Theo Fleury and Kim Barthel bring their “Conversations with a Rattlesnake” speaking tour to the Sid

Theo Fleury and Kim Barthel bring their “Conversations with a Rattlesnake” speaking tour to the Sid

A ‘Rattlesnake’ comes to the Valley for a chat

Conversations with a Rattlesnake, Nov. 28, Sid Williams Theatre

  • Nov. 19, 2015 8:00 p.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

Theoren Fleury is in elite company among former National Hockey League players. He won a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal and surpassed the 1,000-point plateau.

He has since co-authored two books and addressed audiences at numerous speaking engagements across Canada. His first novel, Playing with Fire, discusses the shock of his childhood trauma of being abused by his junior  hockey coach, and the ensuing emotional pain. The second — Conversations with a Rattlesnake — contains personal insights and information about healing.

He co-wrote the second with Victoria-based therapist Kim Barthel, whom he met a few years ago at a conference in Winnipeg on the subject of resiliency. Both were keynote speakers at the event.

“I was absolutely blown away at the information she was providing the audience,” Fleury said. “I went over and started this conversation, and we haven’t stopped talking. That was three years ago. She is probably the world leader in talking about childhood trauma.”

Fleury and Barthel will engage in a ‘healing conversation’ with an audience at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay on Saturday, Nov. 28.

“We basically wrote this book to help people model this conversation around how to overcome trauma in your childhood years, your most influential years,” Fleury said. “Once you start the conversation, it’s really not that difficult.”

He’s known for his “brutal honesty” — which Fleury feels is a necessary ingredient when dealing with our past.

“I think it’s finding a safe person where you can start to have this conversation. Somebody who’s not going to judge you. It’s about relationship. And the first relationship you have to have is with yourself.”

The conversation includes learned behaviour, which requires compassion and understanding, as opposed to finger pointing.

“We don’t want to ever look at ourselves, that’s why we point the finger,” Fleury said. “’In your eyes I see myself as…’ That’s compassion. Understanding we are all flawed, and it’s our experiences that have made us that way. It’s the only way we’re going to deal with the cycle of trauma.”

He describes trauma as “the human experience of everybody” to which no one is immune.

“The reason why we have a world-wide epidemic of mental health issues is because of trauma. Trauma is the start, and that’s why we have all kinds of addictions…anything that takes us out of feeling what our true feelings are.”

In recent years, Fleury’s schedule has been filled with radio and television appearances, book signings and healing forums. He says the latter have been well received.

“They are life-changing events for the people that are in the audience. It’s a whole day of conversation with the audience, moving in and out of different topics. Every conference that we do takes on its own life. Sometimes it’s about grief, sometimes it’s about anger. We let the audience take it where it wants to go.”

On Wednesday, he and Barthel were scheduled to speak to inmates at a prison in Prince Albert, Sask. It was to be their fourth prison visit.

“It is probably the best thing that we do,” Fleury said. “They’re the key to all this, to solving this problem.”

Along with the forums, they are also co-hosting an Internet radio show, and launching an app (CWAR) to stay connected with others interested in healing and collective support. Fleury and Barthel are also involved in the Breaking Free Foundation (BFF), which provides treatment and support to trauma survivors. Those without financial resources can apply for a grant. If approved, their therapy will be paid for.

The non-profit BFF grew out of the Victor Walk — a grassroots way to raise further awareness and get people talking about childhood trauma.

“We pick a province every year,” Fleury said. “Last year we walked from Edmonton to Calgary.”

When time permits, Fleury still laces on the skates. He was to arrive home Thursday night.

On Friday morning, he plans to hit the ice and play all day in a Hockey Helps The Homeless tournament in Calgary.

Conversations With a Rattlesnake is an all-day presentation, Nov. 28 at the Sid Williams Theatre ( 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a one-hour lunch break at 12:30 p.m.). It is being co-presented by the Wachiay Friendship Centre and Campbell River and District Association for Community Living.

 

Just Posted

The front door at 1655 20th St. in Courtenay. File photo
Courtenay council provides landlord with ultimatum

Courtenay council is giving an ultimatum to the owner of problem property:… Continue reading

The Town of Comox is looking at options for a pump track within the town. Seen here is Campbell River’s pump track on Aug. 9, 2019. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror
Comox considers future of bike pump track for the town

“…I think it would a super addition to the community.”

Theodore Lemay
Vanier grad wins $100,000 Schulich Scholarship

Theodore Lemay is first nominee from the school to win Schulich honour

The Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Summer Reading Club is about to begin. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Summer Reading Club set to launch

With summer just around the corner, another exciting season of Summer Reading… Continue reading

Temperatures are expected to soar by the weekend, with potentially record-breaking heat in the low 30Cs. Those looking to beat the heat in the ocean are advised to pack plenty of sunscreen and water. Black Press file photo
Potential record-breaking heatwave heading to the Comox Valley

“It’s the start of the season and we’re not quite acclimatized to warm temperatures”

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Children walk with their parents to Sherwood Park Elementary in North Vancouver for the first day back to school on Sept. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Study reassures parents, teachers that COVID-19 infrequently shared at school

Federally funded study in Vancouver finds risk at school and in the community was identical

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday April 13, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Single-game sports betting about to become legal in Canada

Senate passes bill to take sports gambling away from overseas agencies

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton

The Somass Sawmill sits idle in early May 2021. While the kilns have been in use occasionally, and the lot has been used to store woodchips this spring, the mill has been curtailed since July 27, 2017. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni to expropriate Somass Sawmill from Western Forest Products

Sawmill has been ‘indefinitely’ curtailed since 2017

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Most Read