In the broadest sense the best description of me and my work is – integrative healer. This reflects both an integrative approach to my work and a focus on helping people re-integrate aspects of themselves or their lives that have been pushed aside or lost. It has however been a long journey to arrive at this work.
The bulk of my formal academic training prepared me to be a licensed psychologist and that is where I began my professional career – as a staff psychologist in university and college counseling centers. There was much about the privilege of working with young people that I found rewarding. I especially liked helping them discover who they were and supporting them in moving into the world with confidence and pride. Nonetheless, I always felt a bit out-of-step or like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.
In part this was because my early work was often with survivors of abuse and in particular childhood abuse. Because abuse is first and foremost experienced in our body, I began to see that real and genuine healing often needed something beyond talk, something that helped heal the body. Thus, I set out to learn about body-centered therapies and the human energy matrix.
Eventually, I felt brave enough to begin to incorporate somatoenergetic interventions into my work with survivors. In turn, somatoenergetic work nudged me toward exploring the way abuse also impacts our core self, our soul. Finally, this exploration ultimately lead me to the study of shamanic healing. My book, The Art of Inner Listening: Medicine for the Soul in the Wake of Abuse describes an integrative approach to working with survivors of abuse. This integrated model is shaped by a shamanic cosmology and fluidly integrates psychological and somatoenergetic interventions.
I found this integrative work to be profoundly more rewarding and satisfying. Nonetheless, as my study of shamanic practice deepened I came to understand that even this more integrative model was still not an ideal fit for me. The work described in my book maintained psychotherapy as the principle container into which somatoenergetics and a shamanic understanding were integrated. Psychotherapy practiced in this way honored the importance of soul based work however it did not see the mending of the soul as its principle work. Eventually, I came to understand that medicine for the soul is the work that I am called to do. This realization propelled me out of the confines of psychotherapy, launching me more fully into shamanic healing.
In my work as a shamanic healer, I am not willing to set down my deep knowledge of the impact of abuse on our mind and relationships or to stop using somatoenergetic interventions that clear imprints in the body and energy field. Thus my work, while primarily shaped by shamanic practice, remains integrative. Likewise I am not willing to completely abandon a hope that our work as mental health providers, especially with survivors of childhood abuse, can be more integrative. Thus I continue to offer professional development workshops, on integrative healing, for mental health providers.
In the end, I bring a deep belief that everybody – providers and clients alike – can reconnect with our soul. In so doing we can work and live with more compassion, find more joy, and have more peace. This is, I believe, the medicine that our individual and collective souls are longing for. For more detailed information about my educational background and formal training click here.