When I was in the 4th grade my parents divorced. I asked if I could see a therapist to better understand their divorce; they agreed. In that protected space, I could swear. I could rage. I could hate, be angry and cry, and I could feel afraid in a very safe place. Dr. Covey, my therapist, and I ate doughnuts and talked about everything….until her dog stood up. Like a timer, her dog would stand at ten minutes to the hour indicating my session was over, and I knew my weekly haven was complete for that week. I loved her. She drove a lime green porsche and showed me true unconditional love. I then started a girls’ circle to pass on the love. In Salt Lake City, Utah, where I grew up, the dominant culture/faith/religion was different than my own, and most of my friends followed stricter guidelines than I. I decided to gather friends to provide a safe and fun place to say swear words. I chose recess as our meeting place. We shouted, sang, and said all the bad swear words; I delighted in the circle and so did they. We loved having a safe and fun place to freely express ourselves.
I was hooked. My path was established: creating a safe place for people to express themselves.
Years later I saw my therapist at a party. Although age had caught up with her, I immediately recognized her hands from having watched her smoke and eat doughnuts. I reintroduced myself and shared that I had just finished graduate school in psychology. I invited her to my graduation celebration. Initially I did not know she had cataracts and could not see. That evening, I ended up feeding her to ensure that her silk dress would not get stained! What a lovely way to return the love.
Today I too am a therapist and I owe it to her, Dr. Covey, the doughnut-eating-cigarette-smoking wonderful woman I had the pleasure of knowing.
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