I am excited today to introduce you to Lauren Anderson a therapist in training who is emerging as a creative and caring counselor. I met Lauren through an on-line community, The Boulder Psychotherapy Institute. What stood out about Lauren, even on-line, was her enthusiasm and focus. She knew where to put her energies from the beginning. The same qualities are present in her as she participates in the coaching group I facilitate, Create a Private Practice You Will Love (PPUL).
At one point in our coaching sessions, I mentioned blogging as a way to connect to people. Within a few weeks she started her own blog, Love & Life: Outside the Box. She even had a tag line, Musings of a musician turned couples therapist. Since then, I invited her to write about values and she responded with the same enthusiasm. Clarity of values is a path with light along the way and Lauren’s path is looking pretty bright.
What are your values? Wait, what exactly ARE values, again?
The word “values” sounds so grandiose. It’s often equated with morals or with religion (e.g. “family values”), making it seem like something we either have or are without, like there’s a side we need to choose. But values are not morals; they’re more closely related to who you are, what you find worthwhile, what you like, and what you don’t like. They guide our choices automatically, so we make decisions based on them without specifically saying, “I am making this choice because I value this thing.” It just happens. Which of course, makes it difficult to answer the direct question “What are your values?”
So, let me rephrase the question: what are you most passionate about?
Me? I’m passionate about music and art, and my work as a fledgling couples therapist. Those are my “interests”. But if I dig deeper, I can find why those things interest me. I value love, freedom, independence, creativity, empowerment, courage, and, probably most of all, fun. These things make me the person I am. I care deeply for others, but I also enjoy my time to myself. I am a musician and will continue to make music with other musicians for the rest of my life. I am becoming a therapist because I want to help others work through what they need to find their own unique paths, just as I have. Truly thinking about and finding these values has given me focus for my life, my marriage, and my career.
What about you? Do you know there’s something special for you out there, but maybe don’t know what it is, yet? Do you have a vague idea of what it is, but have yet to really get moving in the right direction? Clearly defining your values can help you get there, giving you a better sense of purpose and direction.
One of the first things we did in our coaching sessions was lay the foundation for building a private practice by clarifying our values. Here’s a site that can help you voice your unique set of values http://www.lifevaluesinventory.org/
Lauren Aycock Anderson
I’m a musician turned therapist (among other things). I’m deeply interested in helping creative individuals and couples get the most out of their lives and relationships. I’m currently attending Capella University, getting my master’s degree in couple and family therapy. I have a bachelor’s in music (voice) and still play keyboards and sing in several bands. My husband is a musician, recording engineer, and writer. Creative people encounter unique obstacles in life when they decide to live authentically – “outside the box”. I encounter these issues myself and want to help others work through them successfully.
(c) 2012 Brenda Bomgardner, MA, NCC, BCC