So, what is a psychotherapist, and why does the name, in and of itself, cause many to shy away from seeking services? I have studied the connection of the brain and the body and dedicate myself to guiding individuals, couples, and families through the process of healing their emotional wounds. I have chosen to focus my expertise on working with survivors of trauma and complicated grief and have incorporated integrative medicine and faith-based practice in order to treat symptoms in a holistic way.
You see, each individual has encountered different experiences that shape them into the person they have become. Many times, the experiences cause a direct impact in the way our brain is wired and this creates lifelong patterns of emotional instability, broken relationships, lack of trust, low self-esteem, fear, anxiety, depression, trauma, and many other symptoms. Perhaps you were the child who was neglected by your parents or maybe abused physically, sexually, or emotionally. (If this is your case, let me say I am sorry you went through this, and that it was never your fault.) Perhaps this caused for you to learn that nobody could be trusted and this has directly impacted every relationship you have encountered. Maybe your parents divorced when you were young, and you were never able to process the trauma that may arise due to having to adjust to a new way of life. Perhaps you lost a child and have not given yourself the opportunity to grieve in a way that will bring healing to your heart. Maybe you are or have been in an abusive relationship and think that something is wrong with you and that’s why you are mistreated. Perhaps you or your child have been bullied and you find that you’re constantly on edge, hyper-vigilant and expecting the worst. Perhaps you see the anxiety your children face every time there they have to take a test, and you don’t know how to help them. Or, maybe you’re about to go off to college, get married, or have a child and have many insecurities about how this will impact your life. Whatever the root, many times we will develop symptoms as a method of coping with the stressor the best way we can.
The coping mechanisms that I have commonly observed include anxiety, panic attacks, nail biting, frequent crying spells, emotional eating, which can lead to an eating disorder, isolation, hyper-vigilant behavior, depression, substance use, compulsive shopping, gambling, cutting, dissociative behaviors, anger, irritability, low self-esteem, feelings of guilt or shame, and others.
Now, here is where I come in. My job is to guide you through removing the first two layers that usually involve shame and guilt — the shame of seeking help and the guilt of the destructive coping mechanisms that have led to not experiencing a vibrant life. Shame dies when vulnerability and transparency show up. My goal is to provide you with a safe space to be able to share your journey with me and receive my utmost respect and appreciation for the courage that you have shown by sharing your story. Then we begin to work in collaboration on those things that you have identified to be areas that need improvement. I often tell my clients, “you will get out of treatment what you put in.” This is very similar to going to the gym! You won’t build muscle by simply sitting at the weight station. You have to feel the pain, work through it, and find relief in knowing you were able to accomplish what you set your mind to do.
I will provide you with a tailored treatment to fit your needs. Nobody hurts or heals the same, and there is no cookie-cutter treatment to this process. If you allow yourself, you will learn to say goodbye to the coping skills that without you knowing ended up causing more harm than good, and you will reprogram your brain to embrace new, healthy ways of coping. You will discover who you were meant to be and you will embrace that strong and courageous self! It’s going to hurt in the beginning, but it’s going to be worth it when you look back.
Roxanne Pacheco is a licensed clinical social worker, certified clinical trauma specialist, and certified mental health integrative medicine provider. Contact her at The Counseling Center, 1009 S. Utah Ave., Suite A, Weslaco, TX 78596, call (956) 520-8700, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.