Sunday, June 8, 2014

Her calling, continued...

Photo of Darlene provided by Darlene Lancer

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Darlene Lancer continued, “Still, I had no idea of what I wanted to do. The unknown was so terrifying that I used to shake when I meditated. I’d already sought advice at UCLA’s Advanced Placement Career Center and studied up on a few alternative careers. I taught yoga for a while, but was unfulfilled. Nothing took hold. Yet, I believe that my spiritual practice had prepared me to let go of my identification with my role as a lawyer and the esteem if afforded. It strengthened my real self and gave me the courage to take a leap of faith, not knowing where, when, or if I would land.
Because of my interest in psychology, which I  minored in in college, a friend suggested I try peer counseling. I immediately loved it. I felt like I was taking “heart vitamins.” The environment at Southern California Counseling Center where I worked was the opposite of practicing law. The counselors were warm, relaxed, and genuinely interested in each other. I felt I could be myself and was having success with clients. I decided to return to school and become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.”

This felt right to Darlene.

And her path opened, “I applied to Antioch University, because it was the most compatible with my needs and philosophy. When the dean interviewed me, I cried for joy describing my desire to be a psychotherapist. Then I remembered that this is what I’d wanted to do in my teens, along with becoming a writer. Even at 12, when I first read Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, I had the audacity to think that his theory wasn’t quite right. Once I made my decision, I realized that I’d spent far too long feeling out of place as an attorney, trying every which way to make it work before trusting my feelings, which had long been buried. I was holding on when I should have been letting it go – a symptom of my codependency that I’d begun to heal in 12-Step meetings and therapy. My night classes at Antioch thoroughly stimulated and uplifted me. During the day, I freelanced as a lawyer and interned as a counselor. At first, I questioned my continuing to practice law, but realized that it was merely a tactical move to further a long-term strategy. I finished my degree and 3000 intern hours in record time and opened my office. I enjoyed my work and continued post-graduate training. After several years, I sensed a growing desire to reach more people. I became a supervisor to work with new interns. I taught classes on addiction, codependency, and self-esteem at local hospitals, treatment centers, colleges and universities, and other organizations, even the California Bar Association.”

By fueling her soul work, her life is blossoming.

She explained, “Again I turned to writing to express my ideas and had many articles published in both local and national magazines and professional journals. I extended my reach through blogging and wrote three ebooks: 10 Steps to Self-Esteem, Codependency Recovery Daily Reflections, and How To Speak Your Mind - Become Assertive and Set Limits. In 2011, I received an email from an editor at John Wiley & Sons, publishers of the Dummies books, inquiring about my interest in writing for them. They were expanding into the self-help market and asked me to write Codependency for Dummies – a subject which had been the focus of my clinical work for the prior two decades.

About six months after Codependency for Dummies came out, I received a surprise call from Hazelden Publishing, the leading publisher of books on addiction and recovery. They liked my book and a blog I’d written, Shame: The Core of Addiction and Codependency, and asked me to write a book that delved into link between codependency and shame.  Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You explores the role of shame and trauma in addiction and codependency and how shame destroys relationships.

Looking back, I can see an unfolding pattern that has led me to my current life of writing, helping and educating people, and speaking to the media and professional groups. I hadn’t realized the magnitude of what was in store when nearly 20 years ago I dreamt that I would share with others what I’d learned in my own journey of self-reclamation.”

Darlene offers a triumphant testimony and, today, she gives back to the world in a fulfilling role that helps others who are struggling to find healing.

If this testimony resonated with you, leave a comment. If you like to interface with Darlene in her counseling services, you may contact through her website,

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