SUBSTANCE USE/ADDICTIONS/ADDICTION BEHAVIOURS
I'm a highly experienced addictions therapist. I began my career as an addictions counsellor in a residential treatment centre and then worked as an outpatient addictions counsellor with AHS/AADAC. I'm skilled at working with people struggling with drug, alcohol, internet, gambling, spending, and other forms of addictions and addictive behaviour (shifting from one type of addiction to another). I understand that people use substances, or engage in addictions, for many reasons. A person’s story is unique to them. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ understanding of ‘addictions’ or singular approach to resolving the addiction. I know that substance use often begins as a way to cope with emotional/life distress, trauma (past and present), and other issues. For some, what started as a stress management strategy, or way to have fun, or way to fit in, becomes a problem in and of itself. As the substance abuse grows it can lead to relationship breakdown, parenting difficulties, workplace difficulties/job loss, and reduced self-worth. I start working with clients by asking them to describe the events leading to their arriving in my office. I know that some clients are coming because they have been told they have to by partners, employers or friends. I get that this can create a lot of anger, confusion, and resentment. I also know that others seek therapy because they have ‘tried everything else’, ‘don’t like groups’ (i.e. A.A., N.A.), or simply feel that things are spiralling out of control. I know that some people take a very long time to reach out for help because of embarrassment, shame, and fear of rejection. I am non-judgmental and offer compassion and understanding. My goal with clients is not simply to provide strategies to manage the substance abuse/addiction/addictive challenges (the band-aide approach), but to help clients identify, and deal with the issues that leading to substance, and with treating the emotional and psychological challenges that are often associated with addiction (i.e. depression, anxiety, loss of self-worth, anger, loneliness, confusion, despair). I have the skills, compassion, and strength to help clients regain wellbeing in their life.
Everyone is welcome here. I have worked with many people in navigating identity and sexuality. I have worked with individuals who are questioning their sexuality, and are looking for information, support, and affirmation. I have also worked with many clients who have experienced rejection and abuse because of their orientation or ways of expressing their sexuality. I provide a gender-affirming, compassionate, non-judgmental, and supportive space for people to explore their identity. Over the course of therapy, my clients are provided opportunities to ask and find answers to questions, to connect with themselves, find support from and connection with others, and to move to a place of confidence and connection within the greater community.
I am trained in the gold standard, and research-proven, effective couples healing approach, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Using EFT, I ensure that both individuals in the couple feel that their story is heard. I help couples connect their emotions, and emotional reactions, to the events in their lives, and to the hopes and needs they have in and for their partners. I help couples understand how feelings of loneliness, disconnection, fear (fear of emotions, fear of loss, fear of rejection) lead to communication breakdown. I help each person feel safe to talk about the hard or scary things that they carry within. As couples move through therapy with me, they develop increasing safety and acceptance from their partner. They also learn how to deal with expectations, being ok to say ‘no’ or ‘yes’ in a healthy, mutually supportive manner, and to feel like they are loved and cherished. I am comfortable working with couples from all orientations and backgrounds.
Anxiety and Depression are the two most common reasons for people to attend counselling. I am skilled in treating clients with the therapeutic approaches consistently shown to reduce anxious and depressive symptoms. Through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), and Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT), I have helped many people. I do not want to create ‘therapy dependent’ clients. My therapeutic approach enables emotional processing in session, but also offers strategies for you to use outside of session to keep the gains coming. I know that every person moves at their own pace. Every person faces their own set of life pressures. Family demands, finances, work expectations, unexpected events (i.e., accidents, assaults, pandemics, deaths), and interpersonal relationships create a unique set of challenges. I help people to sort through the multiple layers, moving from historical causes for the anxiety or depression, to the current events that sustain, increase, or help reduce those emotions. People who work with me gain insight into what has and is happening to them, how their mind, emotions and body has and is responding, and how to regain control over themselves. The goal is always to help you to ‘be ok’ in a true and genuine manner.
The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship in our life; it is our longest relationship and affects our other relationships, especially if we don't have a caring, compassion, kind relationship with ourselves. Having a healthy relationship with yourself means that you treat yourself the way that you treat others that you care about. Many people have difficulty doing this and are much harder on themselves than they are on others, hold themselves to higher standards, have higher expectations of themselves, etc. This can contribute to anxiety, depression, substance use/addiction, relationship issues, and more. Building a healthier relationship with yourself can have a profound impact on your life.