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By Tim Stein

Meditation from Gifts of Recovery.

Those who are mentally and emotionally healthy are those who have learned when to say ‘Yes,’ when to say ‘No,’ and when to say ‘Whoopee!’
–Willard S. Krabill

Life is more than just knowing right from wrong. It is also opening up to the joy of a job well done. It is appreciating a situation that works out well. It is celebrating when we work through or avert a crisis. Life is empty without the occasional “whoopee!”

Do I allow myself to celebrate the big and the little things in my life? What in my life deserves celebration? What gifts await me as I celebrate?

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Celebrations are important. They allow us to highlight milestones or significant events. Whether it be a birthday, an anniversary, a championship, or a good grade, a celebration is warranted.

As clinicians, we celebrate with our clients. It may be a joyous fist pump as a client successfully role models a new skill, a high five after a client reports applying something worked on in therapy to their life, or the bittersweet termination of therapy.

All of these celebrations are meaningful and helpful to the client, the therapy process, and to us the clinician. Ours would be a dreary profession if we did not take the time to celebrate with our clients. An integral part of our work is walking into the painful, dark places of our clients’ lives and learning, then navigating the layout. This is heavy work. Many clinicians burn out or struggle with vicarious trauma. Celebrations give us, the clinician, the opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the light that shines in the darkness of our heavy work. Not only do our clients need to celebrate their work and progress, but we also benefit from acknowledging the brighter, lighter side of our profession.

As wounded healers, it is valuable to take time to celebrate in our personal life as well. Gladly receiving a chip and allowing others to congratulate us for another sobriety milestone is important. There is value in celebrating an achievement whether it be a soccer goal scored, a successful souffle, or a piece of music learned. Sharing our celebrations with our family and friends shares the light of our milestones with others and opens the door for others to share the light of their milestones with us.

Plenty of things in life weigh us down with challenge, pain, and disappointment. Those who are most healthy in life know when to dig in, when to trust, and when to celebrate with a wholehearted “whoopee!”

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Seeking Integrity and Dr. Rob Weiss offer a weekly online consultation group for sex addiction therapists. Participants discuss how to handle difficult or unusual clients, as well as how to balance life with being a therapist. For more information, contact Tami VerHelst at this link.