Psychotherapy and Counselling Services in Victoria BC
I believe we are inherently resilient beings who long to be authentic, recognised, deeply engaged in the world, and have an innate capacity to change. Often society, family dynamics, and cultural expectations dictate who we are, and how we are, rather than allowing one to explore who we are and present our true self in the world. With support, we have the potential to realise our true path. In my work, I hope to support people to learn about, and experience themselves, their histories, and their relationships in an expanded way that encourages them to build genuine, impassioned lives.
I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor and offer psychotherapy and counselling services in Victoria, BC for adults and couples, and offer consultation and trainings for professionals working in the field. During the COVID – 19 pandemic I have moved my practice online, using Zoom for Healthcare.
Areas of Specialization
Trauma/Complex Trauma • Depression • Anxiety/Panic • Shame and Chronic Shame • Addiction • Relationship and Attachment Issues • Life Transitions
Trauma, addiction, family of origin issues, attachment patterns, and the resulting shame/chronic shame, create complex ways of interacting and relating with the world; often, these patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving keep people stuck and in pain, caught between who they are/think they are, and who they really are/want to become. Additionally, we live in a complex and challenging world where an ever present demand to ingest, digest and integrate information and experiences often overwhelms our capacities. Everyday living and processing is often impaired by a current loss, crisis, or things lingering from our past. People are inherently resilient, but often don’t feel that way, or recognize their tenacity to live through adversity, trauma, and other common life challenges. I work from a relational, attachment based, somatic (body-centred), trauma informed orientation that builds on one’s inherent strengths and motivation, so that the people I work with feel safe and supported in order to take risks to resolve trauma and limiting coping patterns, and create the wanted change in their life. Through the therapeutic relationship, we work to expand one’s capacity for self-regulation and connection, explore ways to create change in self-limiting thinking, feeling and behaving, and gain greater understanding of the coping and relational patterns developed over time, in order to improve the person’s internal and external worlds simultaneously. I have often witnessed that out of great adversity and challenge, great change can occur.
We are hard wired to connect and our histories, be it family of origin, trauma, attachment patterns, shame/chronic shame and addictions, can interfere with our ability to create healthy, interdependent relationships with the people we care about most, often creating unhelpful ways of interacting that get in the way of experiencing the love that brought them together. Couples often seek help when they can’t seem to find common ground in times of stress or challenge. Often the emotional coping patterns of each individual create confusion, disharmony and misunderstandings. Feelings get hurt, anger builds, and often people protect their hearts. These patterns of hurt, withdrawal or enmeshment get established despite the care and love. These emotional coping patterns are generally long-standing ways people have learned in order to manage overwhelming experiences and interpersonal relationships. Over time, these coping patterns have become wired into our brains and nervous system. In this way, I see this as biology getting in the way of love. In my work with couples we enter in and begin repairing or building and strengthening an allied relationship and working to re-wire those neural pathways of coping and relationship. We identify and bring awareness to the patterns and begin to create alternative ways of coping that maintain and ultimately strengthen connection with self and partner. Over time, I find that greater understanding of self, the other, and the patterns of the relationship make room for greater compassion and empathy for the ways in which we cope and protect. This lens of kindness opens the possibility for healing unhealthy patterns of relating and paves the way for a stronger, interdependent, allied relationship. I practice couples counselling with a focus on the allied relationship of the couple, facilitating a new deeper understanding of each person’s wants, needs, and ways of behaving, in order to create new ways of interacting.
Addictions and Substance Misuse: Family Members
Addiction devastates that which is most precious – one’s dignity and sense of self, relationships, and the ability to choose freely. I believe that people can stop using/misusing substances or engaging in other behaviours that are negatively impacting their life, and create a better life. As an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, I am intimately familiar with the processes and the often multi-generational legacy that creates and perpetuates addiction, and the way that addiction impacts the way that people think, feel, and behave in the world.
I work with adults who grew up in families where addiction was/is present and my goal is to empower them to build autonomy, agency and understanding so that they can make healthy decisions that seek health for themselves, and to recognize the power of all parties within the family system to make their own decisions. I take a holistic, relational approach so that they can begin to understand the myriad of ways that addiction has shaped their experience, both in childhood and in the present, in terms of trauma, attachment style, shame/chronic shame and beliefs about the world and their place in it.
Workshops and Consultation
I believe that psychotherapy is a craft and ongoing training and consultation are an essential part of deepening and nuancing our practice, for the betterment of us personally, and for our work with clients. In my workshops and consultation, I strive to bring together the diverse theories of Attachment (AAI, Main and Hesse), Somatic or Body-centered practice (Levine, Stanley, Mortimore), Affect Regulation (Schore), Interpersonal Psychoanalysis (William Alanson White Institute), and British Object Relations (Center for Object Relations) into a form that enhances clinical practice, without losing the subtlety and brilliance of the individual psychotherapist.
My goal is to support people to move forward in their lives, realise their potential, and make change that is meaningful to them.