You could describe me as a wounded healer.
I came to be a compassion-focused health and life coach via a "long and winding" road.
My first career was in academia, teaching and studying history, gender studies, and policy at the University of Pennsylvania and then Temple University here in Philadelphia.
Twelve years ago, in my mid-40s, a health crisis brought that chapter of my life to an abrupt end. I'd lived with chronic pain my whole adult life, but I had treated the pain - and my body - as things to be mastered, ignored, overridden, pushed through. That was inherently unsustainable, and, inevitably, I crashed, hard. In the aftermath, as I struggled to heal, I learned that I needed to befriend, listen to, and work WITH my body, rather than against it. It was trying to tell me something and it had taken a break-down for it to get my attention. I wanted to support other people dealing with pain and illness so that, hopefully, they could learn that lesson before their lives fell apart.
When I started coaching, my focus was integrative and functional medicine, including nutrition, lifestyle, herbs. After a few years in that world I began to understand that stress - physical, mental, emotional and environmental stress - was at the center of healing. All the fancy remedies in the world didn't seem to help people unless they also addressed the myriad stressors that were impacting their physiology.
I went on to immerse myself in mind-body healing with a focus on the autonomic nervous system. I've trained in the physiology of stress as well as trauma and its impacts on the mind-body. I'd been practicing and studying Buddhist-based mindfulness, loving-kindness, and compassion since 2005. I began to integrate that into my coaching approach as well.
I also practice and coach clients in Intuitive Eating, Health at Every Size, recognizing the power of structural fat-phobia and weight bias in health care. Our relationships with food and body image are an essential part of our health and well-being. They are inseparable from the ways that our culture prizes certain types of bodies while stigmatizing and punishing others. With my background in history and gender studies, I view diet culture and thin privilege as inseparable from other systems of oppression including white supremacy, patriarchy, colonialism, and the oppression of LGBTQ people.
I've trained in Somatic Experiencing, Polyvagal Theory, and Internal Family Systems. I'm now pursuing certification in Compassionate Inquiry, created by Gabor Maté. Maté's book When the Body Says No has had a huge influence on me since I read it over a decade ago. Maté's understanding of childhood trauma, human behavior, and physical and mental health is brilliant - it pulls together all I have learned and experienced. It makes everything, finally, makes sense. I am excited and proud to be part of the growing international community of CI practitioners.
My personal healing journey has paralleled my professional trajectory pretty much every step of the way. I suppose that's to be expected.
My current practice - Compassion Coaching - is thus a tapestry woven of many different threads of intellectual inquiry, personal experience, and what I have learned from clients.
No two clients are alike - and so my approach varies widely depending on who I am sitting with.
If you'd like to know more, the best next step is to arrange a time to meet and talk.
Working With Me: Some Things to Know
All sessions are conduction via Zoom and clients can reside anywhere (My time zone is U.S. Eastern time, or GMT-4)
I offer a sliding scale to folks with limited means
I do not offer "packages" of sessions. Payment is per session. This provides you with full control and maximum flexibility.
I see most of my clients weekly or bi-weekly
Cancellations or rescheduling require 24 hours notice (48 hours for online scheduling) otherwise session fee applies
I have trained in multiple health care and therapeutic modalities but I am a coach and not a licensed therapist or health care professional (my PhD is in History/Gender Studies)