I first flirted with writing when I was very young and had a few smart-alecky columns published in a Chicago newspaper. It wasn’t long until I ran out of things to say.
Now, after decades of real life and my career as a therapist, I have plenty to say. I began studying writing long before I had time to do it, then began blogging and wrote a column for my local newspaper. Since, I have moved to a larger platform, blogging with ChicagoNow as Ms Crankypants and the City.
After presenting many workshops for therapists on new ideas about grieving, I created the website www.wavesofgrief.com to share those ideas with a wider audience, and am now completing a book to expand on those ideas. I have served on the editorial board for a collection of writings on depression, as well as two on domestic violence.
What I Learned
As a longtime therapist, I learned to be an unflinching listener to my clients’ stories of challenge and trauma, and a witness to their discovery of hidden reservoirs of strength that allowed them to survive and grow. In them, I heard echoes of my own journey of building resilience out of loss.
The rocky road connecting trouble and resilience interests me, whether I am in the office or regular life, whether in my reading or my own writing.
How I Write
Sometimes I write about that path as a guide since I’ve walked it so often with others; sometimes as a seeker since I still explore questions of my own. I‘ve become a storyteller too since empathy and connection make any journey less lonely.
Despite my sometimes harrowing topics, I write with awareness and perspective that makes room for touches of humor and irony. I don’t write of heroes, since I regard what ordinary people can do in tough times to be quite enough.
What Differentiates Me from Others
I look problems in the face
I let life be complex, avoiding simplistic solutions
I offer a roadmap to resilience
I pair strong emotion with logic and reason
I ask the reader to take daily action
I acknowledge that joy and grief often co-exist
Carolyn B Healy
Author, Therapist, Consultant
I was two years old when my father died in a place crash. Instead of being the oldest child of a growing family, I became the only child of a grieving mother.
I grew up trying to decode how to fill the hole in our lives, and to figure out how other people in more complicated families lived. My questions and observations led me to my therapy career.
My clients have given me an education in resilience that I am moved to share.