Tell us a little about your work.
I’ve worked at the Hidden Springs Wellness Center for 10 years, right from when the doors first opened. I help clients learn tools to create remarkable relationships. They learn to listen without hearing criticism, they discover the healing power of empathy, and with guidance they can learn to express anger without hostility, and to take responsibility for all their feelings and behaviors. Of course, this helps bring the “fun” back into the relationship, it enhances intimacy, and helps both partners get their needs met.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I love working with couples: watching as individuals learn to listen deeply and with empathy to their partner; guiding couples to take responsibility for their feelings and needs without blaming and criticizing each other; creating a safe place to help people honestly express their truths; help them clarify and achieve what they really want and need in their relationships. Speaking from the Heart is what my program is does just that. As couples bring their relationship back to life they begin to enjoy more joy, laughter, intimacy, meaning, and awareness. Plus, they start bringing a new depth to their lives together.
How did you get started with this work?
I’ve always really enjoyed connecting with people on an emotional level ~ it’s sort of my “MO”. My first memorable professional experience was working with a couple who asked me to facilitate their divorce mediation. But I noticed that they seemed very confused about what they really wanted. So, I shared a few communication tools with them. That first session lasted two hours and the enjoyed it enough to schedule another one. When they showed up for that second appointment they gave me a big hug and said “You saved our marriage!” I’ll tell you, those words have stayed with me for ten years! I have a lot more success stories now and it’s my ongoing pleasure to assist people to create the type of relationship they really want.
Why do most people come to you?
JOANNE: People come for all sorts of reasons. Most often, they want to learn communication tools that can lead to more laughter, joy and intimacy in their relationship. Also, most people want to gain clarity about what underlying issues might be causing dis-connections with their partner. Many need help to learn how to get their needs met, and to express themselves without “hurting” the other person. After all, none of us got educated in school about how to have those difficult conversations.
Organizations (clinics, non-profits, etc.) also hire me to help create a more collaborative and non-threatening atmosphere in the workplace. This is such a smart investment because invariably good communication increases efficiency through an environment where people actually love to come to work. It’s shocking how many hours on the job are wasted every day across America because people don’t feel happy to even be there! Learning to communicate effectively with co-workers can dramatically improve on this.
What do your clients need to do themselves to get results the best results from your work?
They need to “want something to change,” and they need to be willing to practice what they learn. What they’ve been doing hasn’t worked for them so far; obviously to get different results they need to be open to trying something different. Also, taking emotional risks is important and giving up the need to be right helps!
Do you have a favorite personal healing story?
Well, there are many but here’s one favorite. A young, engaged couple came to see me because Sarah (not her real name) was beginning to think she needed to cancel their engagement. Brian (not his real name) was completely confused. They appeared to have a deep sense of love between them so I was fascinated to find out what was going on. Sarah began by questioning whether or not Brian really loved her. She needed him to show her that he loved her, to assure her that he wanted to spend time with her. Well, they were both avid runners, so Brian began inviting her to join him for his 5:00am morning run. But she would just roll over and go back to sleep. This totally confused Brian. When they started telling me this story, I knew right away what the problem was. Sarah asked Brian to show her his love, without telling him what that would look like. He thought inviting her for a run would show her he wanted to spend time with her. What he didn’t realize, (because she hadn’t told him), was that the time together she had in mind was a romantic date night ~ dinner out with a glass of wine, that sort of thing.
They both learned how important it is to be specific with personal needs. When you have a clear idea of what you want or of what you are hoping for, it’s important to share that information with your partner, in detail. It was a simple solution, but they were ready to give up on the relationship! There is a happy ending to the story. They did get married and the last I heard, they were happy and deeply in love with each other.
From your professional experience, what would you suggest are the three or four best things a person can do to create a truly happy life?
I believe in having lots of laughter in life, developing effective communication skills, healthy eating habits and exercise. These all contribute to a healthy, happy and fulfilled life.
Joanne Lescher, Speaking From the Heart
Hidden Springs Wellness Center
635 Lit Way, Ashland, OR 97520