THE COUNSELOR'S CORNER: The strength of the truth

By Fred Cavaiani

This past week I attended two inspiring programs that left me with a renewed belief in the strength of the truth. On Friday morning I attended a program for judges and probation officers on how they can relate to the program called Alcoholics Anonymous for men and women who are arrested for drunk driving. I was impressed by the talk by Judge Brian McKenzie of Novi and for the marvelous work he is doing in Sobriety Court in seeing the illness of alcoholism in the men and women that come into his court arrested for drunk driving or alcohol related offenses. His ability to enforce the rules in such a manner as to forcibly encourage men and women who have serious drinking problems to attend a 12 step program was most inspiring. He is a man with compassion and integrity who knows how to use the force of the law in a very helpful manner. As a judge I believe he has influenced many people to learn how to see themselves as volunteers to their own misery rather than victims and to get appropriate help.

On Thursday evening I attended a lecture at Oakland University on child abuse given by Erin Merryn, a young woman who was sexually molested as a child. She was most inspiring in explaining how she finally broke her silence and now has been working to have laws passed in each state to help children identify child sexual abuse in education and by creating a curriculum that would help children understand and talk about child abuse. This brave, most inspiring woman was introduced by another very brave and inspiring woman, Beckie Francis, the women's basketball coach of Oakland University. Beckie has recently broken the silence about her own experience of being sexually molested as a child by her father, now deceased, from the age four until seventh grade. These two brave women inspired this audience tremendously. I was so impressed by the joy and freedom that both of these women expressed. They taught the audience the most important fundamental principle of not keeping silence or hiding the wounds and scars of sexual molestation but courageously dealing with this in an honest and open manner. Both of these women were victimized as children so terribly and painfully. But as adults neither sees herself as a victim but as open, honest and loving women who will do whatever it takes to speak and live the truth.

Judge Brian Mckenzie speaks and lives the truth in his courtroom. Erin Merryn and Beckie Francis speak and live the truth in their own personal lives and in their professions. To speak and live the truth each of these three brave people have faced criticism and rejection. Yet they realize the importance of living and speaking the truth and have made the world a much better place to live because of their honesty and integrity.

Whenever we hide painful experiences from ourselves we limp through life. We use so much psychic energy to keep things hidden that our ability to enjoy and live life freely becomes stifled. When we become open and honest with our deepest wounds we can become open to our deepest joys and allow our inner self to truly experience the present moment in a peaceful and joyful manner.

This past week I witnessed three people who live life with freedom and joy in their hearts. They acquired the spiritual and psychological depth to do this by their courageous embracing the strength of the truth. It was a privilege to see and experience these three courageous people who radiate such profound psychological and spiritual depth.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Published: Tue, Oct 23, 2012