Tanya Peterson

First, the formal stuff:  I hold a Bachelor of Science in secondary education, Master of Science in counseling, and am a Nationally Certified Counselor.  I have been a teacher and a counselor in various settings, including a traditional high school and an alternative school for homeless and runaway adolescents, and I have volunteered my services in both schools and communities.  I draw on my life experience as well as my education to write stories about the emotional aspect of the human condition.  I have published Leave of Absence, a novel about mental illness, loss, and the healing power of human connection, Losing Elizabeth, a young adult novel about an abusive relationship, Challenge!, a short story about a person who finds the confidence to overcome criticism and achieve a goal, and a book review of Linley and Joseph’s Positive Therapy: A Meta-Theory for Positive Psychological Practice that appeared inCounseling Today, the national publication of the American Counseling Association.

That was the official, formal info.  Here’s some additional stuff for a more personal touch:

I am passionate about issues that involve mental health and wellness for all people, so I write novels with themes involving the human experience of mental illness. I have a mental health blog on this site, and I participate in events both off- and online to increase awareness and understanding and to end stigma.  Why am I so passionate about such issues?  Probably because I have a unique combination of experiences that have put me on both sides of the proverbial couch.  I’ve worked and volunteered my services in order to help people help themselves.  And I’ve been the recipient of help as a patient.  After sustaining a traumatic brain injury after a car accident (and a couple other concussions in the months/years following that accident due to acts of stupidity and clumsiness), I was on an intense roller coaster ride that had me in and out of hospitals and looping around various mental health diagnoses.  I’ve been there — on both sides, helper and helpee.  So armed with a desire to help people, to teach about the realities of mental health, and a love of writing, I’ve set out to combine these things.

I’m married and have two children, a daughter in high school and a son who’s almost done with elementary school.  We live in the Pacific Northwest.  I love the outdoors — hiking, biking, tent camping, kayaking, and show shoeing.  I often drag my family along on these adventures, but sometimes I enjoy quiet solitude.  I also like attending symphony performances.  Especially, though, I like quiet evenings at home with my family.

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