My Approach to Helping
I have an extensive background in both residential and outpatient addiction treatment which helps keep things in perspective when clients feel overwhelmed. My latest interest is in helping those suffering from trauma.
I earned my Ph.D. in Psychology from Saybrook University and I am a certified member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. I spent several years as a Clinical Addictions Counsellor at Maple Ridge Treatment Centre and also managed two provincial government treatment programs. I have also been executive director for the International Network on Personal Meaning, managing editor of the International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, and program director of the biennial Meaning Conference.
More Info About My Practice
Our programs are based largely on the theory and practice of Meaning-Centered Therapy (MCT), developed by psychologist Dr. Paul T. P. Wong. Dr. Wong was heavily influenced by Viktor Frankl and used personal meaning as a way to organize different therapies such as existential psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy, narrative therapy, and positive psychology into a unified therapeutic approach. Most importantly, our focus on personal meaning requires us to make certain assumptions such as:
Our Clients are Whole Human Beings - We do not treat an addict or an addiction. We treat human beings. We do not believe that a person with an addiction can be reduced down to mere thoughts, feelings, or behaviours. As psychologist Jefferson A. Singer (1997) concluded, we must take in the full dimensions of their lives "to see them as whole individuals struggling to achieve a sense of identity [and community]" (p. 17).
Our Clients are Growth-Oriented - Our clients are inherently motivated toward growth where, if they can overcome barriers to the growth process, personal transformation is possible.
Our Clients are the Authors of Their own Lives - Most of our clinical effort is in helping clients take control of their lives, regardless of circumstances or personal and social limitations.
Our Clients are Not Their Pathologies - Our staff recognizes that pathologizing addictive behaviours reinforces the stigma of addiction and disrupts our relationship with clients. Therefore, we refuse to pathologize clients.
With these assumptions in mind, we have designed a therapeutic program based on key principles of Meaning-Centered Therapy.