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Kathy Steele: Falling in Love with the Study of the Mind

A life of lived experience is not guaranteed to procure an expert in the dealings of trauma and its symptoms. Yet she survived and is here to tell the tale.
Written by Ella T
Kathy Steele

Introducing Kathy Steele

We are thrilled to be introducing Kathy Steele to everyone at Psychotherapy Courses. Although we are sure that many of you already know all about Kathy’s work, we now bring to you an unseen side of the expert’s life in this 30-minute interview with Alessandro Carmelita, scientific director, and founder of Psychotherapy Courses.

This conversation brings a personal touch, opening the space for Kathy to share more about her life journey, the trials and tribulations, the mentors and the deeply personal experiences that shaped her to be the wise, compassionate and kind leader she is today. Their interview delves into a deeper conversation, find out more here!

What’s the webinar about?

Alongside her colleagues of 35 years, Kathy will run an online training on the 3rd of June together with Onno Van Der Hart and Suzette Boon. They will address the concept of ‘trauma-related dissociation’ from the theory of structural dissociation. Be sure not to miss out! Click here to find out more.

Kathy Steele’s background

An Idyllic Childhood?

Kathy grew up in South Carolina in the late 50s and 60s, spending much time unsupervised, playing outside with her brother. Although very close with her grandparents, Kathy felt pushed away by her harsh mother and work-aholic father, turning to books as an escape from her predicament. She also experienced a prolonged illness at age 10 and upon returning to school felt as though she no longer fit in. Kathy’s grandparents’ bookstore was a haven away from her troubles and the books she consumed built up a base understanding of the world in which she lived. However her enriched knowledge was contradictory to the culture and by the time Kathy reached university, she faced only three options: teaching, nursing or marriage. By default, she chose nursing.

The Ups and Downs of Mental Health Work

Immediately, Kathy fell in love with the study of the mind and where it can go wrong, moving to Atlanta in 1979 to take a masters in psychiatric mental health nursing. There, she worked with schizophrenic patients on the street. She was blessed by the presence of a very influential Korean psychotherapist who instilled in Steele the value of compassion and treating others with respect no matter their condition; something that was commonly overlooked in the psychological world at the time.

A Career Interrupted by Life

A more turbulent chapter unfolded in her life when Kathy faced the loss of her first baby and the premature birth of her second, necessitating an extended stay in intensive care. These events stirred within her a deep exploration of loss and trauma, leading her to realise the enduring impact of such experiences. Caring for her very ill child confined her to her home for three years. Despite the early arrival of her next child, she found herself able to return to work and establish a private practice. Kathy attributes her ability to forge stronger emotional and cognitive connections with her clients to her personal experiences.

Kathy’s Journey of Collaboration and Empathy

Kathy collaborated with Onno Van Der Hart and Suzette Boon on three books before branching out on her own career path and despite parting ways, the trio have maintained a lasting friendship. Her life experiences have allowed her to develop a significant reservoir of understanding, enriching her comprehension of trauma and aiding others in their journey of coping with it.

The Event!

Kathy will be reunited with Onno Van Der Hart and Suzette Boone from the 3rd of June. We are delighted to host them for 4 days of training which will take place on the 3rd June, 28th June, 29th June and 30th June. Don’t miss the chance to learn how to learn the tools to effectively treat clients experiencing dissociation with Structural Dissociation Therapy. View the training here.

Written by Ella T
May 10, 2024
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