Meet The Westwind Staff - Liona Kehler
In this edition of "Meet The Westwind Staff", we are asking five questions of one of Westwind's Associate Therapist, Liona Kehler.
1) WHAT LED YOU TO WESTWIND?
I first learned of Westwind while searching for treatment for my own eating disorder. My life had become reduced to eating disorder thoughts and behaviors. Treatment at Westwind allowed me to reclaim my life. I arrived at Westwind utterly exhausted and feeling hopeless. A few months later, with a lot of hard work and support from the Westwind staff, I left full of hope, dreams, and plans for my future.
It was the staff at Westwind that first inspired me to consider becoming a therapist. A year after leaving Westwind I began my counselling training. In the back of my mind, I always dreamt of returning to Westwind as a therapist one day. When the opportunity presented itself, I felt like I had come full circle. I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to be a part of someone else’s journey to recovery.
2) WHAT INSPIRES YOU ABOUT WORKING IN MENTAL HEALTH?
There are so many things that inspire me about working in mental health. I would say that the most consistent inspiration comes from clients themselves. I am always amazed by the resilience of the human spirit. Many of us have experienced the world in ways that has distanced us from our true Self. Think of the true Self as the part of you that is curious, compassionate, calm, courageous, connected, confident, creative. Seeing these characteristics strengthened as I work with clients continuously inspires me.
3) IF YOU COULD SAY ONE THING TO SOMEONE SEEKING TREATMENT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would say that being open to treatment means that at least a part of you has come to the realization (or maybe it is just a hope right now) that something different could be possible. Nurture that hope intentionally. Allow yourself to dream of what life could be like if the eating disorder were not present.
The second thing I would say is that recovery is a commitment. The beautiful thing about commitment is that it does not require you to be certain at all times, to get it right all the time, to feel positive or to not be scared. It only asks that you keep showing up for yourself; for your dream of a life without the eating disorder.
4) WHAT'S ONE THING YOU PRACTICE TO MAINTAIN POSITIVE MENTAL HEALTH?
I think of maintaining mental health as maintaining balance in my life. Journaling, yoga, hiking, hanging out with friends, creating something beautiful, learning something new, napping in the middle of the day, and dancing while I cook a meal all allow me to maintain balance in my mental health.