Fern Whitfield, RPCC

Fern Whitfield View Specialties

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Free 30 Minute Initial Consultation

MEET FERN:Picture                     Picture                    Picture
Fern is a very down-to-earth, client-centered counsellor.  She is a registered and licensed RPCC with the Canadian Professional Counsellors Association.  Fern specializes in Emotionally Focused Therapy with couples, families and individuals.  In her off hours she is most likely to be found walking the dog, gardening, reading or spending time with her two teenage kids.  She also works as a volunteer Roots of Empathy teacher with School District 53.  Fern has offices in Penticton and Summerland and looks forward to meeting you!
MARRIAGE & COUPLES COUNSELLING: Picture                       Picture
Communication is probably the most common "presenting issue" for couples. ​​Your partner misunderstands what you say, and then minor issues turn into arguments. You might avoid talking about certain topics, or hold back from saying how you really feel to prevent a problem. We all know that communication is at the heart of a good relationship, so why is it so hard? Couples counselling can help you both learn to communicate better.

Does it feel like you are repeating the same argument over and over again? Maybe your arguments are ending up in yelling matches where one of you walks away? All couples argue, but wouldn't it be nice to respect each other's differing opinions? Couples counselling will take you to the core issues underlying your disagreements.
Has the romance died? Do you feel like roommates rather than lovers? Does it feel like you have grown apart? You and your partner can be close again, rekindle the old flame and enjoy each other’s company.

Have you or your partner had an affair? Whether the affair is emotional or physical, the pain and shock of infidelity can cause major distress. You can recover and get the trust and closeness back.

All relationships experience highs and lows, good times and bad times. We are all human and we all long for closeness and connection. Do you remember how connected and in love you felt during the early days of your relationship? This feeling is what I describe as attachment - the emotional bond between two people. It lets us feel safe and secure in our relationship. When there is conflict, our need for connection gets buried under self-protective emotions, like anger, hurt, disappointment, jealousy or coldness.
We all have instinctive ways of reacting...coping strategies. I sometimes refer to them as "family rules". They are behaviors that we learned in our early relationships, or our family of origin. Some people become overly critical or demanding, while others will withdraw or go silent to avoid further conflict. ​While you were growing up, these strategies or "rules" helped you fit in with your family's dynamics, but now they are holding you back from the love and security that you long for.​
Our goal then, is to update your "family rules" and find new strategies to help you cope, that will work for you and your partner in the here-and-now. Instead of instinctively resorting to old patterns of behavior that keep you stuck and repeating the same problems over and over, I'll help you recognize and understand the negative cycle or pattern that's preventing you from feeling close and connected.

As you begin to notice that this pattern of behavior -and not each other- creates the conflict, you'll be much more hopeful and willing to work together towards solutions. 
Let me help you get back the connection and start enjoying your relationship again. I have a map that clearly tells us how to get you there. 
INDIVIDUAL COUNSELLING: Picture                     Picture
Life changes can leave you feeling like you've lost your sense of direction and purpose.   Family, friends, work, school, social events...relationships are everywhere we go, but not all relationships are created equal. 

​Change causes stress, and stress can have a major impact on your daily life. If you are dealing with change, you may have symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, trouble sleeping or poor eating habits, or you may have turned to using drugs or alcohol. Our instincts are to either shut down and numb out our emotions or become consumed by them. Either way, we end up not thinking as clearly as we'd like to.
By tuning in to these emotionally charged life transitions, I can help you find ways to regulate your emotions and handle your stress better. Let me help you find the antidote to your life changing circumstances. ​
Whatever you are facing, I will listen with genuine warmth, kindness and compassion, without any judgement or criticism. I will help you find new ways to change your unique challenges into opportunities, and put some peace and joy back into your daily living.
FAMILY & PARENT COUNSELLING: Picture                Picture
Family conflicts can appear to come out of nowhere and be so overwhelming that you don't really remember what started it. If problems have started to interfere with your emotional and physical well-being, your relationships, work or your overall enjoyment of being a family, you are not alone.

If a family member is struggling to deal with a psychological disorder such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, oppositional behavior, separation anxiety or anger control problems, it can have a huge impact on the lives of everyone around them.

Family conflict can also be triggered by parent-child problems like communication or discipline problems. Different parenting views can create a lot of turbulence in a family. There may be school related problems or constant battles between siblings.

Divorce or the creation of a new step-family can create all kinds of unique problems. Sometimes, the couple's relationship is at the heart of the matter with poor communication, bickering, lack of time or energy for closeness and intimacy or interference from the in-law's. Work-life balance can also play a role in family success and frustration.

​There can also be deep wounds or traumas that have been in the family for decades or even generations. When difficult issues are kept hidden, family members can carry shame and anger into all of their relationships, including family.

Family counselling can involve meeting with the entire family or sub-parts of it, to share individual and collective struggles, strengths, wishes and needs. Each family member will have an opportunity to talk and everyone gets listened to with understanding and respect. Children are given the support they need to voice their concerns to parents. Siblings may also be involved to express their opinions and concerns and help to repair relationships within the family. ​​

​Families can often get caught up in patterns of communication that result in repeated conflict and disconnection. Family counselling will help you recognize these patterns and work towards creating new ways of connecting that support building better relationships and communication. All families face challenges and children can be particularly sensitive to them. Some children will “act out” their distress through challenging behaviors.

​Parenting is so much more than a verb. Being a parent changes you - who you are, how you relate to others, your outlook on the world. On top of that, you bring all your past experiences, current circumstances, relationships, and all the thoughts and feelings that come along with it. It's easy to lose perspective of a problem when you are right in the middle of it. 
Parent counselling can help you focus and find solutions to problem behaviors, nurture closer family connections, teach and implement effective discipline strategies, establish consistent rules & routines, manage your child's intense emotions, avoid power struggles, and reduce sibling rivalry.

Together, we will come up with strategies that fit with your values, your cultural beliefs and your unique family dynamics.  Let's create a home atmosphere of peace and safety for all family members and get you back to enjoying family life.  
Consider allowing me the opportunity to bring new hope to you and new life to your relationships.  In the comfort and security of my office, you can learn to let go of your habitual defences that are keeping you stuck and allow your guard to come down.  When you can just be who you are and tell it like it is for you, you will become completely engaged in finding the solutions that you are looking for. 
Give me a call or send me a text at 250-462-3477, click on the "send me a message" tab or visit my website at www.upbringings.ca

Fern Whitfield Reaches

Penticton BC