Nurses and medical personnel are dear to me. My mother had a near fatal brain aneurysm when I was ten. She made it, lived into her 80’s. My husband is a polio champion who raised 12 children, earned an AA in Administration of Justice and became an excellent woodworker. Our granddaughter is a warrioress over cystic fibrosis. This blogpost is dedicated to all caregivers and the people who love them.
SR: I see you are a nurse, a professional therapist, and a Certified Journal Therapist. Why did you decide to go into nursing and then journaling? Do the two go together?
RH: In all honesty, I now understand that the connection between journal therapy and nursing is more interwoven than I ever could have anticipated. Nursing was my first professional career and I thrived in the home health setting because I could listen to my patient’s stories while helping them with the basics of health care and education. As the medical system became more complex, and home health became an extension of the hospital setting with so much technology, I made the difficult decision to leave nursing.
When I began my second career as a mental health therapist, I was thrilled to discover how much of my nursing training and experience dovetailed with my clients’ needs. I felt the same deep passion in listening to their stories and providing support as they journeyed toward holistic health and wellness. I often found my nursing background valuable because I could listen to their concerns about medical issues in a way that wouldn’t have been possible with the counseling degree alone.
I’ve always loved journaling and art work and found this was a natural aspect of my counseling. When I discovered Kay Adams’ Journal to the Self ® program and then earned my credential as a journal therapist with the ability to bring in the nursing and counseling backgrounds, I knew I’d come home! Everything in my professional life came full circle.
SR: Is teaching journal therapy rewarding for you?
RH: Absolutely! I believe strongly in the power of journaling and journal therapy. Every person who is touched by this work – as provider and as recipient – becomes a spokesperson for journaling as a tool for insight, wisdom and self-empowerment. Knowing that I am an integral part of this process is fully rewarding. When teaching on-line, I feel an additional element of responsibility because my coursework reaches across the United States and around the world. When I take classes on-line, I am personally impacted by my instructor’s engagement and knowledge far beyond what I’ve experienced with on-site classes. I’ve made the commitment to provide the same support in my own teaching. If you believe in something as powerful as journaling, how can you do anything other than respect and encourage individuals who are committing themselves to learning and integrating this rich resource into their own lives, which is, in turn, shared with others?
SR: Do you have any published books?
RH: Yes. In 2004, I published an oral history of World War II veterans (Voices of WWII: A Kaleidoscope of Memories).
This book was fully a labor of love and I felt deeply honored to hear the veterans’ stories and bring them all together. Many of the family members sat in during the interviews and spoke about how much it touched them to witness their parents/grandparents share new stories and to learn new details of stories they’d already heard a dozen times before. I am in the process of having a second printing and hope to have it available by the end of July (2013).
In 2011, I developed a 6-week nursing course that is available on line and offers nursing continuing education. Part of that process was the creation of a 200+ page journaling workbook that provides information on the role between journaling and wellness and includes over a dozen specialized journaling techniques.
I am currently working on three projects.
Women of a Certain Age: Poetry and Journaling Prompts for Women Who Have Stories to Tell. This is a chapbook of my own poems that is fully committed to reflecting many of the issues that touch women’s lives.
A Kaleidoscope Woman: from Maiden to Crone. This is a full memoir written in vignettes in a cross-genre format. It will include poetry, prose, historical narrative, photography and miscellaneous ephemera related to the culture of the 1950s through the 1970s.
Heart and Health: Journaling for Nurses and other Health Care Professionals. This is a smaller workbook for nurses and provides techniques that are foundation for health and wellness journaling.
SR: What advice would give to journal writers who are transitioning into writing books and blogging?
RH: What a terrific question. I would encourage them to remain curious and open. Read everything they can that relates to their area of interest – or areas they believe they might be interested in. The web is such a rich resource now. Invite a sense of being comfortable with who they are as unique individuals. Plan to take what is their creativity alone and share it. Too often we are concerned about writing something that no one else will be interested in. We never know what creative works we offer (in the form of blogs, newsletters,articles, books, art work, etc.) that will turn someone’s life around.
I would also encourage them to work outside the box. Explore artistic ways to be creative, even if they don’t see themselves as someone who does art.
SoulCollage® is an amazing process of creating collage that provides a powerful opportunity to blend writing with the magic of collage.
Thank you Rae! Carry on writers, healers, and collage people. The world is waiting for your heart and mind.