10 questions: Joni Johnston has lots to think about

Joni Johnston is a licensed clinical/forensic psychologist, transplanted Southerner who now lives in Del Mar and the mother of four kids and a giant German shepherd (all of whose names begin with “Z”). As founder and chief executive officer of WorkRelationships (

), she helps companies prevent employment liability and improve productivity through management development and compliance training. She calls this her “day job” and says she loves it.

Johnston also has a passion for communicating mental health information to the general public. She recently completed her fourth update of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Psychology,” is the author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Controlling Anxiety” and was recently asked to blog for Psychology Today magazine. She is a former mental health reporter for an ABC affiliate in Dallas and for several years hosted and produced a mental health show for UCSD-TV.

What brought you to Del Mar?

A husband who was sick of Dallas.

What makes Del Mar special to you?

The weather, the small-town community, the view of the ocean coming down the hill on Del Mar Heights. These are just a few of the obvious delights. However, it’s the people, memories and experiences that really make it stand out.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in Del Mar?

I would warm up the ocean water and add exotic shells to the beach. Other than that, Del Mar is perfect!

Who or what inspires you?

People who do courageous things in spite of terrifying times or personal fears. I saw “Schindler’s List” three times, was fascinated to learn that Eleanor Roosevelt overcame her terror of water so she could teach her kids to swim, and was constantly amazed, as a practicing psychotherapist several years ago, at the courage my clients often showed in the face of extreme circumstances.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

Ted Geisel, Mark Twain, Jesus, Amelia Earhart, Mary Ellen Pleasant, Harriet Tubman, Oskar Schindler and Abraham Lincoln.

Tell us about what you are currently reading.

“Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writer’s Guide” from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University

What is your most prized possession?

My desk, which was originally my great-grandmother’s dining room table.

What do you do for fun?

Play with my children, go on dates with my husband, hide out with a good psychological thriller and go on road trips

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

Staying happily married to the same man for 18 years.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Life is an adventure. Be good to the people who are on it with you, help those who are having a rough ride, try new things and have fun.