Every so often when I meet new people, after the normal pleasantries and the “What do you do for a living?”, I get the “Therapist, huh? What made you want to do that?”. I hear it so often, I thought it might be beneficial for all you inquiring minds to know. Here’s my story of how I became a therapist, and how Vitality Behavioral Health was born.
I was around 9 or 10 years old when my Aunt asked me if I wanted to visit her at college. She was completing her senior year as a psychology major. I had no idea what psychology was, but she was my favorite person in my small world. She was someone I looked up to and was inspired by (still am) so I jumped at the chance. As a small child I thought I wanted to be a lawyer- a corporate lawyer to be exact. My uncle told me I would get to yell at people, plus I’d make a lot of money; to a 3rd grader it sounded like the perfect gig. That was until I was able to sit in one of my aunt’s psychology classes. The professor was an animated woman with thick frame glasses and black, short hair. She drew a bell curve, discussed outliers, psychological research and human behavior. I was so fascinated! I took notes in my notebook, just like all the college kids, and stared at them for weeks after I came home from my college adventure. It gave me the bug for psychology.
That dream followed me through middle school and high school where I learned about all the different possibilities that fell under the umbrella of psychology. That’s where I found counseling. I was pretty sure I wanted to work with children at the time, and knew I didn’t want to teach, so being a child therapist was the path I set forth. I headed off to college with nothing but a plan and prayer. During that time, I met amazing mentors and was given the opportunity to work with so many different people from all walks of life. I started my career working with incarcerated men and women, followed that with children and families, moved forward with clients in substance abuse treatment, trauma survivors, and back through them all again. During my time in school and early in my career, I worked alongside various therapists with different therapeutic styles, as well as had positive therapeutic experiences of my own. I was challenged and supported through some tough times, and cherished the support of the well- educated mental health professionals in my life. After shadowing a session of a therapist I interned for I asked her, “Why did you become a therapist?”, and her response is something I carry with me each day. She said, “I did not become a therapist. I was chosen. It’s a privilege to do this work, and have others trust you to hold them up when they may not be able to.”
I’m not quite sure if I was fate or not. What I do know, without a doubt, is I’m eternally grateful that every day I get to do what I love and am trusted with the privilege of being a part of so many people’s incredible journeys. It’s truly an honor, and something that I do not take for granted. After years of working and learning with so many great organizations and leaders, I had the knowledge and courage to open Vitality Behavioral Health. It’s allowed me to expand upon my passions by providing therapy in an outpatient and online setting, doing what I love, and helping people I care about.
In the words of Tupac Shukar: I didn’t choose the therapy life; the therapy life chose me? That’s what he said, right?