Examining the stories we tell about ourselves: Why creating our own narrative is so important.


In our adults years, we often believe we have a clear (somewhat clear?) understanding of who we are. This understanding is informed by the stories that have been told to us, about us, by other people throughout our lives: our parents, teachers, friends, extended family, coaches, etc. We play specific roles in the various systems in which we participate and, when we grow up and move out of some of these systems, believe that these roles define a central part of our identities, because they are who we have always been. In this way, our narratives are heavily informed by who we have needed to be at any given time, and are not always true to who we actually are.

To flesh this out a little bit, I offer a profile of the Caretaker, a role that many clients with whom I have worked frequently embody. Caretakers often grew up in family systems in which they were heavily relied upon to be “strong,” or to ignore or smoosh down their own feelings, wants and needs to some degree. They might have had parent that frequently needed care and attention, or a sibling with a serious illness (mental or physical). There may have been addictions in the home. They may have been asked to grow up very fast, or to provide a listening ear to a struggling adult in the home, even as small children.

As Caretakers grow into adulthood, beliefs are established that it is not appropriate to ask others for support or help (many homes had a “don’t tell” policy). They lose touch with their own preferences because they are not attending to them. They educate themselves to become Caretakers in the professional lives; sometimes holding very difficult jobs in which they give all of themselves and receive very little in return. And, when asked to reflect on how they landed where they did, they respond “this is just who I am,” or “I’ve always been this way.”

It is essential to examine our stories from our own lens, and to gently question the narratives about ourselves that have been handed to us by others along the way. Frequently, who we are barely resembles the profile we have been handed. Our true selves lie undiscovered underneath all our “shoulds” and “have tos,” quiet gems in the middle of the rubble of obligations and self-sacrifice. When we unearth the self, we give ourselves the opportunity to begin to become, which is the great gift of self-work and a completely freeing (if difficult and painful) experience.

What we believe about ourselves is not always the whole story. When we take the time to  courageously dive into who we are, we might find someone wholly different than we expected at our core. The process is enlightening, exciting, a little scary, and entirely worth the work.


Useful Information

Some frequently asked questions and useful answers.

Online therapy works in the same way as in-office therapy, but is done online, similar to a Skype or FaceTime conversation. Clients are able to have sessions from home, work, or any other convenient location. We meet with clients using a HIPAA-compliant secure platform.

Online therapy allows you to work with us from the comfort of home, or any private location of your choosing. For some, the screen provides an added layer of comfort that makes the challenging work of being vulnerable in therapy a little easier.

Online therapy also creates the unique opportunity for you to work with us without the constraints of proximity! The practice was born in Keene, New Hampshire, but has since grown to service clients anywhere in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Vermont, New Jersey, Florida, and New Hampshire.

Online therapy is a great option for clients that travel for work, for college students that go home during the summertime and do not want a break in their sessions, and for anyone with a challenging or inconsistent day-to-day schedule. It is an excellent choice for clients seeking a therapist with a particular specialty that they are unable to find support for locally. Some of our clients report that online therapy makes the vulnerability element of therapy a bit less intimidating.

No. For some clients with more complex symptoms or safety concerns, having a local therapist that is readily available is important in case of crisis or the need for a higher level of care. Online therapy is also a challenge for clients that do not have access to a private, quiet space to be “in session” for the hour, or for those that do not have adequate internet connectivity.

There are several reasons why we don’t accept insurance. The most important are:

Confidentiality. Insurance companies require that your information be shared with them in order to pay for services. We prefer that clients’ information is kept as confidential as possible.

The pressure to diagnose. Insurance companies require that clients are given a mental health diagnosis in order to pay for therapy. We have found that many clients benefit from therapy, but do not meet criteria for a diagnosis. Not using insurance allows clients to access therapy without being given a mental health diagnosis.

Flexibility and freedom. Insurance companies dictate the length and number of sessions they will authorize, as well as when a client is no longer eligible for the benefits of therapy. Because we do not work with insurance panels, you and we can collaborate to determine your individual needs regarding session length, frequency of sessions, and when to terminate therapy.

While we do not accept insurance, many clients choose to submit receipts to their insurance companies to receive reimbursement via out-of-network benefits. We are happy to provide these receipts for you! Please check with your insurance company for details on your benefits.



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