Joanne Wilson is a professional counsellor, neuropsychotherapist, author, speaker, radio co-host and podcaster.
She is the founder of The Confidante Counselling private practice and created the Relationship Rejuvenator online resources and courses.
Her book Renovate Your Relationship, was released in June 2020 and is described as a must-have for couples with families struggling to keep their relationship alive, or who are going through some of the most common challenges.
It is also a great tool for people to prevent conflict and keep their love alive.
You can buy your copy here.
Watch the video above or read on for the full interview transcription:
Roxanne – Hello everyone. Welcome to another edition of “The Phoenix Phenomenon.” I’m your host, ghostwriter, Roxanne McCarty-O’Kane. Thank you for joining us for another episode where we delve into the transformative process of becoming an author, and talk to the change makers who know this journey all too well. Today, I’m joined by Joanne Wilson, who is also known as the Relationship Rejuvenator. She is the author of “Renovate your Relationship,” which I’ve got a copy of right here. So Jo is a professional counselor, neuro-psychotherapist, author, speaker, radio co-host and podcaster, as well as being a mom and a wife, I don’t know how you find time for it all. Joanne is the founder of The Confidante Counseling Private Practice, and created the Relationship Rejuvenator online resources and courses. Her book which was released in June, 2020, is described as a must have for couples and families, who may be very comfortable in their relationship or may be being facing some challenges. So it runs the full gamut. So thank you so much for joining us, Joanne, I appreciate your time today.
Joanne – My pleasure, so excited to be here.
Roxanne – Excellent, so I’ve just had a bit of a rundown on all of the many things that you do with your time, but I’d love for you to tell our listeners and viewers, a little bit about yourself and how it was that you came into be, into the realm of counseling, ’cause it was an interesting journey for you.
Joanne – It was, yeah. I guess way back when I was raised, I was one of the lucky ones and raised in a very loving family. And a lot of the value system was around, giving themselves for free and doing meals on wheels. And there was a lot of volunteering going in my family for the community, so that was my norm. And then I think just the pure fact of being the youngest of five children, I was a bit like a little mini David that, I would be observing the dating and mating , well maybe not mating . And my parents, they… By the time I came along they were pretty experienced parents at that stage. So there wasn’t too much room to move for any kerfuffles and misbehavior. So I think just that journey and it became it grew into a real fascination of observing human behavior, that then led into my conscious career, that was in sales and corporate management. And I used to being quite almost fascinated when I’d have corporate clients booming at me through the phone from Singapore when he’s flight got canceled. And I was supposed to fix it down there in Adelaide, where I was working at the time. So it’s kind of when I look back at myself in my journey into counseling and psychotherapy, it’s been, I think it was really grounded in that background. So just loving people, which is the true essence of my being.
Roxanne – Absolutely, and I can just see you light up whenever you talk about your career and also about, the past, the topics of the time that you get really passionate about. It’s just beautiful to see.
Joanne – I do, I get really passionate about my field of work. And I think that is just such a, when I’m working with clients and just find your elements and I don’t think that I did, like I’d honestly say when I was in sales, it wasn’t really my true calling. Yes, you can develop. I felt that I was good at the role, but really I was really drawn to that helping sort of model of helping people. But passion is really the key to success, isn’t it?
Roxanne – Absolutely, definitely, so, one thing I didn’t mention in my introduction for you actually, which has now popped into mind is that you’re actually contributing quite regularly to a lot of publications as well. So yeah, regional as well as large city and national publications, which is amazing. So getting all of those incredible pearls of wisdom that you have out to the wider community.
Joanne – Yeah, I’ve got so much to say on this topic. So I think that’s as well where the book was born, through just, I was almost a frustration that I could work with one couple at a time, which is what I do now. But just being able to, because I’ve read so much about the topic and I’m constantly learning, like I’ll never know everything about it. And I need to know where I start and where I end, and I refer to those other practitioners, where I don’t meet the needs such as addictions or other certain things that I don’t specialize in. But yeah, after writing for the Sunshine Coast Daily for three years, it kind of has really grown from there. So since the book has come to fruition, it’s pretty cool that now I can write for some national publications. So who knows where it’ll lead. So I’ll be sure to share all those with you as they come out.
