Stacey Steinmiller, LCSW
“Depression might have once provided a cushion against disappointment and being overwhelmed… Numbing and loss of interest allow the individual protection against grief and disappointment… Anger pushes others away before they cause harm, or worse yet, before the survivor develops and attachment to them.” – Janina Fisher
The way in which we cope was effective at one point in life. Problem is, now the coping skill is not only not effective, but it’s starting to cause it’s own problems. I firmly believe that we are not crazy, that we do things for a reason, even if it doesn’t make sense on the outside.
I work with people who, despite being smart and insightful, can’t figure out why they’re struggling. I’m really good at getting to the bottom of that and helping people move forward.
I hate bandaids. Bandaids suck… well emotional bandaids. Snoopy bandaids are pretty kickass if you ask me. You have probably figured out by now that these emotional bandaids – these coping skills – aren’t working for you, and you need something else, to truly “fix” this problem of yours, but don’t know how to go about doing it and have likely tried working on this on your own, but it keeps coming up or shit has just gotten out of hand. If so, you’ve found the right person, because for me it isn’t about patchwork, it’s about building a foundation that will last you the rest of your life.
What you really want to know is, can I help you? I get it. It’s the biggest fear that my clients come in with, especially those who are in their 50s and 60s. “You could be my child, can you understand me?” Well, if you’re still reading I must have said something that is perking up your ears, or maybe a trusted person gave you my name and you landed here and doing your research (which is great!).
I believe in the universal experience among us as human beings. Even though we don’t all have OCD, we have all experienced intrusive thoughts. Even though we don’t all have psychosis we know what it’s like to “see” something and be quite certain it existed, when it really didn’t. The spectrum of human experience isn’t as vast as people think it is. We pretend it is in order to ensure that we are “OK” or “normal” but really we aren’t all THAT different. But it’s scary to go to these dark places and admit they’re there, and even scarier to say them outload to someone else, because of fear self annihiliation.
Luckily I LIKE going there. I enter the darkness with curiosity and compassion. I understand these experiences are universal, so they are not judged as negative, but rather normal…. just the normal that no one admits to… the normal that keeps us going, even though we don’t like it. There is something about being the youngest in the family, the youngest of a generation, that gave me a unique observer experience. I continued to observe not only my family, but also my friends, my community, and the world. I learned about the lasting suffering that happens from devastating loss. The impacts of addiction and emotional neglect on a family. The ease and comfort that food provides. The prision of anxiety. The detachment of anger. The wounds of dissapointment. I never realized how much space I held for those that were near to me. How much empathy was given; how much I felt alongside others. I needed to know what to do with all of this pain, all of this suffering, all of these things that couldn’t be tangibly fixed, or even spoken about, because it just isn’t something that is done.
I have the honor of holding space for, and facilitating healing, for even the most tragic moments that life gives us. Prior to therapy my clients feel like healing is comparable to climbing Mt. Everest. It is too high and comes with too much risk of harm that it is safer to not bother trying at all. No one should have to feel that way. I can help you to get to a place where you can climb (although scary) that mountain and it is my job to safely guide you to the top, without sending you off the moutain. I want everyone to be able to reach their highest potential, despite the risk, because you deserve it. Life isn’t about surviving, it’s about living.
Because of my trauma specialization, I have found that the things I used to think were unsurvivable, and unhealable are actually surviveable and healable. I owe so much of my own growth to my beloved clients who have shown me strength in this world, that I never could have imagined. Knowing that devastating situations can be overcome, makes me feel like a warrior; I too overcame the battle that I had the privledge to witness. I’ve learned that anything is possible and greatness is in each and every one of us.
Stacey Steinmiller, LCSW – Change Warrior
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
New York State, No. 081805