Be the Change: Robin See-Swenson – Planting Seeds For Change

Mt. Shasta Marriage and Family Therapist Robin See-Swenson lives with the philosophy that she can be the change she wants to see: in her family, the community, and the world. She came to this belief early in life. A Siskiyou County native, while in the fifth grade at Weed Elementary School, she did a report on Mahatma Gandhi. His tenet of being the change you want to see resonated with her. “But you don’t always have to be the change,” says Robin. “You can also be the one who plants the seeds.”

As a family therapist in private practice, Robin has the opportunity to plant seeds for change and nurture her clients as they grow toward greater personal and family health. Her specialty is EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – a brief trauma treatment to reprocess painful triggers from traumatic experiences. She also focuses on women’s issues, teenagers and couples. When parents bring children for therapy, she does family work. She respects all aspects of the therapeutic relationship. “We live in a small community,” says Robin. “When a person comes in to do work, it is a sacred, confidential ground.”

Photos: Karrie Ann Snure, Living Shasta Photography.

Robin was raised in Mt. Shasta where, through the family business, she learned about trucks and heavy equipment. As a child, when people asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up, she said, “I want to drive a truck!” And that’s exactly what she did after graduating from high school and moving to Maui, Hawaii. During those years, she drove trucks and heavy equipment, obtained her Associates of Arts degree, and began creating a family, including birthing her daughter Kainoa. “I lived on Maui for 15 years and enjoyed a rich life,” she says.

After being involved in a serious car accident, she returned to Mt. Shasta. During her recuperation, she reconnected with Vern Swenson, a childhood friend. They fell in love, married, and together own Vern Swenson Excavation. After their marriage, Robin became licensed as a General Engineering Contractor and continued driving trucks and heavy equipment, completing, over 20 years in the field.

Robin’s passion for planting seeds for change began growing through her community work. John Cunningham, a Siskiyou County marriage and family therapist, has known Robin for over 10 years. “Robin’s quiet persistence toward building resources in the community has crossed public, private, and personal connections and has resulted in tremendous success,” he says.

Her work in developing community resources began in 1990 when her daughter entered high school. Robin became aware that today’s youth live in an at-risk world and was incensed at how youth were treated and how they treated each other. She helped organize a school site council and parent education classes, and worked to effect change in the mental health environment at the school.

Robin’s experiences created a desire to return to college. She received a Ford Scholarship and enrolled at Simpson University in Redding. Through her classes and dreaming about what could be possible, she got the message, “You’re important. Follow your dreams.” She knew she wanted to become a marriage and family therapist. “I wanted to be a resource to effect change,” she says. “It doesn’t work to just put a bandage on problems.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she enrolled in a master’s program at National University in Redding. She received her MFT license and began her private practice.

As well as knowing that she can become the change she wants to see, Robin believes that what one thinks and talks about becomes reality. “It’s important to notice your dreams to talk about them so that you create what you really want,” she says.

Robin’s greatest joy is her five grandchildren who range in age from 1 to 16. She has an important place in their lives volunteering in their schools, helping with homework, and being an all-around fun grandparent. She believes her role as grandmother is to offer unconditional love and quality time while always honoring her daughter and son-in-law as the parents.

Planting the seeds for change, being the change, and living with a sense of harmony in the world with respect for others exemplifies Robin See-Swenson. Robin can be contacted at (530) 859-1540.

[sws_blue_box box_size=”580″]The mission of our Be the Change column is to feature a community member from the North State who is actively making a difference in the lives of children and families. If you would like to nominate someone who is making a difference, please write to[/sws_blue_box]

Carolyn Warnemuende
About Carolyn Warnemuende

Author Carolyn Warnemuende has two daughters and five grandchildren, and lives with her husband in Redding. She writes parenting and educational articles, sponsors a school in Uganda, and visits Africa twice a year. She receives great joy in taking daily care of her four-year-old granddaughter who was adopted from Ethiopia.

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