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H3 Spotlight – Johanna Smith-Ellis, H3 Guest Presenter

Johanna Smith-EllisIf you’ve been to H3 in the past few years, you’ve likely heard of – or even possibly had the pleasure of meeting Johanna Smith-Ellis, facilitator of two of our most popular H3 workshops – Healthy Transitions: Overcoming Emotional Eating and Personal Responsibility: Taking Charge of Your Health. Both workshops have proven to be a success, selling out each session – and why wouldn’t they? Both workshops address the underlying issues that surround how and why we behave and eat the way we do. Her unique ability to create an open and safe environment is one of the keys to the success behind the workshop. SO – for those of you who haven’t met or heard of Johanna, you might be wondering – how does one have such an ability to relate and present such hard-hitting topics? Well today, we’re sharing with you the inside scoop on the lady behind the workshops.

Johanna is a Certified School Psychologist and Counselor in private practice and has taught a wide range of psychology courses at the college level for 15 years. Johanna has practiced in a variety of settings including schools, mental health facilities, residential treatment programs and outpatient addiction services. Her special interests include anxiety, depression, attention and binge eating disorders, as well as bereavement counseling.

Originally from New York (and 30+ year resident of the area), Johanna first heard about an open part-time position at H3 in 2007 while on vacation in Hilton Head visiting her mother-in-law. After learning more about the opportunity, she was invited to participate in the program. It was during that visit that she was hooked. She knew she wanted to be a part of H3’s supportive environment – from camaraderie among the guests to the encouraging staff.

“I visited H3 with the purpose of deciding whether or not I wanted to work here – I had no idea I would get so much out of the program. One thing most people don’t know about me is in the past, I’ve been known to eat a box of Girl Scout thin mints in one sitting, BUT now – thanks to H3, I am making progress (not perfection) towards treating myself with greater respect.”

Her main source of inspiration comes from partnering with individuals and groups toward the common goals of physical, emotional and spiritual well being – and being lucky enough to watch the transformations. She finds that her favorite part about facilitating these workshops is being able to watch individuals recognize their strengths and use these strengths to become proactive in developing a healthy body, a healthy mind and healthy relationships – not to mention escaping upstate NY in January!

Her one piece of advice for every incoming guest would be to “ask for help when you need it – it’s not a sign of weakness, it’s an indication of personal growth.”

In her spare time, she and her husband Bill embark on Asian and South American travels to visit their two sons. She also enjoys collecting 19th portraiture and antiquing, along with listening to her collection of baroque music while working on her upcoming book.

One of Johannah’s favorite quotes: “Weight is a side effect of healthy behavior.”

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