My Approaches & Focuses

  1. EMDR Therapy
  2. Polyvagal Theory
  3. Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)
  4. Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
  5. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
  6. Parts Work
  7. Systems Work and Influences
  8. Trauma
  9. Chronic Pain
  10. Narcissistic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, and Other Challenging Relationships
  11. Emotional Abuse, Emotional Neglect, and Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Adults
  12. Grief
  13. Sleep Issues
  14. Disordered Substance Use and Addictive Behaviours

EMDR Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy was developed by Francine Shapiro and is a body-mind integrated therapy that has been proven to be highly effective for people who have experienced trauma. It was founded on the basis that trauma interferes with the brain’s processing and that during trauma, our brain processes and stores memories incorrectly. This incorrect storage makes it so that past events seem to be in the present. These memories can be triggered by emotions, negative cognitions, and physical sensations.

EMDR uses bilateral stimulation (eye movements, tones, or taps) to access memory networks in order to move them from a place of emotional activation to a more rational, logical place.

EMDR is an effective, evidence-based form of treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is recognized for its effectiveness by the American Psychiatric Association, the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs (US), and the World Health Organization. With EMDR, it is not necessary to discuss the details of a traumatic experience.

EMDR can be used for more than just PTSD, it can be used for:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks and phobias
  • Depression
  • Chronic Pain
  • Substance Dependency
  • Various kinds of trauma (intergenerational, developmental, etc.)
  • Abuse and Assault (Physical, Emotional, and Sexual)
  • Grief and loss
  • Eating Disorders

Find out more:

Polyvagal Theory

The Vagus Nerve

The Vagus Nerve is the longest cranial nerve in the body and it stretches from the brainstem to the stomach. It influences both our emotional and physiological states. It wanders throughout your body connecting with most of the organs in the body.

What is Polyvagal Theory?

The polyvagal theory was developed by Stephen Porges and recognizes a hierarchical autonomic nervous system, which evolved to help us survive through communication, connection, and collaboration.

It describes three primary physiological states of the autonomic system, guided by a division of the vagus nerve (CN X) into dorsal and ventral components.  

  • Dorsal Vagal – The dorsal vagal state responds to cues of extreme danger through immobilization and helps us to survive by shutting down important physiological functions (i.e., digestion) in the presence of a life threat. It is a state of hypoarousal that communicates that you are unreachable and can be confusing to others. It’s a story of despair where the body enters conservation mode. A person in this state may feel like they are going through the motions but not connected. They may feel alone, lost, abandoned, unreachable, hopeless or that they have disappeared.
  • Sympathetic – The sympathetic state responds to cues of danger through mobilization and helps us to survive through activation and action. It is a state of hyperarousal and high alertness where you can’t access your Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) like you are used to and are unable to truly connect with others. It is part of the spinal nervous system that regulates breath and heart rhythms. It is a story of an unsafe world and unsafe people. It is a state of looking and listening for danger and in this state, people tend to miss and misread signs of safety. There is a sense of separation and being disconnected from self, others, the world, and spirit.
  • Ventral Vagal – The ventral vagal state responds to positive cues and supports feelings of being safe and relaxed. It is the state of co-regulation and connection and where health, growth, and restoration happen. It is where the social engagement system is and engaging socially cannot happen in a state of threat. It is the state that creates healthy homeostasis, allows for hope, compassion and self-compassion and is resourced and resourceful. It is this state of cooperation that is essential for survival where you reach out for, and offer, support.

These states are on a continuum, and we can experience blended states, where a pattern of response is influenced by more than one state. You can have one state in the foreground and another in the background.

Physiological states can affect behaviour, emotions, and cognition. It can bias our perception of our environment and prepares us to be either welcoming or defensive toward other people and situations. The better we can regulate our states and the more flexibly and smoothly we can move between them, the better our health (physical, emotional, mental) will be.

Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP)

The Safe and Sound Protocol is an evidence-based listening therapy designed to reduce sound sensitivities and improve auditory processing, behavioural state regulation, and social engagement behaviours through filtered music. It is a practical application of Polyvagal Theory that is non-invasive, acoustic vagal nerve stimulator that helps to re-turn the nervous system to better support connection, collaboration, and resilience.

Who is SSP beneficial for?

The SSP is beneficial for:

  • Trauma
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Long covid
  • Stress-related disorders
  • Misophonia
  • Sleep disorders
  • Overactive/underactive emotional states
  • Sensory challenges
  • Fear/phobia-related disorders
  • ADHD
  • Digestion issues related to physiological state (or stress)
  • Attention difficulties.

What is required for the SSP?

To access the SSP, you need a smartphone with the app installed. You need an account activated for remote listening by your therapist. The listening requires over-the-ear headphones without noise cancellation features (or the noise cancellation features turned off).

Doing the listening as recommended by your therapist, as your therapist will create a program plan based on your symptoms and experiences as well as how your nervous system reacts to the SSP. Check-ins with your therapists for remote listening sessions (outside of counselling sessions) to email or secure messaging.

How long will it take?

It can take anywhere from 5 days to a year, depending on your nervous system. Everyone’s nervous system is different and responds to the SSP differently. It will depend on how dysregulated your nervous system is and how your nervous system responds to the SSP. It is important to understand that it is important not to rush the process and to listen to your nervous system. Working with your therapist to get the most out of the SSP.

What Does it Cost? What is Included?

Option 1: $250+GST (includes intake session, remote access, and email support). The SSP is done alongside your weekly or biweekly sessions and costs $250+GST additionally. During these sessions, we will use our sessions as a space where I offer you coregulation with other human being and I will offer you knowledge so that you can understand why you nervous system is dysregulated and how you can help it to get regulated again. I will teach you skills and involve other types of therapy that support your goals in therapy such as EMDR to reprocess trauma, DBT to learn skills you didn’t in your developmental years, and other therapies.

Option 2: $750+GST (Includes intake session and 1 additional supplemental session, remote access, and email support). The SSP is done alongside monthly sessions and costs $750+GST additionally. If you choose this option it is important that you have another person or pet that you can co-regulate with, as the time with your therapist may not provide enough time where you are able to co-regulate with another (if you are doing weekly session, that time should be sufficient).

Both these options covers access to the program, and the time your therapist spends outside of counselling sessions monitoring and supporting you through email and/or secure messaging. It covers up to 4 repeats of the SSP Core (needs to be 6-8 weeks between repeats of SSP Core) and continued use of SSP balance after finishing the complete SSP. Sliding scale is also available for the SSP, contact me to find out more.

What is the process?

Once you decide to commit to the SSP, there is an assessment that you do in your own time and this is followed up with an intake session where necessary psychoeducation and skills are learned and an explanation of the SSP is done. It is during this session where the treatment plan for the implementation of the SSP will be decided.

Once enough support has been established. We will do a bit of listening during a session to see how your nervous system responds to it before having you listen to it independently through the app with email/secure messaging support and regular check-ins during your counselling sessions.

It is important to go through the listening process as slowly as your nervous system needs. Some people may need to take breaks or do activities that are more regulating while doing their listening. Your therapist can help you to understand what to pay attention to and what the proper balance is.

Find out more:

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha Linehan at the University of Washington while trying to find an effective treatment for suicidal and borderline personality disorder patients. She started with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy but found that it was lacking in certain areas, so she added aspects to the treatment and made changes to improve treatment results. This resulted in what is now known as DBT. Some of the changes she made were a balancing act between acceptance and change, adding validation, mindfulness, and interpersonal skills.

The focus of DBT is to “build a life worth living” and it is a collaborative type of therapy where the therapist and the client work together to enable the client to build a better life through collaboratively decided goals, therapy techniques, and skill-building.

