Registered Provisional Psychologist
My approach to counselling
I believe people are happiest when living in a way that is congruent with their authentic selves. In counselling with children, teens and adults, I will strive to create a relationship and atmosphere where you can safely explore beneath the surface of who you are. I believe people need a place where they feel they can be heard, understood and accepted as they are in order to help them come to a place of self-acceptance. Once someone can accept themselves where they are currently at, they are ready to begin a transformation into their best selves. I am confident you can find the strength to face your emotions and begin on your own personal journey of healing and change.
My particular areas of focus are couples work, trauma, depression and anxiety, grief and loss, sexual health, identity and life transitions. I am grounded in a psychodynamic framework that views the self as shaped by internal dynamics rooted in early attachment experiences, by developmental experiences, and by emotions, instincts, and thoughts that are influenced by our external and internal worlds. I supplement this approach with specific additional training pertaining to my areas of focus (listed below). I view counselling as a collaboration between you and I where treatment and goals are tailored to you specifically.
It is my privilege to journey with you as you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and feel empowered to achieve your personal goals.
The types of counselling I provide
I enjoy working with clients in all stage of life.
Working with clients who have experienced trauma is a strong focus for my work. Traumatic responses can be instigated by many events such as the death of a loved one, a car accident, abuse or any other distressing event that causes one to feel threatened, anxious or scared. You may have post-traumatic stress if you experience flashbacks of the distressing event, feel triggered by or avoid certain places or peoples, experience nightmares, have difficulty sleeping or concentrating, feel jumpy or are easily irritated or angered. If you feel your living is limited due to these or similar symptoms, you may consider beginning trauma work.
My main modality for working with trauma is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). This is an empirically supported technique used to help lessen the strength of the triggers that develop or the associations that leave us feeling easily toppled. Using this method in therapy I can help you reprocess traumatic memories and decrease or remove their negative influence in your life. If you don’t feel you have post-traumatic stress disorder but feel triggered or overtaken when you are in a specific situation or think of a specific event, EMDR may also be helpful for you.
Trauma can feel overwhelming, but the truth is that the impacts of trauma are some of the most changeable psychological aspects most receptive to therapeutic work. Together in counselling we can work towards helping you become the self you were meant to be.
Grief & Loss
In working with grieving clients I rely on my background in psychodynamic and existential approaches to help navigate the overwhelming impact of loss through its widespread effects on the psyche. This is from conscious sharing of memories, through exploring alternate meanings of the loss of those we had broken relationships with, through dream work and analysis as our minds attempt in their own unique way to process the loss when we sleep. Hidden emotions we didn’t know we would feel, like anger, are often difficult to acknowledge or express around those sharing our loss, and I offer a place where such nuances can breathe and find a place to be understood and organized as you develop and co-create a new relationship and understanding with who or what was lost.
Identity and Self-Discovery
One of my favorite areas to work in with clients is in the area of creating meaning or in developing one’s own identity. Often, we may “wake up” in our lives to find ourselves questioning how we got to our place in life, wondering if we consciously made decisions to arrive here or whether we just went along with what others expected of us. In a time like this it is valuable to re-assess and to gain an understanding of who we are, what our values and dreams for our lives are and begin to work towards living in a more authentic way. This work may also be important when dealing with major life changes such as loss of job, a loved one dying, graduating high school or a recent divorce or life change.
This work may include gaining an understanding of how your personality was formed in early childhood. Often, with greater insight into the “where did this come from?” clients can then feel more choices for future behaviours or ways of interacting in the world. Often times this work is accompanied by a sense of grief… grief for the person that was or the person that one could have been but wasn’t. Clients who decide to take the journey of self-discovery often express feeling more alive and more present in their life day to day.
I have specific training in Gottman Method Couples Counselling as well as training in Emotion Focused Therapy to focus on what is going on beneath the surface of your relationship. Rather than focusing on problem-solving, I prefer to focus on changing how couples view and/or solve their problems. In session we will look at how each partner feels, and also how their partner reacts to them having emotions (meta-emotions). I hope to facilitate each person learning more about their partner and gaining a deeper understanding of their personality and the background that has caused them to become the person they are today. I also invite partners to make changes once the partnership becomes a safe and friendly place in which they can become vulnerable.
My style is one that focuses on emotions and words spoken in the present moment. I am unafraid to ask the tough questions but I also value humour in session. Some sessions may feel heavy or difficult and others a little lighter. What is important for me is to tailor therapy to fit your needs as a couple considering how ready each partner is to change and also each person’s personality and comfortability with the counselling process.
Sexual Health & Dysfunction
Sexual difficulties can affect a person outside of the bedroom by increasing feelings of inadequacy, grief, loneliness and anger. As humans are sexual and relational by nature, it is important not to leave sexual difficulties as they are. I work with individuals to explore their personalities and their relationships to determine how their sexual behaviours are enhancing or decreasing fulfillment in their lives.
I believe sexual issues such as pain or erectile dysfunction have physiological roots, but that they can also be affected by psychological reasons as well. My job in dealing with sexual health and dysfunction is to determine what is occurring on a psychological level for a person that may be contributing to their difficulties engaging or enjoying sex with their partner. I work with clients experiencing vaginismus (pain during intercourse), difficulties with orgasm, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low libido, anxiety surrounding sex, polyamory, open relationships and sexual exploration.
Sometimes sexual issues are best addressed with one’s partner in couple’s counselling, and I often see couples to work through these issues.
Degrees and Additional Training
-Master of Counselling degree from City University of Seattle
-Bachelor of Arts Psychology Major from the University of Alberta
-Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Basic Training & Recent Traumatic Event Protocol (RTEP)
-Gottman Method Couples Therapy Level 2
-Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)
-Motivational Interviewing (MI) Level 2
-Registered Circle of Security Parenting Facilitator
Areas of Interest
-Grief & Loss
-Anxiety & Depression
-Chronic Pain & Illness
-Couple’s work/Sexual health & dysfunction