Debbie Edmunds, is a licensed professional counselor supervisor with decades of experience helping empower her patients to find healing. She is the founder of H.O.P.E. Psychotherapy of Houston, a community of professional therapists who serve clients of all ages and life circumstances.In her 40 years of private practice, Debbie has trained countless new therapists how to launch and thrive in their field. She also has experience helping clients cope with vocational and brain injuries. This month we hear her advice on keeping ourselves mentally and emotionally fit.
Tell us more about what you do and why?
The short answer is I help my fellow human beings be well and love themselves so they can thrive and function to their fullest. More importantly, I know what it is like to have had my self-esteem damaged in many ways without always having a healthy support system help me heal. I’ve been treated unfairly and thought I had little to give. But I learned that wasn’t true. The truth of the matter is (as I’ve told the psychotherapists whom I’ve trained) “your specialty picks you and I believe your career picks you as well.” I realized, even at a young age, my friends often came to me for support and guidance. I learned others trusted me. As a mental healthcare worker, I learned I could give that gift to others. I want others to learn their truths and believe they could heal from emotional pain and trauma as well. Life is too valuable to not to live it to its fullest.
What are three simple everyday habits we can implement to become more mentally and emotionally healthy?
Practice Gratitude. First, we can wake up and be grateful for the things we have vs. feeling
resentful about the things we believe we should have but don’t. Gratitude is a powerful feeling that helps us challenge negativity as well as keep us from living in a heightened state of grief, loss and helplessness. We can feel full vs. empty. We can learn to recognize that almost every day we experience things that bring joy to our lives in a way that’s more valuable than any amount of money or objects we could possess.
Follow The Golden Rule. Second, we can treat others the way we want to be treated. It’s The Golden Rule most of us learned very early in life. Spread joy with a smile, a kind word and remember we are not all supposed to be the same. Rejoice in and respect the differences of others and remember accepting and giving to others in healthy ways will be the greatest gift you give yourself as well.
Believe in ourselves. Third, we can allow ourselves to believe we are worthy of love of self and from others. This involves setting boundaries that prevent judgment from others to alter our self-worth.
What are some misconceptions about staying mentally healthy?
Unfortunately, our society still believes that staying mentally healthy means we are acknowledging we are ill. In reality, seeing a psychotherapist should be viewed the same way in which we maintain all aspects of our wellbeing. We get routine examinations for most everything but don’t realize that psychotherapy treats the central nervous system consisting of our brain and spine; it’s more than just talk. It’s the greatest gift we give ourselves and seeing a psychotherapist represents intelligence, strength and not weakness.
What are some unique mental health challenges we face as we exit this pandemic?
Forgetting that surviving this pandemic is an opportunity for growth as individuals and as the human race. A pandemic by its very nature means the entire planet is impacted. We can challenge misconceptions we might have held about self and others and create a world that is just and inclusive of everyone—even when they don’t look like we do. We can accept we don’t need to settle for “returning to normal,” but that we can contribute to creating a new healthier normal with equality for all.
When is it the right time to see a therapist?
Everyone can and should benefit from psychotherapy as a matter of maintaining wellness. Begin young, before crisis leads to a lesser quality of life.
Why is self-care important?
Simply put because we are worth it and if we don’t recharge with self-soothing we can’t live a full and healthy life or give to others in a healthy manner.
What is H.O.P.E. Psychotherapy of Houston and why did you open it?
H.O.P.E. Psychotherapy of Houston is an oasis of tranquility where the acronym Healing Opportunities that Promote Empowerment is felt by all who enter. I opened H.O.P.E. because I wanted to offer wellness in an environment that was inclusive of all. I wanted to create a place where patients and clinicians alike would feel valued, safe and free to become their healthiest selves with their own identities. I wanted to engage in private practice with other like-minded professionals where learning occurs as well as acceptance and growth. My greatest hope is that everyone entering H.O.P.E. discovers their voice and become empowered with skills they can pass on to everyone they encounter.
What is the most fulfilling part of your work?
Knowing that others have entrusted me to help them live a fulfilling life.
17510 Huffmeister Rd, #102 & #103
CYPRESS, TX, 77429