Areas of Focus
Traumatic experiences can be individual events (i.e.: accident, assault), or longer term enduring circumstances (i.e.: abuse, neglect). Each individual experiences trauma differently- it is not so much what has happened, as how it impacts the person and the meaning they make of it. The body and mind respond to protect and survive, utilizing the fight/flight/freeze systems. This response can last far beyond the situation that caused it. Individuals can be left with intrusive memories or dreams, find they are always on edge, struggle with focus and memory, feel as though their emotions are out of control, among many other possible symptoms. Talking about the experience can help, but turning our attention to the body and the wisdom it holds can pave the way to healing in a way just talking about it may not provide. My specialized training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy offers a unique way of exploring your experience in a safe and gentle manner. Together we focus on body sensation and movement as a way to heal from trauma, including developmental trauma wounds.
Life transitions and stress
Life is changing all the time! Sometimes we may adapt well, and move into change with excitement and energy. Other times we may approach transition with trepidation, and a sense of loss. There are times that we are presented with transitions that we did not choose- chronic illness, change of family dynamics or relationships, career change...All of this, and a long list of other life events can result in feelings of stress, which can leave us struggling to sleep, eat, and function day to day. If you are feeling stuck, or struggling to step into the changes in your life, working with a counsellor can help you better understand your experience, your strengths, and the challenges you are facing. You do not need to be alone as you face your new path, and you can develop new strengths and strategies for settling into your new world.
Young people face unique challenges- Facing conflict with friends, performance issues or uncertainties at school, adjusting to school or home circumstances, managing multiple pressures or feeling as though you are drowning in emotions. Anxiety and depression are common challenges faced by youth, but you do not need to live with this experience. Together we can work to develop skills for managing stress, understand boundaries, and explore how to feel empowered in your world.
Depression and anxiety
Experiencing low mood occasionally is natural, but when negative feelings and thoughts are persistent, almost all areas of our lives can be effected. Experiencing depression does not mean something is 'wrong' with you, but it could mean you would benefit from the support of a counsellor to help you navigate your way back to more positive and brighter experiences. Getting to understand your symptoms, and perhaps where they emerged from can be accomplished through talking about your experience and trying different strategies to shift the depressed experience. Often, though not always, anxiety is part of the picture as well and can show up as persistent worry, physical symptoms like racing heart or digestive distress, and ruminating thought patterns (generally negative). You can change your relationship with depression and anxiety, by learning self-care practices, and changing how you respond to your thoughts. A more calm, grounded, bright life is possible.
Are you noticing impacts in your life as a result of your substance use or compulsive behaviours? Maybe things are starting to feel out of control, or loved ones have expressed their concern. With over ten years experience working in the substance use field, I can support you in gaining insight about your use, and develop goals for your recovery. This can include reduction in use, or it may mean abstinence- goals are up to the individual. Gaining an understanding of your current use, triggers, risks, and underlying challenges can bring about changes you may have never considered possible for yourself.
I have spent many years working in women-specific services, and have in-depth knowledge of the unique issues women may face. Issues of feeling powerless or out of control of your circumstances, or needing to regain your confidence and find your voice. I work from a feminist lens in supporting women to achieve their goals and empower themselves to live unique, powerful lives.
Some experiences are hard to put words to, or assemble the pieces and meaning by yourself. We can work together to better understand your experience and find the healing and insight you are searching for.
grief and loss
Grief and loss is experienced differently by every person- it does not fit neatly into a box and can interfere with day to day living. If you have recently experienced a loss, whether that be a death or the end of a relationship or job, or health change, and are finding it difficult to see through the fog of the grief, speaking with a counsellor may help. Having a space to explore the relationship you had with what you have lost, understand your response, and experience your grief can provide all you need to heal and be able to see your way forward. It is not about 'getting over' your loss, it is about helping you find your way through it, incorporating it into your life in a way that fits for you.
Are you experiencing difficulties in your relationships? Perhaps there has been conflict or misunderstanding, or you find yourself having the same issue in relationships over and over. Better understanding your experience in relationships, both past and present, can bring insight into your patterns and how they may be getting in your way of achieving the depth of connection you are looking for. Gain understanding about your fears and responses, and how you are impacted by relationships. Relationship work can be done individually, or with your partner.