Approach to Counselling...
Many people are concerned about going to counselling to address historical trauma for fear that talking about it can make the symptoms worse. This is a valid concern. The old model of having to fall apart in order to heal has been proven wrong. Digging up the past can cause re-traumatisation and it is the therapists job to ensure that the whole counselling journey increases a person's experience of resiliency and strength. All counselling, even when its about very terrible life events, should leave clients feeling strong, capable and safe throughout the counselling journey. Careful attention to regulating anxiety levels throughout therapy can ensure that the process of healing past trauma can be a very positive and safe experience. We do not have to fall apart in order to get better, but rather can resolve trauma from a base of strength and resilience.
Depression & Anxiety:
Depression and Anxiety can be very difficult to endure. If left untreated, they can start to spiral and worsen with time. Depression, for example, might be triggered by a stressful situation. Once depressed, we are more prone to negative thinking and often are attracted to activities, like isolation, that make the symptoms worse. Similarly, anxiety can start as an extension of everyday stress and worrying. If it escalates to the point of panic then "anxiety about the anxiety" can start to set in. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the foundational therapeutic modality for resolving depression and anxiety. Interrupting and changing negative beliefs and patterns of thinking, learning tools to help the body stay relaxed, and making lifestyle changes with respect to activity, diet and sleep come together to make an amazing difference. We will work together to customise these tools to your situation and reverse the negative spirals of anxiety and depression.
Marriage and Couples Counselling:
The structure I use for couples counselling is the approach developed by John and Judy Gottman, known at the Gottman Method. This evidence-based method offers straightforward strategies to help couples repair, rebuild and rejuvenate their relationships. Together we use this method's very practical structure to get to the heart of how to bring more strength, meaning and fulfillment to each unique partnership. You will learn that while conflict and differences are part of every relationship, taking charge of how those conflicts are managed can make all the difference between relationships that thrive and those that dissolve or destruct. To read more about this method of couples counselling go to the Gottman site for a complete description.
Substance Use and Addiction:
Addiction counselling has been another area of clinical focus for Sandy over the past 10 years. Most people have mixed feelings when it comes to changing addictive habits. One part of us might be very aware that a behaviour is unhealthy, while another part does not feel ready to let it go. Counselling is a safe place to explore the mix of feelings and determine for yourself what changes you are ready for. I will offer you a supportive, non-judgemental environment to better understand the various aspects of your addiction and its impact on your life. I will offer you tips and strategy for moving forward when you are ready and help you heal and resolve some of the underlying issues that may have triggered the addiction in the first place.
I have worked extensively with adults and youth with Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder and other patterns of disordered eating. In this work there is a strong emphasis on learning about each persons unique eating disorder experience and how ready clients are to make changes. As with addictions, most people have mixed feelings about making changes to their disordered eating. The therapeutic process is shaped and matched by that readiness level. In working with Adolescents who are undernourished, there is a strong emphasis on incorporating the whole family into the eating disorder treatment. Modalities of CBT, DBT and Motivational Interviewing are used in varying degrees to match each client's situation. Given the physiological risks associated with disordered eating, the therapy is only one component of a client's service needs. Involvement with a medical doctor to assess and monitor physical risk factors as well as the possibility of nutritional consultation will be encouraged.