As a young child, I was involved in an accident that caused me a physical trauma. In many ways that event formed the trajectory of my life, which would focus on helping others. For a time, I thought a medical degree would be my future, but came to understand that facilitating psychological health and healing was my path.
And so, I have been helping people of all ages respond to life’s challenges and grow in healthy ways for nearly thirty years in my role as a counselling psychologist. In my early career I worked in multi-disciplinary treatment teams serving traumatized children, adolescents, and their families in residential psychiatric treatment and inpatient settings.
In addition to my extensive experience with children, youth, and families, I have worked with adult clients in community mental health and residential treatment programs for co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders, and in private practice.
My clients have overcome a wide range of difficulties, including anxiety, depression, trauma, self-esteem and self-worth, relationship challenges, moral injury, grief and loss, life transitions, existential and spiritual issues, substance use, compassion fatigue, and sleep disorders.
What I’ve learned
From the many children, youth, families, and adults I have worked with, I have gained a deep and abiding appreciation for the resilience of the human spirit, and how even the most traumatized individual might heal and grow within a physically and psychologically safe environment.
I learned as well that a person’s most apparently self-defeating behaviors are an attempt at meeting basic human needs for acceptance, connection, influence, and individuality, and that once I learn to respect the inherent wisdom behind these behaviors, I can challenge my clients to consider adopting healthier behaviors to meet their needs.
Growth following trauma also requires a sense of purpose and meaning in life and sustaining connections within a larger community where we can contribute according to our strengths, passions, and interests. For each of us, we need a compelling reason to swing our feet out of bed each morning, a reason that answers the question “What matters to you?”
At every step along the way I have placed a primary emphasis upon holistic care that integrates the biological, emotional, cognitive, social, cultural, and spiritual aspects of each individual I have served.
My approach to therapy
That emphasis shows itself in the way in which I approach counselling. I employ an approach that is attuned to the needs and goals of my clients, which takes a collaborative, “walking-alongside” approach where each client’s motivations and goals dictate the focus of counselling. To that end, I regularly elicit feedback on progress on goals and my clients’ experience of the counselling relationship, to learn on an ongoing basis what is and is not working for each client.
While I have considerable knowledge and experience with facilitating complex behavior change, my clients are the experts on their own life story, and I am a fellow traveler on their journey of change and growth. So, for some clients an approach that focuses on how their interpretations of situations contributes to their anxiety may be most relevant, while for another person their lack of selfcare and ability to regulate themselves when they become stressed may be a more prominent clinical focus.
The importance of relationships
Our individual development is strongly influenced by our social, cultural, and family context. My education and training emphasized the importance of understanding normal human development, and in many respects, I view counselling as a deliberate attempt to nurture the processes underlying human development. Our relationships with others are critical to achieving mental health and wellbeing, just as they can often contribute to the onset of mental health problems. Within this overall context I work with my clients to establish healthy and fulfilling relationships that are consistent with their values.
Benefits of therapy
Therapy has many benefits. It can help you:
· Deal with concerns and difficulties you are facing right now
· Overcome depression and anxiety
· Improve your self-confidence and feel more empowered
· Free yourself from unhelpful patterns
· Cope with loss
· Grieve in a healthy way
· Find yourself
· Set and work toward goals
· Learn to communicate better
· Improve sleep
· Address burnout
· Improve relationships
· Discover your resilience
· Find meaning in life
· Adopt healthy behaviors
· Heal from trauma and find growth going forward
· Develop your strengths and passions
· Find what matters to you
My fee is $200 per 50-minute session. If you are struggling financially, please speak with me about it. I am able to offer a sliding fee scale on a limited basis.
My office is conveniently located in downtown Cranbrook, BC at 21-13th Avenue South, Unit 5. Using safety protocols, I am able to see clients in person in my office. I am also able to provide a secure online portal for clients who prefer a virtual session for reasons of convenience, privacy, or distance.
I received my Doctorate in Counselling Psychology in 1992. I am a registered Psychologist in British Columbia, a member of the Canadian Psychological Association, British Columbia Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, and the National Register of Health Service Psychologists.