Today’s woman was never taught how to look inside herself and find her “spiritual place,” counselor Suzette Bowen told those attending a recent luncheon focusing on the Power of an Authentic Woman.

Bowen talked to a group of more than 200 women about steps they can take to find that inner peace and learn how to take care of themselves.

“All of us are wounded people because we haven’t been taken care of properly,” she said.

“Humans are not taught how to look inside, so when a crisis hits, we fall apart.”

Bowen, a resident of Ascension Parish, is a Christian counselor and licensed professional counselor with a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling. She is founder of Couples Care Center and Counseling Services.

The annual luncheon was hosted by the St. Elizabeth Hospital Women’s Advisory Council, a group of 34 volunteers whose goal is to provide health education and information for area women and families.

Bowen said an authentic woman knows herself and is willing to be truthful about her needs and wants.

One of the major barriers to understanding oneself is a fear of change, she said.

“We hate change,” she said. “We want to stay in our norm.”

The fear of change is why many people stay in an abusive situation.

“We fear the unknown,” she said. “We don’t like to confront. We’re scared of change because we don’t know what it means.”

Finding a spiritual, inner peace is key to overcoming the fear of change, she said.

Meditation is an important component of finding the strength to face change, she said.

She suggested that women find a “place in your life to go to be true to you.”

She said a quiet corner of the house, or a spot outside “that you can call your own” is an important part of the journey to face change.

The council also honored longtime hospital education program worker Harriet Walters, who retired in December.

Walters headed up the luncheon for years and worked with the council to provide educational programs in the community.