We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Phelan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
There’s a lot of information out there. The field I work in is ever-changing based on research and experiences. The vastness of information, specialties, and modalities can be overwhelming. There have been times I’ve struggled with losing myself amidst what I was learning about my profession. Yes, research, training, and consulting have provided me with an ethical foundation from which I work. That being said, my unique personality, style, and approach are also a part of who I am as a counselor. As a graduate student, I vividly remember two of my professors saying to me “trust yourself”. At the time, I thought I knew what that meant: to trust my intuition. And yes, that is part of it. Yet today, what that means to me and what I hold onto in my therapeutic relationships is genuineness. Being genuine with my clients provides them with a safe space where they can find compassion for themselves, and in turn, grow. “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change”. -Carl Rogers
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor. What does that mean? I provide counseling services for adolescents, adults, couples, and families focusing on the belief that individuals have within themselves the ability to heal and grow. Sometimes therapeutic support may be needed to facilitate healing and growth, and that’s where I can help. I have specialized training and experience working with pregnant, postpartum, and parenting clients. I also work with anxiety, depression, grief, loss, trauma, guilt and shame, and stress and life transitions. The road to where I am today professionally has not been without obstacles. I’ve learned a lot about my profession and how to work with my clients, while also learning so much about myself. Going into this, I had no idea how introspective this journey would be. Was it easy? Not at all! Would I change anything? Nope. Why, you ask? Because every step has shaped me into who I am today. I’m excited to work with each new client who walks into my office. Allowing me to be a part of your journey is an honor.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I love quality time, so being places where we can talk, relax, and enjoy our time together is important to me. Arbor Hills and Klyde Warren Park are two places we’d go. If we could find a yoga class outside, that would be the icing on the cake! Whiskey Cake is a favorite of mine where we can enjoy a fresh, heart-warming meal. Spa time would definitely be on the agenda!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love, support, and encouragement from my husband and sons! My parents, sister, and brother-in-law have supported me through listening, building websites, and childcare. I’m honored to work with amazing colleagues and am incredibly grateful for my mentor, Lynne. There are so many people along my journey who have touched me in some way and I carry that gratitude with me daily.