I became inspired to blog about this topic after witnessing a cohort, who we will call “A”, emotionally break down behind closed doors after working with a client. During the session “A” held it together and gave no indication that a crisis was taking place in her personal life. Yet in our conversation “A” revealed how much of a struggle it was for her to remain focused because of the personal issues she was undertaking. I can only imagine the strength it took to remain committed to the client while coping with the personal problems. On that day “A” and I shared silence for the hurt she was experiencing. The silence allowed her to process and somehow laughter began to take place.
As an aspiring counselor this was a pivotal learning event for me because it shows how valuable silence is and the importance of self-care within the counseling profession. Self-care is not only relevant in counseling but also other professions like law enforcement where the negative aspects of society take a toll (burnout) and desensitize a person’s empathy for humanity.
Personally, I identify self-care and redefining the surrounding reality as necessities for healthy coping and normalization. Some speak of turning lemons into lemonade but I have adopted the approach that when life delivers “bad news” there is always something to appreciate about that information. I once heard that there are never any mistakes or bad times, only experiences that make us more resilient. With that said I have learned to enjoy my experiences with laughter. For me finding humor in times of crises minimizes the weight of the misery.
Though laughter may not be the fix to a crisis, it is the exercising of an intentional freedom that provides a better alternative than wallowing in misery. Cheers!
Kareem Puranda is a counselor-in-training at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is an advocate for the disadvantaged population and can be reached at email@example.com