Anna Willman



My experience as the longest serving Director of the Confidence Clinic (from 1994 to 2008), and for the four years prior to that as a Program Coordinator in the program, has given me a unique opportunity to understand and appreciate the intricacies, the challenges, and the successes of the program throughout its history. 


I came to the experience with no history in the field of social work, which gave me an “outsider’s” perspective. This, coupled with analytical skills developed through my academic training in political science, history and economics helped form my perspective in Creating Confidence.


Furthermore, my thirty years as a Certified Focusing Trainer contribute an added dimension to my understanding of the Confidence Clinic.  Focusing is a gentle process of inner awareness and self-discovery that helps individuals get “unstuck” and move forward.  It was discovered by Eugene Gendlin at the University of Chicago and has been widely used in many fields, from psychotherapy to art and business.  I introduced Focusing to the Confidence Clinic, and came to see the program itself as a kind of Focusing experience as the women in the program learned to listen to themselves and each other. (see links for more information on focusing.)


I received a BA degree from Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, a Masters of International Studies (MIS) from Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, California and a Masters degree (MPhil) in Comparative Politics from Columbia University in New York City.  I was a Fulbright Scholar in Zagreb, Yugoslavia in 1971 and 1972. 


I was a co-founder of and group facilitator for VOICES of Douglas County, a support group for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  I served as chair of the Douglas County Regional Gender Equity Team, as the President of Oregon Women Work!, a statewide network of single parent/displaced homemaker programs, and as Chair of the Oregon State Commission for Women.  I have served on the board of Project Literacy and the League of Women Voters in Douglas County, Oregon.   I am the single parent of one son, now grown with children of his own. 


All of these experiences supported my work at the Confidence Clinic and have served to enrich my perspective on the lessons to be derived from that experience. 


In a less formal vein, I have been a writer all my life - I wrote my first novel when I was in sixth grade - a fairy tale about a young man with the unfortunate name of Harvey.  He went on a quest to find a cure for his laziness and after being sent from wise woman to wise woman and having many adventures, he returned home convinced he was a failure only to discover that during all those years of seeking he had lost the habit of sitting around doing nothing.  He was, in fact, cured. 


I journaled (irregularly) from an early age, mostly at times of crisis or unhappiness - which I admit adds up to a dismal record that totally misses how much of my lifetime I have been truly happy. 


All my life, whatever work I was dong, I wrote.  When I was in college, I wrote long letters home.  I wrote protest leaflets in the late 60s and 70s, and left-wing journal articles in the 1980s.  I wrote letters for my Lower East Side neighbors to the city of New York protesting specific injustices that had been visited upon them. 


In the 90s, I wrote grants for the Confidence Clinic, and sometimes curriculum, and letters to the editor. 


These days, I write mostly for fun.  I have two regency romance novels and one mainstream novel published on Kindle and several other works in progress, ranging from science fiction to regency romance (Georgette Heyer style) to literary fiction.  I occasionally write poems for my own personal pleasure.  Retirment is a genuine joy for me - I get to do what I want when I want, and if I don't have much money, well I don't need much as long as I can engage in my favorite activity - writing.



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