By Guest Blogger: Lois Kahn-Feuer, PhD
I’ve read that a personal history increases transparency. I share my history at Fielding as a means of achieving that clarity for other Fielding psychology and evidence based coaching alums.
With the support of especially Nancy Hansen and Leni Wildflower, I completed a PhD in Clinical Psychology and a certificate in Evidence Based Coaching (EBC). At the inception of my Fielding psychology program I was living in St. Paul, Minnesota, and had a private practice specializing in family therapy with an emphasis of eating disorders. All my sessions were co-facilitated with another woman with an MSW. In addition to private practice I taught part time at a Minnesota State University in St. Paul and at a Minneapolis Community College. I completed the work to become a certified substance abuse counselor. I also at that time had five children, one off at college. Yes, life was hectic. So, why not add a doctoral degree program to that mix?
Fielding’s emphasis on self-directed learning with the support of an accessible cluster group fit into my world. I completed the doctoral program in 4 years, making the required trips to Santa Barbara with relish escaping the frigid Minnesota winters. Shortly after completing the Ph.D. I relocated to California. County services offered me a position in Child Protective Services with retirement and other benefits unavailable to me in my practice practice. While I was licensed in Minnesota, my license could not transfer to California. As a social worker and soon a child protective services supervisor my license became irrelevant. While working in the warm, sunny California desert I also taught part time at a private university.
In 2002 I suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of an automobile accident. My 7-week tenure in the hospital began with me in a coma and concluded with a miraculous recovery. Except for an odd gait, my speech, vision and memory were intact. However, I wondered if I could still “learn” new material. I did miss seeing clients and had an awareness of a new and fast-growing field in mental health. Serendipitously, Leni Wildflower was beginning the first cohort group for Fielding’s Evidence Based Coaching program. I called her, (remarkable isn’t it that Fielding faculty are so accessible). I shared my recent TBI history, my previous success at Fielding and my concern as to whether I could still learn. Leni listened and said, “let’s try and see what happens.”
I completed my EBC certificate with my cohort group and maintained a coaching practice with an emphasis on clients who had experienced unexpected life interruptions. The emphasis was neither on executive nor life coaching, the emphasis was on recovery. I volunteered at the Palm Springs Neurovitality Center supporting clients recovering with strokes.
In my private practice I had no office. I saw clients in their homes. Included in each session with the client’s consent were caregivers and/or other family members. To me this in-home framework built on family therapy. Family members caring for or living with individuals recovering from strokes, TBI, brain aneurisms, eating disorders, addiction were an integral part of that client’s recovery. Utilizing concepts of ACT therapy (acceptance and commitment) became very useful tools in my coaching practice. Rather then diagnosing a problem, ACT works on accepting and challenging that issue. This is just one example of how I combined my psychology and coaching training.
My hope is this blog has provided some clarity on how this now 75-year-old Fielding graduate has gained the life long learning skills to provide myself and those with whom I come in contact the joy of simply being and participating and supporting one another.
Lois Kahn-Feuer, PhD
Bio: Lois Kahn-Feuer, PhD, https://www.linkedin.com/in/lois-kahn-feuer-b1abb525/
I am a 75-year-old woman holding a PhD in Clinical Psychology, and an Evidence Based Coaching Certificate,
2 master’s degrees and a bachelor’s degree in journalism. I have taught as adjunct faculty at both community colleges and universities. I’ve published numerous booklets and articles. I had private practices in family therapy and later in coaching. I’ve worked for managed care and county social services. I would tell you that among my other significant accomplishments are raising 5 successful children and loving 5 grandchildren. Yes, I too graduated from Fielding with that doctorate and coaching certificate. Creating a brief biography is, as you can read, a different narrative in retirement. I look forward to continuing to blossom my lifelong learning rooted, in part, at Fielding.