Call: 403.690.2663  Location: Calgary, AB

Anxiety

anxiety-cover

Do you find yourself running from morning to night in an effort to calm your worries?

  • Do you have difficulty sleeping because of the concerns from your day or worries about the future?
  • Is it difficult for you to relax, even when you are on a holiday?
  • Are you constantly stressed out?
  • Do you experience panic attacks? 

If you experience anxiety on a regular basis, you might find that you have difficulty taking care of your own needs. You worry constantly about your children, your romantic partners, your parents, or your friends, without taking the time or effort to be sure that your own needs are met. Alternately, maybe you worry so much about your own health and success that you find it difficult to take care of your children or other significant people in your life. You hear about a last-minute meeting at work and your heart starts beating, you start to sweat, and you have trouble breathing. You start thinking about how unprepared you are, which leads to worry about losing your job. If you lose your job, no one will ever want to be with you and you'll end up alone, curled up in a box on the street. These thoughts increase the intensity of your heart rate and breathing, making you feel dizzy. The next thing you know, you are experiencing a full-blown panic attack.

Quality of work can decline when a person is anxious, sometimes because of difficulty concentrating, sometimes because of anxiety that your work is never good enough, which results in spending too much time on one project or giving up before it is finished. Relationships can suffer when you are anxious about pleasing others at your own expense or if you are pre-occupied with anxious thoughts. The body and the mind are inter-connected and affect each other. Thus, when you feel anxious, it is often expressed physically. For example, when you are anxious about something, you might forget to breathe. When you are anxious, breathing becomes secondary to dealing with whatever is threatening you. In order for blood to flow to muscles and to the brain, we have to breathe. When you stop breathing, or breathe only shallowly, your muscles tense up and your brain does not get enough oxygen, which leads to headaches. You might experience panic attacks as your anxiety increases. Health problems include hypertension (which can lead to heart attacks and strokes), ulcers, and more minor health problems like the common cold.

Our world breeds anxiety

Almost 90 million people will experience a clinical level of anxiety at some point in their lives. 15 million will seek panic attack treatment. Everyone experiences stress in their lives and many people experience anxiety on a daily basis, struggling to figure out how to calm their minds. When you think about all you've learned about the dangers of this world, it is no surprise that you would feel anxious. We live in a world with constant access to every conceivable kind of information regarding any possible topic. The calamaties are endless. Ask any massage therapist and they will tell you that most people carrry tension in their bodies. Your body and mind are connected, so when you worry about possible catastrophes your body reacts by tensing up, your breath gets short, and your heart beats faster.

One challenge with anxiety is that it is an invisible pain. It isn't always obvious to others that you are suffering and you might be hesitant to talk about it. As a result, it often affects people for years before they seek help. Luckily, we have effective tools for dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. You have come to the right place!

 Anxiety Treatment is Effective

The greatest challenge is overcoming your anxiety enough to start your therapy. Once you come in and experience the relief that comes with support and guidance, you can learn the skills you need to get rid of the anxiety. Anxiety treatment helps you learn which triggers to look for, what to do to respond to a panic attack, and how to keep it from happening in the first place. With a combination of natural talent, a PhD in Clinical Psychology, and more than 20 years of formal training and experience, I can help you gain control over the chaos of your thoughts and calm your mind. By calming your mind, you will calm your body. Your heart rate will drop, your breathing will ease up, and you will be able to relax. Goodbye, panic attacks!

Dealing with anxiety is a two-part process. First, you must learn to self-soothe and calm yourself. Mindfulness and self-care techniques will help. I start every session with mindful meditation, teaching you how to do it and giving you the necessary experience so you can do it on your own. It is easy to get distracted by all the worries and responsibilities in your life. Mindfulness practice centers you so that you can effectively focus on finding solutions to your difficulties without having a panic attack. You will learn to calm your body so that your mind can remain clear. You will find as you improve these skills, you are better able to fall asleep at night and that you can concentrate.  Self-care techniques are specifically tailored to you for full effectiveness. When you become adept at self-care, you will find it easier to handle everyday stress.

The second part is changing how you perceive the world, as well as the thoughts that increase anxiety. We discuss current events in your life and use them as opportunities to change how you approach them, mentally. Utilizing tools like a thought record, we can pinpoint which thoughts are most likely to lead to anxiety and panic, then address those thoughts specifically. Because anxiety includes both the body and the mind, we will discuss and practice skills for relaxing your body, as well as changing how your mind operates. My Walking Through Fear exercise is a good example of this. You first learn to soothe yourself and calm your body, then you face something that scares you. This simple-but not easy!- process teaches you that you are more capable than you thought. It makes you stronger and takes the power of the fear away. This approach, also known as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), has been shown many times to be an effective strategy for dealing with anxiety. You will be given homework at the end of each session because the practice of these techniques is necessary in order for you to master them.

My Style


My style is best described as compassionate, balanced action. Understanding why your life is as it is helps to satisfy the mind, but it does not create lasting change because it addresses only the mind. In order to make lasting change, you must engage the body and develop actions that fit with your new understanding.


My clients tell me that they feel safe with me. This opens up communication so that we can work with even the most difficult, private issues as they arise. When you need a listening, caring ear, I am here. A good therapist will do more than listen, however, once you have expressed yourself. I will push you to learn and try new skills. I will encourage you to practice, practice, practice. We will practice them together in our sessions, so that you can try it in a safe place and so that I can give you helpful feedback so you can become stronger than you ever thought possible!

With my guidance, you will learn how to overcome anxiety and make the changes that grow you in the direction you choose. You can beat the panic attacks, through specific use of these skills for panic attack treatment. I can teach you, guide you, and support you as you learn the skills, apply them, and master them.

I discovered when I was younger that fear is usually nothing more than a challenge to grow stronger. Most of the things that terrify us are not actually dangerous. When I was scared, I started to face that fear and I proved to myself that I could handle it, whatever "it" was.  In 1995, I started teaching self-defense classes. I have continued to train in a martial art and to teach these effective self-defense techniques. In the course of my training, I continue to find fears that I must challenge and overcome. My formal psychological training began in 1997, when I started graduate school. My focus was on trauma and the severe anxiety following traumatic experiences. I have continued to work with people experiencing all different forms of anxiety, from daily stress to the resulting anxiety following a traumatic event.


