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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

Research shows that a number of mental health presentations including PTSD, anxiety, panic, depression, dissociative disorders, and addiction stem from stressful and traumatic experiences in our past. These experiences get dysfunctionally stored in the brain as "reliving experiences" rather than as regular memories. This means that when the memory is triggered, it feels like the stressful event is happening all over again. The body and nervous system remember, even if we aren't consciously thinking about the past.

Our brains have an innate self-healing system, but this system can become overwhelmed resulting in symptoms. Research shows that EMDR therapy, an approach offered by most of our therapists, unblocks this self-healing system, transforms traumatic memories into regular memories, and helps reach an adaptive resolution of symptoms. Somatic therapy is another approach offered at our clinic that helps regulate the nervous system and process past events on an embodied level. 

 

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 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 symptoms such as emotional numbness, social isolation, relationship issues, anxiety, panic, rage, 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 structural dissociation.

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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 caregivers and 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. You will learn self-regulation skills to manage stress, anxiety, and emotions. In the treatment phase, specific therapeutic interventions will be selected for your unique needs and goals. 

 

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), an eye movement reprocessing therapy called Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, and more. Learn more about the specific approaches each of our therapists use. 

 

Most of 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 develop inner resources, desensitize fears of emotions or memories, work through avoidance or resistance, and treat symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic, chronic pain, and dissociative disorders. 

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