I’m a Vancouver-based Registered Clinical Counsellor with a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology. I use both narrative and mind-body approaches to help individuals and couples find curiosity and acceptance of present difficulties, make important life changes, and transform limiting beliefs and patterns. I aim to work collaboratively with you to unpack the wisdom of these challenging experiences and emotions and to bring greater freedom, focus, and joy to your life.
Whether you need a few sessions of coaching to strategize a current problem or a deeper exploration of long-standing issues, I offer non-judgmental support and effective tools for change.
I provide an open, safe and welcoming environment for:
- All ethnicities
- All religious beliefs
- All political perspectives
- All genders (GLBQT friendly)
- All Adults (18 years +)
“What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.”
I am committed to helping you find peace and meaning in the midst of life’s chaos with a respectful and collaborative approach to counselling.
Narrative therapy and Solution-Focused therapy centre people as experts in their own lives and views problems as separate from people. Both approaches assume people have many skills, abilities, values, commitments, beliefs and competencies that will assist them to change their relationship with the problems influencing their lives. Change is possible and together we can access these inner resources to make your desired changes a reality.
Counselling can help you manage life’s challenges, whether you are facing a situation you cannot control or dealing with overwhelming emotions.
Acceptance and Mindfulness therapies offer effective strategies that can help you move forward and integrate with your own strengths and resources. My therapeutic approaches are focused on supporting you to take the necessary steps to transform limiting obstacles and feel empowered in your wellness, relationships, and social contexts.
Mind-Brain-Body Therapies and Trauma
“In the breath, the soul finds an opportunity to speak. “
~ Danna Faulds
Upsetting events are imprinted on the body, brain and spirit. In addition to heartful, relational talk therapy, I work holistically with cutting edge tools to attend to the impact of the physiological as well as the psychological of trauma. These tools draw from neuroscience, psychophysiology, and yoga. My interest is using whatever tools I can to help you speed your healing, leave behind bad memories and restore your body and spirit to balance.
Here’s a quick lesson in your brain:
There are three major parts to the human brain. The most sophisticated is the neocortex, which controls language, logic and reason. The mid-brain is called the limbic system; this is what controls feelings.
It is these two parts of the brain that are accessed in talk therapy.
The most primitive part of the brain is what we call the “reptilian brain”. It is this part of the brain that controls our instinctual responses to danger: fight, flight and freeze.
The reptilian brain doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is perceived. We need to help it renegotiate past events in ways that are not logical or linear.
Mind & body therapies reach all three parts of the brain, enabling us to fully integrate upsetting events and move beyond them to an embodied sense of safety and freedom.
I offer gentleness and depth as we work together, and have an abiding faith in your capacity to embody your most authentic self. I have a warm, open style of being with you in this process, regarding and respecting all territory as sacred in the journey towards wholeness.
Talk Therapy vs. Mind & Body Therapies
“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.”
~ Jean-Paul Sartre
Traumatic experiences can take many forms—a car accident, a mugging, or abuse, to name a few. In the past, conventional wisdom led people to talk therapy for healing. But some experts say this isn’t enough.
“Trauma causes the body to be frozen in a state of fear, terror, and hypervigilance,” says Dr. Bessel A. van der Kolk, a clinical psychiatrist and founder of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts and a leader in the field of posttraumatic stress. “So fundamentally, the effect of trauma is in relationship to one’s body. One’s body gives the signal that it’s not safe, and your body keeps fighting an existing enemy.”
Because trauma is so linked with the body, a growing number of people—led by van der Kolk—have been vocal advocates for incorporating body-based techniques into trauma recovery.
A key finding from brain scans is that during traumatic stress, the speech center shuts down—one reason why many people cannot completely put what happened to them in words. This is why talk therapy is limited in helping someone recover from or heal from overwhelming stress or trauma.
Yogis have understood the mind-body link for thousands of years and modern science is now catching up: cutting-edge brain scans have recently given neuroscientists the chance to more accurately understand the physiological effects of trauma on the body. With this knowledge, practices like yoga, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy can help unlock the body’s pattern of fear by allowing trauma survivors to become masters—rather than victims—of their own physiology.