Roxanne – Excellent, no, that’s perfect. And was there a particular catalyst that I guess planted the seed for you to become an author, to go on the book writing journey?
Joanne – I was already blogging on my website when I started the practice. So that was something that was good for me because it keeps me accountable and constantly learning. So, and then of course spreading the love and interacting with the community. I’ve always been really big on just supporting my local community as well, and featuring other small businesses along the way. And then it just made complete sense. Well, a book was like a long time, like in the future on the horizon as a dream, it kind of came a lot quicker because I was writing the paper, and I actually had a couple of people just say, “you’d be mad if you’re not actually putting this “into a book.” And so it kind of went from there. So I wouldn’t actually say that, oh wow, it was all me and my idea. It really took some encouraging and some nudging from a few key people in my life. So yeah, that helps.
Roxanne – Yeah, I think that’s probably more common than you think it is actually. It’s other people. Yeah, just kind of pointing out how great their content is or how amazing their knowledge, all of this experiences for people that, I guess take ownership of it almost and realize how amazing it is.
Joanne – Yeah, and I think I’m like anybody else and particularly the clients that you work with. There’s just so much self doubt. Like it’s always a constant pushing past the fear and making sure that you do know your true worth, and that’s a daily event in the counseling room and that’s what I’m working with. And yeah, I’m just like the rest of them. And I really might have to make sure that I keep that insurance plan, to ensure that my mindset is in a place that does know my true worth. And it does continue to make me motivated to keep going. ‘Cause yeah, we tend to, sadly, default to the opposite. Like every day we’re dealing, I’m dealing with, I’m not good enough. So yeah, it’s frustrating, but yeah, I get it.
Roxanne – Absolutely, and do you mind sharing some of your tools? I’m delving into your professional expertise here, but I get, not enough, my story is not amazing. Who’s gonna listen? Like who am I to write a book? Obviously you had some of those thoughts yourself so,
Joanne – Yeah.
Roxanne – tools that we could share with aspiring authors to help them get over those hurdles.
Joanne – Well, one thing that’s really aligned that’s helped me personally is that if I don’t do it, someone else will. That like what speaks to me and that might not speak to anyone else but it just makes sense. I was like, well, that’s true. Well, I’ve got the tools and the skills. So I’m about to do it. I’m really passionate about my field, so I’m actually writing. But from a counseling perspective, I really help in two ways, just making sure that you are aware of what you’re saying to yourself about yourself, all day long. So that’s a rule, that’s 10 sessions in itself is, just making sure, it doesn’t have to be 10 sessions, but that’s where we kind of start. It’s that working out, just being aware when you’re doing the dishes, when you get up in the morning, is it, an I can’t mindset? And so really making sure that, is it positive? Is it nurturing? Is it true? What you’re saying to yourself? Because you’ll have one person who doesn’t email you back. You’ll have, three people at primary school who might’ve said something horrible about you, and unfortunately they stick. You could have had an ex partner, they put you down. And they’re the ones that we really have to fight past those thoughts, or those words that have been spoken to us, yeah. We can really take on board what one person has said and it can really, you knock yourself on the hammer with that word, so that’s yeah, just one major tip is to check in on your little personal newsreel.
Roxanne – Excellent, I love that. And I guess talking about daily thought processes and keeping it positive, was there a particular ritual that you had in mind, like linked to your book, as you were going through the process? It is a long whole process to get all the way through to a completed book. Was there anything in particular that you dedicated your time to all your thoughts to, in relation to your book?