Behind the DBT is biosocial theory, which believes that invalidating environments are at the root of emotional dysregulation. Emotion dysregulation involves being emotionally sensitive and emotionally reactive and having a slower return to baseline. There are several reasons for emotion dysregulation, such as biological disposition, attachment problems, loss, trauma, and invalidation. When people have frequent prolonged intense emotional reactions, they tend to create neural pathways that are sensitized to these types of reactions. These reactions can become more automatic as time goes on. The emotional reactions can become more and more intolerable as time goes on it can become more difficult to cope with them and choose effective behaviours to deal with them. DBT can help point clients in the right direction of choosing better behaviours to deal with intense emotions and learn how to tolerate them.

DBT works by moving back and forth between acceptance and change. It validates your past experiences yet encourages you to move forward. It offers skills that you can learn to deal better with the world around you and better manage your emotions. These are often skills that people who grew up in supportive environments learned, but people who grew up in less supportive environments did not learn or have deficiencies in their skills.

The skill-building in DBT can really help people to be able to better cope with their emotions, tolerate distress, improve their relationships, and better understand how they can improve how they feel about life. I find this modality really works well with people who have had emotional neglect or developmental trauma because it focuses on the skills that were neglected in their childhood. There are other modalities that work well with the actual inner wounds from childhood, so this form of therapy works well complementing those.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a short-term form of behavioural therapy. It focuses on the relationship between beliefs, thoughts, feelings and behaviours. The assumption behind CBT is that by changing one corner of the triangle, you can change the other corners of the CBT triangle (see image below). For example, by changing the thought you have in a situation you also can change the emotion and behaviour you have in that situation. In cognitive behaviour therapy, there is awareness brought to the pattern of thoughts or emotions and then there is an effort to change that pattern. This is done with short manageable goals.

CBT can be used to better manage and cope with chronic conditions such as Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diabetes, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

CBT has been found to be effective for:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood Issues
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Obsessions and compulsions
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Chronic Pain
  • Sleep Issues
  • Phobias
  • Disordered eating
  • Substance dependency
  • Sexual issues
  • Anger management

It can be very effective to lessen the suffering of people who have negative thought patterns or are prone to anxiety. It complements other modalities as well.

Parts Work

Structural Dissociation is the psychodynamic process of creating a separate self/selves that deal with the different aspects of chronic trauma. The personality becomes split into different parts, and each part has its own emotions and behaviors, leading the individual to feel different from one moment to the next. It manifests as rapid mood swings, with the individual moving from happiness to rage or even a sense of numbness within a short amount of time.

Often, there is a “Going on with normal life” part that deals with most of the things a person has to get done in a day, but there are other parts that can get activated. These parts are often tied to the defense mechanisms: Fight, Flight, Freeze, Submit, and Attach. There are other parts that can activate to protect wounds (or wounded parts), and these can come out as an inner critic, lack of motivation or stamina, feeling empty and numb, and counter-dependency and isolation. There is also a “Wise” part that knows we are worthy of love and care.

Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy was developed by Richard Schwartz in the 1990s after he began hearing clients speak about inner parts within themselves. He looks at these parts as an internal family in the mind, where some parts have certain goals while other parts have other goals. Each part has its own likes, dislikes, burdens, and history and is thought to play a role in achieving self-preservation. Parts have healthy, productive or extreme roles and those with extreme roles may benefit from therapy.

There is a Self that is the seat of consciousness at the core of each person. The Self is often hidden by the different parts, especially the extreme or wounded parts which are trying to protect it. The goal is to unburden those parts and create a trusted, healthy, harmonious internal system that is coordinated by the Self.

Internal Family Systems is an evidence-based practice and has been found to be effective for the improvement of general and mental well-being. It can be used to treat:

  • Trauma
  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Compulsive behaviours
  • Depression
  • Bipolar
  • Body Image issues
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Substance dependency
  • Chronic pain

Internal Family Systems can be used to understand why certain behaviours keep happening and for more extreme behaviours (substance dependency, self-harm) figure out if those behaviours are still needed and what could be done instead. Some of the parts may be living in the past when the circumstances were different and Internal Family Systems can be used to bring those parts into the present where those extreme behaviours are not needed anymore. Internal Family Systems can be a powerful tool to work with trauma, especially developmental trauma.

