Over the past several years my focus has shifted from traditional and online psychotherapy to complementary modalities including Energy Healing, Aromatherapy and Wellness Coaching. The shift happened as I struggled with my own health issues and I found wellness by embracing alternative methods of healing. As I found my own balance, I realized I no longer wanted to work as a psychotherapist, rooted in the culture of medicine, disease and diagnosis. Don’t get me wrong. I respect modern medicine. I just decided I wanted to focus on wellness and optimal health from a holistic framework and so the shift began.
This experience has been a “coming home” in many ways. I have always embraced holistic approaches to health and wellness even before my own personal health crisis, and now I have come full circle to a time before my formal mental health training. I finally came out of the closet as an intuitive and now I intentionally bring those gifts to my work as well. I have been teaching therapists, coaches and healers for most of my career and I continue to do so, mentoring others who are on similar journeys embracing health and wellness.
I didn’t just wake up one day and decide, “Oh, I think I will be an Intuitive.” The journey to finding my intuitive voice has been a long one with necessary twists and turns in my career (not to mention personal transitions we go through but that is another story, post, or book…).
My Career Trajectory
I have written about a few momentous periods in my career- from my early desire to be a musician and vocalist, to working with homeless men in urban Atlanta. I started out as a music major just out of high school a very long time ago. At 21 I dropped out of college and joined a rock band. I got by for several years, singing and bartending and then decided to go back to school. At the point I returned to school in my late 20’s I was enamored with the idea of becoming a counselor. I finished my undergrad degree and went on to study Rehabilitation Counseling. The rehab degree happened by default because I received a scholarship. My first choice was to pursue a graduate degree in Pastoral Counseling. Looking back, that was the first big career nudge toward something other than traditional psychotherapy as the topic of spiritual direction has always been a keen interest.
I worked for a few years as a counselor and program manager in the field of mental health. I worked extensively with adults with developmental disabilities. I became a therapeutic foster parent, mentoring a young adult who had been de-institutionalized as part of a class action law-suit. I worked with battered women and homeless men and I worked with people diagnosed with severe mental illness. Work was not dull and often very challenging, working on the front lines, even being a first responder in cases involving mental breakdown and suicide. My intuition often served me in ways I didn’t understand at the time, but I had a keen sense of knowing, particularly for situations that might not be safe.
My Introduction to Dis-ease
In my mid-3o’s I found myself in a good place professionally. I was co-director of a very large agency and I was fully licensed as a counselor. I was respected among my peers. And then life changed. Exposure to black mold is likely what tipped the scales, and I was faced head-on with a debilitating illness. I did not work for an entire year and it took as long for me to be properly diagnosed. I was determined to solve the mystery no doctors could figure out and in 1999, I went on the internet, searching for answers. I found a pulmonary disease bulletin board/forum and within a few days I knew I had sarcoidosis. By the time I convinced my doctors to conduct the proper diagnostic tests, I was well into Stage IV of the disease including irreversible fibrosis of the lungs. I was what is now referred to as one of the first “e-patients” going on the internet to find out medical information and diagnosis. That experience was an awakening for me and a true testimony to trusting my instincts.
My Intuitive Voice Awakened
The awakening led me to enormous respect for and belief in the power of the internet for garnering support and seeking answers. I was led into the field of telemental health (online therapy, telepsychology, cybertherapy) and I was one of the first crusaders and pioneers regarding therapeutic intervention via technology. I spoke, taught and wrote about the topic for the next 7 years and then co-founded the Online Therapy Institute with my colleague Kate Anthony. I was fiercely determined to spread the word because the internet saved my emotional and literal life. They even called me a “thought leader.” A few years ago I was interviewed about the process of patient engagement online and how the internet can be a positive tool for patients and clients.
My health improved because I continued to listen intuitively to my body and when the medical community could offer me little more than steroids and chemotherapy drugs, I was determined to find a different, healthier, holistic route. I have certainly written about my personal health transformation and how diet and lifestyle change has helped me. Don’t get me wrong, I often say it is a full-time job keeping me healthy but I am ever so grateful for the opportunity and choices I have, including the World Wide Web to tap into when I am searching for answers.
From the Frontlines to Private Practice
So, I got better and then I went back to work. There was no full-time work available at the time in the field of telemental health and it was back to the front lines again. From 2001-2008 I worked as an independent forensic evaluator, consultant and clinical supervisor. I worked within the field of child protective services, conducting all manner of forsenic evaluations including family and child custody and substance abuse and domestic violence. My intuition was what guided me always. I led with my intuition first. I realized I often had a “knowing” I now know this is claircognizance. Many times I would know a person’s mental health diagnosis before reading a chart or interviewing the client. I now understand this is a form of medical intuition. I would combine my knowing with appropriate valid and reliable assessment measures and most of the time my intuitive hunches were confirmed. The work was intense. And then life’s twists and turns had me circling back to telemental health.
I shifted my work to a small private practice seeing clients face-to-face and I also began working with an EAP company (employee assistance) conducting online therapy via email. For the next few years as I grew Online Therapy Institute, continued my teachings and writing, I would respond to people via email about personal and work issues. My “inbox” was my work station. I discovered that my intuition was at work even over the interwebs. Often before I would open a client email I would know if the words would be positive or negative and most of the time I intuitively knew if my client was in crisis before reading their words. My written responses would sometimes flow out of me faster than I could type and upon re-reading my replies, I would not recognize the quality of the writing as necessarily mine. I now know this as a form of automatic writing or channeling. When I finally left my position as an e-counselor, I had closed over 1000 cases and written over 5000 therapeutic letters to my clients via email.
Discovering Distance Healing
For a while, work was fine and an easier pace- the small in-person private practice, the online therapy job, the occasional travel to conduct workshops. And then I had another health setback. For those of us with autoimmune, we apparently can’t settle for just one [enters Lupus]. By this point I recognized all autoimmune diseases as having similar qualities so I was not so hung up on the diagnosis. Still, I was left with having to take my keen intuition up a notch to figure out next steps for myself. Once again, I changed up my diet and my wellness attitude. In a crystal clear moment my inner knowing instructed me to learn Reiki. I really didn’t know anything about Reiki so I went online (of course) to see about finding a local Reiki workshop and that inner voice told me, “Learn Reiki online.” I did just that. Again, my intuition was heightened and awakened and through Reiki training I learned the power of distance healing combined with the internet. I also became a wellness coach and since then I have acquired several Complementary and Alternative certifications. But really, it was my Reiki experience followed by an introduction to essential oils that furthered my intuitive skills and encouraged me to come out of the intuitive closet. Combining my years of experience as a therapist, along with a lifetime of intuitive moments with my newly acquired skills as a wellness coach and energy healer has led me to now. Using my intuitive voice guides my work.
Coming Full Circle
And that brings me to present time. I guide, teach and mentor others- whether through a private consultation about personal issues such as love, life or career, or through my professional courses for therapists and coaches. And I write– to my clients, to my students, to you. I keep saying this, and I say it with meaning. I LOVE this soulful work- guiding others to shine their light and listen to their intuitive voice. I wrote this because many people (especially mental health professionals) have asked me how I made “the leap” from traditional psychotherapist to an Intuitive. In summary, I don’t think I would have been stretched as much to find my inner compass and listen to my own intuition had I not acquired sarcoidosis. As many of us know, out of crisis often arises opportunity.
Don’t be afraid of your intuition! And you might ask, “What’s the difference is being intuitive and being an Intuitive?” We are all innately intuitive. An Intuitive is someone who flexes the clair senses and psychic abilities with the intention to be of service to others. Are you ready to find your own intuitive voice?