top of page
Image by Tony Litvyak
  • Do you offer other outlets for therapy such as telephone and online?
    Given the ubiquity of the cell phone and the personal computer, one would assume that counselling through telephone and video conferencing would be an easy and effective way to receive treatment. While I do offer online counselling, it is my experience that it is a less intimate and effective medium of communication than talking face to face. It is for this reason that I only offer online therapy in the 90-minute format. It generally takes more time to build rapport, more effort to communicate, and I regard it ineffective for the 50-minute format. If you live locally, please consider taking the time to come in and see me in person. However, if you are unable to attend sessions in person, please consider that the idea of online therapy isn’t just convenience, it is to bring the same conditions that exist in the therapist’s office (peace, security, and confidentiality) into your space at home. For direction on this, please read my policy on Setting Up For Online Therapy to ensure yourself an optimal experience. Setting Up For Online Therapy: Please ensure you have privacy in a secure and quiet space before our therapy commences. In other words, please ensure your space is free of people, animals, and other possible distractions, such as loud music or television. Please ensure your equipment is working and your internet connection is strong. It is especially important that your microphone is working well. Technical interruptions such as lag time, poor connectivity, hardware issues involving microphone and camera interrupt communication and moments of emotional vulnerability and degrade the therapeutic experience. Please ensure that your body, from the knees up, (and your partner’s body) is included in the video frame. I need to see both of you at the same time to know how you interact with each other. Please show up to therapy in the same clothes and with the same decorum as you would if you were entering a brick and mortar office. Please treat your online sessions with the same level of commitment as in-person sessions. Cancellation and no-show fees will apply. I apologise in advance if any of these instructions seem self-evident or patronising! I have written these guidelines based on past experiences with online clients, in an attempt to help you set up conditions for an optimal online experience.
  • How do you manage confidentiality in your practice?
    I subscribe to the Hippocratic Oath: “Whatsoever things I see or hear concerning the life of men, in my attendance on the sick or even apart therefrom, which ought not to be noised abroad, I will keep silence thereon, counting such things to be as sacred secrets.” -Hippocrates The Parameters of Confidentiality | Informed Consent: Informed consent is the moral foundation upon which the therapeutic relationship is built. When you attend a therapy session, you can be certain that your private information will NOT be shared under any circumstances, except under the following conditions: When disclosure is required to prevent clear and imminent danger to the client or others. When levels of jurisprudence demand that confidential material be revealed. When a child or persons with diminished capacity is in need of protection and disclosure is mandated by municipal, provincial/territorial, and federal law. Taking Hand-Written Notes: During therapy you will observe that I take notes. These notes never contain your full name, or any distinctive information that could identify you. These notes, which are barely legible to most, are scribblings of thoughts and observations that I consider to be useful to the therapy. They are written down to prevent useful thoughts from escaping my memory and are rendered to ash on a bi-monthly basis with the help of my parent’s wood furnace. Confidential Emails: Part of the service I offer is composing detailed letters to clients which may include the following: Identifying therapeutic goals and outlining treatment plans. Detailed instruction on how to move forward with between-therapy interventions. Observations of salient emotions and insights that were experienced in session. Links to useful applications and attachments (for the purpose of psychoeducation and therapeutic interventions). Emailing clients between sessions with observations and directions facilitates an open line of inquiry between client and therapist, and helps to ensure that both client and therapist are on the same page with treatment and shared insights. I have witnessed this service to increase client engagement with between-therapy interventions which is integral to couples work. Please provide an email address which you, and only you, have access to for the purpose of receiving these emails. Please let me know if you DO NOT consent to having these emails sent to your inbox, or if you feel your email is insecure.
  • Will my sessions be covered by insurance?
    As a registered counsellor in good standing with the BCACC and the CCPA, my services are covered by many insurance plans. However, it is best advised that you check with your provider to see if you are (a.) covered for services by an RCC or CCC, and (b.) how much counselling you are covered for. For those clients with SSQ Financial and Green Shield Canada, I do direct billing through Provider Connect. My registration numbers are the following: Registration # (CCC): 11242347 Registration # (RCC): 20873
  • When and how should I pay?
    I accept the following payment methods: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Interac, Cash and Cheques. Payment must occur before each session. Payment should be done before sessions and can be done through the booking app (Stripe) or paid by cash or cheque.
  • Do you work with people under the age of 19?
    No. I work only with adults.
  • What do we do if we meet in public?
    There may be times that we run into each other in public. For some clients, this is an anxiety-inducing experience where they feel torn between the social custom of greeting a familiar face, and the act of identifying their psychotherapist in the presence of family and/or friends. As a general rule, if I see you in public, I will not identify you or approach you. I will not make eye contact and wave you down in the dairy aisle, or cock my eyebrow at you in the liquor store. This is out of respect for your confidentiality and boundaries, and not because I don’t want to say “hello”.
