In my work with clients, I use a combination of approaches, including Gestalt, Somatic Experiencing, Internal Family Systems, Satir Model, NLP and Five-Element Traditional Chinese Medicine. In-person, I add Reichian bodywork, Satir Sculpting and Bio-Energetics approaches, where appropriate.
I am comfortable working with translators, particularly for Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking clients and have been presenting translated workshops on communications and relationships in China since 2005.
A little background on me and my path to the work I do:
In 1986, having recently split up with the mother of our one-year old daughter, I arrived on the property of The Haven Institute on Gabriola Island (a human growth centre, founded by Doctors’ Bennet Wong and Jock McKeen,) exhausted, devastated, confused and feeling like I was a time-bomb waiting to explode.
I was twenty-four years old then and about as emotionally uneducated as one could be and still keep up an appearance of having it all together: Everything I thought about life, love and the universe was in ruins and I needed help finding out who I really was and how I could get some peace from my punishing internal voices.
Through an often uncomfortable and eventually rewarding journey of self-discovery, I became aware that many of my early-life experiences were still deeply affecting me as an adult: I was becoming aware of the impact of how unaware I had been.
2021 marks my 35th year of involvement at the Haven, having journeyed from programme participant to a member of the core-faculty, leading their flagship programme, the five-day ‘Come Alive’ as well as all three of their twenty-five day immersive programmes related to self-exploration, relationships and introductions to the underlying philosophies and techniques used in the ‘core’ programmes.
Throughout this time, I also studied the family-systems work of Virginia Satir with Maria Gomori, who was one of Virginia’s original students and trainers. In 2018, after twenty years of apprenticeship, I became certified by the Manitoba Satir Centre as a master-trainer of the Satir Model. I use this gentle, playful work as one of the anchors of my counselling philosophy, namely that we have no bad ‘parts’: We have likely just disowned them and need to re-connect and recognize their value and underlying intentions. Essentially, we can transform the expression of any part of us, so that it supports our self, the people around us and any situation we find ourselves in.
My evolving relationship with anger has been central to my growth as a human being: I learned to be brave and stoic to please my parents: That meant keeping my rage and anger in-check at all times. Of course, that was impossible. I would go through a repetitive cycle of suppress / build / explode / shame / depress that lasted until I started to discover what was underneath my anger and share this with others who were close to me. I learned that my anger was a protective emotion, and also a vital expression of my own life-force energy, values and boundaries. It didn’t have to be connected to violence: In fact, I now know that those two are entirely separate. Healthy, responsible anger expression is also a part of strengthening any relationship: This has certainly been my experience.
I live, work, learn and play in the unceded, traditional territory of the Island Hul’q’umin’um’ – speaking Snuneymuxw people, also known as Gabriola Island.