by Dr. Alexander R. Lees
Experience is a great teacher. Berit, my wife of some 36 years and I have lived a life consisting of many interesting, challenging, and also fun experiences.
Some of our hardships included lack of money (especially in our younger years), family conflicts, the deaths of both our parents, divorce, a life altering accident, and being diagnosed with life threatening diseases. There have also been many great times such as the friendships we have made, travelling to many wonderful and different countries, the dogs we have had over the years, and of course, our work. Helping others (for the past 25 years) has brought both of us a great deal of joy.
Both the hardships and the good times all add up to a lifetime of experience and learning how to cope and deal with issues, and then thrive. Therefore when a client comes to see me and I hear their story I can relate in many cases to how they are feeling. And, because I’ve been fortunate to help so many people over the years I’ve learned one of the first things a counsellor/therapist can do is to offer hope. When there is hope, there is the possibility of change. No matter what hardship you may be experiencing, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I believe counselling and therapy can be a therapeutic adventure. It does not have to be long term and painful. Berit and I know from experience that life can throw you a curve ball. We also know that you can survive and thrive. We’ve been there.
I once read about a study involving the immune system. The salient point of the study was that those people that helped others, from the heart, greatly improved their own immune system. An extra bonus was a happier sense of self, and life in general. So as you can now see, one of the reasons I help others is a selfish one, I gain as well.
I don’t have all the answers, nor can I guarantee success. What I can do is learn to understand how you’re feeling, using my skills and experience, to hopefully help you with whatever difficult circumstances you may find yourself in at the moment. As I’m fond of saying:
People are not broken and in need of fixing. Most people are just fine.
They may simply need a tune-up.