  • Do you work with families of more than two people?
    No. I focus on dyadic family counselling. Specifically, I focus on counselling for intimate partners/couples. I do not involve other family members such as children, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and so on. Once I get further training in emotion-focused therapy and internal family systems, I may consider opening up my practice to families.
  • Do you work with non-intimate couples? For example, two siblings, or two business partners.
    Yes. However, when I do couples therapy for non-intimate couples the format/structure of the therapy is significantly different. For example, non-intimate couples do not need the Gottman Checkup, and the Oral history interview (used with intimate couples) is also different. With non-intimate couples, I also incorporate more individual LI therapy so that each person in the dyad can process the relationship as a whole and reach a more objective conclusion before processing things in couples therapy.
  • Do you work with couples in open or polygamous relationships?
    No. I focus exclusively on couples (gay, lesbian, and heteroesexual) in committed dyadic relationships. My training does not cover relationships that are not premised on commitment to one partner, or at least commitment to a primary partner. However, I can help with conflict management for couples in non-intimate relationships (such as siblings or business partners).
  • If I do not wish to disclose an ongoing infidelity (an affair) outside of my main relationship, can I still do couples counselling?
    “In order to have any chance whatsoever of rebuilding the marriage (after an affair), there has to be a commitment to truth. Absolute, unfettered, complete transparency and truth…. The truth has got to come out. It’s the only way to heal.” - Dr. Julie Gottman Gottman method counselling is only effective if each person is honest about their current infidelities. There are two reasons for this: Gottman method counselling is intended to treat couples in committed relationships and if you are seeing another person, the therapist (and your partner) does not know which relationship you’re committing to. Part of the therapist’s modus operandi is to be transparent and facilitate honest and productive discussion within the relationship. It is a prerequisite of Gottman therapy that you are honest and transparent to the best of your ability about your feelings in the relationship. This honesty can not exist if you are not willing to disclose (and go through the journey of healing from) an extra-relational affair. You can, however, use therapy as an outlet for processing your infidelity with your partner in a controlled setting. For example, breaking the news to him/her in the presence of a therapist.
  • How do you keep your personal biases at bay throughout couple’s counselling?
    When couples seek out therapy, one of their biggest fears is that the counsellor will side with their partner over them. They assume that the counselling dynamic will devolve into a situation of the counsellor refereeing behaviour instead of facilitating discussions; or that the counsellor will assign demerits instead of promoting helpful strategies. Everyone (counsellors included) have biases and preferences for and against other people whether they show it or not. As a human being with my own latent preferences and biases, there are a number of strategies I employ throughout therapy to maintain equal rapport with each partner: I continually remind myself (before session) that I am a friend of the relationship, and not to either partner. Singling out one partner in the relationship is like blaming one set of hands for creating a knot in a game of cat’s cradle. I remind myself that my focus should be on the intricate network of woven strings (the relationship), and helping each set of hands (each partner) collaborate. Whenever I become aware that my felt-sense of a person is less than welcoming, I try to locate the reason why, and then find that similarity in myself. Over the course of my life I have held many positions and have adopted, refined, or changed, many beliefs. I have been on both ends of the political spectrum, have contemplated (and agreed with) both stances on creationism and atheism, have been an idealogue and a realist, a pervert and a prude, have adopted lifestyles that are carefree/hedonistic as well as rigid/goal-oriented, and have run with both virtuous and unsavoury crowds. That said, there are very few beliefs and proclivities that I have not first embodied myself. If a client exhibits a belief or choice that I regard to be distasteful, I remind myself that I am responding to a piece of myself that I have since shed away. I do my best to treat them as I would want to be treated: a dynamic individual, endowed with inherent worth, who is constantly growing and shifting perspectives. If that is ineffective in altering my felt sense of the person I do the following: If I continue to experience unfair thoughts about one partner over the other, I bring this up in supervision and/or my own counselling, and formulate a strategy for confronting these thoughts. In addition to doing my own internal work, I continually invite feedback from each partner, so that they have the opportunity to voice any dissatisfaction with the session. If one partner feels singled out by me during a session, I seek to understand the incident and make a repair.
  • If my partner and I want to see you as a couple, can you also counsel one of us or both of us individually for trauma?