In the course of my life in our well-informed and concerned society, I have had to practice the same skills to cope with anxiety. I have discovered that it is an effective way to find my own power. I find a fear, walk through it, conquer it, then move on to the next one. It isn't a one-time experience. It's more like finding your power, practicing it, giving it away, rediscovering it, practicing it, then discovering that there is yet more to find! I was born with a natural ability to speak up for myself that was enhanced by my mentors as I grew. Even with that, however, I had to learn to raise my voice, which is naturally soft and childlike. I had to learn not to be "nice" to people who were disrespectful to me. I had to learn that I could accomplish my dreams. I had to learn to walk through my fears. I continue to learn these, and other, empowering lessons. Everything I ask of my clients I have either already tried, or I am in process of learning. We are in this together.


Concerns

Therapy is too expensive.

How much are you worth? How much is it worth to know how to quiet the chaos in your mind or calm the tension in your body? When you take the time and spend the money to take care of yourself, everything in your life prospers, often including finances. How much is your health worth? Reducing your anxiety and stress today means less health problems resulting in health care costs and loss of income, tomorrow.


 Sometimes, the reality is that your finances simply will not allow for regular, long-term therapy. That's okay because you have options.

  • Health insurance often covers at least some of the cost. You simply pay me, then submit the receipts I give you for reimbursement from your insurance company.
  • Free! 20-minute consultation. It is important that you find a therapist that fits you, but it can get expensive to pay full price to meet someone while you are shopping for the right therapist. I will gladly meet with you for a free 20 minute consultation so you can get an idea of how I work before paying anything.
  • If we work together for a few sessions and you find it is helping, but cannot afford to continue paying the full fee, let me know and we can work together to find a solution that works for both of us. 
  • Therapy does not have to be a long-term committment. People often feel better after a few sessions. You might not make as many long-lasting changes, but you can still get some valuable ideas and skills that you can practice on your own.
  • You can choose less frequent sessions. This usually means slower progress, but it can still be effective- and easier on your pocketbook.
  • If you would like to pay for 10 sessions up front, I can give you a discount. Please note that your insurance will likely still want receipts for each session. They don't like paying a lump sum for a service that has not been utilized, yet.

 How can I be sure that it will work?

Research finds that almost all clients feel better after 3-4 sessions. Long-lasting and solid change requires more time, based on these two factors:

  1. The fit between client and therapist. This is the #1 most important factor in therapy effectiveness. I offer a free 20 minute consultation in order to help you get a sense of how well we would fit.
  2. You must be prepared to do the work. If you are not willing to change your perceptions and do things differently, then nothing in your life will change. The best therapist in the world cannot fix your life without your efforts. I offer specfic suggestions and options to guide you in the actions you need to take in order to make lasting change. If you are not ready to do the work and take the risks necessary to develop your psychological muscles, now is probably not the right time for you to engage in therapy. But if you are ready to get moving to the next phase in your life, you cannot help but succeed!

I'm not crazy

You don't have to have a diagnosis in order to benefit from therapy. Everyone has times in their lives when they can use some extra guidance. When you have already tried everything you can think of, and the panic attacks keep coming (or getting worse), isn't it time to get some help from someone who knows exactly what to do? It helps to have an expert on your team.

Sometimes, life makes you feel crazy, even if you are still functioning. You might find that it's getting more difficult to enjoy your life the way you want to, even though you are managing to survive. The question is, do you really want to live your life just getting by? Therapy can help you find your purpose, so that you can thrive in a life full of Joy.



 It's your life. Are you ready to love it?

You can contact me via phone: (403) 538-5437 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set up your free 20 minute consultation. I look forward to meeting you!

Depression

 

Are you Depressed?

  • Do you find it difficult to get out of bed?
  • Does your life feel like a constant struggle?
  • Are you finding it hard to care about your job, your hobbies, or even your relationships with others?  

Depression can affect your relationships with loved ones, coworkers, friends, and family. It can make it difficult to concentrate, leading to reduced productivity at work or in the home. You might feel like you have little reason to live and wish you were dead. You hit the snooze 5 times in the morning before you can finally drag your leaden body out of the bed. Everything is an effort, with no real reward for making that effort. You no longer find any fulfillment in your work, you notice that your friends are no longer inviting you out with them, and it feels like everyone is criticizing everything you do. Even if others are kind to you, they annoy you. Everything your partner does gets on your nerves. The activities that used to be fun can no longer pique your interest. You find yourself sitting in front of the tv or your tablet for hours on end, but nothing helps. Even sex has lost it's lustre.

 Depression shows up in every part of life. It affects sleep, appetite, concentration, self-identity, confidence, relationships with friends and family, and work. If it isn't addressed and treated, it can lead to serious health problems, loss of jobs and relationships, and even suicide. When suicide begins to feel like the best option, remember that your life cannot get better if you are dead. In order to have a happy life, you have to be alive. I know it feels like a happy life is no longer possible, but give me the benefit of the doubt when I say that I have seen it improve in every single person I have worked with, over the course of almost 20 years as a therapist.

Depression is the most common mental health disorder in North America

In 2014, at least 15.7 million American adults experienced a major depressive episode (www.nimh.nih.gov). Common contributors to depression include biology, a dramatic change in life, and a loss or lack of support and resources. Depression is a mood disorder; it has a genetic component, which means that it tends to run in families. For example, if your aunt was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder (another mood disorder), your chances of experiencing Depression are higher than your friend, who does not have any family members with mood disorders. Even with the genetic loading, you might not have experienced it before if your life was stable and comfortable. If you were never taught how to cope with change, you might find that it sends you spiralling into depression. Change can be difficult. Depression is very common in university students leaving home for the first time, in new parents, in "empty nesters" whose children have grown, and in newly retired people. If you experience something like a divorce or a change in careers, you might also be vulnerable to Depression. Adjusting to a new situation can lead to uncertainty about your abilities and identity, which can make it difficult to "keep your chin up." If you have suffered the loss of a job, a relationship, your health, a child, or a dream, you might find yourself wondering why you should bother going on with your life. Depression can easily set in when you experience these losses, especially if you do not have sufficient support. 

