Jim Marland, MA
Jim is registered as a psychologist in Alberta and Ontario and is a certified Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator and holds an Advanced Certificate in Adventure Education
He began his career in 1973 as an adventure education instructor, offering experiential learning to IBM managers using a physically and psychologically exacting course modeled on the entry course for the UK’s Special Air Service regiment. This was followed by training leaders from the ten largest UK companies to lead and communicate, using mountains and lakes as a classroom.
Travel and adventure have also played a role in his development: adventures included hitch-hiking across the Sahara and through the Congo jungle (aged 18); riding a bicycle from the UK to Afghanistan with his twin brother (aged 21); walking across Scotland alone; kayaking the northwest coast of Scotland alone; sailing on the north Atlantic in mid-winter and off the west coast of Canada with his young family and mountaineering in Norway, Nepal, Australia, New Zealand and Kenya.
Travelling in 40 countries has helped him develop an appreciation for people from other cultures and how one might foster mutual understanding and to develop trusting, meaningful relationships which is now helpful in therapy. He finds that the therapeutic process involves understanding the presenting problem which often leads to underlying issues which can become an invitation to re-think, re-articulate and re-create a practical, realistic, hopeful philosophy which is thoroughly reciprocal… whereby clients give to and receive from their families, colleagues and society at large.
Serving intermittently as a correctional officer, a chaplain and a psychologist in 10 prisons over 33 years has provided a deep sense of the universal human struggle and our search to discover enough meaning and purpose in daily life not only to survive but to thrive.
Before leaving the UK for Canada, he was a volunteer fire fighter and, for a short time, an auxiliary nurse in a hospital emergency room; these experiences, and his several years as a correctional officer in a maximum security institution, gave him a glimpse into the world of the first responder.
He is currently in private practice, working with First Nations in central Alberta and developing a program with experienced business leaders to assist senior executives to discover more purpose and vision through a deeper understanding of leadership and communication skills.
Since 2006 he has also been using horses to help people with their relationships, inter-personal communication and self-awareness. His clients have included leaders from the corporate sector, all four levels of Canadian government. Also, since 2013, with the help of Wounded Warriors Canada, hundreds of veterans and first responders who have been diagnosed with an Operational Stress Injury (e.g. PTSD) and their spouses. Equine therapy provides opportunities for clients to receive instinctive feedback from the horse coupled with psychological intervention, a combination which can speed up the therapeutic process significantly.
Jim has been happily married to Becky, an international equestrian vaulting coach, since 1980 and they have 6 adult children and 12 grandchildren. They live on their horse ranch near Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.