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My Transformative Journey

Dr. Tina Vitolo, DSW, LCSW

In 2010, I found myself at the darkest point in my life. I had always dreamed of getting married, but three years in, I was questioning why people were so excited about marriage if it felt like this. Was this normal? Was this what I had signed up for?

I never wanted to be home. When I was, I was constantly irritated, annoyed, and frustrated. I was in a perpetual state of agitation. Overindulging in food and alcohol became my escape routes. My family values and culture frowned upon divorce, and I was surrounded by people in loveless relationships. For a while, I didn’t even realize I had a choice to change my situation; it felt like a prison I was locked into.

I was in individual therapy and on medication, and we were also in couples counseling. Everything felt one-sided. I was so tired, and I felt like a failure.

After mentally accepting defeat, there came a time when I stopped caring what people knew about me. It was raw vulnerability at its finest. I started to lean on others I typically wouldn’t have and was surprised at the support I received. Extending my support network beyond lifelong friends and family started to make me feel hopeful and curious about my options.

I threw myself into a fitness community, signing up for fitness boot camps and working out for two hours a day. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was engaging in productive avoidance—anything to keep me out of the house. I started to bring new friends around my partner, and we started to get into more conflict. The more I tried to expand, the more suffocated I felt—just constant states of wasted energy.

One day, I was driving home, and tears were flowing. I had reached a point where I couldn't do this anymore. Every conversation fell on deaf ears, no changed behaviors, and even with all my effort, I still felt hopeless. I always felt the need to prioritize his feelings over my own, but when I evaluated my mental space and how bad it had gotten, I knew something had to change. That night, I went home and asked him to leave. I remember every moment of that conversation. More importantly, I remember the relief I felt—phew, holy $hit, it’s done.

I had grieved the relationship for so long while I was in it that after I ended it, I felt nothing. I couldn’t believe it. If I knew this feeling was on the other end, I would have made this decision a long time ago. I was ready to take off on this new life, no looking back!

Here’s the funny part (not funny-haha, but you know what I mean). I always thought my ex was the problem. I was not ready for the new revelation that presented itself.

I had no idea how to be in a healthy relationship! I had no skill set, tools, or model for what a healthy relationship was supposed to be. I found myself spiraling in toxic, unbalanced, and codependent patterns. I measured my worth based on how people behaved towards me or if they showed interest. I would go above and beyond to prove my worth, even if it meant moving in ways that conflicted with my values.

I idolized and chased after men who were disingenuous and unfaithful. I would overly give and try to earn their attention, never setting boundaries or discussing what I needed. Discussing my needs would make me too “needy,” right?

About a year into dating a very toxic man with a pure gift of gaslighting, I met my first spiritual teacher.

She was an intuitive Jin Shin practitioner (acupressure) who educated me on connecting to my soul’s purpose. She talked about the portals we all have and how they get clogged with trauma, preventing our bodies from functioning as the antennae they are supposed to be. She educated me on being an empath. I had no clue what that was at the time, but this new understanding allowed me to completely change my perception of myself and everything else in my life.

Everything I had judged, shamed, and ridiculed myself for were actually some of my most valuable gifts—if I used them correctly. My toxic behaviors and patterns were blocking me from my intuition, my body, and my ability to connect to a higher realm.

I started investing in as many spiritual practitioners as I could get my hands on—Reiki, hypnosis, intuitives, mediums, past life regression specialists—you name it, I did it! I felt expansive!

I used to think healing was something that needed to happen just once, but I started to realize it was a multidimensional process. Once you complete a level of healing, a new one unlocks and BOOM, here I am again in this uncomfortable space, not sure how to navigate my next move. It was uncomfortable and transformative.

A spiritual teacher of mine once told me, “Relationships are not supposed to make you happy; they are supposed to help you grow.” This hit me so hard. Once I understood that, I used relationships to experiment and test out boundaries and communication skills.

Listen, you can heal yourself all you want, but you’ll never fully understand what programmed beliefs or insecurities still exist until you see them play out in a relationship (friendships, work, intimate relationships). TRUST ME.

Because I engaged in so much inner work, I knew what inner empowerment and authenticity looked and felt like. However, when it came to relationships, my subconscious programming had me believing that my needs weren’t important enough to discuss and if I addressed them, I would be abandoned. But here’s the thing: without saying anything, I felt abandoned anyway, and every time I muted myself, I reinforced that I wasn’t important enough. ENOUGH OF THAT.

So I started talking and observing the response (aka the capacity of others)! I started off slow, “dipping my toe in the pool,” so to speak—“Actually, no, I prefer to go here instead,” or “I actually can’t cover that shift for you”—then progressed to addressing people if I did not like their tone or if I felt disrespected, then to being crystal clear on my needs and expectations. This was so scary in the beginning. Sometimes I would blankly stare, telling my brain to open my mouth and speak, and nothing would come out. But then it started to get easier and easier. My action of moving in my worth and integrity started to shift my belief system about myself. I was using my intuition more, allowing vulnerability, openness, and honesty to exist in all my relationships.

