What are your strengths and limitations as a counselor?
I want to say that my biggest strength is showing up as a human in the therapy room. There’s the old stereotype of therapists being stoic and impermeable blank slates, but I think the general consensus now is that it’s better to invite our shared humanness, real-time emotions and nervous system activation (and regulation) to allow us to be more present and connected with clients in the moment.
One limitation I grapple with is my own self-doubt and tendency toward people pleasing, which shows up in wanting every client to like me, when the reality is that not everyone will – and that’s okay.
This is something I have been working on with my own therapist.
What is your general philosophy and approach to helping?
This question immediately made me think of the Carl Rogers quote, "The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I change." To me, this quote highlights the importance of self-acceptance and self-compassion, which I believe are essential in the journey of personal growth and healing. Regardless of the issue(s) I am working with clients on, I am always trying to bring in self-compassion and acceptance.
I believe that we are all imperfect humans and that accepting this truth can be one of the most liberating and empowering things and actually one of the most effective motivators for change.
How do you set up counseling goals? What are they like? What is success for you?
I think it is important to talk about counselling goals early on and on an ongoing basis with clients. Goals help define the work of therapy and should align with what the client wants to do differently outside of the session to facilitate the changes they hope to see in their lives. With that said, I see success most in the process of counselling and in all of the moments, both big and small, where I can see that the client has developed deeper insight and/or feels more empowered.
Would You Consider Yourself An Introvert Or An Extrovert?
I see introversion and extroversion as existing on a spectrum and I would consider myself landing somewhere in that middle zone but leaning more toward the introvert side.
Where Do You Find Meaning In Your Life?
I find meaning and gratitude most palpably in the work that I do. I am particularly grateful that I get to walk alongside clients on their real and raw journeys through life.
There are so many parallels between my own life’s journey and those of my clients.
This work constantly challenges me and I often feel myself growing and learning alongside my clients in a parallel process. I find my work so humbling and meaningful.
If You Could Watch Everything That Happened In Your Life Until Now, What Is Your Favourite Moment?
One moment that fills me with joy to look back on was graduating from my Masters in Counselling Psychology program and walking across the stage and having both of my parents in the audience.
My parents are no longer together and it was a fifteen-plus hour road trip for each of them to be there, so it really meant a lot to me.
I know they are both proud of me, but I felt their proudness tenfold that day and it meant the world to have them both there to share that moment with me.
What Do You Think Is A Sign That It’s Time To Let Go Of Something?
I think a necessary first step to letting go of something is to allow yourself to check in with your true feelings. This might sound easy, but sometimes denial, fear, or other defense mechanisms can block us from being able to fully acknowledge what we truly feel.
Breaking down those defense mechanisms and uncovering our deep feelings and intuitive truths can help us decide to let go of things that are no longer serving us.
What Is Your Biggest Regret In Life?
I think having some walls up earlier in life has prevented me from connecting as deeply or authentically with people as I would have wished, looking back. As much as I regret this, I also have gratitude for this acknowledgment because it allows me to make changes in this area in the present and future.
I am actively working on letting my walls down and forgiving myself for having built them in the first place.
Can You Share A Moment or Experience That Hurt You The Most? And How Did You Manage That?
This is a tough one to answer because it feels too vulnerable!
I have definitely carried some relationship-related wounds and have felt hurt by people I cared about.
I have also carried guilt and shame about times that I have hurt people I cared about. My own therapy has been the most helpful resource in managing and navigating this.
What’s Your Favorite Thing About Yourself?
My favourite thing about myself is my capacity to feel things deeply. Although this can absolutely be a blessing and a curse, for me it validates that I was meant to be in the helping profession by nature.
I am able to meet with clients in their emotional experience and hold a compassionate, safe space for those emotions.
Speaking for myself personally from a client’s perspective, having that safe place to feel any and every emotion can make all the difference.
What Makes You Feel Most Empowered?
I feel most empowered when reflecting on my own growth. It sometimes catches me off guard at random moments when I notice that I am responding to a situation in a healthier way than I would have in the past, or noticing that I am not triggered by something that would have previously elicited a strong emotional reaction or unhealthy behaviour or thought process.
I still have a lot of room to grow and I don’t think the process of working on ourselves is ever really completed, but I think that that is the beauty and the blessing of the human experience.