Journey to Self-Empowerment

By Bethany Hoppe

All of my life I knew what I wanted to do.  And that was to help people.  Growing up with Spina Bifida, much of my playtime was spent pretending I was either a surgeon or a nurse.  My dolls and stuffed animals were my patients, with my mother’s living room as the hospital ward.  Back in the day of glass I.V. bottles, after some of my own hospital stays, nurses would send me home with a clean empty I.V. set without the needle for me to play with.  Raggedy Ann was usually the one hooked up.  From time to time, my favorite stuffed dolphin had a line of saline taped to her fin to revive her (little did I know then how apropos that was).  I was incredibly elaborate and detailed in my playtime.  It was real to me!

As I prepared to go to university, I was fortunate enough to qualify for OVR (Occupational Vocational Rehabilitation) support for my education; a government incentive to pay for an associates or bachelors degree education for people with disabilities.  Even though my high school grades were not the greatest, I knew that I could focus and learn.  I also knew that with my own lifetime of hospital experiences, I had unparalleled bedside manner, unwavering ethics, and a first hand understanding of the hospital experience from the other side of the bed rails. 

During my initial OVR intake interview, I confidently stated that I would be declaring myself as a pre-nursing major, with the intention of graduating with an RN’s license.  I wanted to specialize in neo-natal, pediatrics, or ET nursing – based on logistics – even though I secretly wanted in that O.R. (operating room).  I will never forget the expression of the OVR counselor, tapping his fingers together in a point, and dully telling me flat out, “No.  We won’t fund that.  You’re not hirable.” 

There was no inquiry into why I wanted to become a nurse.  There was no consideration that I came from a family of nurses.  My mother, my aunt, my sister, and now my niece on my mother’s side of the family…more are on my father’s side of the family.  We are nurses.  I was devastated and angry.  When I went on to my next occupational goal of elementary education that also got a resounding “No!”

In his opinion, I would not be hirable in that field either.  It was predetermined that I would not be able to control a classroom.  Here it is important to point out that if my dolls and stuffed animals weren’t “in the hospital,” during playtime…they were lined up in the “classroom.” 

Eventually I landed a green light from OVR when I declared as a psychology major, which was first hotly argued that I should actually be a social work major instead.  This battle I won by digging my proverbial stiletto heels into the ground and not breaking eye contact.  I later switched to Communications and graduated with a bachelor’s in speech communications, and later earned my master’s in communication studies.

Fast forward to today.  I am now a seasoned university lecturer, teaching communications, public speaking, voice diction, small group, and gender classes to packed classrooms.  I love my work and I adore my students.  Despite this job satisfaction, for which I am tremendously grateful, I still think about helping people in a hospital setting as a nurse. 

Over the last decade or more, I have begun to incorporate alternative medicine and holistic health into my life for both healing and prevention, alongside traditional medicine.  And there I have found a way to meet my inner passion to help people become better:  Spiritual Counseling.  

In addition to teaching at the university full time, I have begun a consulting business where I work with clients to help them discover what is at the core of their illness, their roadblocks to success, and even their quest to spiritually recover from all of the religious and social constructs impressed upon us since childhood, through a spiritual or metaphysical lens.  It is not psychology, as I briefly majored in. It is Life Coaching.Guided conversation – communication – that I did major in.  In addition to my regular education, I am also a student of Metaphysical Counseling.

I work with clients in private and confidential one-hour sessions during which I incorporate meditative and relaxation techniques, as well as verbal and visual exercises that help people reclaim their personal power, and revive their True Self.  Together, we discover and state what the deep-seeded issues, emotional traumas, and limiting belief systems are that are preventing them from enjoying a full life of health, prosperity, and balance at their most optimal level.  The goal is assisting clients to re-state and articulate affirmations that impress into their consciousness new tracks of positive thinking and intention, combined with breathing exercises, short meditative techniques, career and assertive voice training, and visualizations.

So, while I may not be rushing around a hospital ward administering medicine and beside care…I collaborate with clients to help them heal themselves at the core of their injury, their trauma, their coping mechanisms, and their self-negating belief systems. 

I specialize in working with women with disabilities – because in my opinion – they are the least represented, most misunderstood and under-utilized population in the United States.  Women in general are overwhelmed with unrealistic expectations impressed on us through the media, social constructs, and often times, religious institutions.  Women with disabilities are facing that and so much more. 

My joy and newfound work is helping them heal their self-image, and the extremely misguided, incorrect image society tries to place upon them.  I am a “veteran” woman with a lifelong disability, who through grace, support, and an extraordinary amount of personal searching, has visited and returned from the dark side of the moon. 

Now I want to help others over the hurdles and barriers that aren’t exactly about curb cuts and elevators.  I want to help women over the hurdles and barriers concerning the inner self – the first and most looming access issue that needs to be faced. 

Bethany A. Hoppe is available for in-person private and confidential consultations at her office located in the Synergy Holistic Wellness Center in Murfreesboro, TN.  Or she is available for virtual Skype sessions.  To learn more about Bethany’s work, or to book an appointment, visit  You can also keep up with her on Facebook at

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