Lost. And Found.

© Sandee Nebel

My dear friend and colleague Dr. Judi Addelston was one of the best marriage and family therapists I’ve ever known. After 10 years of renting an office at my center, she opened her own counseling center. Also a professor of psychology, Judi was a natural teacher, a perfect match for my ever-growing thirst for learning. When I had questions about counseling theories or treatment interventions, she’d provide multiple resources—books, handouts, and even one-on-one lessons.

She encouraged me to keep growing and diversify my methodology beyond my master’s degree education. She shared her expertise in IFS (Internal Family Systems) and family systems theory as it might relate to my client specialization. We took our SoulCollage® certification training together, where we had personal and professional growth experiences, and we furthered our studies with Delene Cole, LMFT, by taking her SoulCollage® classes in St. Petersburg.

Judi was always there to have an in-depth discussion about something I’d learned—encouraging me to keep going and unfailing in her support.

We supported each other. Judi had been fighting cancer for several years. We stayed very connected during her treatment, though that lessened once we no longer shared an office center and she put her focus into her own facility. It was as if she was naturally weaning me from my dependence on her, by encouraging me to find new resources and trainings, and to reach out to others.

When Judi passed away, I signed up for several live and recorded online trainings and summits. Then I expanded by taking in-person trainings such as ART® (Accelerated Resolution Therapy), which I have been immersing myself into since seeing profound results in my clients and myself.

I continued my excitement for knowledge, though I greatly miss being able to discuss what I learn with Judi. How do I cope with this gaping loss and accompanying sadness? By reaching out to a few of the people she helped and mentored just like me. Since her celebration of life, I’ve realized there were dozens of people Judi took a special interest in helping launch a career. She supported, mentored, taught, and freely shared her knowledge and love of psychology. She truly does live on in all of us.

So while I’ve lost a special friend, colleague, and valued mentor, I’m finding new connections with other esteemed colleagues, and new modalities for healing myself and others. Thank you, Judi. I’m so grateful for what you gave me.