Trainer| Supervisor | Potter | Dog Mamma
However 'tidy' I look in my profile photo as a psychodynamic trauma psychotherapist, I find that being real is the most important part of the work I do. Therefore, here I am beyond the 'professional photo' - hanging out with my pup Maggie.
I find that the most important aspect in my work with clients is to delve into the 'mess' together - and I am passionate about both client and therapist both fully engaging with the process of therapy.
My motivation to study psychodynamic theory in Edinburgh was an ethical one. In Canada, I was unsettled by the emphasis on approaches that, while evidence-based, seemed not to dive into the depths of human processing and coping. Psychodynamic theory specializes in tapping into the depths of our unconscious processing and our past.
During my doctorate in Scotland, I worked as a deputy manager at a therapy training centre where I trained and mentored new psychotherapists. It was here that I realized the importance of breaking down psychodynamic jargon into real language.
Those I have taught as a supervisor/trainer have been able to see how psychodynamic theory enables them to hone their practice.
For no matter our therapy discipline, we are the technique.
I learned this art of being myself through both the Psychodynamic theory as well as through realizing the necessity of getting messy in my practice as a potter. When throwing a pot on the wheel, it is impossible not to be fully engaged in the process.
I also learned this aspect of being engaged by working with young adults - many of whom had faced early childhood trauma and may be still facing it. Having fully engaged be fully is something rare, and special, for young adults who have grown weary of 'professionals' who seem to be more intent on moving them through the 'system' than listening to their needs. Working with adolescents has taught me so much more than any textbook; they showed me the absolute necessity of being myself - mess and all.
In my practice in Toronto, Ontario, I continue to work with young adults, individual adult clients and couples. While the work changes from client-to-client, I realise that I am the same. I am warm, empathic, crass, funny and at times irreverent. I am honest and am deeply passionate about what I do.
I actually love to see how photos between my roles look pretty different: As a psychodynamically trained Registered Psychotherapist, a supervisor/trainer, as a dog mom, and finally as a ceramicist, messy at the potter's wheel.
As you can see from this picture, I had been at the wheel for hours, 'throwing' mugs, bowls and plates. Wearing my old t-shirt, my hair is a mess, no makeup on, I am completely content at my wheel. This is my happy place, and it is a beautiful form of therapy.
I have worked as a potter for the past decade, and for 8 years as a professional potter - selling pieces, doing commissions, and teaching pottery while completing my doctorate in Psychotherapy at the University of Edinburgh.
Every time I make a piece for someone, it is that person I think about as I throw the piece. I think of them holding the mug in their hands, serving salad in the bowl, or eating off a plate I have made. In this way, each piece gets to be crafted in a unique and personal style that has aspects of me and the 'customer' in it.
What I am realising is that there is a convergence of my two professions; I have always seen a connection between the two but didn't think that they could merge - until now!
In this video, I am making of one of my signature flower bowls.
Created in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK) in 2017.
I am making a series of bowls for my own kitchen! The video demonstrates how to centre, and make a bowl. In Dex(terity) Lab studio in Toronto, ON., 2020.
This great description is what we potters give to the process of making smaller pieces on a larger amount of clay.