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New to Whole House

Hi. My name is Christina Coletta, and I’m the new intern here at Whole House. It dawned on me that you might be new here too---new to the whole “therapy thing,” so I thought we could chat a bit. I bet we have some things in common…

So you’re a first responder? Awesome. I love that Whole House is dedicated to providing support and counseling to your community. It’s one of the reasons that I chose to do my internship here----I knew this place had a purpose and a specific mission to get folks like yourself the help you need and deserve but sometimes don’t know how to ask for or find. It’s hard to know that our ass is on fire when we insist on ignoring the smoke, and I say that from experience. Personally speaking, I usually don’t realize I’m in trouble until I’m a full on dumpster fire and then someone says “are you ok?”. But the truth is they aren’t really asking me at that point, they’re telling me. Hidden in that casual inquiry is a statement. “So, um, Chrissy, you are not ok. Are you aware that you are not ok? Because I am.” Sometimes our acquired tolerance for stress and trauma allows us to miss when we’ve hit critical mass with our “okayness.” Sound familiar? Yeah, see, I told you we might have things in common…

Here’s another thing we have in common; my prior career was in a very specific, insulated field that no one outside of my community ever fully “got.” For 25 years, I was exclusively a classical musician. Then, when my mid-life crisis hit, I decided to become a therapist. (It was either that or get a nose ring.) Anyway, as a musician, I worked holidays and every weekend and missed so many of my kids’ school functions because of my crazy schedule. My priorities seemed out of whack to those around me who weren’t part of my professional community. But to everyone in my tribe, and because we all were swimming in the same professional pool, this was normal. We were not very good at sensing when one of us was “not ok” because we were all kind of living the same experience. Over the years, I had tried therapy, but I’ve got to be honest: I often became frustrated with having to bring a therapist “up to speed” with my weirdly specific career. There were times when I simply didn’t reach out for help when I needed it because I didn’t have the energy to deal with “training up” a total stranger.

So I have good news and bad news today: the bad news is there still isn’t a culturally competent therapy practice for performing artists in the tri-state. Too bad for me. But guess what? There IS a culturally competent practice in the tri-state for you! Whole House speaks fluent “first responder.” We’ve taken the time to do our homework, to learn from you and your colleagues, and to spend time in your communities, even in your fire houses and police precincts, so that we can be what you need, when you need it. It’s the least we can do for all that you do for us.

I’m really excited to be part of something that brings to you what I could not find for myself: a place to go and talk where a person is already known to some degree before they even walk through the door. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is going to shock us here. Now let’s get you feeling better.


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