Although nearly twice as many women as men experience depression, they are also more likely to receive treatment. Men are often taught not to cry or express sadness, which decreases their likelihood of seeking help. This could contribute to the tendency for men to experience depressive symptoms such as irritability, anger outbursts, and loss of interest in activities. Women are more likely to experience the "classic" symptoms, including feeling down or blue. Whether you are a man or a woman, your particular experience of depression will be unique to you. Though the symptoms are common and many people experience depression, every person has a unique blueprint. You have strengths that can help you get through even the deepest depression. Depression might be the most common mental health disorder, but it is also one of the most treatable.

 Help for Depression

Depression treatment is well-researched, with many types of treament available.  I am trained in two of the most effective forms, called Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT).  Both of these treatments include understanding how your thoughts and actions affect your mood. When you come in for depression therapy, we will start by looking at how your thoughts and actions affect your emotions. We will take into account the skills you already have and how effective they are. In our sessions, I will teach you how to respond to situations in your life so that you are more effective in getting what you want and improving anything you do that is not working for you. We will practice skills in session, then you will be given specific, simple homework to practice on your own. The homework is tailored specifically to you so that it becomes a part of your daily life. If you are having difficulty following through, which is common with Depression, we will work together to figure out how to get past the blocks and use your natural strengths to overcome them. I will be your support, your coach, and your teacher in this process as you learn and practice skills that you can incorporate into your life. The beauty of this kind of treatment for depression is that you gain skills that you can use for the rest of your life, long after you complete your therapy.

I start every session with mindful meditation. This trains you to find your calm, wise inner voice and helps you focus on the work. It is difficult to concentrate when you are depressed. Mindfulness practice helps you choose where to put your focus and keep it there. Mindfulness practice is useful for many things beyond the immediate benefits of focus, however: It can help with Acceptance. Acceptance is a powerful tool that helps you recognize that the world is as it is, without the expectation that it will change for you. Acceptance is not the same as agreement. Accepting something does not mean that you agree with it, but it does mean that you can decide how you wish to proceed. For example, if you refuse to accept that it is raining, you will not be prepared when you leave the house and you will get wet. If you accept that it is raining (knowing that you would prefer sun), you can choose whether you cover up -and stay dry- or get wet.  Mindfulness also gives you a few moments at a time to focus on yourself, begin to recognize your own worth, and take care of yourself. You might not believe that you are worth caring for. That is the depression talking and it does not serve you well. Self-care is one of the important skills I emphasize in my work with you and mindfulness practice increases your ability to see your own worth.

We discuss current events in your life and use them as opportunities to change the thoughts and actions that are keeping you depressed. We analyze the skills that are helping you and fine-tune them to increase their effectiveness. For example, if your boss was hanging over your shoulder while you were working and you were so irritated that you made a sarcastic remark that got you in trouble, we might look at the thoughts you had that led to that comment. Then, we might come up with actions you could take to improve your situation without causing problems with the boss. We might also look at how to change your perceptions and thoughts to decrease your irritability. Maybe you tried to distract yourself from the irritation (a helpful skill), but were not able to keep it up. We would then explore how you might be able to keep up the use of distraction, or introduce a different distraction, in future interactions. Interactions with others are golden opportunities to recognize what needs to change and to practice new skills.


Why should you call me?


I am a Wholistic Therapist. My style is best described as compassionate, balanced action. Understanding why your life is as it is helps to satisfy the mind, but it does not create lasting change because it addresses only the mind and partially satisfies the heart. In order to make lasting change, you must engage the body and develop actions that fit with your new understanding. Finally, engaging your spirit strengthens your conviction and gives you the additional support you need to follow through. When I talk about the spiritual aspect, be aware that I am not talking about religion. Each person has a unique experience of spirit, including atheists who do not believe in a spiritual world, but find great comfort in the natural world. I find that many atheists, for example, can ease their depressive symptoms by spending time out in the mountains, the forest, the desert, or other rural settings. However you experience it, it can help you cope with depression.


My clients tell me that they feel safe with me. This opens up communication so that we can work with even the most difficult, private issues as they arise. When you need a listening, caring ear, I am here. A good therapist will do more than listen, however, once you have expressed yourself. I will ask questions that lead you to deeper understanding, then push you to act on your insights so that your own actions prove to you that you are more capable and stronger than you ever imagined. My purpose is to support you and guide you through the process of beating depression- and coming out the other side a stronger, more confident version of yourself!

With my guidance, you can discover your own power and take action to live your life fully and mindfully, with Purpose. You will learn how to overcome depression and make the decisions that grow you in the direction you choose.

I grew up in a family full of depression. It has been a fact of life for me that people get depressed and that they cannot be expected to function well when dealing with those demons. The possibility of losing a loved one to suicide has always hung at the back of my mind and I know that I lost my grandmother to a very slow suicide from drinking and smoking and not taking care of herself properly. I have experienced major depressive episodes myself- and come through them successfully. They suck, but they also lead to a deeper understanding of life that someone without depression cannot hope to understand. Carl Jung, as well as others, wrote about it as the Shadow. Knowing the Shadow on an intimate level, which happens with depression, leads to a fuller, deeper appreciation of life, once you come out the other side. Surviving it proves to you that you are stronger than you ever imagined. It is not an easy or pleasant journey, but it can be productive.

My formal psychological training began in 1997, when I started graduate school. In the course of my training and in the intervening years, I have helped many people feel better and learn to cope with depression. Because I have experienced it myself and seen what it looks like in others on a daily basis, I have a unique understanding. I will not tell you to "get over it" or just "fake it until you make it and paste a smile on your face." Not only do I know how patronizing that feels, but I also know that it is not effective. I know how hard it can be to practice the skills I teach because I have learned and practiced them myself. Everything I ask of my clients I have either learned for myself, or I am in process of learning. We are in this together.


