There has been an increasing number of reports on the mental health crisis in the United States, but few are offering solid, concrete solutions. Consider this an open letter to those seeking change.
Ever since I was a little girl, I was fascinated with human nature, behavior and the psychology behind emotions. I knew very early on that I wanted to enter the healing profession — so I chose to become a therapist.
Except there was one problem.
I was raised in a religion where self-discovery was anything but simple. Reconciling my relationship with religion and God created a massive rift in the relationship I had with myself. It was very hard to love myself, and for years, I had actually stopped praying.
I wanted to be able to live free from judgment, but I didn’t know how to do that and still maintain the same ideas and beliefs I held from the religious structure I was raised in. And I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to help anyone else if I couldn’t work through my own personal blocks and limitations.
The thing is, I was TRYING to love myself unconditionally, but the more I tried, the harder it became. I wasn’t able to break free from the judgment, so after graduation, I went through a period where I actually told myself I didn’t want to help people anymore. I was “burned out”. That was the story I had told myself and others. But deep down, I knew there was more to it.
Inside, I felt like a terrible person, who was unworthy of not just God’s love, but ANYONE’s love.
The problem was that I wanted to be a therapist, but if I couldn’t help myself, how could I possibly help anyone else? I knew that unless I was able to figure out how to overcome my own self-sabotage, I wouldn’t be a very effective therapist, and I wouldn’t be able to help anyone, and I’d be a hollow fragment of my true self. Why would life be worth living?
Then, as if by chance, something amazing happened…
As part of a requirement for grad school, we had to see our own therapist. The strange thing was how resistant I felt towards the whole thing! Here I was, training to become the very thing that I felt a negative stigma around. I had to accept that no one was ever perfect, and although we work on ourselves and reach new levels of understanding, compassion, and self-acceptance, even therapists need help every now and then! Realizing the hypocrisy in my own beliefs, I got over myself, and made my first ever appointment to see a therapist.
In my first session, I sat nervously on a leather couch. It was quiet, and I was the only one there. She had a private practice in a secluded area, with a tiny waiting area. Thankfully, I wasn’t likely to be discovered by anyone I knew. As I sat, we both quietly looked at one another. I couldn’t think of anything to talk about.
“So, Kiara, why are you here?” She began.
“I’m here because I want to get a graduate degree in counseling, and it’s part of my program to attend my own therapy sessions this semester,” I said plainly.
“Well, since you’ve gotta be here anyway, is there anything you’d like to get some help with?”
I kept it surface for at least the next two sessions.
But by our third session, I decided to go deeper. I didn’t want to sit in silence or chit chat about the weather for the next 12 weeks.
I brought up the feelings I had been having surrounding my upbringing, my conflicts with the religion I had been raised in, and how it had been affecting my well-being.
As I explained how I had been struggling with my concept of God, my therapist said something that changed my life forever.
“Why don’t you just fire that God and get a new one?” She said bluntly.
“What?” I was stunned in disbelief. “I can’t do that!” I protested. “Can I?”
“Sure you can.” She assured me.
She began to explain, the only reason I felt so badly was because I held a definition of God that didn’t serve me.
She explained that we can’t change anything about how others perceive us, but we can change our perception of ourselves, by simply changing the story.
It started to become crystal clear — if I could change the script — I could change my life! It took a lot of persistence and deliberate focus, but over time, I finally learned how to change the script so that I could finally release the shackles of a vengeful God that tormented me for so long. And instead, I constructed in my mind, a loving God who accepted and loved me, no matter what. It was only then that I was able to start looking at myself in the mirror and genuinely love myself again.
It became liberating when I finally discovered that I no longer had to seek approval or validation from anyone, even if they are family.
As a result, I began examining other areas of my life where I could change the script.
After I did that, I started finding more ways to love myself.
Suddenly, I was giving myself the benefit of the doubt more and more. This had become the missing piece. The resiliency that I so desperately needed.
