As a white settler living and learning on the unceded Indigenous lands of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ peoples, I am committed to anti-racism and decolonizing my practice. I was born on the stolen lands of the Klallam peoples. My ancestors hail from Germany, France, England, Belgium and Poland. Like many settlers, I have lost contact with my origins and I cherish the lands and waters where I was born. Through my degree I have sought to learn about colonialism’s ongoing systemic harms and consider it both personal and professional work to: see and name it, critically deconstruct it, and be a part of the process of change.
Having the privilege to access positive counselling experiences from a young age taught me that talking to someone trained in support can make a huge difference. We don’t have to deal with all of our problems alone and relational healing is valuable — it offers support to change the course of our lives. This experience inspired me to seek out opportunities to support others through facilitation, teaching yoga, doula work, caregiving for children and families, and crisis intervention.
I am familiar personally and interpersonally with neurodiversity, anxiety, depression and trauma. I identify as Queer, Bisexual, Polyamorous, and invisibly Disabled. My social work degree focused on anti-oppressive practice, anti-racism, decolonizing, holism and Indigenous worldviews, intersectional feminist perspectives, gender theory, Trans theory, and Queer theory. Theories on capitalism, globalization, environmental justice, disability, sociology, psychology and critiques of psychology are all lenses that inform my practice.
I am a creative being at heart. I bounce between different art forms and creative processes which fuel up my life and remind me that in all of the systemic challenges we face, we can ignite change with our hearts, our hands, and our voices.
Non-monogamy & Relationship Diversity
Whether you are new to the practice of being in multiple relationships or you are thoroughly experienced, non-monogamy in its variety of forms offers numerous challenges. Come lay it all out and together we can work on untangling difficulties and resourcing you with information and tools in a space where support for you is the focus.
Non-monogamy can expose opportunities for growth, whether we’re ready for them or not. If you’re experiencing the feeling of jealousy in the pit of your stomach or on a journey of cultivating compersion, I can relate to you there. I know sometimes it can be tough to distinguish between where to challenge yourself and where to set boundaries, but together we can sort through how best to honour your values.
My practice is informed by my own experiences, a couple years of Polyamory 101 discussion groups, Polysecure by Jessica Fern, and by Ethical Non-Monogamy for Therapists, a training co-written by Cherish Dorington and Cora Bilsker of Nested Heart Counselling.
When society gives you a label that doesn’t match who you really are, it can be painful to be unseen and invalidated. It can be daunting to challenge the expectations of others and change how they see you and treat you. This isn’t a process you have to face alone; we will resist hetero- and cis-normative messaging while we explore your identity. Some of us find words for our identities that suit us, while others look at all the labels and don’t really feel that any of them describe us accurately. Either way of being is okay. We can cultivate courage and love for our own way of being in the world, wherever you might be on your gender or sexuality journey.
Whether you want someone who can support your emerging experiences with gender and sexuality or you are looking for a counsellor that you won’t feel you need to educate during sessions about these topics, either are forms of support I can offer. I identify as Neuro-Queer, Bisexual, and Polyamorous. Both she/her and they/them pronouns apply to me. The LGBTQ2SIP community I am part of is beautifully diverse and my professional insight is informed by lived experience in these areas.
Disability and Chronic Illness
We are all different, and each of us are worthy and deserve to be here. Like trees, humans are not supposed to all be the same. The world around us makes life hard when it sets ableist norms and measures everyone by that standard. Medical pathologizing focuses on impairment and deficits, and that harms our self esteem and sense of self worth. That was part of my life experience; does it sound familiar to you? You and all of your differences are welcome here. Not only can we refute ableist narratives in the counselling process and build a stronger connection to love within yourself, we can also explore whatever is coming up in your life as it relates to your embodied experience or how it doesn’t. The experiences we have deserve care, support, and exploration.
If you are an Indigenous person seeking counselling, seeing someone who has cultural and contextual knowledge from dealing with racism first-hand may be of more help to you therapeutically. Reaching out to resources within your community is something I would be glad to help with, though you are still very welcome to access my practice and I will respect your culture, self-knowledge, and your story.
If you are a non-Indigenous person, our counselling process can invite growth towards social justice if that is an area you want to explore. Canadians are in a period of realization and remembering very horrific truths about the creation of this nation that we live in, and you may be grappling with our colonial history and genocide in a new way. As a white person descended from immigrant settlers, I have been thinking and learning about how our families participated in colonial policies and how it has affected (and continues affecting) our Indigenous neighbors and neighbors of colour in many detrimental ways. Many of us are wondering what we can do about white privilege and how to participate in creating positive change; the thing is, there is no single right way, and each of us have our own gifts and contributions to bring to this healing process.
Indigenous people and people of colour have borne the double burden of trying to teach white people about the systemic oppression our ancestors constructed over them, and that is a place where I want to step in and shoulder some of that hard work. Facing these truths can bring up strong, difficult feelings of guilt, horror, and shame for those of us who are privileged by the system, and we need to make room for these feelings in a way that doesn’t burden people of colour. Our counselling space could be a good place for you to work through these emotions and discover what you find truly important. Sometimes we need help to find and address ingrained biases — I certainly did — but together we can create resistance to oppressive norms and become ancestors that our descendants and future generations can be proud of.
How I Work
I will invite you to be curious about creating change in your life as we build a warm alliance that helps you feel supported in that process. Exploring what you feel is causing your present distress can help us understand where to set our intentions for the deeper work that we do together. Our loved ones don’t always have the capacity to hold all of us. If there’s something in you that feels too painful to share with others, I can hold that with you. In the counselling space, I believe in your capacity, creativity, and power to heal. You will have room to connect to yourself by learning about your personal values and beliefs. In this learning you may find that you have been carrying someone else’s values and you can put them down in order to have a more authentic experience of life.
Utilizing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy tools in my practice has helped my clients understand their priorities and focus on how to live their lives according to their deepest values. By using your authentic self as a guide, ACT can show us what past methods have and haven’t worked for you, so we can gain clarity about what to try moving forward.
Critical social workers are taught to see the systemic forces at work in their client’s lives and the numerous ways they are impacted. I name these and bring them into counselling to broaden awareness of just how many things we experience that are not our fault — this can help unearth self-compassion and a sense of alliance with the other humans we’re walking through this life with. We are all navigating these systems all the time, and they are oppressive and unjust (capitalism, colonialism, ableism, racism, heteropatriarchy, mononormativity, ageism, neuro-normativity, etc.). I invite resistance to and help build resilience within these systems.
Most of us, especially those of us with diverse identities and abilities, don’t make it through our childhoods without experiencing some form of trauma. We all carry experiences with us in our bodies and minds. We don’t always understand what our body’s memory has stored in order to protect us and keep us safe from further harm. I want to invite your whole self to counselling. Sometimes working through our experiences and emotions brings challenging feelings and sensations into our bodies. Together, we can intentionally make space for you to connect with your body and become grounded again.
My trauma awareness is informed both by training with the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre’s Response Team, and yoga training with Ajna Yoga Therapy College. Being Trauma-Informed means that I will use language intentionally to invite you to explore your experiences and emotions, but in a way that imparts power to you about choice: you can set boundaries, and you can direct the counselling process. If you find yourself getting triggered, anxious, or dissociating, I may invite you to get in touch with your breathing, call awareness to different parts of your body, or use a senses-based technique to bring you into the room and the present moment.
While I aim to offer my services to diversely identified folks who are looking for a safe and knowledgeable counsellor with insider awareness, you are welcome to access counselling with me if you identify as straight, cisgender, or monogamous.