Jacqueline is a licensed professional counselor whose passion is to walk alongside others as they embark on their healing journeys; specifically those who struggle with substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and trauma-related issues.
When she isn't raising her two very young children, she enjoys freelance writing, photography, snowboarding, spending time with friends and family, and leisurely strolls with an ice cream in hand.
Could you tell us a bit about your book/s and why it is a must-read?
My book adds a much needed perspective to the conversation regarding mental health treatment, and what that looks like from a therapist’s point of view. I have provided a platform for these therapists to share their own personal stories of pain and triumph. They share their own need to seek help in a way that encourages others to seek help, thereby normalizing therapy for people that need it most.
What inspired you to write your book?
Honestly, I was serving my children by making them breakfast when the thought occurred to me that I should reach out to someone to get this book off the ground. My inspiration came from my passion to love people right where they are. I’ve always had this desire to dispel fear in the lives of others in such a way that they are left feeling loved, and empowered. It’s probably why I became a therapist.
Where is your favorite place to write? Do you have a special hangout or any writing rituals?
When I realized I couldn’t work in my husband’s home office, I bought materials and made my own office space along a wall in my home. I literally cut, sanded, stained this beautiful desk and shelves set up. Got the perfect chair and lamp. And the first time I sat down to write my children were clinging to my legs and refused to go to bed. So, I wrote most of my 12 chapters worth of material at my local library. I sat in their quiet study room, and every time I felt like giving up I’d look out into the main room at all the books on the shelves and realize that I was in good company. All of those men and women went before me on the journey I found myself on, and they didn’t give up. They persevered and their books are left behind as a legacy to encourage writers like me. I wanted to see my book on those shelves to inspire the next generation.
What’s the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while writing your book?
I have never written a book before. But I internalized the belief that the only limits I have are the ones I set for myself. Even if I failed, I wasn’t going to allow anyone or anything stop me from trying. The most surprising thing I learned about myself was my capacity to push through postpartum depression, raising two very young children, and finding all the words to write. Looking back over this past year I still can’t believe that I actually finished. And now I want to write more!
What do you find are the most rewarding aspects of being an author?
The most rewarding aspect of being an author is being able to affect positive change in another person’s life using the written word. I also loved working with all the therapists on this book. They are each amazing individuals and their enthusiasm for this project really got me through some rough writing days.
Who are some of the writers who have influenced you?
My two absolute favorite writers are L.M. Montgomery and Madeline L’Engle. These were women writers who shed light on aspects of humanity that aren’t so pleasing to look at.
On a more personal note: Tell us a little about your “real” (non-writing) life — family, job, hobbies, etc.
Before starting this book process I was a stay-at-home-mom. This book has definitely added more things to my to-do list. I really enjoy spending time reading, painting, and getting out on the slopes to do some snowboarding when I have a chance. I love nature, and photography -- they balanced out the intensity of living life as a clinical mental health therapist. I’d have a particularly intense marriage session in my office, then that weekend I could capture the love between a newly engaged couple with my camera. It has been a wonderful balance. Photography keeps me creative and connected with the “me” before I had the honor of being a mom.
Who is a creative person (not a writer) who has influenced you and your work?
I love to paint. One of my first favorite artists was Georgia O’Keefe. And one of my favorite photographers is Ansel Adams. Their artwork show the quiet stillness of life, and serve as a reminder that we all have a responsibility to leave something of ourselves behind that adds value to someone else long after we’re gone.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who may be reading this interview?
The best advice I read was to take the idea of writing a book off the pedestal. Authors are respected for their words, yes. But anyone can and should write about what they’re passionate about. Each of us offer a perspective on life that someone else needs to hear. Stop comparing yourself to others, and write. Write every day. Write when you don’t feel like it. Write your heart out. And you will begin to find the book you are meant to write.
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
I promised myself and my family I would take October off from writing. I spoke at a Wellness Disruptors conference in Pittsburgh, PA recently, and gave my first radio interview. I was most excited for the radio interview because I always dreamed about having a radio show of my own, since childhood. But currently, I am working on an article for The Kindred Voice publication. It will be entitled something like “Therapists need therapists, and that’s okay” for their upcoming mental health issue mid-November. Then I’ll be outlining my next book, and seeking a publisher. I’m not sure I have the energy to self-publish another book! I’m also working on recording the audio book to be released before Thanksgiving. It’s a huge undertaking because I am working on getting ALL the authors to record their own chapters in their own voice even though they are scattered across the country.
What is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, etc.) and link(s)?
I have a website, which is www.TherapistsConfessions.com. There they can read about the other authors on this book, and contact me there at email@example.com. Readers can also find us on Facebook by searching for the book’s title -- From the Inside Out: Therapists’ Confessions of Courage, Strength, and Hope.
From the Inside Out: Therapists' Confessions of Courage, Strength, and Hope
All too often our stories go untold. But what if sharing your story could help you heal? We invite you to have a seat, and grab something warm to drink as we share our real, raw, and personal stories of tragedy and triumph. Then, we'll walk alongside you as you take a few steps on your own healing journey using the tools and journal questions provided in the second half of the book.