Counselling/Psychotherapy

“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.” Brene Brown

I deeply believe in our innate ability to grow and heal when optimal conditions for healing are in place. In my work with you, I strive to provide and foster those conditions within the therapeutic space and the therapeutic relationship. This includes first and foremost my intention to be in a fully accepting, emphathic and authentic presence with you, to always work collaboratively and to honour your existing strengths.

I am a person-centered therapist. To be person-centered mainly means to me that I see you as the expert of your experience and your struggles. I thrive to provide a safe space for you to share your struggles with me and use tools from various therapeutic approaches to help you move through them. 

I’m also a social justice oriented social worker / psychotherapist. I know that safety – the fundamental condition for healing to take place – is not a given for many people who experience micro aggressions, racism and discrimination on a daily basis. 

Yet, I can provide some level of safety in my office by acknowledging that I know that the feeling of safety or even just trusting that the feeling of safety can be attained, is not a given for many people. I seek to understand what more I can do - inside our sessions but also outside of them - to shape a space where people can feel like they are being seen and heard and understood to feel safe enough to engage in healing work.

I am also a somatic therapist. I am trained in Somatic Experiencing (SE) which is a body-centered approach to relieve symptoms of stress and trauma. In the work we do together, we work with your nervous system by not only attending to the words you say but to how you are feeling in relation to your body, to the space around you and to me as you as you say the words. We do that in an effort to regulate the nervous system. 

Over time, this nervous system regulation will make you see an improvement of whatever was ailing you, e.g. pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, short temper, outbursts of anger, feeling detached from life, etc. 

Nervous system regulation enhances resilience and increases our ability to be fully present and actively engaged in your life and relationships.

Here is a lovely 8 minute long video by The Trauma Foundation that explains the connection between trauma and our nervous system very well.

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If you are curious about not only verbally processing your "stuff" but to also connect with your whole body in order to wholesomely move through whatever you need to move through, I might just be the right person.

Perhaps you want to feel more connected to yourself and others, to be better able to feel and process big and scary feelings, to figure out if certain choices align with your true wants and needs and to feel generally more alive and well grounded.

As a SE trained therapist, a Restorative Exercise coach and an advocate for moving our bodies a lot more than we are, I am also attuned to the intersections of our physical and emotional health, and the effect our sedentary culture has on our well-being. Exploring small or bigger movements or specific exercises can therefore play a small or big part (or none at all if this is how you rock) in our therapeutic work. 

Why work with the body?

Traumatic stress is held within our nervous system and our nervous system lives within the body. It is commonly known that our brain sends information down into our body.  But it is also true, and less appreciated in our culture, that our body sends important information up to the brain.

That “gut feeling” is a real thing thanks to the vagus nerve which connects all of our organs with the brain.

In fact, 80-90% of the vagus nerve’s fibres are built to send information from the body to the brain, not the other way around! So connecting with our body matters!

Being curious about the body's signals, exploring the “felt sense” and connecting the body's language and impulses to thoughts and emotions, is a key step towards healing.

What happens in a Somatic Experiencing session?

It`s not unlike other counselling/psychotherapy sessions you might have experienced. The main difference to conventional talk therapy is that your autonomous nervous system (ANS) is an important part of therapy. The ANS is the source of our survival responses and controls all basic body functions.

I might ask you to slow down as you share an experience and ask you to notice physical sensations.  I might notice changes of your breathing or your speed of talking or small reflexive movements you are making and invite you to notice it, too.

This matters because traumatic stress lives in the nervous system and your symptoms can be relieved when your system learns to make more space for the activation associated to traumatic or stressful life events to regulate itself.

It is important to me that I am not doing therapy to you but with you. As we go along our work together, I explain as little or as much as you want to understand about what we are doing and why and you get to have say about what it is that you need. Your nervous system knows best!

A while ago, I got trained in applying the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) and added it to my repertoire. I've done the intervention "on" myself, my children and with a few clients and colleagues, and almost everybody reported positive changes. You can read more about this intervention here. Feel free to ask me more about it. 

 


Contact me to ask any questions you might have and/or to schedule a first appointment. 

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I provide services in English and German.

Coverage:

  • Fees can be claimed as a medical expense for income tax purposes.
  • Many health care insurance plans provide reimbursement for the cost of my services as a Registered Social Worker in Ontario. 
  • I also provide (online) psychotherapeutic support covered by IFHP (Interim Federal Health Program) to refugee claimants in Ontario.

 

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