Lynda M. Ashbourne, Ph.D., RMFT
Associate Professor, Couple & Family Therapy (Director)
Dept. of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition (CFT)
University of Guelph, Guelph, ON Canada N1G 2W1
I am an Associate Professor in the interdisciplinary department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. I taught and supervised in the Couple & Family Therapy (CFT) curriculum area of the department for over 12 years and recently shifted to teaching undergraduate family relations students in communication & counselling skills and theory. Previously, I worked as a couple and family therapist in community-based agencies – from a collaborative, dialogic positioning attuned to the multiple and complex constructions of meaning in relationship interactions, as well as broader systems and discourses that can serve to limit or expand such meaning-making. I continue to conduct research at the intersection of systems, practice, and family life.
Shifting from working primarily as a therapist and community-based supervisor to academia led to a ‘shaking up’ of my ideas about learning, change, competence (my own),and life. It also allowed me to experience with more intention the sometimes exhilarating and occasionally terrifying journey into practicing new skills alongside what has become familiar. Recent changes in my teaching focus provide renewed opportunities to practice ‘not knowing’ with more vigor. Of course, the 2020 pandemic challenges that aligned with these changes discombobulated my “established” practices even more, inviting me into learning more about learning and the intersection of the global and the local on how we together make sense of our lives. I have appreciated my Taos Institute colleagues and their “sparkling ideas” that keep me attuned to these important dialogues.
The other important ‘stuff’ of my life involves my partner, Dan; treasured family members across multiple generations with whom we have experienced unforgettable lessons in birth, loss, and relational caring; and sitting by a northern lake listening to the loons as the moon rises, or watching the waves crash on the Newfoundland coast.