My vision began to take root some years after the tragic death of my 13 year old son, Billy. During those early years of grief I desperately sought healing. In my search I frequently attended grief workshops and read numerous grief books. While each offered valuable information on grief, none provided the healing I needed to mend my broken heart, my fractured soul.
In desperation I returned to the halls of formal learning. During my Master’s Degree studies I examined the notion of healing. This was no easy task, for in the mid 1980’s the word healing was only beginning to appear in the scientific and scholarly journals. When the word was used, it was generally in relation to an exploratory study on the value of one or more of the alternative methods of healing based upon Eastern philosophies that were beginning to enter the Western world. My need to understand healing in my own life submerged me deeply into a parallel process of learning these methods along side of my formal study of grief and trauma theories. I studied and applied methods of meditation, imagery and visualization and eventually became a clinical hypnotherapist. I delved into dream interpretation and art as therapy and mastered a number of energy transfer healing methods. While I obtained a graduate degree based on the knowledge of and application of theory, and this I value, I am forever grateful for the healing that the application of this parallel process brought to my life.
A further major gift I received while engaged in that learning process was to discover that for centuries, people worldwide began their healing process by first addressing soul concerns and that even today in countries less influence by western thought, people still begin their healing process by meeting first their soul’s needs. The discovery touched me deeply, for I was keenly aware that my deepest need was to heal my soul pain and that I did not know how to do so, for while I knew something of religion, I knew nothing at all about spirituality.
So one more time I returned to the halls of learning, this time to explore spirituality in detail and in depth. While formally this study was to focus on the application of spirituality to care-giving practices, informally the quest was to satisfy the numerous and imponderable soul questions that begged for answers. My search led me to other cultures, world views and belief systems, and to the discovery of the notion of soul loss. Immediately knowing the worth in this discovery, I mastered the practices and eventually reclaimed those parts of my own soul/self that had fled so many years previous.
Aware that my own healing would be a great gift to others, I accepted a contract to work with grieving and traumatized women in a federal prison. Since information, in and of itself, did not heal my trauma I suspected that neither would it heal their trauma. I dared! Instead of cognitive programming, I taught them mediation and imagery. I help them understand and apply the messages from their dreams and I guided them into deep trance, back to the times of their trauma to reclaim those parts of their soul/ self that had remained frozen in that time and space. The effects of these methods while positive for them were very encouraging for me. Their feedback gave me the courage to apply those same strategies with other individuals and groups and to document the effectiveness.
To date I have published numerous articles in both professional and lay journals. I have written chapters in text books and have published a booklet, Responding Soul to Soul: During Difficult Life Experiences. I have written three books, Journey to the Sacred: Mending a Fractured Soul, Setting the Captive Free, and Through Soul’s Eyes: Reinventing a Life of Joy and Promise. In the first, I share my story of healing and transformation, in the second book I describe the work I now do and offer directions and guidance for others to model. I have produced two award winning videos, Listening to Soul Pain and Healing Soul Pain, as well as five CDS. All focus on the application of methods for advancing along life’s journey. All are positive, inspirational, empowering and motivating.
I now focus much of my effort on teaching the application of these methods to therapists and other therapeutic healers. I have designed and developed three accredited certification training programs, the Trauma Recovery Certification, the Grief Support Certification, and the Suicide Intervention Certification. All three certification programs provide up- to- date and relevant information and effective experiential healing strategies, thus engaging and reintegrating the brains two hemispheres, an essential component of grief and trauma therapy.
The methods I teach and apply have now been used therapeutically with several thousand people, during individual counseling, in small group settings, with participants during training and have been introduced and applied during large group sessions at conference gatherings. Evaluations in each setting are excellent. Participants note that the methods make a significant difference in their grief and trauma. Participant comments indicate that the methods promote healing regardless of the sources, be it from the effects of significant grief and long-term trauma such as results from early childhood abandonment, or abuse or domestic violence, or from the trauma associated with a catastrophic onetime event such as witnessing a tragic death or being shot at. By helping to heal the stored memories and their associated flashbacks, these methods make a difference in the personal and professional lives, including the work lives of participants.
While in the beginning my quest was to find methods that would heal my own heart and soul, my life’s purpose and therefore my Vision is to spread this knowledge and its application to people around the world. My Vision is to apply what I have learned, from my own experience of grief and trauma, and from the healing I have done and witnessed in others, to help heal the physical, emotional, mental and soul wounds of the millions in our world who have been deeply wounded. My Vision is to let the world know that true healing is possible, that it can be each person’s reality. My Vision is to offer to all who choose healing, regardless of where they live, what culture they are from, or what religion they profess, the therapeutic tools to make this happen.