Highlights from Shoulder to Shoulder

Shoulder to Shoulder is a campaign that seeks to increase awareness, understanding, and access for those who live with mental illness through the development of a therapeutically informed community.

In May 2016, Nashville mental health professionals, organizations, and healing communities joined Insight Counseling Centers in presenting four panel discussions featuring experts engaging in relevant mental health topics and questions from our community. These panel discussions were free and open to the public. Here are the highlights I shared from these deeply meaningful and helpful conversations:

Addiction Recovery & Support

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Understanding the Stigma

Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.

I think I get why we, as a society, have stigmatized those who present a mental illness. Mental difficulties affect behavior, and behavior affects relationships. Relationships create society. In a sense, your problems are my problems; my problems are yours. By stigmatizing, it’s as if we’re saying, “I’d like to pretend I can distance myself from your problems, so we’re not going to discuss how much you’re struggling. But please pull yourself together because what you’re dealing with really does affect me.”

Behavior is dictated by our thoughts, which are assumed to be under our complete control. We control our thoughts, we control our actions. That’s the assumption. So, I can see how people would think that if you’re misbehaving or doing something out of the ordinary, either you’re choosing immorality and need to be ostracized, or you’re out of control and need to somehow get a grip.

To consider that someone is unable to control their thoughts and behaviors is understandably frightening to us.

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Faces of PCCT: Abbie Culbertson

Abbie Culbertson has been with the Pastoral Counseling Centers of Tennessee (now known as Insight Counseling Centers) for 3 years. As Communications Coordinator, she shares about the work of the Centers through digital and print media and equips staff and supporters with all the tools they need. We interviewed Abbie to discover what she loves about working at PCCT.

How did you first learn about PCCT?
I was searching for jobs on the Center for Nonprofit Management job board when I discovered a posting from the Pastoral Counseling Centers of Tennessee.

What inspired you to get involved here?
It felt like a match made in heaven for me. I was seeking a job promoting something I care about and believe in, and I’m a true believer in people exploring their inner worlds, building healthy relationships, and feeling safe, loved, and supported in that work.

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Investing in Yourself

I understand. It can be unnerving, to say the least, to be observed. During your first session, a stranger sits across from you, notepad and pen in hand, eyes, ears, and attention completely focused on you. She’s ready to jot down notes and ask questions. Even if you have the warmest, most reassuring therapist in the world, the situation can still be a bit awkward.

If you’re like me, you’ve memorized the titles of the books on the bookshelf across from you or the pattern and colors in the carpet. If you’re like me, you’re questioning what exactly you’re doing here and if it will really help.

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