Biography of Gail-Elaine Tinker, MS, RM, CH, NCC, LPC

Gail-Elaine Tinker was born in May 1960 in Philadelphia. Her parents swear she was born talking. The eldest of three, Gail-Elaine was both bookish and star struck, loving everything literary, musical, and dramatic. In high school, she was in theater and choir, even traveling to Poland and USSR for concert tours in 1977.

Gail-ElaineDuring undergraduate studies, she discovered studio art and history courses. Gail-Elaine was an English Literature Major, hoping one day to write and teach. The highlight of these years was study abroad at Wroxton College in England and independent work on myth in Children’s Literature and on author, C.S. Lewis. However, true love came to her early and she married a young man from her hometown. They traveled to NYC, NJ, and GA, where Gail-Elaine was a family counselor at an addiction treatment center. Back north, in NJ, she ran an outpatient addictions program for adolescents.

Then in May 1990, her son, Matthew, was born 2 months premature. Both Gail-Elaine and Matt had significant health challenges due to pre-eclampsia. Matthew had asthma, epilepsy, PDD-autism, deafness, and learning disabilities. Gail-Elaine developed 3 types of rare, (at the time untreatable) headaches, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and post-partum depression. Gail-Elaine did seek therapy, as well as many conventional and alternative medical interventions for her conditions. (See Reiki) To cope, Gail-Elaine returned to art, exploring many types of media, and in doing so, it facilitated her recovery process. She became devoted to the idea that, if art could help her through this challenge, it could help anyone. Now in PA, Gail-Elaine self-published a magazine to connect with like-minded folk in the art world. This venture lasted only over a year. Gail-Elaine worked on herself through therapy, groups, alternative medicine, and spirituality.

Unfortunately, the strain of depressions, a special needs child, financial issues, and changing interests forced “true love” apart. Gail-Elaine started graduate school in 2004 to prepare for divorce and new career. Chestnut Hill College, DeSales Campus served as an academic sanctuary. Her Master’s in Clinical and Counseling Psychology was complete with special focus and practices in Trauma and Focusing. Her internships were remarkable for utilizing Art Therapy with Clients in Chronic Pain and with Cognitive Deficits and work with chronically/terminally ill clients.

Matt and Gail-Elaine, both, graduated in June 2008, a delightful coincidence, for mother and son.

Support of Adults with Autism was an unexpected area of expertise in her practice. As these things happen, it began with one client, and soon another, and somehow her reputation as a rare private-pay counseling service for client and family emerged in the tight-knit community. She offers a gentle but firm style with sensitive clients and can coordinate with community supports.

Gail-Elaine observed the need in the Lehigh Valley for a mental health practice devoted to integrative, mind/body approaches to the unique needs of chronic pain and trauma clients. The establishment of her office in Bethlehem, the creation of her website, publication blogs and articles, and development of small groups, mark a practice devoted to the complete and ethical support of clients from all walks of life. Gail-Elaine also advocates, teaches, speaks, and volunteers within the community.

Like sport coaches who have played injured, doctors or nurses who cope with health issues as they practice, and school teachers who teach with learning disabilities; Gail-Elaine believes psychotherapists who have overcome significant challenges have more to bring to their practice. Her own struggles with have given her greater insights into her client’s suffering. Today Gail-Elaine is strong and resilient because of holistic therapeutic practices. As therapists use themselves as a “tool” in therapy, Gail-Elaine has revealed herself via this biography. Many clients have found this beneficial, however, rest assured, “when I am with a client, my focus is 100% on them.”