My name is Alex, and I am here to meet you where you are at and to support you on your journey toward the place you’d like to be. Whether you are struggling with anxiety, depression, relationships, life transitions and more, I am here to support you and give you the tools necessary to thrive in your life.
What is your professional background?
I am Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC), which is an accredited designation from the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors, and a Professional Art Therapist holding a professional membership with the BC Art Therapy Association. I completed my Master’s in Counselling Psychology: Art Therapy at Adler University during which I gained experience working adults in an in-patient addiction treatment centre as well as in community settings. Previous to my Master’s degree, I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art at Simon Fraser University. I have 5 years of experience working with older adults in community and long-term care settings and currently work with the Better at Home program through a Neighbourhood House assisting older adults in the community.
What kind of extra or specialized training do you have?
- San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training
- Gottman Method Couples Therapy Level 1
Why did you become a counsellor?
I decided to become a counsellor because my own personal therapy journey was so healing and helped me to find and define who I am and I wanted to help others do the same. Before starting therapy, I couldn’t see any way to change my situation and that my anxiety would always be running my life. Therapy gave me hope and a way to change how I experienced my life, it gave me agency to make the changes that allowed me to grow. I want to show others that change is possible and that even if you feel you are at your lowest or that you are stuck, there will always be someone to help you to see a different perspective that you didn’t know was possible. I want to allow my clients to understand that the struggles that they are experiencing do not define who they are and, together, we can adapt and work through whatever they are facing, however big it might feel.
Why did you become an art therapist?
Art has always been a part of my life. Accessing the creative process and being “in flow,” where one finds ease and can lose track of time within an activity, is a vital piece of my experience as a human. I believe that creativity is one of the core things that differentiates humans from animals, the ability to create, tell stories, weave fictions, build things and to make something new and unique is one of the hallmark pieces of evidence of human culture and civilization. The creative process, in my mind, is key within therapy and understanding ourselves. Using art can aid in finding meaning, connections, perspectives and, neurologically speaking, can also help in regulating the nervous system and assist in processing trauma. When talking isn’t enough, art can step in to help in communication and healing.
What have you learned from being a counsellor?
I have learned that each person has a complex and completely individual experience of the world. I’ve come to recognize that it is part of my job as a counsellor to understand my client’s unique experience and to support them in that experience to meet their needs and wants in life. I’ve also realized that people are so amazingly resilient and have so many unseen strengths, most people can have some extremely tough or tragic situations and still have hope, which I want to help foster in my client’s lives.
What types of clients do you work with?
I work with adults, older adults, and couples with various life and relationship challenges. I work with folks individually and in groups that can help build connection and support networks. I have an interest in working with folks with mood-based challenges, such as depression and anxiety, and those who consider themselves a highly sensitive person to the world and emotions.
What is your cultural background?
I come from a white European background, and I typically describe myself as a 5th generation settler in Canada. Since my background provides a limited scope of culture, I am always looking for ways to learn about other cultures and traditions and what these cultural experiences offer within our society.
What are your beliefs around religion/spirituality?
While I am not specifically religious, I consider myself to be spiritual or agnostic. I believe that there are things beyond the scope of our knowledge and understanding as humans and that in some way, everything is connected. Overall, I feel that having a belief in something bigger than ourselves can be vital to many people’s well-being and that organized religion can help to promote that part of ourselves and find spiritual connection. However, I also know that some organized religion has created circumstances of harm and trauma for many people. Whatever your experiences of spirituality or religion are, I welcome them into the therapeutic space to be discussed openly.
What is your approach to counselling?
First and foremost, my approach is person-centred, this means that I focus on your needs and wants as a client. I will not pressure you into taking on a particular perspective or path, this is your journey, and I am here to help you along the way, whatever that may look like for you. My aim is to provide a non-judgemental, genuine, and trusting therapeutic relationship for you to discover those things for yourself. I also use a trauma-informed and strengths-based framework to support your journey and with an understanding that trauma comes in a multitude of forms. I draw upon mindfulness, somatic methods, and some concepts from Internal Family Systems theory to provide ways to talk about and manage emotional dysregulation, but only if that seems right for you.
Do you take notes during session?
Occasionally, I will take notes during a session so that I can remember particular bits or details of our conversation. This is only so that I can take note of things to review, revisit, or to do research on. It is simply a tool to ensure I am providing and supporting my clients fully and nothing more.
What are your expectations from clients?
My expectation for my clients is to come with an open mind and an understanding that I am not an expert by any means, I am not here to provide advice. All I ask is for honesty, authenticity, and a level of commitment to the therapeutic process.
What should a client know about counselling?
Client’s coming into therapy need to know that therapy can be a very difficult but very rewarding journey. It will be uncomfortable because most folks are coming in to explore hurt and unexplored areas of themselves that they, generally, don’t talk about in their day to day lives. What I can also tell you is that having a therapist you trust throughout the process is so essential. If I am not that therapist for you, that is completely okay. At the end of the day, I believe that all self-discoveries and awareness’s that come out of therapy are worth it, if they are well supported, and will eventually help you work toward your goal. However, if starting to explore these things becomes too overwhelming or scary, be open about that so we can go at a pace that will be more comfortable for you.
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