How did I become a psychologist? At 16 years of age, I remember declaring that I wanted to become a “psychologist that specializes in addictions”. After High School I enrolled as a Psychology major in University and started my formal education. After 3 years of learning about the theory and research of the science of psychology, I lost interest in it altogether. I finished my degree without any intention of pursuing a career in the field. I worked seasonally and pursued other interests. In 2008 my life changed dramatically. I transitioned out of seasonal work with the help of career counselling. After 3 weeks of days full of taking personality inventories and value sorts later, all signs pointed to a career in the addictions and mental health field. An illness in the family brought me back to Alberta. I was in a yoga studio change room and a guy next to me looked at me and said, “You look like you should work with youth and families”, and gave me a card for Enviros Wilderness School Association. As a Youth and Family Support worker I cut my teeth in the field, working with those healing from abuse, neglect and a legacy of oppression and addiction. I then transferred to a wilderness adventure therapy-based addictions treatment center. In my five years working there I saw the miracle of transcendence when the right conditions were present, and conversely took phone calls about heart breaking set-backs from desperate young persons who were struggling after leaving the center.
I began working for Alberta Health Services and was employed at the Youth Addictions Services Day program. I then transferred to an outpatient role as an Addictions Counsellor with the Adult Population. I received a specialized certification as a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist through the International Institute of Trauma and Addictions Professionals. I facilitated individual and group counselling for persons recovering from sex addiction, substance abuse and alcohol abuse disorders. I learned that addictive disorders nearly always co-exist with trauma and other mental health problems.
I completed my Masters of Arts Degree in Counselling Psychology during this time and subsequently registered as a psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists. I then transferred to the Young Adult Portfolio working as a trauma therapist. I received advanced training in Somatic Experiencing therapy for trauma.
I started working part time in private practice and for the past 3 years have been working with individuals and couples primarily with trauma and addictions issues (infidelity and betrayal). I have training in Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples, which is focused on repairing attachment wounds and facilitating deeper intimacy and connection.
In my therapy office you will find a relationship of sure steady guidance, sensitivity, trust and humor. I have a lot of training and experience and I don’t let that get in the way of knowing who is sitting in the room with me. I have personal experience in recovery and of being in the client’s seat in a therapist’s office.
Education & Certifications
Registered Psychologist (Alberta) #4832
MA Counselling Psychology, Yorkville University (2015)
BA (Psychology), University of Alberta (2003)
Certified Sex Addiction Therapist
(International Institute of Trauma and Addictions Professionals)
Advanced Training in Somatic Experiencing Therapy
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy:
Internship and Core Skills training.
Certificate: IITAP / 2000 | Certificate Date: 2021
Therapy is the use of techniques known to be efficacious for treating injury. Psychotherapy’s focus is on the injuries to the psyche.
These injuries manifest as symptoms (depression, anxiety, addictions, trauma and nervous system dysregulation). Clusters of symptoms can be categorized into psychological diagnoses found in the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual (DSM-V). Psychotherapy requires a relationship that meets the conditions for the healing of the psyche. A few of these conditions are: trust, respect, freedom/autonomy/choice, a felt sense of caring, acknowledgement and validation of how important your psyche and taking the time to heal it are.
The psychologist’s role is to attune to you and provide a trained, safe and intentional human connection. If these conditions aren’t met, psychotherapy will not be very successful in the purpose of healing.
To get the most out of psychotherapy, it is vital to spend time engaging with self. The use of a journal (there may be specific journal assignments or a workbook) is highly encouraged. You may feel compelled to draw in your journal. Daily journaling supports the synthesis of thoughts and feelings, images and symbols into words. It reduces disorganization by forcing us to pay attention to our inner world and find language for what moves within us. There will also be invitations to live out the discoveries we make together and dare to allow some things to shift and change.