I have walked many paths in life to discover that I was meant to be a therapist. Life almost never uses a straight line to take us from point A to point B in our journey. It seems, though, that no struggle or apparent “detour” in my life was ever “wasted,” but rather used to shape, grow, and transform me into the person I am now, and am still becoming.
Some of the people who have made the biggest impact on my life were those who trusted me, kept their word, and were genuinely interested in the feelings beneath the surface. They treated me with respect, saw my strengths when I couldn’t recognize them in myself, and believed in me. They were patient with me and didn’t expect me to always know exactly what I needed or wanted—they supported me as I discovered who I was.
This is the same support that I aim to give every client who walks into my office.
From this kind of support, I was able to learn to trust myself and to discover insights and wisdom readily available to me all along. By learning to slow down and listen, and then take action, I developed new strength, confidence, and joy—both in the little things and in the big directions my life took me in.
From the time I was very young, I remember being curious. I was always searching for a deeper understanding of things around me and of myself. I loved to climb high into trees where I could be alone to think and see things from a higher perspective. Even then, I felt a connection to God and nature. I grew up going to church almost every Sunday with my family, who taught me that God loved me. In my early teens, my faith grew deeper as I found my identity in my relationship with God, as much as in the friends I spent time with. With help from my family, the church, and the teachings of Jesus and from Paul’s letters, I developed the foundational belief that as humans, we are meant to love each other and care for those in need.
My love for solving math problems began as early as third grade and continued through college. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in math and computer science in the early days of personal computers. During my ten-year career with the Federal Government, I worked in software development and project management. I enjoyed traveling, but more importantly, I experienced the dynamics of working on projects and with organizations of varying sizes.
After a while, I became restless in the career I had chosen. I felt a calling to change my focus from working with software to working closely with people whose lives I might impact directly.
While volunteering at a nursing home, I discovered that I felt more alive and invigorated interacting with the elderly residents who longed for real human connection and caring. After completing a Master’s of Social Work degree, I worked in outpatient community mental health for 17 years. There, I worked with children, adults, groups, and clients dealing with crises. I treated clients experiencing a wide range of challenges, including anxiety and depressive disorders, past trauma, grief and loss, relationship issues, chronic health issues, developmental disorders, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders—to say the least, I saw nearly everything.
I realized most clients were doing the very best they could while facing multiple life challenges at once. I could see them doing their best, even when certain choices made their lives harder. I developed tremendous respect and admiration for these clients, and I saw clients make remarkable progress when they gained support from a therapist who could hold hope for them when they could not hold it for themselves. Many of the clients found strength in their faith, which fit well with my holistic approach of promoting each client’s physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.
Just as the ethics of my profession states, I know it is never my place to seek to change a client’s personal view or practice of spirituality, if any. It is up to each client to decide what that looks like for herself/himself. As I discovered that the evidence-based therapy models I was using to help clients—including mindfulness, dialectical behavior therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy—all can incorporate spirituality, I felt more excitement about this synergism and its power to give people new hope for change and healing.
Using these models, I helped clients get unstuck; they slowly and steadily began to live life with meaning and purpose, their symptoms of anxiety or depression were no longer running their lives, and they reconnected with what was most important in their lives, discovered gratitude and joy again, and met goals beyond what they could have imagined.
I put these principles to use in my own life as I experienced how important spirituality is in one’s journey to healing, growth, and vitality. I transitioned to a private practice focused on holistic therapy where clients have the freedom, if they desire, to include aspects of their own faith or spirituality, whatever religion or faith tradition that they find most meaningful.
My desire to help couples repair and improve their relationships propelled me to pursue extensive training in Emotionally Focused Therapy. Through that experience, not only did I become more aware of the deep longing for love and connection that is vital to our survival, but I also experienced a new understanding and deeper connection in my own marriage.
I Love My Job As A Therapist
I find deep satisfaction in meeting each client or couple to hear where they are feeling stuck, confused, needing relief, or seeking healing from past wounds. If you feel like you are all alone in this world, know that you are not. If you want to discover your inner strengths, get some new skills and a fresh perspective, simply get back on track with life, or to find transformation in some way, I am ready to help you find the life and the relationships you were made for.
When I’m not working I enjoy running, playing tennis, reading, being in nature, exploring new coffee shops, and spending time with my family and our dog Mocha.
Connie Edens is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in the state of Virginia. She has more than 20 years of experience providing therapy to individuals, groups and couples, both in community mental health and private practice settings. Her numerous professional trainings have included treatment of anxiety, depression, trauma, and relationships, among other areas. She has extensive training in emotionally focused therapy (EFT) for couples. Her work with individuals often draws from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), spirituality, and mindfulness practices. She offers therapy for individuals and couples using various evidence-based clinical practices and therapy models.