It is always about the journey. It is always about the challenges of the situations that we find ourselves in, the action we take while we’re in it and how we come through it. Carol had a long journey back after her divorce. After receiving help, she is now standing strong, confident, happy and helping others who need help feeling whole again as they go through their divorce experiences. She has a degree in psychology which she hadn’t really used until this time.
Carol Loughran also owns a massage company, Peaceful River Massage. It’s another way of helping people.
We hope you enjoy and get inspiration from her story.
You started a divorce support group. Can you please tell us why you started the group, what kind of experience you had to help you start it?
When my ex-husband filed for divorce, I had a really difficult time dealing with it. I attended a divorce support group, but then heard about something called DivorceCare that was starting up at a church in Wethersfield. I went through that course 3 times and when I started doing better, I wanted to do something to help others cope with going through divorce, as well. So, two of us brought it up to our church, Trinity Covenant Church in Manchester, and they gave the okay for it to start there.
How would one know if getting involved in a divorce support group is something they should try?
Why not give it a shot? If someone feels like they need a little extra support from people who are going or who have gone through the same thing, a divorce support group (in this instance, DivorceCare) is a great way to do it. My friends and family were very supportive, but none of them had been through a divorce, so they couldn’t really understand everything I was dealing with.
Does a group setting work well for those with certain attributes, for instance, if someone is very introverted and perhaps quiet?
The program we use is a great format for anyone. There is a video addressing a topic and then a discussion. It adds to the discussion if everyone is involved, but for those who don’t want to speak, there is no pressure. The only thing we try to stress is that everyone should be given a chance to speak – that no one takes over the discussion.
Group therapy or support is excellent for a number of situations. What is the main difference between individual therapy or counseling and group support?
I went through both. Individual counseling helps you to deal with all the personal feelings and stages you go through. It helps to really be able to have one on one therapy because you can just talk about anything and everything on your mind. It’s all about you. Going through a divorce, it is nice to know that someone is willing to listen to you, besides your family and friends and the advice and support is personalized and geared toward you and what you need and what you can handle. My counselor often gives homework, which wouldn’t work for a group assignment.
Group support is wonderful to hear other people’s situations, to help you know you aren’t alone and that everything you are feeling is absolutely normal. Especially, if you are the only one who has been through the divorce process in your family or group of friends. They may hear you say the same thing over and over and get tired of hearing about it. In a group, you’ll hear things like “that’s exactly how I feel! How do you deal with….” Or “I couldn’t put that into words, but that’s what I’ve been going through.” People can contact each other outside of the group and get together or pray for one another.
Should a person do one or the other, or both?
Everyone is different. I found both to be extremely helpful and got different things from each of them. I learned a lot about myself and how I deal with things and how I could do things differently in individual counseling that I wouldn’t have gotten in a group. But, to be able to bounce things off each other and encourage one another in a group and know that what you are feeling or thinking is absolutely normal and all part of the process was also a great thing to be a part of.
Children too are very affected by divorce. Are children invited to this group?
Children are not invited to this group. There is a group called DC4K (DivorceCare for Kids) that works with the children going through their parent’s divorce, but unfortunately, it isn’t offered very many places.
Where is it recommended that children go to get support for their feelings during divorce?
One of the classes in DivorceCare really encourages parents to be the main sounding board for listening to their kids and how they are feeling. But, for parents who may not be able to fully take that on, individual or family counseling is a good option.
It is considered a recovery from divorce from those hardest hit by the process, correct?
Anyone is more than welcome to attend. We’ve had people who have been divorced several years. In one of my groups, a woman’s boyfriend encouraged her to attend to make sure she’d dealt with anything that might be an issue or identify things that might need more attention. We’ve had people that didn’t want the divorce and people that initiated the divorce. Since this group is held by several churches in the area, we’ve even had one spouse at one group and the other at another. Generally, it is those who either had a spouse want the divorce or those who felt they had no other choice but to file.
About Carol’s Company – Peaceful River Massage
Peaceful River Massage – what a wonderful, inviting name. How did it come to you?
I used to live on a street across from the Farmington River. It just seemed like it embodied what I wanted to convey.
A lot of folks are on the magical, reviving receiving end of a massage. Is it physically very demanding on the body?
Massage can be demanding for the massage therapist. We are taught to use our bodies correctly to make it as little stress on us as possible, but it can definitely be a challenge sometimes. Many therapists end up hurting their thumbs or wrists; for some therapists it’s hard on the low back or feet to be standing in one place for a long period of time.
Why did you decide to get into the massage therapy field?
It sounds like a pat answer, but God told me to. I can be extremely dense and often times need to be hit in the head with a 2×4, so to speak, to hear and get the point. Before I started school, within a 2 week period, I had my mom who is a massage therapist tell me I should do it; a friend who is a physical therapist ask if I’d ever thought about it, and heard an advertisement on the radio for the school’s exploration weekend. (That was a weekend where people who thought they might be interested in becoming a massage therapist could get a taste of what school would be like and ask questions. Basically, a short trial to see if it was really something you wanted.) I thought, “Okay, God, I got the point!” and followed through with applying to school.
What does the work do for you personally?
Wow, what does it do for me personally…when I finish up and my client says that I have magic hands or that they feel better already or when doing chair massage and the person says they were going to work from home that day, until they saw I was coming in. How awesome is that?! For someone to look forward to seeing you, to help make someone’s day or week, to help them be in less pain. There are very few jobs I can think of that are that rewarding for both people. It makes me feel so good to know that I am helping people.
Are you interested in really developing and growing your company or staying small — and why?
I’m a sole proprietor and I like it that way. I can set my own hours and really get to know my clients. I’ve worked in spas before and that rush, rush, rush, one person after another, and people you’ll probably never see again isn’t what I prefer. I do need to grow and develop my business, but I think I’ll always prefer to work on my own and have a personal relationship with my clients.
Where do you see Peaceful River Massage in five years?
I want to continue learning, growing, and developing as a massage therapist. I’d love to have a reliable set of regular clients. I prefer to do table massage, but my chair massage is picking up and I may find that that is more sustainable. I want to be helping as many people as possible while still maintaining a good balance in my life.
And finally, where are you going in life? What do you have passion for? Where is Carol next year and perhaps three years from now?
Wherever I end up and whatever I do, I want to be helping people in some way. I don’t know exactly how that will always be, but I want to have people say someday that I made a difference, that people were better off for having known me. I would like my massage business to increase and my schedule to have more regular, consistent clients. How that will look, I’m not sure. Maybe things will work out that I end up doing more chair massage than table massage. And I want to make things beautiful. I love to garden. I love that I can do something that will lift their spirits or make them smile when they pass by. I’ve had 3 years at my new house to work on my gardens and it’s getting there. And sometimes I get impatient, but I need to remember that it’s a process. Just like getting through divorce and trying to build a business and becoming a better me. I would like to have far more grace, forgiveness, and patience with myself going forward.