Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Collaborating with a Family Member by Anne Vincent

Today's guest blogger is Anne Vincent, co-author of The Way to Stillness.

Gayle and her daughter, Anne, share Gayle's unique approach to connecting with others at a deep level, offering a practical guide that anyone might use as a manual on their spiritual journey.

As she approaches her 90th year, Gayle Alexander, looks back over a career of service as a master counselor, gifted teacher, and minister. She was blessed to be mentored by some of the great souls of our time, Viktor Frankl and Norman Cousins as was her late husband by Mother Theresa.

She shares the Love Motif, her unique approach to connecting with others at a deep level, offering a practical guide that anyone might use as a manual on their spiritual journey.

Full of rich insight and profound and inspiring life lessons gleaned from 50 years of private practice, being a “companion on the way” to thousands of individuals, she offers powerful tools to a new generation of helpers. It is her hope that educators, clergy members, physicians, clinicians, therapists, counselors, and anyone involved in the mentoring process find their own Way to Stillness and pass it on.

I asked Anne to discuss what it was like collaborating with her mother on this book. Here's what she had to say:

People have often told me that the most difficult speech to write is the shortest one, that your toughest audience is the smallest one. I believe both of these to be true. And I also believe that the most worthwhile things in life may indeed take a very long time to develop.

Our project began in 1996 at the encouragement of our practice clients and at the request of the Spiritual Journeys Class (a program my mother started 27 years ago) at First Presbyterian Church, Nashville, TN.

I have boxes of drafts, dozens of hours of tape recordings, and binders of ideas for chapter titles and illustrations. Did all of these elements become incorporated into the final form of The Way to Stillness? Certainly not – many dropped away like old winter coats. Over the past 14 years, a journey through deaths, divorce, illnesses, and the onset of Gayle’s vascular dementia provided numerous opportunities to give up our writing.

However, even through the dark days of her progressive illness and deterioration of her short term memory, “The Book” (as Gayle likes to call it) remained her Light. My mother and I are extremely different in many ways which made the building of a counseling practice together since 1989 quite challenging. One day, she quietly whispered in my ear, “Honey, I really do realize I am difficult to work with at times.”

Our common goal and vision to feed as many souls as possible with the truth of our experience has always triumphed over our differences. My years of intensive communication with Gayle served us both well in the process. She often struggled to articulate a misplaced word or phrase slipping just outside her mental grasp as her always brilliant brain began to fail her. I could usually supply it for her.

Even in the sadness, frustration, and anger of the dawning reality of her disability, my constant question to her has been: “ Mom, how will it feel for you to be an author by the age of 90?” Always a grin spread across her beautiful face.

With so many setbacks, it often seemed we were so “behind” in this process – that we were not going to beat the clock – that we might not make it. At the time of this post, I’m pleased to say that we are 3 years ahead of schedule (she’s 87). Don’t you think this brings a smile to her face?

Anne Alexander Vincent, Ordained Minister of Pastoral Counseling, is the Owner of Cottage in the Woods, a licensed ministry center of the National Christian Counselors Association. She is completing her PhD in Clinical Christian Counseling through the NCCA. With more than 30 years of counseling experience, she has completed her 8th year of intensive training under Dr Patrick Carnes, PhD as a Certified Multiple Addictions Therapist and Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist and with the International Trauma and Addiction Professionals as a Trauma and Addictions Therapist.

A large percentage of Anne’s clinical practice serves professional and executive counselees experiencing issues in the workplace as well as those professionals recovering from impairment by chemical and/or process addictions. She has provided aftercare counseling and services for the Tennessee Medical Foundation, the Tennessee Dental Association, and the Tennessee Lawyers Assistance Program. She has decades of specialization in Codependency, Adult Children of Alcoholics therapy, and recently the Family Recovery Zone through Dr. Carnes.

In 1988, she began personal training with Dr.Otto Kroeger, international expert on Type Psychology and author of “Type Talk”. Since this time she has utilized the Myers Briggs Type Indicator as a Certified Type Practitioner with individuals, couples and team building with organizations and boards of directors. She has been interviewed about her work in both the New York Times and by Time Magazine. Though a native Nashvillian, her global work has included serving on the International Development Council of Ruschlikon Theological Seminary, (formerly in Zurich, Switzerland) graduate work and private training at the Jungian Institute of Zurich, and hands on mission work in Kenya.

She is the coauthor of the upcoming book The Way to Stillness, which was released in January 2010. She is a speaker, seminar leader and Divorce Care facilitator.

For the past 20 years, she has taught and co-written materials/for the Spiritual Journey program at First Presbyterian Church, Nashville. The current series is “Healthy Boundaries” based on the bestsellers “Boundaries” and “Safe People” by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Anne’s life includes one marriage of 22 years. She is a single mother of two wonderful adult sons ages 21 and 23.

You can visit Anne online at

1 comment:

Tribute Books said...

Very inspiring, thanks!