Youth & Family Counseling Fundraiser

Counseling is for the Weak, Right?

Katie Listening Thoughtfully to Mary’s Storytelling.

Katie Listening Thoughtfully to Mary’s Storytelling.

Even still in 2019, there is a stigma against therapy and those who use its services. We’ve heard it, we’ve lived it too. As two people who grew up with a person of severe mental illness chasing us at our heels, Mary and I share a deep understanding of the topic.

Even though I was frustrated, it didn’t stop me from enjoying every time I entered that room with my therapist.

When I was growing up and depression was closing in on me, my mother put me in therapy out of concern. I didn’t fight it. I knew that the feelings I was experiencing weren’t “normal.” I was sad a lot--- frustrated even more. I was frustrated that the person who I felt needed therapy the most, my father, wasn’t doing it. However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying it every time I entered that room with my therapist. It was art therapy, meaning I got to draw and color while the therapist asked me questions, which was a great way to utilize my growing and undiscovered A.D.D. mind.

Mary Joking With Katie on Stage

Mary Joking With Katie on Stage

It didn’t take long for me to open up to my therapist. She was kind, she listened to me, and she never yelled--Three factors that rarely occurred in my home under my dad’s watch. Finally, I had a place I could say all of the things that I have wanted to. Finally, I was able to express any feelings without judgment from a person like my father. Even in the happy moments, I would find myself regretting to express myself. We as a family weren’t “allowed” to feel happy because Dad couldn’t feel happiness at all. He made sure of it with each of us. This was why when I was granted a room where he wasn’t allowed, I felt like I was experiencing a taste of freedom.

It Was a Confirmation That Therapy Was an Extraordinary Service.

Mary and Katie Sharing the Stage Together.

Mary and Katie Sharing the Stage Together.

This carried into my adult life too. In 2015, the year “Broken Nek” took place, Mary and I took a chance together on an organization called Youth & Family Counseling or “YFC”. YFC is an organization that’s been around since 1962 that believes in counseling for all incomes and all with or without insurance. They give their counseling rates on a sliding scale so people like me, who at the time had a part-time job income, can afford to go to them. Going to YFC gave me [and Mary] that calming sense that I had felt so many years ago with my teenage art therapy. It was a confirmation to me that therapy, in general, was an extraordinary service.

Fast forward to 2019, just a couple weeks ago on January 15th, the tables had turned and YFC was able to take a chance on us too. Our first speaking engagement for Mary and I was a book club/fundraiser for YFC. We gathered nearly 50 people to attend the event and raised over two grand for the organization that helped us when we were in dire need. It was important for us to not only raise money for an organization that needs donations but also to have a chance to talk to the group of people (YFC and others) about how therapy is for the strong because, through these services, it makes a person strong.

Our First Crowd Was Filled With Healers and the Healing.

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Our love for YFC and therapy, in general, is endless. We were fortunate that the first crowd we were able to speak to was filled with healers and the healing. We are still reflecting with gratitude on that night and this journey we have found ourselves taking. One of our hopes throughout this process is to de-stigmatize therapy as for only the weak, when the beauty of it is how much strength we can all get from it.

Interested in Youth & Family Counseling services or to make a donation? Check out their website here.

All Photo Credit belongs to Julius Givens.