Roger M. Cahak
After spending what Jung would call my first half of life (40+ years) as a journalist, filmmaker, and media executive, I found a new calling as a mental health counselor. I am now a psychotherapist-in-training. Yep, I’m a 66-year-old intern! Hey, if it was good enough for Robert De Niro, it’s good enough for me.
At first glance, my career path may seem somewhat odd. What do media and communications have in common with mental health counseling? Quite a bit, actually. The connection is “story,” which is at the heart of both of these crafts. I’ve always been curious about what makes people tick. Now, in addition to telling stories, I’m helping clients mine and process their own stories.
So, why mental health counseling? Again, I call upon Carl Jung, who describes our mission in the second half of life as taking what we’ve learned in the first half and using it to help others. But there is yet one more Jung connection, which is his concept of the wounded healer. I, like so many people, experienced childhood trauma. However, like so many men, I kept it to myself rather than risk embarrassment, ridicule, and disbelief. That didn’t work out so well for me. Trauma that is unacknowledged and unprocessed festers and harangues until it spills out in a crisis, precisely what happened to me.
But there was a silver lining in my cataclysm. It led me to this calling through my work with a gifted therapist/mentor and a brave group of loving peers. My experience as a client in therapy has been nothing short of transformational. So now it’s my turn. It’s my turn to help others navigate the rough spots in their lives through my writing and my work as a therapist. What a gift!