We all have a personal story. And, at times we may be asked, directly or indirectly, to share a little of that story. It's amusing to watch old friends, relatives or spouses glaze over as one launches into a saga they've heard dozens of times before, even with slight variations. Even those diagnosed with dementia will share their story given the opportunity.
I am many things in my story; a loving and supportive spouse, a helpful therapist, and most recently, part of a professional organization, Inland Empire chapter of the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists ( IE-CAMFT). Within each of those roles exists an opportunity to show my true self to people I meet, and maybe even more importantly, to see myself in the eyes of others. At times I have discovered that being a partner, caregiver, or member of IE-CAMFT, is a challenge to the truth of my story. For example: I like to think of myself as having a higher level of purpose, so when I'm seen as such a person it is a good day for me.
Massachusetts General Hospital's magazine, Mind, Mood & Memory (February '23 issue), describes a higher level of purpose as being comorbid with healthy cognition, better mental health, and increased quality of life. For me, being part of IE-CAMFT supports the part of my story where I am a man of higher purpose; and being part of IE-CAMFT's board has at times reminded me of that goal.
My fondest wish is for my story to be more truth than fiction. As a human being I need my personal story to be validated by myself and others; if I were no longer able to find truth in my own story my disturbance would be very great indeed.
Would you like to share your story with IE-CAMFT? You can do so by participating in the CEU opportunities offered by our chapter; by taking in the ON DEMAND presentations; joining monthly board meetings, or by putting your name up for nomination to the board of directors.
I love being part of IE-CAMFT. It makes me feel that I'm part of a bigger picture, and that keeps me hopeful!
Paul Velen, MS, LMFT
Nothing done for another is wasted