Gail and her husband Pete are truly blessed to have had a marriage of 35 years of love, respect and friendship. While they have had fun and joy exploring their individual and mutual journeys, they have also had to navigate the inevitable bumps in the road, the events that challenge and throw one off course but become the catalyst of growth and enrichment, the events that call upon inner strength but that are eased by encouragement and support.
One of the greatest joys for Gail and Pete has been and still is the privilege of walking alongside their daughter and son on their journeys to adulthood and beyond; getting some things right and falling short with others, but all learning from and appreciating one another.
The most challenging chapter for Gail and Pete as a couple was Gail’s cancer journey. However, like all stories of the “dark night of the soul”, this came bearing gifts. Only Pete can comment on the gifts he received from his experience as supporter, thus the commentary is on Gail’s journey.
Gail recognized that the call to respond to a life-threatening disease, was perhaps no different from any traumatic event, and could vary from being totally accountable and invested in the process of healing to giving up total power and becoming a victim. Whilst love and support contribute enormously to boosting the immune system, Gail also realized that the soul’s choice to transition would ultimately have the upper hand.
The awareness of one’s mortality ironically often triggers an appreciation and zest for life, and results in transformation. The symptoms of the treatment required Gail to stop work for a period, to slow down, become more present and to prioritize her own needs. She was called to revisit fundamental life questions; ascertain the purpose and meaning of life, and explore and befriend death.
She began to shed the “old skin” of her identity which was tied to profession, status, competency, reputation and financial reward. She was invited to surrender to the discomfort of the unknown, to step back from “planning and doing” and the false security of the material, to trust and allow the “new skin” to emerge in its own time. Adjusting to the “rebirth” and change in identity, or perhaps “remembering the authentic Gail”, and figuring out her place in the workplace proved to be both lonely and challenging.
Whilst Gail’s professional career had many twists and turns, it is fascinating to finally see the bigger picture! The intention was to become a psychologist from the onset, but during a moment of doubt Gail stumbled upon Remedial Therapy, which took her on a lengthy detour and delayed her Masters degree for years!
Whilst the various learning styles children adopted fascinated Gail, she was more interested as to why various children struggled to learn. Working with children with learning difficulties revealed the significance prenatal and birth circumstances, attachment, trauma, stress and patterning played on self-esteem and scholastic performance, and more importantly the powerful and positive role love and presence played.
It soon became clear that work with the family and environmental domain was as important as the individual remedial program designed for the particular child. Building on this, Gail’s interests gradually shifted more towards conscious parenting, stress management and positive psychology resulting in a return to university.
Gail’s work as a Psychologist began at FAMSA in 2000. Her work has been varied and interesting, much to the frustration of the administrative bodies and medical aids who tried to pigeonhole her. Whilst she qualified academically as a Counselling and Educational Psychologist, her research was in the area of body image and eating disorders. Gail loved the couple counselling at Famsa and went on to qualify as an Imago therapist. She was a member of the trauma unit at Famsa and furthered her qualification in this area with EMDR training. (Eye movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing trauma therapy). Gail has always adopted a holistic approach to her counselling and has seen the resetting of programmes in the unconscious critical to significant behavioural change. She therefore qualified as a Heart-centred hypnotherapist (hypnotherapy with a spiritual flavour which encompasses inner child work and reprogramming).
Gail’s interest in the power of words, thoughts and beliefs, as well as the connection between stress and the immune system continued throughout her career. She was an early adopter of including mindfulness, autogenic training, meditation and breathing exercises in her therapy. Gail went on to study metaphysics, Subtle energy and Reiki to further enhance her understanding of energy healing.
As Gail’s parenting days came to an end, so her focus changed to working purely with adults. In 2011 she completed her NLP training and became a Life Coach, and subsequently trained in a number of coaching courses, such as Authentic Leadership, Team coaching and Enneagrams. Gail has regularly facilitated personal development and Shadow work courses during the latter 8 years. Gail and Pete (who left the corporate for coaching in 2011) support each other’s projects and co-facilitate from time to time.
In 2018 Gail founded the Conscious Care Circle, after having added complementary therapy to her own allopathic treatment regime, where it did wonders to boost her immune system. Whilst the Jozi Death Café took traction, the CCC did not flow and Gail dissolved the group. However, she still practices under the name of the Conscious Care Circle, where her focus is on assisting people to “start over”, especially in the field of retrenchment. She has recently started a Power of 8 circle (Lynne McTaggart) which she hopes will be a useful support system for the retrenched.
Gail’s certifications and areas of expertise
Clinical Hypnotist (Heart Centered – The Wellness Institute)
IMAGO Therapist (IMAGO Relationships International)
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (Francine Shapiro)
Intensive Sandplay Training (ISST Founder Dora Kaiff)
Various Enneagram Workshops and conferences (Including Russ Hudson’s Enneagram Centre Workshop)
Advanced Mind Power (John Kehoe)
Certified NLP Life Coach and Practitioner of the Art and Science of Neuro-Linguistic Programming
Systemic Team Coaching (METACO)
Authentic Leadership Effectiveness Coach (Dr Tineke Wulffers)
Spiritual and Relaxation Techniques
Subtle Energy (Yvonne Christman)
Reiki Jin Ke Do (Master Level)
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (Dr Patrica Luck)
Autogenic Training (Elvira Holtz)
Various Brandon Bays Workshops
M.Ed. (Guidance and Counselling) Cum Laude (Unisa, 2002), B.Ed (UCT, 1985), B.A. (UNMM, 1978), Clinical Remedial Diploma (UKZN, 1980), H.D.E. (UCT, 1979)