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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

There is Beauty in Aliveness: When We Leave the Past Behind

May 28, 2021 09:31AM ● By Gisele Rinaldi Siebold
Reaching for one positive thought and then another can begin to build a path of hope out of the depths of despair created by anxiety and depression. Fear-induced anxiety paralyzes inherent behaviors that were once used to problem solve and create. Depression can wreak havoc on the whole person—mind, body and spirit. Seeking help for ourselves or our loved ones from local educated professionals and experienced clinicians is the first step toward breaking free from the negative effects of anxiety and depression.

“Depression sends us spiraling negatively into overthinking, shaming and hopelessness,” describes Meagan Good, MA, LPC, counselor and founder of Take Heart Counseling & Equine Assisted Therapy, in Wernersville. “One coping skill to stop the spiral is called ‘grounding’ or the ‘5-4-3-2-1 technique’. It utilizes our five senses to recenter ourselves in the present. Grounding is a great tool because you can do it quickly wherever you are, or make time to really enjoy it. All you do is begin to describe what you sense around you, in detail if possible: five things you see, four things you feel or touch, three things you hear, two things you smell and one thing you taste.”

“When we look closely at depression, we find many reasons to point to—poor nutrition, consistent negative self-talk and self-blame, abuse in our family of origin, significant ancestral loss and trauma and structural racism in our society,” suggests Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP, founder of the Lancaster School of Psychodrama and Experiential Psychotherapies.

“Yet depression is also an opportunity to change. When teaching my trainees at the Lancaster School of Psychodrama, we focus on identifying the roles that people play, the roles that are calling to us and the roles that carry the aliveness that we want. We learn how to support people in changing these roles, leaving the role of ‘The Depressed One’ and transitioning to, perhaps, ‘The One Embracing Aliveness’,” she explains.

“While anxiety is typically focused on future concerns, depression is often focused on past events and what we grew to believe about how the events defined us,” says Good. “But we are not defined by what we did or what happened to us. If you feel like you need proof, ask an animal. Animals respond honestly to who we are in the moment, without the ability to lie to appease or manipulate us. When an animal connects with you, it’s because they genuinely want to be with you. They see something in you that maybe you don’t yet see in yourself—someone worthy of connection, nurture and love.”

Acknowledging the need for self-care, seeking inspiration from animals and the natural world and surrounding ourselves with positive people and experiences are the lanterns that can light the path toward new beginnings. When we leave the past behind and summon the courage to choose where we want to go, we find beauty in being alive and experience the peace that we seek.


Lancaster School of Psychodrama and Experiential Psychotherapies is located at Liberty Place, 313 W. Liberty St., Ste. 263, in Lancaster. For more information, call 717-466-0788 or visit

Take Heart Counseling & Equine Assisted Therapy is located at 699 Wooltown Rd., in Wernersville. For more information, call 717-917-7137, email [email protected] or visit