I can’t separate who I am from how I work.
Read below to learn more about what is meaningful for me in the way that I work and what drives me to do what I do.
We are hardwired to need connection in order to survive and to thrive. This looks different for every person, but at the end of the day these connections we have create meaning and purpose to why we do what we do.
Personally, a sense of community and belonging in my life has helped to shape who I am today. Through experiences of joy and pain, discovering shared connections and grieving endings - we all impact and are impacted by those around us.
My approach to counselling opens up space for you to feel seen, be heard and connect with your own experiences differently. I also help you to discover new ways you can connect to yourself and those around you. You don’t have to do this alone.
It takes courage to decide to step through the door and ask for help and share your story with someone new. It takes courage to question the “rules” you may have learned from family or culture that say don’t talk about your story and experiences. It takes courage to push back against the “rules” of culture, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc. and ask questions and create your own answers. It takes courage to change the patterns passed down in your family. And it takes courage to invest time and money in yourself and your relationships.
Being vulnerable can sometimes feel overwhelming or even scary. However, through courage we can find real connection. My goal is to help you tap into your courage and discover new ways of showing up, problem solving, experiencing and possibly accepting what is. In my work I get to be a trusted ally that can support you as you map out the “problems” and pains and help you begin to address them one by one - but you control the process. I am here for you.
I believe wholeheartedly that all people are doing their best with the skills they have. You have abilities, skills and resources that have served you and allowed you to survive and adapt to what life has thrown your way. You also have the innate ability to heal your self and grow out of the traumas you’ve experienced and witnessed. Neuroplasticity has taught us that it is possible for the brain can change itself through intentional actions.
My experience over the past 15 years working with trauma and substance use has shown me that all people use behaviours as attempts to solve the pain in their lives, as attempts to build connection and survive. In particular, children are very skilled and creative at adapting in order to survive difficult experiences in their lives.
The problem is this - as adults the skills that used to keep you safe may be causing problems today. I help you unpack who you are today and adjust the actions and reactions that no longer work for you now. This could be how you show up in your intimate relationships, friendships, as a parent or in the workplace.
In counselling we uncover the internal resources, skills and abilities you already have so we can build on what’s working. We also add new skills and tools to support you in creating a rich and full life no matter your past.
Oxford Dictionary defines Empowerment as “the process of gaining freedom and power to do what you want or to control what happens to you” and I can think of no better way to describe the therapeutic process.
You are the expert of your life and experiences. I come to you with skills and knowledge that may help in your personal empowerment journey and if not, I will find you someone who is best suited to help you. I don’t do anything to you, instead I work with you as you do your work and healing. I walk alongside you, hold space for you and compassionately help you to see blind spots of information, or patterns that you may miss if you were to go on this journey alone. We work together to see what obstacles, small or systemic, are in the way and work on how you remove or go around or through them .
Research has shown, that in our culture today we must embrace the concept of psychological flexibility if we are to navigate the social and mental health challenges in ourselves, in our relationships and in our communities. But now more than ever we bump up against rigidity and polarize our views on so many aspects of our modern lives.
How I live by this value is continuing to work on my own psychological flexibility. This means being aware of any of my own rigidity in my beliefs, emotions or actions. For example:
· How do I hold onto my values and beliefs while being open to be informed and curious about others ways of seeing and living in this world we share?
· How do I practice what I teach to my clients?
· Can I open myself to feedback from loved ones, bosses, colleagues?
In terms of being your therapist, I draw from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy trainer Russ Harris’ mountain metaphor. It goes something like this: Every person climbs their own personal mountain. As part of that climb we all face certain challenges and struggles and no one is at the top. And yet when someone else looks at our mountain from theirs, their view from a distance may help us see a new perspective that would be hard for us to see because we are too close to the problem. Essentially, as I climb my own mountain I can also offer a different perspective for your own journey, not as an expert, but as fellow climber with a different view.