Jessamyn Stewart

she/her
RSW Candidate
In Person & Virtual
Accepting new clients
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Victoria, B.C.
All Day
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$90/hour
Individual Counselling
“Together we can make space for your deepest truth to come through and find new ways to hold the challenging aspect of life"
Jessamyn Stewart
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About Jessamyn

I have a special interest in trauma-informed practice and somatic approaches to counselling. For me, a trauma-informed, somatic practice looks like an embodied understanding of how our bodies, hearts and minds hold trauma, big or small, and an awareness of the ongoing impact of these experiences. 

A combination of community based social work, spiritual exploration through yoga and meditation, Circling facilitation and event leadership has offered me enriching opportunities to grow into myself, deepen my sensitivity and compassion as well as grow my skills for supporting others in walking through this life. I continue to learn new ways to be curious and reflect with others in collaborative ways. 

Alongside yoga and meditation, I spent time exploring my inner world from an early age through psychedelics, which together, deepened my understanding of the body and built a framework for my values and spiritual approach to life.

As a settler of Scottish and Norwegian descent residing on the unceded territory of the WSANEC and Lekwungan peoples, I recognize my own privilege in navigating these topics and that my approach is largely informed by my own lived experience and the institutions that I have learned from. I aim to work in ways that are anti-racist, decolonial and trauma-informed, and though I may not always know first-hand the depths of violence and oppression my clients have faced in their lives, I hope to approach all my work with incredible care and sensitivity, as well as a willingness to learn and grow together. 


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Shame Work

In my early 20’s, I became intimately aware of my own challenges with shame and did considerable work to untangle and heal parts of myself that I had rejected and disowned. I believe that some of the most important steps to healing shame is learning to accept and love ourselves as we are, engage in positive self-talk and navigate the shutdown that arises in the presence of shame with softness and care. I will support you when you are overwhelmed with shame and uncertainty by normalizing your experiences and working towards developing greater resilience and self-esteem. Together we can locate and explore the core beliefs that impact your relationship with yourself and encourage you to rewrite those stories.

Sexual Shame

For many people, sexuality is an integral part of who we are and yet is certainly not exempt from social norms and ideas, many of which impact how we view ourselves or are perceived by others. I believe it is so important to look at how we feel about ourselves and the shame we may carry about our sexuality in order to fully claim our desires.

Supporting you in unpacking and understanding your unique preferences and desires is an essential step on the journey to accessing greater pleasure and freedom in our relationships with others and ourselves. Holding a neutral space for you to be explicitly honest about what captures your attention is what I aspire to do so you feel completely comfortable sharing whatever is most real for you. I am currently growing my literacy in BDSM & kink and am curious about its capacity to help us reach and embody different aspects of ourselves in order to heal in more radical ways.

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Non-monogamy and Relationships

As human beings, we love to feel connected to our own freedom. For some that comes through freedom in relating. Creating a space to talk about the nuances and navigate the world of non-monogamy in a world that doesn't always understand these realities is essential. Having explored both monogamous and non-monogamous relationships in my life, I have an incredible respect and appreciation for both styles of relating. Therapy can be a great space to understand the difference between what you’ve been told and what you actually want. Together, we’ll sort through the maze of advice and pop psychology that’s out there to clarify what’s most important to you in your relationships. 

Ruptures in relationships can be incredibly painful, be it romantic, familial, or even friendships. I love to create a warm space for clients to explore the heartache, disappointment and anger that arises in the presence of rupture or relational uncertainty and help them find a way through. My approach to relationships is largely informed by attachment theory, as well as my own lived experience navigating a variety of relationships within my family and community. Above all, human relationships are central to our experience and well-being, and deeply impact our daily lives, so I believe a safe and informed space to open up is essential for all human beings.

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Grief

The experience of grief can be unbearable, whether it comes through the loss of a loved one, the evolving state of the world both politically and environmentally, the loss of a relationship  or even the loss of an old identity. Grief is an essential part of mourning what comes and goes from our lives and the injustice we witness or face. Making space for what aches can bring with it so much relief. My practice around grief is ever-evolving, and informed by the work of Stephen Jenkinson, Bill Plotkin and Francis Weller, as well as my own time spent in the proverbial underworld. When I work with clients who are grieving , I am ready to sit with them in the dark without an agenda for them to change or heal. Having an ally in these times can make a world of difference. It can be incredibly raw and tender to be witnessed in our grief, and I hope to meet you in that space with compassion, care and deep listening. 

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Disability & Identity

Having supported and advocated for people living with disability, I have walked alongside folks who are neurodivergent or identify as disabled (or had these labels placed upon them). I have spent the last few years unpacking my own neurodivergence, understanding myself through my ADHD and particular challenges with learning. I see “disability” as a socially prescribed identity for those whose bodies and minds don’t necessarily fit into colonial/capitalist systems and are often misunderstood or not recognized for their full range of capabilities. For those looking for affirming and supportive counselling and a space to unpack the experience of living with a disability, I hold a compassionate, explorative space to reimagine ourselves outside of socially constructed norms and encourage unique expressions over commonly accepted ways of being. This might look like helping clients locate and deepen their own gifts and skill sets while resisting notions of what they “should” be or become.

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How I Work

Life is nuanced and intricate. Sometimes things happen in our lives that we can't understand or make sense of. I aim to work in a way that is client-led, compassionate and inquisitive. Part of this work includes knowing the edge of my own knowledge, and being curious or pursuing my own research when I encounter things I don’t understand. Further, helping individuals identify unmet needs and long-held desires, connect them to new ideas and possibilities and reclaim lost aspects of themselves are some of the things I am most passionate about in practice. This might look like helping someone find common themes or patterns that emerge in their lives and address them in new ways or find meaning within painful and irreconcilable experiences.

Part of the work I have done in community leadership includes facilitating Circling, which is a group practice that includes tools for communication, presence and interpersonal inquiry. Essentially, getting to know your world and what it's like to be you is something I am excited to do by asking specific questions, reflecting on what I think I’m learning and checking in to see if I got it right. Sometimes this includes noticing what your body language is telling me and looking for congruence between what I’m hearing and seeing. In other moments, this might look like sitting with you in the feelings that arise and just being with them together or connecting the dots on something you’ve shared with me in the past, weaving a deeper understanding for how you might be experiencing the present.

I also incorporate aspects of my experience practicing and teaching yoga through honoring and bringing awareness to the body, utilizing the body as a site of deep knowing and a place to learn from. I try to approach all relationships in my life with patience and attunement, an approach that I also bring to the counselling relationship. For me, it is important to establish mutual trust not only through words but time, presence and felt sense. 

Alongside somatic approaches, I also incorporate aspects of Compassionate Inquiry and apply theory inspired by parts work as part of my practice. Compassionate Inquiry is a therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Gabor Maté, which aims to connect people to their true nature and parts work views the ‘self’ as a combination of different parts that sometimes come into conflict or hold different desires. Working with those parts and allowing them to be heard and understood can lead to greater alignment within yourself and more self-knowledge overall. Overall I hope to give clients the tools and the space to come home to themselves and find peace in their lives.

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Jessamyn Stewart

RSW Candidate
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