Local psychotherapist's first book offers simple tools for complex issues

Cincinnati psychotherapist Laurie Sharp-Page recently achieved a childhood dream by publishing her first book.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but while it was a huge accomplishment for Sharp-Page, there was little public fanfare surrounding the May 10th release of Conscious Coping. She simply spread the news on her social media outlets and had a small family celebration. Sharp-Page acknowledges that in these shell-shocked, post pandemic days, low key celebrating is often more than enough. She plans to continue promoting the book via online resources including a mental health forum she has organized.

Mental health concerns have gained focus as a result of the rapid and unnerving changes experienced by many individuals in their work and home environments over the past couple of years. Sharp-Page herself became familiar at an early age with the devastating effects of sudden trauma when she experienced the tragedy of her father’s suicide at the tender age of 20.

“It took me well into my late 20’s to really start to heal, and to recognize that, while I had been extremely functional during that period of time in my life, I had also been very unwell and hadn't been dealing with the trauma that I had experienced,” says Sharp-Page.

Her goal in writing the book was to share the coping methodology she created in the wake of her own grief, broadly and accessibly, in order to help as many individuals as possible.

Sharp-Page says she is encouraged by the decreasing stigma and open conversation that has been developing around mental health in recent years. She believes the pandemic further opened the door to exploring mental health issues communally, and without guilt.

“I think what the pandemic has done for us is it's allowed everyone to take a second look around and be like, ‘Oh, that's right, it’s everyone,’” notes Sharp-Page. “We're all affected by our mental health in different ways, certainly. Not everybody's going to have a diagnosis, but I think we can all say having gone through this collective trauma together, like, this is real.”

She cites ineffective coping methods as a huge problem that there are many ways of eradicating, one of which is outlined in Conscious Coping: How to Stop Fighting Your Mental Health, Embrace Your Challenges, and Learn a New Way to Cope.

“I really think everyone is already spending energy to cope, but they're not necessarily paying attention to how they're spending that energy,” says Sharp-Page. “I believe we're all doing this work all the time. It's just we don't have a framework. We don't have language; we don't have the ability to really talk about it because it's so abstract.”

“How I cope is going to be different than how you cope. How you cope in one situation might be different than how you cope with another situation,” she continues. “And even further, how you cope effectively or healthfully for you in one situation may not be effective or helpful for you and another situation, so it's a very dynamic thing.”

In Conscious Coping, Sharp-Page gives the “language” to readers and uses the word “Embrace” as a handy pneumonic device for recalling the seven steps of coping outlined in the book. Utilizing this tool helps them find the most positive and appropriate methodology for any immediately stressful or chronic issue based on their own personal needs.

Sharp-Page’s book is available on Amazon here.

Her online community, Conscious Coping Club, which offers access to forums based on specific interests, can be found here:
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Read more articles by Eliza Bobonick.

Eliza Bobonick is a Cincinnati-based writer and a mother of three. Her work has been featured in such local and regional publications as Cincinnati CityBeat and Kentucky Homes and Gardens Magazine. She is a former musician whose interests include photography and interior design.