About Maria Connolly
I was born in Sydney, Australia. However, soon after my birth my parents returned to their native country of Italy and I grew up in a town just northeast of Venice. I started studying English in grammar school and went on to study it in depth at the Oxford European Institute. I’m glad I made that choice because in 1991 I met my husband, an American, and started a new and exciting life in the beautiful community of Ashland, Oregon.
My background gives me insight into distinct cultures as well as the challenges and transitions they often create. Since life is full of challenges and transitions, I find that this insight has increased my consciousness and compassion as a coach.
I began studying psychology in Padova, Italy. I went on to receive my Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. My areas of special training and expertise include women’s and gender issues in general, specifically working with survivors of trauma, abuse, and victimization.
Following my studies, I interned at a local shelter for abused women and children and later provided therapeutic services there as a therapist. This experience in the field of domestic violence gives me a keen awareness of family dynamics and interpersonal relationships.
My Transition from Therapist to Coach
I used a variety of methodologies as a therapist such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Hypnotherapy to name a few. However, there were two methods in particular that I found to be especially empowering and actually led me to shift away from traditional therapy and into Somatic Coaching.
The first was NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). This proved to be a particularly effective and practical approach to problem solving with immediate results. Rather than focusing on past problems the focus is on future goals and the overall development and growth of the individual. I’ve taken extensive trainings at the NLP Institute of Oregon and am a certified Master Practitioner.
The second method that produced powerful results is The Feldenkrais Method®. This is a method designed to promote physical and mental well-being via exercises that improve flexibility and coordination and increase ease and range of motion.
To deepen my somatic understanding, I discovered martial arts that help me enhance my body awareness and ability to center myself. Through a weekly practice of Aikido at a local dojo, I continue to explore ways to stay centered in my body. Since June 2015 I’ve been practicing Horseback Archery, a fun mounted martial art quickly growing in popularity, as another centering practice I enjoy weekly.
These professional and personal transitions have led me to my current profession as a Somatic Coach. (Click here to read more about the benefits of Somatic Coaching.) Basically, my new approach encompasses your entire body and is much more results-driven and future oriented than traditional therapy. While I still benefit from my years of experience as a therapist, I find that Somatic Coaching attracts clients that are committed to meaningful and purposeful lives.
As a Lifelong Student I Love Teaching
As much as I love learning I also have a passion for teaching! As adjunct faculty and supervisor at Southern Oregon University (MHC Program) I enjoy mentoring beginning therapists and providing peer training for coaches and therapists looking to venture into private practice. Since 2011, I have been one of the co-directors of the Community Counseling Center of Ashland, providing pro-bono supervision to student interns.
I dedicate a great part of my time facilitating groups and teaching classes privately. In 2010 I co-developed a Personal Development Program called “Life in Balance: The Seven Keys.” This is a state-of-the-art, experiential, mindfulness-based, skill-development program that blends the best of traditional western and eastern knowledge. We use a multi-disciplinary, skill-based approach to achieve maximum well-being in the shortest amount of time. Since 2011 I’ve also been co-teaching Neuro-Linguistic Programming Certification and Life Coaching courses.
Are you ready to explore a coaching relationship? Please contact me to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation. I look forward to meeting you.