Bergen & Associates Counselling is 10 years
old today! Brian, Lynn and Gary surprised us
with cake to celebrate. A day with a
Jeanne’s cake is a good day! What a fun way
to acknowledge the day!
Of course, it looked a lot different 10 years ago than it does today. September 29, 1999, there was one office, which I used only about 2 or 3 hours per week. The furniture was different, the walls were bland, and I was new to being in private practice. I was at a life stage where I had little time to let others know what I was doing. I was working time at Misericordia Health Center while the practice was building and busy in the rest of my life. It was a deliberately slow start.
Over time, my life has changed, and so has the practice. We now have 4 offices to see clients in 2 different locations, with charmingly designed space designed to feel comfortable, cozy, and safe, yet fresh and light. There are 7 therapists providing excellent quality therapy to our clients, including an intern in a program that we have had set up for 4 years now. We have an office manager/intake coordinator who looks after the bookkeeping, administration, and client inquiries and bookings.
Our clients tell us that they are feeling more empowered in their decision making, less anxious, and better able to relate to the important people in their lives. We work with numerous agencies with our anger management program, helping clients meet their court and employer mandated requirements for beginning to deal with their anger. Transforming Destructive in Constructive program manages to educate people about their anger, challenge inappropriate behavior, and gently come alongside participants as they deal with some painful parts of themselves that they protect with anger. The Family Violence Protection Program which facilitates the shelters, second stage housing, and resource centers in the province consult with us about clinical issues. We provide workshops to them around topics which are of concern. The work of helping those who struggle with violence in their lives is difficult…we seek to encourage and empower the staff of these programs as they continue to do this challenging work on an ongoing basis.
|None of this would have been possible without the encouragement and
support of our office neighbors at our Pembina Location. Reimer
Advertising is owned by friends of mine…they had an empty office that
they let me hang out in the first years. The rental arrangement
allowed me to start a very part time practice. Toni was the
receptionist for the other business and took the time away from her
other duties to answer my phone when it would ring in those early years.
Then, over time, as my space needs grew, and technology made their
space needs less, Reimer Advertising let me begin to take up more space. They have
been absolutely fantastic to work with, and have, during times which I
have had huge demands on me personally, been incredibly compassionate
towards me. They have demonstrated patience and commitment that will
always be a lifelong example to me. Thanx to Gary, Brian, and Lynn. I
will always be unspeakably grateful to you for your kindness and
In addition to incredible moments of healing and growth with clients, I have other fond memories of this place from the last 10 years. Here are just a few:
- the “mid-winter summer picnics” that we used to have, when we were so tired of the cold. We would put out the gingham tablecloth on the floor, put the sound of waves on the beach on the nearest Mac, each bring cucumber sandwiches, devilled eggs, or potato salad, and enjoy the feast. One year we even had plastic ants, and lit a citronella candle as we sat on the floor in beachwear.
- the celebration of Reimer Advertising’s anniversary where we went to Tavern in the Park and ate in the tower high above the restaurant in Assiniboine Park. Others who arrived first decided they felt like royalty waving off the balcony as the rest of us came. The dinner was so much fun up there.
- the Christmas potlucks where all bring an assortment of food native to their Christmas celebrations. We close the office early on that day and together enjoy some fun and quietness after the rush of the Christmas preparations. Oh…and then there’s a gift exchange that requires creatively recycyling something from home…the rules of the game are something that are debated and worked out—takes longer than the game some years!
- our therapist meetings happen on a Saturday afternoon every couple of months…over the years, in addition to ensuring that professional matters are attended to, we’ve had baby showers, bridal showers, good-bye and welcome celebrations.
We’ve come a looooong way in 10 years. It feels really good to be a part of this place. I am humbled when I hear the stories therapists tell me about the change and growth that happens in our clients. I love hearing how clients find a sense of safety and comfort as they interact with us as therapists, and how that creates room for greater insight. That insight allows for peace of mind, release of painful feelings, and an ability to move forward with a greater awareness of one’s own potential and abilities. I am thrilled with what happens here. I enjoy coming to work every morning and the people I work—clients and therapists—have a lot to do with that.
This morning, Melanie, our office manager, gave me some flowers in honor of the occasion. The card said: “Wishing you and your clients continued growth”. Thanx Melanie, and may it be so.