I am an RCC (registered clinical counsellor) with a specialty in trauma therapy (SRT: self-regulation therapy). I have a flexible approach and will work both cognitively and physiologically. Some clients are not ready to work physiologically and benefit initially from a more conventional, cognitive approach. What we know is that the relationship between client and counsellor is the single most helpful factor in therapy.
Because trauma is held in the body and in the nervous system, and not actually in the event or in the memory, SRT can bypass the frontal lobes (which love to be in charge in our cerebral society) and the limbic system in order to access the “reptile brain”, or the brainstem, the substrate of emotion and thought. The language of the reptile brain is sensation: so what you would experience in therapy is that I interrupt the story frequently to ask you to check in to what you notice at that moment. This is not out of lack of interest in “what happened” but in order to help you renegotiate how trauma is held in your system. Your frontal lobes aren’t fooled about “what happened” but you no longer need to access trauma material and memories in the same way in order to attempt to feel “safe”.
Over the course of therapy, and depending on the experiences you have endured, I will introduce many seemingly simple protocols that involve pausing a moment to imagine something, perhaps that you are a force of nature or some other kind of mammal. SRT also provides protocols for working with whiplash syndrome or post-concussion syndrome, medical/dental trauma and relational trauma. The work is gentle and careful but also requires you to be curious, and to be willing to try something that may not “make sense” in the moment in order to alter brain patterns and loops of behaviour/reaction. I will teach you grounding techniques very early on, which I will then help you to employ when activation is high.
You will probably notice improvement in the first few sessions, although no therapist can guarantee a particular outcome. As the nervous system is able to “discharge” some of the trauma energy, there is more flexibility in the system and the client is able to settle and problem solve more readily.
Why a Registered Clinical Counsellor?
The RCC after your counsellor’s name is more than just a professional designation. It is proof that he or she has earned a masters degree in counselling psychology from an accredited university, and has received many hours of supervised training. My degree is from the University of British Columbia. The counselling program there is recognised all over Canada and the U.S.
The RCC also indicates that your counsellor is backed by a professional body that is rigorous in its registration procedures and holds its members to the highest ethical standards regarding treatment of clients. In BC, this organisation is called the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. You can access their directory at www.bc-counsellors.org to choose a counsellor and view his or her credentials.
I am fully certified in Self-Regulation Therapy and can offer a wide range of trauma therapy protocols. SRT is a gentle, non-cathartic modality that works to reduce activation in the nervous system. We generally experience this activation as anxiety, depression, fear or dissociation. We call it stress, burn-out, ennui, disconnection, “spaciness”. We may notice symptoms of or be diagnosed with PTSD. There can be a general feeling of malaise, of things not being quite right, a loss of enthusiasm. Or there can be symptoms that feel far more severe: addiction, isolation, desperation, a tendency to self-harm or suicidal ideation.
SRT does not involve touch but engages the imagination and accesses the feeling states that are below usual conscious awareness. The SRT protocols work with the brain mechanisms that are the substrate to emotional and cognitive processes. The SRT therapist never has to hold you in the traumatic event or experience, or ask you to re-experience the trauma, but can work with the activation that humans experience as anxiety, depression and fear. People usually feel some relief right from the first session. In time they earn a more grounded nervous system and find themselves able to move out into their lives, gradually and increasingly able to experience joy.
Wise Woman Way of Birth Doula Certification
I work with pregnant and post-partum women (and their partners) who are concerned that past traumas may affect their birthing experience, or those who have been traumatized by the birth process itself.