I come to counselling through being a hospital and university chaplain, and the heart of my approach to individuals is empathy (rather than sympathy, which simply means feeling sorry for you). I try to capture your emotional experience as if it were my own, and reflect it back to you. When I finally get it right, I want you to feel deeply heard.
Once we get a deep understanding of your feelings, we'll get at the toxic beliefs that lie behind your feelings, beliefs you may not even be aware of, beliefs like: “I’m such a failure,” or “no one is ever going to love me.” They are lies, and we’ll use the techniques of cognitive-behavioural therapy to expose them.
Then, if you need help with addiction or repeated bouts of depression I’ll also teach you mindfulness, a proven tool to help you let go of cravings or painful thoughts. If you can learn to practise mindfulness, you can cut your chance of relapse in half.
In working with couples, I use an emotionally-focused approach. I don't care who's "right" and who's "wrong." I care about the fact that you're both hurting. I can help you see that your own hurt causes you to lash out or retreat, that you love your partner even when you're arguing (or are silent), that acknowledging this hurt and this love gives you a new way to relate, and that seeing each other's hurt and love leads you from blaming to understanding to caring. This is especially true if there has been an affair.
Although most of those I counsel come from the Nanaimo and Ladysmith area, I have also had people come from as far away as Malahat, Qualicum Bay, and Tofino. I have also counselled people online from work camps, fishing boats, and other remote locations.
Much of my clinical work involves working with survivors of trauma, particularly sexual trauma. I recently published my research on the aftermath of trauma in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology (summer 2014). This has led to an invited article (summer 2016) for Self and Society (the journal of the Association for Humanistic Psychology).
Choosing a therapist is one of the most important decisions you will make. Please phone or email me if you have questions.
Russell Stagg ReachesLadysmith BCNanaimo BC