Registered Psychologist Calgary (Provisional) - JUSTINE WHITE

Individual Counselling & Couples Counselling

Licensing Info: Registered Provisional Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists # P6204

Academic Credentials:

  • Master of Education, Counselling Psychology, University of Lethbridge
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Calgary

Additional Training:

  • Solutions-Focused Therapy
  • Cognitive-Behavior Therapy
  • Humanistic Therapy
  • EMDR Trauma Training
  • The Gottman Method
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Types of Support Justine Offers

Concerns related to:

  • Self-Esteem
  • Anxiety (including panic/anxiety attacks)
  • Depression
  • Coping Skills
  • Trauma & PTSD
  • Divorce
  • Stress / Burnout
  • Couples Counselling
  • Parenting Skills
  • Career Development
  • Decision Making
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Grief
  • Compassion Fatigue
  • Domestic Abuse & Violence
Types of Support Justine Offers

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

I strive to be non-judgemental, authentic, and open in my interactions in the hopes that you will feel comfortable, accepted, and engaged. Therapy is centered around your growth, and starts with me meeting you where you are at. It is you who determines when you are ready for change. We will draw on your strengths to find solutions that fit for you.

Oftentimes, we get stuck in patterns of thinking that prevent us from seeing what’s getting in our way or from discerning the choices that we have. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness. Integrating cognitive approaches (CBT), we can work to identify and change unwanted thoughts that are leading to negative emotions, unhelpful behaviours, and needless suffering.

When past traumas are interfering with your functioning, we can explore EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to help you work through trauma so that your past no longer interferes with your present.

I believe that how you respond to what happens to you greatly impacts your healing and your capacity to move forward in positive ways. You get to choose. I want to help you increase your tolerance for uncertainty to reduce anxiety and build your confidence to take the next steps.

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

Therapy is hard work! Achieving change is no small task. It requires you to be raw, to see yourself for who you really are, and to challenge what you may not like. Naturally, this is uncomfortable. But learning to integrate both the “good” and “bad” aspects of yourself can offer you a new appreciation of who you are, and enable you to live your life the way you want to, rather than according to the stories that you have been telling yourself.

For many people, the most difficult aspect of therapy is having the courage to seek it. I invite you to feel good about the steps you are taking, and be gentle with yourself in the process. Sticking with therapy can be daunting. To make it less so, I want to help you:

  1. Recognize and acknowledge the small wins
  2. Connect with the “why” of our work together so that even when it's hard you are able to keep going.

“I’m not telling you it is going to be easy - I am telling you it is going to be worth it.”

- Art Williams

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

1) Couples come to therapy with predetermined beliefs and assumptions (e.g., my partner doesn’t want to be here; this relationship is doomed). This can make one or both partners uneasy about working with a therapist. My goal is to let each of you clarify your perspectives without shaming or blaming so that you achieve a sense of mutual understanding and direction for why you are here.

2) It can be hard to accept responsibility for our part in interactions that lead to conflict and disconnection. Taking things personally, reacting defensively, not listening, or denying our partner the space to express themselves are common behaviours. By observing your interactions, I can share what I see and guide you in working towards better, more respectful communication. With me, you can practice catching yourselves engaging in unwanted behaviours and work towards improving your interactions.

How does your approach to working with a couple differ from working with individuals?

In couples counselling, the relationship is the client. This means that I don’t take sides, and as your therapist, I hold the best interest of your relationship at heart.

You can count on me to facilitate interactions that preserve, strengthen, and grow your relationship. By encouraging increased self-awareness and enabling an equal share of voice, you will both feel heard. Having said that, therapy is not always aimed at staying together. It is you who will determine the objective of our time together.

One of the interesting things that research suggests about successful relationships is that you don't have to agree to understand one another. The key lies in your ability to listen and accept each other’s differing perspectives. This can be challenging when you are feeling disconnected. As your couples therapist, I can facilitate conversation and introduce exercises that can restore your sense of connection and compassion for one another.

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

Successful relationships achieve a balance between attending to our own needs and the needs of our partner. Oftentimes we have trouble expressing our needs. The first step to remedying this is to create a strong foundation of trust and a safe space for communication. I will encourage you and your partner to listen to each other and to avoid engaging in unhelpful behaviours like defensive responding or withdrawing into silent treatment.

You will not always agree, but you can seek to understand one another. We all want to feel like we matter. By noticing rigid patterns of thinking (seeing things in absolute terms like “always”, “never”), that interfere with trust and intimacy, you can gain a new understanding of your partner and their needs. Using Gottman methods, we can identify destructive behaviours (criticism, disrespect) and work on choosing healthy ones that build trust and intimacy.

I strive to help couples see how they contribute to a negative dynamic, and work together to acknowledge imperfections and resolve conflict in constructive ways. Honouring your standards yet letting go of unrealistic expectations is paramount to deciding if a relationship is right for you.

You can learn more about how I support my couples through the Gottman Method 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?

  • You will feel safe and cared for.
  • You will feel open to being vulnerable.
  • You will feel in control of the direction we take and it will be meaningful to you.

It is normal to have days where you will feel good about our time together and other days where you will doubt the effectiveness of therapy. What matters is that when things feel off, you can advise me so that I can adjust and show up for you in the way that you need.

What led you to your work as a therapist?

From a young age, I thought I wanted to be a doctor. But after some discouraging attempts to get into medical school, I began to explore alternative jobs that would complement my strengths, interests and relational nature. This led me to a job in pharmaceutical sales, which proved to be a good fit for me for many years. Despite this, I struggled intermittently with a feeling that there was something bigger meant for me. Although I loved my job, I longed for a deeper sense of purpose. I came to the realization that I wanted to have a greater and more direct impact on peoples’ lives. My long standing interest and passion for mental health made counselling therapy a natural choice.

Walking away from a stable career and into the unknown was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. However, my experiences have taught me that the path to change is marked by fear, uncertainty, risk, and discomfort. As such, I have come to think of discomfort as a signal that there is an opportunity to grow.

My desire to become my best self and to help others navigate life’s challenges is ultimately what led me to become a therapist. To me, one of the most important things that therapy does is remind us that we are not alone. We are connected by the shared experience of our humanity. I want to help you find the courage to manage your fears and pursue the changes you desire in life – whether that means improving your relationships, improving your self esteem, managing anxiety or depression, developing adaptive skill sets, starting or changing your career, choosing alternative mindsets, or simply achieving a sense of control. And if you don’t know what needs to change, we can figure it out together.