I was born and lived in the Vancouver area until age twelve, when my family moved to a First Nations Reserve north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. I lived on the Reserve for the next five years until graduating high school. This experience gave me a unique understanding of, and profound respect for, First Nations’ culture. I am forever grateful for this and recognize how incredibly fortunate I am to have had this experience.
From there, I moved to Winnipeg where I spent the next ten years in university. I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from The University of Winnipeg in 1993 and a Master of Science in Physical Education (Sport Psychology) from The University of Manitoba in 1999. My background in competitive figure skating and singing led me to write a thesis on how performing artists and athletes view excellence and goal-setting. I only skate for fun now, but I do still sing professionally, primarily in musical theatre. I am a full member of Canadian Actor’s Equity Association.
I’ve spent the past nineteen years working in various frontline and leadership positions at a major Canadian airline. I’ve been everything from a Flight Attendant to a Customer Service Agent to a Station Manager and have lived in places like New York, New Brunswick, Alberta, and Southern Ontario during my aviation career. Four years ago, I moved to Vancouver Island, and here, I’ve truly found my “happy place”.
A few years ago, I looked ahead and decided I wanted a career change. I wanted the second half of my working life to be focused on helping people, and for it to encompass all of my educational, life, and professional experience. I asked myself, “What would you do if there were no obstacles or limitations in your way?” The answer was clear. I love listening to people’s stories and understanding their experience. Counselling seemed like a perfect fit for me, and so a few years ago, I went back to school and obtained a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.
In my free time, I enjoy taking in a show or concert, spending time with friends and family, and exploring this beautiful island we call home. I also really love dogs, and hope to have a service or therapy dog work with me as a counsellor in the future.
"When you know better, you do better" - Maya Angelou
I believe in using a client-centered approach, which emphasizes the role of the client as an equal partner in the therapeutic process. Our sessions will be flexible and tailored around what your needs are on that specific day, while keeping in mind what you have expressed as your overarching goals for therapy. You will always be treated with respect, compassion, and empathy, which are the key elements of any successful therapeutic relationship.
From an Adlerian perspective, we may spend some time talking about your core beliefs and impactful life experiences. Your core beliefs about yourself and the world around you are often at the root of how you navigate through life. Exploring these “things you know for sure”, and how you learned them, can be very enlightening and empowering.
I also utilize a trauma-informed approach, which means that I recognize that there may be underlying trauma in your experience. Trauma-informed practice emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety throughout all phases of the counselling process.
I may draw on other theoretical models, such as Positive Psychology and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy depending on what your specific needs are. I am also an EMDR trained therapist and use it extensively in my practice.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
Are you someone who struggles with self-esteem or anxiety? Do you wonder why you keep finding yourself in the same, undesirable situations or relationships in your life? Do you feel like the issue that’s bothering you never seems to lower in intensity, no matter how much you talk about it in or out of therapy? Are you a performer or athlete trying to overcome some kind of performance block or concern? Is there trauma in your history? EMDR might be right for you. EMDR is a type of therapy that uses bilateral stimulation, either through eye movements, tapping, or using tones, in order to help the brain process disturbing events. Contact me here for more information or click here to read my blog about EMDR. Note: sessions are ideally scheduled for 80 minutes, which is longer than the typical, 50-minute individual session, however, EMDR usually requires less sessions overall than more traditional types of talk therapy.
Gottman Couples Therapy
I have completed Level 3 Practicum Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy and use Gottman Method Couples Therapy in my work with couples. The Gottman Method, developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman, is based on thousands of hours of scientific research with real-life couples. A comprehensive assessment of the couple’s strengths and areas of opportunity is first conducted. Detailed feedback is then shared with the couple. Based on the assessment results, various interventions are introduced in order to strengthen the relationship in three, main areas: friendship, conflict management, and creation of shared meaning. The Gottman Method can be helpful for couples who are struggling with chronic and perpetual relationship issues and conflict, couples who have “normal” levels of conflict and just want to increase their level of connection and intimacy, or newly committed couples who want to arm themselves with as much knowledge as they can about how to maintain a successful relationship long-term. Couples therapy sessions are typically 80 minutes in length. Click here to book Gottman Couples Therapy or contact me here for more information. You can also click here to read my blog about Gottman Couples Therapy.
For more information on the Gottman Method of Couples Counselling, please click here.
For more information on EMDR therapy, please click here.