WHEN YOU ARE SUFFERING WITH AN INDIVIDUAL,COUPLE, OR FAMILY ISSUE ...
WHERE DO YOU TURN?
Did you know... Sometimes the HELP YOU NEED
is only a Phone Call, Text, or Email away!
So, you've decided to begin therapy.
Here are some pointers on what to look for when you engage in therapy with us. Because we value these therapist factors, we strive to embody them with our clients at all times.
We are Registered Marriage & Family Therapists and have the knowledge, skills, and experience to provide effective psychotherapy for complex issues with Individuals, Couples , Families, & Groups (including High Conflict, Estranged Families, Personality Disorders, & Longstanding Issues)
We view therapy as science (evidence-based practice) used in a relationally ethical human encounter
We are grounded in Relational Ethics and take a Relational Ethics and Compassion Focused to our interactions with you, and value the importance of your world view (your understanding of the world and how you fit into it) including the religious, spiritual, political, and social aspects) and, at no time, attempt to impose our worldview and beliefs upon you. We believe that Relational Ethics with a Compassion Focus contributes to a powerful Therapist-Client Relationship that can, and do, Transform Lives.
We believe in your capacity and inherent potential, as a human person, to change and grow. Secondly, we believe in the potentially powerful effects of therapy
Agony Aunt or Agony Uncle (who tends to listen to you tell your story 'over, and over and over again' without intervention). Rather, we will collaboratively engage you as a partner in your own therapy in helping y ou achieve your mental health/wellness goals.
We pay attention to the old adage, 'if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail'. We realize that no 'one type of therapy' is sufficient to treat everyone's and anyone's issues, and we never attempt to 'fit you' into a type of therapy that is not found to be effective for your problem. We have gained competencies in many types of therapy to ensure we can be as effective as possible in our treatment approach for the individuals we encounter. To that end, we are dedicated Life-Long Learners. We involve ourselves in continuing education activities far beyond what is required of us by our professional registration/certifying bodies. We have become competent in many evidence-based therapies and have especially embraced the Third Wave Therapies. All to better enhance our professional Tool Boxes.
We have reflected long and hard, (examined) ourselves 'as therapists' and take very seriously the effect of the person of the therapist on client outcomes. This reflection involves being aware of issues that can potentially create fissures in the therapy process, taking action to resolve such issues, and paying attention to any and all client feedback. We realize that the profession of therapy is one of 'responsibility and accountability', and never to be taken lightly.
We are ever aware of the inherent imbalance of power in the client-therapist relationship and the forms that imbalance can take. We also realize that many, if not most, of those seeking therapy do not know the differences between the education, preparation or practices of those providing therapy. How could they? It's not their area of expertise! This makes it even more critical for clients to be educated in this area, so they know what is expected from them and what is expected from the therapist. We see these responsibilities from a Four-Factor lens: The Therapist Factors, (the WHO am I: knowledge, skills, experience, and overall ability to form a therapeutic relationship with the client); The fit between the client’s problem and the intervention used by the therapist that is discussed during the assessment process); The client factors, including predisposing, precipitating, perpetuating, protective factors, and client personality. Also considered is the client’s readiness and motivation to engage in. and do the work of therapy, including out-of-session work. There are 168 hours in a week, and most people do not attend therapy more than once a week which means work continues outside sessions. The last factor is the balance of roles assumed by the therapist and by the client. When the roles are not established and understood, therapy may not be successful. and the client may be out of pocket for the costs incurred and without significant change. The 'Sweet Spot' of therapy occurs when these four factors converge
You can ask us any number of questions and we will be happy to answer them! You can ask us about our credentials and areas of expertise, the kinds of therapies we practice most often, our experience working with those in similar situations to yours, and more.
Ask, Ask, Ask!
Acceptance is a key component of therapy. We assess your problem, but do not make judgments about how your problem developed, while (at the same time) we help you accept that you are responsible for working on and improving your situation even if you did not cause it. We help you to use your time in therapy for maximum benefit. Accepting you does not mean we won't explore tough issues with you when necessary. So, acceptance happens at the same time we are helping you move forward in making changes that will help you realize your goals.
Telling a client 'what to do' (making decisions for them) takes away the client's autonomy and can be seen as doing a client's therapy 'for them'. There is a difference between 'telling you what to do' and collaborating on 'at home' therapy work that is directly linked to your therapy goals and has been collaboratively agreed upon by you and your therapist.
We will check with you every step of the way to ensure that we are correctly understanding the information you have provided.
We understand that 'money does not grow on trees', that therapy is expensive, and that we have a definite responsible to help you reach your goal, and learn coping skills to prevent relapse of symptoms. One of the most important concepts you will learn from us is 'how to help yourself'. We will not rush you, but we will check progress on a regular basis.
We will LISTEN to you; listen for content, listen for mood, and listen for meaning. We want to know what is important to you, so we will be paying attention to the specific words and phrases you use, and whenever possible use 'your own words' when discussing issues with you.
We will acknowledge, accept and validate your thoughts, emotions, and actions as the truth of your current experience and without making value judgements. We will also help you consider if your thoughts, emotions, and actions are consistent with your values and goals and what you may need to do to bring them into better alignment.
We encourage you to reflect on your own therapy experience and will listen to your feedback without becoming defensive or adversarial when you voice a concern
We can help you gain new insights, and new ways of thinking about your problem/situation/life. We will help you (if necessary), identify blocks to more effective patterns of living. When necessary, we will help you identify maladaptive behaviours that may be getting in the way of you experiencing your true values.
We believe that 'therapy' is an action event, and if you, the client, are not moving (even slowly) in a positive direction, there is a problem and we will regroup to see why this is happening. As therapy progresses, you should become more competent in decision making, more resilient, and more independent of the therapist. If you are growing more (not less) dependent on the therapist, you are not learning to problem solve.
We will address predisposing factors related to your problem (as well as precipitating. perpetuating and protective factors) in your therapy. We will not view your entire therapy through that lens, but the past does inform and has implications for the present.
We will engage you on cognitive, emotional, and behavioural levels, all the while becoming more familiar with your life and your own personal narrative.
We are skilled in The Third Wave Therapies and Trauma Treatments (including Cognitive Processing Therapy, EMDR, and Prolonged Exposure). We are familiar in working with clients experiencing PTSD/vicarious/secondary trauma and Compassion Fatigue as well as non-traumatic issues.
We will not tell you that you can be HAPPY all the time! That you will 'feel good' all the time! Yes, these statements are correct!
When you address your problems in therapy, work toward changing your maladaptive thoughts, feelings and behaviours that precipitate or perpetuate your problems and recognize/enhance your own protective factors, you will recognize that a human person cannot be happy all of the time. As human beings, we have a wide range of emotional responses and it's natural to feel sad, scared, unhappy, angry, disappointed, etc. in particular contexts and situations.
Being happy all the time is not a reasonable expectation because other emotions are required in particular contexts and situations. Imagine the person who is being bullied in the workplace, the person who is being racially profiled by a power source, the child who is being abused at home! Happiness, in any of these situations, would not propel the person to take necessary actions to stop the abuse. Imagine losing a loved one to death and not responding to that loss with sadness and pain! These emotions are necessary to process the loss and adapt to a new 'normal' without that person. In fact, if people never experienced grief, frustration, discontent, and other emotions, we would be a very different type of creature, and living in a very different world. Humans experience a variety of emotions in order to live in the real world, identify dangers, respond to challenges, adapt to crisis and loss. and even to new situations, and respond to these in an appropriate manner. That cannot be done if one is always happy! Author Steve Hayes explains this very well in this video!