This autobiography will give you a sense of the various experiences I've had, which help add insight into, and understanding of, the lives of clientele.
Upon completing high school, I worked for five years as a temp in offices downtown. The most enjoyable experience was at the Canadian Opera company. I was given the opportunity to meet colourful artists and singers, and volunteer in its annual pavilion at Caravan (a yearly celebration of Toronto's diverse ethnic and cultural groups). The work, however, was mundane, and I knew that I needed to go back to school if I wanted a job that stimulated me.
I have always been interested in the mystery of consciousness. At 23 years of age I began studies at Dalhousie University in marine biology, with the dream of becoming a researcher in interspecies communication with dolphins. I soon discovered I did not have the discipline to become a scientist, while also realizing that my passion really lay in the study of spiritual matters, and in particular, mysticism. I was the Religion Department's first graduate in 1980, graduating with a BA cum laude.
My first job after graduation was with the Blissymbolics Communication Institute as a clerk. I learned blissymbolics and began doing presentations on the basics of blissymbols to young children in the school system. I enjoyed this very much and found it rewarding.
The next job that challenged me was at Loblaws Insider's Report. I began as a secretary and after a year was promoted to writer/editor. In the beginning years, Jim White was the head writer/editor, and he and I enjoyed many years working together. We shared a similar sense of humour and working with him was one of the best times of my "pre-therapist" life. Working with Dave Nichol, however, was not enjoyable, and once Jim left, the buffer between Nichol and me was gone, and my departure was only a few months later.
My next job took me to the Mississauga News, where I taught computer skills and wrote a user manual for new software. I was well paid and managed to save enough money to travel to Nepal.
I spent a month at a monastery studying Tibetan Buddhism; I met many wonderful monks and studied with about 150 other Westerners. It was a life-long dream come true. I travelled to several towns on the outskirts of Kathmandu, and trekked for two weeks in the Annapurna sanctuary wilderness, which needless to say was breathtaking, both scenery-wise and body-wise! I had thighs of steel at the end of the trek.
I also spent three years working as a transcriber at Hansard. This was a great learning opportunity for me, because I knew very little about politics at that time. I was lucky to have worked in the years that Bob Rae was premier. He is an intelligent, funny, gifted man.
In 1994 I started working part-time at the University of Toronto in the Department of Zoology. My first job was mostly clerical. I then was hired to edit, write and design the alumni newsletter. Professor Harold Harvey was the editor and a joy to work with. During this time I continued my studies at the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy and graduated in 2004. In 2006, 18 adminstrative staff from Zoology and Botany were laid off, including myself. Taking this as an opportunity, I decided to go into full-time private practice as a psychotherapist.