About Me

Hi, my name is Leona Westra. I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor specializing in trauma, chronic pain, and grief through virtual counselling. With my own past history of trauma and chronic pain, I know how difficult it can be to struggle with these issues and the fatigue of dealing with it on a constant basis. I apply my own experiences to my work with compassion, empathy, and understanding of the struggle. I recognize that everyone’s struggle can be very different and that it can be frustrating when parts of your struggle are neglected by caring professionals.

That is why I am focused on the unique needs and experiences of my clients. I believe in working with clients where they are at and finding how to make their lives better through encouragement of working with what works for them and enhancing their abilities to face the challenges they are struggling with.

I work towards enhancing my clients’ skills and resources to deal better with life and the challenges that come up. I offer psychoeducation to help my clients understand why they are stuck in unhelpful patterns, to validate their experiences and present them with a direction to make changes and overcome their struggles. I offer skill building to clients to enable them to learn skills that can help them deal with the challenges in their lives. Through it all, I focus on building hope, resilience, and meaning to their current life as they are building the life they want to live.

I received my Master of Counselling Psychology from Adler University and a Bachelor of Arts (Major in Psychology) from Athabasca University. I also have education in Aromatherapy and Fitness and Health Promotion. Through my education I have focused on social justice, understanding what impacts wellbeing, and what can be used to facilitate healing.

I am informed and use of the following modalities in working with clients:

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
  • Polyvagal Theory
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Internal Family Systems
  • Mindfulness
  • Grief therapy
  • Various somatic trauma approaches (including Sensorimotor Psychotherapy & Somatic Experiencing)

I am continuing to learn about the various categories of trauma including

  • Emotional Abuse and Neglect, including Gaslighting
  • Intergenerational Trauma
  • Trauma-Related Dissociation
  • Developmental Trauma, including Attachment Issues and Emotional Neglect
  • Relational Trauma, Domestic Violence, Narcissistic Abuse/Antagonistic Relational Stress, and Pathological Love Relationships
  • Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents (or other relationships with Emotionally Immature People)
  • Substance/Alcohol Use Disorders, Disordered Drinking, and other addictive behaviors with a connection to trauma

I have also worked with the following concerns:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder,
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Suicide
  • Grief and loss
  • Career and future planning
  • General life struggles.

Outside of counselling, I can be found in nature, experimenting with aromatherapy products, and being physically active.

Education

Master of Counselling Psychology Adler University

Bachelor of Arts – Psychology Concentration Athabasca University

Certificate in Professional Aromatherapy West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy

Diploma in Fitness and Health Promotion Humber College

Continuing Education

  • EMDR Basic Training Personal Transformation Institute
  • San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training – Core ICS Mental Health Provincial Health Services Authority
  • Pain Foundations for Allied Health Professionals Pain BC

I have done intensive Continuing Education (over 12 hours) in:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Chronic Pain
  • Grief
  • Emotional Abuse, Emotional Neglect, and Developmental Trauma
  • Domestic Abuse, Narcissistic Abuse, Antagonist Relational Stress, and Pathological Love Relationships
  • Trauma
  • Dissociated-Related Trauma
  • Polyvagal Theory