After a difficult beginning in life, Pamela Livingston-Hardy, has come a long way and is driven to help people like herself overcome their challenges, make change, and live happier lives.
The Bloomfield Hills resident is candid about her own struggles. By age 28, she was divorced, on welfare and raising two young children on her own. She finally realized she had to do something to change the trajectory of her life. “I was lost but found my way through school. It was a trying time filled with self-doubt, but I eventually became a psychotherapist. I realized I had been struggling with depression, insecurity, and a negative life script that said women and their feelings weren’t important, women were supposed to get married and didn’t need an education, men were the decision makers. I did my life script until I couldn’t do it anymore.”
A life script is our vision of self, others and the world made unconsciously in childhood in response to parental, family and other messages that can have a deep effect on how we live our lives.
In 1980, Livingston-Hardy, LMSW ACSW, started her Royal Oak counseling practice. By the late 1990s, she was suffering “compassion fatigue” and took a break from counseling to focus on an alternative way to help others make change by starting an acclaimed interior design business called Creative Renovations.
“I was always drawn to interior design. Even when I had nothing, I had a vision and a beautiful eye for design and color.”
Ultimately, she returned to her counseling practice and has been successfully operating both for the past 12 years.
“I believe in what I do in both of my professions. Whether in my office, online, or in homes, I help determine what makes a client happy and feel good. I help them make change within and within their environment. I’m a therapist in both places,” explained Livingston-Hardy.
In an effort to share her personal experiences and successful counseling strategies, she recently published “The Recipe for Change,” a step-by-step guide of the ingredients needed to create a happier, more fulfilling life.
“Coming from where I come from, I’m so proud of myself for getting my book out. Some people get stuck like a puddle of mud in their damaging life script and can’t find their way out. This is an easy-to-read, 90-page perfect little book that can be used to refer to when stuck, to help overcome the past, create positive change and move forward. It’s even helpful to those already in therapy.” The book is available on Amazon.com.
Livingston-Hardy finds it an interesting time in mental health with troubling issues such as social media, self-medication, eating disorders, anxiety and depression. “For those struggling, know that you are not alone. Seek out help – you don’t have to stay stuck, but you do have to choose change. There are many books, resources – even TED talks about self-worth and believing in yourself,” said Livingston-Hardy. “Funding is a big issue in mental health. Generally, you have to have money to get help. I wrote this book to do my bit.
“I have an interesting, full life now. I was so lost and found my way out, and now life inspires me. I surround myself with inspiration and positive messages. I’ve been married to the kindest, most supportive, loving man for 36 years…I’m very blessed,” reflected Livingston-Hardy. “I have no plans to retire. I got a late start and still have lots to do helping others.” pamela4change.com, creativerenovationshome.com
Story: Tracy Donohue
Photo: Laurie Tennent