John R. "Rusty" McLen, LMFT
My history makes it easy for me to connect to people from many backgrounds. That history also provides me a solid blend of common sense and academic training to provide optimism, encouragement, and direction that works for people. I enjoy being with people during difficult times. It is rewarding to see the bright light of hope return to dark eyes filled with despair. I’ve been gifted with two things. One is the ability to listen in a way that makes it easy for people to be open with me. The second is a way to illustrate new ways of doing things that makes it easy for people to grasp. I am known for the hope and common sense I use in helping others.
I am always amazed at how well people function given the issues with which they struggle. Sometimes I wonder if I were in their shoes if I would be doing as well as they are doing. So, I have a lot of respect for others, regardless of their situation. Often we know what to do, but the painful emotions of the moment keep us from thinking clearly. We start where we are and do the best we can to move forward. I believe that talking helps to relieve the emotional burdens of the moment, but it is changing what a person does that makes them feel better in the long term. To make those changes, we have to get beyond the hurdles of fear, anger, sadness, or loneliness that tend to keep us stuck in our unhealthy patterns.
It has been a long time since I have been surprised. In fact, I have come to believe there are only about a half dozen stories in this world. There are a lot of different players in the stories and many nuances, but the stories are all pretty similar. I want to see which story a person has, what they have to work with, and how much progress they can make today. Tomorrow will be another day and perhaps permit more progress. When someone leaves my office for the first time I want them to have two things. First, I want them to have a clear vision of something practical they can do today to make things better. Second, I want them to have hope that things are going get better.
I am a classic late bloomer in that I didn’t go to college until age 34. I have extensive blue-collar experience. During my 7-½ years in the military, I was a crew chief on the flight line and a flight engineer serving a tour of duty in Vietnam. I’ve had two stints of over the road trucking as a company driver and owner operator hauling every thing from cattle, boats, machinery, oil field equipment, to crude oil. I’ve also had experience farming, ranching, and working in refinery operations. In the last 26 years, I’ve provided counseling services in church and private practice settings helping with marriage, parenting both adolescent and adult children, abuse, post-traumatic stress, anger, anxiety, depression, and addictions. Of all my endeavors, it is counseling that I enjoy the most by far.
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