The goal of hypnotherapist, Reiki practitioner, life and business coach and Veterans Administration therapist Muria Nisbett, founder of Inside-Out Wellness Center, is to treat the whole person — mind, body and soul.
Born on St. Thomas, Nisbett was raised on Tortola by her farmer grandfather and stay-at-home grandmother, who baked bread to make ends meet. Moving back to St. Thomas, she graduated from Ivanna Eudora Kean High School before moving stateside. She worked several part-time jobs in Texas and Florida, but found it difficult as a young mother — she had her daughter when she was 17 — to juggle work, school and daycare. So she made the decision to join the military.
For five years, Nisbett worked as a mortuary affairs specialist, dealing with fallen service members. She was deployed to Kuwait, where her team had to deal with those who died in combat there as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The hardest day I remember, and some things just never leave your memory, was Thanksgiving of 2006,” she said. “There was a helicopter crash, and as the bodies came in, the first thing we try to do is look for the Social Security number so they can be identified. And the first Social Security number I saw was 580, and I thought ‘Oh my God. That’s one of us.’ [580 is the first three digits of Social Security numbers issued in the Virgin Islands.] That’s when it officially hit me. Before that, I could separate emotionally, but when I saw that 580, it was just way too close to home.”
After earning a master’s degree from the University of South Florida in social work, Nisbett worked as a therapist for the Veterans Administration. She began to feel that rather than helping these veterans, traditional therapy was often retraumatizing them — causing her to turn to a more holistic approach in her private practice, with hypnotherapy, Reiki and coaching.
“I wanted to see the person as a whole person,” she said. “They’ve had a whole life, and I wanted bring all of that in to move forward versus talking about the trauma in such detail like we did. Even though someone may have PTSD, it could be that it may not just be the military trauma, but could also be other factors that were buried deeply that the military experience really brought out.”
She soon focused her energies more on coaching, helping people determine the path they need to follow to lead a happy, healthy life.Nisbett eventually began teaching other African Americans to become life coaches.
In all the seminars and workshops she went to, she realized “there weren’t a lot of people who looked like me. I think I can only count one that was African American, so the information they were giving me didn’t have that relevance, because they’re coming from a different place. So, I started coaching people how to do that, people who already took these courses, but weren’t really sure how to put it all together to be a coach.”
Although she did leave the Veterans Administration for a short time to focus on her private practice, she felt called back to service last year when an opening became available in the Virgin Islands for a therapist for St. Thomas and St. Croix. Understanding the island people and culture, she felt, would be crucial to anyone fulfilling that role.
Nisbett continues with hypnotherapy and coaching on her own, helping clients to realize what it is that they love doing and working toward making that be their purpose or monetizing it into a career. “I think behind the mindset is ‘I would love to be successful but…’ Once you say ‘but’ the rest of the sentence is irrelevant.
“I think because there’s not a lot of people here that are self-made or are successful in doing their own thing versus a job, it’s limiting. They say ‘I can’t do that. Nobody else is doing that. I would love to do that but I don’t know the steps,’ so I help them find the steps.”
One of the techniques Nisbett uses is the creation of a vision board. The process starts with a visualization of that person’s idea of a perfect day, what they would be doing, where they would be living, what kinds of people would they interact with if time, money and resources weren’t factors. A vision board is made of magazine images, sayings and other visual reminders of their goal. Seeing it in a prominent place every day helps reinforce that goal.
“If you can’t see that, it’s hard to become that,” she said. “It’s a just a vague idea rolling around in your head and you don’t really bring that idea to fruition because it’s so blurry. A vision board gives you something to focus on,” she said. “If you start the year with a goal to focus on, at least you know the direction you’re going to go, and if something happens in your life, you have a focus point to go back to.”
For more information, visit insideoutwellnesscenter.com or the Inside-Out Wellness Center Facebook page.