Matt Case is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor offering outpatient psychotherapy to adults and adolescents 16-years and older in the Chapel Hill, NC area.
I used to be a newspaper reporter. But I wanted to impact peoples lives more directly. So in my late 30s I pivoted my journalism skills — listening deeply, observing details, looking for themes, helping people put voice to their experiences — to a career in counseling and I haven’t looked back.
In high school and college I discovered that listening and being supportive was one way to feel some sense of belonging and value. I wasn’t very good at sharing with others back then, but life has a way of kicking you so hard — divorce, death, loss, guilt — that if you don’t share it can feel like you might implode. So I “get” how hard it is to share, to open up, to trust — and how important it is to being able to breath and live.
Acceptance and appreciation of uniqueness has been a core belief my entire life, perhaps because I struggled with feeling accepted and accepting myself. When I came across Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, I knew I had found my home.
Learning to accept ourselves and each other as we are, and strive to grow and stand up for what matters to us, is how I counsel and how I strive to walk this earth, one moment at a time.
Acceptance is also at the core of my commitment to social justice, racial equity, gender and sexual orientation equality. The democratic principals this country was founded on — all are created equal, all have inalienable rights — are central political tenets, but also a world view that informs how we engage with others. Parallel to this, we must be savvy about how human minds work: they are easily influenced by our learning history, leading us towards assumptions and biases of others and ourselves that can undermine our best intentions. These must be surfaced and owned with self-compassion if we are to be true to our beliefs in acceptance, equality and inalienable rights for all.
My favorite quote is “The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well” (anonymous). There is no ’normal’ way to be human, to be you. This is a life long and ever-changing journey of learning how to show up to what matters to you. And sometimes it helps to sit in a safe space with someone who accepts you as you are, and accompanies you on your challenging and wonderous journey of self-discovery.