Joanne – Yeah, yeah, when you said it’s a long haul, I was actually shocked. I’m personally one of my downfalls is everything takes longer than I actually think it does. Sorry, every day I’m fighting with myself that I think I could fit that much in. And so that was a real shock to me, is that, I had these timeframes and I’d constantly get frustrated because I would make my own timeframes or I was, one major thing was realizing how many people it takes to make a book, like, from those amazing women that I asked, in my, sort of my target market readers. I was asking a lot of people and men, could you please read it? You’ve only got this much time to do it. And you know, that was a real eye-opener for me, was just learning how much I rely on others. And we should, like we’re designed relationally, that’s our core essence as people, as much as many people wouldn’t like that. But at times in our life, we really do need to rely on each other, during the good times and the bad. But one thing that really was my mindset was that, I’m working with couples and individuals. I wasn’t really comparing myself with the market, as thought you in book . It was more about, I’m really passionate about what I do. Many elements of my work are so successful. So I really wanted to capture as many people in the community or in the world as possible, that might be too hesitant to go and see a counselor, that might be challenged by their relationships, that might just be too ashamed. And I want them to be able to grab this book and privately read it, and it’s a way to go. So I wanted it to be like a journey from having a look at yourself, just checking in on the best version of yourself. Because then you can contribute to your relationship. Right through, all the way to repairing it and then maintaining it and right to the end. So that was my mindset, was making sure it was a complete way to go. It still wouldn’t have included every single thing and I’m still learning, but that was what I was really trying to achieve.
Roxanne – Absolutely, and what I really love about your book is that it does start with the self. So I know myself with my husband, bless him. That’s, whenever we have an argument, I’m always looking at what he’s doing wrong and I’m not. Very often, and I’m sure it’s 99% of the time, taking ownership for what I’ve done, that’s led us into particular circumstances. So I really love that you’ve started there, because it gives us so much awareness to the readers who will pick up the book that, oh, you know, there is two us in a relationship. And I know that sounds cliche, but it’s about really just having that time to reflect on what you’re bringing to the table always.
Joanne – Yeah, it’s quite confronting though. Yeah, being in a relationship or being married is quite an unwarranted mirror that we get on all of our behaviors, whether they’re good or bad, yeah. And we call that the blinded game. ‘Cause usually by the time I see couples about how bad it is, for me, well, so horrible to me, that might be so. But it’s also good just to check in first. And one big thing that I really do, in front of people if they do have children, is that this is worth it for them. I am here on their behalf and we, I get the shivers like, even just thinking about this, I get so excited because these children often don’t have a voice, they never asked for their parents to be arguing or to contemplate separating or whatever their case is. It’s that I’m here to impact generations on their behalf, because the decisions that we make today are those that are often replicated by children. And I don’t want it to be just another generation that thinks it’s okay not to hang in there. Because the society itself, the community, is so much better off from a solid foundation. Yes, families come in all different shapes and sizes. Yeah, that’s the cool thing about my job is that, they’re so different. But the great thing is that we want to instill safety and security for our children and a really solid foundation from which they can launch themselves, and then mentor their kids how to have great relationships.
Roxanne – Excellent, now, that’s amazing. And so you’ve put all this time in, you’ve contacted your beta readers, got the feedback, made your tweaks and changes. Tell us what it was like to hold that first physical copy of your book in your hand.
Joanne – Oh, I couldn’t believe it. But I kept saying, I felt like such a reader. I’m like, I feel like I’ve just given birth. Like I’d already done it three times in real life, but I don’t know. ‘Cause it’s a pretty painful process. Like I was so scared, I was kind of shocked about how long it took, how many people I needed to rely on to help me get through this process. And so I literally felt like, I’ll never forget the day when I opened that box. So exciting, that first copy even had lots of mistakes in there, I was like, really, did I really proofread this? I was like even that still needed another process, but yeah, it was incredible.
