Barbara is a psychotherapist working in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, where she was born in November 1949. She brings a great deal of life and practical experience, education and wisdom to her practice along with a love of healing and exploring with people their journeys to health and wholeness.
Barbara's first career choice was to become a teacher. After secondary school, she trained to be an elementary school teacher and for the first few years of her worklife, soaked up all she could from her students while enjoying every minute of being in the classroom with them. She taught them how to read ,write and calculate, but starting at only age 18 herself, at times it felt more like "playing school". Very early on, she recognized a leaning and curiousity toward the child who had a harder time learning, the child who struggled with behaviour or emotional difficulties.
Two consecutive maternity leaves, the second for an adopted beautiful little physically and mentally challenged daughter opened new doors and opportunities for her to go back to school and specialize in special needs education. At the same time, a job in this area opened up and before long, Barbara was well into a second career. She became part of an exciting movement in the 70's to mainstream children who, up to that point, had had to be institutionalized.
When her husband moved to Vienna, Austria, in 1979,to work as an information officer for the United Nations, the family followed. In Europe, Barbara's eyes were not only opened to many different cultures, but for the first time she came to appreciate art, in its many forms, whether the art of architecture, dining or living. A whole new world opened up for her and her children.
And of course, once again, her career took a variety of twists and turns. She naturally fell into the role of assessing, prescribing and often overseeing special education programs for children in the international community, as there were not many others there who had her background. This was the beginning of a private practice. At the same time, she taught in the two largest international schools in the city, The Vienna International School and The American International School. As a classroom teacher, she developed programs in the Middle School to bring history alive. After all, it was at their doorstep.!
The opportunities were phenomenal and not being one to turn down challenges or opportunities, Barbara continued her own studies, joined her husband for a great deal of travel, learned with her students and her own children, developed programs, became a school administrator, initiated volunteer projects for students, worked on committees and teams, and generally had a very full and meaningful life.
By the year 2000, her own children had returned to Canada to pursue their paths, her husband had moved to the Middle East to pursue work opportunities and it was time for Barbara to move on to Asia as a school administrator. She accepted a position at the International School of Manila in the Philippines to head up the Special Needs and the Counselling Departments. While she was only there for a year, Asia had a profound influence on Barbara's life philosophy and her own evolution.
Again a different culture, where for the first time she witnessed the extremes of poverty and wealth living side by side each other, where she was on site for the most exciting moment of a bloodless revolution,in which the president was overthrown and the new president flown in by helicopter to speak to more than a million persons gathered for prayer. What a spectacular moment - the power of the people and the power of modern technology as it was said to be the first time in history where revolution by cell phone textmessaging was executed!
Upon her return to her home country the following year, she admitted she wouldn't have given up a minute of all her learning experiences. While in Europe she had continued her studies, acquiring two Masters Degrees, one in International Relations, where her focus had become the difficulties in the Middle East and another Masters in Education where her focus had become the psychological difficulties and relations within families and couples. The similarities between the two were greater than many might imagine!
The general passion Barbara brings to anything she does did not stop there.
Her two boys' love of and talent in the area of art inspired her to start to study it herself. The love of food inspired her to study not just cooking and eating but also nutrition as it relates to psychological and physical well-being. The one current running through all her passions has been health, whether the health of the planet and all living things on it but also the health of her children, her students, her clients, her pets, for it all goes together.
The gratitude of being able to be exposed to so many cultures and ways of being has contributed to the tolerance and compassion that Barbara brings to her own work and being. Studying, teaching, experiencing different religions and belief systems have opened her mind to so much more than the little scared girl born and raised in Guelph could ever have imagined. Even her fears, fears of raising her hand in the classroom as a youngster, fears of getting up in front of the class to make those painful dreaded public speeches year after year, fears of not being able to express herself, fears of not being heard, of being misunderstood, have lead her to push herself beyond the limits of her background physically, emotionally, mentally.
Now in her 50's she is still passionate about learning. She is still studying - art, nutrition, trauma, what makes us click. And she is still teaching. She hopes she has stepped over her own shadow, as a German expression goes, and she is no longer afraid to breathe and to be. In fact,she teaches breathing ! She practices getting healthier. She has published and presented internationally ........and she loves nothing more than to curl up on the weekend with her animals and family around her and just read, talk and rest.