I help business women and busy women transform stress so that they can feel better about themselves and cope effectively when the crap hits the fan.
I also work with women and men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, or domestic violence, supporting them to recover from the effects of trauma and enjoy life more.
But what I really do is hold loving space for you so you can see your light, because love, both fierce and tender, is a powerful force for change.
In my 17+ years working in the mental health and personal growth field, I have logged thousands of hours helping hundreds of women recover from the effects of stress and trauma. I have been providing mental health and personal growth services to individuals and groups in a variety of public and private settings since 2000. I have specific experience and training supporting women and men who have lived through childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault. I have also been facilitating classes and trainings locally, internationally and online for over 17 years.
I hold a Masters in Counselling and Spirituality, am certified as a trainer in both Nonviolent Communication and Focusing (the third in the world to hold this dual certification), and am a Registered Social Worker. In addition, I am a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher, with formal studies in Yoga therapy, as well as Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Wicca, Paganism, and Women’s Spirituality.
“I use the word “love” here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or grace. Not in the… sense of being made happy but the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”
Here is the story of my own healing journey and how I came to this work.
I have experienced sexual assaults and domestic violence. I lived in a shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence. I have lived on social assistance as a single mother. Mental illness has affected me (I experience depression and anxiety) as well as my family members. My life has been affected by the alcoholism and addiction of family members. I was an Al-Anon member for many years and still work the 12 steps in all my affairs.
In 2001, I contracted a life-threatening illness. Although I recovered my physical health, the cumulative effects of the illness and the other stresses and traumas in my life meant that my mental health was deeply affected. A year-long personal crisis period followed. In the midst of the chaos, when I thought it couldn’t get worse, yet one more crisis occurred, and that was what woke me up. I began therapy with a trauma-sensitive counsellor and joined Al-Anon. That was the start of a 10-year period of intensive practice and study in personal growth, change processes and spirituality.
Today, I am gratefully living a personal and professional dream-come-true. I’m finally working in the career of my dreams (it took me 25 years to get here!), my intimate relationship just keeps getting better and better, I live close to the natural world, and I have rich friendships and family relationships.
I have recovered an abundant and joyful life from a history of trauma. This is not a pollyanna-ish joy, but a joy that can co-exist in a human life that features tears, snot, blood and sweat.
It’s not because I’m “healed” that I can be an effective companion for people on healing journeys. Our wounds never completely heal. I have chosen to have a compassionate relationship with mine. In interpersonal trauma, the wound is relational. Healing my relationship with myself is balm for the wounds of interpersonal trauma.
Through this compassionate relationship with myself, I have a way to be with whatever emotions, memories and thoughts my insides have to show me, and this has, and continues to, sustain me through all sorts of difficulties. Being with others in this way, and teaching this way of “being with” whatever comes, is how I embody my vision for bringing a more loving and peace-filled world into being.
Politics, Spirituality and a Little Bit More
We are sexual and spiritual beings and I attend to these two dimensions of human being when they are relevant to the counselling process. I am an LGBTQQIAAP ally (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Allies, Pansexual and Polyamorous) and take a sex-positive approach to life.
My spiritual journey has been influenced by 12-step recovery, Buddhist and earth-based practices, and I make my spiritual home in the Jewish community.
I identify with the anarchist principles of freedom (non-coercion or nonviolence), equality, mutual aid and solidarity. (Check out this funny but valuable essay: Are You An Anarchist? The Answer May Surprise You.) To me, Person-centred counselling, Focusing and Nonviolent Communication are anarchic and feminist, liberatory practices. Embodying inner and outer nonviolence–or love–on a daily basis is at the heart of my political action. I nourish myself using all the modalities I teach and use as a counsellor, including doTERRA essential oils, Focusing, Tapas Acupressure Technique, self-empathy, meditation and Yoga.
In the past I worked as a radio journalist and a translator. I love languages (French, Spanish and English are all I speak currently, although I have plans to master Hebrew and Yiddish one day), and I’m a real language geek; I actually read dictionaries and look up etymology for fun. I don’t watch TV much (although I have been watching The Young and the Restless for 36 years!) but I think the internet was created for the sole purpose of propagating cat videos.
I love to laugh and wish for more opportunities to do so. I live on 13 acres of land near Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, with my beloved husband, who is a freelance translator and horse-lover. I am also mother to an adult daughter. My relationship with her and my husband have been crucibles of great learning.