I am graduating from the Vancouver College of Counsellor Training where I focused my electives on trauma informed and relational practices. I also gained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with several philosophy electives. I look forward to connecting with you from a place of curiosity, inquiry and respect. My main points of interest and continued learning revolve around our connections with other people, and I enjoy exploring this topic philosophically as it allows us to examine our personal approach to life.
I don’t think there is a clear guide on how to live a morally perfect and happy life; I think our inner world is fluid and changes with each new person we meet, during the exchange of ideas with others, and with the personal acceptance of where our bodies are at each moment. I continuously educate myself on philosophical counselling practices while paying close attention to the experiences of disabled and marginalized people within an able-bodied, colonized and capitalist society.
I am a queer, non-binary white settler residing on the unceded Indigenous lands of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples. I acknowledge the limits of my own knowledge and I continuously educate myself on the diverse number of struggles that Indigenous people experience as they navigate the colonial ideologies assimilating their culture.
It can be hard to decipher how we fit into the lives of those we’re attached to within the context of our own traumatic experiences, learned values, cultural or personal expectations of others. In my experiences with platonic, romantic and sexual relationships, I have noticed an expectation that a “healthy” relationship means always being securely attached. I believe it’s an illusion that in order to be in a safe, happy and fulfilling relationship, you must feel secure within it at all times. If you examine the way you might have internalized this belief, it could bring the realization that you’ve been relying on symbolic expressions of attachment such as constant communication, cohabitation, marriage or sexual fidelity to validate the security of your relationships. In therapy, we can work together to interpret your experiences of insecurity and understand what they are trying to communicate to you.
I also recognize that it can be difficult to navigate platonic relationships because of the dominant expectation that intimacy only exists in romantic and sexual relationships, causing confusion and hurt feelings within those involved in a friendship. The feeling of not recognizing our own needs or voice within the context of close relationships can bring doubt into our relationship dynamics. By viewing your personal perspectives and experiences as valid and examining the personal relevance of the values that were taught to you by others, you may find the sense of freedom you have longed for. I support all forms of relationships and their struggles, and I invite you to challenge your own preconceived notions of what allows for secure attachment within all of your intimate relationships.
One of the ways that people are challenging themselves on the path of self-exploration is being ethically non-monogamous, which requires learning about our own trauma responses and needs as we communicate them with multiple people. Ethical non-monogamy can be viewed as a form of resistance against the cultural expectation that monogamy guarantees a secure attachment. Therapy can be about finding a worthy path that helps build a base of personal safety as you navigate various forms of intimacy. Whatever your relationship structure, I don’t think it is useful to make secure attachment the goal, but rather, to learn about the various ways we show up for ourselves and others in our relationships so we can better communicate our needs and desires as they occur.
Inevitable Change and Existentialism
I’m familiar with the jarring grief that can come when our life changes even though we’re relying on it to stay the same. As we develop through our lifespan, there will inevitably be forces that change the course of our best laid plans, which can be difficult to cope with or accept. You might find yourself experiencing confusion, anger, loneliness and resentment toward yourself, others or society as a whole when you think about the state of the world. Together, we can identify the strengths, resources and wisdom you might be struggling to see within yourself during times of unexpected disruption.
The sheer volume of existential threats occurring in the world today makes it difficult for most people to avoid a sense of despair as they try to create meaning in their life. It can be almost impossible to think about one’s future amidst the present threat of climate change, inflation and the reversal of political progress. Together in therapy, we can hold space to feel the fear, pain and loss this reality brings as an honest backdrop to the work we do, while still encouraging you to take steps towards positive change in your life.
Inner Conflicts: Unearthing Your Truest Self
The concept of ‘inner conflicts’ comes from a theorist, Karen Horney, who I have admired throughout my learning. She was a woman who spoke up against the harmful narrative Sigmund Freud pushed in conversations about the human psyche. Freud claimed that we are naturally patriarchal, whereas Horney challenged him by claiming that this is a lens that we are taught to interpret ourselves through. For me, Horney’s feminist resistance toward Freudian Psychology is an essential part of questioning where our thoughts come from and dismantling internalized patriarchal values.
An example of this is how I, like many of us, have been told my emotions were too intense and I’ve found myself unable to articulate my own perspective. Instead, I would take on the perspective of others in my life who I didn’t want to disappoint, losing my own voice. You might be told you are ‘too much’ or ‘not enough’ as we try to be both true to ourselves, while doing what others expect of us. Let’s make a space where you can explore the emotions that live below the surface of the systemic behaviours you’ve learned so far to put others at ease. I won’t hold your previous social convictions against you as I believe that we are allowed to change our minds about how we would like to present ourselves to the world and how we tell the stories of our past.
I was raised in a religious environment where I was frequently instructed on how to think. However, at a young age, I noticed a divergence between my own thoughts and the values being taught to me. Later on, I was able to identity that it was my queerness, disability and gender expression that conflicted with what I was told my body was supposed to be like, causing a lot of shame. Now, I view my unlearning process as a chance to reconstruct my values and make space for what I need to be authentically myself. It helps me to connect with others when I practice discovering my own voice and expressing my thoughts, feelings and desires.
If you’d like to practice this in your life, it’s up to you to do the hard parts, but I am here to encapsulate a space for you to be vulnerable by pondering your own experiences, fears, wishes, unlearning and relearning. Creating new, positive experiences in therapy can help foster tangible healing in the relationship with yourself. To me, accepting yourself and your environment, and then taking actions to change it, is the way to add meaningful streaks of color onto your life’s canvas—I am here to help you enhance what might have been a hard-to-look-at painting into something you admire, adding to it continuously (I do love my metaphorical cheese).
How I Work
I originally turned to philosophy to understand myself better, however, what I’ve learned is that philosophy might be better thought of as a tool to conceptualize how we are connected to complex systems that operate around, within and through us. Together, we will build a collaborative relationship as we explore your underappreciated emotions, lived experiences, personal boundaries, social skills and coping mechanisms. I can help plant seeds for new possibilities in your life, helping you branch toward something that never seemed possible before coming to therapy. We will also work together to examine your personal resources of strength and support systems so you can soothe yourself more effectively during tumultuous moments.