I’m Gillian, and I’m a Holistic Psychotherapist. I help women who have experienced trauma and mental health challenges become healthy so they can deeply connect with their babies and rise to their full motherhood potential.
I’ve spent my entire adult life focusing on the well-being of children and families. I went to school for social work and when I finished, worked in child welfare supporting foster parents to help children who experienced trauma have the best possible life. I earned my master’s degree in mental health therapy and went on to work at a world-class children’s hospital in the psychiatry department doing mind-body therapy for somatic symptom disorders. I also dove deep into meditation practice and became one of a handful of practitioners certified in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (which is basically applying basic mindfulness to mental health). In between, I became a registered holistic nutritionist and personal fitness trainer and worked privately with women with challenges like fertility, relationships, anxiety and more. In all of my years of practice, I found that when we support the mother, the child thrives. I propose that we cannot really raise healthy children without helping mama be healthy first. Mother and baby are a dyad. A twosome. They share a sacred synergy.
Because of my experience with attachment, trauma, mindfulness and holistic health, I can help you overcome your own emotional struggles so you can bond with your babies and raise thriving children by being healthy yourself.
When I’m not working, you can find me walking in the forest because I love trees and nature. If I’m not outside (because it gets cold here), I am probably in the kitchen changing a tasty recipe into something more healthy, or in the local health food store finding new ingredients to try. Oh, and because I’m a new(ish) mama, most of my walking, cooking and shopping now revolves around her!
I’m obsessed with healthy food but not am not the best cook in the kitchen.
I’m a bit of a hermit – if I could live my life on the side of a mountain never seeing another soul, I would!
I’m an avid supporter of women’s reproductive rights. I believe that how we birth babies and are cared for by the medical system is not always conducive with our body working the way it is meant to, and can change (not for the better) our early motherhood experience.
I hope to do my PhD someday soon but am undecided on what topic. So many interesting things, so little time.
I’ve watched the entire Sex and the City series at least seven times. It makes me happy.
Read more about my official bio & qualifications here.
Traditionally, the worlds of mental and physical health are divided but at Mother Zen, we know that you need to nourish both to be well.
You are not just your body parts. You are a holistic, integrated system of mind, body and spirit that all work together, and should be cared for in that complete way.
You are busy putting your baby’s needs before your own, so we offer all of our services online so you can be where you need to be while also taking care of you.
Not only are you a connected system, so are you and your baby. Society tends to promote the idea that as long as the baby is healthy, everything is fine. At GROW, we know that mama needs to be healthy for baby to be well. Your conception, pregnancy and birth experience matter. Your state of mind during your postpartum matters. The relationship between you and your baby is sacred, so at GROW we support YOU mama so you can nurture your baby to thrive.
Our physical body tells us how we are doing emotionally. Fatigue, stiffness, headaches, body aches, skin irritations, digestive issues and so much more all can be triggered by distress that we are holding deep down. These symptoms are real. Gillian has specialized training in treatment of Somatic Symptoms, and like everything we treat them from a holistic mind-body perspective.
Holistic Care: All of the Pillars of Health contribute to your emotional wellness and as such, we encorporate all aspects of health for a fully healing experience.
Mindfulness - Based Cognitive Therapy: MBCT has been shown to be as effective as regular CBT for depression and anxiety. We believe Mindfulness is helpful for so many aspects of life so this is a preferred therapeutic approach for us
Attachment Theory: The early relationship developed between you and your baby provides the foundation by which we feel safe in the world, regulate our emotions, explore and thrive. We support mothers to develop secure, attached relationships with their babies.
Feminist Theory: It is important to understand how gender roles and long-standing practices impact women in their motherhood journey. When we can see these hurdles, we can more easily overcome them.
Trauma - Sensitive: Traumatic experiences (during birth or otherwise) change the way our nervous system and brain communicate. When a mother has experienced trauma, this makes her more vulnerable to physical and psychological challenges.
Novel Approaches to Care: We explore new (and sometimes ancient) approaches to healing. This includes Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, Ecotherapy and Plant Medicine.
When I was a new mama, I struggled with anxiety and perfectionism. I was worried about all the things that could go wrong so I tried to do everything. Needless to say, doing everything with a newborn is impossible. Getting my wrap was a gamechanger. It allowed me to get things done around the house all with my baby close to me. We started to get out more because she felt more secure so I felt less isolated. She and I developed a rhythm, and our synchronicity expanded. I cannot recommend babywearing enough.
Read more and grab a $10 discount here!
When we are aware, we can light other people’s candles. Nothing happens to ours when we do, but everything around us becomes brighter.