"We don't know who we are until we see what we can do."
- Martha Grimes -
My journey in the healing field began about 37 years ago at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, where I earned my degree in social work. This is a four-year degree, which is equivalent to and recognized as an honors degree. This degree is a pre-requisite for a Master's degree in South Africa. I double-majored in psychology and in the four social work modalities -- individual therapy, group work therapy, community development/upliftment, and research studies. My thesis addressed the problems experienced by single mothers in rural communities.
My degree program focused on psychological, sociological, and cultural diversity as well as first and third world problems and solutions, and the integration of these factors. This provided an ideal background for me to work in different cultures. I have an intense interest in cultural diversity, which explains in part why I have lived, worked, and studied extensively on four different continents -- Africa, Europe, Asia, and now North America.
In South Africa I worked mainly with children and teenagers who were exposed to extreme traumas and neglect. During my years in Europe (England and Germany), I worked with multiple sclerosis patients and with the elderly in retirement homes as well as in private settings. These experiences sparked my interest in energy psychology and holistic psychotherapy as I felt handicapped with traditional training. I then began researching the effectiveness and results of these practices.
As my work incorporates the body as well, I have researched and studied the impact of healthy nutrition on certain illnesses such as multiple sclerosis. My knowledge is extensive and incorporates information from various schools of nutrition from Africa to Taiwan to Europe. I have experienced positive results when food is seen as medicine, and medicine as food.
I lived and worked in Taiwan for almost two years and spent months at a time in numerous other Asian countries, living in and observing their cultures. I have a special interest in indigenous cultures. Living with different indigenous tribes gave me a deeper understanding and compassion for their actual needs and problems -- not what I perceived and projected their problems to be. I bring these valuable experiences with me, no matter what country or culture I work in.
I have also learned that not always speaking a common language offers advantages. It has strengthened my sensory acuity, and I have learned not only to listen to people's words, but to watch their body language, look at their eyes, notice color changes in their skin, and be aware of and feel the energy present in them. I ask myself: Does the person have a positive or negative energy? What emotions do these physiological changes represent? What is the person really trying to tell me? What don't they say, but show?
"We understand feelings and emotions, we don't need to understand a language."
- Linda Downs -
Being in unfamiliar surroundings and out of my comfort zones reminds me of the importance of continual learning. I realized that the more I learn and see and experience, how little I actually know How much I can learn from other people, their situations, and reality perceptions!
This innate desire to explore has now brought me to the United States. Here it seems I have found just the right place to put my life's educational experiences into use. I am currently authoring my first book on self-empowerment through world travel.
My purpose is to refresh you in spirit, stimulate your mind, and invigorate your body.
For more information on my education and work experience, see my Credentials and Resume here.
*A fun little fact about me:
My great-grandmother was a well-known medicine woman in South Africa known as the Forest Fairy. She weighed over 300 pounds and sang like a nightingale. She had the gift to find herbs in the forest and create the right combinations for potent medicine.
My great-grandparents had a farm in the Knysna forest, known for its remarkable indigenous trees. The "boswerkers" (the people who worked for the big saw mills) lived in the forest and were extremely poor. When the Spanish Flu ravaged the country in 1918 and killed 6% of the population, she saved many lives with her remedies.
Legend goes that she would go with the forest train, singing all the way. The forest workers would hear her coming and start running to the train to receive her remedies. They were too poor to pay her, but she received numerous gift of blou seep (homemade soap) and handmade furniture. One of the chairs she had received for her services is in my living room, here in America.