I bring an anti-oppression psychotherapy1 approach to support an empowerment-centered change process. Anti-oppression psychotherapy incorporates anti-oppression theories and practices with psychotherapy to understand and support people under internal and external distress due to the lived experiences of oppression, trauma, and intersectional violence. This means that I pay attention to the complexities of interlocking factors such as race, immigration/refugee status, indigeneity, class, gender, sexuality, disability, age, and spirituality. These factors can shape how people treat you, how you access opportunities, how you feel about yourself, and your specific needs for safety and belonging. Emphasizing self-love, boundary making, and social support, I recognize the role of relationships with partners, family, and friends, as well as with communities, workplace culture, and the broader society.
My approach integrates several scientifically supported techniques which I use intuitively, depending on the person and their unique situation. My counselling style is non-shaming, affirming, and direct, respecting you where you are at, and considering you as a whole person—emotional, cognitive, physical, social and spiritual. Whether for short-term or long-term therapy, I work collaboratively with clients to set goals and decide together on how to move forward. During a counselling session, I ask respectful questions, listen attentively, reflect your experience, and offer practical tools and information to deepen your awareness of:
- feelings that surface and how to deal with them
- your physical reactions and what you can learn from mind-body awareness
- thoughts and ideas that are empowering or disempowering
- unconscious patterns and learned coping strategies that no longer serve you
- ways to deal with the effects of oppression, trauma, social stigma, and environmental stressors in your life
- practices and traditions that support change as well as continuity
Sometimes hurtful or traumatic events shape how we feel about ourselves and others, leaving us feeling stuck, alone, or responsible for the traumas we have experienced. Together we can work to understand the underlying causes behind painful emotions, unwanted habits, and self-harming behaviours, and move towards solutions with more ease and clarity. Using evidence-informed practices in trauma therapy, I work with clients to identify triggers and reactions earlier on, to find ways to relax the mind and body, and to gradually spend less time in reactive states. Customized tools and breathing techniques can be developed for grounding in the present moment, to reduce stress and promote healing. Since trauma and pain are stored in the brain and body without words, I find it can be helpful to reconnect to the power of imagination through expressive arts and creative visualization. I support many clients in creative resistance, using creative expression and artistic mediums as tools to educate, mobilize, protest, resist and dismantle systems of domination and colonization.
Applying a strength-based perspective, I believe that we each are the experts on our own lives (even if we don’t always feel that way), and that everyone has numerous (and often forgotten) survival skills, abilities, interests, and values that can get them through the toughest times in life. However you choose to express your beliefs, I hope to work with you to build your strengths and dreams, and to help you align with your most empowered, most alive self.
Counselling Techniques & Theoretical Perspectives
- Trauma Counselling
- Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Meditation & Relaxation Techniques
- Attachment-based and Emotion-Focused
- Anti-Oppression and Feminist Practices
- Expressive Arts
- Creative Visualization
- Motivational Interviewing
- Group Process & Psychodrama
- Neuroscience & Neuroplasticity
- Somatic Psychology & Embodied Practices
- Sex Therapy
- Narrative Therapy
1. Timothy, R. & Umana, M. (2010). Anti-Oppression Psychotherapy Introductory Training: Modules 1 and 2. Continuing Healing Consultants, ON: Toronto.