Inspiring Change: Catherine Tyson-Sewell’s Commitment to Social Work and Family Counseling

by Brooke Young

"Love your children fiercely. They see you as their hero, their rock star. Invest in them and watch their magic unfold."

Catherine Tyson-Sewell is a trained social worker and family counsellor with undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Social Work and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. She is well known in the Cayman Islands as a media personality in the areas of radio, print and television. She is the current Producer and Host of the CTS Wind Down Radio Show and the past producer of her TV show, Lighten Up with Catherine Tyson.

Catherine is the author of I’m Somebody’s Mama, a humorous celebration of her life as a struggling single mother to her three children with her most recent follow up book, Single Mama; Powerful not Pitiful, currently available on all platforms online.

Tyson-Sewell calls the first book, the “hope that it all worked out” and the follow up book, the “hey, looks guys, it worked out”!

She is the Managing Director of Missing Link Training and Support Services that provides training and development to the corporate world and work ready programs for unemployed and underemployed individuals assisting to get them equipped with professional and self-development skills.

Ms. Tyson-Sewell has created various programs for young people to address literacy, delinquency and social skills.

Her stellar career spans many years in management, teaching and training and has been a national representative for the betterment of women, children and families. She has created a parenting workshop and program to accompany Single Mama; Powerful not Pitiful because she believes that when you are a parent, in one way or the other, you have the future in the palm of your hands and everything that you do lends towards the world that we will ultimately have. Tyson-Sewell is a wife and mother to 4 fabulous children and enjoys spending her free time travelling to new places and with her family for karaoke or game night.

Name: Catherine Tyson-Sewell

Check out more interviews with entrepreneurs here

Table of Contents

Catherine Tyson-Sewell

Before we begin, introduce us to who Catherine Tyson is and share about your journey into social work and family counseling.

Catherine Tyson-Sewell: Well I am a little girl from a small island who, for lack of exposure and opportunities, could have had a very different story than the one that I have.

I think my journey into social work and counselling stems from being a vulnerable individual and wanting to help people that come from certain backgrounds, see the possibility of success and changing their story, and changing it again if that one doesn’t work, to just know that they have the power over their destiny.

My mom was an unmarried teenager in the sixties, who had 3 children by the age of 19, who raised us with the help of my great grandmother and church community and village.

Even though we have come very far from the concept, the idea of community and village still works, and social workers main aim is to lean on this idea while doing the self work that is necessary for success.

Your book “Single Mama; Powerful not Pitiful” is described as a celebration of single motherhood. Culturally, there are a range of narratives and stories around single motherhood and parenthood in general. Through your coaching work and book, what message do you hope to instill in other single mothers, and parents, at large?

Catherine Tyson-Sewell: So my book is just that, a celebration of being a single mother if that is your current position, due to adult situations that have lead you to that path. To not feel or act like you have a pitiful existence and understand how powerful this position is in the shaping of tomorrow’s leaders and adults in society.

It is in no way glorifying single motherhood as the alternative to a healthy 2 parent household or children enjoying a wonderful relationship with their father. I want my readers to understand that you have the power over your life regardless of what life has thrown your way.

And that parenting is serious business, every single moment of every single day and if you are blessed to be a parent to straighten yourself up and get it together because you have lives at stake that depend on you. Your journey is no longer just about you so some things that may have been ok when you were not a parent, may just not be ok, and that’s ok!

You believe that all parents are sowing the seeds for the next generation to become successful and self-reliant. What do you feel is one of the common misconceptions around parenting?

Catherine Tyson-Sewell: I think one of the common misconceptions is that you have little clones of you and that you can do as you please with them and that is no one else’s business.

This is absolutely wrong! I think that as a parent we have a duty to society to produce productive and positive citizens that can live in harmony with the rest of the world, causing as little harm to others as possible as they achieve their goals to become successful and happy individuals.

