What kind of issues do I commonly work with?
My counselling style is informed by narrative therapy and restorative justice practices. I believe that we all have dominant stories about ourselves that come to seem like 'truths' over time. Sometimes these stories are helpful but often they are not. Such stories are often told by others with little input from the person they are told about. Unfortunately, the more frequently a story is told the more powerful it becomes and the more that it is assumed to be a 'truth' about that individual.
For example, there might be a dominant story in a family that a certain member is a 'drug addict'. Such a story can become the defining feature about that individual and can overpower other stories that provide a richer understanding of that person, and their importance to that family. The 'problem' (in this case addiction) becomes an internalized deficit of character for that person and their identifying characteristic. When problems are internalized as being part of a person (John or Jill 'is' an addict) they can be very difficult to change.
My therapy style attempts to uncover alternative stories that call into question problematic dominant stories. We will work together to externalize problems so that they can be addressed for what they are; problems. Instead of viewing John or Jill as an addict, we should view them as having a challenging relationship with substances. Together we can find exceptions and contradictions to problematic stories and uncover themes that were bullied into the background. I work with individuals and families to collaboratively co-author and strengthen new stories that acknowledge that the problem does not define them. Together we can renegotiate your relationship with problems.
My counselling is also informed by experiences facilitating restorative justice (RJ) processes. RJ is a different way of looking at conflict and crime that seeks to find solutions through safe dialogue with the people actually involved. Through my work and research with individuals with severe mental health concerns and substance use I have experienced that these problems often cause conflict and even fractures in family and peer relationships. I have found that the skills and principals that I have gained through my work in RJ combine well with narrative therapy and assist my clients to restore relationships that have been sabotaged by problems.
Counselling doesn't have to be about problems, it can also help to accentuate and nurture some of your most positive attributes. I can help you to accentuate your strengths in areas such as sport performance and leadership.
I am an approved provider with the British Columbia Crime Victim Assistance Program. As such, I can bill the government directly for counselling services under this program. Please click here to learn more.