Systems Work and Influences

As human beings we don’t live in isolation, but we interact with many systems around us. The closest systems to us are often family, personal community, and spiritual/cultural systems. We also often deal with other systems in our society such as healthcare, education, legal, government, and the greater community. There are systems we deal with based on our ancestry and identities.

All these systems and our placement in these systems can influence how we react to the things we are experiencing. Intergenerational trauma can be passed down through both genetics and behaviours. It is important to recognize when there are systems that are creating injustices for you.

When I work with you, I don’t put all the responsibility on you when there are systems that are working against you. I open the door to talking about recognizing the systems that affect you, finding better ways to work with the systems around you and how to cope with systems that are unfair.

I will also point out possible opportunities in systems that you may not be aware of.


Trauma is what happens when the nervous system gets overwhelmed. When the nervous system is overwhelmed, things (emotions, thoughts, self-beliefs, etc.) do not get stored in the brain properly, and everyday things trigger them to manifest like they are happening in the present when the emotion, physical sensation, and/or perception is actually coming from the past.

Traumatic memories are “less likely to be recalled in a clear, coherent narrative” and more likely to be “remembered in the form of sensory elements without words, ” such as emotions, changes in breathing or heart rate, body sensations, tensing, or feelings overwhelmed (Fisher, 2021).

What are some of the symptoms of Trauma?

  • Numbing
  • Decreased concentration
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Headaches, chronic pain
  • Loss of sense of “who I am”
  • Emotional overwhelm, mood swings, emotion dysregulation
  • Insomnia
  • Shame, guilt, self-blame and worthlessness
  • Nightmares, flashbacks
  • Substance abuse, eating disorders, self-destructive behaviour
  • Feeling unreal, out of body
  • Hypervigilance, mistrust
  • Denial, disbelief, shock
  • Few or no memories
  • Loss of a sense of the future, hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Isolation, withdrawing from others

What works best for Trauma?

Trauma can be very individual and unique. So what works for one person may not work for another. It should involve both top-down (thinking/brain-based strategies) and bottom-up (somatic/body-based) strategies. There are some strategies like EMDR that involve both top-down and bottom-up strategies that have evidence to work for different types of trauma.

The problem with top-down approaches (CBT, some DBT skills) is that they don’t work when someone is hyperaroused or hypoaroused because when you are in those states, you cannot think properly. If someone is hyperaroused or hypoaroused they need to come back to a place where they can think clearly before using these skills. These skills can be useful to people who have been traumatized but they need to be used at the right times and be complemented with bottom-up strategies.

How I Work with people who have trauma?

I start by listening to you and your experience of trauma. I provide the necessary psychoeducation so that you can understand your trauma and how it is manifesting in your life. I will work with you on skills so that you are better able to cope with your trauma and the unique symptoms that are affecting you. When you are ready and if it aligns with your goals, we can start to process your trauma with EMDR.

I realize that for a lot of people with significant trauma, trust may be an issue. I don’t need you to trust me. I need you to have enough confidence in me that we can work together and that you believe that my skills will help you deal with your trauma. I can go at whatever pace you need to go. You always have the control to stop the process and decide that it’s not for you or you are not ready yet.

I want you to know that I will work with you and where you are at. I will use my skills and knowledge to support you in your healing journey. At the end of the day, you are the expert of your experiences, how they affect you, and the changes you can make. I can only bring insight, knowledge, skills and techniques to help you with your healing journey.

Chronic Pain

There are many definitions for Chronic Pain, but essentially it is pain that remained after an injury is healed or should be healed. It is different from acute pain and needs to be treated differently. The nervous system is much more involved in chronic pain. Chronic pain is a holistic condition and can be affected by many things, such as physical activity, problems within muscles and joints, nutrition, sleep, stress, temperature, past trauma, emotions, and thought patterns.

