How I Work
(see Qualifications and Experience below)
My therapy work is curiosity with a purpose: asking about the life you most want, and handing you a pen to write that story.
I often think of therapy as an alternative identity project. The problems in our lives may try to tell us we are someone different than we may have thought we were. They make up very convincing stories about who they say we are: we can’t make a relationship last, we’re lousy at school or our job, we don’t have any real friends, people who are our friends would stop liking us if they knew the truth about us, we have something wrong with us so that we can’t accomplish anything meaningful… and so on. Problems push these ideas about our identity on us with what sounds like great authority.
These diminished, flat, miserly accounts of who we are and what our lives are about tend to leave out the rich details that have given meaning to our lives. They rob us of the excitement of acting on what we value to fill our lives with meaningful relationships. They rob us of activities that bring us joy. They rob us of the energy and focus we need to accomplish the tasks we need to get done. These problem stories try to make us forget what we’ve done well, what we’re proud of, what has gone well in our lives. These stories make us forget how much love and admiration our friends and loved ones have for us, what our best skills are. We lose touch with the knowledge we have of how to live the lives we want.
I see a lot of my counselling work as curiosity with a purpose. I ask a lot of questions, directing our attention to your expertise about your life and experience. I ask about what a problem is saying to you about who you are and what you're capable of, and how that’s affecting your life - and whether you might disagree with what a problem tells you about yourself. I ask about what’s most important to you, what you most value and hope for, what you believe in, what you've made commitments to in you life. I'm interested in how you want your life to be, and I want to help you your be in charge of making the story of your life that way. I want to hand you a pen to write that story.
Sometimes it’s been years since people have thought about such things, and people’s answers to some of my questions can be like pulling the tissue paper wrapping off long-forgotten treasures buried in a box in the dusty attic of their lives.
With these answers, we begin to rediscover the identity that you really prefer. This rediscovery of who you want to be undermines what the problem has been telling you. This rediscovered identity often feels more comfortable, even familiar, like a pair of favourite jeans you find at the back of your closet. This leads us to look together at what kinds of actions might take you in a preferred direction for your life, and away from the pain and unhappiness that those problems have been causing.
My way of working is based on something called narrative therapy, which you can read more about here.
Qualifications and Experience
I have been working as a therapist for over 20 years. During that time I have worked in number of settings, including non-profit community counselling, employee assistance program (EAP), as well as training and supervision of other therapists. For the last number of years I have worked as a therapist in private practice, working with children and teens, individual adults, seniors, couples and families, and and even providing therapy for other therapists. I also facilitate professional development workshops and do speaking engagements in a number of settings, and provide performance consulting and coaching for athletes and others in high performance contexts.
Previous to my work in the therapy world I was involved in the human service sector for over a dozen years, doing youth care work, working with young people as a summer camp counsellor, camp director and youth leadership trainer, as well as working in conflict resolution, mediation and facilitation (including teaching conflict resolution courses at the University of Winnipeg).
I have a Master of Education (MEd, Specialization in Counselling) from the University of Manitoba. I have participated in ongoing professional development regularly throughout my career, and have organized and hosted a monthly professional peer discussion group for 15 years.
I am a certified member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, and a Professional Member of the Canadian Sport Psychology Association.