Faculty Stories: Patricia O’Shaughnessy

Patricia O’Shaughnessy

Patricia O’Shaughnessy
Department: Massage Therapy

Patricia O’Shaughnessy was born to do massage.

“As a small child, I would massage my father’s shoulders when he came home from a hard day at work, and I was the only person that my mother would allow to touch her feet,” she said. “Even then, I got a lot of personal satisfaction from helping them to relax and feel better.” 

But it wasn’t until after she had worked at several careers – including administrative aide, interior designer and sales representative – that she rediscovered massage therapy. Her husband was taking an early retirement, and they planned to open a destination spa/bed and breakfast. So O’Shaughnessy learned everything she could about massage.

While the business didn’t happen, she did operate her own massage therapy practice for many years. Eventually, an opportunity to teach part-time at a private massage school crossed her path, and that lead to full-time teaching, clinic supervision and being lead instructor. She know is the coordinator of the Massage Therapy program at College of DuPage. 

“As a massage therapist, I became very excited about the results that were achieved by receiving massage on a regular basis and the role I had in facilitating wellness in my clients,” she said. “I was passionate about massage and I wanted to share my knowledge and enthusiasm. 

“I want my students to gain the knowledge and skills needed to do their best work but also that same passion and enthusiasm that will inspire them to continue to learn and grow. As the body of knowledge regarding the effects of massage grows, so will the career and I want my students to be prepared to be leaders in the field.”

O’Shaughnessy is often inspired by her students, who come to the program with various life experiences.

“Their energy and effort keep me at the top my game, so I always try to provide the best experience for them. It is so affirming to see them grow and become enthusiastic practitioners,” she said. “I also have to mention my teaching staff, because their cumulative knowledge and dedication is awe inspiring.”

More about the Massage Therapy program