You are Taking a Courageous Step
Making the decision to seek counselling is an act of courage, and it can also feel overwhelming choosing a good-fit counsellor. I work with a range of clinical issues in individual counselling, and most commonly with folks who need help unpacking the impact of childhood experiences, more recent trauma, or anxiety related concerns. The approach I take is specific to our relationship and depends on your counselling goals. However, my lens in therapy has few primary ingredients and knowing these might help you determine if we would be a good fit.
Because you are the expert on your own life, we work together to create a space that meets your counselling needs. You decide how often you wish to attend therapy, and where you would like us to start with each session. It is my role to be able to help stitch together the sessions in terms of common themes, share a framework for our counselling work, and ensure our sessions feel safe and attuned to your needs. It is also important that counselling has direction as it is an investment in change.
I believe your childhood attachment experiences contribute to, but do not dictate, who you are today. While I want to know your story and understand what happened in your family of origin, we do not need to go back and relive the hurtful or traumatic events you may have experienced to do therapy. Instead, we will work to understand the ways in which you and your nervous system wisely adapted to these hurtful experiences, and how these adaptations may still be involved in your adult life today.
Our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and actions are connected. When we feel attuned, self-aware, and present, we can connect with our emotional experiences and view them as providing important information. I believe if we can explore our emotions rather than shut them out, we can gain better self-understanding. This can guide intentional action in our lives. From this lens, emotions are not problematic. Rather, it is the intensity of emotions that can become problematic.
Neurobiology of Trauma
When emotions are overwhelming, or more intense than what a situation might warrant, it is likely that our nervous system is activated or triggered. In this state, we can feel like we have been hijacked by our emotions. Understandably, it is difficult to choose how to respond, even if we have the best of intentions to use specific strategies to handle a situation. A neurobiological lens in therapy considers how your nervous system is wired for survival, and how it adapted to unsafe situations that were not your choice. Given these adaptations, our therapy involves some re-wiring of those automatic reactions.
Patterns and Parts
If daily life feels like some form of survival, habituated problematic coping, or like you are on autopilot most of the time, we work to better understand how these patterns play out in the present. When it fits, I use the framework of internal parts to guide our counselling work. I hold the understanding that you have sought help because you are wisely aware of what you need if you can be mindful and attentive to your experiences.
Common issues I work with in individual therapy include the following:
- Anxiety and dysregulated worry
- Depressed mood
- Impact of childhood trauma
- Impact of physical, sexual, or emotional violence
- Problematic relationship with food
When working with adults, I rely on training in:
- Interpersonal Neurobiology
- Emotion-Focused Therapy
- Trauma-Informed Stabilization Treatment (TIST)
- Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Level 1
- Narrative Therapy Level 1
How do we get started with Individual Counselling?Contact Michelle
- Our first session is an intake session, which is 60 minutes long. We confirm this by email and I set up your electronic file where you can book your own appointments in the future.
- I send an intake form and consent form by email to complete prior to our appointment.
- If you would like to meet me first, I offer a free 15-minute phone or online consultation to determine if and how we might work together.