Chronic pain is often increased or caused by an overactive nervous system. The body uses pain to alert you to danger, but for many with chronic pain, the alert system is extra sensitive and either overreacting to stimuli (intense pain from stepping off a curb) or reacting to stimuli that are not dangerous (seam of pants rubbing against leg with no skin damage). With Chronic Pain, a person often has to pace themselves and plan ahead to avoid pain increases.

How can counselling help with Chronic Pain?

Counselling by helping a person figure out how to cope with the pain, plan strategies to minimize pain increases, figure out priorities, change thought patterns, identification of the cause behind pain increases, manage emotions, create boundaries to better manage pain, learn skills to help them communicate their needs, and find validation for the struggles with chronic pain.

How I work with people with chronic pain?

Since chronic pain can be so complex and different for each person with chronic pain, I take the time to listen to how it is affecting you and what you want to achieve during our relationship. I usually check in to make sure that you are aware of the resources for chronic pain that are available for you. I focus on your goals for your journey with chronic pain and provide you with psychoeducation and skills to deal with your unique experience with chronic pain. I recognize that dealing with chronic pain can be exhausting and it can be hard when your friends and family and healthcare providers don’t seem to understand the struggles.

I can work with you on improving your sleep or provide psychoeducation on other lifestyle changes that may help your chronic pain.

We can use EMDR to help to process some of your past trauma that may be behind your chronic pain.

We can use skills from CBT and DBT to work with some of your thought and emotion patterns that increase your suffering and pain perception.

I am here to listen and help you along with the grief you may have from the losses you experienced with the development of your chronic pain.

I am here to listen and support you while you transverse this difficult journey with chronic pain. I desire to help you to find hope , gain a better quality of life, and improve your daily experience with chronic pain. If recovery is possible for your type of chronic pain, I want to be part of that recovery.

Narcissistic Abuse, Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, and Other Challenging Relationships

Narcissistic Abuse is a persistent pattern of manipulative, abusive, and controlling behaviours that occur within a relationship, with the primary goal being the promotion of the narcissist’s well-being at the experience, and to the detriment, of others.

Domestic Violence any form of abuse or neglect that a child of adult experiences from a family member, someone they have an intimate relationship with, or a person living in the same home. It is abuse of power by one person to hurt and control some one who trusts and depends on them.

Intimate Partner Violence physical, sexual, and/or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse.

When working with people in abusive relationships, I understand that they are complex with many factors affecting them. I work with where the person is and respect that place where you are and the decisions you’ve made about the relationship. I offer compassion, understanding, and empathy. I will offer psychoeducation and various counselling techniques to work with where you are at the moment and any decisions you are considering making.

I understand that there are many systems involved in the decisions that my clients make while facing or after leaving an abusive relationship. There are psychosocial systems such as availability at domestic abuse shelters, cultural or religious beliefs, support systems, and other factors.

I work with my clients so that they can be in the best place possible for where they are in their relationships. I work with both their past trauma and any present ongoing trauma that they’re facing. I work with the grief that comes from the many complexities involved in abuse, such as the loss of the ideal of a healthy relationship, the loss of the relationship they thought they were getting, the loss of personal relationships due to their isolation by their abuser, and other grief.

Emotional Abuse, Emotional Neglect, and Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Adults

Emotional Abuse is a pattern of controlling another person by using emotions to criticize, embarrass, shame, blame, or otherwise manipulate them. The underlying goal of emotional abuse is to control the other person by discrediting, isolating, and silencing them.

Types of Emotional Abuse:

  • Accusations of cheating or other signs of jealousy and possessiveness
  • Constant checking on or attempting to control the other person’s behavior
  • Constantly arguing or opposing
  • Criticizing, negating, and humiliating
  • Gaslighting
  • Denial
  • Isolating the individual from their family and friends
  • Name-calling and verbal abuse
  • Refusing to participate in the relationship
  • Shaming or blaming
  • Silent treatment
  • Trivializing the other person’s concerns
  • Withholding affection and attention

Emotional Neglect is not about what happened to you but what did not happen. It is about your parents or caregivers not adequately responding to your emotional needs. This can happen from a parent having unrealistically high expectations and not listening attentively to invalidating a child’s emotional experiences to the point she/he feels self-doubt. Most of the time, it is not intentional. There are a lot of parents who do not adequately respond to their children’s emotional needs because their parents did not respond to their needs, trauma got in the way of their emotional development, or they got too busy or exhausted to be able to respond adequately to their children’s emotional needs.

