Holly Carnegie Letcher graduated from Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada with a BSc.(OT) in Occupational Therapy. She has been working as a registered Occupational Therapist since 1993. Holly has hospital experience in Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Chronic, Palliative and Dementia Care. She spent 7 years focused on Community Based Psychosocial Rehabilitation at the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programme in Hamilton On. Hope, compassion and empowerment continue to be key principles that guide her on a daily basis. Holly began her private practice Sacred Circles, Healing Hands, in Ontario and her practice has now evolved into Oceanside Pathways 2 Wellness-Holistic Health Services. She presently sees clients at her Qualicum Commons office in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.
Holly works with clients of all ages, individually and in groups, using a holistic approach to manage emotional and physical pain, stress & trauma, promoting optimal function in daily life. She brings a neuro-bio-psycho-spiritual approach to assessment and treatment. Holly also studies energy medicine and energy psychology, integrating modalities within her OT scope of practice.
Holly provides home and community visits. She facilitates a University of Victoria/Stanford University Chronic Pain Self- Management Program, as well as her own Self-Care group: Pain relief, stress relief, mindfulness and fun! Labyrinth Health & Wellness Workshops are available for all ages, locally and internationally.
One of Holly’s passions is building Labyrinths with communities in order to promote healthy environments, connection, empowerment and meaningful activity. Holly includes other holistic healing modalities such as Reiki, Emotional Freedom Technique ©, Therapeutic sound & movement, Laughter Yoga and collaboration with an Equine Facilitated Healing Centre. Holly is a life-long learner with many tools to help you fill your toolbox of recovery and resilience. Holly recognizes the significant importance of trust and safety in a therapeutic relationship. She also teaches skills that support healthy relationships and compassionate communication styles for improved connection, peace, satisfaction and enjoyment of daily life.
Wishing you Peace, Joy, Health, and Healing on your Path
To learn more about Reiki
To learn more about Nonviolent Communication/ Compassionate communication
To learn more about Emotional Freedom Technique © (EFT)
To learn more about Laughter Yoga
To learn more about Mental Health Resources
Mental Health Commission of Canada
My training as an Occupational Therapist has always been the foundation of my practice. I have been a member of CAOT (Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists) since 1993. I have been in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario (COTO) and now with COTBC (College of Occupational Therapists of BC) since moving to British Columbia in 2009.
I am a life-long learner and I continue to enhance my skills and compliment my OT practice. Please see other skills and training for details.
I embrace the theory of Neuroplasticity. The brain is “plastic”, it can rewire, find new pathways and return to function with repetition and practice. Determination, intention, motivation, humour and positive beliefs can certainly help this process, alongside movement and therapeutic sound. However, in order for new learning, reprogramming and healing to happen effectively, the individual needs to feel safe and supported. I believe it is always possible to make changes and improvements, sometimes we just haven’t found the way yet. My experience is “You can teach an old dog a new trick AND you can teach a new dog an old trick!”
The Polyvagal theory, developed by Dr. Porges, also informs my practice. The vagus nerve plays a crucial role in regulating heart rate, respiration, digestion, facial expression/interpretation and processing sound. It is important to understand the autonomic (parasympathetic and sympathetic) nervous system’s role in detecting (subconscious response-neuroception) signals for safety/social engagement, flight/flight or freeze/dissociation/shut down. The theory says that our reactions are physiologically based (not conscious) and our subsequent behaviour is a reaction to our body’s interpretation of a threat and our state of safety, danger or peril. If someone has experienced ongoing trauma or even a single trauma that was perceived as life threatening; an individual’s autonomic nervous systems hard-wired response for survival is on high alert. With fear and anxiety building up, an excess of cortisol is being produced causing inflammation and damage to cells, which in the long-term can result in physical disease, chronic pain, sleep disturbances and emotional distress. It is important to educate and support clients and their caregivers to understand reactions (fight, flight or freeze), without guilt or punishment. They need to understand that they are survivors. At one point those automatic reactions may have saved them from something terrible, however, now it is causing more harm than good. I can then teach tools and provide treatments that effectively strengthen and tones the ventral vagus nerve branch, which in turn supports the relaxation response (rest, digest, ease and safety) and shifts into a social engagement state, as we address the core issues. By practicing Trauma Informed Care and by having an awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES), I am better able to support clients during their healing time towards health and improved function.
Chronic Pain Self-Management Leader Training through the Institute of Aging and Lifelong Health, University of Victoria and Best Practice Chronic Pain Management and Assessment for Occupational Therapists at the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists National Conference in Banff, 2016 have continued to enhance my OT practice.
As part of my ongoing personal and professional learning and growth; Laughter Yoga Leader Training has brought a wonderful dimension of laughter exercises and breath work to my clients. Energy Medicine and Energy Psychology and Healing Arts techniques have also been an area of significant interest and study. Emotional Freedom Technique has been one of my most successful tools for extinguishing fears and managing anxiety. I completed intensive Labyrinth Facilitator Training with Dr. Lauren Artress in June 2008. I completed further learning at the Chartres Labyrinth in France in May 2010 “Living an Authentic Life”. Two journeys to Peru in 2012 and 2014 have certainly enriched my spiritual path.
Healthy communication and Peace Education studies have been a passion of mine for many years. My main focus has been on Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication/Compassionate Communication and Naomi Drew’s Win/Win guidelines. I have spent many volunteer hours working with children and adults sharing these tools. From 2003-2009 I was the co-chair of the Peace Culture Committee at SAGE Elementary School in Hamilton On. In November 2009, I presented at the McMaster University International Peace Conference, sharing Labyrinths with Educators and students. In 2013, I integrated a Children’s Beach Labyrinth Building Day into the 15th Annual Labyrinth Society Gathering on Vancouver Island. Four Oceanside schools participated in a successful event with students from K-5. A highlight for me occurred in 2014, when I presented a workshop at the International Association for Peace Research in Istanbul Turkey with TLS colleagues The Labyrinth: Symbol, Tool and Space for Building Sustainable Peace in Education and Beyond. My most recent Relationship material that is simple to understand and resonates clearly is taught by Eve Hogan at Heart Path Journeys. The EROS equation: SOUL-utions for Relationships is a short practical guide and is applicable for any type of relationship.
I have integrated Labyrinth work into my practice since 1999. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to co-found the St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Labyrinth Committee; to be connected with the Toronto Labyrinth Network, Vancouver Island Labyrinths, The International Labyrinth Society (TLS) and Veriditas. I am presently a TLS Regional and International Rep for Vancouver Island BC/Canada and a regular presenter at TLS Annual Gatherings. I am also a Veriditas Certified Labyrinth Facilitator trained by Dr. Lauren Artress and a Veriditas Representative for Western Canada. I am grateful to oversee (alongside Carol Matthews) the Godden Finger Labyrinth Museum Collection, presently at Bethlehem Centre in Nanaimo BC. Of the 60+ labyrinths on Vancouver Island, I have built over 14 permanent labyrinths and 100+ temporary ones. I have facilitated 4 International Labyrinth Pilgrimages and numerous workshops here. Teaching at Women of the Fire Empowerment weekends have been an ongoing highlight for the past several years. I feel blessed for all of the wonderful Labyrinth interest on Vancouver Island and for my connections with kindred spirits worldwide.
I have also offered Reiki as a healing modality within the scope of my OT practice since 2004. Reiki is also a very important part of my personal daily practice. I am continuously stretching and growing and challenging myself as I continue to learn about and share this loving forgiving, powerful healing energy with myself, my family and my community.
My experience is that we are all interconnected.
Sometimes we walk side by side on this circular path of life, sometimes we pass each other on the path , sometimes at walk at a distance, sometimes we get turned around…. we are all together somewhere on this journey, with the same basic set of needs. Love yourself. Love each other.