- What is your name?
Brittni J. Timmerman, MS, LPCC, NCC, RPT-S
- Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Northern Illinois. I moved to Southwest, Minnesota in 2005, where I completed by undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in social welfare, joined the Army National Guard, met and married my husband, and started a family. After six years in Southwest, Minnesota, while 8.5 months pregnant, I moved to Rochester, Minnesota with my husband and 3-year-old daughter. After being licensed foster parents from 2013 to 2021 in which fourteen children came into our hearts and home, that resulted in the adoption of two of our four children, we decided our family was complete. I currently live in NE Rochester, MN with my multi-generational and transracial family that includes my husband, my four children (13 yrs., 10 yrs. 9 yrs., & 8 yrs.), my mother, and my stepfather. I value and have great pride in all the beautiful hues my family radiates into the world with individuals who identify as Caucasian, Italian, and Black. My family has two beloved rescue dogs, our 11 yr. old, Texan, Chihuahua, Tilly and our 12-week-old New Yorker, American Staffordshire Terrier Mix, Sirona. I enjoy travel, reading, photography, writing, poetry, gardening, cooking, baking, and all things family orientated. I hold strong beliefs and value social advocacy for pertinent social issues. I lead my life with a humanistic perspective. As a Caucasian individual, I am always striving for cultural competencies and cultural humility not from a neither/or perspective but rather a both/and perspective, aspiring for cultural understanding while simultaneously upholding the value of individuals’ autonomy.
I am a first-time college graduate within my family of origin, who then went on to pursue a graduate degree and several post graduate degree credentials and certifications. For the last fourteen years, I have worked in the mental health field. I have worked in various clinical settings within the mental health field to include in-home treatment aimed at increasing the daily functioning of adults living with mental health and behavioral concerns, a psychiatric unit within a hospital setting with individuals of all ages experiencing a mental health crisis, clinical research within a university setting, and providing therapeutic services in outpatient private practice settings to children, adults, and families. After five years of working as an independent contractor in the Rochester, MN community and surrounding areas in addition to internationally within the mental health field, I knew the children and families receiving services needed something more. In July of 2019, I started the initial phases of establishing Birchlawn Place Counseling Center, INC with the sole purpose of bridging the gap between children and families’ mental health needs and access to holistic and equitable community based mental health services. As the sole owner & founder, I opened Birchlawn Place Counseling Center, INC’s doors to the Rochester, MN community and surrounding areas on January 13th, 2020.
My personal belief that an integral part of providing holistic and innovative services is dependent on providing a safe place while fostering connections, emotional wellness, healing, and a sense of community within the children and families I work with, are what fuel my personal mission and form the mission of Birchlawn Place Counseling Center, INC. My own journey of healing and working towards self-actualization, has empowered me to chase my dreams as a first-generation college educated female, mother, and small business owner, has helped me learn that I didn’t have to choose between a fulfilling career or motherhood, and aided me in growing and maintaining my humanistic perspective on life. Within my various roles of Founder, Center Director, and Clinical Mental Health Therapist at Birchlawn Place Counseling Center, INC, I strive daily to partner with children and families on their own journeys of healing as they work towards self-actualization.
- What do you enjoy most about the outdoors? Things, hobbies, activities, etc. Tell us more about why you love it!
Trees can take ten to forty years to reach maturity with some that are thousands of years old. For most trees, their roots can be found in the first eighteen inches of the ground, leaving trees semi vulnerable yet concurrently they exude resilient and flexible in their every move. Trees have weathered all of mother nature’s glory and fury. Still, trees breathe life into world around them, providing oxygen, reducing carbon dioxide, playing a crucial role in controlling climate change, and providing both protection and homes for wildlife, and an array of other crucial processes. For as long as I can remember, I have had a love of the initiate beauty and strength of trees. The beauty of the leaves that adorn trees in every hue has the seasons change, the relief a canopy of shade provides on a warm summer day, or a light breeze that seems to let those core memories sink in a little deeper as you listen to your children play on a fall afternoon.
