When I moved my home and psychotherapy practice from the Willamette Valley to Maupin, Oregon recently, the resulting changes of pretty much everything in my life (except being married to the same person!) became an opportunity to do a lot of reflecting, on a lot of things.
Those reflections have included appreciating how many things I have learned about mental health and healing from my clients, mentors, teachers, students, family, friends and colleagues, over my 25 year (and counting) career practicing psychotherapy.And with that appreciation came the urge to share with others more widely what I have learned.
I also found myself beginning a practice in a rural community and region of the state where mental health services are few (in South Wasco County, they are virtually non-existent). In addition, the culture of self-reliance and stoicism which in characteristic (for good reason!) of this remote, rural, and often harsh landscape means that residents tend to be suspicious of counseling, and to misunderstand its purpose.
So decided to approach Merle Hlavka, the editor of the local print-newspaper monthly, the”Wampinrock,” about the idea of a column for the purpose of sharing some of the information on mental, emotional, and behavioral health topics which might be of interest to members of my new community. Merle welcomed the idea, and I began the “Mental Health Matters” column in January of 2015. Since the paper does not have an online presence, however, other interested readers of the column had no way to access the content. So, I did what I have been meaning to do for about ten years anyway: I started a blog, this one for the purpose (at least initially) of sharing my Wampinrock columns with a wider readership. Thanks for being one of those readers, and I welcome your responses!