- Listed: September 13, 2010 10:47 pm
Here’s a recent unsolicited testimonial I received by former client, Sally Mabelle, who is now living in New Zealand.
Joan Levy, my Hero 🙂
When I reflect on my life’s journey and the people who have shaped the person I am today, one woman stands out for me as a special hero: Joan Levy, a wise and gifted therapist from Kauai, Hawaii. I worked with Joan in 2002 and 2003 when I was living on Kauai. Her passionate caring about people and life is apparent through her twinkling eyes and courageous nature. This is a woman who has ‘been there and done that’ with a wisdom and compassion to match. Joan courageously led me on a journey of self-empowerment and healing which have enabled me to blossom in my work today as a ‘voice of leadership’ specialist, empowering others to find and express themselves with clarity and confidence.
As soon as I met her and had one session with her, I knew I was in for a treat. Not only was she extremely perceptive and sensitive, she was also very intelligent and challenging, giving me detailed notes from our session for me to study at home. I had not encountered that level of attention to detail and commitment before in a therapist. I worked with her on an almost weekly basis for a couple of years, and she helped me to heal some of my subtle self-sabotaging attitudes and behaviors which had kept me from realizing my authentic potential in relationships and at work.
One thing I struggled with before working with Joan was a f eeling of shame in response to other people’s anger or blame. If someone would express anger towards me, I was unable to separate their anger and opinion of me from my own self-image. I would take on a ‘shamed’ feeling, and have an inner self-judgment of being ‘guilty’ or ‘bad’ no matter who was criticizing me. No matter who was ‘angry’, be it my husband, my employer, a colleague, a friend, or even a shopkeeper or someone I had no familiar relationship with, I was unable to objectively see any situation and to sustain a healthy self-esteem through even small conflicts. For this reason, I tended to avoid conflict by adopting false ‘pleasing’ and rebellious behaviors, such as agreeing with people outwardly to appease them when inwardly I would disagree and not always comply.
Through Joan’s loving care, I was able to find my own ability to stand up and defend myself inwardly and outwardly when necessary, to care for myself, and to trust myself. Unfortunately, I did not learn these abilities from my birth mother who struggled with her own self-esteem, shame, and self-empowerment issues, as many women do.
Joan helped me to see that I AM a good person, and that even though I may make mistakes, I am still inherently good. She helped me to heal that pattern of feeling a sense of shame which had kept me from speaking up with my authentic voice in interactions with others. I distinctly remember a time when my husband was upset with me for a mistake I’d made, and in a moment, I was able to consciously and lovingly say to myself ‘Sally, you are still a good person and you mean well’ while at the same time openly admitting my mistake to him. That moment was a subtle but profound turning point in my ability to handle conflict while still maintaining my self-esteem instead of collapsing inside.
Joan also helped me to experience a deeper level of trust in myself and in Life through her work with me on mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. Mentally, she encouraged me to question and reprogram my own belief patterns. Emotionally, she nurtured me with courage and gentleness in a re-mothering process. In one session, I can remember her leading me through a breathing session which magnified the tightness in my jaw – I was not in touch with a deep pain and anger that I had stored there. Through breathing deeply, I was able to access the emotional memory of screaming as an infant separated from my mother and the pain, loneliness, and anger I had felt on a nonverbal level. Joan’s willingness to physically and emotionally hold me as if I were a small child, and to help me to feel safe to release the deep wailing that had gone unheard as a child was a precious gift. I instead was able to re-experience the deep emotion while being loved and held instead of being let alone in the crib to cry myself to sleep. What a beautiful example of the re-mothering process which Joan led me through so lovingly.
Spiritually, Joan helped me to embrace the adventure of life and to affirm my trust in my own higher self and the Universe. As I was leaving Kauai to move to New Zealand, I remember feeling very afraid of making the leap to a new country and a new community. Joan led me through a visualization process of imagining myself being totally supported while I repeated a powerful affirmation of trust and well-being which I still sometimes refer to today when I may face a new challenge.
‘I am trusting myself and Life to care for me – I am safe and secure – all is well.’
Thank you, Joan.
You are my hero. You have been a true gift to me and are a true gift to this world!
ph: +64 9 525 4008
mob: 021 0222 8782
(30 yrs exp, sliding scale, most insurance)
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