SERVICE SPOTLIGHT: Renae Brings Creativity & Compassion!
October 17, 2016
Recovery Counselor Renae Johnson, MPS, PCCi, ATR facilitates individual and group therapy with Epiphany Center’s clients in the women’s Recovery Program. For over a year now, she has worked with our clients to explore their current state of recovery, and to help them heal from past wounds so that they can meet their future goals.
“I feel very honored that clients come in and trust me and start to do the work, even when it feels messy, because recovery is not always graceful. Seeing clients taking the reins themselves, digging deep within themselves, and just being a witness to that, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Renae’s biggest challenge is helping women to understand just how to love and respect themselves. “Sometimes in the work that I do with the women, they want me to have the answers for them and tell them what to do. I stay away from that, because the truth is--I don’t know, only they have their answers within them. I’ll help them problem solve, but I can’t solve their problems.” Renae knows that recovery is an individualized process for each woman. Her role is to help support self-efficacy through the tools that Epiphany Center provides.
Renae appreciates Epiphany’s focus on compassion and creativity as an integral part of the recovery process. With a background in art therapy, she emphasizes that: “the creative process can serve as a tool for a lot of expression that clients don’t have words for. It’s a space where they can take ownership through creating, and find acceptance. This is a form of self-advocacy, which in turn builds self-confidence.”
Working with women in recovery is inspiring, but Renae is especially motivated by the diversity of cultures, backgrounds, ages and relationships represented at Epiphany Center. “Being female, whatever that means to each woman individually, we can all connect to that in some way. Seeing women embrace that power is very important, especially when they don’t always come in with it. It’s important that the recovery process is shared with other women, especially at the beginning.” Renae says that working with the women of Epiphany Center has broadened her social justice horizons. By working with women of all races and ages, she is able to see what’s missing, and how certain cultural effects have manifested throughout generations. “Though the women all have similar shared experiences, you can see differences in women of 65 or women of 22, or racial or cultural differences, in their level of belief in themselves, and what they think they are capable of achieving. It’s impactful, and I’m still digesting it all”.
Renae is no stranger to diversity. Though she's from a small farm town in Iowa, she’s lived all over the country including Minnesota, Texas, New York, San Diego and San Francisco. We are blessed that she landed at Epiphany Center, and her compassion, creativity and patience is a gift to our clients.