About

Hi. I’m Heather. I am a trauma-informed coach, support group facilitator, writer, and partner to an individual with complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Seven years I found myself facing uncharted and frightening territory when our family learned some terrible unknown truths about my husband’s past. I had never heard of complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, developmental trauma, or trauma-informed. I did not know about dissociation, attachment, or the way trauma is stored in the brain and body.  The understanding of psychology and anatomy and physiology came from undergraduate university coursework and a brief exploration of psychiatric nursing.

All that changed when we plunged headlong into a foreign world called complex trauma. With few local resources for my husband and no support for myself, I began a quest to find answers. That arduous journey brought me here to this website, to my writing, to the creation of partner supports, and of course, to you.

Originally, I began blogging in a general way about the lived experience of childhood trauma. In 2017, I turned my focus to the situation of partners as I could find very little written for those of us who care for survivors. I had never met another partner and I had no idea what the response would be.

It turns out there are many partners like me out there.

I have interacted with many, many partners who are desperately searching for understanding, resources, and support. Partners know they need support to weather the storms of complex PTSD, but sadly, there are usually not local supports available. More than one partner has told me:

I am so relieved to find your site. No one is talking about this.

What I Offer

Over the last two years, I have written many blog posts about the issues facing partners of adults with complex PTSD. I invite you to explore these by checking the category of partners. I also offer a closed Facebook group for partners called Partners to Survivors with complex PTSD. This is a one-of-a-kind support group in that it is focused on the broader category of complex PTSD. I also meet with clients one-on-one to create a unique, supportive experience customized to your needs as a partner.

For non-partners

I frequently receive inquiries from other supporters who desire to better support a loved one. I offer individual support sessions for you too.

And if you are a non-profit, professional, or other interested individuals, I provide educational consultations and speaking on issues related to supporting and understanding the needs of partners.

Frameworks for Support

The support I offer is based on the awareness that many ways individuals respond to the world may find their basis in past trauma. This knowledge informs my work as I strive to speak and write with empathy about human suffering.

I also recognize that as a white, cis-gender person married to a white man, I have a position of privilege. I recognize that communities, organizations, and systems contribute to oppression and trauma. I endeavor to engage with people with the understanding that clients, readers, and colleagues can teach me from their experiences. I am a volunteer member of the Developmental Trauma Action Alliance, Ontario, Canada.

My offerings are peer support focused. I operate from a strengths-based stance with the goal being to facilitate opportunities for growth and inner resourcing.

As a semi-professional musician for many years and now, as a writer, I believe in the power of creative practices as necessary to healing. I interweave creative and life-giving practices into my personal life and into my interactions with clients. My love of writing and language includes completion of the summer creative writing intensive, Humber College, Toronto, Canada. I also have an undergraduate degree in French studies from the University of Winnipeg, Canada.

To learn more, please see Work with me.

My Training

I began my journey of mental health support in 1996 when I volunteered for a local crisis line. Shortly after, I began work as a client care assistant with the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Commission in an addiction treatment centre, Grande Prairie, Alberta. My interest in the field of mental health support continued over the next twenty years as I facilitated small groups on emotional wellness as a volunteer during my years at home with three young daughters, During this time, I continued my education by completing several undergraduate courses in psychology, counseling, and mental health.

It was also during these years that we learned one of our daughters was on the Autism spectrum. The lived experience of accessing support for her is also a contributing factor to my passion for support resources.

In the last three years, I have obtained certifications as a Trauma Recovery Coach and completed training with The Attachment and Trauma Treatment Centre for Healing, St Catharines, Ontario. I have also personally worked with Jane Clapp, trauma-informed embodied resilience expert and implement this personal work on nervous system regulation and resourcing into my coaching practice.

Finally, as a healthily obsessed reader, I am continually learning about trauma, personal growth, leadership, and more.

Of course, none of this matters without my family, my friends, and my health. Away from the computer, I spend time outdoors running and engage in a regular yoga practice. I love to bake for my family. And I love exploring the beauty of the Niagara region of Canada where I make my home.

Website header photo: Ester Marie Doysabas on Unsplash