Roxanne – Amazing, so yeah, well, you may be one of the people that gets the book bug I think. Such a wide subject matter that you can tap into. There’s plenty of potential for you to go again, if you…
Joanne – Well, yeah, I love the fact that my topic for the Sunshine Coast Daily for three years in my column, was literally writing about relationships, and people would say, “where do you get your ideas from?” I’m like, I would never ever run out of topics, ’cause it’s such a broad spectrum, from parenting, to being single, to family, to dealing with your outlaws. Or I call it free gifts with purchase. When I the book. But yeah, it’s just such an all encompassing part in it. And relationships are fundamental to our mental health and wellbeing. So yeah, so much to say.
Roxanne – Absolutely, and I know it’s only been out for a few weeks now as we’re chatting, but you know, people might be tapping into this many, many, many months or years into the future. But I wanted to ask what you, what sort of feedback you’ve been getting from readers so far?
Joanne – Oh, so for the feedback that I was really focusing on was those that read the draft. And I thought it was kind of funny that they thought it was funny, because I don’t see myself as, I keep telling my kids that how funny I am and my husband. But yeah, it sounds to me that and it’s like an easy read, but it’s just I think that it’s, my outlook on life is that, you can’t stay with clients, if you can’t have a sense of humor. I don’t think we’re gonna last. Like it’s the only thing that could save us at times when life is going really bad. So that’s been some nice feedback is that it’s amusing and entertaining. And yeah, some people even said, it’s like, wow, I feel like it’s almost cringe-worthy, because it’s too close to the truth. They’re like, well, you’re writing about me. So, that’s kind of nice. And then really being able to build on the amazing clients that I’ve worked with for 10 years. I’ve made enough stories to see too many things that seem to be consistent, through many couples and families. So it’s really nice to be able to speak to people’s hearts.
Roxanne – Absolutely, and I’m sure you had them firmly in mind as you were writing as well. So you knew who you were speaking to and communicated that way.
Joanne – Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Like it’s been so much pain and so much sadness and so much adversity, but as well, being able to journey with people to bring them through that, and see their potential and their possibilities, like when things have been so bad, my line is that, we can’t just let this be for no reason. Our only choice is to make this as our teacher and to help us launch this just access and use it to even help others one day. Even though we can’t see that at the time, but I can guarantee you most people will use that to help others. So yeah, that’s encouraging and exciting for me.
Roxanne – Absolutely, and I mean, it’s come, I think at a really timely time, I guess for the globe really, we are in the grips of a pandemic at the moment and a lot of relationships are being put under stress. You know, either there’s financial difficulties, people leaving jobs, being stuck in isolation with someone. As much as you love someone, that can be very challenging in itself. So yes, I’d love to see if you could give some advice to people in regards to, how you can keep those relationships strong. And when we are in such difficult times.
Joanne – Yeah, I think like you said, there’s financial stress, so many stresses and it just reminded me of it’s a bit like a pressure cooker. You don’t realize how stressed you are until it gets really bad, when your your partner is telling you how horrible or agitated you are, or you literally have a meltdown yourself. And so I think it’s important to realize how what’s happening in the world, uncertainty is what we thrive on. And knowing and freedom is what we thrive on as well. So just knowing that, okay, you might think you’re right, but just maybe take the time to step back and what I call look at the stack, and just say what might be building up for you. I, for one, I wanted the homeschooling thing during the pandemic to be a positive experience, but kind of hadn’t realized how much extra work it was. You know, I wanted to imagine the finishing of the book in a cabin in the woods, with the birds twitching and serenity with music in the background and just finishing off as I contemplated those words. But in actual fact, it was homeschooling at one end of the bench, made choosing the graphic designer and all the designs and scrambling to like midnight with one of, a friend who was helping me edit the book. That was the reality of it. So just kind of realizing that it can be just one thing after the other that can really contribute to a relationship disrepair again when you’re not the best version of yourself. One other, two other points, during a pandemic I think is when we give of