Sara Bryan, LPC
the time is ripe.
The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out where we have come from and where we are going to, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming.
People usually come to therapy because the time is ripe. The fruit of our lives have often been left too long neglected, or some of our goodness or joy was stolen from us by another, or in our haste to taste of sweetness, we did not let our lives reach full fruition, and so we suffer inside from all we have devoured and yet still feel empty. We come to therapy because we realize time is fleeting and we must act now to create the life we long for.
Call (970) 672-7974 to make an appointment
More About Me
Once one realizes the time is ripe comes the beautiful and courageous work of “trying to figure out where we have come from.” This is the starting point of therapy. A person sits in a moment of his or her life and ask, “How did I get to this moment?” She looks back on where she has come from, on who guided her here, on who loved her well or failed to love her at all, she looks at what has comforted her and what has unnerved her, and she begins to see her story unfold.
As one’s story unfolds we must always ask the brave, brave, and often life-changing question, “Where am I going?” This question is the fork in the road question, “Where am I going if I stay in this marriage…job…town…identity…addiction…?” And where would I be if I left? The asking of hard life questions and sitting in the dis-ease that such willingness to ponder our direction creates, is a central tenet of therapy. My hope for my client’s is not to keep them comfortable, but for them to come fully alive. Sometimes that aliveness is messy and scary and lonely and my belief is we must risk the mess to find the beauty.
I view my job as being a sifter of human stories. I often sift “through the things we have done and the things we have left undone” to see how a person comes to the place of being who they are “for better or for worse.” Sometimes it is the worst of ourselves or others, that leads us to the point of asking for help. Our work is to ask the hard questions as we truly look forward at who you are becoming.
My Approach to Counseling
The lens from which I see the world is that of an existential, narrative focused therapist. But as Irvin Yalom states, “Therapy should not be theory-driven but relationship driven.” Therefore, my approach is not to cling to a theory, but to allow my “theories” to inform my relationships.
The word existential can be scary or strange to some people. What this means to me is that I view people and our circumstances from the lens that our time is precious on this earth. Often we postpone life changes because we think our time is endless and we postpone “until tomorrow” important decisions and changes because we fail to realize the need to act.
We hope “time” or “God” will change us (or another) and so we wait…
But time and God alone do not change us. We must be active in our lives for God and time to do their holy and renewing work.
From this lens, I view therapy as a means to begin the work of renewal as we face the reality of our need to be active decision makers in our lives. Along with this, we also look at our resistances to change such as our fear of the responsibility of choice.
This is the lens from which I do the narrative work of looking at your story. The story of who you are as a man or woman in the world is intricate, entwined with themes of glory and deprivation, love and indifference, and fear and longing. It is when we realize our days on this earth are limited, that we hopefully will be propelled to begin to risk looking at our stories and be willing to re-create, re-envision and renew what is broken.
Who am I? What is my narrative?
I graduated Cum Laude from CSU with a BS in Psychology in 2001 and received my Master in Arts degree from UNC in Clinical Counseling in 2007. During my time at CSU, I took a semester off and traveled to Brazil in order to pursue my heart of caring for children living on the streets. This ignited in me an awareness about, and love for those who were faced with life’s harsh realities at such a young age. After graduating from CSU, I lived in Romania for five months to work with babies in the orphanage system. During that time I learned firsthand about the real impact of early childhood experiences, our inherent need for consistent love and attention and about the sad realities for those who do not have someone to with whom to attach to in those early years. Although my impact felt small, I held, rocked, kissed, danced with and sang to babies every day for five months in hopes that the love I felt would sink into their minds and hearts.
My formal education and life experiences, such as my time in Brazil and Romania, have shaped who I am as a person and counselor. The volunteer experiences I had brought my formal education to life in that I learned by seeing and holding and loving those with attachment disorders, those who were despairing and those impacted by early childhood abuse and trauma. I looked into the eyes of the hopeless, and those who were unloved, and realized my deep desire to find ways to bring hope and healing to those who are in despair and suffering. As a result, my clients tend to be those who have been impacted by early childhood trauma, neglect or abuse. I also enjoy working with those who are struggling with relational issues or those who are wrestling with depression or anxiety. Of course, I have a particular heart for those whose attachment style is impacting their ability to love themselves or others well.
Professionally, I have worked as a clinician in a mental health center in Ft Collins as well as a low-income clinic in Seattle. I also founded an eldercare company while living in Seattle, Washington that I ran for five years and eventually decided to move on from to pursue my love of counseling more fully.
On a personal note, I am married with one son. My time these days, when not counseling, is spent in the world of figuring out and entering into the world of the small child I am a mother to. We often go on family hikes, bike rides and spend a lot of time playing at the park. Being a mother is a form of education in itself. Daily I watch a human develop new skills and am called to the wonder of trees, leaves, rocks and dirt as my son explores his world with delight.
To summarize why I do what I do, a quote from Henri Nouwen seems to best give words to it, “We need to be angels for each other, to give each other strength and consolation. Because only when we fully realize that the cup of life is not only a cup of sorrow but also a cup of joy will we be able to drink it.”