Mariah Fenton Gladis: Developing a Sacred Bond with Yourself

By Katharine Eaton

“A person’s relationship with themselves deeply impacts the rest of their life,” says Mariah Fenton Gladis. A renowned psychotherapist with over four decades of professional experience, she is the founder and clinical director of the Pennsylvania Gestalt Center for Psychotherapy and Training, which emphasizes the development of awareness for healing and personal growth.

Mariah first got involved in therapy and the social work field in her early 20s. “I was always interested in people and what makes them tick, and I resonated with people’s struggles.”

In her work, she sees individuals, families and groups, trains professionals, and conducts workshops around the world. The Mariah Fenton Gladis Foundation, which she established in 2006, gives underserved people the opportunity to have exposure to the concepts and teaching of relational skills through free workshops. The mission of the foundation is to spread awareness about the power of love, compassion, and forgiveness.

In 1981, Mariah was diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a disease that erodes the central nervous system. As a result, her speech is impaired, and she now drives a motorized wheelchair.

Despite initially being given a 10 percent chance of surviving more two years, Mariah married, had two sons, and built her career and life’s work in the ensuing decades.

“I think I offer an example of human vulnerability co-existing with personal strength and positive power.”

On May 20, Mariah will speak at the TEDxNavesink IDENTITY conference at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park. Joining her onstage will be Ron Gladis, her husband and translator. Mariah’s talk, Arrive Already Loved – Creating a Sacred Attachment with Yourself, will cover the importance of unconditional acceptance of who you are.

Mariah notes that the concept of identity is an important one–one that can limit you if you’re not careful.

“When I was diagnosed with ALS, I knew that if I assumed the identity of a dead woman walking, I would in effect be participating in my own downward cycle,” she said.

She focused on doing what she had to do about ALS – on every level – while still keeping it in the background of her life. The foreground is reserved for what matters most to her: “My family, my work, and the people with whom I work. I keep my life’s purpose in the lead so I identify myself as a wife, a mother, a new grandmother, a professional woman.”

From her talk, Mariah hopes the audience will gain a new understanding of the importance of the relationship with themselves, and some new skills on what it takes to improve and develop that internal connection.

“I hope to touch hearts and minds with a message of expanding your capacity to arrive already loved – developing a sacred attachment with yourself, and providing yourself with the emotional interaction that you need.”

Join Mariah and other dynamic speakers who will share ideas worth spreading at TEDxNavesink IDENTITY. Get your tickets today.