Concerns



Therapy is too expensive.

Depression makes it harder to succeed in life, and that includes work and making money. When you take the time and spend the money to take care of yourself, everything in your life prospers, often including finances. As you develop your sense of self-worth, you find yourself spending less time and money on things that harm you (like junk food or alcohol and cigarettes) and asking for more from people who want your time and effort (pay raise, anyone?). When you put it into perspective, therapy is not as expensive as ignoring your own needs.

 Sometimes, the reality is that your finances simply will not allow for regular, long-term therapy. That's okay because you have options.

  • Health insurance often covers at least some of the cost. You simply pay me, then submit the receipts I give you for reimbursement from your insurance company.
  • Free! 20-minute consultation. It is important that you find a therapist that fits you, but it can get expensive to pay full price to meet someone while you are shopping for the right therapist. I will gladly meet with you for a free 20 minute consultation so you can get an idea of how I work before paying anything.
  • If we work together for a few sessions and you find it is helping, but cannot afford to continue paying the full fee, let me know and we can work together to find a solution that works for both of us. 
  • Therapy does not have to be a long-term committment. People often feel better after a few sessions. You might not make as many long-lasting changes, but you can still get some valuable ideas and skills that you can practice on your own.
  • You can choose less frequent sessions. This usually means slower progress, but it can still be effective- and easier on your pocketbook.
  • If you would like to pay for 10 sessions up front, I can give you a discount. Please note that your insurance will likely still want receipts for each session. They don't like paying a lump sum for a service that has not been utilized, yet.

 How can I be sure that it will work?

Research finds that almost all clients feel better after 3-4 sessions. Long-lasting and solid change requires more time, based on these two factors:

  1. The fit between client and therapist. This is the #1 most important factor in therapy effectiveness. I offer a free 20 minute consultation in order to help you get a sense of how well we would fit. I recommend that you contact at least 3-4 different therapists in order to determine the best one for you.
  2. You must be prepared to do the work. If you are not willing to change your perceptions and do things differently, then nothing in your life will change. The best therapist in the world cannot fix your life without your efforts. I offer specfic suggestions and options to guide you in the actions you need to take in order to make lasting change. If are too far down and have no energy to make the effort, you might try medication. Your doctor can prescribe something or you can get a referral to a psychiatrist for an antidepressant. Once the medication takes effect (usually at least 2-4 weeks), you will likely find that you have more energy to focus on learning these lifelong skills.

I'm not crazy

You don't have to have a diagnosis in order to benefit from therapy. Everyone has times in their lives when they can use some extra guidance. Even if you do not fit the full criteria for a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder, the symptoms can feel overwhelming. It can be difficult to go through it alone and friends can only do so much to help. At these times, it helps to have an expert on your team.

Sometimes, life makes you feel crazy, even if you are still functioning. You might find that it's getting more difficult to enjoy your life the way you want to, even though you are managing to survive. The question is, do you really want to live your life just getting by? Depression treatment can help you find your purpose, so that you can thrive in a life full of Joy.



 It's your life. Are you ready to love it?

You can contact me via phone: (403) 538-5437 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set up your free 20 minute consultation. I look forward to meeting you!

 

Personal Growth

personal-growth-header

From Surviving to Thriving: Finding the Joy in Your Life

 

  • Do you have a nagging feeling that there must be more to life?
  • Have you reached your goals and feel like something is still missing?
  • Are you surviving, but not thriving?

 

 You met all of your big goals. You have a good home, a good career, and a family you love. Your friends are supportive and you take your vacations every year. Your health is okay. Everything is going well enough. Why does it feel like there should be more? What is missing? This vague sense that something is stuck can haunt you and make life feel grey and unsatisfying. When you've worked hard all of your life to get to where you are, but it feels empty, the satisfaction bleeds away. You handle problems well and go through the motions of life. It looks like you've succeeded but it feels vaguely disappointing.

You try yoga, go on retreats, read the spiritual books and self-help websites. You've had your astrological chart interpreted and had a psychic tell you about your life. Maybe you started attending church groups and reading the bible every day in a search for meaning. It feels good for a short time, but fades away. Maybe you've tried medication to lift the malaise, but it does not help. Your friends tell you not to worry so much and your family worries that you might depressed. You read up on the symptoms and they almost fit, but not quite. You aren't suicidal, after all. You are able to function in your life. It just feels like something is...missing.

This is the "next step" in your personal evolution

At some point in our lives, many of us reach our goals and wonder what comes next. When you've overcome the struggles, it can feel like life just coasts, with less pain, but without Joy and fulfillment. We live in a problem-focused society. It's all about fixing anything that is wrong. There are few guidelines for living beyond that survival mindset. You've lived a successful life of facing obstacles and overcoming them. It feels good to beat the odds, but it doesn't satisfy you for long. You don't just want to survive anymore. You've succeeded at that. Now, you are ready to Thrive, to experience Joy and fulfillment.

You are ready for the next step. It's time to push past the limits of daily existence and experience each moment of life with Joy and Wonder. The human existence is full of beauty and despair, love and passion, profound moments and intimate interactions. Each of these moments can be fully experienced and savoured, like a fine meal. Life can feel full. When you discover your own unique brand of perception and creativity, you can use it to taste the world like never before. Your senses awaken and you see more, hear more, feel more, taste more, smell more. Colours are more amazing, food tastes fantastic, your love for your family becomes completely overwhelming and overflows from you. This step into a vibrant, full life requires courage on your part. You will have to open up and accept in order to receive the Gifts all around you. It can be incredibly frightening and you might wonder how to go about it, which is where I come in.

