Grief Recovery and Self Esteem Success Story

To honor our confidentiality commitment to our clients, the story below uses the fictional name of “Heather.” Heather worked with Catherine Hunter, licensed clinical professional counselor (LCSW, CADC, PMH-C), at Catherine J. Hunter & Associates.

What initiated counseling?
Having been helped by counseling prior to establishing a relationship with Catherine Hunter, Heather saw the value of seeking assistance, even short term, to work through challenging emotional situations, whenever they occur. She sought out Catherine because several tragedies prevented her from living a life filled with passion and joy.

What did Heather discover?
Counseling centered on alleviating the emptiness caused by a job loss, the death of her beloved father-in-law resulting in a family dispute over distribution of his assets, and the devastating diagnosis of her dog’s terminal cancer. These situations and residual shame from the past had left Heather feeling empty.

Counseling sessions taught Heather to break free from the destructive habits in her life, but also to celebrate growth areas. Each session provided a comfortable place to mourn the losses in her life, receive courage to rebuild Heather’s shattered self-esteem, and discover the next steps to building a more satisfying future.

How did the counseling sessions work?
Heather and Catherine agreed that the goal of Heather’s sessions was to provide relief for the immediate issues, but also help Heather overcome low self-esteem issues. This dual approach centered on developing new habits to assist Heather in conquering future setbacks and emotional difficulties.

“Attacking my depression was our primary focus. I felt weighed down, unable to even get through a day without running for the safety of sleep. So, after almost every session,” Heather explained, “I had homework for the week. These exercises helped reinforce what was learned in our time together and gave me direction.”

While counseling sessions offered Heather a safe place to speak about her wounds, hurt, and burdens, it was also a space to examine long sought-after dreams. Their work together taught Heather the importance of self-care and overcoming items draining her emotional energy. As Heather’s confidence grew, she began to reach a little higher towards heaven, closer to God’s heart.

How did counseling help Heather with the most difficult changes?
Heather’s mother was physically and verbally abusive throughout Heather’s childhood. Additionally, she witnessed her father’s unexpected death as a teenager and carried an immense amount of guilt since she couldn’t prevent it.

As a result, difficult situations caused her to feel incompetent, unworthy, and unloved. A battle raged inside Heather because old wounds were still festering. The new wounds initiated by current losses caused Heather to view her life as dark, foreboding, and painful. All she knew was that she didn’t want to live life like this any longer.

Through counseling, new patterns of behavior were gradually learned, replacing those that didn’t work in Heather’s life. Every session was bookended with prayer. “When we set out to make changes, we need to be sure we’re moving to be more of who God make us, not more like someone else,” Heather said. “Catherine sat with me in my pain, provided wise counsel, and celebrated every growth step. I felt like I had my own cheerleader. The hard work was mine alone, because only I could make those intimidating first steps toward change. Catherine never forced me to do anything that I didn’t want to, yet kept me on course to grieve my losses and celebrate my progress, while providing tools to honor the amazing woman God made in me.”

Any advice?
“We are miraculous creatures created by God to please Him. Don’t let anything, anyone, or any circumstances rob you of living a passionate, joy-filled life,” said Heather. “We are all less than perfect, so if you have ever felt afraid to conquer your fears or change your life, reach out to Catherine and her amazing team. They will help you see that you are worthy, valuable, and have much to offer the world.”

“Your process is going to be as unique as you are,” stressed Heather. “But these counselors will provide the love and support to help you move forward and start living your life differently.”

How has counseling changed her life?
Heather realized her dream of living in southern California. She is currently writing a book, is active in her new church, and enjoys training her new dog, Lily. However, when life needs some sorting out, Heather is quick to call Catherine for some “tune-up” sessions.

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