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Hi, I'm Jemma...

and I've been studying people and their interactions with great fascination for as long as I can remember.

 

"One, two, three!" my aunt would direct me at seven years old to begin my detailed impressions of my grandparents' marriage dynamics (which taught me what I most certainly did not want in a relationship) as she pressed record on the tape deck (I know, I just aged myself). As a kid, I contentedly spent hours observing the adults while taking copious mental notes I'd reference later when contrasting what I sensed and witnessed with what I was told about the systems at play. I've always been a seeker and a speaker of relational truths.

Though I took pride in receiving recognition for being perceptive and "wise beyond my years," it was sometimes overwhelming to sit with all that I could see. It was also a survival strategy that leads to draining hypervigilance. As an adult, I delight in how my insight and sensitivity give me the capacity to deeply feel, see, understand, and learn from the people I coach around the world. I get to support them, celebrate them, and sit with them in their pain and their pleasure while helping to light their personal path to wholeness and fulfillment.

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I can now see how my childhood captivation with all things love and relationships (including the often neglected relationship with self) led me to my career as a personal and relational coach but given the detours along the way, I didn't see it coming. I thought I was destined to become a veterinarian—toggling back and forth for years between my passion for humans and my passion for animals—working as a vet tech while earning my B.A. in psychology from Concordia University in Montreal and afterwards in San Francisco before feeling the strong internal pull back to helping humans heal as I supervised a residential treatment facility for teens.

 

In addition to continuing to explore, learn and weave together multiple healing and growth modalities, I draw from my own experience of moving through and mending after the dissolution of my marriage. After 20 years of what I consider to have been a successful relationship to a wonderful man, I found myself feeling alone, trapped, and confused about how he and I found ourselves in the crisis of connection that I believe ends many relationships. My ex and I had advantages that most couples don't—both raised by (and close with) mothers who were talented couple's therapists, support with developing higher than average EQ, and a shared EQ/RQ language to help us navigate challenges with respect and kindness—yet our marriage still unraveled.

 

I hadn't witnessed any long-term relationships between two people who still admired and enjoyed each other crumble quietly the way ours did. I couldn't find anyone publicly speaking nor writing about a story like the one I was living which contributed to my sense of isolation and self-doubt. This is what lit the fire in me to take my story, woven together with my coaching experience and knowledge to TikTok so that others might hear, feel, and understand themselves in my words. It was beyond nerve-wracking to be so visible but I thought it was high time people learned why so many relationships end, who's ending them and how we might shift this prevalent pattern. Others thought so too—millions of people across the globe tuned in as my first video went viral and as I kept pushing myself to tell my story so that it might help others heal, the experience helped heal me.

When you're married to a good man who has been one of your closest friends for decades, it's heartbreaking, terrifying and shocking to the system to fully awaken to the "knowing" that remaining in the marriage means continuing to compromise your well-being. Influenced by the conditioned belief that leaving a good guy and prioritizing myself was selfish, I silenced my intuition while trying to convince myself I could be happy enough in my marriage. Giving myself permission to leave was one of the hardest things I've ever done while also the most beneficial to my growth. Though I've always been conscious about walking the talk of the holistic practices I teach my clients, the dissolution of my marriage was the ultimate test of my fluency in these practices and my growth opportunity for learning to love myself as much as I love others.

 

I'm grateful for the many years my marriage was a secure, fun and nurturing haven. I'm equally grateful I developed the clarity and courage to leave when the relationship ceased to grow and my requests to revitalize it together were met with a lack of responsiveness beyond loving words. By evolving my relationship with myself, I healed from the prolonged disconnection in the marriage and the self-abandonment that left me numb in the final years of my marriage as I tried to stay.  I now consciously invite my inner compass to guide me rather than harmful messages from a patriarchal society that ultimately steer us away from fulfilling love and connection. I also learned (thanks to the friends, family, and healers who've supported me) the very thing I want my clients to learn, "You don't have to figure this out by yourself. You're not alone and you're going to be okay."

MY COACHING PROCESS IS BASED ON TRAINING FROM WORLD-RENOWNED EXPERTS IN THE FOLLOWING:

  • Coaching Certification —Lumia

  • Developmental Model of Couples Therapy — Ellyn Bader, The Couples Institute

  • Attachment Theory —Diane Poole Heller, Trauma Solutions

  • Multidisciplinary Therapeutic Relational Practices — Esther Perel, Sessions

  • Self-Compassion Practices — Center for Mindful Self-Compassion

  • Interpersonal Neurobiology — Dan Siegel, Mindsight Institute

  • Relational Life Model & Healing Men From Patriarchal Conditioning — Terry Real, Relational Life Institute

  • Somatic Healing Practices — Peter Levine & Diane Poole Heller, Trauma Solutions

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