The Path Less Traveled
Here I share part of my personal story for two reasons:
- To explain how creativity and acquired skills helped me find my own way out of dysfunctional traps and how they now power the unique expertise I offer today.
- To honor the reality that my own life experience—hard as it’s been sometimes– has given me a nonjudgmental appreciation for the issues you now face.
Ever since I was a little girl, I believed in creating a better world. Back then, my original allies were stuffed animals and one very long-suffering Great Dane. I took them all into my confidence, helped them when they seemed sad, took them on walks to remind them of the beauties of nature, and decorated their foreheads with multi-colored band aids to fix suspected injuries. (It was at this point that my Great Dane finally had enough and bolted for freedom!)
Growing up in the beautiful western Allegheny hill country of Pennsylvania, I remember walking barefoot in wet summer grass, reading the adventures of Tarzan beneath a blossoming dogwood tree. Dreaming, always dreaming of what I wanted my life to be: filled with travel and adventures, romantic love, and swashbuckling feats of daring. Never once did I envision a life of serenity and calm.
Always, I not only wanted to see the world, but somehow make it better.
Sadly, there was also a dark side to my childhood. I was blessed to have my material needs taken care of but, like so many kids, I encountered abuse.
Also, like most kids, I didn’t have anything to compare it to, so I simply lived through it all and survived.
Much later, as a counselor and hypnotherapist, I now realize that while “living through this”, I created beliefs within me to help me cope and survive—beliefs that helped keep my “inner child” safe
During early adolescence, I experienced enough trauma to essentially destroy my innate self-esteem, leaving a “dark hole”, an inner emptiness, in my psyche that replaced my once joyful sense of exploration.
Of course, as a 13-year-old, there was no way I was conscious of any of this. It was mood rings, the Beatles, and Ouija Boards for me. Over the next few years, as I matured, I began to learn about the civil rights movement and the emerging Vietnam War. I became a 60s activist and left home at 16.
Needless to say, I was very fortunate to be able to find a new home with the family of a close friend.
Living with my friend’s family (and all 5 of her younger brothers and sisters!), I discovered for the first time the uncomplicated warmth of a healthy family. I was especially blessed because this was also a family of artists and activists: people who, like me, believed in creating a better world.
Experiencing an entirely new model of how a family could function, with love, warmth, humor, hard work, and honest communication gave me a life-long gift. But–as with many important gifts–I was far too young to appreciate it at 17.
Instead, I soon went off the deep end with drugs. Recovering from one of the most dangerous periods of my life– while still a teenager–I married, divorced, traveled across America and Europe, wrote poetry, and tried to ignore the “unmoored desperation” I still felt inside. It was a desperation that drove me to make more and more destructive choices.
Even though I had learned—the hard way—that drugs were a nightmare trap, I still hadn’t figured out that the emptiness and insecurities I struggled with had their roots way back in my childhood experiences.
I now know that my “Inner Child” beliefs were doing their best to keep me safe in the only way they knew how. Sadly, they weren’t able to do a very good job. (See the website’s “Inner Child” page for more information about how we get trapped in this dynamic.)
Like many of us, I got very good at pretending I knew what I was doing. I didn’t need anyone’s help—of course not!
Of course, the reality I was frantically trying to avoid was that, despite the self-confident façade I projected, inside I was essentially a young woman struggling with serious relationship and financial issues. A woman who depended on outer validation and relationships to feel any sense of safety or happiness.
Yet, I was nevertheless bound and determined to present an “I got this” face to the rest of the world!
What saved me was a blessed combination of tools that gradually emerged in my life as I continued to self-destruct; hellbent as a battered, dying moth determined to reach the fire that will doom her.
First it was my rediscovery of writing—my personal creative process—that came to my rescue.
After decades of being shut down creatively, a sense of grace and healing began to move into my life. Suddenly, I recognized an emerging, if fragile, faith that there must somehow be a better way to live—and maybe, just maybe, I deserved to discover it. I believe this “voice” had been trying to get my attention for a long time. Only this time, I was exhausted and desperate enough to finally listen.
