· Written by Sae Aizawa, R.C.C. ·
Growing up, I always had a strong passion and care for helping others. Not just for others but also making a difference in a bigger community. I noticed how I strongly care for making the world a better place. As I grew older, I noticed I was always curious about what it would be like to be a therapist. I would see movies and shows, and think to myself “that would be really amazing to make a difference in people’s lives and be part of their healing journey”. I always loved interacting with people and I knew my future career would be involved in helping others. The push that made me decide to become a therapist was not just from curiosity/watching movies or shows but from a personal experience where I was also helped by a therapist.
I originally was born and raised in Japan until I was 16 years old. When I moved to Canada, I lost the physical connection with friends and family that were in Japan. Fortunately, I had the technology to keep me emotionally connected to my friends and family in Japan, but without the physical connection, it felt very different and at times I felt lonely. The huge culture shock I experienced was difficult enough, making new friends was also tough in Grade 10. At the time, I met a boyfriend and it made me connected to be with a partner. I felt really relieved that I “belonged”. Only to realize that the relationship was not healthy for me. The relationship was devastating and I did not feel “good” like I used to.
Before getting to see a therapist, I buried my emotions and focused on getting into university. Despite the negative relationship, I stayed because I felt better being with someone than being “alone”. With lot of studying, I ended things with my former boyfriend and entered University. During my time at university, I felt focused and accomplished. Everything felt “good” and “right”. I soon met another partner who made me feel good and happy. After a year or so of dating, I realized he did not treat me in a way that was healthy. I remember feeling exhausted and unhappy. No matter what I did, nothing was helping to relieve me from getting out of the negative realm. My past unhealthy relationship was also affecting the relationship I had with my partner at the time. I didn’t want to do anything and I decided, why not try seeing a therapist.
That day when I saw a therapist, I felt so heard and empowered. I felt I was witnessed and I looked deep inside down what was holding me to stay in this relationship. I further recognized that the glue to my relationship was not based on a healthy relationship. The therapist helped me recognize my deeper inner feelings that were laying deep down that I could not see with myself. The therapist gave me strength and felt empowered. The therapist continued to support me in a way that I needed at the time.
The experience of therapy helped me become more aware of my needs and feelings. Instead of acting out because of the fear of the unknown, I am able to take a step back and recognize my feelings and look at them with care and self-compassion. I also learn about my body sensations and how it is connected to my feelings. The body can tell us many things about how we feel and look at deeper connections that may not be witnessed through the conscious mind.
Also, be mindful that although that I am now with a healthy partner who is very loving and caring, I still do get triggers. Especially when I have a lot going on in my life and days that I find myself more tired, irritated, and low mood, I still go see a therapist. I believe seeing a therapist isn’t just a one-time thing, it is continuous and requires the time and work to create that time to ponder and think about them. I continue to try
I truly believe that there is a power to therapy and it does make a difference. I realized, creating that space for yourself and focusing on your feelings rather than looking away really helps me look into my deep inner fears. The fear can feel scary, but the therapy room creates the safety and freedom of exploring with care and compassion.
No doubt, the journey of becoming a therapist was no easy task. It requires work, but at the end of the day, if my career is going to make a difference in others’ lives like the way my therapist made a difference in my life, it is all worth it. I am looking forward to continuing on my journey to helping others with Azi Counselling. When my clients tell me how much of a difference I have made in their lives, it is the heartwarming and the best part of being in a counselling career.