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Mar_24 Becoming an Artist: Part One

Looking back it’s easy to see that I was headed in this direction. But as I moved through my various careers it was not at all clear to me that I was going to be an artist.

I began as an art teacher, and many of you might think that this career was a natural gateway to being an artist. That might be true of others, but it wasn’t for me! I did take courses in art and thoroughly enjoyed my teaching, but something was missing for me. Although I loved teaching, there was no subject on the curriculum that matched what I wanted to teach. Art was the closest. I wanted to teach students to like themselves and have confidence in their intuition, spontaneity, and creativity. At the time, I had never had therapy and didn’t realize that I was encouraging my students toward a journey of self-reflection.

The end of my first marriage sparked a desire for change within me. I felt compelled to begin my journey of self-reflection, which led to my taking a leave of absence from teaching and embarking on a year of travel and inner searching for what I wanted to do with my life. I spent time learning yoga, massage, counseling, and various other activities that caught my fancy. My psychotherapy was a large part of what consumed me during this time.  Interestingly enough, art was not part of this course of discovery.

The two areas of massage and therapy emerged as being truly significant to me. They became the foundation of my next career. I officially left teaching at the Toronto School Board and became a registered massage therapist. I was also continuing my psychotherapy and taking courses in psychodrama, an action method modality of psychotherapy. After graduating from Sutherland-Chan Massage School, I was hired to teach there and so I found my way back to what I loved. This time the subject matter was closer to my vision. I was teaching communication skills and helping the students understand the relationship between touch and emotions. These students were experiencing being touched more than ever in their lives as they practiced the techniques of massage on each other. This inevitably brought up feelings that often took them by surprise. So my courses were both relevant and necessary. Counseling and courses on emotions are now part of the curriculum of all massage school curricula, but in the 1980s this was not the case. I taught part-time at the school, and the rest of my time was spent in private practice with massage clients. These clients were receiving the benefit of both my areas of expertise. I was combining my massage treatments with my psychodrama psychotherapy training. It was a very rich time for me and I thought that I had found my perfect career. Little did I know that I was still en route to that goal!

After ten years, it felt right for me to leave my teaching position at Sutherland-Chan Massage School. Coincidentally, I had many of my massage/psychotherapy clients simultaneously ask me to teach them about my combination of therapy and bodywork. I formed a small group and began teaching. That group was so successful I decided to offer it on a larger scale and this gave birth in 1990 to my next career stage - offering a training program called Psychodramatic Bodywork®. Finally, I was teaching self-reflection to a willing and eager audience. I had assembled subject matter that made teaching feel complete and gave me a deep sense of fulfillment. 

For over twenty years I focused exclusively on building this career and became very successful with students from various parts of the world. During all of these years, I had little to no connection to art.


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