Seeking counseling can be an uncomfortable first step toward fostering mental wellbeing. Those who publicly share their experiences, such as Chelsea Handler has recently done in her latest book, can help shine a spotlight on a taboo topic such as therapy, and inspire others to seek help. We recognize the courage it takes and applaud the sharing of something otherwise rather intimate.
We love Chelsea Handler because she has no filter. She says and does whatever she pleases, unapologetically, blessing us with gut-busting, tears-inducing laughter even when she pisses us off. Her new book “Life Will Be the Death of Me: … And You Too!” delivers more of that same crass wit that has earned her millions of fans through her TV and comedy work, but she also delves into the danger of avoiding confronting trauma and offers keen insights on dealing with pain.
Though laughter can be therapeutic, I don’t think most Handler fans normally consume her work in search of therapy recommendations or spiritual guidance. However, in “Life Will Be the Death of Me,” the 44-year-old comedian writes frankly about her older brother Chet, who died on a hiking trip in 1984. Like many who have experienced that type of loss at a young age, Handler left her grief unresolved for years, thinking that hard work, success and money would remedy the pain.
I lost my brother, my best friend and my grandma — literally all of the people I spoke to daily — in a one-year span, right before I was supposed to enter college. Experiencing lossin a world where everybody experiences loss all of the time doesn’t make it feel normal, but it can kind of force you to downplay something as life-altering as the death of a loved one. How do you publicly mourn one brother when you have a friend who has lost two or three siblings? Like Handler, I dug deeper into work, alcohol and anything else that allowed me to ignore that dark cloud of death that followed me everywhere for years: my home, the streets, more death, functions, school, galas and award ceremonies, more death, out to dinner, off to work, paydays, to the gym and then back home, and more death. I promised myself that I would do more to combat the pain attached to mass loss, and have broken that promise many times.
Friends and family always recommend therapy. Even though I’ve yet to try, it seems to have worked wonders for Handler. In the book, she writes about her life changing sessions with psychiatrist Dr. Dan Siegel, the importance of family and why we should face trauma head-on.
To continue reading this article about Chelsea Handler and counseling on Salon.com, click here.
For those in West Side Cleveland area interested in counseling, click here to schedule an appointment at the Center for Effective Living.