I work with survivors of childhood abuse, neglect, or emotionally immature parents, women who have survived abusive partner relationships and people who have been in accidents or witnessed traumatic events. Survivors continue to struggle to find peace or contentment in their families, friendships, work lives and intimate relationships.
“Trauma survivors have symptoms instead of memories”
– Janina Fisher
Symptoms of trauma include depression, irritability, hypervigilance, loss of a sense of self or purpose, hopelessness, phobias and paranoia, impulsivity, generalized anxiety and panic attacks, self-destructive behaviour, substance abuse and addictions, eating disorders, decreased concentration, insomnia, emotional overwhelm, loss of a sense of the future, shame and worthlessness, little or no memories, nightmares and flashbacks, mistrust, chronic pain, headaches, and feeling unreal or out of the body.
To treat the symptoms of trauma we have to wake up the thinking brain, create safety, reduce phobias to the trauma symptoms, reconnect to our bodies, ourselves, and learn to develop healthy relationships. We also need to make sense of the trauma symptoms as survival responses and to integrate them into our sense of self.
I work from a Trauma Informed Stabilization Treatment, Attachment-Focused, Neurobiological, Sensorimotor, trauma-informed yoga and Relational Psychotherapeutic perspectives. Together we will discover the strategies you used to cope with the trauma you experienced and how adaptive those strategies were. We will notice how those strategies continue to be alive today, and how they can be out of place in your life as it is being lived now. We will look at ways to update those strategies to better fit your current life. We will also notice the ways those strategies have become encoded in your body and practice specific strategies so that you can shift your physical patterns to find more ease in your body and mind. Learning strategies to update your encoded trauma symptoms will provide more peace in your relationships and more choice in how you respond to old triggers when they arise in the present.
At your own pace, we will work to develop a safe, non-judgemental, boundaried professional relationship that will provide you with a sense of security in the world and a place you can come back to when you need to refuel. Ideally, this new feeling of security and being appreciated and understood accurately will lead you to value yourself more. In this valuing of yourself, you may start to seek out safe people who can love you for just being you and who can respect your boundaries. You will learn in our connection how to handle the normal ups and downs of relationships and feel more competent in these moments in your own life. Instead of running your life, your history can be metabolized emotionally. As you integrate the past, you can find the freedom to be who you were meant to be and to appreciate all the strengths and resources you have gained in your life.
Collingwood Psychotherapy & Yoga Center
Which Teenagers do I work with?
I work with teenagers and young adults struggling to grow up and willing to do the hard emotional work it requires. These teenagers agree to engage in regular therapy and their parents also agree to attend therapy regularly.
I do not work with teenagers who are forced to come to therapy by the courts or by parents – for these teenagers who are not ready to grow, I work with their parents only and the teenagers are welcome to engage in therapy at any time.
These teens struggle with:
- Poor peer and family relationships
- Trouble going to school or succeeding in school
- Having realistic future plans or feel hopeless about the future
- Feeling bad about who they are
- Feeling angry, stressed, nervous, numb, lonely, isolated, anxious or sad
- Leaving their home during the day to fulfill responsibilities or social activities
- Hurting themselves or others with self harm, suicidal thoughts, excessive drug/alcohol use or dangerous behaviour
- Seeing things in black and white terms and struggling to understand the grey areas in relationships.
- Have accessed hospital interventions, psychiatrists and therapists and nothing seems to work.
Outcomes for Teens in Therapy:
- Feel better about yourself and more comfortable in social situations
- More respectful, easy, supportive relationships with your friends, parents and siblings
- Understand your family dynamics and how they play a role in your mental health
- Be more successful in school
- Feel like you have a voice with your friends, your teachers, your parents and siblings
- Discover what makes you happy
- Learn why you feel so nervous, anxious or depressed and what you can do about it
- Learn to say no to people who are trying to get you to say yes to something you don’t want to do
- Learn how to have dating relationships that feel good and supportive instead of confusing, constricting and dramatic
- Figure out how adults can help you instead of always seeing them as the enemy who will get you in “trouble”
- Understand addictions and figure out if you are headed for one or not
- Learn about healthy relationships and sexuality
- Figure out how to be a supportive friend or boyfriend/girlfriend
- Understand why it is you keep getting in trouble with the law – decide if this is the path you want to take
Which Parents do I work with?
- Parents who have felt shut out of their child’s psychological interventions by professionals and want to be an integral part of a transparent healing process of the teen and family.
- Parents who are frustrated with their teenager’s inability to function, scared about their teen’s and family’s future, hopeless about the medical and educational system’s ability to help them,
- Parents who are ready to commit to their own therapy, understand their own histories and how they are impacting their families.
- Parents who recognize that this process will not be quick, but will require sustained effort, will involve setbacks and will require of them resilience and commitment. Parents are the engines of the family and their growth and development is a central part of the therapeutic process that will bring about change in their teen’s life.
- They recognize that they will have to look at themselves through their teen’s eyes and they may not always like what they see.
- They have the courage to see themselves more accurately and to have compassion for themselves and their own histories, then to extend this compassion to their partner, their children, their family of origin and their community.
- Parents who no longer want to be isolated because of their teen’s behaviour
Outcomes for Parents in Therapy:
- Become more confident handling conflict and learn to help their child through attuned limit setting and successfully navigating the rupture/repair cycle
- Discover how their own childhood development impacts their parenting today
- Recognize that they have a huge part to play in helping their teen feel better
- Reignite their own vitality – get a life again
- Feel better in their relationship with their partner or the other parent – start to work together rather than be split by the teenager’s behaviour
- Improve communication within the family
- Heal from past traumas and live a more calm, confident and grounded life
- Discover effective communication styles that allow you to be truly yourself and to parent from a place of responding rather than reacting.
- Recognize and reclaim your strengths and resources
- A peaceful home (most of the time!)
To provide clients with an accepting, friendly space to discover their healing path and to develop therapeutic relationships that sustain, inspire and guide them.
To provide clients with highly skilled, self responsible and self aware psychotherapists and yoga therapists who are always striving to learn about advancements in their fields and to continually develop themselves.
To create psychoeducational opportunities for clients to empower them to learn about their symptoms and how they can move towards healing and growth.
To provide innovative training programs that develop highly competent, self aware, self responsible, and inspiring psychotherapists and yoga therapists.