Causeway and a Conversation with a Rattlesnake

Posted by: Causeway Work Centre
September 14th, 2015 • No Comments


from left to right: Organizer Michelle, client Larry, Theo Fleury, staff member Christopher and peer support client, Mike

from left to right: Organizer Michele Murphy, CWC client Larry, Theo Fleury, CWC staff member Christopher and CWC peer support client, Mike

In front of an large audience this Saturday, NHL Hockey legend Theo Fleury and his ‘therapeutic friend’, highly sought-after speaker and therapist Kim Barthel, shared intimate details and insight into trauma and abuse in a positive and honest reflection, with proceeds from the event going to Causeway.

An event attended by mental health professionals, recovering addicts and clients and staff of Causeway, Fleury and Barthel journeyed through the path of Fleury’s widely documented sexual abuse, addiction, and how he overcame his battle. Part therapy session, part storytelling, both were candid and open to their own vulnerability and past experiences. While Barthel explained the ‘science’ behind our trauma with her cutting edge information, Fleury bared his deepest thoughts with humour and honestly. ‘It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago, I had a loaded gun to my mouth’, Fleury remarked in the opening of the session.


Fleury and Barthel were in Ottawa to promote the book ‘Conversations with a Rattlesnake’, which reads as a series of therapy sessions with the event capturing many intimate moments directly from the book. Participants were invited and encouraged to share their stories in hopes to gain clarity in their own lives. Dan, a First Nations man in his early 50’s shared his story of addiction and asked how to reach the level of spirituality that Fleury has. The answer is not a simple one, Fleury says, as it took him accepting and surrendering to a higher power in order to truly heal himself.

So much was shared that it felt more like a movement, an enlightenment that many participants agreed needed to be shared to schools, rehab centres, prisons and support groups. Throughout the session, it was clear there was much work to be done among individuals who carry trauma in their lives, but as one Causeway client so truthfully put at the end of the session, ‘I didn’t know what to expect, but I am really happy that I came. I think this will help me.’

This event could not have been possible without the tremendous help of Michele Murphy, registered physiotherapist and personal friend of Barthel. To obtain a copy of the book, Conversations with a Rattlesnake you can purchase it on their website.  Causeway will also have a copy in the Library located on the 2nd floor.