Meet Barbara Egan: Registered Clinical Counsellor
From a former university athlete and coach, to a wife and mother, and now a registered clinical counsellor, I understand the importance of mental health in the game of life. Although my background is in hockey, these skills are transferable to other arenas of life to help you discover and reach your full potential.
Let’s get into Barbara’s story today!
What makes you smile?
When my kids smile at me! I can be having a tough day and that just melts it into perspective.
What was the path that led you to discover that you wanted to be a counselor?
Previously, I was an elite level hockey player and then coach. As an athlete, I benefitted from working with sports psychologists. As a coach, I implemented it and also did a lot of “pseudo-counselling” with my players as they faced off-ice/life issues—as we all do. I personally went through some difficult stuff and counselling really helped me, my relationship, and my entire life. My counsellor/pastor/now colleague encouraged me to become a counsellor. I said I would when I had my “stuff together”--maybe when I was like 50. But, he said that’s exactly what would make me a good counsellor; that I’ve been there, walked out of it, and now want to walk alongside of others towards healing.
You don’t usually go into this field because you have life all figured out. You usually go into it because you know what it’s like to hurt and go through tough stuff. BUT you also know what it’s like to work through that with someone safe and come out more alive and want to help others know they are not alone.
At some point or another, we all have stuff. It’s OK to not be OK all the time. Talking to someone can be life-giving. That’s my heart now; if you can identify with my hurt, then you can identify with my hope.
What do you find the most fun about your job?
Everybody has a story worth sharing. But, we often think ours isn’t “good enough” or maybe even is “too much.” I know I did. But, I am so honoured to hear these stories because someone took time to listen to mine. Often times, people share things with me that they have never shared with any other person. I can feel them, and even the room, shift with relief when they can be free to let something out. That’s where real change begins to happen, and I get to be a part of that. I am so honoured and humbled by that. I love being able to be a safe landing spot for someone. We all need it, and I really treasure that.
Share one piece of advice that has stayed with you throughout your journey?
“Be kind to yourself.”
We are often the hardest on our own selves. I am trying to talk to myself like I would a friend who is hurting. Often, I can be so compassionate and encouraging to them, but not always to myself. But, an empty cup cannot pour. We need to love and care for ourselves, too, so that we can pour out to others.
What kinds of self-care tips would you suggest for the busy woman on a mission?
Ah great segway! Just as you are focused on your mission, be focused on your rest and recharge. You will get so much more out of yourself this way and people will get so much more out of you. Plus, you will enjoy everything a whole lot more.
An empty cup cannot pour.
So, what does this practically look like? It’s so personal for each of us, but the key is to schedule it in like you would an appointment. It’s OK to make space for self-care!
It can be simple things of gratitude like:
sitting and enjoying a hot cup of coffee
journaling 3 things you were grateful for that day
reading or doing a devotional
being in nature/taking a walk
catching up with a friend 1x/week
cooking a new recipe
trying a new restaurant/café
doing one nice thing in your week for someone else,
listening to music
eating well --Mind/Body/Soul are so interconnected!
pausing to celebrate the little things around you
speaking kindly to yourself
congratulating yourself for something or saying, “Hey, you were scared to speak up in that meeting, but you did it, you were brave.”
What does community mean and feel like for you?
This! What you are doing. Coming alongside of people wherever they are.
I believe we were created for connection. Community means doing life together, to show up, to be seen, and create a safe space for people to be who they are. It can be scary, but who truly doesn’t want a place and people like that? We all desire to be known, be seen, and still be loved. Let’s be that. Let’s do more of that. Let’s speak life into one another and leave people better than we found them.
For me, it’s as simple as inviting people into my world, my home, and just connecting over a cup of coffee or around my table. We never know what someone is going through unless we ask and invite them into our lives. But, the key to community is to walk with them. We may not have all the answers, but we can enjoy the journey together.
Living a life of purpose, what does that look like for you?
I believe each one of us was created on purpose, for a purpose. I love helping people discover this, cultivate it, and thrive. I do a lot of this with StrengthsFinder with clients. When I understood my own unique strengths, I became a lot more intentional and confident in areas of my work, relationships, and overall life. I was living out who I was created to be, which makes me feel like I am living on purpose.
I titled my private practice, Alive Counselling, because of this concept.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come Alive.”
Tell us what you are working on next? Any fun projects or Speaking events?
I love individual sessions with clients. But, I also love doing speaking events and workshops with groups of people. I am doing a BC Hockey workshop on sports counselling and the importance of mental health in mental performance for athletes; Breakout West, a conference for musicians; a marriage conference; and also doing a women and mental health talk at Aligned Chiropractic in October. I really come alive facilitating workshops for people to connect with others that maybe they would not have otherwise, cultivate community, and ultimately change.
Where can people get in contact with you?
Come see me! I work out of my home office and Third Space Mind (across from the amazing Third Space Café in the Landmark buildings).
I also do phone/Facetime sessions to accommodate people’s busy schedules.
Or come check me out!
My website is www.AliveCounselling.com
Instagram: @alivecounselling or @barbaraegan33
Stay tuned to hear from Barb on October 2nd at 7pm. She will be speaking to our community via our Facebook Group on the following topic: Overcoming Anxiety & Stress: Change the Way You Think, Change the Way You Feel, Change the Way You Live.