David McNamara, Ph.D. |
Alexandra McNamara, M.Ed.
David McNamara, Ph.D.
am a licensed clinical Psychologist, and, for the last twenty or
so years, have been offering psychotherapy and evaluation for kids,
teenagers, and their families. But, more importantly, I find the
idea and practice of living together as a familyof whatever
make up--to be one of the most challenging, fulfilling, fascinating,
and inspiring aspects of life. I have come to understand that, despite
whatever conflicts and pressures families face, they have a deep
and abiding strength, joy, and unity; and that this sense of wholeness
and power can be felt and used to maintain that strength in living
I began working with kids and families as part of the team that
offered the first Family Workshops over twenty years ago as part
of the educational work of the Findhorn Foundation, an intentional
spiritual community in Scotland. Doing that work, I came to realize
that I enjoyed and was good at it, and should probably seek some
training in the field!
So, along with forming our own family with Alexandra, I began graduate
training in family psychology and therapy in the U.S. During my
family therapy training, I realized that more focused training in
working with child and adolescent psychotherapy was quite important
to me, and I pursued more training in those skills. The combination
of child and teen and family psychology and psychotherapy became
the center of my professional life for close to twenty years.
While my psychological professional training was very traditional,
it always developed within the spiritual way of living and understanding
that was embodied so powerfully at Findhorn. So, although I trained
in psychotherapy and psychological evaluation in departments of
Psychology and Psychiatry in medical schools in the San Francisco
Bay area of the U.S., I continued to think and write about the spiritual
or transpersonal lives of families. I wrote my doctoral dissertation
on the scientific basis for a theory of family wholeness or unity.
As part of this work, I put together a variety of activities to
support families in understanding and experiencing this sense of
family unity. Meanwhile, son Geoffrey, now age 22 and finishing
University in the U.S., and daughter Erin, now 19 and living and
working at Findhorn, along with Alexandra were teaching me all that
I didnt know about fathering and the realities of family life.
the years, Ive worked in settings as varied as psychiatric
and medical hospitals, complementary medical clinics, and private
practice consultation. I include a variety of methods in my work
with kids and adults: Sandplay, a Jungian-based way of bringing
into clarity the most meaningful and important parts of ones
life; EMDR, a highly effective and brief, focused way of working
with healing past traumas, play therapy with kids; and psychodynamic
and family psychotherapy, helping people to look at and change the
underlying patterns that drive their behavior.
I have contributed a chapter on Family Therapy to the
compilation volume Medical Marriage: Complementary Practice in
Healthcare (Findhorn Press, 1995.) Along with refining, further
developing, and continuing to offer the Creating Joyful Families
workshop with Alexandra and other co-workers, she and I are currently
living at Findhorn. I am working on the book that explains and develops
the idea and practice of the transpersonal/spiritual life of families
as well as doing some counseling for kids and families.
Alexandra McNamara, M.Ed.
am a teacher and educator of children and adults, currently working
as a class teacher at the Moray Steiner School in Forres, Scotland
and at the same time am deeply involved in reconceptualizing child
development and education for the 21st century. With training as
a musician and dancer, a B.A in Child Development and an M.Ed. in
Waldorf education I bring the view of both an artist and a developmentalist
to my observations of children. I strongly believe that children
are not miniature adults, having different perceptions and modes
of cognition and needs for protection, support, and clear loving
boundaries, and as souls are worthy of our entire attention and
respect. My life-long involvement with spirituality and the arts
has also informed my approach to education and parenting as a spiritual
path and creative endeavor in itself.
I received a B.A in Child Development and Children's Theater in
1974 from Sarah Lawrence College and have been directly involved
in the field of education from that time. I have spent many years
researching child development and developmental and transpersonal
approaches to education and have worked in a wide variety of school,
community, and homeschooling settings over the past 30 years. I
lived at the Findhorn Foundation, a spiritual and educational community,
from 1976 until 1982 and co-founded the Children’s Program
for both guest and community children, developing and leading programs
and training staff. I helped pioneer the Findhorn Family Workshop
and have worked with my husband David, offering this week-long program
over the past 24 years.
We returned to live in the United States and raised our own two
children, both of whom had a combination of Waldorf education, homeschooling,
and other alternative school education. During that time I
developed curriculum for Waldorf-inspired homeschooling for individuals
and groups and children with special learning issues. I also
consulted with families in assessing their children's skills and
needs and devising appropriate educational plans for them. When
my own children were almost grown I completed Waldorf teacher training
and state teacher training and earned an M.Ed. at Antioch New England
Graduate School in 1999. I then taught as a Steiner class teacher
in Colorado for several years before moving back to Findhorn.
the years I have observed that many children born in the last decades
do not fit the mold for traditional educational approaches. These
children may display characteristics that could be referred to as
either gifted or having special learning needs or both. They
tend to have extreme sensitivity and social awareness as well as
a strong individuality and sense of purpose, sometimes at odds with
those around them. I have developed an understanding of the flexible
approaches needed to meet the educational, parenting, and social
needs of these children, whom some refer to as "Indigo children"
I provide consultation with teachers and parents on the best ways
to observe, assess, and craft strategies to meet the needs of children
growing up today. I am passionate about the need to meet these bright
souls with respect, love, clarity, and help them to find and follow
their true paths in freedom.