THE BODY'S LANGUAGE OF STRESS - Tedxyyc - june 15, 2019

Your body will send you signs of stress.  Most of us are not taught how to listen to the cues.  This talk deals with stress, toxic stress and the basics of Somatic Therapy, which targets the impact of stress on your nervous system. 



After 26 years as a television news journalist and documentarian it was a big shock to learn that during my career I had been living with Vicarious Trauma, a condition that can develop when working around other people's trauma. None of us in the newsroom had known to consider Vicarious Trauma as a potential issue.    

I went back to school to study healing and counselling and while in class I often wondered why toxic stress is not more of a public conversation?  Why are we not taught about the warning signs? 

After the journey of my own healing, I am now passionate about creating new ways of thinking about stress and mental health.



Professional Speaker

Workshop Facilitator

Somatic Trauma Practitioner

Certified Wellness Practitioner



Stress is often like water filling a bucket.  It can accumulate.

When stress becomes too much or for too long and we feel alone, there is potential for stress to become toxic

Life happens.  To ALL of us.  

Caring for our mental health is a part of being our best. 



We know stress affects our physical and mental health.  

All the way back in 2012, The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that 60-80 percent of visits to primary care doctors may be related to stress.  

  Stress affects each of us differently.  Knowing our own signals helps us prevent long term impacts.   Stress education is a bridge to health.


Certified Wellness Counsellor - Rhodes Wellness College, Vancouver, British Columbia

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therapy- explores our thoughts and how they suppress or support growth.  
  • Therapeutic Release -  the healthy release of built up emotions
  • Somatic Therapy -  the body becomes your guide to health.
  • Spiritually Focused Therapy - provides further insight and guidance (If spirituality is important to you)

Somatic Experiencing - Somatic Experience Trauma Institute, Denver, Colorado

Somatic therapy tracks signals from your nervous system to release stress.  Somatic Experiencing is a natural, biological process that allows the nervous system to reset itself and restore mental, emotional and physical health. 

Embodied Awareness Facilitator - Dr. Beth Hedva, PhD, M.A., Calgary, Alberta

There are many ways of knowing.  Most of us are familiar with the six senses but how do we understand and work with intuition and our inner sense of knowing that we cannot explain?  This is the work of Embodied Awareness.  

Satir Model - Level II - Satir Institute of the Pacific, Vancouver, British Columbia

The Satir method is a hopeful approach to therapy. Virginia Satir (1916-1988) was a social worker known for her compassion and belief that every person has inherent self-worth.  

Additional Training includes:

Body Wisdom - Anastacia Metcalf Lundholm - techniques to release trauma held in the body.

Anger, Boundaries & Safety - Greg Gurel-healthy expression of anger and setting boundaries.

Reiki Levels I & II - Phyllis Kane, Reiki Master

Body-Mind Centring - Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Esalen California

Shamanic and Nature Practices - Sandra Ingerman, New Mexico; Jaki Daniels, Calgary

My Services

Professional Speaking


Speaker and educator on stress and trauma.


*Featured speaker, emcee and moderator for thousands of corporate, charity and community events. 

*Award-winning TV news anchor/producer, CTV Calgary News at 6 (1989-2010)

 *Award-winning documentarian;

 writer, producer, host.

Workshop Facilitator


Barb helps people understand how stress is unique to each of us.  

She mixes personal stories with the latest in scientific research to help us see how stress really shows up, how it can spill over and how we can let our bodies play a critical role in healing and prevention. 

Workshop Title: 


Why It's So Tricky And How Our Bodies Can Lead Us To Health"

This workshop is ideal for professionals who deal with other people's trauma.  

Including those in the fields of teaching, law, medical & emergency services, media. 

Individual Sessions


Sessions are not bound by the clock.  We book the morning or afternoon together.  Each appointment becomes your own individualized workshop which can run between 2-4 hours. 

Nature heals.  You are invited to take time to integrate your experience.  You can sit quietly outside or enjoy a walk on a private property in the country.  

Please Note: I am not accepting new clients 

(as of  January 2020)

Client Testimonials

"With Barb I always felt comfortable enough to reveal the deepest parts of myself that I was too afraid to show the world.  At a time when I felt like no one could truly understand what was happening in my life, Barb did.  She was able to see and help me through some of life's toughest problems.  I now walk with my head a little higher because I know that anything I encounter in life can be compassionately worked through using the skills that I've gained when working with my own emotion."    B. 

" I consider myself lucky to have had the chance to work with Barbara as my Counsellor. Although I've had training before and did a considerable amount of work to connect with my body, Barb took me to a new level. Her respect to my previous knowledge was great. Barb worked with me in a new format without limiting me into a time frame and instead allowed my body to lead the sessions. Barb supported me during the sessions, and between.  Today, I refer back to many teachings and inspirations I learned about myself through the sessions I had with Barb, the biggest one was learning my body's language. I would confidently recommend Barbara's services and her abilities to support anyone who's looking to connect deeper with their body, soul and mind."         R.

'I have worked with Barb extensively in the past. Barb was insightful, kind, warm and accepting in her guidance and skill as a counsellor.  I was able to unravel my tangled thought patterns that were keeping me trapped in a self imposed prison of perfection. She helped me find my own answers by tapping into my inner wisdom and deep knowing; she created space for me to accept and embrace my imperfections which in turn decreased my overall anxiety and increased my self love.  If you are interested in doing your own 'deep work', I recommend Barb Higgins wholeheartedly!          S.