Grabbing your courage and taking that step

The development of Psychology was based on exactly this kind of journey. The study of the human mind grew out of a search for meaning and for growth. Pioneers like Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Viktor Frankl all wrote about the search for understanding, meaning, and purpose. They discovered that the answers are found in the process of exploring. When you share your questions and struggles with someone who listens and understands, you feel better about life. When someone joins you on your journey, you can dive deeper and find that meaning. This is generally refered to as Depth Psychology. It's about the deeper, inner workings of the human psyche and it goes beyond healing illness and into the infinite world of the unconscious. It can be a dark journey, but it ultimately leads to more light than you have ever imagined.

Why you should take me along, as your guide

I begin each session with mindfulness practice. This helps both of us calm our minds and be present in the room together. It begins the journey in a safe, simple manner and gives you practice for incorporating mindfulness into your daily life.

My style is best described as compassionate, balanced action. Understanding how you got to where you are helps to satisfy the mind, but it does not create meaning because it addresses only the mind. When you grab your courage and listen to your heart, the world opens up in a new light. This can be fully realized and experienced by taking physical action and implementing certain actions, incorporating your body. Finally, engaging your spirit is essential in the pursuit of Joy and Fulfillment. This includes exploration into how you experience spirituality. It does not mean that you believe in God, or any diety at all. It just means that you begin to explore that sense of being part of something bigger, something more than the obvious. I call the integration and exploration of all of these aspects Wholistic Psychotherapy. Finding the right balance in these 4 areas of your life increases Joy and helps you thrive.


My clients tell me that they feel safe with me. This opens up communication so that we can work with even the most difficult, private issues as they arise. When you need a listening, caring ear, I am here. A good therapist will do more than listen, however, once you have expressed yourself. I will ask questions that lead you to deeper understanding, then push you to act on your insights so that your own actions prove to you that you are more capable and stronger than you ever imagined. My purpose is to support you and guide you through the process of exploring and discovering the best version of yourself.

I have always had a knack for helping people through their journey. I was drawn to psychology with the question of why people do what they do. Over time, this has evolved into appreciating the beauty of each, unique journey. In 1993, I started training a martial art called Poekoelan Tjimindie Tulen, with the guidance of Mas Goeroe Aegong Barbara Niggel. I have continued to train in this martial art, using the lessons to improve my own mental, physical, and spiritual health. My formal psychological training began in 1997, when I started graduate school. I studied under a gifted depth psycholgost, taking part in a weekly meeting to discuss the deeper meanings and explorations of psychology. More recently, I participated in a 13 month seminar on Embodied Awareness, working closely with 12 other women to explore the parameters of Mind, Heart, Body, and Spirit. This work is deeply rewarding for me and I am always grateful for those who ask me to share their journey.

Concerns


Therapy is too expensive.

How much are you worth? If life was about things like owning a home, having a job, and just surviving day to day, you would not feel the emptiness. Part of you knows that life is about much more. Are you worth that exploration?

When you take the time and spend the money to take care of yourself, everything in your life prospers, often including finances. As you develop your sense of Joy, you realize that the simple things are worth more than money ever could.

 Sometimes, the reality is that your finances simply will not allow for regular, long-term therapy. That's okay because you have options.

  • Health insurance often covers at least some of the cost. You simply pay me, then submit the receipts I give you for reimbursement from your insurance company.
  • Free! 20-minute consultation. It is important that you find a therapist that fits you, but it can get expensive to pay full price to meet someone while you are shopping for the right therapist. I will gladly meet with you for a free 20 minute consultation so you can get an idea of how I work before paying anything.
  • If we work together for a few sessions and you find it is helping, but cannot afford to continue paying the full fee, let me know and we can work together to find a solution that works for both of us. 
  • You can choose less frequent sessions. This usually means slower progress, but it can still be effective- and easier on your pocketbook.
  • If you would like to pay for 10 sessions up front, I can give you a discount. Please note that your insurance will likely still want receipts for each session. They don't like paying a lump sum for a service that has not been utilized, yet.

 

I'm not crazy

You don't have to have a diagnosis in order to benefit from therapy. Everyone has times in their lives when they can use some extra guidance. When you have reached your measurable goals and are ready to find the meaning and Joy in your life, it helps to have an expert on your team. This isn't the kind of guidance you can get from just anywhere; it requires knowledge and experience to know which questions to ask you and where to lead so that you can find your path to Thriving.
You might find that it's getting more difficult to enjoy your life the way you want to, even though you are managing to survive. The question is, do you really want to live your life just getting by? Therapy can help you find your purpose, so that you can thrive in a life full of Joy.


 It's your life. Are you ready to love it?

You can contact me via phone: (403) 538-5437 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set up your free 20 minute consultation. I look forward to meeting you!

 

 

Trauma

Do you need Trauma Therapy?

  • Have you experienced a frightening, life-threatening event?
  • Have you ever been in an abusive relationship, either as a child or as an adult?
  • Are you afraid to sleep, knowing that the nightmares will wake you?
  • Do you find yourself withdrawing from others or avoiding certain places?

 Trauma is the experience of an event in which you felt helpless to stop the threat or actuality of death or physical harm of yourself or a loved one. A traumatic experience isn't something that you "just get over." It changes your life. If you do not know how to handle it or have the necessary resources to help you through it, it can be incapacitating. Common responses include difficulty sleeping, intrusive memories of the event, tendency to jump when startled and to take a long time to calm down afterwards, and difficulty concentrating. Avoidance is very common, as well, although it is more difficult to recognize. The more obvious indications that you are avoiding include staying home, when you used to go out, losing yourself in tv or social media so you don't have to think about things, and withdrawing from family and friends. If you find yourself avoiding, or if people are commenting that you isolate yourself, you need therapy. In my experience, avoidance is the biggest indicator for PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) and should never be underestimated.

If you have experienced trauma, you might be questioning your beliefs about the basic nature of people, your own abilities to protect yourself and your loved ones, and wonder if your prior spiritual beliefs were all wrong. Your body is tense all the time and you jump at the slightest surprise. You have trouble breathing and you have headaches all the time. Your friends are drifting away, as you continue to avoid social gatherings. You might find yourself drinking more, or using drugs to numb the pain and drown the memories. No matter what you do, however, the memories keep coming back, sometimes at inconvenient times such as the middle of a presentation at work. Your work is suffering because you cannot concentrate. Part of you doesn't even care anymore. You might even wish you could just die, since there's nothing to look forward to in your life. Alternately, you might feel as if you won't live much longer, anyway, so what's the point in trying? All you want is to escape the memories that keep haunting you. You get images of what might happen in any given situation, taking the people you love away from you. Trauma hits you at a deep level of the basic meaning of life, making you wonder about the purpose of it all.

