The Purpose of Swan Circle is primary to serve those who work with American Indians and Alaska Natives in the following areas:
Counseling · Research· Spirituality· Training· Conferences· Education· Books and Articles
WHY: Swan Circle, Inc. is dedicated to provide innovative training for counselors, mental health workers and educators in the field of education and counseling. The time has come to address counselors, school counselors and other mental health workers needs to work with America Indians and Alaska Native's to promote health and healing. Most of the training in serving the Native American population has been limiting in perspective because the emphasis is on European values and Individualistic based attitudes. When training has been provided, most deal with the cultural differences and not on actual practices.
In education, very little has been provided for counselors who work in schools. Mental Health workers are sensitive to the communication styles and needs of Native American's but often are at a loss on what are the best practices to use that are acceptable, effective, and long lasting.
Dr. Catherine Reimer has worked with Native Americans for over 25 years. She is an independent consultant for businesses, universities, schools, and mental health agencies. She received her doctorate in counseling/ psychology in the school of education from the George Washington University and her book called Counseling the Inupiat Eskimo is used by the University of Alaska. Recently she researched another Inupiat project for NIAAA and the University to understand the relationship between suicide, spirituality, and alcoholism. She has been a counselor in all grade levels and has taught and counseled graduate university students. She also has her own practice and was a clinical supervisor for two treatment centers. She has done National Training's and helped developed the Gathering of Native Americans (GONA) and her training for National Child Welfare Association (NICWA) in Voice Dialogue was well received. Currently she does training for those interested in Voice Dialogue which she calls The Talking Circle Within.
Josh Thom is an Inupiat Eskimo who received his A.A. degree from Haskell Indian Nations University and his B.A. degree from Fort Lewis College. He has served as a counselor's aid, voice dialogue facilitator and is interested in pursuing Music Therapy. He is the author of Commitments to Excellence, a self-help book in progress. He has done research in Marine Biology at Cornell University and SUNY at Stony Brook before changing his major to music with emphasis on piano. He also a composer, musician, piano teacher with interest in music for healing purposes. He has been involved with gathering information for music healing with Native Americans in the form of stress reduction, self esteem improvement, spiritual connection, impact of drum circles as a cultural preservative, and the negative impacts of other music (i.e. alcohol/drug abuse, gangs/violence, and loss of cultural values/ spirituality).
HOW: Together, this mother and son team is effective and dynamic. Other trainers are called to help out with the conferences when needed.
The conferences offer generic information that can be applied to different tribes and different needs of the group over the life span development of the individual.
Conferences are planned to not exceed 100 individuals so that individual attention can be given. The group participants create practical and applicable activities that are shared with the larger group. Thus, new ideas are generated so that participants can take back with them many ideas and practical and innovative activities.
The cost of the conferences are below most conference costs so that tribal members and organizations can afford to send teams so that the teachings can be used effectively and shared with other organizations.
Information and teachings from the conferences are in packets so that participants have access to overhead information.
Conferences are different in focus. Some conferences focus on the inner world and others on the creative. Conferences are developed in the same city but with different focuses and different materials.
Dr. Catherine "Swan" Reimer is perhaps the most diverse presenter that I have encountered in my 25-year career in the field of behavioral health. Her style is dynamic in presentation and in content - always changing with current research and grounded in Native traditional healing. Dr. Reimer is a change agent, creating the impetus for people to begin to hope, gain knowledge, and acquire skills to improve their lives. She has this way of creating "rituals" for healing with the most simplest of elements - water, fire/candle. I always feel like I am coming home or being nurtured in the arms of Mother Earth when I am in her presence. As the Executive Director of Native American Connections, Inc. (NACI) for the past 23 years, it has been an honor to work with Dr. Reimer throughout the years. The benefit to employees and clients is "priceless."
Diana Yazzie Devine, MBA, CSAC
Native American Connections, Inc.