In emotional neglect, children learn that their feelings are not important. With childhood emotional neglect the Amygdala (part of the brain that has a primary role in memory processing, decision making, and emotional responses) becomes bigger and more reactive. Emotional neglectful families often look normal, but members of the family may not receive the aspects of family that allow children to develop properly, this can result in:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insecure-avoidant or disorganized attachment patterns
  • Failure to thrive; poor academic performance
  • Aggression
  • Low self-esteem, low self-compassion
  • Apathy
  • Hyperactivity; disruptive & impulsive behaviour
  • Developmental delays
  • Substance misuse and risky behaviour; suicide attempts
  • Withdrawing from friends and family; anger towards parent; negativity during parent-child interactions
  • Appearing uncaring or indifferent
  • Shunning emotional closeness or intimacy; poor peer relationships and the avoidance of interaction with other children; significantly less positive social interaction
  • Self-blame, shame, humiliation, feelings of worthlessness
  • Less emotional knowledge; difficulty recognizing angry faces

Some effects of childhood neglect in adulthood include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Emotional unavailability, numbing out, or being cut off from one’s feelings; difficulty identifying or expressing feelings
  • Shunning intimacy
  • Depression
  • Feeling empty or hollow inside
  • Poor self-discipline
  • Anger and aggressive behaviours towards self or others
  • Difficulty trusting others or relying upon anyone else; trouble asking for help or support
  • Feeling deeply, personally flawed; hiding behind a mask; disconnected from self
  • Guilt and shame; easily embarrassed
  • Feeling like there’s something missing, but not sure what it is
  • Easily overwhelmed or discouraged; frequent feelings of worry, excessive fears, and dissatisfaction
  • Perfectionism with acute sensitivity to feelings of failure
  • Pronounced sensitivity to rejection
  • Lack of clarity regarding others’ expectations and your own expectations for yourself
  • Feel the need to people please
  • Lack of ability to empathize
  • Blame, judgmental, and critical towards self or others

Please note that the effects of emotional neglect can range from mild to severe and you might only have some of the previously noted effects and symptoms.

Emotional immaturity is “a tendency to express emotions without restraint or disproportionately to the situation” (American Psychological Association). This can mean overreactions or underreactions.

This can involve:

  • Impulsive behaviour
  • Demanding attention
  • Name-calling and bullying
  • Avoidance
  • Narcissism
  • Rigid and always right
  • Put themselves first
  • Sensitive and reactive
  • Fear of emotion (often dismiss others’ emotions)
  • Too controlling or don’t care at all.

For children with emotionally immature parents this can result with:

  • Problems with emotional intimacy
  • emotional loneliness
  • Feeling guilty for being unhappy
  • Feeling trapped in taking care of parents
  • Not trusting your instincts
  • Lacking in self-confidence

How I work with deep emotional wounds?

I start by listening to you and your experiences and validate through normalization and psychoeducation what you have experienced. I understand that validation may have been few and far between in your relationships where you did not get the emotional support you deserved. I will work with you to start to build up your self-confidence, connect you to your emotions, encourage your through the process, and process any traumatic experiences that you need to process.

I understand that the journey from emotional abuse and neglect is not a quick one. It is a difficult journey that can be frustrating, but there is hope. The slow process can bring you back to the beautiful person that you were meant to be. I will be there to support you along that journey. We will focus on the goals that are important to you and work with your frustrations along the way. Often I will work by alternating between processing the trauma and bad memories and encouraging your belief in yourself and the discovery of your beautiful soul.


