Warm, accepting, inclusive and practical best describes my personal therapeutic style. Additionally, I place a high value on careful listening, empathy, professional ethics and accountability.

My practice is guided by the following principles:

  • All people possess intrinsic worth and have the capacity to realize this.
  • All individuals are worthy of respect. I strive to cultivate a therapy space that is safe for all genders, races, cultures, bodies, sexual orientations, family constellations and relationships.
  • Everyone has the ability to change; readiness depends on each individual.
  • Clients take responsibility for their gains in counselling and for their personal successes; the counsellor’s role is that of guide.
  • Understanding comes first. If we jump prematurely to tools and strategies, clients are left with generic, depersonalized interventions.
  • There is no one size fits all approach to counselling. My approach is motivated by who you are and what you identify as important.
  • As a counsellor, I have a responsibility to contribute towards fighting racism and historical injustices towards Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC). Counsellors are in a position of power and as a white woman therapist with these privileges, this can further harm BIPOC. As such, I may not be the appropriate choice of counsellor. I strive to engage in ongoing antiracist practice and study in order to de-centre my whiteness and to learn and practice humility in the counselling room and all aspects of my life.
  • Many people benefit from counselling at some point in their lives.  This includes counsellors too!  At its best, counselling is a healthy dialogue that identifies, promotes, and mobilizes clients’ strengths to reach personal goals.
  • I follow the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the British Columbia College of Social Workers.
Facing the Fear of Judgement in Counselling

I utilize a collaborative, strengths-based approach. My theoretical orientation is integrative; I seek to purposefully select a therapy, or therapies, which best suit you, your situation and your beliefs about personal change.

I am also passionate about the role of context: understanding you as a person and the world that you live in is critical in charting a meaningful course in therapy.

I believe fundamentally in the value of a good therapeutic fit; counselling clients and counsellors are diverse – there is no ‘one size fits all’ here. A brief conversation with you, before starting counselling, is an important first step in helping to ensure that we are the right match.

Further, I employ a bio-psychosocial-spiritual lens to my practice; I believe that people function best when there is harmony between body, mind, social situation and spiritual life.

If my approach resonates with you, please call or email me to set free 15-minute initial consultation. I look forward to hearing from you!

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Therapies I Use

Person-Centred Therapy

Sometimes known as humanistic therapy, this approach was pioneered by the late Carl Rogers, who placed the highest regard on the importance of therapist authenticity, acceptance, empathy and the motivation to help clients realize their own innate potential. This approach is at the heart of my practice.

Relational Psychotherapy

This therapy focuses on relationships as a central driver to our emotional wellbeing. This includes the therapy relationship! Clients are encouraged to bring up any issues that arise within the therapy itself, as working this through in therapy an serve as a “blueprint” for addressing relationship challenges in day-to-day life. I strive to nurture a respectful, caring therapeutic environment to make space for these discussions. Additionally, it is my view that an authentic, validating therapeutic relationship can also promote confidence, self worth and a desire to try new things.

Mindfulness Approaches/Meditation

I have been meditating since I was a child and given my childhood background, has been literally life-saving for me. I don’t necessarily expect my clients to be interested in mindfulness or meditation, but it would be a lie not to disclose that it infuses how I think and approach life. I am happy to work with interested clients on mindfulness strategies or give meditation instruction, as asked.

Mindfulness: A Boring Pursuit?

Systems theory – Family Systems and Internal Family Systems

A theory that originally comes from biology, this was adapted to help family therapists understand family systems, particularly their structure, rules and tendencies. This is a valuable framework for understanding family constellations and how introducing change might affect the client’s family situation. Later, and drawing on the principles of family systems theory, psychologist Richard Shwartz developed Internal Family Systems therapy for helping clients understand and care for their own “internal families,” after recognizing that the external families can also be found within, in the form of “parts,” with their own distinct characteristics, experiences and needs.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

This is a research-based therapy, commonly used to help with symptoms of depression and anxiety, but is not limited to these conditions. The main target of this therapy is understanding and changing the interplay between thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It’s practical, often involving in-between session assignments, if you so choose. I prefer to work with CBT in a flexible, non-regimented way, to stay consistent with my values as a person-centred therapist.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

A child of CBT, dialectical behaviour therapy was originally developed for the treatment of borderline personality disorder, but has since evolved to help with a range of problems. This is a practical therapy which places high accountability on the individual to engage in session and do homework in-between sessions. Target areas are skill development in mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance and emotional regulation. As a private practitioner, I utilize a modified DBT approach, where our work is less structured and contained within the 1:1 session itself, as traditional DBT involves both group and individual therapy as well as additional contact with the therapist, in between sessions. Clients that are keen to pursue this therapy are recommended to find an outside DBT group, or use free online resources.

Therapeutic Fit: What to Look For

Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT)

This therapy is just as it sounds—a counselling approach that seeks solutions and asks “what’s right” with a client, rather than focusing on “what’s wrong.” Difficulties are not ignored, however heavy emphasis is placed on understanding a client’s strengths and competencies and using these skills to help with whatever is causing difficulty. If used solely, SFT is typically short-term and present-focused. Like any therapuetic method, this approach is a great fit for some clients and not for others.

Psychodynamic and family of origin

For many, therapy feels incomplete when the focus of sessions is purely on issues going on in the here and now. Many clients have the experience of wanting their therapist to understand them in depth, and part of this journey typically involves learning more about the client’s background and family history. Clients vary in terms of the importance they place on this and this focus and this may not be part of your counselling experience. My observation is that past events often have a direct bearing on what is happening in the present time and it is this intersection of past and present which can be a flashpoint for insight and behaviour change. The principles of psychodynamic psychotherapy can help guide us to this point.

Motivational Interviewing

Long used as a therapy to help with addictions, this can be helpful in assisting with a wide range of areas where individuals are seeking behavioural change. The therapist takes a supportive, non-judgemental stance to promote client openness and allow for an in-depth exploration of the problem, including pros and cons and ambivalence about change.

Gottman-method couples counselling

A research-based approach to couples counselling based on the work of psychologists John and Julie Gottman, who have been studying couples at the University of Washington for the past 40 years. I have written a detailed summary about how I use the Gottman method in my work with couples.