I have always been deeply interested in supporting individuals to come into a deeper, more congruent, more loving relationship with themselves. I believe that this creates peace, and that what creates peace for individuals can ultimately create peace collectively.
There was always with me the drive to dive deep into myself and to assist others to do the same – to find the core of an issue and to nourish new growth from this place.
There has also always been a love of images, whether visual or verbal, that capture an inner truth in the way the logical mind cannot.
There has always been a love of divining in all its forms, in using any structure that assists me to track the essential truth of a person or a situation.
There has always been a deep love of stones, of forests and fields and their inhabitants, of trees. These things speak to me. They are my companions and my helpers.
And there has always the seeker, the lover of the big questions. Who are we? Why are we here? What happens when we die?
These attributes, which have informed my clinical practice, are now taking center stage as I retire from clinical counseling work to move fully into shamanic energy healing, the Hakomi Method, coaching and mentoring.
The Path to My New Home
Training and working in these modalities have been like coming home. For both my clients and me, being in the space that both Hakomi and the Shamanic Way foster is like a deep sigh, a place where lost pieces of ourselves may return, where we may re-set and see ourselves anew. It has been a journey, both personal and professional, to a place where I trust totally how body and intuition work together to tell us the truth of things and reveal what we need in order to be well, and happy, and free from fear.
My professional foundation is humanistic. My first training was in Gestalt Therapy, with Marty Fromn, who was a close friend and confidant of Fritz Perls, the creator of Gestalt Therapy. I completed graduate training in psychological counseling at McGill University (1983). This launched my counseling and therapy career in which I specialized in the treatment of trauma based disorders. While working privately and in agencies from the early 80s until now, I have pursued whatever training would help me respond more effectively to the issues clients brought to me. This I continue to do as a healer, coach and mentor, but no longer as a counselor and therapist.
On my journey to find better ways of helping clients deal with the impact of trauma, I had the good fortune to meet Ron Kurtz and be introduced to a way of bringing loving presence to traumatic memory and resulting patterns and attitudes as they are held in the body. I pursued training as a practitioner of the Hakomi Method in Montreal, learning how to teach and support loving presence, mindfulness, tracking self and others and also the skills of communicating what is experienced and seen, of ways of catalyzing deeper experiencing and self awareness. Ron Kurtz saw these skills not only as skills of healing but as skills of living. In 2009 I received certification as a practitioner of the Hakomi Method.
In 2009 I was drawn to explore shamanic healing as a way of recognizing and responding to negative patterns and imperatives that are intergenerational. Indigenous peoples recognize the power of ancestral contracts. They have powerful ways of working with shadow material, and they recognize all life as spiritual. I chose to train with the Light Body School of Alberto Villoldo and the Four Winds Society because of Alberto’s masterful way of bridging the concepts and practices of Peruvian Q’ero mountain medicine with western ways of understanding and working. In 2013 I received certification of my competence in luminous healing and shamanic energy medicine, and since then have been steadily completing one master's course after another. The last eight years have been an amazing journey of personal healing and transformation in addition to practicing powerful and beautiful energetic ways of healing.
In 2013 I had the opportunity to give roots to my shamanic practice when I experienced sacred plant medicine in the Amazon, explored sacred sites in the mountain region around Cuzco, Peru, and visited island peoples and sacred sites around Lake Titikaka. Lake Titikaka truly feels like the womb of the world, with its luminous waters glowing like amniotic fluid. Bearing daily witness to the continuous flow of gratitude and prayer that the Q’ero shamans offer earth and sky was deeply moving. The energy given off by their despachos or prayer bundles made the air around them sparkle. For a lover of stones like myself, the pre-Incan and Incan stonework was breathtaking. At the pachamama stone in Mach Pichu, I experienced a separate reality – a true gift of the energy anchored in that area. I returned home realizing that much as this medicine is transferable to a western context and is also needed here, one needs to be where the medicine was shaped and grown to have it take root more deeply in one’s being.