Registered Psychologist Ltd.
I began my career working with kids in foster care and group homes. It was extremely challenging work and I found myself feeling overwhelmed and frustrated often in those early days. Many of the families I was working with were struggling with addiction and mental health issues and I often felt as though I was not equipped to help them. This inadequacy drove my initial decision to further my education. I attended a Social Work Program and quickly moved to Sociology and Psychology as majors. I studied the systems I was working within. The families and individuals I was working with were making more sense to me, however I found that working on the front line really limited my ability to move people toward a solution. I made a career change and delved into the world of addiction treatment. I began my Graduate education the same year I started working in an adolescent treatment centre. This was to date the biggest learning curve I had encountered. I saw and was part of working with the family dynamics that are created around addiction and the impact on all family members when you people enter serious addiction. I loved the work and felt blessed to be working in an atmosphere where people got well and were able to change. I learned that addiction is a family disease and that treating it involved a systemic approach. I also learned that no matter how hard we work at treating this condition it is a chronic disease and I learned about loss and disappointment.
My Ph.D. began at another point in my career where I felt "in over my head". This was with young adults facing concurrent mental health problems and addiction. I had clients that were sober and still struggling with debilitating mental health problems. It became very apparent to me that if I was to help these young people I needed to understand this experience and how to adapt treatment to fit their needs. My research during my doctoral work focused on this and I interviewed a group of young people dealing with both mental health problems and addiction. I found out what I was doing that was helpful and what I was doing that provoked their symptoms. I was inspired by their bravery and learned a great deal about acceptance.
After the completion of my Ph.D. I went on to work at other treatment centres and attempted to bring the knowledge I had gained through the work I describe to programming that I developed with these centres. I continue to learn from those I work with and my amazing and colourful colleagues. I provide supervision and consultation to therapists working on addiction designations and also continue to attend groups that support my growth both personally and professionally.
In order to maintain my own personal and professional integrity I learned that I must work hard on the principals and values that my profession strives to bring to our clients. This meant that I began to receive professional supervision and support through my colleagues and this marked the beginning of another important part of my career development - supervision and collegial support.
The last leg of my journey has been licensing as a psychologist. I am licensed in both British Columbia and Alberta. This has allowed me to expand my practice and to work with many different populations. I continue to work with young adults and couples and see many people who are dealing with major transitions and relationship challenges. Anxiety and depression affect many of my clients and I have developed an interest and passion for working with trauma. I practice EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing) and have had the privilege of working with many brave souls. I continue to be inspired by my work and the people I have the pleasure of meeting everyday.