Therapy sessions are designed to unravel painful issues and provide you with effective tools to manage issues so you can live a happier and more meaningful life. I can help you re-frame your thinking and provide you with valuable tools to cope with life’s obstacles.
There are three different options for our sessions so you can choose what best suits your individual needs:
In-office counselling: A private and comfortable office for your sessions.
Walk and talk therapy: We can go outdoors for our therapy sessions. This can be a really wonderful experience. Learn more about this alternative here.
Telephone counselling: This is a great option for those who live away from Sydney, who are unable to come into my office for any reason, or for those who simply prefer this method. While first sessions are always held in my office, any sessions after the initial intake may be held over the phone.
Issues That May be Impacting Your Ability to Live a Happy and Healthy Life
As a Clinical Traumatologist, I work with individuals who have been impacted by trauma. Traumatic incidents can include, but are not limited to: motor vehicle accidents, life-threatening accident or illness, sexual assault, neglect, domestic abuse, abuse of any kind, living or serving in the military, witnessing a crime, accident or death, losing a loved one, or a natural disaster (flooding). It is not the event itself that determines if it is traumatic but how the individual responds to the trauma. What may be traumatic to one person may not be traumatic to another person. After a traumatic experience, you may feel a wide range of emotions and/or develop physical symptoms. You may notice changes in your thoughts and your behavior. You may feel the world is not a safe place anymore, isolate yourself from friends and family, and lose interest in activities your previously enjoyed. Overwhelming stress, anxiety, confusion, fear, guilt, anger and sadness, along with with unwanted memories, flashbacks, and episodes of dissociation where you feel like you are not "really here," are some common symptoms of trauma. Remember, if you have experienced a traumatic event, you are having a normal response to an abnormal event. I can help you resolve the effects of post-traumatic stress and readjust to your life following a traumatic event. This is done by instilling a sense of safety, learning about trauma and post-traumatic stress, identifying and challenging unhealthy or inaccurate trauma-related thoughts, learning how to manage anxiety, and mindfulness and meditative techniques and relaxation exercises coupled with exposure.
Depression and Anxiety
Have you been feeling depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed with stress? You are not alone. In any given year 1 in 5 people will personally experience a mental health problem or illness (Canadian Mental Health Association).
Anxiety can leave you feeling a wide range of symptoms that include, but are not limited to, heart racing, sweating, shortness of breath, trembling, dizziness, weakness, nausea or stomach problems. You might have difficulty focusing or thinking clearly, feelings of impending doom, fear of dying, and/or feeling like you are going "crazy". You may be unable to attend social events or leave your home without feeling a great deal of anxiety. You may continually put off things that need to get done. Severe anxiety can result in the inability to function on a day to day basis, leaving you feeling isolated and alone. Whether you are experiencing mild to severe anxiety, there is help. Learning about anxiety, finding new ways to relax, re-framing and challenging negative automatic thoughts associated with your anxiety, developing healthy coping mechanisms, using relaxation techniques, and facing what you are afraid of, are some of the interventions aimed at reducing your anxious symptoms.
Depression can leave you feeling alone, empty, hopeless, unmotivated, and disconnected from the world. You might have feelings of worthlessness, anger, irritability, and/or sadness for long periods of time. You may experience sleep problems, changes in your diet and/or weight, unexplained physical problems, and a loss of interest in previous activities you engaged in. You may cry often and have frequent thoughts of death and/or harming yourself. If you have thoughts of harming yourself, know that depression is a common mental health issue and treatable. There is help for you. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, please go to your nearest emergency department, phone 911 or NS Mental Health Mobile Crisis line at 1-888 429-8167. If possible, have a friend or family member with you. Remember, depression is a common mental health problem and can be treated. Your symptoms can be treated through collaborative treatment, learning about depression and how it works, social re-connection and support, identifying issues and setting goals, re-framing and challenging your negative thoughts, making healthy lifestyle changes, finding new meaning and passions in life, and using mindfulness and meditative techniques in your daily life.
Fast Facts about Mental Health: http://www.cmha.ca/media/fast-facts-about-mental-illness/
Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
If you are a survivor of sexual assault and/or domestic violence, it is important to know that it is not your fault. You did not deserve to be hurt in this way, no matter what the circumstances were. Sexual assault and domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of their age, gender identity, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. If you have experienced sexual assault and/or domestic violence, you may have feelings of guilt, shame, fear, confusion, and anger. You may feel a loss of control, helplessness and/or like you are going "crazy". Your world view may have changed and you might feel that the world is not a safe place anymore. You might experience depression, anxiety, and episodes of dissociation where you "check out" or don't feel present. These are common and normal responses to a traumatic event and can be treated. I work with individuals impacted by sexual assault (recent and historic) and/or domestic violence through psycho-education, identifying and challenging unhealthy or inaccurate thoughts, developing healthy coping mechanisms, assertiveness training, learning
relaxation techniques, instilling a sense of safety, security and trust, and reclaiming your self-worth. The goal in therapy is to reduce the trauma symptoms, anxiety and/or depression symptoms you are experiencing. You don't have to go through this alone and there is support for you.
Grief and Loss
Losing someone you love is one of the most stressful things you can endure in life. This loss can create indescribable pain and suffering. Feelings of sadness and grief that can become too much to bear can appear. When you experience a loss, you may feel a wide range of emotional and physical symptoms. You may be unable to eat, sleep or think clearly. Crying often and becoming overwhelmed with sadness, fear, anger, guilt and confusion is common. You may be unable to work, interact with others, or engage in activities that previously brought you joy. These are all normal reactions to losing someone you love.
It's important to note there are different kinds of loss . Some other examples include: loss of a friend, loss of a relationship, loss of a pet, leaving home, illness/loss of health, loss of physical ability, and loss of financial security. In therapy, we work towards reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression through learning about loss and grief. We work through feelings of guilt, re-frame cognitive distortions, improve self care and increasing social support. By finding new meaning in life, and implementing relaxation techniques in your daily life you will better be able to process your loss.. Talking about your loss and what you are experiencing is an important and necessary step towards healing. Know that you don't have to go through this alone and there is support and guidance available for you.
Life Transitions and Personal Growth
Perhaps you are starting your life over after the break down of a relationship or you are considering leaving your current relationship. Maybe you are, or are thinking about, changing careers, experiencing a sudden loss of a job, starting college or university, getting married or having children. Perhaps you feel you have outgrown a particular aspect of your life and you are feeling unsure of how to move forward. When life changes, we often feel anxious, uncomfortable and uncertain of what to do next. You may second guess decisions you make, feel confused, and worry about how your life will turn out. You may also feel depressed.
There may be certain aspects of yourself, or your life, that you would like to change for the better. You might like to learn how to better manage feelings of anger or disappointment, enhance your sense of self-esteem and acceptance or increase your overall well-being. These are a few examples of areas for self-development and personal growth.
Through present focused and meditative techniques, self-reflection, exploration of your values, you can work through any of life's transitions. By exploring interests, goals, identifying and re-framing inaccurate and negative automatic thoughts you can increase you sense of stability, grow as a person, and be in control of your life.