I’ve been in private practice for twenty years, licensed as a psychotherapist in California, treating individuals and couples. I graduated from the University of Maryland at Baltimore with a masters degree in social work and before that with a bachelor’s degree in education from Carnegie Mellon University. I’m thrilled to be publishing my first book, CHANGE YOUR MINDSET NOT YOUR MAN, Learn to Love What’s Right Instead of Trying to Fix What’s Wrong. I live in El Dorado Hills and enjoy cooking healthy food, working out, hiking, playing tennis, and sailing with my husband in the Pacific Northwest. My two sons are grown.
I was born in Western Pennsylvania and my early life was difficult. My father was an alcoholic from the age of fourteen when he killed his best friend’s father in a hunting accident. He was filled with rage and physically abused my mother and us children—myself, an older brother, and a younger sister. Many winters in Pennsylvania we were without heat, ate government surplus food, and had utilities disconnected. Our house was foreclosed and sold at a sheriff’s sale. My mother suffered from depression and a series of illnesses her whole life and was a weak role model for a girl. I came into adulthood ill prepared for relationships and parenting and it took me many years of therapy, groups, and hundreds of self-help books, as well as spiritual seeking and journaling to find the person I am today. These experiences gave me enormous empathy and first hand knowledge about the issues many of my clients face. I am now grateful for the hardship that provided the grist for my growth Like many girls and women it took me many years to discover the most important relationship—the one with myself. In my book I show women how to fulfill or complete themselves first and then discover that their needs or expectations of a relationship are more realistic and possible.
I’ve been a writer all my life. My mother was English major who went on to become a librarian and she introduced me to books at an early age. My first writing course was with the now famous John Barth when he was a professor at Penn State University and he was positive about the short stories I produced. Even when my professional writing took the form of grant proposals, case histories, and promotional materials I was always working on memoirs, short stories, and essays and taking writing classes in my free time. My published work includes a first-person piece for Home Winemaker magazine, a featured cover story for a professional journal, Social Work Today and several articles and a series of columns for the local newspaper, the Folsom and El Dorado Hills Telegraph.
The most important author for me, one who changed my life with his writing, was Eckhart Tolle, when I first read THE POWER OF NOW, and then A NEW EARTH: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. My book is informed by these concepts.
I've been influenced by many writers, the most recent Eckhart Tolle.
My book, CHANGE YOUR MINDSET NOT YOUR MAN, was published November 2009
Sammie Justesen, Northern Lights Literary Agency
Sailing in the Pacific Northwest, hiking, tennis, healthy cooking, working out, and of course reading and writing.
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