My training is very much rooted in a creative process-based approach to Counselling Therapy, and I completed a dual Masters Degree in Art Therapy, with additional training in Expressive Art Therapies, Sandplay Therapy, Play Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, and Positive Psychology - all of which are rooted in engaging the whole person, all of the five senses, and all levels of the brain, in an unfolding process, guided through curiosity and mindful awareness. A creative process-based approach is central to the meaning-making that comes about through engagement in a counselling process towards lasting therapeutic change.
Each session you will glean something new, and you will likely be surprised at what your individual process reveals to you! I will guide you in a process of integrating, directing, and then applying this insight into tangible areas of your life-so you may capitalize upon the brain's ability to change itself for the better (neuroplasticity).
A goal of the therapeutic process ultimately is learning, which provides for integration, improved capacity for self- regulation, and in meaning-making which all lead to restoration and enhancement of a individuals overall functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being.
The therapeutic process uses the expressive and self-reflective aspects of the creative process to address issues and challenges across the whole spectrum of human experiences.
The Therapeutic Process of Change & Growth
Everyone holds the capacity to grow and develop, learn, integrate, and heal. This all occurs within a process that is cyclical, like a spiral, where the integration of once disconnected or forgotten parts are included, and build upon, which also includes learning: a process of expanding one's self-knowledge and one's capacity to engage life from a more whole and embodied place.
It is not, a destination to arrive at, nor a linear and straightforward path. However, the path towards change and growth may be illuminated through the therapeutic relationship, where you are supported in becoming aware of your unique journey, what qualities, skills, and abilities you already possess, that you can connect with to lighten the load and better guide your journey forward. You will be supported through the therapeutic relationship in discovering and uncovering those qualities, skills, and connections that will allow you to journey on and thrive.
Art, Expressive, & Creative Arts Therapies
Art Therapy is a mental health profession that utilizes the creative process inherent in art-making, within the safe container of the therapeutic relationship to foster development, learning, and healing. Art therapy combines the creative process and psychotherapy, facilitating self-exploration and understanding. Using imagery, colour and shape as part of this creative therapeutic process, thoughts and feelings can be expressed that would otherwise be difficult to articulate.Traditional art therapy processes include painting, drawing, and molding with clay, and the expressive arts therapies include more expressive approaches such as dance, drama, theatre, puppets, etc..
Often art and expressive therapies are collectively referred together as creative arts therapies, as all these approaches have in common the creative process, play, and use of the imagination and curiosity as central to the meaning-making process inherent in creating. I am trained and certified as an art therapist with the Canadian Art Therapy Association and hold additional professional training in Expressive Arts Therapies, Play Therapy, and Sandtray Therapy.
Somatic Experiencing & Emotion Centered
I have trained in the Somatic Experiencing method, which is working with the nervous system and the body where stress and trauma are held, as a way to resolve the traumatic response in the body's physiology. It is aimed at relieving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client's perceived body sensations (or somatic experiences). It was developed by trauma therapist Peter A. Levine, and you may read more about Somatic Experiencing here.
An emotion centered approach includes our emotional experience which also is body-centered in that emotions are hard-wired into the brain and fire automatically in response to our interactions with the world around us, including others and our environment.Understanding how emotions work in the mind and body helps prevent and ease anxiety and depression and shows us a tried and true, science-based path of healing from our childhood wounds, which we all have to some degree. Emotions turbocharge neuroplasticity (a fancy word for brain change) allowing the brain to re-wire for the better. Learning or unlearning in many cases, to feel safe and free to feel our core emotions makes space for healthy expression of our feelings; frees up energy that otherwise would be used to block use from feeling emotions we have learned are overwhelming or unacceptable through early social conditioning.
Being able to feel the full spectrum of our emotions allows us to be open-hearted and more present, giving us access to our curiosity and creativity, putting us in a state of calm, which allows connection to our pre-frontal cortex (a part of the brain that governs higher-level cognitive process like problem-solving and reflective abilities), and to both courage and compassion. Aligning with these traits from being in an open-hearted state allows for the alignment of desires with outer attainment and goals, instead of being on autopilot and reacting to life from a place of overwhelm, fear, and defeat.
Positive Psychology & Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity refers to the ability of the brain to adapt and change, and from the perspective of positive psychology, we can consciously use our awareness to positively influence this process of growth for the better by growing the good, so to speak (those connections that serve our ability to grow and thrive and be resilience), and weeding out the bad (referring to those beliefs and connections in our mind that no longer serve us and impair our ability to healthfully function and relate). The brain has an evolved negativity bias, so it takes repetition and practice to grow the good, but the impact this has upon our overall levels of wellbeing and happiness are great.
Using practices and approaches to support your awareness, you can learn how to cultivate mindful presence, happiness, and greater states of wellbeing which may benefit you in all ways, be it emotionally, physically, perceptually, relationally, or spiritually.