I hope you have been kind to yourself, physically and mentally. We are still talking mental health. I decided to interview a couple of individuals who are mental health advocates and professionals.
Today I would like to introduce you to Natalie Bryan, whom I’ve known for quite some time. I have been impressed with Natalie’s mission to help families heal mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Natalie Bryan, LCSW is a four-time best-selling author that has been devoted to serving her community and advocating for others. After completing her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus in Early Childhood and Psychology, Natalie went on to complete her Master’s in Social Work at Adelphi University. Natalie has worked in the health and human services field for over 15 years which includes experience in case management, child protective services, mental health clinical services, and working with our veterans. Natalie is the owner of Restoring Harmony Counseling and Consulting, and she is also the founder of P.E.A.R.L, an organization that focuses on children and families in our community. The acronym stands for Providing Education and Advocacy to Rebuild lives.
Why did you become a counselor?
I became a counselor because I loved helping people. I’ve spent my whole life being in service my mother was an immigrant and we will travel back to her country very regularly since I was a very little girl collecting and donating food, clothing, and household items to help many poor people survive on the island of Jamaica. So servitude has always been a part of my life. I found that many people just came to me and spoke to me about their feelings and problems and I thought hey I’m really helping people. So I became a therapist!
As a Christian counselor what is your response when someone says they don’t need to see a therapist, they can pray their way through?
As a Christian counselor I always tell people that God gave us so many things on the earth to be of help and service to us including physicians, therapist, lawyers, or mechanics! If we are to be able to enhance the kingdom because we are officially joined together when we can work together to help one another have a better quality of life why not?
What would you consider to be the leading causes of mental health issues today?
I think the primary reason many people are struggling today is because of stress. We are overwhelmed, overworked, and overextended. Let’s not even take into consideration the pandemic, the gas shortage, racial tension, or people walking around with severe mental health issues. Remember that at least one in four people struggle with a severe mental health problem. That’s quite a high number of people that we deal with every day. We should always take into consideration that just because a person doesn’t look sick doesn’t mean they aren’t sick.
What is the difference between a counselor and a therapist?
Counseling and psychotherapy can be used interchangeably. I think the real difference is that with a counselor you’re focusing on more of a specific issue like grief, or addiction where as psychotherapy can also be discussing things of your past Stuff that could be impacting your life today.
How would you describe your approach to counseling? How do you understand people’s problems?
I would say as for the very strengths-based perspective when working with my clients. I am not gonna lie it is very individual and it is very specific to who’s working with you however I find that when people are a part of their treatment plan and their input is included they are more inclined to continue with the goals of treatment. Also sometimes people don’t even recognize the strength that they have they don’t feel like those are real friends so helping them to identify some things that help empower them definitely helps with the therapeutic process.
How do you help people grow and change through counseling? Please describe the process.
I will say when working with people growth is very individual. I would say if we work together on a treatment plan the steps to helping them achieve their goal and we are moving forward towards achieving those goals and I will feel like we have accomplished the task test put before us. However sometimes in therapy the goals may change unknowingly and there is success in just having those eureka moments!
What books or other resources do you recommend on a regular bases? What books have most influenced your approach to counseling?
Some books that I have utilized in my therapeutic practice regularly is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Vanderkolk, It Didn’t Start with You by Mark Wolynn, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman are 3 books that I have found profound in working with my clients!
What are three things you would recommend people do, to maintain mental wellness.
Three things that I think will be really helpful would be making sure that they’re getting adequate sleep, Practicing some mindfulness exercises such as deep breathing, mindful meditation, or grounding techniques, and seeking out a mental health professional when it becomes overwhelming.
Thank you so much Natalie for sharing with us.
Reader I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview and gained some useful information on mental health.
Until next time…