By: Lindsay Quella Kara

Those who know me well often hear me say that I am on to my third life in this life. While I have had many pivotal moments punctuating my life narrative, there are two periods of my life that lit my path as a therapist, a space holder and a healer.

When I was 13, standing on the edge of childhood and the bridge to adulthood, I was diagnosed with a significant health condition. It was terrifying for me. This diagnosis was quickly followed by an onslaught of treatments, medications and symptoms. As I tried to comprehend what was happening to my body, the experiences rapidly overwhelmed my senses. I couldn’t integrate the intense pain, unpredictable changes, and constant feelings of fear I was experiencing. I didn’t have language to describe it at the time. Looking back I know that I experienced many years of medical and somatic body trauma.

During that time, my pediatrician recommended that I see a counselor. Within a short period of time I stumbled into an office, guarded, anxious and suspicious of the person sitting across from me in the room.

Several months later, in the course of conversation, I looked my counselor in the eye and said, “Someday, I want to do what you are doing. I want to be a counselor.”

Fast forward 10 years, I stumbled into another counseling office under very different conditions. Knee deep in a graduate school program, I had opened Pandora’s box and I was nearly drowning in the flood of emotions that had surfaced. As it turns out, my body had somatically stored trauma from all of the years prior. Without knowing it, I had created the necessary conditions in my life to finally let the pain out.

Early in our work together, my therapist asked, “What does it feel like to be in here?” I paused for a long time. And then after finding the words, I replied, “Worthy. I feel worthy in here.” In the years that followed, I experienced what it was like to be both therapist and client. And as space was held for me, my desire to hold space for others grew. I saw the preconceived notions I had evaporate about who I was supposed to be in the world. I learned to go to my edges, as I waded through pain, grief, fear, sadness and shame. I was taught how to welcome all of these into my experience with compassion and kindness. In the midst of my process, I found my footing as a wounded healer- someone who has been there and back, trained in the trenches with the help of other healers. My intention in every session is to create a space where every person I meet can come to know that they are worthy.

Lindsay Quella Kara is a Licensed Professional Counselor. Lindsay is co-owner of Voice Hands Heart, an integrative healing practice in Boulder, CO.

Photographer: Kristina Saint