Wholeness. Loss. Brokenness. Starting…again.
My name is Jonah Bryan and I am a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and speaker who is passionate about fighting through the mud and mire of life in order to know the deepest joy. As an LPC, I specialize in men’s issues, marriage counseling and issues related to abuse and trauma.
The following section of a poem by Robert Bly speaks to my heart about the journey of healing:
We came to lose our leaves like the trees,
The trees that are broken
And start again, drawing up on great roots.”
― Robert Bly
The imagery of a tree shedding its leaves, breaking and starting again embodies the experience I am honored to be a part of as a therapist. I have found in my practice that people often come to therapy because they have “lost their leaves.”
They have lost a relationship, a dream, or hope for another way. They feel barren. Alone. Exposed. They want to clothe themselves in something new, but they don’t know what new means. They want to stop shaking in their anxiety, being battered by their addictions, being stripped by their depression, but they don’t know or believe or dare to hope in another way.
What does it mean to “draw from the great roots”? What does it mean to know the story of your undoing and what you have used to feel strong and whole and together as your leaves tumbled down? How have you tried presenting to the world a whole self even though the veil was thinning? Especially in my work with men, I have found (and been told repeatedly) that as men we often try to hold on to the illusion of togetherness, strength and invulnerability. As the last leaf falls…where do you turn? Where have you turned? Where do you want to turn?
It is often the places we have turned that have caused us, and those around us, to suffer. In our turning, we have become alienated from our hearts and the hearts of others. Depending on your story, this turning away may have led to addictive behaviors, depression, anxiety, despair or just general unhappiness and complacency. Where do you want to turn? My hope is to engage in that life-defining, soul-revealing work with you.
|Men’s Issues||Couple’s Work||Adolescents||Family*|
|Relational Issues||Affair Recovery||Identity||Communication|
|Sexual Addiction||Intimacy Barriers||Direction||Blended Families|
*Work with the family may be indicated when I am working with an individual in the family, particularly when working with an adolescent.
In my practice, I work with a variety of issues. As a Narrative Therapist, (see here for more) trained under Dr. Dan Allender, I focus on more than symptom management. We can successfully “manage our symptoms” and never really change. Our hearts can remain untouched as our behaviors are “in line.” I am about more than just “getting in line” but about true change at the roots.
When asked recently what it is I do as a therapist and why I chose this work, my answer was that I hold hope for those who can no longer bear to hope and where there is a sense of defeat I want to cultivate a heart of courage. True heart change is tough. I know from my own work that to truly change is about more than following a list of “to dos.” True change comes from the heart, the center, the core, and it is from “those broken places” where new life can be found. Yet the redemptive work of transformation will hurt. As Viktor Frankl says, “What is to give light must endure burning.” Together we will look at the broken parts of your story, we will know where you bleed, we will know where you cry or don’t cry, we will know what brings you joy and when your joy was lost. We will burn. And we will laugh. We will find moments to laugh. It is a crucial part of the work.
A quote by Frederick Buechner gives words to this calling in my life and what therapy can unearth:
We can’t “undo our mistakes” or “erase old wounds.” However, we can live free, healed, courageous lives.
Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado, LPC #11774
Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Washington, LMHC #60410721
M.A. in Counseling Psychology from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology
B.A. in Honors Psychology from Trinity Western University
What is my experience? Why am I engaged in this work?
I have been studying and working in the field of psychology and counseling beginning in 2003. I have worked in a variety of settings, including community mental health and a hospital setting doing mental health assessments (current), and I find the private practice setting to be a great fit for the depth of work I am able to do with my clients.
As for why I am engaged in this work, I believe in the power of looking at one’s story. As Buechner says, “The sad things that happened long ago will always remain part of who we are just as the glad and gracious things will too.” This examining of one’s narrative is part of the training at the Seattle School, where I studied. While there I had the chance to look even more deeply at my own heart and story. A core belief of the Seattle School training is “the belief that you can only take someone else as far as you have gone yourself.” Looking at my narrative has been a huge part of my journey. I began my own work long before choosing the path of becoming a counselor and I continue to consider the story of where I came from as I create the story of where I’m going.
Who am I? What is my narrative?
I am a counselor and speaker. I speak regarding marital and parenting issues; male sexuality; the impact of pornography use; stress and its physiological impact; and mood disorders and their connection and roots in our physiology. As mentioned previously, I also work in a hospital setting where I help people face the intersection of major medical issues and their psychological health, along with assessing acute mental health situations.
I am a husband and a father of two children (one boy and one girl). Being a husband and father has “stripped me of my leaves” at times. I have known brokenness and new life in being a husband and father. Partnering and parenting are extraordinary and mundane tasks. Both the mundane and the extraordinary reveal something of the heart that calls us to take notice.
I grew up in Hawaii and love the water. Living in Colorado, where my wife grew up, has been a challenge to my narrative and identity as a “waterman.” In the throes of parenting young children, some of my desire for adventure and exploration has been placed aside as I tend to my children. Adventure looks different these days. When I get to engage in adventure, I like to run mountain trails sometimes alone and sometimes with my son riding on my back telling me, “Go faster!”
At the end of the day I find myself continually humbled by the honor of walking alongside others as they face the depths of their life. I hope we have the privilege of meeting and I hope I have the honor of journeying with you.