When I began my psychotherapy training and was asked why I wanted to get into this work, I said what everyone does, “Because I want to help people.” I could just as easily have answered, “Because I hope.” I think I write for the same reason. When I tell a story, I create a world—a world that may be painful and dark at times, but a world that, more than anything, has openness and possibility. As a writer, I try to give that world shape and color and texture and nuance and everything that makes up life. When I listen to my clients, I try to help them in similar ways: to see a little differently, attend to themselves more gently, awaken what might have fallen asleep, imagine what might be, and take the first small step forward, even if it seems foolhardy.
The smile on Pamela’s face wasn’t broad—just a slight turn at the corners of her mouth—but it was enough. Similarly, the period at the end of each imperfect sentence I write is enough, because it gives me confidence that another sentence is about to begin.
David B. Seaburn, Ph.D., is the author of several novels, most recently Charlie No Face. Previously, he was the director of a free family counseling center. He served as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center for 20 years and is an ordained Presbyterian minister. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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