A Broken Life Rebuilt: A.K.A. The Importance of Counselling


I have something very personal to share. I think this sharing is important because everyone needs help from time to time. My hope is that this small story adds to the greater story of the Citizens’ Counselling Centre.

As a youngster I suffered sexual abuse.  It sent me for an emotional and psychological loop that lasted 17 years. Through my youth I believed there was something intrinsically wrong with me. I was deeply ashamed, internalizing this shame and keeping it secret.

The years clicked by and the weight of this shame shackled my life. By the time I was 29 I had lost my marriage, my house, and my business. I was broken, feeling isolated and alone.

Looking around at the wreckage of my life, I knew I needed help. I didn’t actually believe I could be helped, but I figured I couldn’t do any worse. So I reached out to a counsellor.

2015-04-06_19-12-55In our sessions he didn’t actually try to change me. Instead he compassionately facilitated my ability to help myself. He showed me that despite my trauma, my failings, and my mistakes I was worthy of self forgiveness. I was worthy of connection, with myself and with others.

He showed me a path on which I could let go of the weight of my burden and rise up like spring to the sunshine of my life.

My decisions back then have miraculously become the foundation upon which I have built a new and authentic life. Without that single compassionate counsellor I would not be the man I am today.

This makes me think of the Citizens’ Counselling Centre, with their over 100 volunteer counsellors who last year helped 1200 people. If only a fraction of their clients are helped like I was, the ripple effect will be enormous and lasting.

It’s been my personal experience that asking for help is a hugely courageous act. To my mind the people who come to 941 Kings Road are courageous. They deserve a refreshed, beautiful, and sustainable building. They deserve to know that they are not alone.

Without our emotional and psychological health nothing works—our relationships, our career, our bodies are all diminished. Only healthy people make a lasting difference. Who will become the next community leader to be empowered by their work?

For me, I want to pay it forward because of the man who helped me all those years ago. From a community perspective I want to demonstrate that the work the Citizens’ Counselling Centre (and the BC Schizophrenia Society) does is paramount to the health of our society.

Do you believe as I do?


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