"CHARIS" is a word I encountered, totally by accident, while reading some writings by a very wise man, Henri Nouwen. Tracing its root I discovered that the word is from the ancient Greek, meaning 'the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life'.
When I started working in counselling more than 25 years ago, I would not have imagined how well the meaning of Charis would embody my experiences as a result of working with people who were working so hard to heal their heart. Since moving to Prince George in 1993, my growth as a counsellor has been varied and intense. The opportunities have included experience with addiction treatment systems, hospice, non-profit social services, aboriginal services, seniors, the Prince George community and surrounding communities.
People who seek counselling bring with them a breadth and depth of experience and desire that is breathtaking. This has inspired within me an abiding respect for peoples' commitment to journey along an often arduous and challenging path. Their request for me to journey along side, means that I have a responsibility to listen deeply and compassionately, and witness the struggle to emerge from the suffering into a place of peace.
I have learned, from Aboriginal culture, about the role of the bear in our efforts to heal. The bear is the bringer of healing and often offers messages we need to understand our way. The bear also digs deep for the richest foods, in order to be well nourished. We are often called upon to dig deep, within ourselves, which is powerful work, to remember our goodness and gifts for ourselves and others.
In support of my wish to be helpful and supportive, it has been essential that I maintain an ongoing high level of professional development, through formal education, extensive training opportunities and a persistent curiosity fed by up-to-date reading and research.
"Forgiveness is letting go of the hope of a better past"