“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”
I approach therapy from a collaborative, integrative framework, with a trauma and relational, attachment-informed style, with attention paid to structural and systemic issues and the impact they can have on my clients. I also incorporate a Health at Every Size (HAES®) approach to mental health care.
I’ve always seen therapy as a dialogue between client and therapist. I bring knowledge and insight about mental health theories, diagnoses, and interventions, but you are the expert in your experiences and challenges. In therapy, we collaborate and work together to help achieve your goals.
I believe strongly in the uniqueness of the individual; this means that different clients will have different strengths, challenges, perspectives, and experiences and will benefit from different approaches to therapy. As such, I pride myself on being able to draw from different therapeutic models, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic theory, feminist theory and interpersonal theory, to offer strategies best suited to your needs.
Why relational and attachment-informed?
Human beings are, by nature, social creatures, and research tells us that our early relationships with family, caretakers, important adults, and peers influence how we see ourselves and others. Our relationships, both current and past, can have a major impact on our health and well-being. These relationships often influence our ability to anticipate respect, security, authenticity, and kindness from others. With this in mind, I tend to approach therapy with a curiosity about formative relationships and endeavor to create a therapeutic relationship based on safety, respect, genuineness and warmth. This relationship can be a key part of better understanding yourself and others.
Traumatic experiences have a significant impact on us. Both single-event and multiple or complex traumatic experiences affect the brain and body in a variety of ways. Additionally, intergenerational and historic trauma can have a profound influence on our development and ways of being in the world. A trauma-informed approach incorporates these concepts into the understanding of an individual and behavior. As a trauma-informed psychologist, I work to examine both the challenges associated with exposure to trauma and the resiliency and creativity demonstrated by survivors of trauma. In session, I work to help foster the development of skills to manage these challenges, encourage greater self-understanding of personal resiliency and examine ways to connect to feelings of safety and security.
Why focus on structural and systemic issues?
We do not exist in a vacuum. There are multiple structures and systems that we interact with on a daily basis that can impact our development, health and well-being. While they can offer benefits, many of these structures and systems can negatively and disproportionally impact marginalized people. Women, LGBTQ folks, Indigenous people, people from racialized communities, and individuals with disabilities are more likely to be negatively affected by these structures and systems. As a clinician, I reflect on how these structures and systems influence my clients. By making space in sessions for conversations about how racism, colonialism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and other forms of oppressions affect us, it helps create room for greater self-understanding and healing.
What is a Health at Every Size provider?
As a clinician who works with eating disorders and marginalized populations, it is important for me to emphasize the concept of Health at Every Size (HAES®) in my work. HAES is a set of principles developed by the Association for Size Diversity and Health to offer a framework for healthcare that moves away from a weight-centered approach to treating clients of all body shapes and sizes with respect and care. It also stresses the idea that health is neither a moral imperative, individual obligation, nor something that should be used to value one person over another. Being a HAES practitioner also means working to promote health equity, dismantling weight discrimination, and advocating for access to quality healthcare regardless of size. You can learn more about the HAES principles here.