The Mental Wellness Counseling “Meet the Counselors” series offers a deeper look into each counselor’s background, experiences, motivations, values, and philosophies. In this series, I put counselors on the couch to learn why and how they do what they do.

Q: What influenced you to become a counselor?

A: As an undergraduate, I studied abroad in a few different places. I worked with non-profits in the educational and environmental sectors, and eventually found my way to human rights advocacy. I loved doing advocacy work, but it takes a long time for things to change. Part of me realized I needed to find a different way to channel my energy so that I could still help people, but help people in a way that I could actually see change occurring, rather than wait years for something to change. I wanted to have more of a direct impact. I decided to go into counseling because I love working with people one-on-one. I’m fascinated by people’s stories. I’m always inspired and incredibly humbled by people and their experiences, particularly how they get through difficult times.

Q: What techniques have you employed in your practice?

A: When I work with individuals, I like pointing out things they are already doing well and strengths they already have. Often times people come in thinking they’re not doing anything right. Since I’m not the one in the situation, I can listen objectively and see things they’re doing that’s working. I identify strengths that can help them move toward feeling better about themselves.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?

Lucy loveA: Being a part of people’s lives and seeing them change and grow. The therapeutic relationship is so intimate. When I was new to counseling, I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, people are just opening up to me. It’s crazy.” Now it’s something that I value so much. To be a part of someone’s life in such an intimate way is so gratifying. It’s a privilege to work with people who have faced adversity, to see them realize their potential, begin to make changes, and feel strengthened. I feel very humbled every time I work with someone.

Q: What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from your work?

A: Being able to relate emotionally is something I learned while abroad. I was working with people with totally different cultural backgrounds. Even though they faced struggles that I couldn’t even comprehend or imagine, they still experienced similar situations and had similar emotional responses to those situations as me, my family, or my friends have.

The most valuable thing I’ve learned is that everybody has internal challenges that impact them on an individual level. While we don’t all go through similar things, we all have a very similar emotional makeup. The way we experience joy, fear, shame, guilt, and happiness is all the same. We may respond to it differently, carry it differently, or deal with it differently, but we all experience it and can connect through it. This is our shared human experience. There is not a person who I’ve worked with, no matter what their walk of life, who I could not relate to because at the end of the day, we’re all human beings. We are way more alike than we are different.

Lucy Traverse City counseling counselor therapist
Lucy Seefried, MA, LLPC

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