Guest Speaker -- Kate Pinsonneault: Navigating Dual Relationships in Small Communities & Work Camps
What is tricky about being in a dual relationship with someone? One where you have two different roles -- say you're their guide, co-worker, teacher, water taxi driver, or supervisor -- AND you provide them a listening ear through a hard time one day. What if you have to give them some tough feedback the following week? Or what if you're a sounding board for their family woes, and you're also on a work crew with their cousin?
Our guest speaker, Kate Pinsonneault, is a clinical counsellor and supervisor with decades of experience in everything from clinical trauma healing to infant mental health (yes, it's a thing!). Kate has also spent much of her life living on a boat and working in small, remote communities such as the float-home village of Echo Bay, B.C.
Jobs are often seasonal in remote communities, and Kate knows what it means to juggle various roles from working as the Stewardship Coordinator overseeing salmon restoration programs, to running the Echo Bay general store pumping marine gas, cooking for a tree planting company, and being the special needs teacher at the one room school. Kate understands what it's like to be part of a remote community that is rugged, resilient, and also has some particular vulnerabilities. "If you’re hurt and there's weather, you’re not getting out and the helicopter's not coming in. As a community you become resilient through being interdependent on each other."
Join us Tuesday May 17th for a LIVE interactive presentation & discussion on navigating "dual relationships" in the field:
In Spring 2022 Mental Health Wilderness First Aid is hosting monthly guest speakers, all mental health counsellors with backgrounds or experience in remote area skills. These online live events are an awesome way to network with others in the industry as well as access and learn directly from a variety of experts in the mental health field. Views expressed are the guest speaker's own and may or may not reflect the views of MHWFA.
Confession time: I (Daye) have not one but SIX copies of this book (and its sister books, How to Talk So Teens Will Listen & Listen So Teens Will Talk, and How to Talk So Kids Can Learn) on my bookshelf. As I say in class: whenever I find a copy at a thrift store, I buy it, because I love to give them away.
How to Talk was originally published in 1980, by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It's been revised and sold millions of copies since. I remember seeing it on my Mom's nightstand when I was a kid. "That's dumb," I thought at the time; "she'll never get that to work on me." (In retrospect, seven-year-old-me was wrong; it wasn't, and she did).
Decades later, as an adult, I rediscovered the book when working as an outdoor educator at Strathcona Park Lodge. It opens with one of my favourite lines: "I was a great parent before I had kids." (Now Mom to a 4-month-old; can confirm). Filled with cartoons, anecdotes, and humour, How to Talk is an effective and empathetic primer on communicating with humans of any age.
At Strathcona, I realized it was changing the way I talked to the schoolkids I worked with, but also how I was talking to my co-workers and friends. I eventually started running workshops based on How To Talk for other outdoor educators there. I can confidently say this book was the beginning of a path that saw me going back to school to become a counsellor.
In honour of Mother's Day, I'm highlighting How to Talk as our resource of the month. Look for it at a thrift store near you -- or try here.
Donetta Faye (Daye) Cooper Hagel is a clinical counsellor, veteran wilderness guide, and director of the Mental Health Wilderness First Aid program on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. Read more about her and the MHWFA on the About Us page!