We Can Do That: Women and the Pursuit of Personal Fulfillment.


There was nothing revelatory about Glenn Close’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes this year. She didn’t say anything particularly groundbreaking. But the message hit me hard, and resoundingly so, as it clearly did many women in the audience, standing and applauding with glassy eyes.

“Women, we’re nurturers, and we do what’s expected of us. We have our children…we have our partners. But we have to find personal fulfillment. We have to follow our dreams. We have to say, ‘I can do that. And I should be allowed to do that.”

As women, we relate to that drive for personal fulfillment. And we know how hard it is to get it.

I know many warrior women. An entire novel could be written about my grandmothers alone: my paternal grandmother “Nana,” a five-foot-tall juggernaut who worked until she passed at 100; and my maternal grandmother “Grammie,” a world traveler unafraid to go anywhere alone, visiting parts of Ethiopia and Russia well into her senior years. Neither one ever censored herself, as far as I could tell  (though, to be fair, it may have been appropriate at certain times to do so). Both were/are women of great passion, intelligence, and conviction…extremists; their qualities not just present but abundant. If you’ve met either one, chances are you haven’t forgotten them.

We’re nurturers. And we do what’s expected of us.

The other women in my life are equally unforgettable. They are women of brilliance, exaggerated work ethic, incredible tolerance, extreme sensitivity. Overachievers and perfectionists, empaths and nurturers, artists and creators and idea-makers, they are spilling out with things to offer the world. They have no shortage of talent or ability – rather, there is so much of it that is dazzling. When women are built that way, it is inevitable that everyone wants a piece of them. And, because a woman is built that way, it is often in her nature to give of herself.

And so we give – to our workplaces, to our partners, to our children, to our communities. We volunteer and we advocate and we support, and sometimes (often?), in the midst of all of this, we forget/lose sight of/don’t make room for giving to the person that most deserves what we have to offer. That is, of course, ourselves.

But we have to find personal fulfillment. 

Fulfillment is an elusive end goal that means different things to different people. Is having/doing it all the objective? I’m still not sure; working 100 hours a week while juggling a family, hobbies, and a social circle sounds more like a nervous breakdown than nirvana to me.

What is clear to me, after years of working with women in therapy (and from my own personal experience, obviously), is that women often pick up the slack wherever we see it, and then tend to ourselves after everything else is in order (of course, some men do this as well). It makes it challenging to dream big or reflect deeply when we’ve spent the whole day tidying and listening and organizing, and preparing and caretaking and accomplishing. There’s maybe five minutes left in the day after all that, and that’s not even enough time to take a bathroom break, let alone fulfill ourselves.

We can do that.

Still, I think that we deserve more, and that in fact we should (gently) demand it of ourselves. Where can we make small changes to allow ourselves to move up on our list of priorities? Can we nurture our own courage enough to take risks that might stimulate, challenge, and delight us? Can we delegate some of our responsibilities to other capable people (coworkers, partners, kids) so our time is freed up to think and create (and finally take that bathroom break)? Can we decide that our own worth and happiness is equal in value to the other people we spend our energy boosting up?

We should be allowed to do that. 

If and when we make the scary choice to rearrange our priorities and move ourselves up on the list, it’s going to require the support of others. Significant people in our lives will need to be willing to help, or at least stand up for us in our choices. Our communities will need to recognize our efforts as brave and important, and not ridicule or dismiss us for being bold or different. While this isn’t always the case right now (just glance at a Facebook thread about the newly elected women to Congress, if you can stomach it), in order for women to seek their own fulfillment, I think it needs to be so.

So, there is still much work to be done.

I’m encouraged by my grandmothers, pioneers in their time, blazing a path forward for the rest of us. I’m encouraged by the increased number of conversations being had on this topic. Personal fulfillment – we can do that – and we should support one another in our pursuits.


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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