Of course you can't "just get over it"

When faced with an unusually painful event that leads to or threatens death, injury, or loss of physical integrity (like sexual assault) in yourself or someone you care about, these responses are completely understandable. People who have not experienced a trauma sometimes wonder why you can't just "get over it." You might wonder the same thing. Trauma is life-altering. When your entire life has been turned upside down, it can take time-and help!- to figure it out and move on with your life. You came face-to-face with death and/or annihilation and survived it; that is not an everyday event.

Some statistics from www.statcan.gc.ca:

  • 2012: 2,309 people were killed in vehicular accidents
  • 2012: 136,595 collisions were recorded on Alberta roadways.
  • 2014: 760,000 reports of spousal abuse, with 7% of those reporting sexual assault (keep in mind that the number reporting is substantially lower than the actual number)
  • 26% of victims of violent crimes reported to the police were victimized by a family member
  • 2014: 53,647 of the victims of violent crimes reported to the police were children, with those aged 12-17 at highest risk of sexual offenses
  • 2012: After health-related diseases, accidental deaths were the #5 cause of death in Canada
  • An estimated 4.27 million Canadians aged 12 or older suffered an injury severe enough to limit their usual activities in 2009–2010. This represents 15% of the population

Though trauma isn't something that happens to everyone, it happens enough that you are not alone. It isn't something that people tend to talk about (remember the avoidance?), but chances are very good that you know someone who has experienced a traumatic event. Everyone responds to trauma in his or her unique way, which means that you will respond to trauma in your own way. Getting help and support increases the possibilty that you can get through this and grow from it, rather than feeling destroyed by it.

Trauma therapy offers hope

If you can get past the urge to avoid thinking about the trauma long enough to get started in trauma therapy, you can get through this and move on with your life. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is the most commonly used treatment for overcoming trauma responses like PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder). When you come in for trauma counseling, you can expect to learn about increasing your awareness of triggers for the symptoms you experience. Once we know what they are, I can show you how to respond effectively so that it does not interfere as much in your current life. Learning and practicing these skills will help you feel better. Once you feel better, we can begin the work of processing the trauma through the use of systematic desensitization. Right now, your brain gets "stuck" on the scariest part of the trauma. The purpose of systematic desensitization is to get past that part and on to the part where you are still alive. Systematic desensitization is basically the process of taking something scary and intense and making it manageable. We start by learning how to relax your body and get yourself calm, knowing you are safe right here, right now. Once you are adept at this, we start talking about parts of the trauma that make you anxious, but not overwhelmingly panicky. You use your skills to get through this successfully. In this way, you are proving to yourself that you can handle it and you are practicing skills that help you manage the stress that comes with thinking about the trauma. Once you are able to talk about less upsetting parts, we work our way up to the worst part about the trauma. This process is completed over the course of some time. Each person responds to trauma in his or her own way, so the length of time for trauma therapy is dependent on the individual. Be prepared for it to take some time, however; trauma treatment is not short-term therapy.

So far, I've described the CBT approach to trauma counseling. I have training in several different modalities of treatment and practice something called Wholistic Psychotherapy, which includes the CBT techniques, but takes into account the meaning of the event for you. Not only will you learn about how to respond to symptoms and practice skills that will help you decrease the distress around the trauma, but we will discuss and explore what it means for you, in terms of your beliefs about humanity, yourself, the world, and sprituality. This is the part of trauma treatment that can change it from a disaster to a catalyst for greater wisdom and compassion.

During the course of almost 20 years as a trauma therapist, I have noticed that people who stick with the treatment earn profound insights about themselves and the world. Not only do your symptoms subside, but you gain wisdom beyond any that people normally gain from a trauma-free life. You realize what truly matters in your life. You learn patience and compassion for yourself and for others. I would never wish trauma on anyone, but the benefits from trauma therapy are beyond anything you would expect from a mere decrease in symptoms. They are life-changing. Like a samurai sword that must go through incredibly high heat repeatedly, but comes out nearly unbreakable and incredibly beautiful and effective, you have been through something intensely painful and frightening. You, too, can come out of the fire a work of human art with the capability to make a real difference in your life.

Why you should consider me as your trauma therapist

My style is best described as compassionate, balanced action. Understanding why your life is as it is helps to satisfy the mind, but it does not create lasting change because it addresses only the mind and partially satisfies the heart. In order to make lasting change, you must engage the body and develop actions that fit with your new understanding. Finally, engaging your spirit strengthens your conviction and gives you the additional support you need to follow through. Wholistic psychotherapy is about engaging all of who you are in order to overcome trauma and be the best possible version of you.

My clients tell me that they feel safe with me. This opens up communication so that we can work with even the most difficult, private issues as they arise. When you need a listening, caring ear, I am here. A good therapist will do more than listen, however, once you have expressed yourself. I will ask questions that lead you to deeper understanding, then push you to act on your insights so that your own actions prove to you that you are more capable and stronger than you ever imagined. My purpose is to support you and guide you through the process of walking through the fire- and coming out the other side a stronger, more confident version of yourself!

With my guidance, you can discover your own power and take action to live your life fully and mindfully, with Purpose. You will learn how to overcome your fears of the past and turn them into the ingredients for a better future.

I have always had a knack for helping people find their power. All my life, people have been sharing their stories with me, including the traumas they experienced. I can hear the most frightening and heart-breaking experiences and provide the strength you feel you lack. With time, I can help you see your own strength. When I was in high school, I gave a speech on child abuse. It filled me with a passion to help people who have been hurt so badly by those they expected to protect them. I was 15. That was when I decided to earn a PhD so that I could follow this calling. Part of that calling is providing trauma therapy and part of it is teaching people to recognize their power by learning to defend themselves. In 1995, I started teaching self-defense classes. I have continued to train in a martial art and to teach these effective self-defense techniques. My formal psychological training began in 1997, when I started graduate school. My focus was on helping people overcome and learn from traumatic experiences.

