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Staying Curious and Leading with Compassion

Carolyn Johnson, NP uses an integrative approach to women's healthcare

Since becoming a nurse practitioner in 1995, Carolyn Johnson worked in Labor and Delivery/ICU, NICU, and postpartum before opening Serenity in 2015, with the goal of helping women live a full and healthy life through functional medicine. In 2021, she moved her practice to a new space in Crystal Lake and now, with a team of specialized healthcare professionals, she is helping change the lives of many women in and around McHenry County.

Why the nursing profession?

When Carolyn was 10 years old, both her mother and grandmother went to nursing school.  It was a bold step for two women from a modest, farming background. She watched them work to achieve their goals and learned what it meant to be of service.  All the while,  she witnessed family and friends make unhealthy choices often leading them down a path of self-destruction and broken relationships.  She, herself, experienced her own harmful or traumatizing relationships which she had to learn to navigate and set boundaries around.  These experiences strengthened her deep compassion for people. She learned to be curious, inquisitive and analytical, all skills she now adds as “tools in her toolbox”.  And because she had her own story,  she had a strong yearning to learn other women’s stories and to help and heal where she was able.  For Carolyn, the nursing profession felt like the right fit.  And she has since evolved into a holistic practitioner who listens first.

Who is Carolyn? 

Upon meeting Carolyn, you are immediately drawn to her warm, welcoming aura.  Her wide smile and laid-back way create the feeling that you’ve known each other for years.  Within minutes of speaking with her, you feel her empathic, detail-oriented nature.  Whether it’s the way she leans in when speaking or listening or the way she shares her perspective with ease or how she puts your comfort before hers, you feel her genuine desire to connect.  She believes that the best healing comes from a collaboration between practitioner and client.  Building that rapport is at the core of who Carolyn is.  She explains, “My goal is to always meet a person where they are at.  Empowering them to discover and bring forth the inner knowing that they had never before explored is what fulfills me most.”  

Who is the ideal client?

While, in the past, Carolyn has worked with men and children, her practice has evolved to focus more exclusively on women’s health.  She does this through a wellness-based functional medicine approach which seeks to find the root causes of health issues and emphasizes preventative care.  In Carolyn’s experience, "Oftentimes it's an illness or other ailment that forces women to seek support for their healthcare and many of them have no idea where to begin."

How is Carolyn’s approach unique?

Carolyn believes the key is balance.  As a holistic practitioner, she designs a plan that is exclusive to each client and their specific need. These plans include bio-identical hormone replacement - pills, creams, patches and pellets which Carolyn insists women should seek out, NOT fear; high-dose, immunity-boosting vitamin infusions; supplements; and occasionally, pharmaceutical medications.  This self-described perfectionist with a strong attention to detail puts her skills to work when consulting with women who turn to her, often in a time of desperation when they feel they have exhausted all their options and think they have to settle for the way things are.  A client’s comfort is first and foremost on her mind.  If a woman can feel relaxed, heard, and understood, when in her office for a consult, a treatment or just a quick check-in, then she can rest easier knowing she provided that space for each of them.  

What about the “Imposter Syndrome?”

To squash that little voice of skepticism telling us we are not worthy, capable, or deserving, Carolyn continues her education to build confidence in her women's health services.  To ground herself and remember who she is, she turns to her artistic side, cooking and creating healthy meals or painting and drawing as her own form of art therapy.  Recently she has discovered EFT tapping as a way to calm the nervous system and hit the reset button.  And most of all she remains curious.

Oftentimes it's an illness or other ailment that forces women to seek support for their healthcare and many of them have no idea where to begin.

My goal is to always meet a person where they are at.  Empowering them to discover and bring forth the inner knowing that they had never before explored is what fulfills me most.  

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