I started to trust myself! My inner world started to shift, and so did my external world. I released a lot of unhealthy friendship dynamics, but also began to become a magnet for amazing, unique, spiritually oriented souls! Life felt light, honest, and amazing.

Four years ago, I met my now husband. I made such a conscious effort to challenge my ego, speak clearly, address my needs, and always ask for clarity.

They say toxic relationships are hard, but have you ever been in a healthy one? It’s a different kind of hard. It demands you to know your wounds, have compassion, be vulnerable, and be open to repair—but man, is it worth it!

Because I had built an internal system of compassion, understanding, grace, and vulnerability, I built the capacity to bring this into my relationship. Learning how to speak your truth from a loving and kind place is an essential model for any relationship. Being able to speak with clarity allowed me to assess with ease if he had the capacity to show up for me the way I needed. Without that, you just stay stuck in an assumption world, and let's be honest, we always assume the worst.

We learned a lot about each other, and we also grew from one another. It means everything to me to know that this kind of relationship can exist. One that allows all parts of me to exist, knowing that each part is equally loved and respected.

Someone once said to me, “Wow, Tina, you are so lucky to have found someone like him.”

I responded with, “None of this was luck, I trained for this!”

It was my own decision to notice the pattern, see what wasn’t working, release behaviors, make corrective choices, and apply them to my life…and this was the end result.

Happily married with three dogs, with someone I love, respect, and am excited to be around. My friendships are balanced, built off admiration, care, and love. I am doing the work that lights up my soul!

This doesn’t just have to be my story. I truly want this for you.

I want you to know that life can feel empowering, exciting, loving, and fun, and that you can build healthy relationships in all areas of your life.

It is time to pay attention to what hasn’t been working and the cycles you have been stuck in!

It’s time to forgive yourself for not knowing what was never taught to you!

It’s time to establish new belief systems around your worth!

It’s time to learn skills to protect and empower yourself so that you can live a more fulfilling life!

The world is just waiting for you to step into your power. Are you ready?

About : About Me

My Message to You

To the courageous soul reading this, I want to acknowledge the vulnerability and discomfort that it took to make the decision to seek guidance. It’s probably one of the most uncomfortable, confusing, and fearful decisions to make. Even though you may not know what the journey in front of you may look like, choosing to move forward on a path that embraces your worth and leads to enlightenment is never a bad idea. 

When I look back on what aspects of my journey supported my growth and transformation, it was my exposure to inspiring individuals who were willing to share their story, journey, and process in a vulnerable and motivating way. For me, this created a sense of safety and encouragement to challenge myself in new ways. As a healer, I have made a promise to myself to show up as authentically as I can to model safe vulnerability to my clients. 

Just like you, I have experienced (and still do experience) stress, anxiety, sadness, fear, confusion, anger, shame, and guilt. For a very long time, these emotions promoted behaviors that negatively reinforced my worth, value, and purpose. These emotions invaded my thought process and truly had me believing a narrative that was completely false. I found myself in the same scenario over and over and over and was blaming others for why it was occurring. It is so uncomfortable and challenging to accept that your responses, perceptions, and actions could be creating the scenarios in your life that you wish didn’t exist. However, it’s even more debilitating to never realize the power you have to change the trajectory and beliefs about your life. 

If there is one promise I can make to my clients, it is that I will never guide you to practice, learn, or integrate something I have never personally tried. I believe it is extremely important for anyone in the healing profession to engage in their own emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness.

I have been blessed to have been educated in both clinical and complementary and alternative practices and truly believe that it is the integration of both that has developed my personal and professional theory of change. If as you are reading this, you feel inclined to connect and create a partnership on your transformative journey, please book a free consult.

About : About

My Qualifications

Dr. Tina Vitolo, DSW, LCSW

Doctor of Social Work

Florida Atlantic Univeristy

I received my DSW in May 2022. My research focused on enhancing the understanding of Complementary and Alternative Interventions (CAI) in clinical social work practice. I believe that the holistic framework of CAI allows for more inclusion and collaboration to occur in clinical practice, particularly in mental health. My overall goal is to enhance the overall experience of mental, emotional, and spiritual health in both how it is a received and how it is delivered.

Master of Social Work

New York University

I graduated with my Master's degree in Social Work in 2006. I am currently licensed (LCSW) in New York, Florida, Georgia, and Massachusetts. I am also a Qualified Supervisor for the state of Florida.

Certification in the LifeLine Technique

May 2019

The LifeLine Technique® is a 16-step process of raising consciousness using 14+ different complementary and alternative modalities. The LifeLine Technique® is a mind medicine practice for intentionally processing pain, fear, and stress. It navigates the realm of the subconscious mind to transform problems in your life into a portal of the next greatest version of your life.

About : Credentials
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