Grief is the response to loss, and it encompasses a broad range of feelings, cognitions, physical sensations, and behavioural changes. Grief can come from losses beyond the death of a loved one, such as the loss of an ideal/dream (partner changed after marriage, raising a child alone, not being able to have children), loss of ability (due to accident or medical condition), loss of wellness, loss of connection or belonging, loss of safety/security, or the loss of a pet.

I work with a wide lens of grief. Grief is not something you can fix. It is the process of coming to terms with a loss. There is a dance that involves the non-linear process of grief. There is no particular journey that grief takes, each individual has their own experience. It also can be difficult when your way of processing grief is different from loved ones.

I work with you where you are in your journey with grief. If needed, I may give psychoeducation or techniques to help you in your journey. I work with you and your grief as a listener with compassion. I am a witness to your pain. If you lost a loved one, I am a witness to the love you had for the person you lost and someone who is walking with you as you come to terms with the loss. If you lost something else, I am a witness to how much that thing meant to you and someone you can talk to figure out the next step in your life without that loss.

If you wish, I can help you make your way through the 4 tasks of grieving:

  1. To accept the reality of the loss.
  2. To process the pain of grief.
  3. To adjust to a world without the person/thing you lost.
  4. To find a way to remember while embarking on the rest of one’s journey through life.

I am here for the part of the journey that you wish for me to be a part of. Whether it is the processing of the pain and readjustment after loss or something else. I will be there as a witness and support as you process your grief. I will be there to listen and hear you as you deal with the world you live in after the loss and the struggles to figure it out.

Grief is never easy and there is no one way to do it. Sometimes you need some help along the way and that’s okay. That is why I approach counselling grief the way I do.

Sleep Issues

There are several ways that a therapist can use to help you improve your sleep. Therapists often know the background to why certain items are listed on sleep hygiene lists and help you figure out how to use them to get you a better sleeping pattern. Some of the things listed on sleep hygiene lists are not practical for certain living situations (i.e., having your bedroom only for sleeping when you are living in a tiny studio or 1-bedroom apartment) and a counsellor can help you figure out what matters.

I often use Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) to help with thoughts, emotions, and beliefs interfering with sleep. This involves working with your beliefs, thoughts, and emotions to increase your sleep and help to remove mental barriers to sleep. CBT-I is an evidence-based approach to insomnia that helps improve sleep for 70-80% of people with insomnia that have tried it.

I can help with problem-solving around what affects your sleep with consideration of your personality, mental health challenges, your nervous system, living situation, work/life balance, and so on.

  • What matters to you as an individual?
  • What is stimulating to you?
  • What is your sleep routine and are there improvements that can be made?
  • What habits may be preventing you from having a good sleep?
  • Do you have a good sleep space?
  • What challenges do you have that you need to problem-solve around?

Treating mental health symptoms that could be interfering with sleep:

  • Anxiety (rumination can be stimulating)
  • Hypervigilance (can prevent you from relaxing enough to fall asleep)
  • Depression
  • Trouble relaxing
  • Bad dreams/nightmares (can make a person try to avoid sleep to avoid the bad dreams/nightmares)

I can also provide psychoeducation about sleep, teach you skills that enhance your ability to fall asleep, and techniques to work with some of the barriers that are interfering with you getting a good night’s sleep.

As with any type of therapy, therapy for sleep can only help to the extent that you apply it to your life and nighttime routine.

Disordered Substance Use and Addictive Behaviours

I will work with substance use issues of multiple types. It can be a full substance use disorder, disordered patterns that are negatively affecting your life, or behaviour issues caused by substances (you don’t like how you treat others around you when you drink).

I work with substance use problems and addictive behaviours (social media addiction, gambling addiction, etc.) from a trauma-focused lens. I will work with you at identifying the root causes for your issues and work with you to treat your trauma at the same time as working on your substance or behaviour issues. I will bring compassion and empathy to your journey as we work together to create change in your life that has you overcoming your substance use problem or behaviour addiction.