I was one of those kids who, at 19, left for Toronto thinking, “See you later small town; I’m never coming back.” 13 years later I came back.
I had extraordinary opportunities down south. From the music industry, to video production, to print advertising. Working with big names, big brands, and a high degree of competition, I was able to establish myself a few times over. My strength throughout these experiences transferred easily.
Maybe it was my small-town innocence, inherently lacking judgment in people, or maybe it was my need to understand the human behind the conditioned person. Either way, building relationships was the key to my success. But I wasn’t happy. I’m sure this is something we can all relate to from time to time.
I remember in my early 20’s, while working at Virgin Music Canada, for whatever reason, I started to experience severe panic attacks. They were to the point where, (if you're unfamiliar with anxiety attacks) I thought I was having a heart attack. The reason I bring this up is because I reluctantly got in front of a psychologist in Toronto. The whole experience astounded me and I felt an untapped passion emerge within me for this clinical field of work.
Our sessions together became more about me asking questions and learning about this psychologist’s techniques, as we made some discoveries, connections, and had a number of “aha” moments. I remember him telling me that he felt that I would make a good counsellor. The seed was planted.
The 23-year-old me at the time was flattered, but knew that I was in no position to change my trajectory, financially or academically. Seven years later, what essentially changed my mental trajectory was a car accident and the loss of my fiancée Tamara.
With a new perspective on life and a rollercoaster of mental, emotional, and physical healing, it took an additional seven years, along with an unsuccessful marriage, and a battle with my own personal fears before embarking on an academic career. This took me through college, and university, accomplishing a diploma in Social Service Work, an Honours Degree, to then a Master's Degree in Social Work. All of this was achieved while working and gaining valuable experience in the field.
Throughout my academic journey I always had one goal in mind: to be an effective mental health therapist. With my old networking and genuine relationship building skills, I reached out to, and worked with individuals and organizations to help lay the stones on my path to self-actualization. I found my passion later in life without any regrets.
I have four kind-hearted and sensitive boys, and a beautiful and supportive partner, Kate, who has taught me so much about patience, love, and enjoying the moment. I feel my unique life experiences with tribulation, reflection and success has helped me reach a high level of trust and rapport with clients. This foundation is vital to working empathetically with mental health issues and the psychotherapy intention involved.