My parents wanted only the best for their kids, but trauma, depression and the alcohol my dad used to cope with life interfered. I swore I wouldn’t follow the same path, but I did. My parents’ unhealthy ways of coping became my own, until I found experienced and skilled counsellors who helped me learn new and healthier ways of living…

Addiction, Trauma & Mental Health

Substance and behavioural addictions (sex, food, etc.) develop as a way of coping with underlying issues such as untreated trauma, abuse, anxiety, depression and grief. In order to recover from addiction, develop self-esteem and enjoy healthy relationships, the underlying issues need to be addressed. This requires an environment of safety, trust and respect. My first truly safe and healthy relationship was with my first counsellor.

For the past 26 years I’ve enjoyed “paying it forward” by offering experience, strength and hope to others following their own healing journeys.   For over 20 years I worked as an Addictions Counsellor with the Aurora and Heartwood treatment centres in Vancouver, and for many of those years I also ran a small private practice. I’ve also instructed for the Justice Institute of B.C. for many years in its Substance Use Certificate Program.

Couples Counselling

I completed extensive training in the Bader-Pearson Developmental Model of couples counselling, and for the past four years 60% of my practice has been with couples. Prior to that, I worked with addicted clients and their loved ones in an educational group where people learned about the experience of addiction and recovery from presentations and discussions. We covered the science of addiction (changes in the brain), current ideas about how and why addiction develops for some and not others, and what recovering substance users and loved ones can anticipate throughout various stages of recovery.

Areas of Therapeutic Focus: Addiction; Trauma/PTSD; Anxiety & Depression; Couples Therapy, Grief; Chronic Pain; LGBTQ2

Professional Accreditation includes:

  • M.A. in Counselling Psychology (UBC, 1997)
  • Registered Clinical Counsellor (B.C.A.C.C.) #2007
  • Bader-Pearson Developmental Model of Couples Counselling (ongoing)
  • Advanced Clinical Training in Addictions & Mental Health (J.I.)
  • Aboriginal Cultural Competency (PHSA).
  • EMDR Certification I & II (M Wilensky, Vancouver
  • Advanced Group Training (UBC & BC School of Professional Psychology)