I believe that each person possesses innate inner wisdom to facilitate psychological and emotional healing. My job as counsellor is to encourage this process through active listening, encouragement, and positive affirmation. Again and again, I have seen clients who are self motivated and committed to this healing process find long-sought-after contentment.
I take a strengths-based approach and work with an individual’s existing personal resources to build resiliency to handle life’s difficulties. Using a holistic approach, I encourage clients to develop a simple yet basic foundation of healthy lifestyle choices and assist them in setting realistic goals for improving sleep, exercise, diet, social supports, spirituality, etc.
Because it is the ‘brain’ which runs everything we do, I like to spend time teaching about the brain/mind and what it means to have a brain-healthy lifestyle. Clients who have experienced trauma or adverse childhood experiences find that understanding the brain’s response to trauma provides a ‘neurobiological’ explanation for many of their difficulties such as problems with tolerating distress, emotional over reaction, shutting down, etc. When clients understand how the brain’s ‘stress arousal system’ works, they understand the importance of working to calm their nervous system through deep breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness meditation.
Adding to this is teaching the importance of changing negative thoughts to more balanced thoughts using CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). I have also found that assisting client’s to have the ‘attitude of gratitude’ can be a powerful tool for creating more happiness.
To summarize, I see my role as being one of teaching client’s a variety of skills so they may better manage day to day life and improve relationships. For clients who are interested, I always have a variety of helpful resources and readings to share.