Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday, a time I always reflect on gratitude from my life, which for today is for a woman named Martha Harris, who was once my therapist for many, many years.
Many eons ago, in a life lived in the Northern Virginia area, just outside Washington, D.C., I was a very scared and somewhat closeted individual who was in desperate need of some therapeutic help. At the time, I was also dealing with an active alcoholic mother and a broad range of mental, emotional, and physical health issues as well. One day, a couple I knew through a church I had been attending gave me a recommendation for a therapist that they had personally seen and found much benefit from. Her name was Martha Harris, and her practice was called Banyan Counseling.
Not too long after I received that recommendation, I got in contact with Martha and scheduled my first visit with her, which just so happened to be in the basement of her home, something I found great comfort in, as I rarely have ever felt comfortable in most professional medical offices.
There, I’d quickly learn during my first visit that Martha specialized in LGBTQ issues and being a lesbian herself, put me immediately at ease to fully open up about that part of my life. She was absolutely quite gifted in helping those struggling in that arena and was also someone gifted in working through gay couple’s issues, something I had plenty of in my last relationship.
One thing that always impressed me with Martha as well was her willingness to take her practice out into the world. What I mean by that is when I experienced a few roadblocks during my many years working with her, she’d come to various events I was at to observe me in my real life. Case in point, she actually came to my 30thbirthday bash at my home, which proved to be a great benefit in my therapy sessions that came after that.
But, the thing I’m most grateful for when I think of Martha, is that she was the one who taught me an alternative healing practice that helped me to heal a large number of energy blockages within my mind and body. Through applied kinesiology, I’d learn through muscle testing where many of those blockages were and each time they were found, she’d use a technique called Thought Field Therapy (TFT) to help heal them. TFT is a process that uses specialized “tapping” with the fingers at meridian points on the body and saying various affirmations at the same time, all to help remove various blockages within a person’s system.
It was also through my many visits to Martha that helped me to make it through my mother’s tragic passing, the loss of my last long-term relationship, and the financial failure I faced when my bed and breakfast business went completely under.
Martha was a part of my therapeutic life from mid 2000 to the end of 2007 and during that long period, I saw her at least once a week and sometimes even twice a week, where she always provided me a sliding scale for my visits, and made me feel like I was in my own home every time I had a session with her. I never felt uncomfortable with her nor did any of my sessions ever feel wasted, which is something to be said for the countless therapists I saw at various points in my life that I can’t even remember their names anymore or what they helped me with.
Something I appreciated with Martha as well is how she consistently accommodated my travel schedule and even saw me for 2-hour visits at times. Always compassionate, full of unconditional love and kindness, and non-judgmental in every way possible, Martha was definitely the first therapist I ever came across who I actually looked forward to seeing and opening up to.
Sadly, I’m not in contact with Martha anymore, as her own health issues led her to retire and distance herself from the majority of those she knew many years ago. And while it’s been a long time now since she and I last spoke to each other and even though hundreds of miles now separate her home from where I reside, my heart still feels quite close to hers, as she truly touched and blessed me in ways I will never be able to repay, which is indeed why I’m beginning this week full of gratitude for a beautiful soul named Martha Harris.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson