Donna Varnau, MA, LMHC

“Caminante, no hay camino.
Se hace camino al andar.”
“Traveler, there is no path.
The path is made by walking.”
Antoinio Machado

I can’t remember when I first felt propelled to explore “the meaning of life”. As a young girl, I’d had occasional yet deeply impactful experiences of my body feeling filled with a streaming, joyful kind of energy. These experiences opened me to a sense of wonder and delight about life. Influenced by my religious upbringing I attributed these experiences to a loving Presence, something much greater and kinder than myself..

As I grew older, life seemed increasingly difficult. I felt insecure and anxious much of the time. Remembering my earlier experiences of wonder and joy, I sought teachers and teachings that would help me turn my life into more of a steady state of well-being.

After graduating from college I went to live in a community in France where I worked with mentally handicapped adults. While there, following an extended spiritual retreat that included fasting and intense prayer, I became emotionally and mentally overwhelmed. I could no longer hold my life together. Returning to the States, I began psychotherapy with a Jungian analyst. It became evident then how much I had lived in my head, detached from the earth and my own body. Not living “with both feet on the ground” had toppled me over like an uprooted tree.

My body has finally become my home–my sanctuary even–on this earth. I have learned how important it is to pause and to connect with both the suffering self and the wisdom in embodied presence. Kindness, compassion, patience…all these positive qualities are cultivated when I slow down enough to tend to my inner life. The word “happiness” has grown to include suffering as well as joy. I know that accepting what comes, even the most difficult, is eventually rewarding and transforming. I feel more and more gratitude for this life.

Now my life’s passion is to support you in connecting with your full-bodied intelligence, for I know first-hand how rich and gratifying an embodied life is.

Education

  • M.A. degree in Psychology, Antioch University, Seattle
    Focus of studies: The Role of the Body in Psychotherapy
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Additional Training & Certification

  • Certified Focusing Trainer
  • Veriditas Certified Labyrinth Facilitator
  • Graduate, 3-year Embodied Life Mentorship Program with Russell Delman
  • Training with Judith Blackstone, PhD in “The Realization Process”
  • Voice Dialogue Facilitator: on staff with Hal and Sidra Stone
  • Body-Centered Psychotherapy trainings with Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks
  • Personallité et Relations Humaines (PRH): over 500 hours of experiential psycho- spiritual course work
  • Meditation and contemplative prayer practitioner for over 30 years

Marriage Counseling Training

  • “Growing as a Couple” 30 hours of course work: PRH Seminar
  • “Being a Couple” 30 hours of course work: PRH Seminars
  • Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks: “Conscious Loving” Body-Centered individual and relationship work
  • Hal and Sidra Stone: Partnering and Voice Dialogue workshops
  • Marriage Encounter
  • 38 years of marriage to David Varnau + 2 grown children and 2 grandchildren
  • Over 25 years of professional experience working with couples

About Our Family Camino Walk

about-therapist-donna-varnau-2

My husband and I and our two children began walking the Camino de Compostela in 1997. We have walked over 750 miles together over the years, beginning in Le Puy, France. In 2012, we added a son-in-law and a grandchild to our unit. Now we are waiting for both our grandchildren to be a little older in order to complete the last 150 miles of the camino from Astorga to Compostela, Spain! This family walk has been a highlight of our lives.