A Message of Gratitude

photo 10Written by: Holly Smith, VSC’s Lead Therapist and Expecting Mother

Over the last 6 years with VSC, I have had the privilege of working with so many wonderful people.  Colleagues, clients, and community partners alike have all become a part of my family.  As I prepare myself for the next major journey in my life known as parenthood, I have struggled with the choice of whether to remain in my career or focus my full attention on this life I am growing.  Well, the second won out. When I really think about it, it has been the clients I have had the honor to work with who have most heavily influenced this decision.

We work with all kinds of trauma in our mental health department. The majority of our clients, at some point, have to address what we call “family of origin” issues in order to really move past their pain.  Why? Because our parents and caretakers teach, model, and provide the instruction manual for how to manage difficulty and suffering.  If our parents show us what to do with the obstacles, issues, and trauma we experience based on how THEY react to THEIRS.  We are little sponges just waiting for our lesson.  Since so many messages in our society and culture these days encourage us to avoid, repress, or run from difficult emotions, many of us as adults have to actually learn how to feel the tough stuff.  That is where the therapist comes into play. We are teachers, models, and support people.  We help our clients re-write that instruction manual to fit a life that has obstacles in it.  We are surrogate parents for our clients and help them become the parents they need and never had. It’s called Re-parenting.

It is from this perspective that I give thanks to all of my clients I have worked with over the years.    Let’s be honest – many of you know we struggled along the way and I certainly didn’t always get it right.  You have my gratitude for your lessons, patience, and will power to keep going and showing me what healing can look like. You have my gratitude for allowing my efforts to help, heal, and empower to get past your excellent defenses.  You have my gratitude for being vulnerable, real, and letting me hold a space for all the messy stuff that goes with trauma.  You have all been my teachers. You have taught me, challenged me, and mirrored back to me what parenting needs to look like.  I have learned how to parent from all of you. You have my gratitude not only for all I have gained over the years, but all of the things I will take from these experiences into my relationship with my daughter.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

In peace,