People Jazz Podcasts

The People Jazz Podcasts

Jonathan Johnston and I have performed People Jazz over time and realized that it was a collaboration that had to go public! We have been performing People Jazz in private practice counseling. We are now excited to share our psychological art form via podcasts.

There are two requisites for jazz.

First, we need to have the skill to stay within the structure of an agreed upon  theme or tune.

Second, we need to have the intuitive aesthetic for trusting our creative instincts in the moment.

That ability to improvise comes when we can trust ourselves, after long hours of practice, to have confidence in our ability, in the moment, without having to stay within a specific musical chart or a pre-planned counseling process.

Although we do hold possibilities in mind for the upcoming sessions in case that would be useful.

It’s in the practice room or in the counseling room where we learn to trust ourselves to improvise within the structure. Both music and therapy also require focus in the present moment.

So, we do People Jazz! Jon and I are in complete agreement about the variables. Jon came to me in my late sixties for supervision in applied psychology as a new career. First, he was a writer, then he was a composer, and then he was devoted to the joy of performing with other expert musicians on jazz gigs.

From high school, I entered the Western Canada Theater Conservatory in Acting. I started out in the world of drama and, my best talent in the conservatory was improvisations. And, over the years, I’ve become a jazz buff with personal friends in the Dallas community of jazz performers.

When you add a new musician to a combo, the improvisation changes. This kind of work is always valuable worthwhile and meaningful, which is why I think that I will never stop my private practice. I’m going to be a People Jazz artist for the rest of my life because it’s so rewarding and fascinating.

As a duo, we spent an hour a week in the practice room! AKA in conversation on the phone. Jon and I have been planning People Jazz Podcasts to share with the public the things which help our clients. Jon and I are both University-schooled performers in our previous lives. Jon was (once a musician, always a musician) a jazz pianist and bass player and I was an actress gifted in improv.

Jon and I have been doing People Jazz together for about five years. We improvise from the same philosophy and the same trusted resources in the profession of psychology. People Jazz, the way we play it, is private and confidential. That’s the way we must adhere to our ethics.

Our People Jazz is visible only to our clients. And, also to each other  when we do a consultation or peer supervision. We still spend an hour a week talking with each other about our opinions, puzzles, insights and understanding of our cases. So, we are in the practice room together regularly. Our mutual fascination with people, understanding them and helping them is endless.

Our, theory of practice is to do People Jazz. Which means we don’t stay within the boundaries of some structure delineated by a university, a colleague, a certain method or step-by-step programs. In essence, we work outside of the familiar boxes and, with knowledge of those methods, pick and choose from them in response to the client in the moment.

And that’s what jazz musicians do. When people want to know how I work, I tell them that I know the chords and I know the melody…and how we play it is in response to who they are individually or as a couple and to what problem they bring currently. I do People Jazz because I improvise my sessions. I don’t want to waste time, I want to be very focused and I want to get something done that’s practical and positive every time I have a session. After 30 years of successful work, I’ve developed a good degree of trust in my improvisational therapy skills.

With our online resources, so much about psychology is readily available. We have designed the People Jazz Podcasts around direct response to our audience, guests and current needs.

It’s not our aim to be famous or advocates for products. We genuinely enjoy the experience of being mentors offering help, information and solutions.

Until the next time,


Heather Carlile, MA, LPC-S and Jon Johnston, MA, LPC

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