    This is an excellent question. The short answer to the question is: “Yes, I can counsel both or one of you individually for trauma during couples counselling”. While “yes” is the short answer to the question, I feel ethically obligated to outline the tedious journey of inquiry that led me to condone this as an acceptable practice in counselling: Throughout my training and supervision, I have asked many instructors and supervisors the question of whether it is ethical or “best practice” to see couples individually throughout the couples counselling process. Predominantly, their answers fall into two camps of reasoning: Camp One: There are those therapists who treat the therapeutic relationship as some would treat the parameters of a holy matrimony. They say: “If you are a couples therapist, the couple becomes the client. Changing that dynamic and going into individual counselling with one half of the couple, breaks the relationship you have with the couple.” These therapists believe that when it comes to couples counselling the therapeutic relationship becomes lopsided if the therapist sees one partner more than the other. They believe it has the potential to cause the following issues in the therapy: One partner may feel that the therapist knows their partner more than them, and may feel that the therapist has developed a bias in favour of their partner. This has the potential to introduce problems to the therapeutic relationship and the effectiveness of the couples counselling as the therapist can no longer be seen as a neutral party. By being exposed to one partner over the other, the therapist would become more familiar with the needs and impressions of one client, which may cloud his/her experience of the relationship as a whole. A conflict of interest could occur if the individual client discloses something to the therapist that they don’t want to disclose to their partner. This creates a stronger bond between the individual client and the therapist as the therapist carries a tryst with the individual NOT to disclose a secret to their partner. Camp Two: There are those therapists who take a more intuitive approach to the therapeutic relationship. When they see an issue that requires attention (whether it be a couples issue or an individual issue) they oscillate freely between individual, dyadic, and group therapies with little regard for the supposed rules outlined by Camp One. Primarily, they bring the same client-centred approach, and unconditional positive regard, to each client whether the client is a couple or an individual. In doing this, they approach each session from a place of non-judgement and curiosity, which serves to safeguard them from expressing any biases. See Carl Rogers on holding unconditional positive regard: Rogers, C. R. (1957). The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21(2), 95–103. Therapists in Camp Two, acknowledge that conflicts of interest could arise, but approach them gently and encourage the individual to share such insights in the couples counselling, where they can be explored through intervention. In this way, a conflict of interest is prevented, as individual clients are encouraged to use their discoveries in individual therapy to refine their goals and deepen their perspectives within the couples counselling. Therapists in Camp Two also subscribe to the perspective that humans are ultra-social animals that are naturally attuned to existing within a social matrix of individuals, couples, families, and societal groups. They eschew the idea that clients will cultivate a distrust of the therapist, just because the therapist spends more time with their partner than with them. My Conclusion: As a newer therapist, I had first subscribed to the beliefs of Camp One and, to this day, still agree that they are not without their logic. Over time, and refusing many couples clients my services (individually) the rules of Camp One began to feel more obstructive to the client’s therapeutic goals than helpful. Throughout my time operating in Camp One, I felt frustrated that I couldn’t help individual partners with the following throughout our couples counselling: Overcoming grief that was affecting the quality of their relationship. Overcoming past traumas that were affecting the quality of their relationship. Taking a cognitive behavioural approach to depression which was affecting the quality of their relationship. Taking a cognitive behavioural approach to anxiety which was affecting the quality of their relationship. I also felt that clients who stated they’d prefer to see me individually, and were already comfortable in our relationship through couples counselling, lost momentum in their treatment for having to seek out (and form a new relationship with) a different therapist to address their individual concerns. When I finally committed hearsay and broke the sacred rules of Camp One, I noticed the following: Many of the partners who were seeing me individually felt more comfortable expressing their needs and disclosing their traumas to their partners within couples counselling. Many of the partners who were seeing me individually gained insight about past conflicts that softened their approach to their partners in couples counselling. Many of the partners who were seeing me individually saw a reduction in individual symptoms that were degrading the quality of the relationship overall. In addition to these effects, none of the dreaded predictions of Camp One had come to fruition. On that account, it is my current view that Camp One’s arguments are premised on a number of uncharitable assumptions about the client’s ability in social and emotional reasoning as well as the ability of the therapist to keep their biases in check. In sum, I have since adopted a more intuitive approach. I see both partners as individuals as well as participants in the unique culture of their relationship. I have no issue with seeing clients as both a couple, as well as seeing them independently to address their individual concerns.
  • Can you help us with our sexual intimacy?
    While I am not a sex therapist, and advise you seek the guidance of a sex therapist for sex-related issues (such as paraphilias and inhibited sexual desire), I can help couples in creating behaviours and rituals that facilitate intimacy and provide strategies for helping couples make high-risk bids for sexual attention.
  • Do you see individuals for things apart from breakup and betrayal trauma?
    Yes. Lifespan integration therapy can help with the following: Processing specific PTSD events that have occurred in the last five years. Processing early childhood trauma. Mending insecure attachment stemming from parental abuse/neglect. Complex PTSD, where multiple traumas have occurred over the course of one’s life. Processing relationships to people and substances/addictions.

If you still have questions, please reach out to me here!

bottom of page