Author Rebecca Campbell, in her book Light is The New Black, defines lightworkers as "anyone who devotes their life to being a light in the world". According to Campbell, they are people who "wholeheartedly make [sic] the decision to make the world a brighter place by being in it." The way I see it, lightworkers lend their light on certain issues to help the world heal. In the last 5 years, I have dedicated my time to learning more and more about the various modalities around us that can heal the psyche. Today, I am happy to start talking about more practitioners and the healing work that they do through this series that will allow them to start Shining Their Light.
In this entry, we focus on my dear friend and colleague - Loren.
Loren Gill describes herself as a “low key” individual who “isn’t exactly adventurous but [who enjoys going] on adventures”. Having finished her Masters in Counseling Psychology, Loren has had several years of experience honing her skills in psychotherapy as she has worked with both adolescents and adults to help address their concerns. She is also the newest Psychologist to join the team at Healing Minds PH.
When I asked Loren to join me in the Makati space, she was more than willing to take on the adventure with me. As her friend and colleague, I have personally seen Loren evolve in her career and this is why I have chosen to feature Loren on this particular series - Shining Their Light. I sat down with Loren recently and asked her to have a chat with me about her career and here’s where our conversation took us:
Why become a psychologist?
There isn't a "special" or "grand" story as to how I became a psychologist. I initially took Psych in undergrad because I wasn't sure of the profession I wanted to do in college. Psychology is a very flexible course - I could pursue teaching, med, law, HR work, further psych, among others - this was my thought back then. Upon graduation, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in HR. That eventually changed when started working in the academe. It made me realize that I needed to be equipped to be able to help my students. Looking back, most of my decisions came after certain life experiences that I've had to go through.
Interesting. I know what it feels like to finish college and see my life path go in a whole other direction… And life continues to unfold!
My story is still unfolding. I'm still journeying and I think my future is going to be like this! - constantly learning and seeking something new.
A word of advice to the students who are unsure of what they should take up in college: Don't feel too pressured! Enjoy the ride. Things will unfold as you go through your journey. Everything will fall into where it should be - just trust the process. Look at me!
What calls you to do this work?
Mental Health is still considered taboo in the Philippines, so what calls me to do this work is the intention to spread awareness and psychoeducate a population. I want to help people understand that being a healthy person doesn't just equate to being physically healthy - it also entails being emotionally and mentally healthy.
Just like being physically healthy, this should also be intentional. To be physically fit, one can work out and eat healthy. In the same way, practices can be done to be mentally healthy. One way to do this is through counseling. In sessions, you can learn more about your tendencies and how to change or improve them.
Let’s get real for a bit. Tell me, have you yourself ever been faced with something so challenging that you needed to get help?
Yes! I used to be very insecure and I had low self-esteem despite all the great things I was achieving. These negative feelings made me sought acceptance and assurance from people that didn't really deserve my love, care, and attention. Accepting that I had flaws, which aren't all that bad, was really difficult! I grew up living up to the expectations of other people and my own insane expectations of myself as well! It was hard to listen to myself and to just do what I'm comfortable with and be okay with that. It was a process...honestly, I still have bad days but I'm better at managing my thoughts and emotions now.
I think what really helped me was to reflect and just "listen" to myself. Surrounding myself with people that inspired and motivated me helped a lot as well - I'm not just talking about family and friends... I also looked into celebrities, musicians, and other influential people that had stories to tell. Their journeys inspired me to look within and change what needs to be changed. This is a dramatic change because when I was younger, I only focused on the physical attributes of celebrities and musicians and why I am not like them.
Mindfulness helped me to be in the present and to focus on more important things. It helped me catch myself whenever I'm about to start going into the overthinking hole. It is also continuously teaching me to appreciate the blessings that I have.
I also developed a strong relationship with Jesus. I truly believe that He is the only one I can trust and He has my back. With that assurance in mind, I knew that I can bravely face my challenges. This is something I hold very close to my heart.
I know that you also do talks for corporations, what kinds of talks do you specialize in?
I'm currently affiliated for a company that promotes the importance of leadership with changes in an organization. We offer blended learning modules and workshops for professional development and change management such as Transformational Leadership, Executive Presence and Presentation, Team Building, Business Management Coaching, Performance Management, etc. We also offer learning talks and workshops for self-development for employees such as Holistic Wellness, Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, etc.
If someone struggling was thinking twice about seeing a professional, what would you say to them?
I would tell them that it is okay not to seek a professional if they are not yet comfortable. But they should reach out and talk to someone that they trust about their situation.
There are so many people out there who have sought various forms of healing for their mental health, what is your take on blending other forms of healing with psychotherapy?
Definitely! I believe that healing is always holistic and would almost always involve several approaches. It's a matter of figuring out which approaches work for you.
Alternative medicine practices such as acupuncture and homeopathy have shown benefits. I personally believe though that no one treatment will work on its own. It has to be done with other treatments. This means that if your situation calls for regular psychotherapy, homeopathy may also help but doing it alone will not. Other conditions call for medicine and regular psychotherapy so both should be done to achieve improvements. I recently learned the importance of nutrition not just for our physical health and our mental health as well. That means eating healthy not benefits your body but your mind as well. There is vast research on this.
What is something you would like us to know about the work that you do? And what is one good reason to come and see you?
I'm in the helping profession. Once in a while, we experience overwhelming events in our lives that we simply can't handle alone. I am here to help you navigate through your situation. Here in the Philippines, most of us have grown up dealing with our problems through laughter or undermining our situations. Dealing with a problem involves facing one's realities and more often than not, that's the only thing that gets dealt with. The emotional impact is never dealt with. It's important to understand our emotions and eventually learn how to manage them because they have impact in our lives.
To book a session with Loren, you can call 0977 012 5842. She is available for Counseling therapy at the space in Legazpi Village. Fridays (4pm - 8pm) / Saturdays (1pm - 5pm)
Unit 703, State Condominium 1, 186 Salcedo street, Legazpi Village, Makati City