Biographies are not my strong suit. However, since you are willing to sit with me and tell me about yourself, it is only fair that you know something about me.
I have been married for over 19 years, am a proud father of four beautiful daughters and one son, ranging in age from 18 to 9. I live in Abbotsford, BC and have done so for almost my entire adult life.
I lived in the West Kootenays, in a little village called Salmo, (we actually lived outside of Salmo in a ghost-town called Erie) until I was 13, when my family moved to the city of Langley, BC. This was a shock for me, as Fort Langley Junior High School had more students in three grades than the entire village of Salmo had citizens.
This was also the time when my undiagnosed ADHD and depression began to wreak havoc on my school performance. There were some very dark years in my adolescence and although I didn’t know it at the time, my experience (both personally and otherwise) with various mental health issues was serving to prepare me for a career in the helping profession. Many times I have drawn on my own experiences in attempting to relate to my clients and to communicate a sense of compassion and even companionship in suffering.
Following another bout with depression in late adolescence, I attempted to create some structure in my life and served a mission to Vietnamese refugees in the United States.
It was the most difficult and trying time of my life but proved to be a more than adequate training ground for problems that I would face throughout the rest of my life. During my first semester of university, I was married to my wife Tina, and following an initial miscarriage, we welcomed into our family the aforementioned tribe of children.
Initially, my career plan was to pursue graduate education in clinical sport psychology but during the preparation process for that step, I happened to find employment at a local residential treatment centre for adult men battling addiction to alcohol and drugs. It was here that I began to recognize the need for compassion and understanding in order to help people apply these same principles towards themselves and the world they inhabit.
During my time in the field, I have worked with a wide variety of individuals from diverse backgrounds, diverse ethnic identities, diverse socioeconomic situations, diverse mental health struggles, diverse spiritual leanings, and diverse sexual orientations. My wide variety of experiences has allowed me to have an individualist perspective, underscored by the importance of feeling loved and cared for, despite any differences in background or experiences.
My Master of Science degree in psychology focused on the neurophysiology of anger and anxiety and this has become my main focus on treatment, although using attachment theory as a foundation leads to visiting virtually every corner of the mental health spectrum.
Away from my field, I am also an avid songwriter, struggling artist, and have a diverse athletic background (although this is becoming more historic as time goes on).
So, that’s a little bit about me. I hope you experience me as a fairly open book and if you can relate to any of the information that you have read, please give me a call or send an email and we can begin the journey of self-understanding together.
I knew early on in life that I wanted to help people as I was often moved by other people’s stories of hardship and suffering. By the end of high school it became clear that this would be as a counsellor. It would be several more years before this dream came true as I met and married my husband and we had three children with whom I had the privilege of staying at home with until our youngest started kindergarten. At that point it seemed like an opportune time to pursue my MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Trinity Western University. When not counselling I enjoy reading, writing and being in nature.
It is my belief that the process of change and transformation happens in the context of relationships. We are shaped by relationships from our earliest days just as we shape others when in relationship with them. Humans are hardwired for relationship and thrive in the context of relationships that are characterized by love, trust, caring, and acceptance. I believe this is true in counselling as well. I remember my own experience in counselling of being deeply understood and heard and how powerful that moment was in stepping toward hope and healing. It is my hope that you will also feel valued, accepted, heard, and understood. For it is in this context that we may find the courage to look at the parts of our lives and ourselves that are often ignored or cut off; the darker places that we distract from or would rather not look at and sometimes are not aware are even there.
My approach to counselling is informed by the work of Dr. Gordon Neufeld’s relational developmental theory, Emotion-Focused Therapy, Satir Systemic Transformational Therapy, and Internal Family Systems. I also work from a systemic and attachment framework which is foundational to my understanding of people, relationships, and the counselling process itself. I enjoy working with individuals, couples, and families facing a variety of issues including but not limited to depression, anxiety, aggression, parenting, and relational conflict. As much as possible I try to make counselling an experiential process not just a talking process.
Education and Trainings:
- Compassionate Inquiry – Gabor Mate
- Emotion-Focused Family Therapy – Mental Health Foundations
- Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy – Vancouver Couple & Family Institute
- Making Sense of Aggression – Neufeld Institute
- Neufeld Intensive I and II – Neufeld Institute
- Neuroscience and Satir in the Sand – Madeline De Little
- Observed & Experiential Integration Level 1 – SightPsych Seminars Incorporated
- Satir Systemic Transformational Therapy (level 1 & 3) – Satir Institute
- Understanding Abuse in Relationships – MCC Centre