“It is never too late to be what you might have been”
~Mary Anne Evans
About my counselling style and my services
I am a counsellor in private practice in Vancouver, B.C. since 2005. It’s important that you and I feel a partnership – that you feel a sense of being understood and that you’re receiving something constructive from your sessions. Many of my clients describe me as a down-to-earth and insightful therapist who provides comfort, insight, validation, personal challenge and relief. There is laughter in session at times and no need to censor yourself. Your feelings – all of them – are welcome here. We’ll talk about befriending your demons (and maybe understand where they came from); getting rid of shame; letting loose your anxieties, struggles, pain, and depression; feel relief and work towards fulfilling your desires and needs. We’ll reflect and help you experience and express yourself. We’ll inquire into ‘who you are’ and ‘who you want to be’ and explore other ways of looking at things (reframing). You can speak freely, without judgment, and you’ll get empathy, understanding, and insight. I am interactive – I am very interested in getting to know you, the paths you’ve travelled, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, your invisible shadows that hold you back and unearthing your hidden talents and capabilities. My therapy style is referred to as Integrative Therapy – where I draw on a variety of techniques and therapeutic approaches such as:
- Mindfulness based therapy approaches – designed to deliberately focus one’s attention on the present experience (feeling, thoughts and other subjective experiences) in a way that is non-judgmental, compassionate and accepting. The practice requires that one intentionally directs focus away from states of mind that would otherwise occupy them, such as frightening or worrisome thoughts, and instead observe and accept the present situation and all it has to offer, regardless of whether it is good or bad.
- Non-Violent Communication – identifying your needs and listening empathically to the needs of others, making requests and assertions and building healthy boundaries.
- Gestalt therapy – emphasizing personal responsibility, and focusing on your experience in the present moment, our therapeutic relationship (how you feel towards your therapist or in the therapy relationship can be a window into one’s attachment and relationship styles or coping mechanisms), the environmental and social contexts of your life, and the self-regulating adjustments you make as a result of your overall situation.
- Feminist therapy – recognizing that we are all equal and that there are real social and political elements that affect our lives.
- Adlerian therapy – stressing the need to view you from your subjective perspective; the importance of life goals that give direction to your behaviour and give your life meaning.
- Psychoanalytic Therapy – looking at how the unconscious mind influences thoughts and behaviors. We look at early childhood experiences in order to discover how these events might have shaped you and how they contribute to your current life. We look for patterns or significant events that may play a role in your current difficulties. Sometimes childhood events and unconscious feelings, thoughts, and motivations play a role in our mental health and behavior.
- Person-Centered Therapy – you have the potential to become aware of your problems and the means to resolve them. Our problems often stem from the discrepancy between what we want to be and what we are. Our mental health stems from merging our ideal self and our real self.
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – this therapy model helps us identify irrational thoughts and beliefs and replace them with adaptive, healthy and effective beliefs and behaviours.
As a counseling professional, I value structured self-initiated learning processes and personal practice reviews. I seek regular counsel from professional mentors in the field whose expertise and guidance inform and strengthen my abilities. I read texts, journals, and educational literature and regularly enroll in continuing education in the psychological fields to ensure my continuing professional development.
What can be the benefits of counselling?
- Discovering what is at the root of your anxieties and fears, uncovering your ability to feel your emotions without drowning, and feeling free to live from moment to moment without dreading the future or dwelling in the past.
- Learning what causes you to dwell and ruminate and learning to let go of resentment.
- Revealing what keeps you stuck in depression and moving away from those dark, lethargic places into a life you desire.
- Seeing who you think you should be to be loved and becoming your true self with self-acceptance and affection.
- Understanding your rage and normalizing, managing and expressing your anger in assertive, constructive and even empowering ways.
- Identifying the ways you respond and cope and ensuring that you learn ways to cope that make your situation better and not worse.
- Identifying your irrational thoughts and replacing them with rational, effective thoughts.
- Improving your sense of well-being and increase your self-esteem.
- Strengthening your ability to express yourself genuinely and assertively.
- Improving your ability to empathize with others without losing your sense of self.
- Face and resolve conflict with less fear or guilt.
- Improving intimate relationships and friendships: learning to be centred, self-caring with a balanced mutuality and not needy, anxious or distant.
- Reduce your need to please others or pretend to be someone else and instead feel more self-validated and self-assured.
- Increased sense of personal power.
- Increased awareness of choices you are making and your authority to choose.
- Increased awareness of choices you are making
Why go to counselling?
There are times in most of our lives when we experience stressful events and feelings that seem to have no end or solution in sight. Sometimes we know that our feelings are due to particular circumstances such as relationship stress and problems, or bereavement or illness. At others we have no idea what is making us feel the way we do; all we know is that our lives have become uncomfortable or unmanageable. Understand that your feelings are as natural as the weather and nothing to be ashamed of. Here is a place to help clarify your thoughts and feelings so you can arrive at your own decisions and make changes for the better. In this safe and confidential environment, I believe there are many positive and innovative ways of dealing with the trials and challenges that come our way. With a sense of humour, sensitivity, and creative thinking – finding new approaches to life’s difficulties can be fun and very gratifying. So whoever you are; whatever your background; whatever the situation or problem you are facing; whether you are worried, depressed, anxious, confused, feeling bad about yourself, coping with unexpected change or crisis or just wanting to make some adjustments in your life – you have an opportunity to take a fresh look in a very supportive and encouraging environment.
Who goes to counselling?
People from all walks of life go to counselling and it can take courage or resolve to step into this intimate setting to take a candid look into your self. There is a Zen saying, “Leap and the net will appear”. Such a leap can be the very good thing you do for your self that can positively affect the rest of your life. It is normal to feel somewhat daunted to seek a new counsellor. Feel free to give me a call to talk for a few minutes to see what I’m like. It’s important that you feel comfortable and find the right therapist for you. For many people, there is still the stigma that there has to be something irreparably wrong with you to come to counselling. Normal, everyday people go to counselling – it’s often our perceptions about ourselves that make us feel abnormal. So many people feel the same way – you’re not alone. Many people find it’s better to come in and discover just how normal they are rather than spend the rest of their lives fearing the worst.
What kinds of things can you get help with?
- Depression and Anxiety
- Anger Management
- Self esteem issues
- People pleasing
- Accepting and celebrating your body
- Shame, Perfectionism and Not Feeling “Good Enough”
- Fear of being revealed for whom you truly are, pretending to be someone else (the “Chameleon”)
- Relationship therapy (including intimacy, attachment issues, distance, and codependency)
- Life crisis
- Grief and Sadness
- Family of Origin issues and Conflict with Parents (including coping with or surviving alcoholic or narcissistic parents)
- Struggle with life transitions and Change
- Life direction and goal setting
- Discovering your strengths and capabilities and using them to your advantage
- Revealing and validating the authentic self
- Developing problem-solving skills and adaptive coping skills
- Identifying and resolving irrational beliefs
- Communication Skills and Assertiveness training (Non-violent communication)
No referral is required to make an appointment. If you’d like to talk to someone who specializes in a specific area, I’m happy to provide you with a referral to another mental health professional or resource.
Everything disclosed to me is strictly confidential. No information is disclosed to anyone else without your permission, unless, and in the exceptional circumstances that it is required by a court of law.
How long is therapy?
Everyone is different as is his or her situation. Often times many people can benefit from as few as 3 or 6 sessions but it’s just as common to see a counsellor for much longer periods of time for the results desired. In any case, you determine how much or little you want or need and the frequency.