I apply a range of effective interventions to meet your needs:
- Narrative therapy
- Gottman Method Couples Therapy
- Solution-focused therapy
- Motivational Interviewing
- Mindfulness-Based Interventions
- Mind-Body Techniques
I provide support in many areas, including:
- Self-destructive patterns
- Low self-esteem
- Life and career transitions
- Health issues
- Men’s issues
- Women’s issues
- Body image
- Addictions and substance abuse
- Grief and loss
- Separation and divorce
“Conflict, in relationship, is growth trying to happen.”
~ Harville Hendrix
In sessions with couples, I invite you and your partner to achieve a deeper sense of understanding, trust, empathy, connection and joy in your relationship.Couple’s issues are as individual as you are. Research tells us that couples counselling can help you both:
- Take an objective look at your relationship
- Reduce unhealthy behaviors
- Learn how to safely share your emotions
- Communicate effectively to repair what hurts and celebrate what’s working
What if your partner won’t come to counselling?
It’s ideal if you come to counselling together, but counselling helps even if your partner won’t join you.
Systems theory tells us that it takes only one person to change a dynamic. Even coming to therapy alone may be helpful to jumpstart your relationship.
What can couples counselling help you with?
- Repetitive fights
- Lack of understanding or intimacy
- Living with tension, high emotions or emotional avoidance
- Feeling unheard and misunderstood
To help you resolve conflict, couples counselling might include:
- Assessing your situation for safety
- Gaining skills to manage anger
- Recognizing personal responsibility
- Learning to state feelings and needs clearly, without resentment or anger
- Learning to actively and empathetically listen to your partner
- Learning to increase intimacy and openness
- Understanding the repetitive positions you take (such as a caregiver)
- Redefining your roles during change or transition (such as when children leave home)
- Reducing anger
- Sharing information
- Setting new boundaries
- Addressing the history and details of the affair
- Acknowledging responsibility
- Rebuilding lost confidence and trust
- Cope with sexual dysfunction
- Deepen your connection
- Enhance all forms of intimacy (emotional as well as sexual)
- Rekindle the passion in your relationship
- Intense emotions
- Long-standing resentments
- Conflict over splitting assets
- Disagreements about childcare
Counselling can help you and your partner separate with as much goodwill as possible and create a sustainable plan for your family’s future.
What kinds of therapy work best in couples counselling?
The approaches I find most effective for couples counselling are Narrative Therapy, Gottman Couples Therapy and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT).
This approach helps each partner:
- Understand one’s own contributions and take responsibility for whatever patterns are arising in the relationship, and hold themselves and each other with greater compassion
- Learn how to successfully and compassionately explore differences while managing anxiety
- Adopt and practice excellent listening and non-violent communication skills
- Learn and co-create useful guidelines agreed upon between each other, suited to the unique circumstances and needs in the relationship
- Find deepening intimacy in a synergistic balance between independence and interdependence–resulting in a relationship with greater vitality than either individual could ever hope to realize alone.
- Disarm conflict
- Increase intimacy, respect and affection
- Remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy during conflicts
- Create more empathy and understanding
- See yourselves as the expert in your own lives
- Explore and connect with the many hidden competencies, strengths, values and dreams each of you brings to the relationship
- Understand you are NOT the problem, the problem is the problem
- Work together respectfully and without blame to shrink the negative effects of the problem
- Understand the roots of the problem and choose new ways of being as individuals and partners
- Establish goals and build on your existing skills and solutions
- See the other in a different, more understanding light
- Feel more safe and secure in talking about very important things
- Feel more bonded and close again, or even closer than they ever have been
- Have a clear sense of the old, negative pattern of interaction and communication, and feel less vulnerable to fall into it
- Have a clear sense of the new, positive ways of interacting, communicating, and being together
“You can search the whole universe and not find a single being more worthy of love than yourself.”
~ The Buddha