Life Transitions

When your life changes course, it can be useful to have extra support.  Counselling can help!  Change is often scary and overwhelming.  As human beings, we crave stability and security and resist flux.  When I chose the metaphor of the willow tree for my counselling practice, I did so quite deliberately.  The willow tree represents flexibility amidst the “winds of change” in life.  Our challenge is to become flexible in response to them; when we don’t, we’re like a dry branch that snaps when a gust comes along.

Life transitions are a common reason for coming for counselling. Clients meet with me in my downtown Vancouver counselling and psychotherapy office for a range of life issues, including:

Divorce / Separation

  • The pain of a break- up
  • Adjusting to single life
  • Understanding patterns in relationships
  • Co-parenting after separation / custody issues

Marriage

  • Weddings: stress and joy
  • Premarital counselling
  • Newlywed life and adjustment

Career / Education

  • Career exploration
  • Career change
  • Workforce re-entry
  • Opting out of the workforce
  • Unemployment / underemployment
  • Retirement
  • Starting school
  • Returning to school
  • Studying away from home
  • Graduation and ‘the future’

Family

  • First-time parenthood
  • Life as a couple after baby’s birth
  • Children’s ages and stages / parenting issues
  • Step family issues
  • Children leaving home (“empty nest” syndrome)
  • Caregiving for elderly parents

Illness and Disability

  • Changes in health status and physical functioning
  • Chronic illness and physical pain
  • Disability-related issues
  • Repercussions from Covid / trauma related to the pandemic
  • Life-threatening illness
  • New diagnoses

Geographical shifts

  • Moving, relocation
  • Immigration
  • Cultural adjustment

Loss

  • Loss of anyone or anything we consider important

I would be honoured to assist you in any aspect of your life journey.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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Recommended Books

The book links on this page are Amazon Associate links; if you choose to make a purchase through them, I may earn a small commission which I use to fund my low-cost counselling resource lists. Your support is greatly appreciated.

El Deafo: A Graphic Novel by Cece Bell (2014)

A touching, empowering and often hilarious account of the author’s childhood experience with hearing loss. I laughed, I cried and I haven’t read a better book on the lived account of being hard of hearing since. For children and adults alike (with many references that GenXers will appreciate). Highly recommended.

How To Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing by KC Davis (2022)

While Marie Kondo taught me to let go of a lot, KC Davis helped me to forgive myself, no matter the state of my home. A boon to neurodivergent folks, those struggling with mental health issues, or anyone else who is overwhelmed by life, therapist KC Davis, offers practical, forgiving strategies and care tasks that we can all use. Highly recommended.

Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide To Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab (2021)

This book has emerged as a prominent and popular choice for those who wish to better understand emotional boundaries and co-dependency. Straightforward and practical.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo (2014)

This bestseller, translated from the original Japanese, breaks away from traditional ‘clear the clutter’ manuals, asking us to reflect on our relationship with objects, keeping only those things which spark joy. While I can’t say that I subscribe to all its pinciples, this book helped and continues to help me let go of belongings that are not serving me anymore.

And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rebuilding Romance After the Baby Arrives by John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman (2007)

Tips from the authors’ research and experience navigating from a couple to a family of three. Information to help bridge and guide this important, and statistically challenging, life transition.

Operating Instructions: A Journal Of My Child’s First Year by Anne Lamott (1993)

A humorous and unflinchingly honest description of first-time motherhood.  Lamott writes with a unique level of candour, wit and vibrancy. Even though it’s an older book, it sill represents a choice for new mothers seeking an unsentimental voice in what can sometimes feel like a sea of unattainable positivity.

 

Mothers Who Think: Tales of Realife Parenthood by Camille Peri and Kate Moses, Eds. (2000)

Anthology of stories about motherhood. Pieces range from tender to provocative.

 

The Mother Zone by Marni Jackson (2002)

Personal account of first-time motherhood. Author asks the question, “why didn’t anybody tell me it would be like this?”

 

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish (2012)

Reprinted regularly since the 1970s. this classic book teaches practical, relational and respectful parenting strategies. More philosophy than technique per se, but deeply influential.

Resources

Discovery College – Canadian Mental Health Association

A wealth of free online mental-health related courses, developed in conjunction with people who have lived experience.

Vancouver Low-Cost Counselling List

List of private master’s-level counsellors, or their interns, offering subsidized counselling. Updated quarterly.

Kelty’s Key Online Therapy

Free, self-directed online cognitive behavioural therapy.

Crisis Services and Hotlines in Vancouver

Resource list, updated quarterly.

Vancouver Friends For Life

Specialized support programs, including counselling, for persons living with HIV, cancer, hepatitis C and other illnesses.

Callanish Society

Offers a healing space, retreats, counselling and other groups for those affected by cancer.

Reduced-Cost Counselling [PDF]

A resource list of lower-cost professional counselling options in Vancouver. Corrections and suggestions welcome.

BC Cancer Agency, Cancer Support Groups

604-877-6000, ext.2194

Parenting After Separation

Program  for B.C. parents and other family members who are dealing with family issues including guardianship, parenting arrangements, contact, child support and spousal support.

Information Children, Simon Fraser University

778-782-3548
Parenting helpline. Also offers workshops and resource/referral.