Giving Thanks


A message from Dr. Michele Nealon-Woods, President, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.

                                                                                                                                                                           -- John Milton


I can think of no better time to launch the new format for our quarterly Community Update than a holiday that asks all of us to stop and take the opportunity to give thanks. The quality and quantity of the activities and work described in this more extensive newsletter make me very proud and enormously thankful to be a part of a community that is so deeply committed to education, empowerment, and giving back.

I was born and raised in Ireland and so only just began to celebrate Thanksgiving when I moved to the United States in 1994. For me, Thanksgiving offers a respite during which I can truly take the time to reflect on all that I am so very grateful for in my own life. As Milton so deftly notes, it is indeed these moments of reflection that provide both learning and inspiration.

I am personally thankful for my family; for the opportunity to raise my children in a wonderful country -- despite its struggles; for the opportunities I have been afforded to build a career that can make a difference in this world; and for the ability to capitalize on those opportunities. I am thankful to be working for an institution that shares my values, and for collaborating with those who are committed to making people’s lives happier and healthier across the globe.

Last week I was most grateful to have had the opportunity to meet with members of Congress to emphasize the importance of mental health and the critical need for continued funding and services. I was proud to share with legislators the work we do here at TCSPP and with our community partners to provide services to those most in need, and our own efforts – in Latina/o mental health, through the Naomi Ruth Cohen Foundation and many other initiatives—to open up the dialog and eliminate the stigma around mental illness.

And of course, I am thankful for all of you—for your insight and skill, your energy and commitment, and the passion you bring to your work and/or study here at The Chicago School every day. Whatever you do this Thanksgiving, I hope you will give yourself the gift of reflection--on all of those people and things in your life for which you are truly grateful—and the opportunity for awe in the wondrous gifts of life.

Have a safe and happy holiday.

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