How I work
I use an integrated approach that engages the mind, body, heart, and spirit, and draws from several theories and modalities (see list below), including Mindfulness practices and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).
Working with what you think
I help you identify thoughts that help or don't help you make change. Sometimes thoughts and beliefs we have about ourselves are based on judgments and lies that others and our culture have told us, and we need to change these to move forward in our lives.
Working with what you feel
Many of us have grown up numbing our feelings, not knowing what we're feeling, being overwhelmed by a lot of feeling, or all three! This can make it difficult to know what we want, communicate with others, and cope with life challenges. I can help you learn how to get in touch with your emotions, name them, understand them, better cope with them when they are overwhelming, and express them when it's safe enough.
Working with body sensations
Our bodies tell us a lot about what we like, dislike, who to trust, or who not to trust. Sometimes, old hurts remain locked inside, adding to present-day tensions which can contribute to conditions like high blood pressure, migraines or other illnesses that are hard to diagnose. I can help you learn to notice and understand how your body holds tension. Getting reconnected with our bodies can not only help us learn more about who we are and how we feel, but can also be the first step in learning to relax and have more ease so that we can be more comfortable in our lives, and maybe prevent serious health conditions, or cope better with health conditions we already live with.
Working with difference and how cultural and social norms and injustices influence your life and problems
Being judged because of our race or culture or gender, or because we are queer or have a mental illness or are marginalized in other ways can impact our experiences of trauma, loss, chronic illness, or spiritual challenges and the ways we get support and heal.
In our society we can be victims of abuse or lose opportunities, jobs, and even people we love because of prejudice. Sometimes we don’t get the help we need because of prejudice. And sometimes we are further traumatized by hurtful words and actions of those who are supposed to help us, but instead make us feel invisible, discounted, more isolated, and responsible for the traumas we have suffered.
I am continually learning how prejudice and oppression impacts people’s experiences of trauma, loss, and illness. I know that when there are differences between us it is risky to share intimate details of your life. For this reason I commit to working with clients to identify what will create enough safety so that you can do the healing work you need to do in counselling.
Some of the ways I help to build this safety are to:
Working with spirituality
The term “spirituality” can mean many things, but a very basic definition I use is “the connection between all the parts of ourselves – our mind, heart, and body – and our inherent connection with all of life”. When we lose parts of ourselves or our lives through abuse, loss of loved ones, and chronic illness we can lose connection with ourselves in order to survive the pain. This loss of connection can make it difficult to know what is important to us, to connect with others in community, or to have faith in anything.
I help you reconnect with yourself so that you can explore your own unique experience of spirituality, identify what is most important to you in life, and if you wish, connect with others, community, and a greater whole (this is what some people call Nature, Higher Power, God, Goddess, Nature, Mother Earth, Mystery, the Creator or Emptiness).
Theories, philosophies & counselling techniques that inform my practice
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Embodiment Practices (i.e., yoga, dance, body-oriented therapies)
Mindfulness and Meditation Practices
Feminist and anti-oppression practices
Neuroscience and Trauma Counselling Best Practices
Over 20 years of study and teaching in earth-based spiritual communities and Buddhist meditation practice