When you experience something that you did not expect, or didn't feel ready to handle, quite often the first thing to feel out of place is how you relate (or can't relate) to the people in your life.
When you were young and idealistic, you thought the world was a safe and wonderful place, and you could trust most people. Now that this has happened, you don't feel good enough, and wonder if you can be "normal" again. I know the feeling of losing your dreams because of the event(s) that changed the shape of your life, causing it to take a route that wasn't in your plan.
When my first marriage ended, it was a slow process. It took me a while to accept, let alone understand, what was happening inside my marriage. This caused me to lose relationship with my husband, but also certain friends of mine. I felt a loss of relationship with me, and who I thought I had been, currently was, and who I had hoped to be.
It took my marriage ending to understand that I had survived an abusive relationship. What can be the scariest result of surviving a traumatic or abusive experience is the feeling that you are alone, and that nobody else can truly understand you, let alone what you have been through. I have walked that road. It felt like everyone else in my life had healthy, thriving relationships, and they could never understand or accept that what I had lived through was abuse. I didn't have marks on my body, or bruises on my face to show what was happening behind closed doors, so how could others know how bad it was?
healing is possible
I also began to experience the beginning of hope. This comes in many different shapes and forms, each as individualistic as we are. For me it came in the shape of meeting with a counsellor and learning that it was okay to be angry about certain things in my life. I learned what healthy boundaries look like and how to begin to have them in my life. I learned what the cycle of abuse is, and how it had affected my life, but also where I had managed to break it. I started to have hope.
I explored what courage, compassion and connection looked like. Finding out who I am and what is important to me has not only been scary, it has been exciting! I gained some self esteem back, and courage to do relationships differently. I learned how to have compassion for myself when it felt like nobody else understood. And I learned how to have a healthy connection to the people in my life that included boundaries which allowed me to keep the healthy in, and the hurtful out. That is my hope for you!
My goal is to provide you with a place where you can find some new ways of coping with the stress that life is throwing your way, and then exploring some the reasons why you might be feeling stuck so that you can be the person that you are wanting to be. My hope is that you will find a voice again, and begin to feel connected with yourself and others as a result.
So what does trauma-informed mean? Does that mean that I am trying to dig up your hurts and pains each session? No. I feel it is important that I help you find tools so that you can manage the different issues that you are facing. It also means that I am trying to help you find a way to feel confident in who you are and the people that you interact with. Being trauma-informed means that if you feel that it is part of your goals for change, I will also be curious about what you have experienced in your life that was unexpected, or that you did not feel prepared for, and then to find a way to understand what happened to you. As we work together, it is important that you feel that I am a safe person to talk to, so I will not rush you, and in fact may encourage you to slow down and find a way to learn and understand more about yourself.
I believe that you are the expert on you, and it is my role to walk alongside you, encouraging you to heal, grow and stretch so that you see the value in who you are, and find a way to live wholeheartedly, embracing who you are.
the official stuff
I am registered as a Registered Clinical Counsellor (#15185) through the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors and as a Canadian Certified Counsellor (#10001037) through the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association, working in Surrey, BC.
I am also registered to provide counselling services through the BC Criminal Victims Assistance Program (CVAP) which provides those that have survived a crime to receive professional counselling either for free or at an extremely reduced rate. I can also provide counselling if you are approved by your ICBC case worker.
I love learning and have participated in a number of additional training opportunities. These are:
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) - a form of psychotherapy that uses eye movements to help trauma victims process their troubling memories and beliefs
- When Love Hurts - this group therapy follows the book by the same title, and provides women with information about the cycle of abuse, and how to find healing and support after an abusive relationship
- Level II of Observed and Experiential Integration therapy - which helps people, especially those that have survived trauma or abuse in their past, to process some of their memories and experiences without having to talk about it.
- Level 2 in Gottman Method Couples Therapy - which provides a good structure for working with couples that is based on years of research by John & Julie Gottman from Seattle.
- Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples - which helps me to help couples identify what their need is underneath the arguments and discomfort.
- Graduated with a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology