Breanne (Bre) Hiivala Cahoy

EcoWellness Career Consultant

Areas of Expertise

Self-esteem/self-worth/identity, career counseling, college student development, life transitions, quality of work-life, addiction and trauma, stress management/coping skills, spirituality, burnout, mindfulness, nature-based healing (Ecotherapy/Ecowellness), LGBTQIA2+ affirming, & BIPOC allied.

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Biography

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.” – Carl Rogers

I am grateful to be in a profession in which I can help clients reach their diverse personal and professional wellness goals.

I feel drawn to an ecological approach in consulting, learning and development. Ecology is based on the assumption that all things are connected. I incorporate a blend of existential, ecological systems, and mindfulness-based approaches in teaching, counseling, and research.

When we work together, we will focus on your self-defined goals. I believe that every person comes to the consulting relationship with strength, innate wisdom, and resilience. The path should be directed by you and supported by me. My goal is to collaborate with clients to identify strengths and a personal approach to holistic wellness. Throughout the process, I encourage people to honor their personal narrative and whole self in a compassionate and mindful way.

My current research areas are in EcoWellness, Holistic Wellness, and Diversity/Inclusion topics. I recently co-authored two chapters for a SAGE Counseling desk reference: “Culture Sensitive Psychotraumatology” and “Internalized Racism and Oppression.” Two recent presentations were on Race-Based Trauma for the Minnesota Counseling Association, and Ethics in EcoTherapy for the Adler Institute.

I celebrate diversity in people’s lived experience and believe the personal growth process should be rooted in mutual respect. I seek to nurture an environment that is emotionally and physically safe for people of all identities and enjoy working with people who are a part of LGBTQIA2+ and/or BIPOC communities.

I love doing mostly anything in nature (camping, hiking, adventuring), reading, learning baritone ukulele, yoga, and spending time with my husband, child, family, friends, and dogs.

Why the work we do in partnership matters?

 

Michelle and I have been partnering on nature based wellness consulting work since 2019. Michelle has a background in wildlife biology and conservation and I have a background in career counseling and education. Independently, we found ourselves desiring connection with the ‘other side’ of our work. What I mean by this, is that I truly believe the counseling profession needs to be climate-trauma informed. I believe that people’s mental health and the health of the planet are directly connected. Artist Andy Goldsworthy stated, ““We often forget that WE ARE NATURE. Nature is not something separate from us. So when we say that we have lost our connection to nature, we’ve lost our connection to ourselves.” We are social animals desperately in need to re-connection with ourselves as a part of nature. I found through my dissertation process that the counseling profession is just now beginning to include nature in counseling practice and research. There is so much work here for counselors to become more climate-aware and to learn best practice for addressing eco-anxiety and grief related to climate trauma.

Michelle found through her work that many people in the hard sciences and conservation community are in need of supportive workplaces and employee health and wellness. Being on the front lines of conservation during a climate crisis can be traumatic and the effects on these workers are evident. We met during one of Michelle’s Ecopsychology workshops and things just clicked, we saw a reciprocal benefit in this relationship and our desire is to bring this partnership to the our communities. Our shared hope is that nature conservancy and mental health community collaboration multiplies!

We have partnered on multiple Ecowellness and trauma informed leadership workshops in the conservation community. We also co-teach a course called Nature in Counseling at Adler Graduate School.

We’re so excited to continue to blend and merge concepts of conservation, regenerative leadership, mental health and wellness, and planetary wellbeing as we continue this partnership for many years to come. Our hope is to continue to build bridges and advocate for interdisciplinary partnerships to approach the biggest challenges humankind has faced. Our wellbeing is Earth wellbeing, we are nature.

Favorite outdoor activity: My favorite outdoor activity is hiking. My favorite hiking places are usually in the mountains.