And So It Begins . . .

By: Allie McLaughlin

I am sitting on my porch writing this blog and wondering, what am I doing? I am not a writer and I do not consider myself philosophical in any way. Who would actually want to read my ramblings? Alas, I continue to type. It is providing me with time to reflect on who I am as an individual, friend, wife, and counselor. As a counselor I am constantly encouraging others to find their voice and utilize it to its fullest; why am I struggling? What a humbling experience this has become. This is such a vulnerable place! I have jumped into my past and present clients shoes and I am feeling a sliver of that very icky discomfort that I often see on their faces. So, as I have watched them hone in on their voice and shout it from the rooftops (not literally but that would be impressive), I am going to tap into mine and share a little of where I am personally, professionally, and how I found a way to follow my dream.

As I mentioned before, I am a counselor by trade. I absolutely love what I do. I get to meet the strongest people. These are people who have the courage to reach out. The strength to speak up and confidence to allow themselves to be vulnerable. They are the real rock stars and heroes in our community. I am personally and professionally in a place of feeling a combination of fear and excitement. I have embarked on a new journey of starting my own private practice with a great friend. I am trying to harness some of the past strengths that I’ve seen in the wonderful people I have worked with to assist me with moving through this daunting, terrifying, and fantastic life journey. Of course, I have questioned, ‘WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY CAREER?’. I am no longer at my comfortable job; nor am I seeking a replacement. I am diving head first into this far out dream of mine. Am I ready? Am I deserving of this success? Honestly, I do not know. What I am sure of is that I am willing to buckle down, get dirty, and achieve my dream, or at least a piece of that delicious pie.

Why is this my dream? I have had a variety of jobs in the counseling world that exposed me to a vast array of social injustices and opened my eyes to our lack luster health care options. I recognized quickly how different systems did not play well together and at times, completely against one another! It made me angry, saddened, but most importantly passionate about making a change. I wanted to create a place where the whole person was being cared for and explored. I wanted to provide a service where clients felt heard and empowered. I heard so many people share their experiences of slipping through the cracks or forgotten altogether. I wanted to be a fierce advocate for clients and work through the mud of life alongside them. I kept this little dream of mine in my back pocket for years. Until, I met my friend, Meghan.

We worked together at our “comfortable” jobs that provided us with financial stability and predictability, but we bonded over our unhappiness and sadness over patient/client care. One day we were sitting in our office fumbling and bumbling over our future goals and dreams when we realized that we were aligned. We recognized that we BOTH wanted change and for things to simply be better. We come from different educational paths; I am a mental health and addictions counselor and she is a certified Nurse Practitioner, but patient/client advocacy is at our core. In that moment we recognized that we had a partner in achieving our personal and professional dreams and Cincinnati Renewed Wellness was born. We are scared. We are excited. Most importantly, we are determined to make a positive impact on our community and begin the process of assisting others in achieving their full wellness potential through balance of the mind and body.