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ALTON - Latavia Jo Harley has an important question for you: “Why do you want to stay stuck?”

Harley, a licensed professional counselor and owner of The Healing Haus in Milton Schoolhouse, will host a five-session Empowerment Series alongside Jules Fair to promote healing. Starting on April 2, 2024, the duo will tackle emotions like anxiety, anger, shame and self-doubt through reflective journaling, somatic movement and yoga.

“From a very young age, a lot of us have learned to compartmentalize or separate our outer experience from the inner experience because of trauma or environment, things that have gone on. So a lot of us have actually lost our ability to feel,” Harley explained. “That’s why I called it the Empowerment Series, because feeling these emotions is truly healing. You have to feel it in order to heal. Otherwise we’re just repeating the problem by pressing it down and numbing ourselves.”

Harley said the Empowerment Series will focus on different emotions each week. They will start with “Fear, Anxiety & Restlessness” on April 2, then address “Anger, Frustration & Resentment” on April 9, followed by “Sadness, Shame & Guilt” on April 16. The series will end with “Self-Doubt, Insecurity & Inferiority” on April 23 and “Jealousy & Envy” on April 30.

Each session will run from 6–8:30 p.m. at The Healing Haus at Milton Schoolhouse. The sessions will start with introductions, followed by reflection, yoga, somatic movement led by Fair and journaling. Fair, a dance instructor, has a “magnetic aura,” and Harley said it is a “freaking dream” to collaborate with her. Harley added that they wanted an “intimate, cozy” environment, so they are only selling 25 tickets to each session at $20 per session.

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“I’ve struggled with these emotions myself, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to share this space with the whole community, because I do know it’s needed,” Harley added.

She stressed the importance of being able to identify emotions, and she shared her story of being misdiagnosed with depression when she actually had ADHD. She said she has a better understanding of her own emotions now, and she hopes to help other community members experience this as well.

Harley knows it can be difficult to undertake this journey. She said people usually don’t change because they are afraid to lose something, they are intimidated by the process of changing, or they’re nervous about the unknown outcome. For those who are hesitant, she encourages them to think about where that emotion comes from.

“What I will share with someone who’s afraid is, what are you afraid to lose? What are you afraid to process? What outcome are you afraid to face? And why do you want to stay there?” she said.

For more information about the Empowerment Series, including how to register for any of the sessions, you can visit The Healing Haus on Facebook.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat at 988lifeline.org. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides information and referrals to local support groups and services. You can reach out to them at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or visit their website at www.nami.org.

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