Co-Founder & CEO
The deep emotional injuries we receive on our journey through life often go unwitnessed and unacknowledged. The deep-rooted issues caused by these painful memories lead to a sense of disconnection from our bodies, impairing us from processing our true feelings. Judy Crane set to find a path in which she could heal herself and those she came across. Her recovery and journey began when she was 42 years old; she took back her life from those traumatic memories and started healing herself. She went back to school to become an addictions counselor, obtained a master’s degree in mental health counseling, became a licensed therapist at 52 years old, opened her first recovery program in the Ocala Forest at 57 years, sold it at 67 years old, opened The Guest House Ocala with John West at 70 years old and wrote her first book at seventy, The Trauma Heart.
The Guest House Ocala is the culmination of the lives, careers, and passions of its co-founders, Judy and John. Both are dedicated to bringing healing and hope to those who struggle with addiction and other self-destructive behaviors, particularly as a result of traumatic or emotional events.
John and Judy imagined not just a treatment facility but a place where comfort, quiet and healing were prioritized through premier-quality services and amenities. They sought to create a private, welcoming home where guests are met with open arms at the door, exactly where they are on their journey, without judgment or expectations.
The two-combine their personal healing experiences, extensive therapy training, and award-winning treatment administration that brings an ideal balance of deep understanding and high-level expertise to the mission of The Guest House.
The Guest House is the brainchild of a trauma therapy expert who has dedicated her life to building refuges for victims of trauma and addiction. Judy, John, and staff have years of experience researching, developing, and providing treatments geared towards those whose self-defeating behaviors have emerged due to a traumatic incident. The center offers a range of therapeutic modalities that are kinetic, creative, and meditative to cater to guests’ particular needs and interests.
A Support System
Supporting female business owners is the air Judy breaths. She was one of the first female owners of a treatment center in the US to open a trauma and recovery center in 2003. “In my last facility and my current one with John West, we have supported multiple women in their businesses both new and established,” she says. “We have partnered with other female owners of treatment centers, transitional living programs, health and wellness medical centers, chefs, private practice therapists, photographers and a multitude of other female owned businesses. In addition, more than half our staff are women in leadership positions and we continually support all of our extraordinary staff in continual advanced education and training. Over my career my female and male mentors have encouraged and supported me in the same way and we pay it forward.”
The Guest House’s staff is their most important asset. The facility offers advanced training and education, alongside encouraging upward mobility, bonus, and applauding excellence. Judy believes one of the most valuable opportunities they provide is ‘Gratitude Month’ in November, when they celebrate their staff with opportunities to be honored in each department, individually and as a whole.
All of Judy’s journey as a woman has been in what was a male-dominated field. “The lesson is to stand tall, become excellent in your role and your talents. To work as an equal or more with those around you. It took all of that and my absolute belief that I was a leader and had earned my place and the respect of my peers.”
Building A Safe Space
Judy and her team are working towards expanding their energy, understanding, and treatment of the impact of PTSD and Trauma in the world. “Covid was a teacher in this area because the isolation and loss we all experienced created an additional “moment” that continues to wreak havoc on families, first responders, social norms, each and every aspect of our lives. The world experienced an overwhelming and shared trauma/PTSD episode.” With such a brilliant mindset, Judy has been taking the facility to new heights.
The most significant achievement of The Guest House organization is that they have changed and enhanced the view of addiction throughout their industry. Much of the industry has followed The Guest House’s lead and recognized that addicts are wounded people with a trauma story and that if one can unravel the trauma story of anyone, they can understand the behaviors that have been created in defense of the experienced trauma. “Our addictions and behaviors are more often coping mechanisms that have saved us early on and then often become our enemy. We have encouraged the shift in treatment from just talk therapy to other modalities that heal viscerally,” elucidates Judy.
One of Judy’s most important goals is to support and encourage first responders, veterans, teachers, medical personnel, and anyone in the helping/healing fields to recognize the impactof secondary trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout before it overwhelms them. In addition, she encourages and helps connect them to trauma therapists to help them heal their wounds.
According to the pioneering leader, the pandemic and the enormous number of mass shootings have created an overwhelming feeling of helplessness, fear, and isolation. A second goal is to help families to heal together. “When one family member has experienced trauma events it impacts the whole family and the generations that follow. What happened in the lives of our ancestors is handed down to us in the form of their behaviors and coping mechanisms that we often inherit without understanding why we do what we do. 23 and Me and Ancestry.com are evidence of our need to know our history. The lesson here is to tell our stories to the generations we are raising,” explains Judy. “I believe The Guest House Ocala will continue to grow and impact thousands of people, those that come for healing and the multiple people in their lives that are impacted by them. It’s synchronistic!”
Photo Credit: Esther Diehl