Arlene Tully, MA, RCC

Arlene Tully View Specialties

I hold a Masters Degree in Counselling from City University of Seattle and am a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC). Being a member of a registered body, I follow a code of ethics and am committed to the highest standard of professionalism.

In addition to a Masters Degree, I also hold a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from York University in Toronto. In my studies I was immersed in the world of visual arts, theatre, and dance, and this informs every aspect of my life. As a result, I am passionate about creativity and bring that into my practice in a variety of ways which may include: poetry, music, movement, drawing, painting, working with clay, or any form of self expression that enables clients who want this to express themselves creatively. Some clients are not comfortable with talk therapy and creative expression offers an alternate and effective means of communication. Sometimes language is also used creatively through storytelling, or connecting with a new narrative.

was born in Toronto and spent much of my life there. I moved to Vancouver nearly 20 years ago, and fell in love with this city. The natural beauty here inspires and fills me with awe every day. The experience of resettling also informs my counselling practice.

When I was a kid I loved being creative and was full of energy; singing in front of the mirror, dancing in front of others, and feeling safe to express myself and be seen by others. I was constantly drawing pictures, putting on shows and loved nothing more than the chance to perform! As I got older, this was often discouraged, leading to a shutting down of my creative expression. It took a lot of work to reconnect with that important spark of my being. I discovered that while sharing my creativity can lead to feeling vulnerable, rediscovering that spark is energizing and empowering.

In my practice I am dedicated to supporting you to find and discover, or rediscover and nurture your own spark if that is important to you.

I hold the belief that when therapists are dedicated to their own therapeutic process it deepens their capacity and presence with others. I am well prepared to support you on your journey as a result of doing my own deep work in therapy. I understand the vulnerability, fear and trepidation that comes from seeking counselling and opening up in a healing relationship, as well as the amazing results that can emerge through the counselling process.

My main areas of practice are:

Everyone experiences relationship in their own way, and relationships take so many forms. What ever the relationship, be it with a parent, child, friend, partner, co-worker, or supervisor; we all find ourselves relating in some way with others. Some relationships are positive, bringing joy into our lives, while others may bring stress, despair or be traumatic.

I am here to help you find your way. As it fits for you, we may explore how the past is alive for you in present relationships. Often, the ways we learned to cope with difficult experiences in past relationships were our important survival strategies, and I am dedicated to joining with you to grow beyond at your own pace. Counselling can help you to develop deep respect and compassion for your survival strategies, while also assisting you to take stock of current barriers, and grow into thriving as a unique individual.

Communication & Boundaries
Clear communication and boundaries lead to healthier relationships. When we are able to communicate our needs in a clear and respectful way, we are also able to receive the same from others. This can strengthen and deepen our relationships and enable us to see what is not working for us. We are then in a position to either try to repair what isn’t working or possibly leave it behind.

The same principle lies behind having healthy boundaries. If we are caught up in abusive or toxic relationships, sometimes we are unable to even know what our boundaries are. Perhaps we were never taught what healthy boundaries might look like. When we are able to develop self-awareness, and look at our relationships and ourselves from a place of curiosity, we can start to see how our communication styles, or lack of boundary setting are not working in our best interest. Having healthy boundaries means we are able to send clear signals that there are things we will or will not accept from others.

As the parent of a teenage son, I know what it is like to raise a child. Sometimes it can be so rewarding and other times incredibly challenging. My personal experience along with my training in child and adolescent theory gives me the tools to guide and empower clients who are struggling with issues around parenting.

These may include:
Postpartum Depression, Child or Youth diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or behavioural challenges, Childhood trauma or domestic abuse, coaching, strategies for coping, etc.

I will work with you either individually or with your family (sometimes this will be a combination of the two) to help you explore and find solutions to the challenges of parenting. Whether this is focusing on yourself (Postpartum Depression, anxiety, birth trauma, childhood trauma, etc.) or on your role as a parent, I will support you in your parenting journey.

Healing Creative Scars
When we create through art, music, writing, or anything that inspires us, we are presenting ourselves in a vulnerable way. If we are criticized, teased, or forced to stifle this creative spark, it can be very wounding, causing what is sometimes called a creative scar. A creative scar is pretty much what it sounds like, an emotional scar tied to creative expression. This generally does not come about from one incident, though if severe enough it certainly can, but often results from repetitive wounding, such as being told over and over that we are “not good enough” or “who do you think you are, thinking that you can sing, draw, dance. etc.?”

It is a form of shaming and can be very traumatic. Sometimes we shut down creatively, or may choose to continue but feel uncertain of our gifts, or talents throughout our lives. If this is something that you choose to work on, I will help you overcome feelings of shame or inadequacy around expressing yourself creatively, so that you are able to tap into that part of yourself with the joy and wonder that you may have had as a child or perhaps have never been able to develop.

Relational Trauma and Shame
Feeling vulnerable can lead to feelings of shame and so we close off as a way to protect ourselves. If one has been traumatized or wounded, this feeling of shame is intensified and can lead to chronic anxiety. It goes right to the heart of our sense of competence and creativity, which often go hand-in-hand.

Trauma can take many forms and although I am open to working with any type of trauma, my main focus is on relational trauma. Relational trauma is caused by abuse, whether it is by a partner, friend, parent or caregiver, or even a boss or supervisor. Abuse is not only physical, but can be emotional, verbal, or financial as well. Sometimes it might be a combination of these. One person might abuse his partner by controlling all the finances and keeping her isolated from friends or family; another might make threats, or constantly criticize and undermine a partner’s sense of self. Basically, any time we are feeling unsafe, disrespected, or not in control of our own lives, abuse could be taking place. If it is continuous, or severe, it can lead to trauma.

Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
If you are a victim of abuse, you may have Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome (NAS). However, narcissistic abuse is a very specific form of relational violence where the abuser exhibits the signs of severe or malignant narcissism. Narcissistic abuse may occur in relationships, where the narcissistic person tends to seek out a partner in order to gain admiration of his or her own attributes. This is called narcissistic supply. The narcissist creates a dynamic abuser and victim relationship through a cycle of abuse resulting in traumatic bonding that makes it hard for their partner to leave the increasingly abusive relationship. Narcissistic Abuse can also take place between parent and child. Often if left untreated, the child may become involved in abusive relationships as an adult.

Self-esteem has sometimes been mistaken for an inflated sense of self. Self-esteem is not about thinking we are better than everyone or that we never need to be accountable to others. Self-esteem is about feeling okay where we are, that we are “good enough” and that we deserve to live our best lives merely because we exist in this world. Everyone has the right to feel good about themselves. This does not mean that we should never feel guilt, or remorse because self-esteem is also about being responsible and accountable for our actions. It is about having empathy for ourselves. It is only when we have empathy for ourselves that we can effectively extend this toward others. I work in a way that is steady, patient, supportive and at your pace.

Arlene Tully Reaches

Vancouver BC