My personal experience growing up was to be seen but not heard. As a sensitive person, I quickly became shy and afraid of the world. I decided it was unsafe and a dangerous place to live. As a teen, I was prone to depression and anger living in a violent and abusive home. Unable to cope I left permanently a the age of 17. I was reckless and tried to heal my pain as a hitch hiking musician traveling from Canada to Central America. When I arrived in B.C., I was fortunate enough to meet a teacher who was skilled in Indigenous practices and psychotherapy. His mentorship changed my life forever.
Throughout my time travelling and playing music there was one thing I always struggled with. I had an issue with my hands cramping up and staying that way for a few seconds before being able to move freely again. I remember asking one day to some friends I was playing with, "You know when you try to change chords on your guitar and your hands cramp up?" I had more to say but my friends all looked at me puzzled and shook their heads no. No one had any idea, including myself, that I was starting to exhibit the symptoms of Myotonic Dystrophy.
I was diagnosed years later at age 26 with the progressive, degenerative muscle wasting condition. Doctors new very little about my form of Muscular Dystrophy at the time and the prognosis was a terrible blow. It took me a long time to learn how to live with it. For the most part I have had to be the one education the doctors about it as it's rare and very little understood. To date there is still no cure, let alone medication or treatment.
Never could I be as healthy as I am today were I not committed my health and well-being. I used to walk with a cane but today I walk fine without and for the last 5 years my doctors have been puzzled by the lack of degeneration. When they ask me what I am doing I attribute my wellness to pilates, healthy relationships and dealing with my childhood trauma.
My interest in working with trauma lead me to earned a counselling certificate at Victoria’s Citizens Counselling Centre in 2005. Further programs offered at the centre afforded me Brené Brown's Shame and Resilience course, Marshall Rosenberg's Non-Violent Communication and couples counselling certification. For the last 13 years I have continued my volunteer services there and now also run a private practice from home.
In 2007 I graduated from the Trauma and Transformation program at Capacitar International. Practices are aimed at alleviating traumatic stress and trapped cellular memory on a physical level. As an instructor my focus is on helping individuals tap into their own ability to heal the effects of trauma, secondary trauma and compassion fatigue.
Most recently I completed a 2.5 day workshop with Dr. Gabor Maté aimed at health professionals called Compassion Inquiry. The course affirmed my philosophies and approach to trauma healing and will inevitably improve the quality of my work. Dr. Maté is a brilliant doctor with a huge heart. His ability to be vulnerable to his own humanness and responsible for it is absolutely breath taking. His compassion is so gentle and remarkable that even being in his presence in a humbling experience.
The last several years as a participant of the Landmark Forum and their leadership programs has allowed me to combine my love of music and groups to create Voices Unleashed.
My goal is to help others feel the freedom gained when one’s voice is fully self expressed. We have all experienced trauma on some level, feel constrained in some way. Singing is one of the most healing, joyful and fun ways to break free and have what we want to say be heard and our feelings be acknowledged.