ourselves. I think we’re innately designed to care for others, as much as many people might feel that they’re selfish or whatever, but during your darkest, your toughest times, it’s often helpful just to look outward. And I often use this is one of my depression busters, it’s like, okay, we spent many days or weeks, staring at a nibble and yes, we’ve had adversity. And for many people they’ve got good reason to be depressed, but why don’t we step out and do something random, that funny little quirky, buy a coffee for the next person in front of you, or just go and think of someone in your world that you can go and help. That actually lights up your brain, and it stops you focusing on the negativity in your world. And it’s actually quite prolific that people report back what is actually really fulfilling. And the last thing about working as a couple, it’s that I noticed that the couples that really flourish, constantly are in alignment. Now constantly is probably a little bit too far because you can’t, a hundred percent, like that is not life. It’s to be a hundred percent, in love, amazing, enjoying, the best dynamic Instagram relationship, a hundred percent of the time. But it’s about just going, “hey, how you going?” And maybe even like a structured 15 minutes. Check in with your partner with eye contact, because like me, it’s so easy to get caught in with your husband of tag teaming with school activities, here in Queensland at the moment, where I want to enjoy a lifestyle that we used to have, similarly at school activities are back. And it really made me realize how you could just slip back into just passing ships in the night. So being really intentional about aligning yourself with what could be coming in your world that could be stressful, such as world events. These are the couples that know that life is not a bed of roses all the time. That everyone else’s relationships isn’t as perfect on social media as you think. So I think it’s really like, it’s an insurance plan. What are we gonna do if the child is this? Or what are disciplinarian, you know, what’s our structure? What’s our boundaries? Instead of constantly being sideswiped by adversity. ‘Cause it’s gonna happen. And when you can really be that united front, you can achieve anything together, yeah.
Roxanne – Amazing, so thank you. I hope, I’m sure everyone listening and watching would have taken away something from that. So thank you so much, Jo. So I wanted to ask you now, where do you see your book going? I mean, you’ve self published. You’re doing the hard yards to get it out into as many hands as you can, but what is your dream vision for your book?
Joanne – My, yeah, dream vision is yeah, to inspire relationships that impact generations, is kind of my mission statement. But I want to also team up with some online courses. As I mentioned, I’ve found it quite frustrating just to, I can only work with so many people at one time. And so I really want to couple the book with some online courses. So, and that’s where we’re all at. We’re all doing online courses. Well, a lot of people ask, so yeah, that’s really exciting next project. I’ve always got the next project on the go. So that’s currently, what’s on the top of my list. I also upload lots of free things anyway. So on my website, relationshiprejuvenator.com, there’s a a resources page, so you can do a self evaluation quiz. And you can do a, ‘what’s your relationship status’ quiz. There’s worksheets about your personal values, great date ideas, little quirky things, conversations starters. There’s so much there. So I wanna share as much as I can for free, but yeah, I’ll also do some paid courses to dive deeper into getting achieving relationship success, that then is sustainable, yeah.
Roxanne – Excellent, amazing. Now I asked this question of everyone who comes on the show and obviously it’s called “The Phoenix Phenomenon.” So it’s about a type of transformation. And that can take very many different forms. And I don’t think any two authors have ever responded the same way, but I wanted to ask you and you’ve already mentioned that, learning is a big part of what lights you up. So what is it that you’ve learned about yourself or about your business in the process of becoming an author?
Joanne – How much I rely on others and it’s okay to do so. I like to think I’m super independent and can do it all. But again, it’s everything that I’m telling my clients and I’ve really applied to me. And the second thing is that I’m not a good as proofreader as I thought.
Roxanne – We can’t all be awesome in everything.
Joanne – Oh, I’m sure I’ve read that line and I’m sure it made sense before. Where did that spelling error come from? I think there’s a gremlin in my computer that keeps making mistakes, yeah.
Roxanne – Oh, right . Hopefully you can track it down.
Joanne – Maybe it’s got a virus.
Roxanne – Oh dear, thanks for that.
Joanne – I’ll stick it in quarantine for a couple of weeks and see if it’s any better.
