John is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors and has a Master's degree in Counselling Psychology from Adler School of Professional Psychology (now Adler University)
John has two main areas of interest for his practice. The first is working with adult clients who struggle with complex traumatic stress disorder-more specifically those who as children were abused either physically, sexually or emotionally or all of the above; or were neglected to the point of not having their emotions or lived experience validated. The second area of interest is in working with couples to create the relationship they hope for.
These two areas of focus may appear to be disparate, but they certainly are not. It is not difficult to see how feelings of inadequacy, needing to be in control of their environment, underlying shame and guilt can impact one's romantic relationship with a significant other.
John has worked with clients who have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD and underlying Depression who were sexually and/or physically abused as children. He has witnessed these clients go from being distraught, dissociative and highly suicidal to having the courage to make transformative change happen for themselves. Central to this transformation is in developing a nonjudgmental curiosity about their experience and out of this self-reflection the search for meaning - or connect the dots is possible.
It is out of this process of searching for meaning and coming to terms with a world that has abandoned, neglected or abused them the client always reveals their inherent strengths - including their value system.
When a person can develop self-reflection, they are able to identify what they are truly feeling; and by labeling these emotions correctly, they are then able to explore alternative ways of responding to these emotions and develop tolerance for them.
Yes there will be skill building or learning new coping strategies as part of the therapy. However, too often many people will have a very extensive emotional regulation tool kit, but never use them at a time when triggered - this is normal! It is important to learn how to be present, grounded and aware of what is going on, so the skills will be used.
For the client to be in charge of their therapy - going at the client's pace - is crucial to John's approach. When it comes to processing the past abuses, it is not necessary to share all the details of the abuse history or order to find resolution.
For example, whether it is a female or male client who was sexually abused as a child, these details can be processed out, so-to-speak, without the therapist having to hear every detail. If there is a topic that is interfering with one's adult sex life, then that can be explored to the degree that it leads to a healthy resolution.
Often the past 'hurts' interfere with the present in ways that are not so obvious. In couples therapy, John aims to create a safe, respectful environment so that both partners come to understand each other's experience and underlying expectations for the relationship. Trust, commitment and healthy boundaries are crucial and the way to this is through honest healthy communication - that often alludes the couple when it is needed most. Again, it is finding meaning or making sense of why we respond the way we do can be very helpful. John believes that each partner in a committed relationship brings something unique and valuable to the other; and this can lead to a fulfilling deeply loving experience.
With understanding, and a willingness to change by both parties, the couple can recreate hope, commitment and trust in the relationship - a secure attachment that nurtures both.