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Gregory Eccles

Registered Psychologist Calgary

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Individual Counselling & Couples Counselling

Academic Credentials:

  • Bachelor's degree in Social Science - Human and Societal Dynamics
  • Honours degree in Social Science - Human and Societal Dynamics
  • Master of Arts degree in Community-based Counselling Psychology

Types of Support Gregory Offers

Concerns related to:
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Couples Counselling
  • Depression
  • Divorce
  • Domestic Abuse & Violence
  • Grief
  • Infidelity
  • Polyamory Relationships
  • Self-Esteem
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Stress and Burnout
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Transgender Exploration
  • Trauma & PTSD
Psychotherapists and Psychiatrists
What do individuals generally find challenging about the process of therapy?

Clients come with a range of problems to therapy, and we as therapists can offer them a lot of tools to help them with those problems. Many of the tools we offer are ones that can help them in many areas of their lives, beyond the problems they present to us. I find that clients often struggle to perceive the full extent to which different therapy tools may be applicable in their lives. They will often apply it to the examples that are directly discussed in the therapy session, but then don’t see how the same techniques are useful in other situations, once their immediate difficulties are resolved. I try to address this gap by helping clients understand the patterns in their problems, and the potential for small changes to make big impacts across large parts of their lives.

I also see that many clients find themselves avoiding or reacting in unhealthy ways to the experience of their emotions. For example, they may turn to an addictive substance to numb the feelings of shame. It is typically better to acknowledge and feel our emotions, and so I work to help clients learn to do that without feeling overwhelmed by the experience. Part of that is in learning what they can do in the moment to reduce the intensity of the feeling, another part is learning to reduce the frequency and intensity of unpleasant emotions over time, and the final part is learning to recognize how their fear of those emotional experiences doesn’t match up to their reality.

What do couples generally find challenging about the process of therapy?

One of the more difficult parts of couples therapy is helping the couple negotiate their expectations for the outcomes of therapy. Couples often conflict with each other over different outcomes to the scenarios they find themselves repeatedly stuck in. In therapy, we work to establish an awareness of these differences from the very first session, but also work to understand how they are often tied together in common ideals. These goals and desires can change as therapy progresses, which can create an ongoing need for monitoring these differences. As your therapist, I hope to help you find the shared golden thread amongst these apparent differences, to help you work towards a future you both want together.

What training or specializations complement your work with individuals? What’s unique about your style?

The world of psychotherapy is full of theories and practices designed to help people, often used as a package deal - CBT therapists use CBT tools, humanistic therapists use humanistic tools, and so on. There is so much opportunity to take the best of what is offered by various approaches to therapy, and package it in a way that’s best suited to the client. As an integrative practitioner, I attempt to create a tailored approach to therapy that fits exactly with what you need.

Let’s consider an example of how an integrative approach might help somebody with anxiety to live a healthier and more fulfilling life, by drawing on a few well-regarded therapeutic modalities:

Psychodynamic therapy
The past is a precursor to present-day problems, and these aspects of individual history influence unconscious thinking processes. For somebody experiencing anxiety in their day to day life, a psychodynamic approach helps that person understand how their childhood experiences helped them learn the way in which they relate to people and the world around them. As the client makes the connections between the types of people they interacted with every day while growing up, what that taught them about “how the world works,” they will start to unwrap the ways in which their unconscious mind affects their life. This opens up the opportunity to make changes to those unconscious processes, resulting in a healthier way of adapting to life.
Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive and behavioural techniques set within a sound philosophical theoretical background provide lasting improvements to cognitive and emotional functioning. There are so many common human behaviours and thinking patterns which contribute directly to heightened emotional suffering, but we are often unaware of these pieces of the equation. Many people think of emotions in a “something happened, and that made me feel anxious” type of equation, which makes us miss an amazing opportunity. These thoughts and behaviours are directly within our ability to control, and making changes to these patterns can have an enormous impact on how frequently and how intensely we experience unpleasant emotions.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Mindfulness, values-driven action and realistic acceptance help us learn to see past conflict and suffering that blind us to a meaning-driven life. Some people spend so much time struggling with anxiety, that they don’t realize that they are often trying the same things over and over despite having little to no success in that struggle. ACT teaches us to recognize when that struggle is useful, and when it is more meaningful to let go of that fight, and focus our efforts on parts of our life that are meaningful to us. This helps us live fulfilling lives even while experiencing that anxiety.

