People pick up the phone or tap out an email to schedule an appointment with me because of concerns and struggles that are part of being human. Things like depression, anxiety, lousy sleep, too much stress, health concerns, too much conflict, too little conflict, a soul-killing job, grief caused by all sorts of losses, self-esteem battles, or a marriage that is teetering.

I am a psychologist and offer psychotherapy, so you may be puzzled about why would I name my website domain Pearl Diver Passages?

It all started when I was reading a blog by Elaine Aron, Ph.D., about Highly Sensitive Persons. She developed the term in the late 1990s and has extensively researched the trait. She referred to Highly Sensitive Persons as the “pearl divers of humanity.” Well, of course that made me very curious about pearl divers!

Here is what I learned…

They were a minority in their community and sometimes discriminated against. They were very hard working and daring. It is extremely risky to hold your breath for a deep dive where it is dark, cold, and dangers lurk. (Think sharks and other creatures that bump up against your leg with sharp teeth and spiny things.)

It was tiring to live their life – full of hard physical labor – and they pushed their bodies beyond the norms of endurance. And, they had to be vigilant all the time because guess what – people were trying to steal their valuable pearls!

They adapted their bodies to swimming underwater at high pressure and trained intensely to hold their breath for so long. Traditionally, they used no oxygen tanks and no fancy wet suits.

They were tough. They were well trained. And they accommodated to not being like everyone else. They had some superpowers that set them apart, and they brought back treasure. Treasure that made it all worth it. Treasure that supported themselves, their family, and community. They were willing to dive deep to find rare beauty. Without their unique training and gifts, the pearls would still be hidden in the deep, dark ocean.

The more I thought about that, I realized that many of these traits fit so many of my patients who courageously take the first step to begin therapy, and then have the resilience to take what I call the “deep dive.”

The deep dive is when together we go below the surface of presenting symptoms and explore what is hiding in the shadows. Just like those brave pearl divers. It is hard work, the outcome is uncertain, and at times you can’t see the next step because it is so dark.

But my job is to stay with you and to hold hope that we will find light eventually and treasures. Just like pearls – those treasures are rare, extremely valuable, and no one can take them from you without your permission.

Stay tuned – in the next blog I will share specifically about Highly Sensitive Persons. You will learn more about how they are wired and what they offer the world. Research estimates they account for about 50% of those who show up for therapy. Interesting indeed.

Until next time, may you open yourself to the possibility of abundance and hope in your life.