My approach to therapy
I am very "client-centered" in my approach, which means that I believe you are the expert of your own life and ultimately know what you need. Therefore, you will decide what you want to focus on when you come to see me. These will be the goals that I will help you work towards. One of my priorities will be to make sure that you are getting the results you want from therapy, so we will monitor your progress on an ongoing basis and make changes as necessary.
Research shows us that one of the most important factors for a positive outcome in counselling is a strong connection and rapport with your therapist. Therefore I will regularly check in with you to see how you're feeling about seeing me; specifically if you're feeling heard and understood. A strong connection between us will be the foundation for your healing.
One of my guiding principals as a therapist is my belief that everyone has the internal resources and strengths - however deeply buried or undeveloped they may be - to live a healthier, more satisfied life. The focus on therapy then is to rediscover and build up these internal resources as well as heal the painful experiences, past and present, which have blocked you from accessing them.
I use a variety of well- researched and proven techniques to help you deal with the challenges you're having. In general my approach is an integrative and holistic one. The techniques I use at any given time will be based on what your needs are and what you're comfortable with.
My main approach for trauma and abuse is EMDR - Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. The current treatment guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies designate EMDR as an effective treatment for post-traumatic stress.
In addition to treating trauma, EMDR has also been proven to be effective for the associated symptoms that develop out of childhood abuse and trauma like anxiety, depression, anger, eating disorders, addictions and others. To find out more about EMDR please see www.emdrcanada.org
Other psychological theories I draw from are:
Mindfulness, which comes out of the Buddhist tradition, has been adopted by many psychologists and clinical therapists, and is helpful for developing greater self-awareness and self-acceptance. With a focus on the "present moment" you will start to experience your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations as they really are, not how you think they should be or would like them to be. This will help you to develop compassion for yourself.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) identifies and challenges the problematic and recurring thoughts and beliefs you may have about yourself. Together we would come up with more beneficial ways of thinking that would in turn help you feel better about yourself. I would also teach you new skills to help change behaviors that are no longer working for you.
Family Systems, which explores family relationships, the role that you played in your family and how you were parented.
I may also use creative visualizations and relaxation techniques, including abdominal breathing. I will also provide you with information about trauma and it's effects and teach you the tools you need to manage difficult emotions and to uncover and build your internal strengths and resources.
Clinical Hypnosis (hypnotherapy). Clinical hypnosis is an altered state of awareness, perception or consciousness that is used, by licensed and trained professionals, for treating a psychological or physical problem. It is a highly relaxed state.
Hypnosis is a state of inner absorption, concentration and focused attention. When our minds are concentrated and focused, we are able to use more of our potential.
One common misconception about hypnosis is that a hypnotized person loses their will and is partially or completely under the command of the hypnotist. Nothing could be further from the truth. You are in control of yourself, and cannot be made to do anything that is against your will.
How long will it take?
The length of treatment will vary according to the nature of your difficulties and can range from four sessions to more than a year. After several sessions we will be able to make a more accurate assessment of your needs and can then decide on a treatment approach that makes the most sense to both of us. Therapy can be difficult at times and sometimes it will seem that you are feeling worse instead of better. This is normal, but not permanent.
Client rights & confidentiality
You have the right to the confidentiality of your therapy. I am bound not to release any information to anyone without your written permission, which you can revoke at any time. The main exceptions to this confidentiality are disclosures that you are about to commit a crime, are involved in child or dependent adult abuse, are in imminent danger to yourself or others or are unable to meet your own basic needs in taking care of yourself. The courts also have a right to subpoena any records for any legal proceedings you might be a part of.
I also consult with other clinicians regarding my clients in order to get a second opinion and provided the best therapy possible. I will not use your name when doing so.
I generally keep very few notes and only write down what you tell me, the treatment plan that we decide together, and other ideas that I may have which might be helpful to you. As a member of the BCACC I am responsible for compliance with the Personal Information Protection Act.
If at any time you feel that you are not making progress with me please let me know and I will be happy to give you several referrals for other therapists. You also have the right to ask me about my therapeutic approach and if you believe I have engaged in unethical or unprofessional conduct you have the right to report your concerns to my professional association at 1-800-909-6303. You have the right to refuse any suggestions I may make and may cease treatment at any time.
To book a session or to set up a free 10-minute phone consultation, call me at 778.321.2002.