Carol Cirabisi, MS, LMFT, Director
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY. Graduated 1986 with Bachelor of Arts Degree in English.
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA. Graduated 1992 with Master of Science Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling.
- Relationship Counseling.
- Individual Psychotherapy.
It is one thing to know about your therapist’s educational history, but what may be even more important is how this person has navigated through their life up to the point you are meeting them.
If this is important to you, too, read on and learn how my experiences brought me to this place in my life. In doing so, you might also figure out how you have come upon our website, and the possibility that you might find the support you desire on your journey here with us…
Originally from New York, I began my professional career over 25 years ago in the corporate world, dabbling in health and life insurance – from mail room, to claims processing, to underwriting, to management.
On the weekends, I nurtured my creative side by singing professionally with a seven-piece band. I was making very good money, and having so much fun; I thought my life was perfect. Any outsider looking in would have certainly perceived it to be that way.
Looking back, however, I remember how empty I felt on the inside, despite how “full” my life seemed. I see now that I was truly off-balance in those earlier years. I was searching “outwardly,” and, as a result, I experienced the emptiness that often accompanies an unbalanced life, despite how externally “full” it looked.
I found myself being drawn to the Pacific coast. At first, I did not know exactly why, but soon, I understood that I was indeed being “called” to pursue a career in the healing arts. I settled down in the San Francisco Bay area where I earned my graduate degree in Marriage and Family Counseling at San Francisco State University. From there, I obtained my license in California as a Marriage and Family Therapist.
Despite all this new success and different geography, I felt the same emotional and spiritual struggles of work, money, relationships, and personal identity as I had in New York. Challenging as that was, I believed I was “paying the price” now for the “reward” later: an ultimately fulfilling and lucrative career. I know now that this was part of my journey and the beginning of a new process of deep personal healing.
For almost 10 years, I saw clients in a private practice with offices located in San Francisco and Berkeley. Living and working in such a place of diversity, non-conformity, and embracement of all things non-traditional was at once exhilarating, agonizingly hard and absolutely invaluable. I was fortunate enough to work with a few amazing teachers and be supervised by a few wonderfully seasoned therapists who had done their own “inner work.” I grew to learn so much about my own internal world that had previously been under the cover of so much external clutter, that my inner self was beginning to change. Indeed, there were moments of great discomfort – feeling so vulnerable and raw – but these trusted others held my hand, so to speak, and guided me through this new Way of Being and toward the Light of Awareness and Consciousness.
Then, as many did after the tragedy of 9-11, I was moved to re-assess my life. Having had a daughter by then (who was only a year old), I realized that being so far away from the place I grew up, was not where I wanted to raise my child. I longed for a locale where the sun, the water, and the beauty of nature were easily and readily accessible all year long. San Francisco, with its perpetual fog and wind, was chilling my bones.
But this would mean a huge change. Could I once again shift geographically, this time with a partner and a kid in tow? It seemed the Universe was going to make the decision for me.
The attack on 9-11 was having a profound effect on so many jobs and careers – including mine – and consequently, what my partner and I imagined our security was all about: money. This was the beginning of a new lesson for me.
Having relatives in the southwest Florida area with a booming Home Inspection business (remember, this was the early 2000’s) that could be eventually ours, it seemed like we were being guided to a perfect destination. So, that year, my family and I responded to the “messages” signaling us to leave San Francisco, and we moved to Naples.
The transition was challenging for all of us – so much was unknown, and at the time, I did not have the experience and the tools I now have to keep all the fear and anxiety that accompanies ambiguity from taking over. Often, I vacillated between the euphoria that arose from the “potential” for a new life (my Soul speaking Truth to me), and dread that came with the fear that our future was doomed (my Ego’s attempt to limit me and keep me small).
Thankfully, I learned that all of what I was experiencing was in preparation for the purpose I have at this exact moment in my life (actually, all of us were in preparation for this exact moment in each of our lives and, including you…).
Things have changed dramatically since 2002, both in the world in general and in Southwest Florida in particular. While this area is still a beautiful place to look at, we all know how expensive it has become to fill our tanks, buy groceries, and pay our regular bills. How many of us rode the wave of the real estate market and now cannot afford to live in the homes we thought would continue to grow in value? And now that things are booming again, can we ever really feel secure in our investments? Economic stress often translates into emotional stress. How many of us have had these stresses affect our intimate relationships?
And it’s not just the adults who are being affected. How many of our kids are confused about who they are supposed to be, how they are supposed to act, or just confused without even knowing why and behaving in ways we never would have imagined acting as children ourselves? How could they possibly know any of this when the world around them is changing at every turn?
Since moving to Naples, I have experienced many of these big and unexpected changes, too – both personally and professionally – divorce, illness, death, financial loss, to name a few. Although I did not always understand why I was given these challenges, I ultimately came to realize that the pain I was going through could be used as a way to heal and grow. There is no denying the feelings of sadness, the regret, the pain, the anger that have been directly related to all that has occurred, but, in accepting all these emotions, embracing them as part of the process, I also have come to know that these feelings, as big as they have felt, do not define me. I have felt them, I have acknowledged and accepted their impact, I have allowed them to flow through me, and miraculously, when I have allowed them their course, they lost their power over me. Rather, I have come to realize that all of these seemingly “negative” events have helped me to remember who I truly am and given me many opportunities to put the memory of that knowledge into practice by BEING the person I have come here be…
It has been an amazing process, and the more I come to trust the path I am on and the less attached I am to the outcome, the more peaceful I feel. When I began to look at some of the ways I used to identify who I was and how I measured my value, something started to shift. I began to feel less anxious, more calm and grounded. I know that inner Peace exists because I am able to experience it. Not all the time, and not always without some effort, but I now know that it is an ongoing process, and that it gets easier and more familiar the longer I stay with it.
Of course, my outer world still presents challenges – and it always will – this is a given. This is part of the nature of being Human in this physical world. These challenges give us the material which provides us the opportunity to dig deep and really come to know our selves and grow. Once we can do this, it becomes easier to find the Peace within, despite the turmoil of the outer world. And isn’t this really the purpose of having a life?
What is the meaning of our lives? To reach our highest potential? To become the fullest selves we can be? To be awake in the process of living? To choose how we will experience every moment, every interaction, every challenge? To literally have the choice to be living in joy, with peace, through love…?
These questions are the foundation of my life; and the foundation of the work we do at Conscious Choices.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” ~ Socrates
“All you need is Love.” ~ John Lennon
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