By Diana Hinojosa
As a marriage and family counselor at The Awakening Center, Jennifer Schurman encourages her clients to include family members in the process of their recovery by helping them create a space for them to communicate effectively.
“It is pretty powerful when you are able to see relationships repair, and having a family that is ready and willing to change can really impact the client in therapy,” says Jennifer.
Understanding that therapy should be about meeting the client where they are, and working from there, Jennifer has witnessed how much of an impact families can have on the rehabilitation process of the clients, specifically those with an eating disorder.
Having some friends that had experienced eating disorders, Jennifer found herself gravitating towards this with much intellectual curiosity that has now translated into trying to ask the “right questions” to her clients. She believes it is about being a part of the client’s life in a way that sometimes nobody else can.
Jennifer says, “There is not much about my job that is black and white, and there is never a day that is the same, but that is exactly why I love my job.”
Some of the most difficult parts of her job is acknowledging where the parents of her clients are coming from, while trying to reinforce their intentions. Trying to be the “healthy” voice in the room isn't always easy when trying to mediate the relationship between her client and their parent. Nevertheless, Jennifer feels very privileged to be working with her clients in their process to recovery.
She says, “I think the people that walk in here really want recovery. The biggest joy is watching a client find their voice, and seeing how their life changes, rather than having an eating disorder take over their identity.”
She enjoys being a part of The Awakening Center’s team because of the support she receives from the staff, especially when she feels like she needs to bring herself back from stressful situations.
She says, “While this work can be challenging, the significance of the work we do is so powerful. Being along with these clients in their journey is such a privilege and to know I can witness this is very rewarding. At The Awakening Center we all have our talents and bring something different, but we all want the same thing for our clients. We have the heart for it.”