My Practice

I offer individual therapy to women, men, adolescents, children (face-to-face sessions only with children), couples therapy and workshops.  I share my time between Grande Prairie, Alberta in May to October and Phoenix, Arizona November to April. Sessions can be face-to-face or by distance through E-mail, FaceTime, Skype and phone while I am in Grande Prairie, and phone, FaceTime, Skype and email while I am in Phoenix.  

 

 

 

My areas of focus include:

Grief and Loss

Grief is the normal and natural emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind. We typically associate the word grief with the death of a loved one, but grief can be experienced with the loss of a job, loss of a relationship, children leaving home, or numerous other life experiences that are emotionally difficult.

In my practice the death of a loved one brings many people for counselling. It is important for clients to learn the stages of grief and have a sympathetic person to validate all that they are going through. As Allan Wolfelt teaches, the bereaved must learn that changing the relationship with their loved one from one of presence to one of memory and redirecting one’s energy and initiative toward the future often takes longer- and involves more hard work-than most people are aware. Certification in grief and loss counselling has given me the skills to work with clients in a gentle, patient and affirming way.

Self-esteem/Empowerment

Our self-esteem evolves throughout our lives as we develop an image of ourselves from our lived experiences. Liking ourselves and feeling capable are the foundations on which emotional health rests. Your potential to achieve what you most desire is directly related to your self-esteem. 

 

Experiences during childhood play a particularly large role in the shaping of self-esteem. That inner voice from childhood talks to us throughout our lifetime, and for those with poor self-esteem that voice is a harsh critic. How we are treated by our family, peers, teachers and coaches all contribute to creating our sense of worth.

 

Sometimes  low self-esteem can feel so painful or difficult to overcome that the professional help of a therapist is needed. I work to help clients learn to silence their inner critic, practice self-compassion, and accept that they are deserving of full and happy lives.

Relationships/Intimacy

Relationships are a necessary part of a healthy life and can enrich and add enjoyment to our lives. As social creatures, we seek relationship with others, whether platonic, intimate or familial. We are hard-wired for connection. We begin forming relationships at birth, beginning with the parent/child relationship, and that need for connection never goes away.

A healthy relationship is when two people develop a connection based on mutual respect, trust and honesty. As adults, we seek out intimate relationships, which also involve both emotional and physical openness and closeness. People in intimate relationships seek professional help when they are losing connection and experience high levels of conflict. 

When counselling clients struggling in 

relationships I work toward giving them the tools they need to build strong, enduring relationships. 

Trauma Recovery

Unresolved trauma can result in lifetime impairments for victims. Trauma can result from one-time powerful incidents like rape, assault, natural disasters, or death of a loved one, or they can be chronic exposure to repeated traumatic events such as sexual abuse, war, domestic violence, and first responder exposure. Any of these intensely painful and difficult situations and experiences can have physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological effects on survivors.    

 

Critically important to treatment is the creation of a trusting and collaborative therapeutic relationship, where the client feels safe, understood, respected and cared for. Having training in trauma recovery, I feel competent in my skills in providing treatment that is comprehensive and appropriate through each stage of recovery. 

 

 

Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural human response when we perceive we are under threat. It can be experienced through our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. It can become a mental health problem if it impacts on your ability to live your life as fully as you want.

 

 In people with anxiety disorders, the brain circuitry that controls the threat response goes awry. Evidence suggests that both biology and environment can contribute to anxiety, with panic attacks, muscle tension, headaches, intrusive thoughts and stomach cramps being some of the symptoms. 

 

When these symptoms become excessive and cause sufferers to dread everyday situations, they often seek professional help. I take a gentle, compassionate approach to teaching clients about anxiety and  strategies to help them live fuller, more satisfying lives. 

Living with a chronic illness/condition can create many challenges, including the illness itself, the feelings about having the condition, and the effects of the illness and the medications used to treat it. With time and patience, people can make the adjustments necessary to establish a “new normal”. 

