My personal experience with CCT
When I was 23 years old, I started providing psychotherapy full time to many people struggling with diverse and highly challenging issues. Many of these children and adults had chronic histories of neglect, abuse, and violence. After about a year of listening to trauma after trauma and experiencing it in my body and mind, I began to get depressed and my emotions gradually shut down. Then, in a period of 5 months, three people close to me died and two of those were children. Being up close with two children’s bodies was life-changing for me. I really had no idea how to deal with the strong emotions I had inside of me, and the distress I felt was overwhelming. I fell apart.
These experiences really propelled me down a path to discover how to work with my internal state (emotions, thoughts, sensations) and body in a way that enabled me to feel good, enjoy my life, and contribute to the well-being of other people. I started a meditation practice 30 years ago which I continue to this day. That was and is a big help. In 2015 I took a Compassion Cultivation Training (CCT) class in Portland and it changed my life. My husband, Otis, took it with me and it changed his life, too. It is hard to put into words what this class did for me, but in short: It was the final healing of what I would call my “a bit battered” and “kind of closed” heart. The practices I learned in the class opened my heart in a way that has increased my daily joy in unbelievable ways. I actually feel strong in the face of difficulty and adversity (not every single moment – but overall). I do a CCT practice every day and it continues to be a source of great joy and strength for me. I wanted to teach CCT from the moment I took the class myself – it is a total fit for me, my life, work, and values.
Here is a little professional back story: I was trained as a psychologist and worked for over 20 years providing psychotherapy to young children, their families, and adults in both clinic and private practice settings. I left that work about 10 years ago and now focus on teaching, training, and providing reflective supervision. The areas of focus for my teaching are how to work with difficult emotions; how to build healthy, collaborative relationships; and how to develop compassion with strength and self-compassion. I have been trained as a Cultivating Compassion Teacher and became certified as of Spring 2019.