From the director
Sharon J. Burnett, Ph.D., LMFT
Founder and director of West Valley Counseling Center
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found a way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen”
But just how does this happen, how do we turn our pain into beauty, our despair into hope, our anger and judgment into compassion? One of West Valley’s therapists, Aaron Crowe, describes it as a process of transformation.
“In the course of our lives events have caused us pain. We’ve had to figure out how to relate to that pain. Perhaps we’ve mostly put it out of our mind, perhaps we’ve found habits that soothe us (some destructive, some mostly harmless). Perhaps we’re not so happy with ourselves for the feelings the pain creates in us. Sometimes, by the time we come to therapy, we’ve forgotten about the original cause and spend most of our time working with the various symptoms and consequences of having been wounded. All of this is understandable and simply what human beings do. Therapy is not meant to correct a faulty way of being but instead to help us learn to relate to ourselves and our pain in a loving way. It is a surprising fact of being human that when we are wounded we tend to blame ourselves. Therapy works to help us let go of this subtle (often unrecognized) judgment. With a safe space to examine our wounds – our disappointments, our unanswered needs, how we’ve been harmed – we begin to see them in a different light. We develop compassion for ourselves, understanding how we became the person we are and beginning to appreciate that person. We soften and connect to our natural resilience. This begins a transformation in which we become less afraid of ourselves, learning to meet all that we are with openness. When an ability to relate to ourselves in this way takes hold, we begin to naturally relate to those close to us and the world with the same heartfelt acceptance.”
As the Director and Founder of West Valley Counseling Center, it has been my goal to create a center where as many people as possible can experience this transformation. Unresolved trauma and pain radiate out to our family, friends, and the world. Affordable mental healthcare contributes to a healthy society, helping us shift what radiates out. We move through our trauma and pain, ultimately finding acceptance, understanding and love.