Aside of my lifelong appreciation and love for trees, my favorite outdoor activities and hobby is nature and landscape photography. Aside from taking in the sheer beauty of the outdoors in-the-moment, I love capturing its unrelenting beauty with my novice photography skills. With travel being one of my passions, I am always eager to devote time to outdoor photography while traveling whether domestically or internationally. I could spend an entire day admiring mother natures’ beauty and trying to capture it via photography. Though, my children often joke that I like outdoors from “afar”, let’s just say even with my love of trees and outdoor photography, you won’t find me roughing it tent camping any time soon.
- What is one of your favorite memories of experiencing the outdoors? What were the challenges? How did it benefit you?
When I reflected on what my favorite memory of experiencing the outdoors was, I could not come up with a single memory. Instead, my reflections, kept leading me back to my favorite outdoor memory being “my childhood”. Though not a singular memory, instead a series of core memories spanning across my childhood from learning to ride a bike at age 5 to enjoying bonfires on the beaches off the riverbanks in high school with my close friends. Looking back the outdoors is part of some of my fondest childhood memories. Playing outdoors appears to be a pillar of my childhood experiences and memories, my outdoor childhood memories, include so much more than learning to ride a bike and enjoying river side bonfires. My childhood was filled with the outdoors and built-in playmates with my uncle being three years my senior, my aunt being five years my senior, and my little brother, being two years younger than me, we grew up playing together like a group of four siblings.
I navigated childhood by playing street hockey with my Uncle and friends, riding bikes around the “penny lot” also known as a cul-de-sac just down the block from my Grandmother’s house too many times to comprehend, pretending to be skydivers with plastic shopping bags while jumping off our swing set’s playhouse with my little brother or playing army with a large pile of gravel intended to fill pot holes in the road as our battle ground and home base, countless games of neighborhood tag, freeze tag, and hide and seek, climbing trees until our hearts were content, building a tree house in our backyard, playing basketball in driveways, walking the few creeks that ran through town with my younger brother or friends for entire summer days, rescuing a few stray animals during my outdoor adventure and pleading with my Mom to let us keep them, bringing home countless frogs and toads and convincing my Mom they were meant to be pets in the house, going “mudding” with friends that owned four wheelers as a middle schooler, trying out roller blading and accepting that maybe it simply is not for everybody and certainly was not my strength, swimming in child sized pools in the middle of driveways or backyards and running through sprinklers until our toes and fingers tuned into “prunes”, or racing to grab a towel to place on the hot black leather seat of my Grandmother’s little silver convertible to avoid the hot seats burning the back of our legs when she surprised us with a trip to the ice cream shop for a dollar cone on a hot summer day.
The old saying, “come home when the streetlights come on”, certainly rang true in my childhood. If we were not home when the streetlights came on, you would hear my grandmother yelling from the front step of the house that it was time to come home. There were various kinds of challenges that arose during my childhood outdoor adventures, that challenged me to embrace teamwork, learn how to take responsibility for my actions when I made a poor choice or mistake, learn when to ask for help and when to challenge myself to keep trying and pushing through a challenging moment. These challenges and life lessons encouraged my childhood imagination, free spirit, and drive that eventually fueled my creativity and drive that are still very present in my adulthood. Most importantly, my childhood outdoors memories taught me how to find joy in the simple things and moments in life and to always treasure time with those you care about.
- What’s something you’d love to do more of outside?
The opportunities are endless when reflecting on this question. Though the first things that came to mind when presented with this question, was simply spending more time outdoors. I would love to work towards prioritizing more intentional time outdoors in my adulthood. Once outdoors, I would love to sit with the outdoors’ unwavering beauty and strength, that is ever evolving yet consistently resilient. I would love to allow myself more time to simply and truly, find stillness and appreciation while taking in all of mother nature’s grandeur. Of course, I would love more opportunities to capture all the outdoors has to offer via my photography.
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