My Story - Ginger Joy Rivest
Let Me Introduce Myself

My name is Ginger Joy Rivest, and I am a practicing Registered Massage Therapist and Registered Therapeutic Counselor living in the Kootenay Mountains of BC, Canada. I own (operate) a small multidisciplinary health clinic in Kaslo, where I live immersed in nature. Along with my role as a therapist, and fueled by a passion for mind-body healthcare rooted in the ecosystems of our collective well-being, becoming a health-based educator only made sense. I opted into an instructor position at Kootenay Columbia College in the RMT Program and founded Tending the Field, Trauma-Informed Training (TTF), where I design and offer courses and workshops for both laypeople and health professionals. This covers me in 2 dimensions but If you want to know how I got here, keep reading. 

Passion for Education

Something you should know about me is that I've always loved learning! Early on my insatiable curiosity led me to pursue both physics and psychology, though my formal academic education focused on engineering. Eventually, I sought mentors with brilliant minds in the clinical sciences who could help me see the relational patterns I saw in both the humanities and the hard sciences. In 2007 I trained with Dr. Michael Smith, co-founder of the Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences, becoming keenly sensitized to the mind-body relationship, and was certified as a Neuro-Somatic Therapist. Over the next five years, I worked in this field while continuing my studies in both Western medicine and apprenticing in Indigenous Healing traditions. My education was rich and varied, keeping me connected to both Western medical models and a traditional healing lens. I gained valuable experience working with brain-injured individuals and those with physical and cognitive disabilities, as well as in palliative care. During this time a treasured mentor, professor, and leader in Indigenous healing ceremonies profoundly impacted me with teachings on the medicine wheel and sweat lodge ceremonies leaving me with a profound appreciation of the interrelatedness of our collective wellbeing.

Family Crisis

During this time, my family faced a crisis when my mother suffered a catastrophic brain injury from a motor vehicle accident. Navigating the healthcare system to support her severe traumas revealed significant gaps in care, especially in addressing her need for stimulation and rehabilitation. Time and again, I struggled to have simple requests met for what I saw were key and simple aspects of health care.   I couldn’t yet place these requests in a strict Western therapeutic language of pharmaceuticals and protocols, and so my requests for something as simple as aromatherapy to escape the smell of antiseptics were seen as an unnecessary compliment to her long term care.

The RMT Path to Burnout

BC’s RMT training programs were intensive and held high standards. I believed this comprehensive education would address holistic health needs, but I was wrong. Though I excelled in school and gained new tools for physical rehabilitation, I found myself quickly overwhelmed in practice. My Neuro-Somatic training had enhanced my sensitivity to others, allowing for precise and effective treatments that set me apart from other RMTs, though it wasn’t professionally acceptable to acknowledge these ‘soft’ skills.

Regulatory restrictions, though well-intentioned to create uniformity in the profession, often stifled educational advancement and the recognition of unique practitioner gifts. For me, this meant avoiding discussions about mind-body connections and sticking to the same strict language of pharmaceuticals and physiology that had frustrated my mother's care.  I was being a good Western clinician, staying within the prescribed scope.  And like many other good Western therapists, I was also getting burnt out.

 By 2017, I was experiencing physical pain, mobility issues, and a steady loss of joy in life, as I struggled to balance work with self-care.  Despite consulting numerous doctors and therapists, I found no concrete diagnosis for my symptoms.

Somatic Glimmer and Professional Uplevelling

A turning point came through self-study of psychosomatic conditions and working with a Somatic Counsellor. This led me to train in Relational Somatic Therapy, which transformed my health and my career. With this new knowledge, I was finally able to frame my client assessments within the Western medical language and create comprehensive treatment plans that bridged various healing modalities.

It was a game-changer. The immersive Trauma education finally gave me a language for the holistic health care that I had been longing for since navigating my mother's experience through the medical system.

Stepping into the Teacher Role

As more practitioners sought mentorship with me, I realized I could have a greater impact by supporting those who help others.  Along with the invaluable support of Julie Pouliot, a fellow RMT and colleague at KCC, I developed the Tending The Field Trainings (TTF) to fill gaps in healthcare by offering practical tools for clinicians dealing with trauma.

We spent the next year developing and delivering our first intensive in-person program, Trauma-Informed Somatic Intelligence Training (TISI), for Manual Clinicians and loved the results.  We also saw the need to create a bridge for clinicians to enter into their trauma education with shorter, more accessible classes that would meet them in their already busy lives. 

TTF Development and Vision

Development is now underway to expand TTF  into an online multimedia school, making Trauma education available to health care providers  near and far.  

Through TTF, we empower clinicians to engage with the therapeutic  language of Trauma, build personal resilience, and foster deeper therapeutic relationships.  Ultimately, we hope to transform the healthcare system, for therapists and clients alike, through our educational platform. 

Although TTF was started by a passionate counselor and massage therapists, our vision is to impact all aspects of healthcare making it healthier for everyone.  At TTF, we believe we can make healthcare more holistic and more effective. 

My journey as a massage therapist began as a teenager in 2005 in Montreal, Quebec, where I completed my Swedish massage training.

Inspired to further my education, Chair Massage, Sports Massage, and Shiatsu became accomplished tools that have since been incorporated into my treatments. Later that year, my practice began in multidisciplinary sports rehabilitation clinics operated by osteopaths and physiotherapists.

In 2007, I moved to Vernon, BC, to deepen my massage therapy training at the Okanagan Valley College of Massage Therapy. I graduated and became registered with the College of Massage Therapists of BC in October 2009.

Shortly thereafter, Nelson became my new home and practice location. In 2013, a year after my son was born, so was the Health Collective, an Interdisciplinary center fueled by a dream where practitioners of various modalities would come together to serve our community and their healing process as a team, allowing for a practical holistic approach. A few years after its conception, to honour my health, the baton was passed along for it to become Santé holistic Health center.

As I dove into treating my health concerns, I began to wonder, what does it truly mean to “take care of ourselves”? Learning by receiving is such a gift as a giver.

In 2017, I opted to upskill in a 2-year Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Training that opened a new spectrum of understanding the neuroscience of trauma and its profound impact on our lives and health.

Following graduating from this training, my curiosity led to attending Dr. Gabor Mate’s year-long Compassion Inquiry Program, where I gained a deeper understanding of the mind-body relationship to trauma and introduced a practical application toward resolution.

Within this time frame, I became an instructor with the Kootenay College of Integrated Health Sciences, where I still teach BurnOut prevention and Self-Care for RMTs and other hands-on modalities. This fitting opportunity supports my fellow RMT community to take better care of themselves, benefiting the longevity and quality of their practice.

Throughout my journey as a health care provider and receiver of such care, the question of what makes us human has continuously perplexed me. A continuous inquiry that leads this lifelong journey to learn how to best support my clients, students, family, myself and community. By doing so, I aim to inspire, educate and empower my clientele and students to realize their potency and resources to better understand who they are and take their health into their own hands!