Before I met Ernie and started working on the water, I was studying to be a Licensed Professional Counselor. Halfway through my master’s degree in Mental Health Therapy, I realized that being a counselor wasn’t fun. In fact: it was hard. Hard on your heart more than anything; emotionally draining. That’s not to say that there aren’t people out there who are completely perfect for the job. I met many counselors that were extremely skilled – finding balance in their lives, keeping from absorbing the energy that naturally comes with listening to others discuss their personal and sometimes painful lives.
I just wasn’t one of those people. I’m an emotional lobster; a spongy, emotional lobster. I always have my emotional “feelers” out, tasting the emotive energy in the air, wanting to shift the energy to a much more palatable “middle-of-the-road-to-positive” side… And if all else fails, absorbing the negative energy to try and neutralize it. Not exactly the best qualities of a counselor, although, at least I got the Emotionally Intelligent part down.
Time to tack. Guests come out with us on catamaran Lolalita and, as a result of living in close quarters with each other for a week, naturally find out my “history.” Almost inevitably, they all say, “OH! You can therapize my family while we’re onboard!” I used to feel awkward about that, but I realize that my skills are not a complete waste (hallelujah, because those student loans would tell me otherwise).
Our entire crew is, in a very unique way, going through “therapy” with our guests, in a very indirect, gentle, loving fashion.
- We feed them healthy, satisfying food that we know they love. (Food Therapy?)
- We facilitate families interacting with each other. (Family Therapy?)
- The crew interacts with guests and makes them feel welcome and loved. (Hospitable Therapy?)
- We play games with them, which naturally leads to laughter. (Play Therapy? Laughter Therapy?)
- We ask them questions about themselves to get to know them, to let them know we care about who they are. (Individual Therapy?)
- We share with them our love of the ocean. (Marine Therapy?)
- We remember things they like and surprise them with special treats. (Love-Language Therapy?)
- We facilitate a relaxing, fun, easy-going environment for them to unwind however they like. (Vacation Therapy? Absolutely).
Just goes to show: there’s more than one way to therapize a family.
Feel free to comment with any other ways a crewed charter yacht vacation can be a form of therapy!