NC specializes in treating you as a whole person, whatever your issue(s) might be. If you are struggling with an issue that is not listed here, please contact me to explore how I might be able to help you.
As we struggle to cope with the everyday stress of work, family, finances, employment or education, many of us are no longer able to function well or to the best of our abilities. You can only fill your vessel with stress so far before it begins to overflow. When your vessel overflows with stress, you are more likely to experience problems with anxiety, including negative impacts on your physical health such as weight gain and increased blood pressure. Anxiety is a state of fight or flight, which our bodies naturally use to protect us from real risks or threats to safety in our environments. However, when you function frequently in that protective, hypervigilant state, anxiety compromises your ability to make connections that yield a sense of enjoyment or fulfilment in life.
Anxiety comes in many forms and is often related to past traumatic experiences, particularly during childhood. Are you always assuming the worst, worrying excessively or often living with the fear that something terrible might happen? Do you find social situations uncomfortable and avoid them as much as possible? For some people, anxiety leads to panic attacks: intense physiological reactions that leave you feeling as though you are unable to breathe or that you are having a heart attack. Other manifestations of anxiety include phobias, procrastination, perfectionism, over-thinking, obsessive-compulsive disorder, frequent irritability, eating disorders, difficulty with concentration, sleep disturbance and lack of appetite. At NC, I can help you to respond more adaptively to the stressors in your life, including developing practical strategies to better manage your triggers and symptoms. I can also help you to explore and resolve what is at the root of your anxiety, including past traumatic experience.
Depression can feel like an insurmountable mountain that blocks your path forward in life. It can drain your energy and motivation, leaving you feeling lethargic, sad or hopeless. It can also cause you to feel numb, discouraged or disconnected from what gives you meaning, purpose or pleasure in life. Depression is a self-protective state that your body uses to shutdown in the face of real or perceived life-threatening risks to your safety and well-being. For many people, depression is rooted in adverse childhood experiences such as neglect or abuse. At its worst, depression can include self-sabotaging negative beliefs about your value or worth as a person, leading to substance use, self-harm and suicidality. Depression can wreak havoc on your work performance, your physical fitness, your relationships and even your day-to-day functioning like eating, exercising and sleeping. At NC, I can help you respond more adaptively to the stressors associated with your depression, including practical strategies to better manage your triggers and symptoms. I can also help you understand and resolve what set the groundwork for your depression, past experiences such as unresolved childhood trauma, for example.
Trauma, broadly speaking, is any unresolved, past, negative experience that continues to cause a significant level of upset in your present life, typically associated with chronic anxiety and depression. Trauma is the chronic disruption of your connectedness. Adverse childhood experiences (or developmental trauma) such as attachment disruptions, abuse and neglect are highly correlated with severe mental health challenges in adulthood. Other examples of traumatic experiences might include a car accident, a sexual assault, witnessing some form of abuse, serious injury or violence. First responders and frontline workers can experience PTSD through exposure to daily, high levels of distress in the workplace. Symptoms of PTSD are often debilitating and can include intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, depression, disconnection from self and others, insomnia, lack of appetite, uncontrollable anger, avoidance, digestive issues, and chronic pain. Many people who survive trauma often believe that they are to blame for what happened or that they are unworthy or "damaged" in some way. These false negative beliefs often persist many years or decades beyond the original trauma and can lead to mental health problems such as low self-esteem, substance use, difficulty with relationships or self-sabotaging choices. At NC, I can help you to better understand how the impacts of past trauma continue to contaminate aspects of your present life. I can help you to move beyond what keeps you stuck in the painful past and to forge new, life-affirming connections with yourself and others in the present.
Unfortunately, due to the amount of third-party administration required, NC is not able to offer trauma therapy for motor vehicle accidents billed through insurance companies.
Difficulties in your personal relationships can have a major impact on your mental health. Are you struggling to get along with family members, co-workers or neighbours? Corrosive anger, jealousy, communication breakdowns, festering conflict, resentment and distrust can seriously weaken the connections that comprise your most important relationships, and those connections are vital to your mental health. Alternatively, you might be struggling to find or strengthen new relationships. Dating anxiety, low self-confidence, communication problems, boundary issues or difficulties with trust can block you from cultivating the kinds of relationship that you yearn for. Relationship issues are complex, and, depending on your situation, NC can help you to improve your relationships through individual counselling, couples counselling or both.
Grief & Loss
Grief is not a weakness but a highly personal state of intense loss. Grief is a normal part of life, and how you grieve is critical to how you move forward or get stuck after suffering a terrible loss. Sometimes grief becomes complicated or compounded by other stressful events or losses that occur around the time of a traumatic loss such as a loved one’s death. Counselling can help you to explore the personal meaning and context of your loss as well as the impacts of loss in the various areas of your life such as work, education, family, spirituality, health and community involvement. Whether you have lost a family member, a friend, a pet, a relationship, a job, or some aspect of your physical health or ability, grief can be a tricky, arduous journey. The way forward to healing sometimes get blocked by debilitating sadness, anger, guilt, regret, worry, loneliness, exhaustion, shock, yearning, numbness, disbelief, confusion and social withdrawal. At NC, I can help you overcome these psychological or emotional blocks and transform your loss through loving, life-affirming connections with yourself, your family and your community.
Gender and sexuality are fundamental parts of human diversity. Despite advances in human and legal rights, many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) people continue to experience high levels of discrimination, stigma and marginalization, frequently associated with compromised mental health. Being rejected by your family of origin when you are LGBTQ can yield traumatic effects, including attachment disruptions and a negative self-concept. Have you been bullied, dismissed, ridiculed or attacked for being LGBTQ? Are you struggling to disclose your LGBTQ identity or navigate your gender transition process? The effects of homophobia or transphobia on your mental health can be far-reaching, leading to depression and anxiety, as well as increased risk for addiction, suicide and chronic illness such as HIV. This is particularly true if you are also experiencing other forms of oppression such as racism or sexism. At NC, I provide a safe space to explore your identity as a member of the LGBTQ communities with the aim of helping you to better manage the complex, intersectional impacts of oppression on your mental health. By fostering new connections to personal resources such as body positivity, self-esteem and healthy sexuality, I can help you to break free from the trauma of oppression, past or present, and to move forward with pride and autonomy.
The curious paradox is that when I accept myself, just as I am,
then I can change. - Carl Rogers