Eternal love, loyalty and wisdom are some symbols of pearls.

We are the authors of our emotions, whether feeling peaceful or turbulent, going forward. Surely the past informs us, but we own the detective privilege of interpreting our own missed steps, sidesteps, and sashaying steps. Hindsight often is a better version of “facts;” it is harder to catch your mistakes when they are in progress. Getting lost along the way happens to all of us but we can learn from our missteps. We are the storytellers of our own personalities.

Author photo by Monte Gerlach

Janis Clark Johnston, Ed.D., has a doctorate in counseling psychology from Boston University. She has worked with children, families, and groups (ages 3-83) with presenting issues of anxiety, depression, trauma, loss, and relationship concerns. She initially worked as a school psychologist in public schools and was awarded School Psychology Practitioner of the Year for Region 1 in Illinois for her innovative work. She was a supervising psychologist at a mental health center, an employee-assistance therapist and a trainer for agencies prior to having a family therapy private practice.

Recipient of the 2011 Founder’s Award for her dedication to the parenting education of Parenthesis Family Center (now called New Moms), and the 2002 Community Spirit Award from Sarah’s Inn, a domestic violence shelter and education center, Johnston is an active participant in numerous volunteer activities supporting children and families in her community.

A frequent presenter at national psychology and educational conferences, Johnston has published journal articles, book chapters, and three books — It Takes a Child to Raise a Parent: Stories of Evolving Child and Parent Development (2013, hardback; 2019, paperback); Midlife Maze: A Map to Recovery and Rediscovery after Loss (2017, hardback; 2019, paperback); and Transforming Retirement: Rewire and Grow Your Legacy (2023).

In addition to augmenting and supporting personal growth in families, Johnston is a Master Gardener and loves nurturing growth in the plants in her yard. Her hobbies include yoga, Tai Chi, and gardening in many gardens. She enjoys giving book talks and tours in Chicago’s Millennium Park Lurie Garden.


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To read more about Jan and her books, please visit Janis Johnston’s website.