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Relationship Counselling - Couples and Families

I am a proponent of healthy relationships and am certain that we struggle with relationships because no one really ever teaches us about how to be in one!

When I work with couples I use a variety of tools and resources from the Gottmans, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Esther Perel, Narrative Therapy, and many more. I am also currently training as a sex therapist and bring my personal and professional experience to work with clients on relationship, sex and intimacy concerns.

My work with families is always different because families are so unique. I am very comfortable in helping families when there are breakdowns in communication, a need for a new narrative around an old family story, and a way to talk to each other about difficult topics. I use resources, tools and strategies based mainly around systemic, structural and Bowenian theories.

Trauma, PTSD and CPTSD

The more we learn about trauma and its' impact on our lives and our communities, the more we find out how much we have to learn! Working with and understanding trauma is not about asking "what's wrong with you", it's about asking "what happened to you".  ​I have been passionate about learning about healing trauma since I was diagnosed with CPTSD 5 years ago. At the time I couldn't find a clinician who could help me with the emotional flashbacks, dysregulation and other symptoms that I had been experiencing for most of my life. Luckily I came across the works of Pete Walker and his book, From Surviving to Thriving became a healing recipe and my lifesaver.

Now in my work as a trauma therapist I work with several different modalities and resources. I still employ many of the tools I use from Pete Walker. I also am a trained CPT (Cognitive Processing Therapy) facilitator which is a very successful treatment for people diagnosed with PTSD. Find out more about how CPT works by listening to this American Life Series:

Healthy Dating
Love Addiction/Healthy Dating/Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

I have many clients who come to me with a history of narcissistic abuse, both in their family of origin, and in their current and past love and friend relationships. It is hard to figure out how to escape this cycle and we often do not know where or how it began. In my case, it started in childhood and for many others, it is often the case as well.

I help people understand, investigate, and re-pattern their relationship histories. Often, we are stuck in trauma bond loops that we do not know how to break free of. My style and way to assist people in this dynamic is to travel back in time with them to their childhood wounds and attachment injuries. I have extensive personal and professional knowledge and experience in narcissistic abuse and recovery from codependency and love addiction. Send me a message if you would like to work with me to break free of this cycle!

Listen to me talk more about Narcissistic Abuse, Healthy Dating and Love Addiction:

Reparenting and Attachment
Childhood Trauma, Attachment and Inner Child Healing

One of the main tools I use to work with people through their childhood and Family of Origin trauma is Inner Child and Reparenting work. Many people who come to counselling are often not aware of the many traumas they experienced as a child. Many of us cannot even remember much of our childhood. All we know is that we often feel lost, empty and experience chronic loneliness. When we have experienced CEN (Childhood Emotional Neglect), we may not even understand or know how we feel a lot of the time. We struggle to connect with others and have a hard time with intimate relationships.

I use the work of Adult Children, John Bradshaw and Patrick Teahan in order to help my clients heal from and move forward from childhood trauma. There are also many online tools that can help support you in your journey towards healing from childhood trauma and childhood emotional neglect. I also run a 6 month Childhood Trauma Recovery Group based on Patrick Teahan's model (RRP model). Please click here for more info. Here are a few of my favorite experts in Childhood Trauma:

Sex, Intimacy and Pleasure
Sex, Intimacy and Pleasure

I work from a sex-positive, kink friendly and aware perspective and have a huge background both personally and professionally in sex education and therapy. I worked as a sexual educator in many of the schools I taught at (including creating a sex education curriculum) at one of them. When I work with couples, we work with sex, intimacy and pleasure and often our work together consists of having safe spaces to have conversations about these topics.

Some of the trainings I have taken are:

  • The Sexually Competent Therapist – Allura – 2021

  • Principles of Sex Therapy – City University of Seattle – 2020

  • Sex Therapy Masterclass – Marisol Westberg – 2020

Substance Use and Codependency

When it comes to addiction, I choose to work with whatever method works best for the client. I truly believe that underneath every addiction is a connection to trauma so the way I work with clients is in support of this theory. When Dr. Gabor Mate said, "Don't ask why the addiction, ask why the pain", I wholeheartedly agreed. When we enter into twelve step programs to treat addictions, often the trauma is missed. Although I see that many people have had success in 12 step programs (myself included for many years), one of the other issues that trauma survivors may experience is that they are not trauma-informed. Many people have found further healing through working with a trauma-informed and experienced clinician who can help them get to the deeper roots of their addiction. I also follow the work of Bruce Alexander who wrote the book, "The Globalization of Addiction: A Study on Poverty of the Human Spirit". This book makes strong connections between addiction and the response humans have to a world they are dislocated from.

Codependency (or better yet, as Ross Rosenberg calls it, "Self Love Deficit") can also be interpreted or understood as a response to trauma. Many people who call themselves "people pleasers" are stuck in a trauma response now known as the FAWN response (thanks again to Pete Walker, who coined the term). Working with codependency involves also working with trauma and how we have been trained or taught to "give in" or "please others when our nervous system interprets danger. I work with people to help them learn more about their fawn responses, create and enforce better boundaries, and have more empowerment and ownership in their lives.

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