Why authenticity as a focus?
Like many people, I spent years listening to well-meaning family and friends only to discover the life that yielded wasn't my own, but some hybrid of theirs. The man I married and divorced, the clothes I wore and that house I owned pleased my mother. The high tech career I chose satisfied my dad. They were proud, but I was not. When I looked in the mirror, I didn't recognize myself.
To find the me beneath all this, I hired a talented and compassionate counselor who helped me hear and see myself clearly. Like leaves twisting toward light, listening to myself lead to confidence, quiet satisfaction and peace. I discovered what was right for me.
That is how I went from computers in Chicago to counseling in Austin, from both poles of people-pleasing to genuine self-expression. And it's how I'm able to offer something similar to you. I know authenticity's value and how to get there.
Let's get started.
Cathryn Heyman, MA, NCC, LPC
Focusing on Authenticity while Treating Anxiety, Grief and Major Life Transition
In your early life, honest, tactful, and kind self-expression may have been discouraged. If so, you may have become a Stifler, Pleaser, Controller, or some combination of the three in order to peacefully navigate relationships. Here, you’ll learn more genuine options when dealing with life and the people in it. These three disempowering styles - Stifling, Pleasing, Controlling - increase feelings of anxiety while masking grief. If you practice them, it will become more visible during major life transitions. Acting authentically is the antidote.
Feeling overwhelmed by fear or lack of confidence means the best version of you is not always visible when managing life. The feeling that you've lost control is ultimately a loss of perspective. Besides a shift in the way you view yourself and your life, there are a variety of things that can help you regain balance and boost confidence. Living authentically takes a strong desire for change and commitment to growth. To stretch yourself, you will need to experiment with acting differently and taking risks by momentarily leaving your comfort zone.
The process surrounding endings due to moving, illness, birth/ death, employment change/loss, marriage or divorce/breakup sometimes requires a guide. Especially if you experience multiple losses at once, which is often the case, you may want guidance and a place to think. Whether you come before, during or after the loss, support is offered in all phases including what comes next like moving, rediscovering yourself, dating again, and finding new friends, employment or interests, uncovering the lessons in the experience, and redefining what’s meaningful.
Big life events addressed include changes in health status like a cancer diagnosis, changes in career status like being fired, changes in relationship status such as going from being single to partnered to single again, moving to Austin, or shifting into a new life stage like an empty nest or long-awaited retirement. Together, we can manage the fear and frustration you're likely to encounter.