CULTIVATING CONNECTIONS & ENHANCING LIVES
There are many reasons someone might decide to seek out counselling. Counselling is not just for those times when life seems unbearable. It can also be helpful for decision-making, setting life priorities, developing new behaviours or enhancing our closest relationships. Whether you are looking for support due to life’s challenges or because you want to move in a different direction, I have the tools and strategies to help.
Individuals frequently come in for sessions to address anxiety, sexual abuse/ assault, family of origin issues, trauma and loss. I am dedicated to using evidence-based therapeutic methods that have been shown to be effective for the identified problem. I prefer to incorporate mindfulness and values-based cognitive and behavioural interventions found in psychotherapies such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), since there is mounting evidence that ACT supports longer term improvement for people facing a variety of difficulties.
Improving self-compassion and encouraging change through values-driven action are key aspects to individual session work with me. I also use a brief trauma methods, Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), designed to work in 1-5 sessions, for many of the concerns that people who come in may be experiencing. Interpersonal challenges, losses, traumatic events can all be tackled using these tools but also many other emotional challenges people face like anxiety, depression, anger, etc. I can be eclectic in choosing strategies from many other psychological interventions as the each unique situation requires.
CHILD & ADOLESCENT SESSIONS
Play Therapists complete extensive training in child development, attachment (bonding), and using play , creative and expressive interventions to understand and exploring the feelings, thoughts and behaviours of young people. I can also incorporate more traditional talk therapy and cognitive behavioural strategies to support change. My preferred tool is definitely the sand tray since it can be very effective for all ages even adults.
The first session will consist of meeting with parents or caregivers to carefully collect information about the child’s and family’s history and challenges. The goals and plan for therapy will also be established in the first few sessions once the Play Therapist has completed the assessment process. Usually the second session includes the young person alone. Depending on problem, the parent or caregiver may or may not be included in future sessions.
Garry Landreth (2002) describes play therapy as a structured approach that builds on the normal communication and learning abilities of children. In play therapy, toys are like words and play is like language for children. The relationship that develops between the Play Therapist and the child can offer a corrective emotional experience needed for healing (Moustakas, 1997).
PARENT & FAMILY SESSIONS
I have specialized graduate-level coursework and draw upon Gottman Couples Method strategies as well as attachment techniques such as Attachment-Focused Family Therapy to foster healthy and meaningful relationships. The therapeutic methods I use support improved connection with others while also increasing personal and interpersonal insight that promotes understanding and compassion for others and ourselves. Family counselling can be beneficial for separation or divorce issues, blended families or general communication challenges within a more traditional family unit.
Parenting can be difficult for many reasons – some of these can be related to your child’s behaviour and some of these can be related to your parenting response patterns. Attachment and bonding can be interrupted and damaged by difficulties with the relationship, leaving parents feeling frustrated and hurt by the distance between them and their child.
Neuroscientific (brain) research is offering us greater insights into these patterns and how applying specific strategies that promote reconnection can solve them. As an attachment-oriented therapist, who has worked with many parents over the years, I have collected many parenting tools, strategies and techniques for a variety of difficulties parents may be experiencing. Frequently parents suggest to me that simply focusing on reconnecting with their child has resulted in significant behaviour improvements at home.