waves on the beach
photo of Mark Ring


When working with clients I have three main goals – a sense of safety, alleviation of the client’s immediate suffering, and the development of resilience to protect against unnecessary suffering in the future. Depending on the situation, these goals can sometimes be achieved in one or two sessions or may take much longer.

A client’s sense of safety is essential for the counselling process to work. This sense of safety is achieved by the confidentiality of the counselling sessions as well as from the non-judgmental stance of the counsellor that makes it possible for the client to share their thoughts and feelings. For the counselling to be successful the client and counsellor must have a trusting relationship. If this is not the case than it is time to find a new counsellor (don’t worry, a good counsellor will understand and support you in this decision).

Before a deeper healing can begin, the client’s immediate suffering must be alleviated. People are acting, thinking and feeling beings that operate in a social and spiritual context and imbalances in any of those areas cause distress. A positive change in one of these areas, however, can improve our functioning in other areas. Making changes is not easy, sometimes we benefit from some help. Part of my role as a counsellor is to be a guide. I help my clients explore their problems, suggest what changes may be helpful, and support them in making the changes they choose to make. Because each client brings a unique set of strengths, potentials, and problems to therapy, I tailor the counselling sessions to each client's needs. The general approaches that underlie my practice are outlined later on this page.

I aim to help clients reach a point where they no longer require my assistance on a regular basis. This requires the client develop resilience to help protect themselves against unnecessary suffering in the future. Part of my job as a counsellor is to help the client develop this resilience. This is often a continuation of the work already started during the alleviation of immediate suffering, but may also involve looking at childhood issues or past trauma (if the client so desires). It also involves my availability for further consultation in the future if needed.

For addiction problems I take a non-12 step approach that is largely based on brain biology. For relationship problems I take an approach that is based on assertiveness and the work of John Gottman. For anger, anxiety, grief and many other problems I find clients often benefit from an approach based on cognitive therapy and mindfulness.

I am also trained in Hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy can be very useful in a variety of situations, providing rapid relief where normal talk therapy is slow, ineffective or even traumatizing. This is particularly true when working with phobias and trauma. The "Rewind" technique that I am trained in allows the brain to re-process traumatic events while the client is in a highly relaxed state and does not require the client to describe those events. As a result the client is freed from the symptoms of PTSD (or phobias) without being re-traumatized.