And each parent is absolutely sowing seeds every day for the next generation to either become successful and self-reliant, or not, and I believe that we can all agree that the latter will affect us all negatively and therefore not the desirable option.

What are two tips for parents to instill strong social and emotional skills into their children?

Catherine Tyson-Sewell: One way is to keep the lines of communication open with your children. To find times and ways to talk to your children and develop a relationship with them in appropriate ways that match their age and stage and level of comprehension.

To also remember to sing their praises allowing them to know how important they are to you and the world while balancing it with them being aware that the world does not revolve only around them, at all times.

Another way is to help them understand accountability and taking responsibility for their role when things happen that require consequences. To help them to process things through discussions, examples, consequences of their actions, etc.

Children are very smart and understand things from an early age so as we respect them as people and expect them to do likewise to us and others, we are helping them to become healthy thinkers with a strong sense of self.

You’re well known in the Cayman Islands for your media work. How do you utilize your platform to raise awareness about important issues affecting families and individuals? What do you believe is one of the biggest threats facing our students right now?

Catherine Tyson-Sewell: I use my platform to keep the conversation going at any opportunity that I can. To engage others in sharing their knowledge and experiences while equipping them to do the same. I believe that this drum must never stop playing but one person cannot do it alone so I always look for opportunities to empower people to continue these conversations that involve solutions and not just the complaints.

There are so many threats facing our students right now but I believe social media is very high on the list being the strongest influence and not the home. To combat this, parents are going to have to wake up, get off social media themselves, and take an active part in their children’s lives and understand your position as a paramount part of your child’s upbringing.

We cannot leave the rearing of our children up to anyone else. I had a saying with my children when they asked if I trusted them that yes, I do trust them, but I do not trust the rest of the world with them.

That is so funny to me to think of that now when social media was not even so prevalent and damaging that if I did not trust anyone else to ensure their safety, best interest, not damage their self-esteem, etc, then how would we even dare think that this entity, that is so essential and damaging at the same time, can be trusted on its own, for the safe guarding of our children.

If you could say one piece of advice to parents across the world– what piece of advice would that be?

Catherine Tyson-Sewell: Do yourself and society a favor; Go love your children. Go understand what that word encapsulates and really love them! Go spend time with them. Go invest in them. Because they are so friggin awesome!

There will literally be no one else in this world that will be so purely excited that you have entered the room but them. You are a rock star to them!!

They are your Beyhive! I mean come on, you have to honor that! Plus You owe them because You brought them here; living, breathing human beings that did not ask you to come here, so you owe them and not the other way around.

With such a busy schedule, how do you prioritize self-care. Do you have a wellness strategy or tip to share?

Catherine Tyson-Sewell: Self-care has to be so intentional in the busy times that we are living in with something literally always vying for our attention. Getting older does not help when the body thinks that 3AM is bathroom time and you cannot get back to sleep after that! I am not sure how much of a wellness strategy or tip I have to share but what I do is try to carve out moments for myself like getting my hair and nails done every 2 weeks and a massage once a month.

My salon knows that I am coming in for my therapy session when they see me so they pull up a chair while I “relax”. I set time aside each month to spend with my granddaughter which helps me to put the “to do” list down. I also plan a day each month to catch up with one of my senior citizen friends who are retired now (I have about 4 of them) and we go have lunch or hang out and have a nice chatting session.

I feel that it helps to just sit at the feet of our elders, whenever we can, and learn from them. They have so much knowledge and they are on the other side of life where they are not stressed about the rat race anymore and can talk about lessons learned, what is important, etc. Sometimes hearing their “simple” problems, help to put mine in perspective.

And it just feels good to make them feel good. Plus, they think that I am young and gorgeous and that does not hurt one bit!

Brooke Young, VIP Contributor to WellnessVoice and the host of this interview would like to thank Catherine Tyson-Sewell for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.

Disclaimer: The WellnessVoice Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Related Articles