I am a registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW) and have a Masters Degree from the University of Toronto. I am also a member in good standing with the Ontario Association of Social Workers.
I was born and raised in small communities in Northwestern Ontario where I married young and had two beautiful children.
When my marriage dissolved unhappily in the early 80’s, I moved with my children to Thunder Bay and returned to school. As a single parent attending university, I struggled to hold on while living on the edge of poverty, feeling isolated and at times depressed.
At various times I sought out counseling and quickly discovered the value of a good therapist. These experiences helped shape me personally and professionally. It was during this time I learned what to do and what not to do as a therapist through my own experiences.
I don’t really remember what therapeutic models were used. No fancy techniques come to mind. However, what impacted me most was the kindness and compassion of some of those therapists… the ones that listened with sincerity… gently pushing me to find my own answers, challenging me to build on my strengths and teaching me to hold my pain and suffering differently. These were the ones that I remember to have been the most effective and the ones I most wanted to emulate.
While attending university, I volunteered and was later employed at the Faye Peterson Transition House, a shelter for women and children from home situations where domestic violence had been a factor.
I received summer work experience at the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital and upon graduation, returned there to work for over 10 years. These positions provided me with invaluable knowledge about mental health, social issues, basic human need, human resilience and the capacity we all have to suffer and yet thrive.
During my short sabbatical from counseling, I taught overseas for a couple of years with my current partner. Learning another language, a new culture, and learning a lot about my relationship and myself was a valuable experience that I will never forget.
When I returned to Thunder Bay I was employed at the Thunder Bay Counselling Centre for a number of years, and then worked at Lakehead University. During this time, I was introduced to mindfulness and began my own regular practice of mindful meditation and mindfulness in everyday life.
Recently I discovered Mindful Self-Compassion and also found this to be a very comfortable fit. It most closely resembled the kind of work I had already been doing in my counselling practice.
For me it is not just a useful way to do my work, it has also become a way of life. I truly believe that being compassionate with others starts with being compassionate with ourselves. It really does ease personal suffering. I am living proof. It has eased mine immeasurably.
Even though my training and practice involves a variety of different theories and approaches (Narrative, Family Systems and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) my primary focus is centered in Loving Kindness and Self-Compassion with a Mindfulness and Acceptance Based Approach.
My areas of interest include mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, grief and loss, managing stress, struggles in relationships, and life transitions (adjusting to retirement or adjusting from married to single life).
In my practice you will be respected and gently supported while you find your way to free yourself of pain and suffering or simply to a happier place.