Helping Police Officers Find Healing: An Interview with Sheriff’s Office Mental Health Consultant and Counselor, Rachel HallPosted on
Rachel Hall is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who provides counseling to adults and families. Rachel works diligently to provide a safe and non-judgmental space where clients can experience personal growth and wellness. She believes that, given the right guidance and support and with a little hard work, each person can achieve their God-given potential in life. (Summarized from her bio at www.pathwaystohealingcounseling.com)
What is your Current Gig/Passion Hustle?
I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and the Mental Health Consultant for a sheriff’s office.
What is a quote you live by?
“At any given moment, you have the power to say: This is not how the story is going to end!” – Christine Mason Miller
What small thing will you do today to make your world/community a better place?
I hope I will instill hope and joy in someone who may believe those things no longer exist.
What is a day in your life like?
I’m the last one to wake up in my house because every minute of sleep contributes to my happiness! I see my two teenage daughters off to school and then spend some time chatting with my husband before he leaves for work. I do some cuddling with our dogs and then leave for work.
Typically, I see eight or nine clients during a workday at my private practice. We specialize in treating trauma and utilize Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy so the days can often feel heavy.
Throughout the day, I might work on different things for the sheriff’s office as well ranging from seeing their staff members for individual therapy to putting together educational presentations to simply writing e-mails that give mental wellness tips.
I’ll come home at the end of the day and sometimes get to eat dinner with my family, watch a quick TV show with my husband, cuddle the dogs some more and then head to bed.
What has been your journey to get to where you are now in your life?
My husband and I met in college and were married 20 years ago. I worked in marketing and Public Relations for about eight years but decided to go back to school in 2004 to get my graduate degree in school counseling.
I worked as an elementary school counselor for three years before there was a Reduction in Force and I was laid off for six weeks. That made me realize that I needed to get into a job that was more stable.
I went back to get my masters degree in mental health counseling and began private practice at that time.
That morphed into me working with law enforcement and first responders which then led to me being offered the job as the mental health consultant at the sheriff’s department.
What was the biggest struggle you had to overcome?
I really struggled going back to school the second time around. I was somewhat resentful of the situation and felt like it would take time away from my very young daughters at a critical part of their development. Plus, I just didn’t want to do it!
What was the driver for you to pursue your current career/passion side hustle?
In terms of my current work with law enforcement, I vividly remember the first client I had who was a police officer. That client came to me directly after being released from the hospital after a suicide attempt.
She had been struggling for months after investigating a double homicide that took the lives of a mother and her four-year-old son. She had been in therapy with someone else for some time and still felt hopeless.
The work we were able to do drastically improved her life and knowing I had played a very small role in that healing was incredibly rewarding. I learned that first responders just need someone to show up authentically so that they can trust them. When they become willing to do this work that is often frowned upon by their coworkers and administrators, their improvement is amazing.
If I can help more of them do this work, I believe I’m helping our communities have healthier and safer police officers. Imagine what that could mean to a community!
What is your favorite story from the work you’ve done?
There are so many! I had another law enforcement client who had failed a fit for duty evaluation and was taken off active duty. He came to me for mandatory therapy.
Needless to say, he was not happy to be in a therapist’s office! After one session of EMDR therapy, he was able to reprocess a memory of a scene he’d held onto for twelve years.
He looked at me and said, “I don’t know what you just did but I haven’t felt this light in my entire life!” I know God has used me to help those who feel helpless find hope and I can’t imagine anything better!
What prepared you the most for what you’re doing now?
I would say the best preparation for walking others through their traumatic experiences was being willing to walk through my own. I have been willing to own the hardest parts of my story and, instead of pretending they don’t exist, I allow them to grow me. Doing my own work has most definitely made me more able to help others do theirs.
What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is probably that people will give up in life when things get hard. Hard does not mean we are living life wrong. Hard is just a part of the human experience. If we believe we can do hard, life will be so much sweeter.
How do you balance life and career?
I don’t feel like I always do this well but I do my best. I only work 2 and a half days a week so my days off are committed family days and we spend a lot of time together as a family on the weekends. My youngest daughter plays soccer and my oldest is in show choir so during those seasons, we are very busy!
How do you use what makes your heart sing to make the little bit of world around you a better place?
I like to think that the work I do produces healthier, happier, and more authentic people. When more people like that engage in the world around me, there’s no way it won’t become a better place!
What do you wish more women would do for themselves?
I wish more women would believe that they are worth fighting for. I have always believed that if women take time to uncover their authentic selves and work to become emotionally and mentally healthy, generations will be positively effected. Women are an absolute force!
What is something you hope our readers will do after they read this interview?
I would love for your readers to begin to remind themselves that they are enough exactly as they are. This doesn’t mean there isn’t room for growth but even while we are growing, we are enough. Our worth and value does not come from performing…our worth and value is intrinsically within us!
What does it mean to be an everyday hero to you?
I believe that the clients who come into my office to do the hard work of growth are everyday heroes. They are brave and bold and unwilling to accept that they have no power over their stories!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve discovered the freedom there is in living an authentic life. While not everyone feels comfortable with people who live authentically because it can increase their own insecurities, those who are drawn to authentic people are usually authentic themselves. Those are the connections in life that are deep and rich and powerful!