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Counselling in Vancouver: Counselling services

A while ago, someone asked me what I did for a living, and I told them. They said, “oh, that must be so difficult … listening to people’s problems all day long …” somewhat to my own surprise, I just smiled and said, “I don’t listen to people’s problems. I listen to their stories.”

So in a way, I want to help people who want to have a good story. And rather than following someone else’s script or a script from the past that is not useful anymore, they want to write and follow their own script, make their own story.

Respect, strength, support
People who work with me say that they like my supportive and respectful style that makes room for all their experiences, from deep sorrow to anger to the wonder that comes from opening the gift of our dreams. They have also told me that they gain strength as I encourage and support them in finding and implementing workable solutions to the challenges they find in their lives.

The knowledge and experience I have gained in over 12 years of counselling and psychotherapy mixes well with my creative side – the artist who expresses her art as she accompanies people on their journey. I see this journey as weaving together the strands of our spiritual, emotional, physical, intellectual and material manifestations.

Good service and a comfortable place to talk
My practice is there for you. In a way, I see it as a service, just as any other service. Sometimes we need a plumber, sometimes we need a hairdresser, sometimes it just feels good to have our nails done … well, and sometimes a counsellor helps.

Counselling in Vancouver: Counselling services

What happens at a session?
I begin most sessions by finding out what is currently working for you, how you are already helping yourself, and we build on that. I rarely end a session without asking what was useful or asking, “so where do you want to go from here?”

You deserve good service. Therefore, I base a good deal of what I do on existing research about therapy effectiveness.

Improvement in therapy
Research shows that the effectiveness of counselling can often be predicted from improvement within the first four sessions. Therefore, at the end of the fourth session, I go over what we have done so far to see how much your life has improved and to plan where to go from there. If it turns out that I am not the best person for continuing therapeutic work, I do my best to refer you to a more appropriate service.

Your support system
Research shows that in order for you to create a better life, nothing is more important than to identify, amplify and support your everyday resources. This is why I work in a completely client-centered way, realizing that what I do is of a supportive nature; I do not “cure” you. I help you heal yourself (and discover how whole you already are!)

Good rapport
Research shows that a good rapport between clients and their counsellors is essential. This is why it is important to me that we like each other. That does not mean that we always have to be “nice” to each other but it does mean that we enjoy each others’ company, that I show you that your progress is important to me, and that I will do whatever it takes to assist you. One of the ways I do that is by realizing that seeing a counsellor is touchy and vulnerable. Just as you take risks in opening your hearts and minds to me, I am also willing to take risks with you, for example by telling you my story when and where it is helpful.

The importance of hope
Research shows that hope is one of the four most important ingredients in effective psychotherapy. My fierce belief that there is hope for absolutely everyone and that everyone has something very valuable to offer is what made it possible for me to successfully work with people who almost everyone else had given up on. When our sessions are over, I make sure that I follow up on your progress and keep in touch with you as long as that is comfortable for you.

Client profile
Over the years, I have found that my clients often have one or more (definitely not all!) of these characteristics …

They are

- Aware of their personal values (to some degree or other; we can never be aware of everything that goes on inside of us)
- Generally open minded
- Interested in trying out new things and behaviours
- Willing to understand that counselling is about a process, not about reaching a final destination
- Excited about change
- Conscious consumers

They

- Believe in the benefit of counselling
- Have a good sense of humour
- Like me and I like them
- Have some quirkiness about them
- Have a great appreciation for creativity
- Like clear communication (even if it’s not happening yet for some of them)
- Like conversation
- Like standing on their own two feet (even if they may be a bit wobbly)
- Love learning
- Use the internet quite a bit
- Have good will towards others

They are adults and come from all walks of life. They may or may not have previous experience with counselling or mental health services. Many of them have had a run-in, at one point in their lives, either themselves or significant others, with addiction, eating disorders, depression, chronic pain, career difficulties, difficulties with life transitions, sexual abuse, family violence, difficulty with motivation. They may be immigrants who are working on getting comfortable with Canadian culture.

Supporting people who are “different” has always been something that I’ve found easy – for example, artists or members of the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community. I also seem to work quite a bit with people who have had difficulties working with other counsellors, people who have particularly harrowing stories to tell, people with a criminal history, and people with ongoing mental health issues.