Why did you decide to become a clinical counsellor?
Like many of us, my career path took a few twists and turns, but what remained true at the core of all my interests was a desire to help. I have always been fascinated by people and drawn to wanting to connect with others, to know and understand someone’s story. I am especially in awe of people’s innate resilience, and the many wise, and often unconscious, ways people learn to cope. As a counsellor, my aim is to help my clients explore alternate perspectives, to gain personal insights, and to celebrate their own strengths and resilience.
What are the benefits of counselling?
In my own life, counselling has allowed me to connect to my thoughts and feelings in new ways, and has helped me build a trusting relationship with myself when faced with self-doubt. It helped me to gain some clarity around the root of some patterns in my life, and to have compassion for the purpose those patterns served. Counselling allows me a space to take a step back and consider a new or different perspective.
Counselling is an opportunity to look inward, to explore areas where you may be getting stuck, and to make changes in the aspects of your life that no longer fit for you. As social beings, I believe human connection is invaluable. To feel seen, heard, and understood by someone else can be healing on many levels. In order to connect, I believe that humans also need to feel safe and secure. I can help provide that sense of safety by accepting you just as you are. I offer a non-judgmental space where you are free to share your thoughts and feelings, and to do so at your own pace.
What is your focus?
While I am happy to explore any number of concerns that bring you to counselling, my focus has been in addiction, abuse, trauma, and grief. I started my career working in the realm of addictions, and have worked in many different capacities in this area (outpatient programming, detox, residential treatment centres). When I began to recognize substance use as a coping tool, and not necessarily the problem in and of itself, I became more and more interested in trauma, and the many ways that people cope. For the last four years, my work experience has been focused on supporting those impacted by trauma. In Calgary, I worked at a sexual assault centre serving survivors of recent, historical, and/or childhood sexual abuse. When I moved back to Victoria, I started working at Bridges for Women, an agency serving women who have experienced violence, abuse, or trauma at any point in their lives. As part of my ongoing learning, I have taken extra training in Somatic Experiencing (SE), and integrate principles of SE into this work.
My approach to counselling is collaborative and client-focused, meaning I tailor my approach to each individual client’s needs. I see my clients as the experts of their own lives, and my role as one of co-explorer. We will take time to explore your own hopes and goals, and work towards finding solutions that fit for you.
Why do you use Somatic Experiencing (SE)?
Through my yoga practice I have come to understand first-hand the physiology of emotions, and I see such a connection between mind-body wellness and health. Although SE can be used for any number of reasons people seek counselling, it is particularly helpful in trauma work. Trauma has often been understood as an emotional and psychological response to a perceived threat or an extremely negative and overwhelming event. What research is recognizing now is that trauma also has to do with the physiological response to fear related stress, and its impact on the nervous system. Our survival instincts (“flight, flight or freeze”) work really hard for us, but often the survival energy is not expelled and literally gets stuck in our bodies. Body-focused therapies like SE allow us to work with the nervous system to gradually release this energy and to return to a more regulated nervous system.
If you would like to learn more about Kristin, you can read more about her here
Kristin is happy to offer a free 30-minute consultation to see if you think she is a good fit for you. You can book online with Kristin here