How I Got to Where I Am: Here's My Story
I obtained my undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a double major in sociology and social work. In the early 1980s, I worked as a social worker and case manager of a program in Minneapolis for those with chronic and persistent mental illness (my interest in this field came from my brother, who has had persistent mental illness).
I went to graduate school at the University of Minnesota at Duluth, and when I could not find the resources I was looking for, I started a self-help and support group for siblings and adult children of the mentally ill (and also as a result, designed and authored .
Continuing to find real need, I founded the National Siblings Network in the United States through the Alliance of the Mentally Ill, and am proud to say that Australia adopted my eight-stage protocol and incorporated it into there primary national program for families of the mentally ill.
As a lifelong-learner and someone who is incredibly inquisitive, I have studied and investigated many, many different topics and areas of interest. It is accurate to state I employ a multicultural approach in my work, as I know each person has to find a spiritual practice and lifestyle that is personally relevant for them.
To paint a picture of the areas I have explored and studied, I will share the highlights. These include: cognitive-behavioral therapy, mind training, thought transformation, creativity, Buddhist philosophy, transpersonal counseling, inutitive development, narrative therapy, eco-psychology, group dynamics and systems theory.
Also along the way, I have studied neurolinguistic programming (NLP)and rational emotive therapies (RET). I have explored and studied the role of creativity and journaling in one's spiritual life and view creativity as an intricate part of an active and satisfying life. My own journaling practice began at the age of 16, along with my introduction into the I Ching and meditation. I came to value narrative therapies (storytelling) in helping others to transform suffering and negativityI am a teacher of Vipassana (mindfulness) meditation (which I have practiced for three decades). I have been the student of Rebirthing Breathwork instruction, as well as Shamanic Breathwork, Holotrophic and Bindu Breathwork™ for nearly three decades. And, I have studied and applied mandala work and the healing power of circles, wheels, and mandalas in the transformative process.
All of these approaches and philisophical systems are found in the basic principles and tenets of my work with others. Through my lifelong study and exploration, I was led to develop my and the Initiation Course, which I have led for two decades now. My next adult book: The Meaning Maker takes the individual from being a "seeker" to a meaning maker. I have also offered my Spiritual Journaling classes since 1999 with great success.
I also have an strong interest in the integrity of teachers, counselors and others who have an influence on other's well-being. Each of my ten books addresses the special relationships between therapist and client, as well as student and teacher. I have researched and written on Spiritual Seduction, the Narcissistic teacher and what to look for in a teacher. In Teen Psychic I help youth be careful in seeking psychics for help. I also have studied and written on the topic of adult bullying and have several blogs about the topic. Finally, nature is central to everyone's health, wholeness and well-being and in my books & work bring our personal relationship to nature into the query and healing process. I am married to a wild-life biologist and live, happily, in the country among the wild things . . .
Of course, I’m not finished exploring and learning, every day brings forth another opportunity for me to make meaning and to be of benefit to others.