The Therapies I Use

 Jetty in the ocean

I’ve been a counsellor for nearly two decades, and in that time I’ve studied many different approaches. All the great knowledge I’ve gained influence my work, and I am dedicated to staying current with new research. As a result, I keep adding to my toolbox of effective strategies.  Below are short descriptions of the therapies I use most often in my practice, having found them to be exceedingly successful with a wide variety of people and issues.

Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS):

This is the primary framework for my therapeutic approach—it makes a lot sense to me.  IFS, an evidence based practice, acknowledges how all of us experience inherent ambivalence—we are not single-minded about most anything.   This can make life a challenge if our mixed feelings are so strong they work at cross-purposes, making us feel anxious, overwhelmed, frustrated, indecisive or stuck.  Resolving that ambivalence is central in allowing us to move ahead with clarity and focus.   As we work with this conflict, we discover that beneath the turmoil we all have a stable essence — a Self— filled with calm, joy, kindness, and courage.  IFS has many strategies to help us get more strongly connected to that Self, with the ultimate goal of acting more often from that perspective in our everyday choices and challenges.

Trauma Resolution Strategies:

When we have experienced trauma, those traumatic memories are stored differently in our nervous system. Because the trauma was so hurtful, our brain wants to make sure we never really forget, but instead remain on high alert.  The trauma recollections remain  “frozen in time”— new information such as that you are now grown up, or have a lot more skills and resources available don’t automatically modify the high alert status.  And, simply saying “you are safe” or “it wasn’t your fault” doesn’t really make much difference.

EMDR Therapy and Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR) are both highly effective approaches to“thaw” these recollections. This shifts the memories from “high alert” to “something that happened in the past”.  Renewed feelings of calm and relief often result. EMDR is one of the most researched approaches to trauma resolution, and TIR is a proven, evidence based practice.  Although both were initially developed for single incident trauma, they have been used successfully with war trauma, prolonged childhood abuse, historical trauma, and other forms of interpersonal violence.

Somatic Therapy:

The impact of difficult experiences, trauma and hard choices remain in our nervous system and our bodies.  Proven somatic therapies such as Somatic Experiencing and Hakomi are excellent resources to restore balance to the nervous system, and release feelings and experiences stored in our bodies. As you feel supported and safe, somatic therapies allow you to slowly let go of tension, release trauma, restore your natural rhythm, and tap into your innate resilience and strength. I find these approaches are very effective when people are not able to talk about their negative experiences, when the trauma happened early, or was prolonged.

Attachment Repair Therapy

Sometimes, it is hard to accept how much our first relationships shape who we are today.  We come into the world soaking up everything we can about who we are, who we can trust, and how to behave in the world from our mom, our dad, and others we depend on.  Often inadvertently (although sometimes intentionally) we receive hurtful messages about not being good enough, needing to perform to be accepted, needing to hide our needs, and so on.  These kinds of injuries are called attachment wounds and the effects tend to be felt throughout our lives. They colour our choices of work, our relationships, our sense of self, and how we raise our own children.  I use a blend of proven attachment repair approaches drawn from Dyadic Developmental Therapy, Circle of Security parenting, and Dynamic Attachment Re-Patterning Experience to help heal these early injuries, allowing people to feel more connected to themselves and others.

You Can Find Calm and Joy

II invite you to call me at 250 515 2123 or contact me or use the pop up box to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation to learn more about online counselling, PTSD therapy, trauma treatment, and parenting after trauma counselling and how I can help.