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MA Counseling, Alcoholic Father, Suicide Mother

September 8, 2017

I am applying to your distinguished Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling Program at the University of XXXX because I wish to devote the balance of my life to helping people to heal from the wounds of trauma and abuse, especially with respect to childhood. Now 45 years old, for the past 4 years I have been in counseling and this has inspired a gradual process of career change, from being a CPA and a founding member of a prosperous accounting firm to becoming a mental health professional. I sold out my interests in my firm several years ago and have spent that time in preparation for my new career as a mental health professional.

My father is an alcoholic. As with many if not most alcoholics, he can be somewhat cruel when he is drinking; and this was particularly true when he was a younger man. Thus, when I was 18, I found myself suddenly in a most difficult situation when my dad told me that my mother did not just die when I was 8 years old, but that she committed suicide. My father was all I had at that time. The other half of my identity had been taken from me 10 years prior. At that time, when he told me about my mom’s suicide, I was unable to even imagine that my alcoholic father was in any way responsible for my mother’s death – I just saw pure tragedy and did everything that I could to not even think about it for the next 20 years, until I was more mature, stronger, in therapy, and able to process what had happened to me at such a tender age, what happened to all of us. We are all victims of my father’s alcoholism, my father included.

It would have been a wonderful thing indeed if we could have had some help as a young family. This is why I want so very much to give the balance of my life to this cause, providing mental health assistance and support to families in need. My father and extended family were largely silent when my mother died, leaving me to grieve alone. The problem, of course, is that an eight-year-old doesn’t know how to grieve.

By the time that I was 37 years old, I was happily married to my high school sweetheart with two lovely young boys who look like their dad. I had earned my MBA and built a quite successful accounting firm as a CPA with 20 employees, a workaholic; my father the alcoholic was very proud of me. At about that time, however, I slowly began to realize that there was a deep hole inside me, a void that had to be filled, mysteries unraveled. Thus, I embarked on a quest to come to grips with my past, to again know, respect, love, and treasure my mother as well as myself, even though she had been gone now for a couple of decades. Increasingly, I experienced a burning desire to realize who I was, where I had come from and why, coming to terms with the tragedy in my past in order to live the second half of my life out of the shadows and into the light, healing, becoming a better father and husband, as well as someone who makes important contributions to hi community and my neighbors, contributions from the heart. Somebody else can help them with their taxes from now on.

One day about 6 years ago, losing my passion for accounting, I found myself sitting about 200 yards from a building across a parking lot that was home to the counseling practice of UXX graduate Melodie XXXX.  I fixated on the building and went up for a closer look. It took me weeks, however, to find the courage to call Melodie. Up until that time I had thought that losing my mother and being raised by a very tough father had made me strong as well and had already helped me to achieve a great deal. I did not want to explore my childhood because I was afraid of doing so. Once Melodie and I had several sessions, however, my memory began to spill forth ushered in with many, many tears; it was a most wonderful release. I began to grow, emotionally and intellectually, making rapid progress and putting pieces back together that had been broken for a very long time.

Now forty-five, healthy, happy, a better person, husband, and father, selling my interests in our accounting firm early left me comfortable, not rich; but it gave me the invaluable opportunity to become a stay-at-home dad and to take classes in the areas of human behavior and mental health, excellent preparation for the next stage of my professional engagement with my community as a family mental health counselor.

Melodie and my current professor of Psychotherapy: Theory and Practice, Dr. XXXX of HCC, both speak highly of UXX’s Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling Program.  I have learned a great deal in the classes that I have already taken at UXX in the area of education and I feel strongly that I will be able to excel in your program, especially as a result of the profound insights that I have gained from my intensive private and the courses that I have taken recently: Sociology, Developmental Psychology/Life Span, and currently Psychotherapy.  I anticipate focusing my participation in your Practicum and Post-degree Internship Programs in the area of family mental health and counseling.

During my work with Melodie, she introduced me to the Omega Institute where I spent a week immersed in a workshop entitled the “Beautiful Wound.”  Most in our workshop had only recently experienced the loss of a loved one; but I fit right in because I was for the first time, finally fully grieving my loss. The work I did there helped me to develop greater compassion for myself as well as others. I learned that grieving never ends; that it is a process that grows, heals, refines, and ultimately is successful, resulting in the beautiful healing of a wound that will always be there. Of the many writers in my field that I have now had the great pleasure to explore, Stephen Jenkinson’s “Die Wise” is probably the single work that has had the greatest impact on my own intellectual trajectory.

As a result of my own therapy, I came to better appreciate the great difficulty and complex challenge facing the parent/guardian of a child who has lost one or both parents. I began to dream of the difference that I could make if I could reach surviving parents and guardians and help them to guide their children and themselves through a more healthy grieving process. 

I thank you for considering my application to your program at UXX.

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