Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)
EFT prioritizes processing of emotional experiences in the context of a safe and empathic therapeutic relationship. Many of us have learned certain beliefs about emotions from our families or society, about what emotions are "good" or "bad", or that certain emotions are not accepted, need to avoided, or suppressed. This model incorporates elements of Gestalt therapy, using active ways of resolving internal and interpersonal conflicts with empty chair and two chair techniques. Exploring our full range of emotions, understanding feelings as important sources of information, and increasing our ability to tune into our bodily felt sense as well as regulate our emotions can lead to a healthier relationship to ourself and others.
Internal Family Systems (IFS)
IFS is a transformative and experiential model, also referred to as "parts work", which considers that each person has multiple parts within themselves. This model facilitates befriending, appreciating, understanding and creating compassionate relationships with our different parts. Healing also takes place by releasing painful burdens that keep protective parts in rigid roles or keeps wounded parts carrying distressing emotions or negative beliefs exiled. This modality is especially beneficial in working with trauma. Self-leadership allows for more trust, balance and unity for our inner systems, through bringing the qualities of compassion, curiosity, calm, courage, confidence, clarity, creativity, and connection. As an IFS-informed therapist, I have completed the comprehensive skills and competencies course through IFSCA.
Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
Mindfulness has been defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally”. Self-compassion incorporates mindfulness, common humanity and kindness towards our experience. Both are helpful with working with self-criticism and shame. Practicing mindful observation, allowing, and acceptance of what we are noticing with a kind focus, can give us more choice to respond wisely rather than reacting on autopilot, as well as can help in developing more gratitude.
My counselling approach is integrative, relational, and anti-oppressive, drawing from theories of attachment, neurobiology and trauma. I use various models including emotion-focused therapy (EFT), mindfulness, internal-family systems (IFS), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and some skills from CBT/DBT. I seek to build from your strengths, highlighting your own internal sources of wisdom. I provide information about trauma responses to make sense of needing survival coping strategies through challenging past experiences, as well as viewing these as acts of resilience. I will help you build internal resources for shaping your nervous system, moving from protection to connection. I will support you in setting healthier boundaries, clarifying your values and building agency to move towards creating the life you desire. I recognize the importance of context and socio-cultural influences as well as how we stand up to these outside forces.
I provide a warm, empathic, accepting space to build a safe therapeutic relationship, collaborating on how to best meet your goals for therapy. I will be a witness and guide, alongside you in your journey of self-exploration, healing and growth. I greatly respect the courage it takes to seek help, willingly exploring your most vulnerable and painful parts, while trusting in the transformation that can come from the therapy process.
I bring over 10 years of experience working as a registered nurse, where I have supported people in many difficult circumstances and walks of life. I have a non-pathologizing and holistic understanding of mental health challenges. I currently work part-time as a mental health counsellor at a Family Health Team, as well as in private practice.
I am a registered psychotherapist licensed through the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario #008459, as well as a registered nurse licensed through the College of Nurses of Ontario #08363978. I completed a Master of Education in Counselling Psychology at OISE University of Toronto. As a therapist I am dedicated to continuous learning, professional development and receive regular individual as well as group supervision. I am also personally committed to my own ongoing journey of growth, self-reflection and healing.