What training or specializations complement your work with couples? What’s unique about your style?

Let’s look at a common couple’s problem - loss of trust in each other - and see how an integrative approach to couple’s therapy draws from both individual therapy modalities, as well as some modalities developed specifically for couples:

Imago therapy
Every individual carries wounds from their past, and a loving relationship represents the ideal setting where these hurt aspects of self can be mutually addressed and healed. While parents usually do their best to be great parents, it is inevitable that there are moments where they break our trust. These moments can leave lasting impacts on us as individuals, but as children we may feel powerless to affect them. As adults, we often seek out partners that mirror the behaviours of our parents, as we can now use our power as independent adults to address those wounds, and regain a sense of agency in our ability to form trusting relationships ourselves.
Emotion Focused Therapy
Our way of relating to others and the emotions connected to our relationships reveal the basis of interpersonal conflict and healthy connecting. When trust is broken in a relationship, our reaction to that breech is often dictated by how we anticipate that breech will be healed. If our past relationships with loved ones have shown inconsistency in adequately addressing those breaks in trust, we learn to anticipate the worst outcomes for such scenarios. As we discover more about our own patterns of relationships, and the unconscious predictions our brains make based on these, we can effect changes in how we consciously choose to make the most of ongoing relationships.
Cognitive Behavioural Couples Therapy
Cognitive and behavioural patterns that impact the health of individuals are just as readily able to impact the health of a relationship, and therefore many of the same techniques used in individual therapy can be fruitful in couple’s therapy work. Some of the same thinking and behaviour patterns that increase the intensity and frequency of unpleasant emotional experiences are also at play in our relationships. We jump to conclusions about why our partners do certain things, categorize their behaviours in black-and-white ways (e.g. “good” or “bad”), engage in all-or-nothing behaviour patterns with our partners (“If you don’t fix this, we’re done!)”… Learning to recognize our distorted thinking patterns and dysfunctional behaviour, and finding more realistic patterns of thinking and acting, can help us see the differences between what we perceive in our partners, and what their intentions really are. Once we have that, problem solving through conflict becomes straightforward!

You can learn more about how I support my couples through these approaches in One Life's guide to Choosing the Right Psychologist in Calgary for Your Marriage Counselling.

How will I know if you are a good fit for working with me?

We will aim to establish your goals for therapy from the first session, and these will be a major indicator of how good a fit we are working together. If you perceive that we are achieving your goals, or making progress towards them, great! If you don’t think that is happening, you are welcome to bring up your thoughts, and we can figure out what is not going right yet. I will always be honest about what I believe I can and cannot help you with, and you are always free to make your own decision about whether therapy with me is helping you in the way you need.

Fear of judgement is one of the greatest obstacles clients face in establishing a good working relationship with their therapist, so let me be clear about that right away - you have found a wholly accepting place here! I will not judge you, I will only try to help you as best as I can.

When you find a good fit of a therapist for you, you will feel supported by the therapist, and challenged in ways that clearly have your best interests in mind. You will leave your sessions feeling like you have gained valuable knowledge or insight into your experiences, both in understanding how they came to be this way, and in understanding how you can create a different experience for yourself. Therapy can often be about creating change in a person, and change can often feel uncomfortable, but this discomfort is a type that you will recognize as one that you start to seek out - recognizing that the discomfort in the moment is worth the growth made moving forward.

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I knew for a long time that I wanted to work in a profession where I could help other people, and I discovered during my first few years at university that human behaviour was a strong interest of mine. I also knew that I wanted to work in a field where I could use creativity as a regular part of my work, and I find that everyday in learning to interact with new people.

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