Photo by Kangsoon Park
Here you can learn more about my professional background and how I work with clients. You can also get a clearer understanding of the process of psychotherapy.
Click on the links (underlined terms) for more detailed information.
I was born and raised in South Africa where I qualified as a Clinical Psychologist at the University of the Witwatersrand and worked in Psychiatric Community Services. I emigrated to Canada in 1997. Since then I have worked at a mental health team for Vancouver Coastal Health and at the Dr. Peter Centre, a Day Program and Residence for people with HIV/AIDS. Over time I completed all the requirements to be able to obtain registration as a Psychologist in BC .
I work with clients of all genders. I serve youth, adults and elders. I have additional specialized experience working with people with HIV/AIDS, people of First Nations heritage, and with gay, bisexual, transgender and lesbian clients. I am a Registered Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of BC (Registration # 1755). I am also a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. I have over 20 years' experience in providing psychotherapy and counselling. My expertise is clinical psychology - the assessment and treatment of mental disorders.
About My Approach
I believe relationships are key to mental health. My preferred therapy approach is called relationally focused integrative psychotherapy. It is within safe, empathic and respectful relationships that healing occurs, and the therapeutic relationships I create with clients include these qualities.
The 'integrative' term has several meanings. There is the personal integration of parts of ourselves of which we may be ashamed or even unaware. This therapy helps to make us whole again, removes blocks to healthy development and reduces defensiveness and painful emotions.
Another meaning of 'integrative' refers to the therapist's ability to bring together various therapy approaches so the therapist has more resources and a deeper understanding of a client's thinking, feeling and behaviours. I use cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic psychotherapy as well as other approaches and therapy techniques. These may include attuned inquiry, self questionnaires, guided relaxation, and practising new behaviours between sessions.
You can learn more about Integrative Psychotherapy by clicking here- What is integrative therapy?
About Mental Health
Living our lives can be very challenging at times. Sometimes bad things happen to us. We are threatened or hurt - or maybe we lose someone or something very important to us. Sometimes we experience conflict in a significant relationship - perhaps a new boss is a bully, or we discover our partner has been seeing someone else. Sometimes we just start feeling different for no apparent reason - like getting really depressed when everything else in our life appears fine.. And sometimes it's a behaviour that's got out of control - like drinking or on-line gambling.
When we find we are unable to manage the ongoing emotional distress, or to solve the problem, we may feel confused, sad, angry or stuck. Our problems may also be serious enough for us to be diagnosed with a mental illness. Mental illness - like physical illness - means that there is something not right that is causing us pain or distress. In the case of mental illness it refers to problems with our thinking, feelings and behaviour. These problems lead to symptoms - the signs that something needs attention. For example, severe depression is a mental illness that can be characterised by symptoms such as thinking you are a defective person, feeling hopeless and isolating yourself away from people.
Psychotherapy refers to the treatment provided by a psychologist or other trained mental health professional to help people manage problems in their personal or social lives. By talking with a compassionate and accepting person in a confidential setting the client is able to gain a deeper understanding of his or her needs and difficulties, begin to gain clarity about options to solve problems, and make changes and achieve goals which will return them to mental health and well-being. Click here for a more detailed description of psychotherapy.
n. pl. psy·cho·ther·a·pies
The treatment of mental and emotional disorders through the use of psychological techniques designed to encourage communication of conflicts and insight into problems, with the goal being relief of symptoms, changes in behavior leading to improved social and vocational functioning, and personality growth.