Regaining Balance

Mitra Bishop

Mitra has practiced intensive meditation, including many retreats, for 40 years, and has taught various meditation practices for the past 20+ years. Ordained as a Buddhist priest in 1986, she founded Mountain Gate in 1996 on returning from several years of concentrated practice in Japan. Since early childhood she has felt deep empathy with people in pain, and is very happy to be able to offer this program of healing through Mountain Gate. An avid hiker, she also understands the de-stressing power of movement. As a child during World War II (her father and uncle both served in that war and she remembers her grandfather listening soberly to radio reports of troop movements) and with a grandson currently in the Navy, she also feels a deep connection with those serving in the military.

Shannon Sharkey

Shannon has been drawn to meditation and the natural world since early childhood, when she would often sit quietly outdoors, open and curious about what it means to be alive. After graduating summa cum laude from the University of Missouri-Columbia, with dual degrees in Anthropology and Spanish, she embarked on a full-time training program in Rinzai Zen at Mountain Gate, in lieu of graduate school. After several years, she felt the need to integrate this deep style of Zen training with more direct service to society, and she enrolled in nursing school. Now an ICU nurse, she continues to practice at Mountain Gate in her time off. As a facilitator for the Regaining Balance retreats, she also brings experience in bilingual education, Spanish-language interpretation and wilderness leadership.

Regaining Balance is fortunate to work with a talented, dedicated, and experienced volunteer staff, all of whom are deeply committed to working with women veterans.

Martha Howden

Martha has been present for many changes in the lives of women. Teaching was her first job, requiring only a Bachelors Degree, regardless of major. After the birth of her children she did not work until the youngest was in preschool. There were two years of teaching Special Education in Georgia, then three years of working in the New Orleans Free School, an alternative school which allowed anyone regardless of income to attend. Martha has stayed in the area of service to others, with a shift to mental health work. She has two Masters degrees in this field and the professional credentials LCSW-R (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and CASAC (Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor) in NY. Martha has had her own private practice since 1988. Counseling with women remains a major part of her private practice.

Jill Romm

Jill is a semi-retired psychotherapist and consultant living in Portland, Oregon. She is the former Director of Mental Health Division at the Center of Women's Health at Oregon Health Sciences University. She has worked as a nurse and mental health clinician in a range of women's health specialties. Areas of expertise, research, and training include marital/family counseling, bereavement and grief, trauma, PTSD and recovery, sexuality and sexual pain conditions. Until her retirement she has overseen the care of bereaved parents of OHSU. She is Past President of the North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics & Gynecology, past Council member and current Coordinator of Supervision for the American Balint Society, teaching pyhysicians about clinician-patient communication and relationships. She has studied meditation since 1976, and personally and professionally uses mindfulness as a tool for self-awareness and self-care.

Caroline LeBlanc

Caroline LeBlanc, M.S., R.N. has over thirty years’ experience as a Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist.  As a young civilian nurse in Okinawa, where her husband was assigned to the First Special Forces Group, she cared for ill and injured soldiers on their way back to the states from Vietnam. Over the year, she taught psychiatric nursing at both Bloomsburg University, PA and Medical College of Georgia. As an Army Nurse from 1982 to 1988, she cared for soldiers, veterans and military family members at Fort Dix, NJ and Fort Gordon, GA.  When her husband was assigned to Fort Drum, NY in 1989 Caroline counseled service members, veterans and military family members in her private psychotherapy practice.  She completed the Marion Woodman Foundation BodySoul Rhythms leadership program in 2005, and has team-led Jungian group retreats for women in New York, New Mexico, North Carolina and Hawaii.

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