“Can I change something for the better in this family?” This is the question Carolle Tremblay asks herself each time she meets a client for the first time. She continues to ruminate on that question as she works with them. “I believe in being open to other people, in trying to make a positive difference in people's lives.”
Carolle Tremblay is an attorney in private practice, specializing in family law. Her firm is located in Montreal, Quebec. She is also the president of Info-Cult/Info-Secte, the largest center in Canada for information on cults and dangerous groups.
Ms. Tremblay began her family law practice in 1989, and
sometime in the mid-90s I had a divorce custody case in which the husband had realized that his wife had joined a strange group... Mike Kropveld (founder of Info-Cult/Info-Secte) testified in the case. This was my introduction to cult-related issues. Later, Mike asked me to sit on the board.
Although she had no personal experience of being in a cult, and therefore no experience of having to rebuild a life after such an experience, Ms. Tremblay did redesign her own life when she realized that the one she was living was not adequate to her deeper needs. She changed things and created a life that was responsive to her desires. This change includes keeping a flexible schedule, traveling a lot, cooking, knitting, and doing Zumba and weight-training at the gym.
The beauty of this kind of self-designed life is in stark relief to the outwardly imposed, authoritarian demands of the cult life. In this, Carolle stands with a number of women who are humanizing the working world, making a sea change in what is expected and understood as normal.
In this occupation, I do get discouraged if the judicial system fails; but after my first reaction, I soon start questioning why it failed and what to do to avoid failure. I am an actor in the judicial system. It is my responsibility to make it better... To relieve stress, I talk to my partner a lot... I do my hobbies... I travel.
Carolle has three children: Clara, 23; Antoine, 20; Florence, 14. She grew up in a small town, Chicoutimi, Quebec, where she had a “very happy childhood.” If she were not a practicing lawyer, Carolle believes she would probably be a psychologist because “...I have a real need to contribute, to understand, to help.” She received the Herbert Rosedale Award at the past annual ICSA Conference in Montreal, Quebec.
A favorite film of hers is As Good As It Gets because
the three main characters are able to make the best they can with what they have. They use and share their limits to actually find the courage to continue and build their happiness, being happy in not having a perfect life.
This work, my law practice and volunteer work, helps me in many ways. It has opened my eyes to different ways to understand why people do what they do. It helps me to understand the manipulation process, in particular. I am much more inclined now to look at the reason or the need behind a particular behavior, rather than at the behavior itself. And this has been very helpful not only in everything I do but in getting to know myself better and changing my own behavior.