Some might see my blog title and think I am a coffee addict. While I do love my morning coffee routine, and meeting friends for coffee, the title “Therapeutic Java” does not come from an addiction to coffee. The title was birthed out of the symbolism of coffee in multiple cultures around the world. It also represents aspects of my worldview.
In 2012, I participated in a counseling trip to Ethiopia in Africa. Our role as counselors was to be available at medical clinics to provide emotional support to woman and children, who are especially marginalized in that area of the world. The clinic was also open to men at various locations. This experience is particularly important to the title of my blog since Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. Coffee originally comes from Kaffe, Ethiopia.
Ethiopia values coffee so much they have a ceremony for it. During my two weeks working with the clinic, I was honored to participate in several coffee ceremonies that took place in different contexts. My first experience was at clinic headquarters. In a coffee ceremony, you grind the coffee beans by hand. Next, you use a special coffee pot to brew the grinds. Third, you add sugar to special coffee cups, then poor the coffee over the sugar. Milk is rarely used. During a coffee ceremony food is served while frankincense burns. The importance of this ceremony is relationship. I also participated in the ceremony at a young woman’s house in an impoverished area of town where it was served along with kolo (roasted barely), a staple food item. The third place where I enjoyed this ceremony was after a meal at a local restaurant in town.
Coffee has a place for building relationships in our culture as well. We often meet for coffee when we want to catch up with family or friends. We serve coffee around mealtimes, especially decaf after dinner. The warmth of coffee helps to organize our brains through sensory input. It provides emotional comfort as we hold a warm cup of joe on a cool morning or as we watch the sun rise. Coffee sometimes builds community in the kitchen when we make fancy coffees.
My counseling practice is grounded in the therapeutic nature of authentic relationship, much like we experience with a friend or family member while enjoying a cup of coffee. Through the interpersonal process, I provide authentic reflections, insights into behavior, and therapeutic, corrective relationship experiences. I also use the language of childhood, play, to restore identity, improve interpersonal skills, and heal emotional/mental health injuries across all ages.
It is my hope that my office space makes my clients feel as comfortable and safe as they would sitting down to a cup of joe with a trusted person in their life. In other words, my desire is to provide care that feels like a therapeutic cup of java.
If this approach feels like something you need, please reach out. Maybe we will even talk about it over a cuppa.