Amy Lindholm brings a lifelong fascination with stories and human experience to her work in counseling. Since 1995 she has worked with a wide range of clients and now supports children, teenagers and adults as they grieve a significant loss, such as a death, an illness, a loss of a relationship or a life change through her private practice.
On your website you share that you began as a journalist. How did that work lead you to counseling and how does it inform your practice?
I was always a person who loved stories and writing. I also had a genuine curiosity from a young age about how the world worked. In my first job as a journalist in Washington, DC I was actually responsible for covering congress and the inner workings of the government. It was such an eye opening experience as a person in my early twenties to see first hand how that entire system operated. Eventually, I moved to Oregon to work for the Oregonian as a human-interest writer. People shared their experiences with me and while I felt fortunate to be able to share those stories I also felt moved to help the subjects of them. Those experiences led me pursue a Masters in Counseling from Lewis & Clark.
As a newspaper reporter, people I interviewed frequently told me that it felt good to share their concerns, to be heard and understood. I, in turn, enjoyed giving voice to their experiences. As a counselor, I have the additional privilege of collaborating with clients to change their stories or to write new ones.
How did you become interested in working with individuals experiencing grief and loss?
After completing my graduate work I began working with children and adolescents at OHSU, primarily working with those who were experiencing anxiety and depression. Simultaneously I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Dougy Center with grieving children and families. I saw the incredible work being done there and the real need for their services. An opportunity arose to become their Director of Children’s Grief Services and I took it. I immersed myself in the world of grief and was able to assist in writing some of their guidebooks. I learned a lot. I then worked at Kaiser as a therapist and hospice bereavement coordinator before starting my private practice.
Your fascination with stories is obvious from both your work as a journalist and a counselor. When did that begin?
I had an uncle who was a major source of inspiration. He worked in academic publishing and was responsible for publishing the collective works of both Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. He exposed me to their writings and I became fascinated with the role our stories play in our lives and how we create meaning both externally and internally in our own patterns of thinking. I always loved the Jung quote “who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakes.”
What is one of the major lessons you have learned in working with individuals who are grieving?
One of the big lessons I have learned is how much transformation can take place when we slow down and take the time to work through the discomfort of grief and life transitions. As a society we are impatient to feel better and often do not want to take the time to endure painful moments. However, if you can encourage people to hang in there for just a moment longer than they think they can and work with them to find that courage, they experience incredible awakenings, healing and breakthroughs that would have never come from rushing through the grief process.
What are the “big questions” that fascinate you as a counselor?
I often ask myself what are the things we can do that help us stay present and peaceful and what are the things that make us feel we are enough and that we have enough. Working to answer those questions both personally and helping my clients find their own answers is an incredible meaningful and challenging process.
What are your interests outside of your work?
My husband and I have a great time supporting our twin teenage boys in their endeavors. They have taught us so much about the power of community and about embracing the hectic nature that sometimes accompanies our day to day. I love to sing and am involved in a gospel choir at church. I also enjoy baking, running and hiking. I’m very interested in the ways our physical, spiritual and mental wellness interface.
How can people learn more about your practice?
You can visit my website at bwellcounseling.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org