gmhTODAY 06 gmhToday Jan Feb 2016 - Page 55

As Mark Twain once said , “ The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why .” For Vicki Minerva , that day came during her junior high English class . She witnessed her teacher knuckle punch a disadvantaged student and immediately felt a strong reaction . “ I was just so upset that someone would treat another human being that way ,” she says of the incident , “ I kind of knew at that point that I wanted to do something in the helping profession . I didn ’ t know what it was going to be , but that was a point of clarity where I just said , ‘ That ’ s not right .’” Now the owner of a successful Marriage and Family Therapy practice , Vicki reflects on her journey and the valuable lessons she has learned over the years .

Early on , Vicki received validation from others that she was meant to be helping people . While she was working at a summer camp , the counselors gave her feedback that she was good with teenagers . Perhaps it was her calm and gentle disposition , but many people told her she had something that made people feel comfortable enough to open up to about things . With all of the affirmation coming from different people and places , Vicki continued to pursue a career in helping others .
In 1998 , Vicki and her husband , George , moved to Gilroy . George had just been hired as a Youth Pastor for the Gilroy Presbyterian Church , and although Vicki also has a Masters in Theology , she didn ’ t feel like she was being pulled into a professional ministry . Instead , she began working the crisis line for The Owl , a non-profit human resources agency that is now known as Community Solutions . Due to the high stress nature of the crisis line , Vicki describes her time at The Owl as a trial-by-fire . “ Here I am , 27 years old , making these decisions , and it was kind of intimidating at points . Trying to decide if a person is suicidal , are they safe to go home or do I need to write a hold . That was some of what I did ,” she describes . Compounding an already stressful environment , Vicki only had six hours to talk a person out of a situation , a time limit that felt like nothing when faced with such delicate cases . She quickly learned how to be in the moment for every person and how to handle the pressure of being on call at all hours .
After 4 years working the crisis line , Vicki realized she wanted to help people in a more relaxed environment where she had the time to really get to know them . She went back to school and got her Masters in counseling . Soon after , she opened her own private practice and immediately noticed a big difference . “ In those kind of situations [ The Owl ], they didn ’ t necessarily call for help . They didn ’ t necessarily want it . Somebody else called and I was being foisted upon them . So being in a private practice , it ’ s a different playing field altogether because the person isn ’ t happy with something in their life and they ’ re saying , ‘ I need to change this .’”
Vicki ’ s Marriage and Family Therapy practice has been going strong for 33 years and one of the things she enjoys most is the opportunity for shared learning . There are times when her patients will come in with revelations that teach her something she needs to think about too . To see them take a conversation they ’ ve had and come back with insights she wasn ’ t even aware of never ceases to give her joy .
When asked how she ’ s grown throughout her practice , Vicki takes a moment to reflect on all of her experiences . She thoughtfully responds , “ I think in the early years I felt the pressure to have answers , and while I still want to be useful and I still want to be a part of something that ’ s productive in a person ’ s life , I don ’ t assume that I ’ ve got the answers .” Rather than telling people what they need to do , Vicki is more comfortable with helping people learn healthy principles that can serve as a guide . Just as her years have been a journey of self-discovery , the journey her patients take to find healing and happiness is one worth the effort .
When Vicki and her husband first moved to Gilroy , they had no idea that it would become their home . Being part of a small town , Vicki has enjoyed seeing her patients grow and change and live lives that they ’ re happy with . Through all of her success , Vicki is continually grateful . “ I ’ m fortunate to like what I do and I ’ m fortunate to live and work in the same community ,” she smiles .

“ The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why .”

GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 gmhtoday . com
55
A s Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” For Vicki Minerva, that day came during her junior high English class. She witnessed her teacher knuckle punch a disadvantaged student and immediately felt a strong reaction. “I was just so upset that someone would treat another human being that way,” she says of the incident, “I kind of knew at that point that I wanted to do something in the helping profession. I didn’t know what it was going to be, but that was a point of clarity where I just said, ‘That’s not right.’” Now the owner of a successful Marriage and Family Therapy practice, Vicki reflects on her journey and the valuable lessons she has learned over the years. Early on, Vicki received validation from others that she was meant to be help- ing people. While she was working at a summer camp, the counselors gave her feedback that she was good with teenagers. Perhaps it was her calm and gentle disposi- tion, but many people told her she had something that made people feel comfort- able enough to open up to about things. With all of the affirmation coming from different people and places, Vicki contin- ued to pursue a career in helping others. In 1998, Vicki and her husband, George, moved to Gilroy. George had just been hired as a Youth Pastor for the Gilroy Presbyterian Church, and although Vicki also has a Masters in Theology, she didn’t feel like she was being pulled into a professional ministry. Instead, she began working the crisis line for The Owl, a non-profit human resources agency that is now known as Community Solutions. Due to the high stress nature of the crisis line, Vicki describes her time at The Owl as a trial-by-fire. “Here I am, 27 years old, making these decisions, and it was kind of intimidating at points. Trying to decide if a person is suicidal, are they safe to go home or do I need to write a hold. That was some of what I did,” she describes. Compounding an already stressful environment, Vicki only had six hours to talk a person out of a situation, a time limit that felt like nothing when faced with such delicate cases. She quickly learned how to be in the moment for every person and how to handle the pressure of being on call at all hours. After 4 years working the crisis line, Vicki realized she wanted to help people in a more relaxed environment where she had the time to really get to know them. She went back to school and got her Masters in counseling. Soon after, she opened her own private practice and immediately noticed a big d Y\[K8'[H[ق]X][ۜHK^HY&]X\B\[H[܈[ ^HY&]X\\[B[] YXH[H[Y[H\˜Z[\Y\ۈ[KZ[[B]]HXXK]8&\HY\[^Z[Y[[]\X]\HH\ۈ\۸&]\B]Y][[Z\YH[^x&\B^Z[8&HYY[H\˸&x'BXx&\X\XYH[[Z[H\\BXXH\Y[[ۙ܈ YX\˜[ۙHوH[H[\[\Hܝ[]H܈\YX\[ˈ\B\H[Y\[\]Y[[YH[]][][ۜ]XX\Y][œHYY[X]ˈYH[BZHH۝\][ۈ^x&]HY[YBX][YH\۸&]][]\Hق]\X\\]H\K[\Yx&\ܛۈY B]\XXKXHZ\H[YXۈ[و\^\Y[\ˈBY[H\ۙ8'H[[HX\BYX\H[H\\H]H[\[[HH[[H\Y[[B[[HH\وY][]8&\œX]H[H\۸&\YKH۸&]\[YB]x&]HH[\˸'H]\[[[[H]^HYYXB\[ܙHYܝXH][[[BX\X[H[\\][\H\BZYK\\\YX\]HY[H\^Bو[Y\ݙ\KH\^H\]Y[ZH[X[[[\[\\ۙBܝHYܝ [XH[\\ؘ[\[ݙY[K^HYYXH]][XYHZ\YKZ[\قHX[ۋXH\[YYYZ[\]Y[ܛ[[H[]H]\]^x&\H\H] Y[ق\X\XH\۝[X[Hܘ]Y[ 'x&[Hܝ[]HZH]H[x&[Bܝ[]H]H[ܚ[H[YB[][]K8'HHZ[\˂'H[[\ܝ[^\[[\YH\HB^H[H\Hܛ[H^H[H[]K'BSH8(SԑSS8(SPTSSPTKёPPTH MZ^KBBM