Carol M. Shirley

Meet Our Founder and Managing Director

By Carol M. Shirley

I was born and raised in Nova Scotia. After attending the former Dartmouth Regional Vocational School, I worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant in the days before the Practical Nursing Licensing and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing were conceived.

I later trained and worked as a Certified Fitness Instructor in the era of Gloria Stevens Fitness. I stayed in the fitness industry for 10 years where I ultimately managed the Halifax Nubody’s location. My fitness career ended in 1993, shortly following the death of my then husband. As a mother of two, I decided to become a Psychologist and to help myself and others in a different way.

As a nurse I realized I wanted to help people before they got sick and that preventative medicine was the way to go. I’ve always enjoyed being active and was able to see how fitness enhanced my personal health and well-being. I took what I had learned in medicine and in training with experts from the Gloria Stevens franchise in Boston, MA. I loved my work. I, and many others, benefitted from the work I did.

It was in doing this work that I realized the power of thought and saw in people’s lives the effects of thought on their views and approach to life. I knew then that my next step to helping people was to better understand why people think and behave the way they do.

As a highly sensitive person I’ve always felt the emotions of others and thus grew up very anxious. Going to university was a blessing in many ways. I learned to take risks, to persevere and to learn to build support and community. While attending university on a full-time basis, I was also able to work part-time with the Halifax Outdoor Recreation Department and volunteer at my kids’ school.

I graduated from Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (Honors) where I was on the Dean’s list for three of my four year degree. I continued to attend MSVU in the Masters of School Psychology program and completed the requirements in August 2000. During my time at MSVU I held numerous Teaching Assistant positions and taught a program for students on academic probation. Upon graduation I was awarded The Presidents Prize,¬†an award given to students whose energy, generosity and commitment enriched the university during their time as a student.

I worked in the schools within numerous school boards until securing a position with the Department of Student Affairs at MSVU. For three years I supported students with disabilities through advocacy and the broader student body with personal counseling. I taught, coordinated and redesigned the student success program, which supports students on academic probation. I liaised with numerous academic and non-academic departments within the university community and sat on various committees. In addition, I worked as a part-time lecturer teaching Child Development, Behavior Modification and Moral Development for the Psychology Department and Child Development for the Department of Education. I was awarded a significant grant through the Nova Scotia Department of Education to open a Learning Centre for Students with Learning Difficulties at MSVU. My career at MSVU ended abruptly and I retreated to private practice. Although private practice was not a direction I consciously choose, it too has been a blessing. I have been learning and growing in a multitude of ways.

I have been an active member of The Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia since 1998 and on the registry with the Nova Scotia Board of Examiners in Psychology since 2000. I am a certified Reiki Master, Reconnective Healing Practitioner and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy Practitioner. I am trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Commitment and Acceptance Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping) and in various Energy Psychology and Medicine modalities.

I love my life and the work I have had the privilege of doing. My clients have been among my greatest teachers and sources of inspiration. Enigma was born out of my desire to combine many of my values and beliefs. I want to continue to help people who are willing to help themselves to let go of fear and self judgment and to find the peace and happiness we all seek.

I have created a Psychology clinic with many awesome support services. Each of the services provided are provided by individuals who have walked their own long roads and who have a strong calling to help others. They are proficient in their skills, have a high level of personal integrity and understand the value of professional practice.

I offer a place where all who are wanting can find community and connection. I value authenticity, integrity, and I not only respect, but will protect, the dignity of all.