We had the good fortune of connecting with Joanna Gates – Hope M.A. Clinical Depth Psychology and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joanna, how does your business help the community?
Aside from running sessions, classes and workshops as a teacher and Life Coach, I am an Advocate/Activist for Art & Education and have created a community outreach program. This outreach program is based on the principle interests of my business, designed to provide education about different ways to implement the use of Art ,as a process, into daily life and use it as a regular practice. Also, this educational outreach is meant to increase awareness about the benefits of using Art beyond a typical skill or trade and about how to use it as an exercise of Self-Expression; promoting self-exploration and discovery, increasing awareness and growth… while empowering confidence, self-esteem and the the freedom to be your Self! This is especially important for our developing children now, considering the loss of creative arts, music etc. in school programs, but also it provides a balance to the prevalent use of technology in our daily lives that is just as important for adults as well! We can all benefit by using this practice that can create opportunities for brainstorming, problem solving, stress management and more! I have created my classes and workshops specifically to promote a balance of experience and expression, to benefit anyone and everyone! Through the community outreach program I have been expanding this work in schools, providing education and training to students and teachers alike, continuing the educational outreach to generate awareness, which I hope will continue to grow and reach to the surrounding communities at large ! Currently, I am working to to expand the practice even further, by putting this program online so you can practice anywhere, anytime! Life is what you make it… Let’s get started ! “Dwell in Possibility “!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
To be honest, I am most proud of achieving my dream, of starting my own business in efforts to educate and help others. It has been my Life’s work, and no it wasn’t easy. My mom always said , I was like age 13 going on 30, which was ultimately true! I have been teaching for almost 30 years , nearly 3/4 of my life, which is hard for me to believe at times. I do what I love and love what I do… yet my motivation and drive came from something that was somewhat of a mystery to me at the time, but my determination was to seek and find a way to re-create what I experienced, so that I could teach it to others. I was somewhat of a pioneer at the time, and took the DIY approach in building my professional career, which I am proud of as well. Not really knowing where to start, I had to forge my own road. I built it from dedication and a strong work ethic, which I learned from my parents. But also, I believe that my experience surviving Cancer as a child, gave me a strong motivation to live fully! In a short time, I quickly climbed the professional ladder, learning all that I could in the process. I had my first job and managed my own bank account at the age of nine, when my father taught me to do my own taxes. Growing up, I began working in my parents’ offices on school breaks, then began volunteering and teaching at a children’s museum between age 12-16. Then amidst my high school years I worked at top 500 companies throughout the Los Angeles area. By 18, I began teaching preschool and 19 I was awarded Tenure as the youngest Board Member; active 2 years, with the Boys and Girls Club. Then to support myself while in college, I went into marketing and became a regional manager in the health care management industry, following which I then ventured into real estate and financing and became a real estate agent. Finally in Graduate school, I became a Behavioral Therapist and Marriage and Family Therapist, in addition to teaching throughout the years. Now I am a Certified Life Coach as well! I look back and consider the story of “the little engine that could”, which I transformed “I think I can” into “I know I can” and “I did”! This outcome was based also on my experience of my own healing and recovery… where I learned to believe in myself, and that I could achieve anything by doing so! There was nothing I wouldn’t try and couldn’t do! Yet all the while my greater goal was my ultimate motivator, to use these skills and experiences to build my career into a conduit for education, in efforts to help others. I grew up influenced by characters like Pippi Longstocking and Mary Poppins who used problem-solving in creative ways that often surprised and perhaps sometimes perplexed others. Growing up, I was different and unique; this empowered me! I was given a precious gift and I felt like super girl, now transformed to superwoman, who set out to save the world ! Today, I am often considered an eternal optimist, wherein I tend to see the positive side to most things and carry an innate ability to shift things and portray them in a different perspective; shedding a new light on things per se (though perhaps while standing on my head )? … Therein, proposing the question; How do we learn if we do not try? And furthermore, how do we grow without trying new ways to expand and build upon? Even with age 13 going on 30, my faith still lies in the process of introspection. No matter the amount of my knowledge and experience, I remain in touch with my inner child who guides me in my practice, reminding me of the silver lining or the frosting (as some of us may recall). Which leads me to consider; If you are what you eat , maybe it’s time to look at what you’re feeding your self? Are you ready to take a look at what you are contributing to your life, vs what you want to get out of it? My Business is my brand; The Mindful Mind, which proposes just that. My coaching and classes educate you on how to take small steps that can make make a big difference and great outcome in your Life. The size or measure of the step, is no consequence to the meaning you put into it or the value you get out of it for that matter. Each step onto the next, all amount to create the greater foundation of Life, to build upon.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, an original Valley Girl from Pasadena. I guess I would have to start in Pasadena, with a hearty meal at Russell’s and Tour around Old Town Pasadena to the City Hall, followed by a walk through the Historic Homes of the neighborhood and finally ending at the Rose Bowl. The next day would continue in Pasadena as well; with a trip to the Huntington Gardens which would take most of the day to wind through the grounds, to see the art , through the rose garden and have a spot of tea too! Then off to Arcadia to explore the Arboretum, through the different types of natural gardens and wild life , esp. peacocks – followed by dinner and cocktails at the World Famous Derby or Clearman’s Village. Next , venturing to Down town LA, touring the skyscrapers followed by lunch at the famous Phillipe’s and followed by a tour of China Town… Next day spent in the Arts District – sporting street art and new land developments, winding around to end up at the historic Union Station and across the street to Olivera Street for margaritas and shopping ! Then of course, absolutely off to Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and The Wax Museum – eating at Ed Debevic’s original 50’s Diner. Lastly, a trip to Santa Monica Pier – Ferris wheel and arcade and Venice Beach / Muscle Beach and Scate Park, followed by a drive up PCH to dine at Gladstone’s Seafood Restaurant.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Art saved my life ! Seriously… Art was instrumental in my recovery and healing from Childhood Cancer in 1983, when my illness baffled doctors and they didn’t know how to treat it, I miraculously recovered in 2 1/2 months ! I have been motivated by this amazing experience, and it has been my life’s work and mission to research and learn how to educate others about the benefits of Art as a process and practice ! I owe a debt of gratitude to Carl Jung and his concept of the Transcendent Function, which provided me with the information I needed to support my understanding of how to use and apply my theory into action. It was during my Masters’ program when I was finally able to unlock the door to a greater understanding my personal experience, after discovering this key principle in Depth Psychology. It was from this discovery, as a foundation, that I was able to build and create the concepts of my ideas into a program and practice.