Roxanne – Yeah, yeah, you probably will need some downtime after all that had work, so,
Joanne – Oh yeah, actually my mother-in-law said, “Jo, you must feel so relaxed after writing the book “and having it finished.” And it’s quite the opposite. Like now it’s kind of the enthusiasm to, at night I’m posting books excited lie-ins, and then building these online courses, yeah. It’s actually busier than ever. So, yeah, and then responding to some great, exciting opportunities, like I get to talk to you, yeah. And a shout out to you as well. I think Roxie, you were a great helper at the start. Like it was wonderful, I think, when we had met at a public speaking course. And just to be able to go, okay, I need to get this thing started and you really helped me launch the scaffolding. So yeah, shout out to people like you in this world, who can help people like me launch our passions to success.
Roxanne – Amazing, thank you so much. That’s very kind of you, Jo. Excellent.
Joanne – My pleasure.
Roxanne – Cool. And so you can tell, I get uncomfortable when people say some nice things about me.
Joanne – Oh, we can do a couple of sessions on that for free I reckon.
Roxanne – Thank you.
Joanne – The art of accepting compliments.
Roxanne – I know, yes. Awesome, so as this is all about writing and becoming an author, I would love to find out what your top tip is for people who are listening or watching. Yeah, what your top tip is, if they’re sitting on the fence, they’re not quite sure if they wanna take the leap, or maybe they’re halfway through and they haven’t completed. What pearls of wisdom would you give to them to keep them motivated and get them taking action?
Joanne – I think it’s just to push past the fear. It’s the thing that knocks us on the head more than nothing. That’s the biggest thing in the counseling room, it’s to know your worth, checking that self talk and push past the fear. I even remember establishing my counseling business. I knew that I was good at it deep down, but you had to kind of almost, yeah, get rid of the naysayers that said, “Oh, you won’t give this or blah, blah, blah.” That you know that you’re good at it deep down. So we’re all created uniquely miraculously and we have incredible talents. We have such amazing unique mosaic brains, so use it. And I think that’s what lights up that fulfillment in everybody’s is that, when you’re finding that topic that is yours, and you know that you’re good at it, deep down. Really listen to that self-talk and make sure that is nurturing and that it’s, I can do, newsreel, more than anything. So yeah, push past that monster of fear.
Roxanne – Excellent, I love that. Thank you, Jo. And you have mentioned your website already, but I do wanna give you an opportunity to yeah, just share a bit more about how people can access your beautiful book. So I’ll hold it up again here.
Joanne – Yay!
Roxanne – “Renovate your Relationship” So hoping you’ll be getting your hands on a copy of this beautiful book and to get in touch with you if they want to discover more.
Joanne – Yeah, so the book link is, the.relationshiprejuvenator.com. And if you want to check out the free resources that’s just relationship rejuvenator.com. But if you want to head straight to the book, add the.relationshiprejuvenator.com/book at the end, that would help get right to it, so, yeah.
Roxanne – Excellent, that’s wonderful. So yeah, definitely make sure that you reach out. As Jo mentioned, there’s plenty of amazing resources you can get stuck into. I believe that this is gonna be a really great book to have in the bookshelf or next to the bed. Because you never know when you might need some amazing wisdom and Jo’s compiled so many years of knowledge and experience working with real life couples as well, to create a resource that’s gonna be absolutely amazing for all couples, or people looking to have a relationship I might add.
Joanne – Yes, preparing yourself for your next best relationship. That’s a really good idea, yeah.
Roxanne – Exactly.
Joanne – Someone I know said, “okay, I failed so many times before, “maybe this will help.” So, as she was preparing herself for her next great relationship.
Roxanne – Amazing, that perfect. All right, well, thank you so, so much for your time today Jo. It was amazing to connect with you and for you to share so much amazing knowledge with our viewers today, thank you.
Joanne – Thank you. Well, thank you for helping me spread the love.
Roxanne – Absolutely, it’s what I love to do.