About Susie Merz MC RCC
When I Tell People I am a Counsellor, They Say…
“Wow, you must get sick of listening to people’s problems.” “What kind of counselling do you do?” “So tell me, do I seem like I’m crazy?” (This last question was from a border guard after he asked what I did for work – true story!)
I also get asked, “How did you decide to become a counsellor?”
Way back in my Grade 12 high school yearbook I had said that I wanted to become a psychologist. I may not have known what that meant exactly, but I wanted to know more about people and also about myself. About how we behave, think and feel.
I also wanted to help. It may sound cliche to say that I care, but I truly do. I find it hard to imagine being a counsellor without a strong sense of compassion and the ability to empathize with other human beings in all the messy, painful, glorious moments we get to experience.
When I began a Bachelor’s degree majoring in Psychology, I knew I was on the right track. I LOVED those psych courses! With my B.A. in hand in 1995, I embarked on my people-helping career. I worked with children in day cares, with disabled adults in group homes, and with youth removed from their homes due to abuse/neglect.
But something felt like it was missing. As much as I enjoyed the work that I was doing, I found that I wanted a more purposeful way of having conversations with people about how to make changes in their lives.
I wanted to have the dedicated space and time to hear people’s stories of loss and hurt and struggle, how they got to where they were, and where they wanted to go next. Rather than just “listening to people’s problems”, I saw an opportunity to extend compassion and care to people and to help them move forward in their lives.
And so, more school. Getting a Master’s degree is hard work to be sure, but it may have been even more challenging for friends and family who got to be analyzed and diagnosed according to what I was learning. Nope, they just didn’t appreciate my new found knowledge.
My Master’s degree was completed in 2002, and since then I have had opportunities through my work in community agencies to counsel individuals, couples, and families. I have worked with clients in many areas, including:
- addictions, substance misuse or compulsive behaviour
- depression and stress, anxiety disorders
- past sexual abuse or childhood trauma
- grief and loss
- anger management
- relationship problems and family conflict
Working in non-profit agencies was rich in experience, not only because of the clients but for the chance to work alongside other therapists who were also invested in helping people heal and change.
And then I burnt out. This is a story for another time, but the short version is that I became so depleted – emotionally, mentally, and physically – that I was unable to continue working. Additionally I had to deal with a medical issue (which I believe was very much related to my chronic stress over the previous two years) and needed to be off work for many months.
In the time of healing from being burnt out, I became aware that beginning a private counselling practice would allow me to create a better work/life balance and continue to do the work that I love.
So with the help of a self-employment program offered by the provincial government and no small amount of anxiety on my part, Pyxis Counselling Services was created, serving clients as of October, 2011.
Being a business owner has been an adventure, but I find that I am most in my element when I am with clients. Although my work as a therapist is my livelihood, I also experience it as a privilege. What an honor to be trusted by my clients and to be able to witness their personal growth.
I hold the appropriate credentials to practice counselling in BC, including a Master of Counselling degree (MC). I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC #2171) with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. I am held accountable by this association to adhere to professional standards of ethical practice.
Professional development has been an ongoing part of my post-Master’s degree career. Each year I attend one or more seminars or training opportunities. Over the years I have received training and attended seminars on:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy
- Anxiety – Practical Intervention Strategies
- Strategies for Working with Depression
- Mental Health and Addictions
- Motivational Interviewing
My time is spent with the cherished people in my life. As much as I love my family and friends, I am unapologetically an introvert and also need to spend time on my own in order to recharge, read, walk, journal, and nap.
Both on my own and in groups I have pursued yoga, running, meditation, singing, drumming and playing the ukulele.
I am owned by a cat who reminds me daily that my purpose on earth is to attend to her needs. I do this with only occasional complaints.
About the Name: PYXIS Counselling Services
‘Pyxis’ is a constellation (a group of stars) that can be seen in the southern hemisphere. The word ‘Pyxis’ in Latin means “a mariner’s compass”.
Although ‘Pyxis’ is an unfamiliar word to most, I love the metaphor of a compass to represent the process of therapy and life in general. At some level we are all trying to find our way; we wonder what direction to go in, and at times need help to navigate the more difficult events in life.
I think we each have our own personal compass. We have values, goals, dreams, and challenges that determine which direction we head in. I want to empower you to use your compass to figure out what’s important, and to then take steps to move in a positive direction in all areas of your life.
My Mission for Pyxis Counselling Services…
Is to provide compassionate, quality counselling services to clients in a warm, inclusive, and trusting environment. By focusing on mental wellness, personal healing, and individual strengths, clients will feel heard, be empowered, and gain the insight and skills to move toward healthier functioning in their lives.
Want to get more information or talk to me about how I can help you? Give me a call at 778-549-3256 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.