Shirley’s Testimonial

What’s different about working with Brian?

In about 1985 I went to College Hill Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati OH and began taking classes in lay helping skills. They had a strong belief that people are helped most by peers.

People who are not “above them” in skills and education, set apart from them and not really able to understand (or at least perceived as not being able to understand) their issues.

Over the years I have maintained my belief that people are best helped by peers. I have been in therapy countless times. What is different about you is that you relate to me as a peer.

Yes, in many ways we have a professional relationship. Yes, I pay for your services (a mere fraction of what you’re worth).
You do not sit above me on your accreditation and look down. I know I’m not just a job to you. When I was having a hard time caring about myself, I knew you cared about me. I knew you were “just people” too and I knew you cared.
It gave me something to hang on to when I was having a hard time caring about myself. When it all still felt like it was about me. When everything else sucked, you went out of your way to show caring for me.
It wasn’t just your education or your ideas. It was your caring. People really need to be cared about. Caring is a much bigger investment than just a “job.” You made that investment – and when I had no one else, I felt like I had you.
Relationships have always been a challenge for me, but my professional life was my big success. Since I have known you I have seen major losses in my family life and in my professional life. During 2019 I faced the loss of my professional life. Now in 2020 I found myself facing a global pandemic and a quarantine. This has been a damn hard time. What is different about you is that you care. Bottom line.
I had therapists – I got a whole damn counseling degree – I have spent years learning – reading books – going to classes. Then I went home and tried to cope with the same environment and the same people. Is it any wonder it was so hard for any of it to stick? Am I stronger now? Yes. I am stronger now because I have a community.
You have opened space for a healing community and people are showing up. We all have stuff and we all share and we take turns and omg – it’s what I always said could happen and sometimes facilitated for others but never got to participate in.
So often I felt like a fraud. Now I am being open and vulnerable and I feel accepted even when I put my real stuff on the table. Real stuff no one ever wanted to hear before. The spelunking stuff. The dive down deep in the dark stuff. We’re bringing light into the depths of the darkness and fear in my soul.

It’s the caring that’s giving me the courage to do it. I’ve tried before but was not accepted. Now I feel accepted. People need to feel cared about. It’s not enough to give them ideas. That’s the difference.

– Shirley Talbot

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