Why I Do What I Do
I do this work for three main reasons:
I believe most of us long to be in a happy partner relationship. But it seems like the closer we are, and the more we want that, the harder it can be to achieve, and the more painful it is when we feel in conflict with one another.
I want all couples to have the skills to successfully ride the waves of conflict (when they arise) to the tropical beach of deeper love, connection and understanding. And to know how to communicate in ways that make for a smoother ride along the way.
There are so many moments with your child that are so precious, and as they grow up, you don’t want to lose that deep feeling of love.
There’s something so incredibly heart-breaking to see your precious baby grow up and then have a painful, disconnected relationship with them.
I want all parents to have the ability to restore and maintain connection, even in the midst of conflict, so that deep feeling of love can be a life-long reality for all of you.
Because today’s families can be complicated – sometimes there are step-parents involved, or you are co-parenting with an ex and you and they both have partners. And still, decisions need to be made around the kids.
I want you to be able to navigate these tricky relationships and roles in a satisfying way, knowing you are caring for your children and not betraying yourself, or creating unnecessary conflict.
I love being around young children – they have such an open joy and delight in life.
It is so painful for me to see an older child or adult who has lost that quality. Someone who is not confident in their own value, or who doesn’t know how to successfully navigate the ups and downs of relationships. They seem so lonely.
I want all children to grow up with the confidence and skills to enjoy their lives to the full. For me that includes being successful in doing the work they want to do, and having a full and satisfying personal life, including their own successful partner relationship if they want that.
I’ve had a lifelong interest in helping people enjoy their lives to the full.
This led me to earn both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Psychology. I’m also a certified Life Coach (CPCC) and an internationally certified Communication Trainer in Compassionate Communication (also known as NVC).
I’ve been using NVC to help people resolve and prevent conflict for over twenty years.
Learning NVC was a major turning point for me.
Up to that point communication had seemed like a confusing mass of tangled threads.
But Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. (the originator of NVC) helped me see the simple, basic elements in everything anyone says – like cards in a card game. That was amazing!
But I still felt like I didn’t know the rules of this “game” of communication.
Which card should I play when? How could I use those cards to resolve a conflict or get someone to understand my point of view?
I spent years watching how Marshall and his senior teachers actually used those “cards” to resolve conflicts themselves.
Out of this experience, I drafted my own “rules” of the game of successful communication, and tested them repeatedly until I had an approach that worked consistently.
Then I started to share them with others. And we found that my “rules” work consistently well for them too.
How I Know This Approach Works – and how you can too
I started studying communication because I’m not naturally gifted at it.
If I had to define what my natural gift is – it is pissing people off. I’m really good at that.
But when I use the approach that I teach, that doesn’t happen. People like me, I like them, and we all like the solutions we come up with together.
And here’s what clinches it for me – sometimes I “fall off the wagon” and slip back into communicating the way I used to do. And then I get exactly the same results I used to get.
People get frustrated and annoyed and (sometimes) yell at me. And they try to tell me what to do – I really hate that! They don’t listen to me and they certainly don’t want to cooperate with me.
So that’s how I know this approach really works – because the results I get are not about me as a person, they are the result of how I choose to communicate in each situation.
On the Personal Side
I love walking in natural settings, especially near the water. I’m so grateful for my morning walks beside Lake Ontario with my partner John.
I also like to read mysteries of the gentle “cozy” type – like those by Agatha Christie or Donna Andrews.