Mental Health & Human Performance
Allow me to introduce myself...
I was born and raised Victoria and have called the Comox Valley my home for over 15 years. I spent the first half of my career working in the health and fitness profession (but please don't hold that against me). I began my career working with the YM-YWCA of Greater Victoria; moving to the University of Victoria as the manager of fitness and health. From there I moved to the valley to take a position with the Department of National Defence where I served as a health promotion educator for 12 years teaching courses related to anger, suicide prevention, sexual harassment/assault prevention, addiction awareness, and nutritional / exercise psychology. I served as a sessional instructor for the University of Victoria and North Island College, conference presenter/facilitator, and have publications relating to exercise leadership and exercise/diet culture.
I feel extremely grateful and privileged to be able to do this work and pinch myself every day that I am able to sit with and support people from all walks of life as they work through their "stuff". I value the importance laughter, music, dance, exercise, and social connectivity (and the odd swear word when appropriate) has on healing and tend to avoid "counsellory" lingo like "let's unpack that", or "speaking from your heart space"....not that there's anything wrong with that.
I am a very strong anti-diet advocate and have spent the last 25 years studying and speaking on the evils of weight stigma, weight cycling, and the fact that health and fitness has nothing to do with the size of your body. I coach people on eating and moving intuitively and am happy and willing to conduct sessions in nature or while walking. Working along side kinesiologists and personal trainers, I am able to prescribe physical activity for the purpose of relieving symptoms related to depression, anxiety, trauma related issues, and the like.
Oh, and I have a pug named Pete, have a passion for pizza, and my favorite colour is purple.
My Education and Experience
My formal education/experience includes an undergraduate degree in kinesiology, a master's degree in exercise and sport psychology and a master's degree in clinical psychology (all from the University of Victoria). In addition, I am currently working on my Doctorate in Counselling and Psychotherapy. I worked as a kinesiologist in cardiac post-rehabilitation and general adult exercise leadership and moved in exercise psychology as I began working with people in larger bodies navigate exercise environments. I have served as an international speaker on fat-phobia and diet culture and continue to offer presentations on these and other health topics including eating disorder prevention and workplace sexual harassment prevention.
As a therapist I am formally trained in Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy, EMDR for Dissociative Disorders, and have completed a two year training in Somatic / Attachment Therapy. I understand that we hold emotion in the body and apply techniques that can help manage, process, and reduce negative emotional experiences or triggers while promoting a sense of relaxation and calm. I am registered as a clinical counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC) and my registration number is 13179.
As an educator, I present topics relating to the physiology of trauma, mental health and exercise prescription and eating disorder prevention and awareness. I have worked as a presenter and facilitator for over 30 years in areas relating to leadership, health, nutritional/exercise psychology, and sexual harassment/assault prevention. I developed and facilitated a one-day course for the Canadian Armed Forces at 19 Wing in Comox related to the prevention of sexual harassment and assault within the ranks (which went national and continues to be taught today across all bases and wings within Canada). I continue to offer training related to promoting respectful workplaces to businesses large and small. If you are interested in booking a talk for your group or organization drop me a line via email or phone and we can create something specific to your needs.
My Therapeutic Approach
I can't promise you a singing bowl or Himalayan salt lamp, but I can promise a welcoming approach and respect for where you are in your life. I focus largely on the physiology of psychology and pull from my understanding of the nervous system's influence on our health and lived experiences.
I provide a safe space free of judgement or agenda no matter what the issue(s). Therapy shouldn't feel awkward or be something you have to fit in to. Therapy comes in all shapes and sizes. It is important to feel comfortable and safe. That is why most of us offer a free 15 minute consultation so you can assess the fit before you make this important decision. If you feel I am not a good fit, I'm happy and able to refer you to a therapist who is.
And as you are toying with the idea of booking your first appointment with a therapist remember this....
It's okay to fall apart sometimes. Tacos do it and we still love them.