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.
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’ve noticed this can result in a variety of concerns, such as playing it safe due to anxiety about taking risks, either personally or professionally, or trying to create a life based on what we think it “should” look like. People might also feel depressed or unmotivated because of negative self-evaluations, which have many influences (e.g., media, cultural ideals).
In supporting clients in creating a more fulfilling life that works for them, 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 help clients become 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. I support clients in noticing their inner dialogue, which is frequently critical and harsh, and in learning skills, such as self-compassion and mindfulness, to respond to themselves with kindness when they are struggling.
I also use the Smart but Scattered approach to help people improve their executive skills. If you struggle with daily tasks such as staying organized, time management, procrastination, and remembering important information, I can help you to understand what your strengths and weaknesses are and to develop strategies to be more successful in your work, relationships, and personal goals. If you are a parent, learning about executive skills can be especially helping in providing greater insight into why your children are having difficulties in school and at home.
If you are experiencing concerns such as trauma, PTSD, childhood abuse, grief, anxiety, phobias, and addictive behaviors, I am able to use Accelerated Resolution Therapy® (ART), which is a form of therapy rooted in existing evidence-based therapies that is often able to resolve problems quickly using back and forth eye movements. ART is a straightforward therapy that involves changing the way negative, distressing images are stored in the brain using Voluntary Image Replacement. ART can be helpful if you’ve never been to therapy before, if you have not found relief from traditional talk therapy, if you feel stuck, or if you do not wish to share details of your trauma history with a therapist. If you have further questions about ART, please contact our office to book a consultation with me.
In individual therapy, you have the opportunity to reflect on your 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 you and your partner 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.
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 relationship. 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. Another approach that informs my work is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This approach supports you and your partner in having greater insight into your thoughts and feelings about each other and the relationship so that you say and do hurtful things less often. ACT focuses on mindful living and developing skills to respond intentionally rather than reacting. This can have a significant impact on not only a romantic relationship, but also relationships with your kids, co-workers, and family members. Ideally, when you are finished with therapy, you not only have a better understanding of your partner and your relationship, but also of yourself.
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.
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. This, combined with the experience of observing the positive impact therapy had on people in my life, led me to pursue a career in therapy. Further, I am 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. Every day, I feel honoured that people choose to share their stories with me, a process I deeply respect.