I've been lucky enough to be part of three rewarding professions in my life so far. By nineteen I was on the road singing folk songs in coffee houses and on concert stages in Ontario and Western Canada, and eventually the British Isles. From this experience I gained the belief that everyone has a star to follow - that we are happiest when we can discover our true path in life and take it. My early path led me to several fruitful years of living and working in England, in the folk milieu I loved so dearly.
I returned home to discover that my mother, Lea Hindley-Smith, was teaching people to practice a kind of psychotherapy based, not on the prevailing notion of the day - namely that square pegs needed to be altered to fit into round holes - but firmly on the revolutionary principle that clients should be helped to become the very best example of who they were intrinsically meant to be.
This was a very exciting idea to me and I now returned to my more formal education. By day, I became immersed in the writings of Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Reich, Robert Lindner and R. D. Laing. Evenings and weekends were given over to relentless hours of one-on-one therapy, group therapy, live-in housegroup therapy, seminars about the practice of therapy. And just as the folk-music milieu had captured my whole imagination in my earliest youth, the thoughtful practice of psychotherapy became my raison d'etre for many years.
But motherhood was to be the greatest challenge, the most demanding learning experience, the most rewarding profession of my life. From it I learned to be deeply sensitive to the hopes and fears of others. Motherhood forced me to develop true empathy.
And whatever I am as a therapist today, I owe first to that young girl who was willing to take a chance and follow her creativity into uncharted waters, next to the gift of a vibrant fifteen-year education in the art of psychotherapy, and finally to my life partner and my children, for whom I stretched and grew and deepened.