Licensing Info: Registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists #5454
Concerns related to:
Often clients come to therapy and they have an idea about what they don’t want in their lives, but may not yet know what they want instead of the problem and how to get there. My role is to support you in creating the life you want that fits with your values and hopes, and to help you identify what is getting in the way. I also follow my clients’ lead in this process - sometimes clients may want to learn a skill they can apply in their lives and at other times, they need to simply be heard, understood, and have someone reflect a different perspective back to them than the unhelpful story taking up space in their head.
In individual therapy, clients have the opportunity to reflect on their own thoughts, emotions, and behaviours in an accepting, non-judgmental environment. In couples therapy, the environment remains accepting and non-judgmental, but the focus is on the relationship and the interactions between partners in the session. I engage in more teaching, offer feedback on the communication and patterns I observe between partners, and provide “homework” so clients can practice these skills on their own.
I believe in using an integrative approach, as some therapy models feel like a better fit for clients than others. Using approaches such as acceptance and commitment therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy, and solution-focused therapy, I support clients in becoming more comfortable with their emotions rather than pushing down or avoiding feelings, increasing skills to notice and change unhelpful thinking patterns, and identifying client strengths and helping people access solutions that work for them.
As human beings in a fast-paced, success focused world, we have many opportunities to feel that we are not enough and to compare ourselves to others in a negative way. I am a strong proponent of becoming aware of our internal dialogue, which is frequently critical and harsh. I apply self-compassion and mindfulness to support clients in noticing their inner dialogue and learning skills to respond to themselves with kindness when they are suffering.
As well, if you struggle with daily tasks such as staying organized, time management, procrastination, and remembering important information, I have completed training in improving executive function skills. Adults find this helpful to understand what their strengths and weaknesses are and to develop strategies so they can be more successful in their work, relationships, etc. Parents find that learning about executive functioning provides greater insight into why their children are having difficulties in school and at home.
Many times when couples come to therapy, they have been experiencing relationship concerns for quite a while and people may often feel frustrated or impatient with their partner and the situation. However, if a relational problem has been occurring for months or years, therapy is not a “quick fix” or a “bandaid.” People may come to therapy hoping the therapist will fix their partner, but instead discover that they also need to make changes. Learning what it means to take care of your relationship, creating different patterns of relating to one another, and forming a deeper understanding of your partner requires time and patience with each other. As well, in our culture, most of us don’t have many experiences of being truly heard and we are not taught explicitly what it means to listen to someone and validate their emotions. This can feel foreign and takes active effort and involvement from both partners’ to create lasting and effective change.
I have completed training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, an approach based on research that examined what successful couples do in their relationships. This approach involves becoming more aware of what contributes to connection or disconnection in a relationship, learning ways to access your partner’s inner world, and building skills to better understand your partner’s perspective and experiences. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) also informs my work with couples to support them to have greater insight into thoughts and feelings about their partner or relationship that are directing their actions in an undesired way. ACT focuses on mindful living and developing skills to respond intentionally rather than reacting can have a significant impact on not only a romantic relationship, but also relationships with kids, co-workers, and family members. Ideally, when clients are finished with therapy, I hope they not only have a better understanding of their partner and the relationship, but also themselves.
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.
I strive to provide a non-judgmental, warm environment, so you will know if we are a good fit if you feel safe and comfortable talking to me. You should feel that your agenda is most important, which is why I will check in with you to make sure we’re on track with what you want to be talking about in your session and what you want to get out of it. If you feel that you aren’t making progress, I want us to chat about that and assess whether there’s anything we can do differently together so you get what you need from therapy.
Throughout my life, I have been fascinated, inspired, and touched by people’s stories. This began as a love for reading fiction and as I grew older, I came to realize that people’s real-life stories were every bit as amazing, heartbreaking, and courageous as those I found in storybooks. Every day, I feel honoured that people choose to share their stories with me, a process I deeply respect. I am also enthralled by learning about the human mind, the challenges we experience, and what makes us thrive. Therapy allows me to combine my curiosity and my passion for helping others create change in their lives.