Before starting my private practice, I worked in residential and outpatient treatment centers in Vancouver and Nanaimo, BC. I have facilitated IOP Intensive Outpatient Programs, managed recovery monitoring services and worked in Community Addiction Services through Fraser Health.
In addition to my work as a therapist, I have worked as a consultant and as a contributor to various media outlets.
2018: EMDR Advanced Training: Looking Through the Eyes of Trauma and Dissociation: EMDR and Ego State Therapy Across the Dissociative Continuum with Dr. Sandra Paulsen
2017: EMDR Advanced Training: “When there are no words: EMDR for very early trauma and neglect” with Dr. Sandra Paulsen
2017: EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing - Dr. Marshall Wilensky
2017: CSAT Certification—International Institute of Trauma Professionals
2015: Gottman Level 1 Training (San Francisco, CA)—Dr. John and Julie Gottman
2014: CannAmm Occupational Testing (Edmonton)
2012: M.A. Counselling Psychology—Adler University
2011: Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) Workshop (Vancouver)—Debbie Joffe Ellis
1997: Hon B.A.—University of Toronto
Some clients need to believe that a therapist is not a human being; they need to see us as professionals who are exempt from having bad days, being vulnerable or having our own struggles.
However, I believe there is strength in vulnerability.
It's important for me to share a little bit about my story so that you can understand more about who I am and how have come to do the work I do.
MY STORY... SO FAR...
My Early Years
Truth be told, I have always been preoccupied with relationships.
My first significant relationship was unfortunately about experiencing the lack of relationship. I was born underweight and placed in an incubator for the first few weeks of my life. Unknowingly, I was learning my first lesson in the importance of attachment.
Although I found security in my home life, I often found myself feeling anxious when I was away from family. I struggled with shyness, stuttering and anxiety. With the help of a loving family, I worked my through many of these issues but anxiety is something I still continue to manage in my life.
Navigating relationships brought up many questions over the years; After experiencing school bullies I wondered, 'How do you find healthy friendships?'' I then spent the majority of my adult life asking, 'How do you find lasting love?'
After completing my undergraduate degree at University of Toronto, the plan was to please my parents (and my need for security) and get a 'sensible' job. However, I felt the need to spread my wings and make a radical (non parent-pleasing) move to Palm Springs, California.
a hot detour
"Why would someone with a University degree and a steady job move to California to work at a Bed and Breakfast hotel? "
This was the question that my parents could not wrap their head around. In a way, neither could I. But I knew that something was pulling me in this direction.
I learned very quickly that I was not cut out for the job so after 362 days of sunshine and one earthquake, I returned back to Canada. The only thing I knew for sure was that I loved the West Coast. I desperately wanted to stay in California, but my Visa forced me to leave the USA. In 2002, I chose to re-locate to Vancouver, BC.
The Winding Road
While some people fall into an ideal relationship or job, this was not the case. for me. Over the past 15 years, my work life has covered a lot of territory from sales to acting to being an executive assistant.
Personally, I had a knack for choosing men who were not emotionally available. In one relationship, I was blindsided by an ex-partner's substance addiction and in my next relationship, I played out my codependency in epic proportions.
The best way I can describe my evolution is that as I have gotten healthier, so have my choices. This has been reflected in my work and relationships. However, I am grateful for my struggles as they have been essential for my personal and professional growth.
When I work with clients who are in a relationship with a partner in addiction, I can relate first hand to that pit in their stomach. And for those who feel like they have to abandon themselves and their needs in order to be loved by a partner, I understand how devastating that is to one's self-esteem.
One of the things I am most grateful for is that I get to help my clients grow through their challenges. I see that change is possible which inspires me daily.
I believe that your challenges are unique to your own particular journey. And for every challenge you face, there are specific lessons to learn that are essential to your growth.