In 2013, I received my Master of Social Work (MSW) specializing in Health/Mental Health with Collaborative Studies in Addictions from the University of Toronto and was fortunate to have completed my practicum studies at the Borderline Personality Disorder Clinic through the Center for Addiction and Mental Health. This advanced clinical placement afforded me invaluable training in Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) – a stage one trauma treatment- which I delivered in the context of individual psychotherapy, group skills training and crisis intervention with individuals who suffered from traumatic stress, concurrent disorders, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, emotion dysregulation, self-harm and life-threatening behaviour. DBT has been proven effective in addressing an expansive spectrum of problems by teaching clients skills to enhance their intrinsic capacities for Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance, Self- Awareness, Empowerment, Relationship Effectiveness and in the words of DBT originator Marsha Linehan to ultimately “Build A Life Worth Living”.
While my preferred therapeutic approach is DBT, comprised of Mindfulness Practice and Cognitive Behavior Therapy, I recognize that no single approach fits all and am flexible to adapt my interventions according to the individual. I readily draw from my professional learning and training in other therapeutic approaches including emotion focused therapy, solution focused therapy, the neurorelational model, motivational interviewing, attachment theory, and in 2018 attained the credential of Certified Trauma Practitioner through the National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (US).
Some of the qualities I value most are authenticity, kindness and humor; I strive to cultivate these talents, both within myself and my relationships with others. As a therapist, I recognize that we are fallible and strongly endorse the DBT assumption “we are ALL just doing the best that we can”. I must frequently remind myself about the importance of work-life balance and while I am inclined to spend most of my downtime with my fur babies in our sanctuary by the ocean, I also enjoy travel, ethnic (or any) food really, a good latte, and dancing to live music in our own great city and beyond!