The Story of Me and the Red Barn
In my forty years of working as a social worker, I learned that the best services to clients and to communities happened through teamwork. During the first two decades of my career in the field of child protection, decisions were made with a teamwork approach. As I moved to clinical services with my masters degree in social work in 1985, it was clinical supervision in groups that I gained the best experience, knowledge and skills. I valued the insight of others and this collaboration of different perspectives led to a better outcome for clients.
In the School of Social Work I was taught many things, one of which is the concept of the impact of the community on the individual and vice versa. It was a new focus, one different than just looking at an individual’s pathology. My focus continued to evolve throughout the years. For the last ten years in child protective services I was a social worker supervisor. We worked together to make case plans and provide services to children and their families. This is hard work that can be very taxing on one’s spirit. I was needing a new and different perspective and a more fulfilling experience. In 1994 I sought out and found a teacher of the Medicine Wheel, an indigenous teaching that encompasses the concept of mind, body, emotion, spirit and heart. The balance of these factors in an individual’s life results in “wholeness”, or in other words, a holistic approach. Through these teachings I was able to experience a deeper connection to the Creator, to Spirit and to our Mother Earth and ultimately to myself. I have been a student of this approach ever since. It is a Path of Heart. To write the least, it changed my life.
From 1998 to 2006 I resided in the high desert of New Mexico. I soaked up the energy of the land and loved the cultures of the people. Creativity flows in this land, I feel I became so much closer to Our
Creator in so many ways. It was my honor to have worked on Native American reservations and felt so at home in my heart and soul in these places. Further I found the Divine Feminine in New Mexico. I will write more about this in the future.
Because of my mother’s passing and my father’s illness, I came back to Connectiut to live in 2006. I found that working in agencies and companies felt so limiting after having experienced the vastness of the land in New Mexico, my spirit had expanded in ways I could not deny. In both Connecticut and New Mexico, I had been a clinician, a school social worker, a clinical supervisor, a care manager, an intensive case manager, a care manager supervisor and a clinical director in several agencies.
I started my private practice in 2009 and felt more freedom to provide therapy at my own pace without expectation, especially on client volume. I did find that I missed the teamwork and camaraderie that comes from working with other practitioners.
In 2011 I moved to a larger office and gradually other practitioners sought out office space in this office. I worked with another therapist who worked part time, and massage therapists also came to work in the space. It was becoming clearer that the mind, body, spirit focus was coming into being.
In 2013 I found myself in ICU on life support, experiencing a rare life threatening illness. It took many months to recover, gaining my strength back and having to learn how to walk again. Something changed in me from that point on. Through time and after much discussion with other practitioners who joined the office, we became the Middletown Wellness Collaborative and we offered a holistic and collaborative approach to services.
Through the next 3-4 years the practice evolved with practitioners leaving and some joining. We began to include yoga classes after buiding out a room that we made into a small yoga studio.
Because I had much experience in treating psychological trauma throughout my years of practice, I sought out and learned a treatment modality called EMDR which I offer to my clients. This approach processes body sensations connected to memories, cognitions about self, and related feelings, it is a hoistic approach to healing using our natural ability to process and heal. The result is that the traumatic memory does not have the same painful association that it once had. I also sought out a yoga teacher who offers trauma sensitive yoga, a practice that helps individuals heal. I embraced the yoga teachings for overall wellness and healing. I noted the healing ability of massage therapy, energy work and reiki treatments in overall wellness of clients.
In 2016-2017 the Collaborative was expanding, more was being offered and we knew we needed a bigger space. My vision was to find a place that could offer a special healing energy and be a creative space. We looked around for months and did not find the exact right space.
It was in December 2017 after an art class, creating an art journal, I had a very strong intuitive “hit” to find out about a space that was being offered in an empty red barn in Durham. I went there at that day, got the name of the owner, and I met the owner the following Monday. This awesome man was open to my vision, a space for our holistic practitioners. The space was a blank organic canvas that felt right. I immediately trusted this man to be able to co-create the space we all needed. Initially the practitioners were wary of this project, not really believing in what I had envisioned for the space. ( I think they thought I was out of my mind, which I was, of course. I was in my heart.) However they saw the space, somewhat agreed and I took a leap of faith and I signed the lease in January.
So the construction inside the barn began. From January through to this writing in August 2018 we have witnessed rooms being built, heating and air conditioning going in, floors being put in, painting being done, etc. Don Mondani, the owner of the Red Barn has been so extraordinarily wonderful to us in creating our new home. So “build it and they come” and that what has been happening in real time.
Many different gifted practitioners have heard about us and our new place. They have responded and have signed up to join us.
My heart is full, my vision is being realized! We have all found our team; our “tribe”. We have found our beautiful space to offer our gifts to the community. I am so grateful !!
Janice Juliano MSW LCSW
Director of the Red Barn