RN, BSN, MSN
This biography might be a little different than the usual. If you want all the usual stuff… I have provided that information for you in a link at the end of this and you can go directly there and skip all the rest, if that is what you are looking for. But I assure you that all of that usual stuff will not tell you anything about me really – about what inspires me to be doing the kind of work I do, why I am passionate about it or what kind of person I am. Nor will it tell you how I think about things like change, healing, how to suffer less and be more content with life as it is. But if you keep reading I think you will get a good glimpse of all that.
Just a little of the ‘usual’ hard to avoid it all together.
I have worked in the field of mental health since 1978, after completing my Masters of Science in Nursing in a program at the University of Alabama in Birmingham that allowed me to specialize in counselling, psychotherapy and consulting. For the first ten years of my career I worked in hospital based programs, both in-patient and outpatient in both the USA and Canada.
Since 1989, I have worked in community-based programs. The first in Kingston, Ontario and since 1997, I have been in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
If I had to make a guess, I would say that I have provided help and support to hundreds of people by providing counselling and psychotherapy to individuals, couples, families and groups. I have also conducted over 200 workshops, presentations and training sessions on a wide variety of topics, to varied businesses, organizations and community groups.
Over the years I have benefited from learning about my trade and the tools of my profession from many wonderful, gifted and brilliant teachers, many models, methods and ways of working. If it matters and you are familiar with some of the language of this trade, they have included: Family Systems (Bowen, Satir), Structural Family Therapy (Minuchin), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Meichenbaum, Beck, Ellis), Narrative Therapy (White), and Relational-Cultural Therapy (Miller, Jordan, Surrey, Stiver), just to name the most influential for me.
However, since 1997 I have practiced primarily from a Mindfulness and Acceptance Based Approach. More recently (2008) incorporating Practices of Loving-Kindness and Self-Compassion (Germer, Siegel, R.D., Fulton, Siegel, D., Neff, Brach, Salzberg, Linehan, Hayes, Kelly, Harris) and many others.
There is more to this story though, a really important story,so please read on.
My interest in Mindfulness was initially a personal one. In 1996 I took a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course during a time in my life that involved a lot of heartbreak and suffering.
Shortly after completing the course the first time, I took it again. I was profoundly impacted by what I learned about my own suffering and ways of working to relieve it. These were profoundly different ways than anything I had experienced before. These were ways that were totally foreign to me, even to the beliefs I held about suffering, pain, healing and wanting to be free from suffering-well, and the desire we all have of course, to be happy and live a purposeful and meaningful life!
This was a pivotal point in my life. It helped to bridge a gap that I had felt for many years between the me that was personal and the me that was professional.
Early (and I do mean early, as in young person) in my life I had a strong inclination and desire to help people. I took an interest and had a sensitive awareness to pain and suffering. I noticed it most strongly in my family and friends, but I also noticed it with complete strangers and people I knew.
Then early on in my work life I came to realize that my own life experience had a strong influence on my desire to pursue a career dedicated to helping people who were in pain and were suffering.
As I’ve moved through life, including my work life, I have embraced the fact that there are no degrees of separation. Though the circumstances of my life and the lives of those who invite me to help them may or may not be different, they overlap in both expected and unexpected ways.
This is a simple, universal truth and how could it be otherwise? I am human and imperfect…always a work in progress and, I too, have struggled and been challenged by life circumstances. I too, have and do experience pain and suffering-heartbreak, grief and loss, depression and loneliness. I also know what it takes to bring about healing and change.
I know what hard work and dedication it can take. I also know the other side of this hard work and dedication… the moments of joy, love, creativity, connection and gratitude. And, yes… those moments of happiness.
I have also born witness to this in the lives of people who have invited me to support them on their own journey; have been inspired by the resiliency of their spirit, their inherent wisdom and creativity, their dedication to survive and thrive even in times of great despair, desperation and fear.
Life itself has been my most profound teacher-perhaps this is also a simple universal truth…I know it is mine. But it has also been my good fortune to have had family, friends, partners, therapists, colleagues and teachers (both formal and informal) who have been with me on this journey; Who’s kindness, compassion, love, caring and enduring belief in ME, has shaped and supported me to continue to do the work I do…to embrace the person that I am-in all aspects of my one and only precious life.
This is the attitude with which I approach the work that I do when people are asking for my help-regardless of what they are looking for or hoping for in their lives; and this is what I have to offer: a pathway, companionship and support, kindness, compassion, and practices that may help you cope differently with suffering and awaken you to joy as well.
So, if somehow knowing a little bit about me, about my own journey, what matters to me and how I see this making a difference in my own life…if this inspires you, has you interested in any way…then let me know. Lets talk about what you are hoping for.
Maybe you are interested both for yourself and other people you know who may want the same things. These are important moments in our lives…to find the people who will inspire us, who will accept us as we are and still inspire us to live the life that we wish for ourselves. If you are reading this then you are thinking about taking a step to do just that…I encourage you…take that step…with kindness and care for your one and only precious life!
Some more usual stuff, but a brief synopsis…then you can click on the link if you wish the lengthy description…I’ll warn you though it is not nearly as interesting as what I’ve already told you:
I am registered with the College of Nurses of Ontario and a member in good standing with the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario where I am also a member of the Independent Practice Nurses Interest Group.