Identity Integrity

A recent string of events has had me in a bit of an identity crisis. People have been asking my community for referrals for therapists. I have wanted to say “me!”, but instead have waited for a friend to name me as a referral (on their own accord) before I provide any contact info. The thing is, I am a therapist, a pure-bred second generation therapist. Though I’m not licensed.

Being a therapist is woven into the fabric of my being. Systems theories and relationship dynamics run in my blood. “Relationships” is the default lens through which I view the world. Everything comes back to relationships. Our relationship with ourselves, parents, siblings, family, friends, lovers, kids, and coworkers, not to mention our jobs, food, health, technology, money, spirituality, sexuality… we have relationships with everything we have in our life. There is a way we relate to each thing, a history of how we’ve related to it, a reason why we chose to relate to it in that way and why we choose to continue to relate to it in any way at all.

In addition, I have earned Associates and Bachelors degrees in Psychology, a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a handful of certifications in specific types of therapy facilitation. Formally, I have completed 1700 hours of therapeutic work supervised by licensed therapists; informally, I have completed 5000+ hours of therapy/counseling/coaching since entering the field in 2008.

Why no license? A list of reasons. The relationship between diagnosing and insurance companies being one of them.

A license ensures that — among other things— a therapist is practiced in diagnosing and operates within codes of ethics. I don’t diagnose and integrity is one of my core values. I’m overflowing with scruples. It’s also why I’ve stopped short of actually calling myself a therapist on my website or any social media. I don’t want anyone to think they are about to see a licensed therapist. But the label “coach” hasn’t been sitting well. It doesn’t fit. Neither does “counselor,” ”consultant,” “advisor,” “guide,” or any variation thereof. So I’m playing with how to honor that part of me, and staying in integrity. Integrity with myself, and the field.

To be continued.

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