My name is Shannon Shaffer Peterson, I live in southern California, and for the past two years I've been a Behavioral Health Clinician I with the County of Orange Crisis Assessment Team, providing psychiatric evaluations for members of the community experiencing a mental health emergency. I've had many jobs that I've loved in the past 40 years of working with fellow humans who experience significant mental and emotional distress. I've worked in outpatient clinics, long-term care in-patient units, a Residential Treatment facility, supportive housing for previously homeless adults living with mental health challenges, the Public Guardians office, was the director of a peer-run Warmline...but my favorite gig by far is the annual Mountain Respite Camp for people living with mental illnesses that I started 15 years ago, where we bring 100+ adults and families up to the local mountains each year to stay in cabins for 4 days and enjoy typical summer camp activities. (I'm so sad that we had to cancel it this year for the first time due to the pandemic.)
My own journey with mental illness and wellness started in my teens, when I was lucky enough to have a therapist who encouraged me to "follow my bliss" and volunteer on a warm line. It took me 3 years to complete my AA degree in Psychology, another 5 to complete my BS in Human Services, and I didn't go to graduate school and complete my MS in Counseling until I was in my 50's (and had been working in the field for 30 years.) In the meantime, I got married, had a daughter, got divorced, lost over 100 lbs....I may go slow, but I get where I'm going!
My goal, and part of the reason I became a Certified Personal Medicine Coach, is that I plan to "retire" and join my daughter in New Zealand (when quarantine is lifted) and become a coach in the Lifestyle Medicine tele-health non-profit business she is starting. (She's been working as an Emergency Medicine MD for several years, but her calling is to help people improve their physical health and well-being through "more than just medicine," and mine is to help people improve their emotional health and well-being the same way!) I look forward to learning more about how we all can create our most fulfilling and joyful lives.