Courage and Vulnerability in Therapy

Recently during Mental Health Awareness Month,  I thought to myself, “what a better way to celebrate than to indulge in some bad tv.” As I was scrolling Netflix, I came across the most amazing lecture, Brené Brown’s “The Call to Courage.” To clarify- this is not bad tv. My plan to zone out turned into a time for a zone in on mental health. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with her work, Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston who studies courage, empathy, vulnerability and shame. I know what you’re thinking, “Shame... sounds like a blast.”  Rest assure, she also happens to be an amazing motivational speaker, smart, witty and funny...very funny.

Through an interwoven narrative on her research and personal life, Brené discusses the intrinsic link between vulnerability and courage. Two words that seemly contradict each other are actually synonymous. Mind blown. Whether you are a soldier putting your life at risk on the battlefield or a patient walking into therapy for the first time, in order to be truly courageous, you have to become vulnerable and  if you make yourself truly vulnerable, you are indeed being courageous. 

Brené speaks about being brave and putting yourself in the arena of life, not just being a passive player.  I know- it’s scary. Engaging in your life doesn’t have to be mind blowingly disruptive. It could be as simple as asking that special someone out for the first time, taking on a new hobby, or maybe even writing your first blog entry....

Taking risk and challenging yourself is how we learn, grow and thrive. Is it easy? No way. Will you always succeed? Absolutely not. But you’ll never know if you don’t try.

So here it goes- After ten years of working at a long-term, residential mental health treatment center, I have taken the leap into private practice. I have felt invigorated and inspired by my new clients  and coworkers alike. Thank you to those who have welcomed me with open arms, who have allowed me to be courageous, and most importantly, who have made it okay to be vulnerable. With sincerest gratitude- Melissa