I wasn’t especially close with my best friend’s younger brother. Like most high school kids, we didn’t pay much attention to our elementary school siblings. He was a good kid, I guess, I didn’t think much about it.
And then it happened. Even I could spot the change after that car hit him. His personality, demeanor, and temperament changed drastically. And my best friends’ life was upended.
My friend’s brother suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, and I watched my friend’s family fall apart. Her brother’s personality changed, his temperament changed, and I began to question how much of him was still ‘him’?
This question haunted me and drove me to get a degree in psychology and a master’s degree in neuropsychology. This random, awful accident fueled my fascination with the mind and body connection, and my pursuit to understand the ‘soul’.
There were ample opportunities to study brains in the Neuropsychology master’s program in Colorado, and at my first job at a rehabilitation center. I pushed hard to distinguish the real source of disorders. I knew that people were more than an ”organic brain syndrome.” This was where I got involved in being a voice of others … trying to advocate for more holistic mental health.
Catherine Gruener is a psychotherapist who works with parents and parents of neuro-atypical children, helping them understand their strengths and transform their weaknesses to help them and their children thrive, creating healthier and stronger communities. She is an advocate for gifted and profoundly gifted children, known internationally for her work with gifted children and families, and as author of ‘Parenting Young Gifted Children: What to expect When You Have the Unexpected’.
As a licensed clinical professional counselor and national certified counselor certified in Positive Discipline, with a Master’s degree in Neuropsychology, second Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling, and two decades’ of highly influential work in the mental health field, Catherine has impacted other’s mental health and wellbeing through her research, international community mental health work, government and community mental health organizations, national and local parent organizations, and currently through her counseling practice and Encouragement Parent trainings.