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Life and Work with Katlyn Von Muenster

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katlyn Von Muenster.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Katlyn. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Life has been a melting pot of both beauty and pain. I believe our stories are like tapestries – threads built by mysteries and experiences. It is through woundedness and my own healing journey that I have used the fabric of beauty and pain to arrive where I am at this moment. Becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor was a dream born out of my deepest valley. It was the help I received that inspired me to become a wounded healer of sorts.

I have experienced the deep pain of rejection – both from others and from my self. Once I started to accept my sexuality, I realized how profound and deeply healing it was to stop running and to be authentic. I was convinced for a lot of life that my sexuality was a problem and that to live a successful life meant trying to be someone I wasn’t. Really, deep down I was afraid to be me and used the words of others to keep my voice silent. It is exhausting to try to be someone you are not – in that weariness gave birth to what I believe part of my purpose is in this world. To sit, hold space, and compassionately support those who want to speak the unspoken parts of their story. We have secrets for a reason, and they are often charged with both emotion and confusion. Once we speak our stories and secrets, I have the honor of walking alongside individuals and couples in helping them find their innate ability to self-heal.

The LGBTQIA* and Gynecologic Cancer community are two communities that I commonly serve and have worked hard to specialize in walking alongside. You might be wondering – how do these communities connect? I actually just happened to be interested in facilitating groups and was asked to facilitate a support group for Ovarian and Gynecologic Cancer Survivors in my graduate program at Regis University. After working with this population, I found that there are a lot of similarities – trauma, struggle with sexual intimacy, sexuality, spirituality, physical and emotional healing, anxiety, and depression. As of May 2018, I have been the Clinical Support Programs Manager for Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance helping support survivors and caregivers through individual and group support. In efforts to support both my private practice clients and the survivors I work with through the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance, I am in the certification process to becoming a Certified Sex Therapist, as well.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Whenever you are stepping into your most authentic self, you are going to find overwhelming support and also the most judgmental of people. Often, the most judgmental people are afraid to be themselves in the first place and by stepping into your own freedom, you are the stimulus to their own shit. An author and powerhouse, Brene Brown, states “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Own, Your. Story.

Taking risks is empowering, frightening, overwhelming, and exciting. Not all risks have worked out for me, leaving me hurt and confused. I can absolutely say without a shadow of a doubt that being my most authentic self has never been a risk that I regret. I truly feel that I am living in my calling of supporting those to becoming their most authentic self in some of the most painful of life events – whether rejection, trauma, suffering, or confusion.

My encouragement to other women would be to invest in spaces that help you discover your most authentic self – your mind, your body, and your heart. The integration of these landscapes – head, heart, and body – can lead you to experience life to the fullest beauty.

Please tell us about Von Muenster Counseling.
I’ve always known that I wanted to be in Private Practice as a counselor because I didn’t want another organization or insurance to tell me how I should or shouldn’t support people. Two years ago, I started Von Muenster Counseling, LLC, and started practicing as a Licensed Professional Counselor seeing individuals and couples. Specifically, I specialize in working with LGBTQIA*, faith, and cancer communities. As a counselor, I believe one of the most important and most impactful parts of my work is the therapeutic relationship I co-create with another individual or couple. That being said, I help foster what I would call is the I/thou relationship – it is in a relationship that we can truly start to experience healing. There is no other person in this world that is you – just as there is no other person in this world that is me. What we can co-create is special, unique, and original.

In terms of counseling, our lives – yours and mine – have both similarities and differences. Each is a tapestry, woven with many complex and beautiful threads that represent experiences. Some of the threads were given at birth and other strands continue to be stitched in as we grow. I believe we each have a story to be told, and my heart is to create a space for you to find the bravery to tell yours. There are moments in life that can seem too difficult to put into words, but it can be through the process of sitting together that you can find the strength to give voice to the silent parts of your story.

Counseling can be a vulnerable process, and I completely respect the time it takes to build a relationship. When working together, you can expect my upmost respect and tenderness around heart-filled topics. We have secrets for a reason, and they are often charged with both emotion and confusion. Understanding this, I offer a space that is judgment-free and safe for you to explore the vulnerabilities and unspoken parts of yourself.

There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that a lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
Mentorship can be so helpful in terms of business development and personal growth. In terms of finding a mentor, I would encourage you to ask the questions – how do I connect with this person? What am I looking for in a mentorship? Does this person have the experience in the specialty or field that I want to grow in?

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Image Credit:
Emily Johnson Photography

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