Pathways. They are everywhere. Maybe you’ve seen one at a park or near a mountain. I always see a pathway when I’m near a lake. Sometimes, they seem to appear out of nowhere.
But they all lead somewhere.
Throughout my career as a mental health therapist, I have heard myself use the word “pathways” so many times I’ve lost count. At some point, I realized each of my clients is on a journey, and it’s my job to help them discover the best pathway to success.
I also realized the most important pathway is the one that leads to the true self.
Finding the true self can be the most frightening, yet rewarding, experience a person can have: Frightening because we come face to face with our shame, guilt and regrets; rewarding because the true self allows us a beautiful freedom.
When we live the honesty of who we are, we don’t use energy to run and hide. Instead, we can take that energy and put it into loving others. We can put it into our hobbies and passions.
We can take it and put into ourselves.
Think about the pathways you have been on. I would imagine some have been rocky and uneven. Others have pointed straight up and down. Some pathways have led you in circles. Still others have been smooth and you barely broke a sweat when you walked them.
Mental health therapy works in much the same way. Sometimes the problem is not a straight line. Sometimes the work we need to do is difficult and uneven. At other times, it seems as though we are going in circles. Then, there will be those days when everything just seems easy.
Remember, a pathway is always going somewhere, regardless of how it challenges us or makes us feel. The terrain is constantly changing, but the pathway to you is the destination.
I invite you on this journey.
I want to extend a special invitation to the men who are reading this introduction. Men often do not believe mental health therapy is going to be helpful.
I have met many of you who told me you were in my office only because of your wife, girlfriend or partner. In some cases, your work supervisor suggested you go.
I met one man who told me he seeing me only because of his children.
Let me be clear: I don’t care what pathway lead you to me. I’m glad you’re here. You are brave and courageous.
Your life pathways are likely filled with shame and embarrassment. You have been told you cannot or must not feel . . . anything. As a man myself, I can say with certainty we are often forbidden to appear weak; feelings, unfortunately, mean weakness to so many men.
Let’s walk a different pathway together, one that does not shame you or leave you feeling weak and powerless. Let’s walk the pathway to you.
Thank you for deciding to walk the pathway with me. It won’t be easy, but together we will find the way to you. Through the bumps, ups and downs and uneven ground, we will get there.
I am honored to walk with you.