As a woman living in a society that favors wealthy, white men, I have had to discover my own power many times over. It is not a one-time experience; find your power and - poof!- forever successful. It's more like finding your power, practicing it, giving it away, rediscovering it, practicing it, then discovering that there is yet more to find! I was born with a natural ability to speak up for myself that was enhanced by my mentors as I grew. Even with that, however, I had to learn to raise my voice, which is naturally soft and childlike. I had to learn not to be "nice" to people who were disrespectful to me. I had to learn that I could accomplish my dreams. I had to learn to walk through my fears. I continue to learn these, and other, empowering lessons. Everything I ask of my clients I have either already tried, or I am in process of learning. We are in this together.



Concerns


Therapy is too expensive.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to sleep again, without the nightmares? How well are you functioning, right now? It will not get better on it's own. Trauma is one thing that does not tend to naturally improve. When you take the time and spend the money to take care of yourself, everything in your life prospers, often including finances. As you develop your sense of self-worth, you find yourself spending less time and money on things that harm you (like junk food or alcohol and cigarettes) and asking for more from people who want your time and effort (pay raise, anyone?). When you put it into perspective, therapy is not as expensive as ignoring your own needs.

 Sometimes, the reality is that your finances simply will not allow for regular, long-term therapy. That's okay because you have options.

  • Health insurance often covers at least some of the cost. You simply pay me, then submit the receipts I give you for reimbursement from your insurance company.
  • Free! 20-minute consultation. It is important that you find a therapist that fits you, but it can get expensive to pay full price to meet someone while you are shopping for the right therapist. I will gladly meet with you for a free 20 minute consultation so you can get an idea of how I work before paying anything.
  • If we work together for a few sessions and you find it is helping, but cannot afford to continue paying the full fee, let me know and we can work together to find a solution that works for both of us. 
  • You can choose less frequent sessions. This usually means slower progress, but it can still be effective- and easier on your pocketbook.
  • If you would like to pay for 10 sessions up front, I can give you a discount. Please note that your insurance will likely still want receipts for each session. They don't like paying a lump sum for a service that has not been utilized, yet.

 How can I be sure that it will work?
Research finds that almost all clients feel better after 3-4 sessions. Long-lasting and solid change requires more time, based on these two factors:

  1. The fit between client and therapist. This is the #1 most important factor in therapy effectiveness. I offer a free 20 minute consultation in order to help you get a sense of how well we would fit.
  2. You must be prepared to do the work. If you are not willing to change your perceptions and do things differently, then nothing in your life will change. The best therapist in the world cannot fix your life without your efforts. I offer specfic suggestions and options to guide you in the actions you need to take in order to make lasting change. If you are not ready to do the work and take the risks necessary to develop your psychological muscles, now is probably not the right time for you to engage in therapy. But if you are ready to get moving to the next phase in your life, you cannot help but succeed!

I'm not crazy
You don't have to have a diagnosis in order to benefit from therapy. Everyone has times in their lives when they can use some extra guidance. Trauma can feel overwhelming when you try to get through it alone and friends can only do so much to help. Even if it is not currently debilitating, trauma is best handled before the symptoms become entrenched. At these times, it helps to have an expert on your team.

Sometimes, life makes you feel crazy, even if you are still functioning. You might find that it's getting more difficult to enjoy your life the way you want to, even though you are managing to survive. The question is, do you really want to live your life just getting by? Therapy can help you find your purpose, so that you can thrive in a life full of Joy.



 It's your life. Are you ready to love it?

You can contact me via phone: (403) 538-5437 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set up your free 20 minute consultation. I look forward to meeting you!

Empowering Women in Transition

womans-issues-cover

 

Is your life stuck on autopilot?

  • Is something inside you telling you that something needs to change, but you aren't sure what?
  • Do you wonder if you will ever be "enough"?
  • Does it seem like you drift through your day, without purpose or direction?

Sometimes it can feel like life can get away from you, as you raise your children, care for your partner, and run a household. For some, the additional work of a job can lead to challenges with the work-life balance that seems to uniquely affect women. In the midst of all the running around, it begins to occur to you that maybe life could be more meaningful. Your friends and loved ones might start to point out that your self-esteem is poor or that you would be more successful if you could develop more confidence. Maybe your partner is encouraging you to seek counselling as a solution to problems in your relationship.

You might be asking yourself, "what will I do when my children grow up?" or "what would happen if I divorced my partner? I don't even know if I can take care of my own needs anymore." These transitions can leave you feeling powerless and anxious about your future.

 

Everyone experiences change

Change is a necessary part of growth and development. All humans transform many times during the course of a life. Unfortunately, while a man is expected to go through a "midlife crisis" when he transitions from one stage to the next, women have no such large-scale understanding. When we face transitions, such as divorce, grown children, or a change in identity, we often do it alone.

Transitions are a natural part of life. You must change and grow, or you will die. All relationships change over time, including the relationship you have with yourself. They are continually coming and going, becoming more intimate, then growing apart. Some days, your own company is welcome, the next day, it feels like sitting with a judgmental stranger. Like any relationship,your identity shifts as you grow and develop. It can feel like the growing pains will overcome you and leave you broken with no idea who you are. This is temporary and you don't have to go through it alone.

One of the beautiful parts of growing older is the wisdom that often comes with experience. You might be changing, but your own inner wisdom is a resource that is always available to you, no matter what happens to you. With proper guidance from an experienced therapist, you can access that wisdom and put it in practice to move your life out of that rut!

 

Empowerment counselling can get you back on track

Counselling for women helps you sort through your priorities and discover solutions you could not see on your own. With a combination of natural talent, a PhD in Clinical Psychology, and more than 20 years of formal training and experience, I can help you access your inner wisdom and make decisions that will get you through any transitions in your life.

