"Without Valerie...I would not be where I am today…happy, healthy, and at peace." --A
Valerie R. McManus, LCSW-C, founder and clinician of Therapeutic Intuitions, received her MSW from the University of Maryland in 1999. She worked in child welfare and advocacy until opening her private practice in 2005. Valerie's first book, A Look in the Mirror; Freeing Yourself from the Body Image Blues was published by the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) in 2004. In 2014 Valerie self-published a memoir, The Boy who Birthed me (here). This publication chronicles her own healing journey into renewed self-discovery. Valerie has authored several children's books including A Walk with Alice, Before You, and When Lightening Strikes. Most recent works include The ADHDers Mindfulness Manual (publication TBA) and youth book series, Magic Marzipan (publication TBA).
My mother was first to deeply understand me. She described me as “very sensitive” and easily able to attune to the feelings of others. She talked of my tendencies to feed stray cats who had wandered through our backyard in D.C., my insistence on leaving sandwiches by people asleep on benches, and the in-your-face-court-jester-like way of lifting her spirits during my toddler years.
Early energetic gifts were strengthened out of unfortunate necessity. My father, “Stanley,” had a lovely singing voice and was a talented artist. He was also a viciously abusive husband and a sociopathic pedophile. Channeling loving wisdom from another realm helped me cope and strategize while living under his care. Using my gifts to buffer myself and my mother ignited the healer within me. Sometimes tragic circumstances yield breathtaking purpose.
By my teenage years, the culmination of high-level awareness meant inundation by painful content. I began lightly dissociating from my energetic gifts for protection. Soon the volume was turned acceptably low.
Whenever we deny a piece of our authenticity, this rejection is made manifest in every aspect of our lives. By my mid 20’s, I was plagued with existential distress. I scrutinized every aspect of the life I had chosen since turning 18. I set out traveling cross country staying in youth hostels and meditating in the woods, desperate for solace.
Out of great despair, on New Year’s Day of 2003 I asked for direction out loud. What flooded in was the first compelling ‘vision’ I had experienced since childhood. In this revelation, I left my increasingly bureaucratic social work job in exchange for something deeply sustaining. I was a spiritual healer, working within a holistic framework and aided by wise and loving guides, angel-like beings, and guardians of powerful light. The vision was intoxicating to me. As a result of my accumulated insecurities thus far, I only half-heartedly pursued my vision. It felt far too risky, not to mention too grand for the “me” with whom I had come to identify.
Leave it to the Universe to share its wisdom with persistence. Eighteen months after my vision, I was offered a more powerful nudge in its direction! My first son was born after a marathon labor and traumatic life-threatening delivery. My emotional world exploded. I was slammed by a severe episode of postpartum depression, or PPD. The previously dampened psychological effects of childhood trauma and abuse erupted. The depths of pain and panic were blindsiding: I was lost. Having no where further to fall, I reached out for help.
Through the support of many, my battle with PPD was a brave yet tenuous one. Some days it shattered me, slamming me back into an ocean of blankets and tissues. I fantasized about quietly packing my car and disappearing in some faraway land where no one knew my name. But if I have ever been anything consistently, it is a healer. With a determination to reclaim that which I had stifled, I was naturally drawn to healing partnerships with those encouraging me to reclaim and honor my intuitive gifts. With my renewed creativity and vigor, I emerged from my PPD nightmare committed to embodying the vision I had that New Year's Day.
My professional life has since been dedicated to refining a unique form of integrated counseling: uniting intuitive abilities and holistic methodology with clinical and therapeutic training. Through these skills (innate and acquired), I partner with clients seeking a balanced healing and awakening experience: one marrying a high level of attunement to the energetic realm with a deep commitment to maintain grounded connection to the human experience.
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