Health Briefs

Published on April 1st, 2018 | by Gerti Schoen


Embracing Self-Empowerment and Connection to Community

by Gerti Schoen

Modern women face many challenges. They are expected to look attractive, be excellent mothers, manage the social activities of the family, be emotionally mature and have a career that provides financial independence. Although women often attempt to live up to these expectations, however unrealistic they may be, the pressure can easily manifest in mental health challenges. Women experience depression at twice the rate than men, especially in the 25 to 44 age group, according to the nonprofit organization Mental Health America.

This statistic drives home the fact that it is important for women to practice self-care, take time to engage in enjoyable activities and form close community connections. Many women crave strong relationships and emotional bonds through friendships, but between child care and other family obligations, there typically isn’t time to concentrate on their own needs in the service of others.

The real task is inner transformation and self-empowerment. True power is not power over others, but the ability to tap into our own inner resources and strength and act from a place of internal coherence and a sense of agency. At times, it can simply be about firmly saying no to what’s not working in an emotionally grounded manner.

The first task is to become aware of giving away our power, as in when we fall into a state of helplessness, dependency, hostility or feeling bad about ourselves. Misguided beliefs, which are never really true, lead us to give up our own power and perhaps look to others to do it for us or hide in a safe place where no one can hurt us. True power means taking responsibility for our faults and mistakes, and for showing just how much we are capable of. It simply means to fully step into our own authentic self, without all the self-doubt.

We live in a culture in which we blame others for what’s wrong, but we can’t control what other people do. We can, however, start to take charge of our own lives. It begins by reminding ourselves of our value and the myriad of ways we already make a difference.

Gerti Schoen is a licensed psychotherapist and certified relationship counselor in Ridgewood that empowers women through community group events. For more information or to register for an event, call 917-607-4525, email or visit


About the Author

Gerti Schoen is a licensed psychotherapist and certified couples counselor in Ridgewood, NJ. She offers a six-week course, How to be Happy, which includes tapping and energy psychology. Sign up at

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