It took several years after that, but I eventually began to realize that the secret to ANY negative situation in life, was to change the story from one that hurts me every time I told it (even if it was true), to one that gave me a sense of hope and empowerment instead.
My plan was to open a private practice and start a thriving business to teach others what I learned.
After I received my master’s degree in counseling, I began to work with special-needs adults while I looked for work as a therapist. But I didn’t stop there.
I volunteered to work with children and families and racked over 800 hours of client sessions.
After that, I moved across the country and immediately began looking for opportunities to help others as a licensed professional counselor.
But there was one MAJOR problem…
I quickly discovered that not only was it extremely difficult to find work as a therapist, but it was a very low-paying job. Even with a master’s degree, the most I could expect to earn at that time was $29,000/year. That just wasn’t going to cut it in the DMV area. Even though I loved helping people, I was limited by income ceilings, hiring freezes, and an hour requirement for licensure that meant I’d have to work virtually for free at an internship. I knew I was close to hitting rock bottom when I considered applying at the Wendy’s down the street while I obtained the required 3,000 hours to become licensed. I was desperate.
But then, I reflected on another thing.
Aside from the extremely low pay of a professional counselor, I would also be limited to an outdated model. Traditional therapy never felt quite right. I loved working with kids, but whenever I worked with teens or adults, it felt like a neverending marathon. I found myself fatigued after only one session, and easily felt overwhelmed. I thought it was because I just wasn’t cut out for this work.
However, it wasn’t until I discovered my method, that I learned why. See, in traditional therapy models, the client sits in a chair, and presents a problem — or many problems — and the therapist actively listens, and offers guided poignant questions and teaches self-reflection and coping techniques to help people feel better. Every session starts with, “how are things?” And the client proceeds to dole out the frustrations, issues, problems, and traumas of the past week, month, year, or decade(s). No wonder I felt drained after each session.
In children’s therapy, it was far different. I would sit on the floor with the client, and we’d play with toys in a sandbox, role play with puppets, or do some other fun activity. Play = creativity. When a person is having fun and being creative, they are far more likely to discover a breakthrough and feel happier in the process. I am a HUGE proponent of lightening up and having more fun, and research supports it. So why do we discourage play in adults? Seeking validation from others, and the desire to be seen as mature and professional would have us believe it is foolish and unproductive, or “childish” to play more. But those are often words from people who are quite miserable themselves. It’s no wonder people say things like, “don’t grow old; it’s a trap.”
There is also another problem with traditional therapy: studies are now showing that this process of venting, complaining and talking about the problem actually does more harm than good. It’s funny because I’ve been to three therapists since that first one, and each time, I felt worse after those sessions. And I went to school for this, so I know they were doing exactly as they were taught. So I began to ask myself, what is the solution? How could I help people if I was required to follow the textbook application of these models in order to become a licensed therapist?
I ended up getting so frustrated that I decided to walk away from the idea of becoming a traditional therapist and looked into other ways I could help people without following the outdated modalities. That was when I discovered that I could develop my own modality and teach it to others. After all, there are tons of self-development gurus who don’t even have degrees. Yet, they are getting fantastic results. So I decided to create a unique system to radically transform lives everywhere. I knew that if it could work for me, it can work for anyone.
I call it Positive Scripts, and it is guaranteed to change the way people look at life — no matter your age. This system teaches resiliency in a way traditional therapy does not. It quickly establishes clarity on who we are as humans and the strength that is innate within us all and harnesses that power to break the cycle of self-sabotage and destroy limiting beliefs without spending years or a small fortune in therapy.
Positive Scripts helps the individual gain clarity on how to soothe negative emotion, bridge gaps from where they are to where they want to be, and transform negative, hindering belief systems into positive ones to FINALLY achieve lasting happiness. If you’d like to know how this system can help transform YOUR life into the version you’ve envisioned, or if you’re just looking for clarity, confidence, and conviction to follow YOUR truth, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.