My name is Leona Westra, a trauma and chronic pain psychotherapist also working with emotional neglect, nervous system dysregulation, abuse, and grief.
I became a therapist because I…
- Love to help people
- Want to see less pain in the world
- Believe people should feel free to embrace the essence of who they are and reach their full potential
- Believe that people should have a place where they can be honest about their pain and suffering, where they feel heard and seen.
- Believe that people should have a place of refuge to process the injustices they’ve faced.
I realize that reaching out for counselling can come with feelings of anxiety and vulnerability because I have been there before. It can be intimidating opening yourself and your struggles to someone else and that’s normal. For that reason, I strive to create a welcoming and nonjudgmental space from the beginning where I focus on your needs and goals for therapy and leave an open door for any feedback to make therapy a better experience for you.
How my Experiences With Shaped my Work as a Therapist
I have a lived experience of trauma, chronic pain, emotional neglect, and depression. Because of that experience, I know how frustrating, confusing, exhausting, and distressing the journey of mental health and chronic pain struggles can be. By the same token, I have learned from my own struggles and various lessons along the way.
I remember the times when I found out important information years into my healing journey wishing I had known it earlier and how helpful that information was. As a result, I have strived to learn as much as I could about the conditions I struggled with and I can pass that knowledge onto you as appropriate. As I have found that my lack of understanding what was going on in my body and the reasons for different reactions and emotions were causing me additional pain.
Connection to Nature
Furthermore, I remember the times where I sought solace in nature because that was some place where I could be myself. It was a place where I felt free. I had the comfort of the breeze through the trees and the soothing sounds of birds and other wildlife. It was away from the judgment of others and I felt that I could be my authentic self. Slowly I learned how to be my authentic self in other parts of my life but it started in nature and nature is where I go to when I need that solace again.
My Desire to Use My Experiences to Help You
I want to empower your unique healing journey with the knowledge and skills I have developed. In view of my experience of the difficulties I have had when trying to find healing with people who don’t understand the complexities of trauma and chronic pain. I want to be there for you in ways that some of my providers weren’t. In essence, I have learned from by own personal experience and combined it with further education and experience to serve you better.
My Approach as a Psychotherapist
I believe that you have an inherent strength, courage and ability to grow, change and find self-acceptance. Furthermore, I have an honest, empathetic and collaborative style to explore, understand and bring awareness to the underlying causes of your current challenges. Ultimately, I would love to see the growth in you as you find healing, discover new insights, and move towards a more meaningful life.
I want to know your story, experiences and goals, so we can prioritize what is most important to you. Moreover, we can work together on a treatment plan that can take your healing to the next level. On the other hand, I realize that situations may come up as we are working together. As a result, I am also flexible and able to change and refocus as new goals or needs in therapy emerge.
I strive to make sure you feel understood and heard as we work together to help you find healing. I’ll provide knowledge and skills as needed to further your understanding of your struggles, promote healing, and get you to a better place. As we work together, I desire to see you achieve your goals, embrace your authentic self, and move towards your full potential.
My Education and Qualifications
I am a member in good standing with the British Colombia Association for Clinical Counsellors (BCACC) and my member number is 19052. Additionally, I am also a member of EMDRIA (international EMDR association), and EMDR Canada.
I received my Master of Counselling Psychology from Adler University, a Bachelor of Arts (Major in Psychology) from Athabasca University, and a diploma in Fitness and Health Promotion from Humber College. Additionally, I have a certificate in Professional Aromatherapy.
Throughout my education I have focused on social justice, understanding what impacts wellbeing, and what can be used to facilitate healing.
- 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
- Introduction to Trauma Exposed Professionals Warrior Health Canada
- Foundational Safe and Sound Protocol Training Unyte-ils
- Pain Reprocessing Therapy Level 1 Pain Reprocessing Therapy Institute
I am trained and have experience with:
- Chronic Pain
- PTSD, Complex PTSD, and other Trauma
- Grief and Loss
- Polyvagal Theory and the Safe and Sound Protocol
- Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
- Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT)
- Parts Work, including Internal Family Systems (IFS)
- Somatic trauma approaches, including Sensorimotor Psychotherapy & Somatic Experiencing
- Emotional Abuse, Emotional Neglect, and Developmental Trauma
- Domestic Abuse, Narcissistic Abuse, Antagonist Relational Stress, and Pathological Love Relationships
- Dissociation-Related Trauma
- Anxiety and Panic Attacks
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Career and future planning
I can also be found at:
Psychology Today: Leona Westra, Counsellor, Surrey, BC, V3W | Psychology Today
“A designation of BC Association of Clinical Counsellors”