What I Do
Do you catch yourself worrying about small and seemingly insignificant things? Do you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep? Do you experience inexplicable and chronic gastrointestinal difficulties, headaches, musculoskeletal pain? Have you had panic attacks? Do you worry too much? Anxiety has many names and can show up in our lives in many ways. While anxiety is a normal part of living, it may reach a level where it interferes with functioning and well-being. The good news is that there are many effective ways of managing anxiety, this includes mindfulness techniques, cognitive behavioral techniques, expressive art interventions and more. The important thing to understand is that relief is possible and that counselling can help.
Depression can show up in many of the same ways as anxiety. Worry, rumination, low energy, difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, irritability, and the inability to find pleasure in things that used to be fun. Sometimes feeling depressed can mean feeling sad and sometimes feeling depressed can mean feeling numb. Prolonged feelings of depression may interfere with life and many people try to ‘tough it out on their own’. Counselling can offer support as well as information and concrete techniques to help heal depression from the inside out.
Some people talk about Big T Trauma and Little t Trauma; meaning that traumas come in all shapes and sizes and can include (but are not exclusive to) divorce, abuse, bullying, rejection, loss, illness, childbirth, miscarriage, abandonment, death of a loved one, natural disaster, violence, and war. Trauma of any type affects our nervous system, our beliefs about relationships, the way we see ourselves, our core sense of meaning/purpose, our ability to trust, and our ability to feel safe. While humans are built for resilience, a variety of different factors may influence our ability to recover from trauma. Viktor Frankl once described traumatic reactions as normal reactions to abnormal situations, however when these normal reactions persist they can interfere with mental and physical well-being. This is a time when counselling may be an important and necessary part of healing.
The question of ‘who am I?” is a question that must be constantly negotiated throughout life, shifting and changing as we move from one life stage to the next. Questions of identity may involve negotiating cultural identity, sexual orientation, gender, sex, career identity, family roles. And more! Through talk, art, music, movement, writing, sandplay, and more, counselling can facilitate identity exploration in a safe and caring environment.
Family of Origin
From both an attachment as well as a psychodynamic perspective, early relationships with caregivers and close family members give us a model for how we interact with others. Problematic relationships in adulthood often stem from dysfunctional models acquired during childhood. Counselling is a free and protected space where clients can explore and heal these early-life relationships.
Stressful Life Events
Life is often stressful on a daily basis. Riding the wave of daily annoyances and obstacles is at times tough. Certain events, while not necessarily rising to the level of a ‘trauma’, may necessitate additional support. Counselling can be an important resource during these times. It can offer warm, supportive, and accepting connection at times of major transition, such as during career changes, relationship changes, marriage, childbirth, chronic illness, illness of a loved one, moments of family conflict, and much more.
Friendships, romantic relationships, relationships with parents, siblings, in-laws, co-workers, children. We live embedded in relationships. At their best, our relationships nourish us, motivate us, and fill us with joy. In short, we thrive in the context of healthy relationships. On the other hand, where disconnection and dysfunction exist our relationships can cause us great suffering. Counselling can help in identifying these sites of disconnection, and in finding and changing things that aren’t working.
Who I Serve
I am an LGBTQQIAAP+ ally and I am deeply committed to serving clients of all genders, sexual orientations, sex, ethnicities, religions. I aspire to serve a variety of clients to the best limits of my training and ability. I respect and honor diversity and look forward to working with clients from a variety of backgrounds.
Each stage of life presents its own challenges. Adolescence in particular is full of multiple, and often rapid, developmental shifts. Common issues for adolescents often revolve around independence, authority, identity, sexuality, gender, healthy boundaries, relationships, career. Adolescents often struggle to cope with the intense emotions that results from hormonal, neurobiological, and developmental changes. In addition, many mental health concerns emerge in adolescence. As such it is an important opportunity for early intervention as well as a time of great potential to effect positive change.
Emerging adulthood is typically defined as a period between the ages of approximately 18-35. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, one of the leading researchers in the field of emerging adulthood, describes emerging adulthood as a time of identity exploration; instability in love, work, home; self-focus as opposed to family/community focus; transition between adolescence and adulthood; possibility and excitement about what is to come. This is a time for making plans, experimentation, and adventure, but also uncertainty, self-doubt, ambivalence, confusion, and worry. Counselling for emerging adults may be particularly helpful given both the momentum and the upheaval of this time of life.
I also see adults and enjoy working with them to address anxiety, depression, trauma and stressful life events, transitions, relational and attachment questions.
I offer deeply compassionate strengths-based counselling. I work to honor the dignity and worth of each individual and prize warmth, empathy, hope, and connection as being central to the therapeutic process. Please see the Philosophy page for more information about my theoretical orientation.
I would like to briefly offer a description of Jungian Sandplay Therapy as it may be unfamiliar to many. Jungian Sandplay is a nonverbal adjunct to traditional talk therapy. It is based on the work of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung and involves the use of a sand tray, sand, and many miniatures and figurines. Miniatures and figurines are used to ‘create worlds’ in the sand. In such a way clients can symbolically represent inner conflicts and unconscious processes. Some have likened it to a ‘waking dream’. Jungian Sandplay is a modality that engages right-brain thinking and is often used, with both children and adults, to process trauma. Please see my photo gallery for images of Jungian Sandplay Therapy.