1601 1st Street S., Cranbrook, BC, V1C 1B7
10:30 am – 5:30 pm
10:30 am – 5:30 pm
10:30 am – 5:30 pm
10:30 am – 5:30 pm
10:30 am – 5:30 pm
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.
I use an eclectic approach as a therapist and introduce various modalities for the most helpful, therapeutic outcomes in therapy. I believe in the importance of a therapeutic relationship and help my clients become emotionally and spiritually connected and present. I use Solution Focused techniques, art therapy, body awareness, breathing, mindfulness and grounding to help clients develop coping resources.
In time, clients develop the self confidence they need to start exploring the life issues that have been intimidating and difficult to face. I work with my clients to help them develop therapeutic goals, improve their current living situations, develop inner resources, skill building, self esteem and boundaries.
Every case is approached using a bio-psycho-social-spiritual assessment and then, depending on the needs of my client I develop a treatment plan in collaboration with them.
In therapy I use a variety of approaches: Emotionally focused therapy, Solution focused approaches, Cognative Behavioural approaches, Mindfulness techniques, Narrative and Bowenian approaches. I am influenced by the work of Attachment theorists and believe that early traumas have an impact on brain development, and therfore our ability to cope.
Therapy must be a safe place to uncover painful truths about ourselves and to begin navigating a new way of living in the world.
I have worked in the addiction field for over 20 years and have a great passion for the work. Watching people walk from hopelessness and despair into recovery is very rewarding. The field has grown tremendously during my career. We have come from very limited knowledge regarding what addiction actually means to having a robust literature and research base to draw from. Understanding the neuro-psychological basis of addiction has opened many doors over the years and has helped countless people enter into recovery with understand and self-forgiveness. When we become addicted early in our lives we post pone other development sometimes until adulthood. This translates into behaviour that does not always make sense to the world around us. We are children in adult bodies trying to resolve wounded histories. In this process we are often re-creating past traumas and accumulating wreckage.
Dealing with addiction means rebuilding. This is a long process that takes commitment and often involves coordinating various forms of treatment practices. I approach addiction from a multifaceted and eclectic framework. This means that at the outset I do a thorough assessment that gathers information about family of origin, trauma, physical injuries, spiritual beliefs, education and career, mental health and relationship patterns. Therapy moves towards regaining relationships and replacing unhealthy belief systems with self empowerment and support structures. I incorporate group work, 12 Step support and coordinate care with other mental health professionals.
Sex addiction is described by compulsive sexual behaviour that continues despite negative consequences. Many individuals find themselves repeating past traumas within an addictive pattern and until they seek help are unable to change this vicious cycle. This makes a happy and productive life impossible and there is a cascade of turmoil around this addiction. Left untreated, sex addiction may escalate and results in life changing circumstances. Relationships are destroyed, physical consequences like STD's begin to occur and even legal problems can become a part of the cycle. Sex begins to be the drug that many use to escape the pain and turmoil that addiction has brought to their lives. Treated individuals are able to live happy and more balanced and connected lives.
Signs & Symptoms of Sexual Addiction
For Spouses or PartnersIf your spouse or partner is struggling with sex addiction, don't neglect yourself. My work includes working with the partners of those who struggle with sex addiction. It is often those living with addiction that go looking for help or information about what is occurring in their home. If you are the partner or spouse of a sex addict, you also need support.Living with addiction and mental illness is traumatic and many individuals wonder how they ever found themselves in so much turmoil, grief and betrayal. Living with any addicted person is traumatic and crazy making. It is not unusual for family members to experience symptoms that are typical of trauma reactions. These individuals often suffer in silence and secrecy until life literally blows up.It is overwhelming and seems impossible to deal with the crisis that accompanies addiction. It is even tougher when loved ones cannot see the damage their behaviour is causing. It is so important for family members to find the support and guidance they need for themselves and to deal with the hurt, confusion and trauma that has been associated with this exposure. It is so important to realize you are not along and that you are important to realize you are not alone and that you are important and deserving help.Therapy for the family members is designed to help individuals develop a plan for the future, to heal from the relational crisis and to begin to develop safety in existing and future relationships. This can be difficult and a step by step process is used to support you while you become an empowered individual.It is imperative that family members understand the faulty thinking that helps keep them trapped in unhealthy relationships that do not change. Feelings of worthlessness and failure can overwhelm family members and challenging these false beliefs is key to recovery. Gradually individuals are able to make informed decisions based in health and hope. As you begin to resolve the issues related to your family members addiction you will make changes that will improve many areas of your life.
One of the many reasons I was motivated to study mental health and treatment practices during my Ph.D. work was the prevalence of Anxiety, Depression and Drug Induced Psychosis within the addicted population. Although many of the symptoms clients experience are a result of living with addiction, many people begin their addiction by medicating symptoms related to mood disorders. This often is a temporary solution that backfires with devastating consequences. My work with those struggling with both mental illness and addiction integrates the work that is necessary for maintaining sobriety and coping with mental health symptoms. Left untreated, symptoms related to mental health disorders ultimately lead individuals back to addiction.
Anxiety and depression are conditions that are complex and require direct attention. It is important to develop a trusting and safe space where learning about your illness and how to empower yourself is possible. Living with this kind of illness in isolation is difficult and has an impact on everyone that cares about that person. This is an area I have dedicated a great deal of time to during my career and my approach is gentle, integrated and aligned with best practices in the fields of addiction and mental illness. My approach to working with concurrent disorders integrates the work necessary for maintaining sobriety and begins to deal with mental health challenges that left untreated ultimately lead individuals back to addiction.
Therapy that focuses on depression and anxiety will:
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing)
EMDR is a unique form of psychotherapy designed to diminish negative feelings associated with memories of traumatic events. Unlike most forms of talk therapy, EMDR focuses less on the traumatic event itself and more on the disturbing emotions and symptoms that result from the event. Treatment includes a hand motion technique used by the therapist to guide the client’s eye movements from side to side, similar to watching a pendulum swing. EMDR is a controversial intervention, because it is unclear exactly how it works, with some psychologists claiming it does not work. Some studies have shown, however, that EMDR is effective for treating certain mental-health conditions.
Scientific research has established EMDR as effective for post traumatic stress. However, clinicians also have reported success using EMDR in treatment of the following conditions:
For More Information:
I am EMDR certified and a member of EMDRIA Canada.
We are more familiar with stories of depression in our media today and the world is beginning to understand that for some people depression is a debilitating and suffocating disorder. Depression is a serious condition that many people suffer with in silence. Whether this is from denial of our own suffering, which is common, or from our tendency to think mental health is "our fault" many of us don't come forward with depression until it has caused a great deal of difficulty in our lives. There is hope for people struggling with depression and therapy is often an integral part of this.If you are experiencing any of the following, please reach out for help:
Individuals struggling with anxiety disorders experience excessive fear and anxiety. Anxiety is the anticipation of danger. Consequently when we live in an anxious state our body and mind moves into an aroused or hypervigillent state and thoughts of danger and escape become ever present. In its' more serious forms anxiety can limit us in our lives and interfere with being who we would like to be.
Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
Depression, fear, and anxiety are some of the most common and uncomfortable emotions that we can experience at some point in our lives. Through counseling and treatment, individuals are able to recover the motivation, perspective, and joy that they once had in their life.
Many individuals can experience symptoms associated with painful and traumatic circumstances. Anxiety, fear, and hopelessness are a few emotions that can linger post traumatic events. Therapy can help you overcome these symptoms and guide you through the process of grief and healing.