“It’s essential to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others.” How many of us accept this airline announcement to be true without a second thought?
Well, the same concept isn’t always as easy to apply to our daily lives; yet, the more you’re able to build patterns of caring for yourself, the better you’re able to handle your responsibilities and care for others. At Hudson Healing Arts, licensed social worker Andrea Inauen provides counseling services with this driving belief.
Since 2002, Andrea has been helping clients in areas including self-image, depression, relationships and couples counseling, parenting issues, the impact of medical illness on individual and family functioning, and bereavement. What sets her apart is a strengths-based approach; that is, she celebrates what people bring to the table and believes in using their strengths to work through whatever life challenges they are facing.
“My hope is each time someone leaves this space, they feel more connected to who they are and what they’re currently experiencing so they can find peace and joy in the everyday,” she says.
While many events in life are out of our control, Andrea emphasizes the importance of identifying things that we can control and work though. Emotional toolboxes are one way she helps clients find ways to tackle their challenges with less injury to self.
“The goal is for clients to have something to do in the moment to make them feel better,” Andrea says.
She works with clients to develop these tools by pulling from positive experiences. With the goal of helping you help yourself, Andrea helps to identify easily accessible ways to ground and relax you.
“When you learn more about yourself, and what certain sights, sounds, etc. do for your emotions, you can find more joy in everyday activities,” Andrea says. “What’s important to you? It’s an important question. And together, we can identify that and build a life that incorporates this to a certain degree to make sure it doesn’t go neglected.”
One easy way to find more appreciation for the present is to periodically check in throughout the day to observe what you’re seeing, touching, and feeling. She also recommends any activity that can enhance your self-concept and groundedness; whether that’s mindfulness, meditation, guided imagery, present-based exercises, or other centering and grounding practices.
The Benefits of Counseling
For those who have never tried counseling, the advantage of having a safe space to talk without judgment can be invaluable. In our interactions with loved ones, it’s natural to filter our feelings or even feel regretful about “unloading” negative thoughts. The help of a counselor to welcome your thoughts and help you work through challenges with compassion, integrity, and respect can provide remarkable mental and emotional clarity, among other benefits.
Andrea has unconditional positive regard for clients, driven by the belief that each and every one of us is capable of whatever we put our minds to.
“I truly believe in my clients. I think it takes great courage and strength to walk in and look in the mirror at what you’re doing well and what you’re not doing well,” she says.
Another crucial aspect of Andrea’s mission is to help people manage their challenges so they can don’t miss what they can truly enjoy.
“I want my clients to be defined by what's most important to them; for them to feel in control of what they want in their world, rather than being trapped. This doesn’t mean minimizing struggle, because there are huge obstacles, but rather to give it some sort of a container so joy can be found,” Andrea says. “If we define ourselves by our challenges, we’ll miss a lot of the good in life.”
It’s a proud moment for Andrea when clients feel they no longer need to come in, though she explains it’s very healthy to check in with yourself throughout different cycles of your life journey.
“We can serve ourselves and the people we love a lot better and get the most out of our days when we have a strong foundation,” she says.
If you are interested in learning more or setting up an appointment with Andrea, she can be reached at (973) 886-0941.
Hannah Chenoweth is a Hoboken-based conference producer and freelance writer who enjoys covering all aspects of health and wellness.