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Back in December I had a really beautiful email exchange with an Instructor I had the privilege of working with in November of 2013. I asked if I might share one of his emails for our blog and he most graciously agreed.

Greetings, Nikki!

It’s Neal Shipley, I was in your Mandt Instructor training in Chicago just over a year ago (which has been strange for me to think about!)

I know we keep in touch here and there on Facebook, so I can be fairly certain that you’ve seen the news about my dad’s passing away late last month. It’s an under-statement to say that things have been rough, but I have actually been thinking of you and my training with the Mandt system frequently the past few weeks.

I have actually been leaning on the Mandt System philosophy a lot since my father’s passing, and in many ways it has helped me cope with many aspects of my father’s death—from getting through the “business” aspect of organizing his wake, getting his remains home (he passed away on business in Arizona, my family lives in Indiana), getting through the odd social experience of the wake and funeral, and the beginning of my grieving process.

I have never doubted the Mandt System, it’s actually among my favorite classes to teach with my agency, but I never realized just how engrained the Mandt Philosophy was until experiencing my own most rattling crisis cycle. My mom is very religious, and scripture was something that she leaned in to very heavily in the days after my dad’s passing. I do not share my mother’s faith, but where she turned to scripture I actually found myself repeating different phrases from the relational chapters when in-need of something to help ground myself. It was an incredible comfort. I really don’t know where my emotional well-being would have gone had I not had something to hold on to.

I believe very strongly that my work life was meant to intersect with my personal life in many very pointed ways—I have felt the “purpose” of my profession bleed into my personal relationships many times, but never so strongly as these past few weeks. There was a reason I needed to work so closely with the Mandt System for the past year beyond being my agency’s trainer, and I have felt that purpose very deeply.

I simply felt the need to reach out and say “thank you” to you, to all the folks with Mandt, for truly creating a program and a framework to handle trauma, grief, emotional stress—all those things I have been feeling—in a way that truly is empowering. I have been told several times over the past few weeks that I have handled my grief with “poise and grace,” (or perhaps “stance and balance!”) and while in my private moments I really doubt that to be true, in my public moments I truly do believe it is my foundation in the Mandt System that has allowed me to appear as strong as I have, and will allow me to continue coping with my emotions in a healthy way. So thank you, thank you so very much for that.

On another note, I am starting to look towards my re-certification date, and it appears you are teaching an instructor training around the time I need to get that taken care of. While I would look forward to gaining insight to another Mandt faculty’s approach, I also look forward to the possibility of seeing you again—so here’s to keeping my fingers crossed!

I hope things are going well for you.

All the best,

Neal Allen Shipley
Intensive Behavior Intervention Specialist,
Training Specialist
New Choices, Inc.


Nikki Wince – Mandt Faculty Supervisor

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