Why People Don’t Heal

I am trained as a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, but my passion has always been the field of addiction.  I actually didn’t pick my profession as much as I fell into it.

When I became aware that my 20+ year marriage was unraveling,  I set  out to finish my Bachelors Degree so I would be in a better position to support myself and my two teenage children.  At the time, I was working as an Administrative Assistant at a Charter School, so I chose to work on a degree that would complement my work: Organizational Behavior. As this is a degree in the field of Psychology, I was able to choose electives in TQM, Total Quality Management, and Addiction.

Towards the end of my degree, there came a time when the only elective available, that would fit within my schedule of required courses, was Counseling 101.  I showed up for the first class and discovered that it was a class where we were required to practice counseling techniques by counseling each other.

OMG. Role-Play.

I raced down during break, to confront my advisor and drop the class.  I knew nothing about counseling. How the heck was I going to get through this class without killing my grade point average?  I couldn’t let anything interfere with my ability to graduate with honors.

My advisor showed me the list of alternative electives, but nothing else would fit in my schedule. I was stuck. I returned to class after break, resolved that I could do anything  for a month. I was determined to get my moneys worth and keep my 4.0 average.

I quickly became one of the most requested people for the counseling role-plays, which surprised me, because I was basically just sitting there, listening and reflecting back what I heard.  People would exclaim, “How did you know that? I didn’t tell you that.”

I was dumbfounded.

I would rush to assure them, “Of course you did. You just don’t remember because you were responding in the heat of an emotional moment,” but I was beginning to become aware that maybe I was mentally connecting the dots to come up with impressions of things that weren’t actually being told to me, verbally.

I was also discovering that many people were stuck in their stories, and identifying themselves by a current trauma or by a trauma that they had experienced in the past.

In addition, almost as a side effect of the trauma, these people had physical ailments that appeared to go along with their stories. The most common connection I discovered  – probably because I was studying addiction – appeared to be the  connection between leukemia and being a co-dependent of an alcoholic or drug addict.

I started reading about intuition, because I figured, if I was connecting the dots, it must be an inner sense of intuition that I was tapping into.

It was during this quest that I first discovered the works of Caroline Myss. The title of her book, “Why People Don’t Heal,” practically leapt out at me from the bookshelf.

Looking back, I can see it was the Universe righting a path.

Counseling 101 was the class that changed my life. I went on to earn my Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, my certification as a Master Counselor of Addiction, and I became a  Marriage and Family Therapist Intern.

I often reread her book or watch these videos to remind me,  that while people may come to see me and sit in the chair, they may not be ready to look at, or to give up, their woundology.

The work then becomes about helping them look at their wounds, identify why the wounds continue to work for them, and help them develop healthier ways to regain their power, and get “unstuck.”

I think that she is a dynamic lecturer.  I have posted parts 1-8 of her workshop below, if you are interested in learning more about why people don’t heal.




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