Patt Hollinger Pickett has a favorite life message. It grew out of frustration listening to others justify a lack of progress toward their goals by complaining they did not “have enough time.” She began challenging their “whining” with “We all have the same 24/7. What we do with our time becomes our priority.” Her extended message pointed out that no one gets “24/8” and encouraged them to avoid priorities by default by making conscious choices to use their all their time meaningfully.
This value-based philosophy was practiced by her parents, Dorothy and Tony. Patt grew up in Saint Louis, Missouri as the second of seven children (six girls and one boy) born to her parents. By the age of ten, she had five younger siblings and observed her stay-at-home mother “catch dust before it landed” and cook yummy meals on a slim budget while attending to every kid’s needs. Her working class father labored hard to provide the all the basics for nine people and was fully involved with family activities. There was never enough time (or money), yet Patt witnessed that family priorities were met through the design of her parents.
With seven females and only two males in the household, the girls learned about self-empowerment at young ages. Patt’s early career calling was to be a teacher. She had enough “practice students” among her sibs who could be coaxed into pretending with her.
As a married, young adult, she completed her undergraduate degree, earned a lifetime teaching certificate, and continued her schooling with an advanced degree in education, counseling emphasis. At graduation, the job market was glutted with teachers. Patt followed the influence of a friend steering her away from education and accepted a position as one of the few female probation and parole officers in the state. After two years, she advanced and became a federal probation officer (the second woman ever hired in that federal court district) and remained in the profession for nine more years.
During her time with the federal government, Patt experienced a paradox about people and being judgmental. The mostly-male probationers and parolees under her supervision (the “bad” people) were forthright with her as a female authority figure while the all-male probation office management staff (the “good” people) engaged in subtle and bold discrimination practices against her as a female colleague. (Ultimately, she filed a sex discrimination lawsuit and, after several years, won a judgment.) She frequently recalls a time honored adage that goes something like, “There is so much bad in the best of us, and so much good in the worst of us, that it hardly behooves any of us, to render judgments about the rest of us.” To her, judging others is a pointless wash.
After leaving government service, Patt completed requirements for professional state licensing and established a private counseling practice in marriage and family therapy. Later, as an employed, married mother of three young children, she earned her doctorate, specializing in marriage and family studies and gained the qualifications for a license as a marriage and family therapist.
Patt has been a Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists for over two decades. In her role as a relationship expert, she provides professional services with warmth and humor, blended with directness to spread her message of hope and optimism that life change is possible for all who are motivated and persist. She has continued in practice for over twenty years. Throughout her professional career, Patt has listened and learned. She has written extensively about the knowledge she gained through her therapist’s role and compiled her notes into life coaching tips and composite stories. Her long term goal (now realized) was to publish a self-help book sharing that wisdom and those insights.
Patt and her husband, Darrel Hollinger, together have five adult children and five grandchildren. They enjoy regular family activities, golf, fitness, travel, and home entertaining. Patt spends her individual leisure time with sewing, various art projects, gardening, and gourmet cooking. In discussing food, she is often overheard quipping, “I never met a French fry I didn’t like.”