For over 24 years, I have been developing, refining, and teaching my signature programs Heart Work Scripts™, Path of the Heart Intensive Weekends, and Wise Woman Rising® Coaching Program. One of the essential tools of each program is the Shame Reduction Script for Your Younger Self © 2016.
My goal has been to empower women and men to reconnect with their hearts, their feeling nature, and their most real and authentic Self. The longest eighteen inches in the world is the journey between the head and the heart. Many of us lose our heart connection due to trauma, painful childhood/adult experiences, dysfunctional family relationships, and cultural patterns. The good news is our hearts and soul are strong and resilient and can weather many storms. Reclaiming our hearts, authenticity, voice, and bodies lead to emotional agility and a renewal of our commitment to life. Through healing the younger selves who live inside of us, we naturally become more resilient, more adult, and easily access what I call our Wise Woman and Wise Man Self. When we live from this part of our being, we find insight and the courage to claim clarity, healing, and transformation.
I am a Gestalt-Psychodynamic- Mindfulness-Heart-centered counselor and life coach/mentor. I reside in Fort Worth, Texas, and offer distance work through video conferencing. Working with me, expect to reclaim your heart and feeling nature, and release old wounds around shame, inadequacy, fear, and guilt. Heal codependent and dysfunctional patterns, develop emotional agility (the ability to be aware and understand your own and others’ feelings), foster internal resiliency, learn to set functional boundaries with self and others, and re-engage with the vibrancy of life. Our work together facilitates deep healing and increased self-awareness leading to the ability to reclaim your authentic or True Self and love your Self deeply.
At the age of 35, I found myself at the end of another relationship where I had given myself away, both figuratively and literally, to someone who was
emotionally unavailable. Heartbroken, I was forced to come face to face with myself and all of my dysfunctional relationship choices. I recall a friend saying, “have you heard of the book Codependent No More”? I remember the hair stood up on the back of my neck, and I thought, “I don’t know what a codependent is, but I’m not one of them.” After all, I was a successful entrepreneur and looked like I had it all together. But the truth was my relationships were a mess; I was a war with my body and continuously seeking validation through relationships and achievement. So fast forward a few months, and I’m standing in the aisle of a popular bookstore, and there is Melody Beattie’s book Codependent No More staring back at me. I remember crying a lot while reading it and desperately wanting it not to be true. I was a codependent. So now, what was I going to do about it?
These events started a tidal wave of soul-searching for me which included an expedition to rescue and heal the lonely, shame-filled inner child, adolescent, and young woman who had been waiting a lifetime for me to remember her. I did inner child work and toiled through my family of origin. Eventually, I attended several 12-Step groups for Adult Children of Alcoholics and Alanon, in addition to working weekly with a therapist. I discovered that I had to learn how to be there for myself, re-parent myself, and love me. What I had endlessly been seeking in relationships with men had to be found within my own heart. I read every book I could find on codependency, dysfunctional family dynamics, adult children of alcoholics, and inner child healing. I attended conferences and workshops with fantastic teachers, Pia Melody, Melody Beattie, John Bradshaw, and Claudia Black.
Through my counseling with a Gestalt, psychodynamically-oriented therapist, I understood the learned dysfunctional patterns of thought, feeling, and behaviors from childhood. I’d carried the family patterning (emotional abandonment, trauma and betrayal bonds, addiction, disordered eating, codependency, and love addiction) into my adult relationships. Over and over, these patterns had led to a loss of Self. I realized I didn’t know who I was, that I’d not fully developed emotionally into a fully functioning adult woman. It was easy to be in denial because most of those around me suffered from the same dilemma. Right now, you think I was from a pretty dysfunctional family. Well, yes and no. I know today that we were pretty average in our dysfunction. A history of alcohol addiction runs in my family tree, and indeed there were patterns of codependency and shaming parenting styles; however, there was functionality and love. We must be willing to look at the parts of our family functioning that didn’t serve us well. For it is there that we will find the roots of our own dysfunctional and toxic patterns. It is not about blaming but rather understanding. You can’t heal what you can’t see. During this period, I put the puzzle pieces together, began to have a genuine relationship with myself, and grieved the many losses from dysfunctional relationships.
In the early 90s, I read Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ seminal book on women’s psychology, Women Who Run With the Wolves, and found a previously untapped wellspring of courage and strength. The material touched, inspired, and changed me, ultimately allowing me to reclaim a part of myself that had been missing for a long time. I found my voice, retrieved my innate feminine power, including my intuition and creativity, and started a Master’s program to become a counselor. In 1994, I facilitated my first Women Who Run With the Wolves study group, and in 96, I attended my first training with Dr. Estes in Colorado. As a student of Dr. Estes, I continue to offer groups, women’s retreats, and online distance sessions around this vibrant and empowering material.
In 1999, working as a counselor at Shades of Hope Treatment Center for eating disorders, addictions, trauma, and codependency, I entered what I now call the trial by fire initiation into intense work. It was a transformative time of learning how to dive deep into the marrow of codependent pain and addictive patterns. Through Gestalt and Psychodrama work, I learned how to process feelings beyond talk therapy. I developed the skill and resiliency to trust myself, set boundaries with myself and others, and continue healing the shame or sense of inadequacy I had long carried around with me. Additionally, my time at SOH grounded me and seasoned me as a counselor and psychotherapist, ready and able to assist others on their healing journey.
This body of work and experience culminated in the creation of Wise Woman Retreats in 2000 and the birth of Path Of the Heart Weekend Intensives, Heart Work Scripts™ for men and women, as well as the Wise Woman Rising® Coaching program.
Dr. Estes says in Women Who Run With the Wolves, “If we could only remember that the work is to continue to do the work.” Working on ourselves never ends, for we are always a work in progress.