I’m a Psychology Professor at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). I’ve been teaching lifespan developmental psychology courses for more than 27 years, and I was one of the first Canadian university professors to teach positive psychology to undergraduates beginning in 2006. In recent years, that first positive psychology course has evolved into a curriculum of three PP courses at UNBC: introductory undergraduate, advanced undergraduate, and graduate courses. In my advanced courses, students are guided in the use of reflective writing, along with mindfulness and self-compassion meditations, to build a personal contemplative practice that combines their learning in second wave positive psychology.
My research specialization is in the integrated disciplines of developmental, transpersonal, existential, and positive psychology. My research and publications in those areas has focused on the roles of contemplative processes (mindfulness, self-compassion, and savoring) in the development of identity, wisdom, spirituality, and meaning-in-life. Those studies have revealed the important role of “a growth-oriented identity processing style” in fostering greater life meaning and wisdom.
More recently, based in part on my personal practices as a mixed-media artist and a trained professional art therapist, my research and writing combine my interests in positive psychology with the helping profession of art therapy. Her most recent publications in that field are among the top 7 articles read in the Canadian Journal of Art Therapy: “The Art of Words: Expressive Writing as Reflective Practice in Art Therapy;” and, “From Liminality to Transformation: Creating an Art Therapist Identity Through Myths, Metaphors, and Self-Portraits” (vol. 31, issue 2).
In my private practice, Raven Way Art Therapy & Studio (in Windsor, NS, and Prince George, BC), I offer art therapy and counselling services, grounded in organic inquiry, Jungian therapy, and feminist archetypal psychology, to help clients to develop greater self-understanding, embodied awareness, and healing.
My interest in the INPM is based on finding a professional “home” that fits with the commonality among my combined professions of contemplative researcher, positive psychology educator, and art therapist. Specifically, the thread of existential meaning created through the shared human experience of image-making and story-telling about ourselves, our relationships, and our place in the world.