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What is Counselling Psychotherapy?

I respectfully acknowledge that I find joy, healing, and meaning on the land and sea of unceded Traditional Coast Salish Land of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples (Songhees and Esquimalt Nations) and the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples (Tsartlip, Pauquachin, Tsawout, Tseycum, and Malahat Nations).

Ally to minority individuals including folks with disabilities; people of colour; indigenous folks; transgender; and diverse sexual orientations including lesbian, gay, bisexual, etc.
Counsellor as relationship doctor.

 

          When you have a sputtering vehicle – you see a mechanic. When you have a broken arm – you see a doctor. When your relationship with yourself or your relationships with others just don’t seem to be quite right – you see a counsellor.

          While not a panacea and not suitable in every situation, at Coelevation Counselling, we believe that counselling can be of value for everyone. Counselling is primarily about helping you deepen your experience of yourself so that you are empowered to make decisions in your life that put you on the path to living the life you want. For those times when it feels too uncomfortable to speak to your loved ones, or if you have no one you can trust to care for you at a time when you need to be cared for, counselling offers you a confidential space to be with someone and work through your troubles towards change, together.

What counselling is.
                          
What counselling is not.

  • Counselling is not “just talking.” Although close relationships have many qualities of an effective counselling relationship, counsellors are trained to listen in a particular way, putting your needs first and making sure you feel heard and understood.
     

  • Counsellors are trained to relate in a way that privileges and promotes your innate resourcefulness without being a Pollyanna or engaging in “positivity bypassing.”
     

  • Counsellors are trained in ways of relating that are meant to help individuals feel safe and secure, stabilizing emotional distress and helping you to develop your ability to handle stressful situations in the future.
     

  • Counsellors are trained to support you in being your favourite self – we shy away from offering advice that is not rooted in your own lived experience. Whatever we offer is meant to fit well with what your life is and what you want it to become.

 

What makes counselling work?

          Getting the most out of counselling depends on what you bring–your hopes, your attitude, your motivation; on things that happen outside of session and your social supports; and in session–how we relate to one another.

          Regardless of the approach a counsellor may take, there are “common factors” - common ingredients - that all effective counselling has.

  • 40% of the success of therapy comes from outside factors unrelated to therapy.
     

  • 15% of the success of therapy comes from the strength of the therapeutic relationship.
     

  • When people go to therapy, 8 out of 10 report benefiting from it. Not even the best medications have such a high success rate!

 

          Research shows that what makes counselling work is the strength of our relationship. This means I will invite open and honest feedback about how I’m working with you and alter my approach to fit your needs. If you decide we just aren’t a good fit, that is a totally normal part of finding a counsellor who is right for you, and I will be happy to offer you referrals to trusted colleagues who might be a better fit.

Overcoming stigma.

 

          Although counselling is becoming increasingly accepted as a healthful activity, stigma persists, so seeking help for our mental wellbeing is still scary, and often filled with shame: “I should be able to do this on my own” is a harmful story we tell ourselves, since close, healthy relationships have been how humans have survived and thrived for millennia. So against that backdrop of outdated societal norms, coming here and saying “yes” to yourself is courageous.

Permission to be Present.

 

          Counselling, at least in how I work, is about giving you permission to pay attention to and explore your experience in ways that might not seem intuitive. With your permission, we may connect more deeply with the present moment by exploring facets including:

  1. What you observe with your senses.

  2. Your thoughts (automatic thoughts, beliefs about self and other and context, expectations of self and other and context).

  3. The 5 components of emotional experience.

  4. Bodily sensations and awareness.

  5. Movements your body wants to make but which may have historically felt too threatening, disallowed, shunned, or too dangerous to make.

Consultation room as dojo.

 

          Although I may have expertise in the field of counselling, ultimately you know your life better than I ever will. In a way, it’s like I am consulting with you about your life, and I use my own knowledge and expertise to help you get to where you want to go.

And this means that as two humans in a room, this space is like a dojo, a place to practice being in relationship differently.

          Other times, the consultation room may be a space to practice paying attention to aspects of your present-moment experience; recognizing the things that work for you, the things that don’t work – how you “do relationship” – and to experiment with different ways of relating…to your body…to your emotions…to your thoughts…to your actions…to others…to the way society is structured, etc.

          Through exploration and repetition (because practice makes practice), over time you may notice that your way of being in the world changes as you take what you experience in the consultation room out into the world. This can be both exhilarating and scary, and however it is, we'll move through it together.

A tale of two detectives...
of two improvising musicians...
of two people "mucking about" in the garden
of two people surfing the waves of life
of two intra-stellar travellers

          Humans are biological organisms with a mind, body, and spirit. Everything we ever have or ever will experience happens to our body: We have a physical body that experiences sensations and cradles our past experiences as somatic memory; we have a brain that has thoughts, has beliefs, makes assumptions, makes meaning, and experiences emotions; and we have a spirit that connects us to the life force greater than just ourselves. Over time, habitual patterns of thinking, feeling, acting, reacting, and relating arise from our ongoing experiences in life. Neural plasticity tells us we can shift some of these patterns, but like the grooves carved by a carriage, it takes time and effort to get out of our own familiar grooves, even if they aren't serving us. Counselling can be a place to - through a safe relationship - increase awareness of our patterns and shift those that are not serving us.

          So as two detectives on a journey together, we are taking your experience of living and examining it, getting curious about it... looking for clues to how you are constructing your experience (your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, coping strategies, relational patterns, beliefs, assumptions, needs, wants, longings, and yearnings) moment by moment.

This is your time.

          In a counselling session, the hour is dedicated to you; that can be quite different from everyday conversation, so it may feel a little uncomfortable, and take a bit of getting used to. Sometimes people aren’t sure if they can ask questions. At Coelevation Counselling, I prefer to have more of a dialogue, so if you have questions for me, or you are wondering what I’m thinking, you are welcome to ask at any point as we work together; I’m happy to be as transparent as I can be about the process we’re engaging in.

Ready to get started?

Get in touch.

If you have comments or questions, please send me a message or call/text 672-202-3956. I do my best to respond within 24-48 hours.

In-person sessions are offered by appointment at the DataTech Business Centre (1095 McKenzie Ave Suite 300, Victoria, BC V8P 2L5).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TYPICAL CLINIC HOURS

 

Monday: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Tuesday: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Wednesday: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Thursday: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday: 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

*See online booking system for availability.

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