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Therapeutic Approach

Our Approach

Our therapists specialize in treating trauma-related symptoms and mood disorders. We use evidence-based approaches that support healing in the brain, body, and nervous system.


We don't see your mental health struggles as an indication of brokenness or that there's something wrong with you. We believe symptoms are your brain and body's attempt to adapt, survive, and cope. In other words, depression, anxiety, dissociation, and other symptoms are happening for a good reason. It's our job to discover why and then treat symptoms at their roots. 


Whoever you are, whatever your background, if you're experiencing anxiety, panic, depression, dissociation, chronic pain, flashbacks, or other trauma-related symptoms, we're here to help!

The Impacts of Stress and Trauma

Our brains have an innate self-healing system, but this system can become overwhelmed by stressful, overwhelming, and traumatic experiences resulting in symptoms. Research shows that EMDR therapy can unblock this self-healing system, transform traumatic memories, and help us reach an adaptive resolution of symptoms. 


Stressful and traumatic experiences may include: 

  • Childhood physical, sexual, or emotional abuse  

  • Bullying by siblings or peers

  • Events resulting in feelings of humiliation, shame, worthlessness, or hopelessness  

  • Abandonment or emotional neglect by a parent or loved one

  • Physical or sexual assault in adulthood 

  • Accidents resulting in injury to your brain or body

  • Sudden loss of a loved one or other losses

  • Witnessing violence, accidents, or horrific occurrences 

  • Miscarriage, abortion, or childbirth

  • Working on the front lines 

  • Experiences of racism or discrimination 

These experiences can result in a variety of issues and symptoms including emotional numbness, social isolation, relationship difficulties, anxiety, panic, rage, a critical inner voice, fears of failure, substance use, people-pleasing, flashbacks, fears of sexual or emotional intimacy, self-harm, suicidal thoughts, feeling disconnected from your body, feelings of unworthiness, and more. At Shivani Wells-Shaw Clinical Counselling, we provide specialized counselling and EMDR therapy to treat trauma-related symptoms. 


More than Just Talk Therapy

Feeling seen, heard, and believed is an important part of healing, but talk therapy alone is not effective for resolving trauma. While it is important for your therapist to understand your history, telling and re-telling the details of traumatic experiences is not required for healing and may be counterproductive. This is why we use approaches that go beyond talk therapy and work with the brain, body, and nervous system to treat the underlying issues at their root.


What to Expect

During the initial stage of therapy, your history of symptoms, significant life events, and your childhood relationships with your family will be discussed. You will be asked to complete assessment questionnaires depending on your presenting symptoms. Together, you and your therapist will develop a collaborative treatment plan. Additionally, you will learn self-regulation and grounding skills to build resiliency and inner resources. In the treatment phase, specific therapeutic interventions will be selected for your unique needs and goals, such as reprocessing traumatic memories. 


Therapeutic Approaches

We strive to create a brave therapeutic space where people from all walks of life can feel welcome, respected, and seen. Our therapists have competency training in feminist, culturally sensitive, anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and LGBTQ2+ affirming care. Depending on your needs and goals, our therapists employ a variety of therapeutic approaches and interventions, including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy, Somatic Therapy, Internal Family Systems, Mindfulness-based interventions, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and more. Learn more about the specific approaches each of our therapists use. 


Our therapists are trained in EMDR . This form of therapy uses bilateral stimulation through eye movements, tapping, tones, or hand buzzers to stimulate your brain's innate ability to process traumatic memories and connect with positive and adaptive information. EMDR techniques can be used to reprocess traumatic memories, develop skills and inner resources, desensitize fears of emotions, work through avoidance or resistance, and treat symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic, chronic pain, and dissociative disorders. 

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