Growth Lessons

When I moved back to Lakewood last summer, after living as an 'expatriate' in San Francisco for 35 years, people were incredulous. As I set about putting down new roots and contributing to Lakewood's economy during my first month back, I procured my Ohio drivers license, Lakewood Public Library card, bank, hairstylist, veterinarian, dentist, optometrist, farmers market, tree trimmer, and car mechanic. Each time I was greeted by the same question: "Whatever made you move back HERE?!"

Moving from Cleveland to Lakewood as a young adult, and then to California in the 70's, was driven by a need to broaden my horizons and grow up. Now, at age 65, the wise sage in me knows that one never stops growing, that there's always more to learn and experience - both good times and bad, no guarantees - if one remains open to not knowing everything.  Lakewood feels like a town that I can grow old in, where I can imagine myself aging-in-place. I realized that even more fully when I noticed that nearly all of the Lakewood businesses and services that I support are located on a 1.5 mile stretch of Detroit Ave.

As a psychologist of many years, I have also had the humbling opportunity of witnessing other peoples' growth and accompanying them on their journey. Today there is much more awareness and education in our society about the field of psychology and the practice of psychotherapy. There is much stigma as well - psychotherapy still gets equated with mental illness. Now, however, my field is also adopting more of a wellness model. What is that exactly?

Considering oneself to be 'normal', does not mean being 'perfect'. Throughout our lifetimes we are likely to experience many challenges, changes and transitions - some welcomed, some not - love, joy, celebrations, grief, loss, relationship or work related stressors, illness, or some level of emotional distress. Sometimes we need additional support when life's waters get too rough. So achieving mental health and wellness is not some fixed destination; it's about navigating the waters through all life with some resilency.

Cynthia Kessler, Ph.D. has been a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist for the past 25 years. She has recentlly opened her new psychotherapy practice in the INA Building at 14701 Detroit Ave, Lakewood, OH. She can be contacted at (216)543-1695.

cynthia kessler

65 year old native Ohioan raised in Collinwood area then moved as young adult to Lakewood/Rocky River border. Migrated to San Francisco in 1977, now reverse migration back to Lakewood last year! Restarting my private practice as a psychologist.

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Volume 10, Issue 20, Posted 2:16 PM, 09.30.2014