“Our greatest tragedy can often lead us to our greatest triumphs”
Melissa is a counselor from Texas we met at She Speaks this past year. We were honored to interview her and get her insights on counseling.
Question: Why did you decide to become a counselor?
Answer: My dad was a marriage and family counselor, so I grew up attending marriage seminars. I have always loved counseling and knew it was what I wanted to do. In my teenage years, I encountered some challenges that made me question if I was enough, worthy of love, and good enough to be a counselor. I sought counseling, and through that experience, I learned that all the challenges I faced were actually preparing me to be a counselor. Just as God used counseling to help me become who he has designed me to be, I wanted to be a counselor to help others reach their God-given potential and remove the road-blocks that keep them from getting there.
Question: What is your favorite part about being a counselor?
Answer: As crazy as it sounds, I love to be a part of people’s pain and shame. It’s like sitting in mud with them and then showing them how to shower it away. I love to enter into their pain and then help them see that they don’t have to stay there. They can acknowledge what’s wrong, but it doesn't have to last forever.
Question: What is one thing you would tell someone who feels like they are in the midst of a rough patch?
Answer: I would tell them to ask themselves what they are needing. Behaviors indicate need, so if there is a behavior that is causing problems, there is a greater need that should be addressed. I would advise them to ask why they are doing that behavior and where does it come from? What is God trying to show them in the midst of this? Instead of focusing on the shame and pain, focus on the message God has for you in this. He has something to show you and teach you, and he can use this for his glory.
Question: What are some of your favorite resources for combatting tough times?
Answer: A journal and a Bible. A journal is a great tool for expressing feelings. Many people hide from their feelings, and it only makes things worse. Journaling can help you understand what is going on in your head, and then you can pray over it. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is our counselor, so as we journal, read the Bible, and pray, he will help us understand what we are going through. It is also helpful to find a friend with a healthy mindset to pray for you and talk with you. Books can be a great resource too! If you need a book on a specific topic, contact Melissa for her resource list.
Question: What is one thing you wish you people understood about counseling and its benefits?
Answer: Going to counseling isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. It’s not easy to face your problems head on. Being willing to face your struggle and suffer with a counselor takes immense courage. To start on the road to change and recovery takes bravery. I want people to understand that treating pain and suffering is like treating a physical illness. You need help to fix it. Just like you wouldn’t resist seeing a doctor. for a broken leg, it’s ok to see a counselor for a broken heart. Counseling isn’t so much about talking about problems, rather, it’s about finding God in the midst of your problems.
Connect with Melissa