We recently connected with Cecily Batiste Dawson and have shared our conversation below.
Cecily, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today What’s the best advice you ever gave to a client? How did they benefit / what was the result? (Please note this response is for education/entertainment purposes only and shouldn’t be construed as advice for the reader)
As counselors, we like to say that we do not give advice to the client, but simply provide them with education of how our emotions work, how we respond to events, and then guide them in a direction that best fits their desired outcome – that’s my definition of advice. The best advice I’ve given a client is helping them understand how traumatic experiences impact daily functioning. Trauma makes you more aware of things you’ve experienced, how and why you respond to the world around you today. When we are exposed to traumatic events, it shifts the way we view the world, and sometimes how we view ourselves. For example, after getting into a car accident, we become hyperaware when we start driving again because we now see the road as an unsafe space. It’s very similar to when you’re young and you burn your hand on the stove, your brain now tells you, “Stay away from that, be careful, it’s not safe!”. After those experiences, you may notice physical responses such as tension when getting into a car or cooking at the stove. This trauma response is a form of protection. Your brain is telling you it’s not safe, so you don’t get hurt again.
Once the client begins to understand that the trauma response isn’t the brain and body hating them, but trying to protect them from being hurt again, we are then able to begin to further process the negative thoughts and emotions that occur as a result of the experience. Further processing allows the client to become less emotionally responsive to triggers, experience little to no physical reaction, and begin to return to a level of functioning before the trauma occurred.
Cecily, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I’m a licensed professional counselor and I specialize in treating trauma and anxiety related disorders. My team and I at Experience Life Counseling work with adults, teens, and families who struggle with trauma and anxiety related disorders. Our trauma informed care team specializes in working with children in custody of the Department of Family and Protective Services and foster families. Children currently in care struggle with the transition of being removed from their primary home to a foster home. This experience alone can be traumatic, and many times, behaviors exhibited are that of trauma responses. Our trauma informed care team comes in to provide families with the psychoeducational piece of what the youth is experiencing and provide specific tools and strategies to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
How’d you build such a strong reputation within your market?
The ability to connect with clients to walk with them on their journeys has helped us build a reputation within the market. Connection is the most important thing for us at Experience Life Counseling Services. Research indicates that individuals with a strong connection and therapeutic alliance with their therapist show the most progress in treatment. Not only do I and the team understand the importance of this, but it also makes our jobs easier because we can show up as our authentic selves every day and have fun with our clients. Being our authentic selves allows our clients to feel most comfortable and begin to heal. In addition to connection, we incorporate practical life skills techniques with evidenced-based therapy practices to help clients reach their full potential.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
The lesson I had to unlearn was the stereotype of business owners. In this industry, many people identify business owners as “greedy, money hungry, or sharks.” Starting a business, I was nervous because this is the polar opposite of who I am. I quickly learned that there are many like-minded businesses and individuals, whose sole purpose is to provide services and healing in their communities. After unlearning a negative stereotype, I began aligning myself with businesses and individuals who pride themselves in seeing individuals and families break generational trauma cycles and begin to experience holistic healing. This alone surpasses accolades, titles, and financial rewards.
- Website: www.experiencelife-counseling.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/experience_life_counseling/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExperienceLifeCounselingServices/
Melissa Morris Anderson