Who Am I?
Experience. Perspective. Knowledge. Wisdom.
I have had the privilege of working alongside some of the worlds expert practitioners and researchers in the field of resilience. I have tested out ideas and processes in academic settings, organisational boardrooms and front line emergency contexts. The people I have worked with have taught me the nature of resilience, of coping and thriving in the real world. Firmly based on sound study and investigation these ideas must be useful in everyday life. The single most important fact that I have learned is that most people cope with most things most of the time. People generally know how to work through a crisis and most often come out on the other side. Many find they thrive as they get on with life. Sometimes people benefit from a structured approach to developing their resilience skills.
That is where I come in.
I am an experienced Humanitarian worker with 25 years global experience in complex and challenging environments. My early career in Forensic Social Work equipped me with a unique perspective on the nature of the pressures and stress experienced by those working in compromised and dysfunctional social contexts. This lead to my career in Humanitarian Work, beginning in Cambodia in the early 1990’s and continuing to the present day.
For over three decades I have worked alongside people who demonstrate the best attributes of skill, knowledge and expertise in conditions that are, at times, indescribable. My focus during that time has been on appropriate support for those people. These people are, without any doubt in my mind, the best of the best.
I have worked in war zones, natural disaster locations such as Haiti and Nepal, and places where natural disasters combine with human-made conflicts and where solutions sometimes appear to be unrealistic or impossible. I have also worked in places where agricultural, medical and economic development has proceeded with speed and great success. I have seen homeless people housed and chronically ill children healed. I have the honour of having worked in every continent at some time over the past 25 years.
Every individual has built a Resilience Profile through experience. What is yours?
My perspective is organisational as well as individual. For a number of years I filled the role of Senior Director for Staff Support for two of the worlds’ largest leading Humanitarian agencies. In this role I was responsible for leading, designing and implementing programs tasked with providing targeted and overarching support to employees at all levels of the organisation. My time on Senior Management Teams of complex global organisations has given me a clear understandings of the complex and challenging issues faced by CEO’s and senior executives as they manage competing demands and expectations. These experiences led me to assisting in the development and implementation of strategies and policies to support staff and I now provide senior management coaching and team building processes.
"It is not just a matter of knowing how individuals can be supported; it is building appropriate support into organisational contexts that is critical"
Not only have I worked alongside Humanitarians, I have also joined forces with academics and scholars in an effort to understand the nature and extent of pressure on the people who seek to help. I was welcomed by some of the leading experts on Psychological Stress and Trauma and have been privileged to be a part of ground-breaking research that began to shed light on this complex area and provide reliable data that informed and altered the ways in which people are supported in the workplace. Much of this has been published in scholarly journals and presented at specialist meetings.
In 2003 I edited and published the “Stress and Trauma Handbook: Strategies for Flourishing in Demanding Environments, (World Vision Publications)”, which has proved to be a foundation text for those in the business of supporting those who provide intentional care for others. Since that time I have continued to publish articles and companion pieces on this topic, as I also continue to provide guidance and advice for those in fieldwork.
Through all of these experiences and places I have learned one critical fact. This fact underpins the services I now offer. Humanitarians do not primarily need Psychological interventions. In fact the most reliable research indicates that clinical psychological conditions are not the main challenge facing those who provide caring services.
Most people cope with most things most of the time
In fact Humanitarians pay close attention to the ways in which they cope and the ways in which they thrive. They do very well in creating lives built on ethical compassion and intentional, planned support to those in need. Of course this is hard work. Of course this is painful at times. Of course it can be enormously distressing. But hard work, pain and distress do not automatically lead to psychological damage.
My experience has led to wisdom. I begin with the premise that people have resilience and coping mechanisms. I partner with people who aim to grow and add to their resilience skills in order they may thrive even more in the future. I do not work with everyone who asks me for assistance. There is a wealth of expertise and wisdom available today and it may well be that these services are a better match for your specific requirements. If that is the case I will tell you. I will give you, to the best of my ability, information as to where you might find the skills you are seeking.
I do not provide clinical diagnosis or treatment. This is not counseling. It is more like coaching than anything else. I do not promise healing, cures or wealth. I do not prescribe drugs. My relationship with you is as a professional colleague, with similar but not the same experiences, with wisdom, a person willing to work with your wisdom as you design and develop your Resilience Profile. In order that you may thrive, not merely survive.
Together we can;
- Enhance your resilience capacity
- Build strong organisational support processes