Today I’m talking with Denise Dixon from Atlanta, GA. Denise is a life coach with a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, author of several workbooks and journals (with an upcoming book about surviving breakups), and a mother. Denise believes in the power of speaking loud about what we’re experiencing in life so that others don’t feel so isolated.
The Struggle to Understand Mental Health
To Denise, mental health is deeply personal. Therapy is valuable, but it’s important to find the right fit. Denise was a serial therapist hopper, and as a high functioning person, she struggled to find someone who was able to see through her to what she felt was truly wrong. Eventually, Denise found out she had depersonalization disorder, finally giving her the name for what she was feeling.
Denise pursued her Master’s in order to figure out herself, but in the process realized she had a gift for identifying issues in others. “Trauma knows trauma,” she says, and she decided to put those skills to use. From her own experience, Denise believes in looking at things from the client’s perspective.
Transitioning from Therapist to Lifecoach
After getting her Master’s, Denise planned to be a traditional therapist, but life had other plans. That particular career path didn’t fall into place, but she also knew that the type of conversations she loved having with people were conversations she wouldn’t have in a traditional setting. Denise enjoyed that space of accountability and made the natural transition from therapist to life coach.
Denise offers in-person and virtual coaching, along with workshops, classes, and retreats. As a life coach, she doesn’t simply give her clients a pat on the back or a high five. “My rates are too high for that,” she says. As a life coach, she’s an excavator, pulling out things in life that aren’t needed, so that her clients can meet their goals. Denise feels that this is truly her life’s work, and has had clients leaving who tell her that they’ve met someone who is doing what they’re meant to do.
Reclaiming Childhood With Her Children
As a mother, Denise is breaking the cycle with her own children, now 26 and 17-years-old. She loves that they’re able to have the childhood that she didn’t, and is able to experience that childhood with them. She taught them early on that what happens in their heads is important, and that they should do what makes them happy, not what others expect from them.
Denise had to learn how to trust as a parent. She believes that kids aren’t a possession, and parents don’t own them. They’re a gift, and even if she does her very best, she can’t control everything, so she focuses on raising human beings that can navigate the world on their own. Even in her absence, she knows she’s doing her best and gaining as many lessons as she’s teaching.
Listen in to hear about Denise’s methods for living with depersonalization, conversations to have with trauma survivors, and more about her upcoming book about her own survival story.
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