments ready themselves for the world of employment. Since then, I have worked in case management at a mental health clinic and as a Line Therapist performing ABA Therapy for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
During this time, I began blogging as a way of sorting through the challenges, questions and growing pains of a therapist-in-training. I found that many of the questions I was exploring were shared among my readers and received support in a way that I had not anticipated. It seems these questions were on the tip of our tongue, yet we rarely shared them. Questions such as “What makes life meaningful?” “What should we value?” “What do we fear?” “What would I do if money were no object?” and “Does having goals enrich our lives or restrict it?”
At first, I feared sharing these questions would be a painful and vulnerable experience, though through it I found strength, empathy and support. Among my supporters was Tami Hough, who has been a mentor and inspiration to myself and the many others who have the privilege of knowing her. She asked me to share my writing with the Hough Counseling community as a way to encourage professionals and patients* to continue seeking meaning and value in their lives. I, of course, agreed.
So, let us begin with a question that seems quite relevant to the start of a new blog, Why Do We Share?
Why Do We Share? Professions of Sharing
Unlike other professions, those of us who seek to help others are confronted with realities that often remain unspoken. For many of us, we experience the entire spectrum of human emotions in the same day; from joy to despair and anywhere in between. This can, at times, be disorienting and cause us to question our own values and lives in the midst of our client’s search for meaning and peace of mind. Much of the time we do not have the answers ourselves, though we share many of the same questions.
The intention of this blog is to put these questions out into the open and hopefully, by doing so, we are able to feel less alone with them. While we encourage our patients to share and explore their potential and examine their values, rarely do practitioners have a space to do the same. My hope is that through writing these blogs I am able to share a bit of my curiosity and experience with readers so they can to do the same.
I do not intend to speak from an ivory tower nor do I claim to be an expert on these topics. However, I am one who is intent on helping others with an open ear and an open heart. I am a man in love with life and people and enjoy sharing my own experiences in hopes that among the often lone silence there is a heart beating to a similar song as mine. If nothing else, this seems to be what we provide to our patients.
Each month, we will reflect on a question or theme relevant to the work being done in this office. In addition to my own experiences, I will include those of my peers and supervisor. A great deal of life comes through the doors of a counseling clinic and a great many stories. Though the stories remain concealed in our ears or locked away in filing cabinets, their impact follows us everywhere. Thank you for sharing this short part of your day with us and we hope you find value in our stories.
*To avoid confusion, the individuals receiving services here at Hough Counseling are referred to as “patients” for accreditation purposes while agencies may refer to them as “clients” or “consumers”.