 

A basic tenet of palliative care is the provision of emotional support for the patient/family unit. Frequently one’s interpersonal relationships, employment/ career, lifestyle and self-image are impacted.

I work gently with clients toward developing the awareness and skills to help them cope with their limitations and maximize their potential and quality of life. This includes emotional, psychological and spiritual support that empowers them to live as fully as possible.   

 

 

Chronic Illness/Palliative Care

Depression

Gratefully society is starting to address the stigma attached to mental illness. We now understand that depression is a biological condition that is as real as diabetes and puts the mind and body in a state of tremendous imbalance. It is very different from feeling temporarily sad, unhappy or blue and is NOT a sign of weakness, character flaw, or personal failing. 

 

A major depression results in symptoms such as negative thoughts, low energy, loss of appetite, sexual dysfunction, poor concentration and memory, and loss of interest in life, incapacitating many people. Some of the stressors that result in psychological shut-down are loneliness, broken dreams, unprocessed painful emotional losses and past traumas, and chronic stress.

When working with depressed clients I work to establish a strong therapeutic alliance where they feel heard and supported, and tailor treatment to fit each client’s unique needs.  

Sexual/Gender Identity

Despite growing acceptance of diverse sexual and romantic orientations and gender identifications, people in the vulnerable LGBTQ community still experience oppression, discrimination, exclusion and marginalization. 

 

Research shows that youth who identify as LGBTQ are at an increased risk of suicidal ideation, self-harm, depression, anxiety and addiction or substance abuse as they struggle to make sense of their identities. This is particularly true when they experience discrimination, which takes on many forms: verbal and physical bullying, social rejection, and sexual assault. 

It is imperative that this community feel supported and able to speak freely in order to benefit from the therapeutic experience. Being LGBT-friendly, I am comfortable to work with clients in helping them work toward living authentic and meaningful lives, as well as helping family members deal with the inevitable emotions experienced when a child or partner “comes out”.  

Spirituality is an integral part of human existence and an extraordinary dimension of life. Certain experiences in our lives can cause a crisis of spirit and set the stage for spiritual awakening, or you may have feelings of loss and emptiness that leave you restless and unhappy. Perhaps this restlessness is a gentle nudge inviting the deep questioning and internal exploration that can only be described as soulwork. The soulwork inherent in a spiritual life offers growth that can be deep and beautiful and can help you realize the promise and potential of a rich inner life.

 

By exploring spirituality with a spiritually-oriented therapist, you can examine your relationship with Self, Creation, Divine, Spirit, Mystery, or the many names for God. In an open, respectful and non-judgemental environment that invites curiosity and contemplation, you can learn to weave spirituality into your everyday life and live more fully alive.  

 

My special training in spiritually-oriented psychotherapy allows me to facilitate your spiritual questioning with openness, curiosity and non-judgement. It is my goal that you be comfortable sharing as you seek answers to sacred questions.  

Spirituality is an integral part of human existence and an extraordinary dimension of life. Certain experiences in your life may have caused a crisis of spirit or you may have feelings of loss and emptiness that leave you restless and unhappy. Perhaps this restlessness is a gentle nudge inviting the deep questioning and internal exploration that can only be described as soulwork. The soulwork inherent in a spiritual life offers growth that can be deep and beautiful and can help you realize the promise and potential of a rich inner life.

 

By exploring spirituality with a spiritually-oriented therapist, you can examine your relationship with Self, Creation, Divine, Spirit, Mystery, or the many names for God. In an open, respectful and non-judgemental environment that invites curiosity and contemplation, you can learn to weave spirituality into your everyday life and live more fully alive.

 

My special training in spiritually-oriented psychotherapy allows me to facilitate your spiritual questioning with openness, curiosity and non-judgement. It is my goal that you be comfortable sharing as you seek answers to sacred questions.

Spirituality/Meaning & Purpose