In response, I instinctively reached back into my childhood and began to reclaim the things I used to love. Rediscovering my childhood and adolescent love of writing, I set time aside to put pen to paper (much easier than the typewriters and word processors we were using back then!).
As I wrote, bit by bit, I began to tunnel my way out of sorrow, self-inflicted wounding, poverty, and panic.
I remember lifting my head up from a page of writing that I had just created and gazing out my apartment window at a tree-lined city street. Suddenly, I recognized that, yes, there was a world out there. And, for the first time in decades, I realized it held beauty and potential as well as nightmares.
Creativity was now providing me with the strength to connect with that potential and beauty—after years of banging my head against my own internal walls, denying its existence or–worse– ignoring it in favor of self-destruction.
The second tool I rediscovered was more subtle, but almost equally important. It was my childhood love of stories, ranging from fairy tales to mythology to true history and adventure. These wonderful tales now re-captured my imagination. For they too, I realized, were another way to experience beauty, to explore our human adventure and potential.
These two important discoveries next inspired me to teach others. I became an Artist in Residence, a professional storyteller, and a creative writing teacher. In this way I was able to share these treasured resources with children, adolescents, and adults successfully.
I now weave these skills into my hypnotherapy practice by offering specific techniques in how to discover and honor your own unique story in a manner that will not only deepen your sessions with me but will give you tools to enrich your life going forward.
During my career as a drug and alcohol counselor, I additionally learned the importance of accountability, forgiveness, and creativity in recovery as I worked with clients determined to break through the quicksand of addiction and the hellish toll it had already taken on themselves and their loved ones.
Most recently, I have added hypnotherapy and past life regression therapy to my practice. They represent the culmination of my life’s work.
For me, hypnotherapy is simply one of the most wonderful, straightforward, and accessible methods I’ve ever discovered for supporting positive change in our lives.
BRINGING IT HOME:
How My Experiences Are Relevant To Our Work Together
In my sessions now, I bring all the elements I’ve described to share with you, allowing me to intuitively key into your individual issues and offer clarity, insight, creativity, and client-centered solutions that we can share together during and after every session.
Having so much personal experience of what happens when things go wrong in our lives, I also offer the additional tool of “creativity coaching” that is automatically yours as my client
My background also allows me to be both nonjudgmental and “big picture” oriented, willing to support you as you explore your own subconscious answers and gain mastery over your goals without consistently having the rug pulled out from under you by the subconscious issues that have been sabotaging you for years. I know, all too well, what that feels like!
During our sessions, I will also encourage you to create your own personal “survival toolkit”. I will ask you simply to remember what gives you joy.
Your inspirational “tools” may, and probably will, be different from mine. My role is to help you to re-discover them. Often, they may be waiting for you in the forgotten afternoons of your childhood. Don’t overlook them anymore 😊
As a professional hypnotherapist, this is why I choose to focus on Inner Child work; to support you in rediscovering the power of the activities, experiences, and hobbies you once loved as a child. These are important tools for your healing as an adult that are often forgotten, denigrated, or dismissed as you grew older. This is especially true if you have experienced traumas that have hidden these positive resources in the past.
Exploring your Life’s Purpose links with your Inner Child discoveries as does the potential use of the Past Life Regression process. These techniques all offer you an even bigger picture; a road map for going forward into the fulfilling future you’ve always dreamed of.
Yes, it really can happen for you!
Of course, you may also continue to navigate your life’s journey on your own, through the process of self-discovery, but it can be a long and difficult slog. It took me many decades to reach the point where I am today. My service to you is that I cut the timeline down – I speed up the process so that you can achieve important healing insights without the struggle of many long emotionally exhausting years!
Here, I share my personal background with you because I believe our human stories matter. We are all more than the credentials we’ve earned or the work we do.
This content page is not merely more “about me”. Essentially, I’m living proof that the techniques I offer work! No matter how despondent or discouraged you may be—there is a way out. It’s not always easy but I, and others like me, stand ready to be your guide.
If this resonates with you, I would be honored to answer your Discovery Call!
And, yes, since I know you’re curious: I still possess and bandage stuffed animals—only now they share my office instead of my treehouse. 😊