My decision to start Willow Tree Counselling in 2009 was catalyzed by the loss of a family member and the message that loss imparted: the need to live life fully and pursue work that was deeply meaningful and rewarding. Time on this earth is limited!

Portrait of Megan SutherlandFrustrated by the lack of counselling information available to the public, I also recognized a need in the Vancouver counselling landscape to work to demystify the counselling process and make it understandable to all. This quest is at the heart of many of my counselling articles.

Born and raised in Metro Vancouver on the traditional unceded territories of the Qayqayt, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, counselling has always been very close to my heart. I started my therapy journey as a teenager and have pursued individual counselling throughout my adult life, having seen several excellent therapists over the years. Continuing with my own therapy and participating in regular clinical supervision both remain very important to me. More recently, I discovered that I am neurodivergent–a discovery that has profoundly shaped my life and practice.

For the past 25 years, I have worked in the human service sector, including 10 years experience in community mental health and extensive experience as an employee assistance counsellor. Working with private practice clients in both BC and Ontario, I am a Registered Clinical Social Worker (#04462) in good standing with the British Columbia College of Social Workers and a Registered Social Worker (#836337) approved for electronic practice (phone and video counselling) with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. I am also a member of the BC Association of Social Workers.

I completed a Master of Social Work degree at the University of Toronto in 1998, focusing my studies on counselling theory and practice, in both psychiatric and community counselling settings. In 1996, I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Certificate in Family Studies, both from Simon Fraser University. Recently, I had the privilege of participating in and completing PHSA’s San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training certificate (Core ICS Mental Health stream).

Although I started meditating when I was a child, I have been practicing meditation more formally since 1990 and believe in the importance of integrating it in daily life. Over this time, I have provided meditation instruction to members of the public and clients alike.

Despite a history of shunning housework, I am excited by other domestic arts such as knitting, artisan bread making, kombucha brewing and vegetarian cooking. For exercise, I am a commuter walker and sometime (ridiculous) dancer.  I also try my best to listen to my physiotherapist and do my exercises! After it was suggested that I join Instagram, I accidentally discovered a love of point and shoot phone photography. My current goals include meditating when I can, playing my wooden recorder from time to time, knitting my way through my yarn stash, baking a wider variety of sourdough breads and going on photography walks. I live with my partner, two teenagers and a very, very active cat, Baby.

Cat looking into camera
Baby, annoyed to be photographed