I start every session with mindful meditation. This trains you to find your calm, wise inner voice and helps you focus on the work. It is easy for women to get distracted by taking care of others. Mindfulness practice centers you so that you can effectively focus on your own needs. Self-care is one of the important skills I emphasize in my work with you.

We discuss current events in your life and use them as opportunities to change anything you need to change and keep anything you wish to keep. For example, if your relationship with your partner is hitting a rough patch, we might talk about how you approach disagreements and adjust your perceptions and plans for future disagreements so that you can be more effective. It is easy to get lost in an effort to change others, rather than staying in your own power; the power to make your own decisions and change your own behaviours. Interactions with your loved ones are golden opportunities to develop the power to change your own mind.

Using my experience and training in multiple therapeutic techniques, I choose the best tools to help you integrate  your mind, heart, body, and spirit so that you can find your Whole Self. When you are in full alignment in these four aspects, your own Wisdom will guide you to make the best decisions and changes for you. Once you know what the right choice is for you, we work together to act on it and bring it into your daily life through your actions and practice.

My style is best described as compassionate, balanced action. Understanding why your life is as it is helps to satisfy the mind, but it does not create lasting change because it addresses only the mind and partially satisfies the heart. In order to make lasting change, you must engage the body and develop actions that fit with your new understanding. Finally, engaging your spirit strengthens your conviction and gives you the additional support you need to follow through.

My clients tell me that they feel safe with me. This opens up communication so that we can work with even the most difficult, private issues as they arise. When you need a listening, caring ear, I am here. A good therapist will do more than listen, however, once you have expressed yourself. I will ask questions that lead you to deeper understanding, then push you to act on your insights so that your own actions prove to you that you are more capable and stronger than you ever imagined. My purpose is to support you and guide you through the process of walking through the fire- and coming out the other side a stronger, more confident version of yourself!

With my guidance, you can discover your own power and take action to live your life fully and mindfully, with Purpose. You will learn how to overcome uncertainty and make the decisions that grow you in the direction you choose.

I have always had a knack for helping women find their power. Even as a child, I encouraged the other girls to stand up and face the boys when they were rude. In 1995, I started teaching self-defense classes. I have continued to train in a martial art and to teach these effective self-defense techniques. My formal psychological training began in 1997, when I started graduate school. My focus was on helping women in violent relationships, as well as other traumatic experiences.

As a woman living in a society that favors wealthy, white men, I have had to discover my own power many times over. It is not a one-time experience; find your power and - poof!- forever successful. It's more like finding your power, practicing it, giving it away, rediscovering it, practicing it, then discovering that there is yet more to find! I was born with a natural ability to speak up for myself that was enhanced by my mentors as I grew. Even with that, however, I had to learn to raise my voice, which is naturally soft and childlike. I had to learn not to be "nice" to people who were disrespectful to me. I had to learn that I could accomplish my dreams. I had to learn to walk through my fears. I continue to learn these, and other, empowering lessons. Everything I ask of my clients I have either already tried, or I am in process of learning. We are in this together.

Concerns

Therapy is too expensive.

How much are you worth? How much is it worth to model for your children how to take care of their self-worth and follow their dreams? When you take the time and spend the money to take care of yourself, everything in your life prospers, often including finances. As you develop your sense of self-worth, you find yourself spending less time and money on things that harm you (like junk food or alcohol and cigarettes) and asking for more from people who want your time and effort (pay raise, anyone?). When you put it into perspective, therapy is not as expensive as ignoring your own needs.

 Sometimes, the reality is that your finances simply will not allow for regular, long-term therapy. That's okay because you have options.

  • Health insurance often covers at least some of the cost. You simply pay me, then submit the receipts I give you for reimbursement from your insurance company.
  • Free! 20-minute consultation. It is important that you find a therapist that fits you, but it can get expensive to pay full price to meet someone while you are shopping for the right therapist. I will gladly meet with you for a free 20 minute consultation so you can get an idea of how I work before paying anything.
  • If we work together for a few sessions and you find it is helping, but cannot afford to continue paying the full fee, let me know and we can work together to find a solution that works for both of us. 
  • Therapy does not have to be a long-term committment. People often feel better after a few sessions. You might not make as many long-lasting changes, but you can still get some valuable ideas and skills that you can practice on your own.
  • You can choose less frequent sessions. This usually means slower progress, but it can still be effective- and easier on your pocketbook.
  • If you would like to pay for 10 sessions up front, I can give you a discount. Please note that your insurance will likely still want receipts for each session. They don't like paying a lump sum for a service that has not been utilized, yet.

 How can I be sure that it will work?

Research finds that almost all clients feel better after 3-4 sessions. Long-lasting and solid change requires more time, based on these two factors:

  1. The fit between client and therapist. This is the #1 most important factor in therapy effectiveness. I offer a free 20 minute consultation in order to help you get a sense of how well we would fit.
  2. You must be prepared to do the work. If you are not willing to change your perceptions and do things differently, then nothing in your life will change. The best therapist in the world cannot fix your life without your efforts. I offer specfic suggestions and options to guide you in the actions you need to take in order to make lasting change. If you are not ready to do the work and take the risks necessary to develop your psychological muscles, now is probably not the right time for you to engage in therapy. But if you are ready to get moving to the next phase in your life, you cannot help but succeed!

I'm not crazy

You don't have to have a diagnosis in order to benefit from therapy. Everyone has times in their lives when they can use some extra guidance. Big transitions, like relationship changes, children growing up, and identity changes can feel overwhelming when you try to get through them alone and friends can only do so much to help. At these times, it helps to have an expert on your team.

Sometimes, life makes you feel crazy, even if you are still functioning. You might find that it's getting more difficult to enjoy your life the way you want to, even though you are managing to survive. The question is, do you really want to live your life just getting by? Therapy can help you find your purpose, so that you can thrive in a life full of Joy.

 It's your life. Are you ready to love it?

You can contact me via phone: (403) 538-5437 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set up your free 20 minute consultation. I look forward to meeting you!

 

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