Who We Are
Shannon Little , MA, AP CC
Associate Professional Clinical Counselor
“We are deeply wounded from relationships, yet relationships are where we find our deepest healing.” My counseling professors repeated this phrase often, and the more I explore my own story in therapy and with trusted others, the more I experience the reality of this truth in my own life. My childhood was marked by a lot of love, but there was also a lot of confusion and relational pain. My mom had been living with unaddressed trauma from her childhood, as well as what we later learned was a Mood Disorder. Though I knew she loved me deeply, she did not know how to connect with me or be close to me due to issues stemming from her unaddressed trauma. I interpreted her difficulty connecting with me as something that was wrong with me, which created a deep wound full of resentment, grief, and anger. Her emotional changes were also unpredictable and scary for me as a child. In response, I vowed I would control my emotions at all times, suppressing my sadness, fear, and anger.
To cope with my relational insecurity with my mom, I protected myself by avoiding vulnerability. My coping strategies began to bleed into other relationships when I sensed a similar lack of security or connection. I became frighteningly good at putting up just enough walls to feel safe, but not so much that people would call me out on it. Although this kept me “protected”, ultimately it kept me from being truly seen, known, and loved in the way I longed to be.
An emotional breakdown while working in South Africa after college finally brought all of my coping strategies crashing down. Staying relationally “protected” and keeping vulnerable emotions at bay were no longer options for me. I began to pour out my heart to whoever offered to be a safe space – including my mom – and started experiencing the freedom and intimacy that true vulnerability brings. When I returned to the States to pursue a counseling degree, I started seeing a therapist to better understand my story and how I could respond in healthier and life-giving ways to the wounds from my past. In therapy I experienced a safe, compassionate, and authentic space where I felt seen and known in the context of a healing and therapeutic relationship. This is what I strive to offer my own clients so they can feel safe to be vulnerable and open as we journey towards understanding, healing, and wholeness.
Shannon specializes in:
-Family members affected by a loved one’s mental illness
-Cross-cultural identity issues
-Relationship issues, boundaries
LICENSING, ASSOCIATIONS, AND AFFILIATIONS:
-Registered Associate Professional Clinical Counselor #4532
Supervised by a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
-Member of the California Association of Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors
-Member of the American Counseling Association
B.S. in Psychology from University of California, Davis
M.A. in Counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando