Treatment & Approach
Since you found your way to our page, it is likely that you or someone you care about needs someone to listen to them and to help.
What is Healing Waves
Healing will come in waves throughout our lives. We will have moments when we are ready to heal and other moments where we are not ready to take that step.
Emotions will also come in waves. There will be times when we feel great and strong and other times when we will feel sad, depressed, and not ready to deal with emotions.
Healing waves is a way to connect to nature and the ocean. The sound of waves can be so therapeutic, picturing the waves, imagining the fresh ocean air that comes with waves.
A wave itself can create calmness but a wave can also be powerful and strong and destroy.
I also feel waves, and the idea of a vast ocean gives you a sense of freedom and acceptance.
Our goal in each session is to guide and help the client with what they need. We want to work with you. We will work together whether you have set accomplishments for yourself or if it changes every session. We want to make sure that you are getting the help that you need. We focus on meeting you where you are at. It is our belief that you need to be heard, validated, and take charge of what you decide you need to work on. We believe that sessions should flow based on what comes up in life. We believe that a formal, strict adherence to one path towards healing can be limited, invalidating and oftentimes ignores the needs at that moment.
Speciality and Focus
Trauma-informed (Childhood trauma, abuse, narcissistic parents)
Body Image (working with women and youth, can be social media related, anything related to self image)
Sexuality (Polyamorous, open relationship, sex work)
Men (how a man/male can show up in a relationship, his role and his power)
Mind and body connection
Somatic attachment psychotherapy
Internal Family Systems
Who will benefit
• Two different sets of age groups:
- Youth 12-20 years old.
- Adults 20-60 years old and up.
• Indigenous communities and peoples
• LGBTQ2S+ (focus on transgendered youth)
Trauma that goes unresolved can diminish your ability to deal with further stressful, traumatic events. This can lead to the development Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD. When we have unresolved trauma in our system we have a tendency to under-react to what is abnormal (rage, abuse, neglect) and over-react to what is normal (misunderstandings, being late, emotions, not being heard).
Psychotherapy is a process that allows you to explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour in the non-judgmental presence of a therapist. At Healing Waves Counselling we practice the following aspects of creating a safe therapeutic space to explore your experience together:
You decide what you are willing to share
You are not alone in your experience
We go into material that you can tolerate
We ask that you be open to feedback
You will not have to tell your story over and over again
Our approach to ADHD
There is an overrepresentation of adults with undiagnosed ADHD—particularly women—in our clientele. And this is true for two reasons: first, adults with undiagnosed ADHD have spent a lifetime struggling, without support, with the difficulties. All people with ADHD struggle with impaired working memory, problems with decision making, impaired executive functioning, difficulties with procrastination, and difficulties getting started (activation), to name just a few.
This often results in a distorted self-conception: for example, feeling that one is lazy or unintelligent or unreliable. And second, people with ADHD are significantly more likely to have other mental health diagnoses, for example, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
Healing Waves Counselling can help clients navigate the diagnostic process, access available accommodations, and work closely with clients as they begin finding the proper medication at the correct dosage.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. This therapy is a set of standard protocols incorporating elements from many other treatment approaches, such as mindfulness, CBT, somatic experiencing, experiential, psychodynamic, & family systems theory. Bilateral stimulation is added to this, usually by the therapist guiding the clients’ eye movements left to right, as our eyes do naturally in REM sleep. Some therapists use bilateral tapping on the client’s knees instead of eye movements. There is much less talking in EMDR sessions so that you can go inwards and process (like mindfulness with a jet pack and a laser targeting specific beliefs). You choose which beliefs you want to work on, one at a time, in a collaborative way with your therapist.
About EMDR Therapy
Dr. Shapiro, the creator of EMDR in 19988, describes it as “a simultaneous desensitization and cognitive restructuring of memories and personal attributions, involving processing of the disturbing memories.” It is a scientifically validated method of psychotherapy, accepted by the Canadian Justice System, World Health Organization, Therapyadvisor.com, and many Employee Assistance Programs, and some medical doctors are either practising it or referring their patients for it. It has been recommended by the American Psychiatric Association, the UK Dept. of Health, Harvard & Boston U, and the International Society for Traumatic Stress.
How does it work
Traumatic memories stay “stuck” in the brain’s nether regions– the nonverbal, non-conscious, subcortical regions (amygdala, thalamus, hippocampus, hypothalamus, and brain stem), where they’re not accessible to the frontal lobes– the logical, reasoning parts of the brain. They are recorded as sensory memory traces (including body sensations) and are inaccessible to conscious examination (Damasio, 2006). This therapy activates all these parts simultaneously and because neurons that fire together, and wire together = triggers are desensitized and new neural pathways are formed that are more adaptive. The insights clients gain in EMDR result not from clinician interpretation, but from the clients’ own accelerated intellectual and emotional processing. Once the trauma is resolved, spontaneous improvement in other psychological domains occurs. See Shapiro’s AIP model for more explanation.
What to expect during a session
When you have done all the prep and have chosen the first memory and belief to work on, your therapist will sit opposite you but to one side. They need to move closer temporarily when using eye movement so their fingers are at a distance that is comfortable for your eyes to focus on and follow. The therapist will ask you to focus inward on the traumatic memory, your emotions, thoughts, bodily sensations, and visual images and follow their fingers with your eyes: left-right. No, it is not at all like hypnosis, where you are in a calm, relaxed state. You will experience strong emotions, as that is what helps activate the parts of the brain where the trauma/disturbing event is stored. This is necessary to produce change. I used to use therapies that only dealt with the conscious mind and found little improvement that didn’t last. With EMDR, more parts of the brain are activated, in an intense way. I found significant progress in my clients in much less time and with lasting results.
If you cannot do the eye movements, some therapists offer other forms of bilateral stimulation (BLS): hand taps, auditory tones, hand-held buzzing mechanisms. They are all alternating activation of the right hemisphere and then the left hemisphere of the brain (BLS) which facilitates the processing of psychological difficulties. You will be pausing briefly & reflecting on what you were noticing during the BLS. If needed, your therapist may ask you questions occasionally to help you move to a neutral or positive interpretation of what the event meant about you e.g., “I did the best I could.” A crucial step is pairing the original disturbing event with the new positive cognition. By the end of each session, clients report a significant reduction in level of disturbance and report feeling relief, peace, & calmness.
Unlike some other therapies, EMDR clients are not asked to relive the trauma intensely for prolonged periods of time. In EMDR when there is a high level of intensity, it will only last for a few moments and then decrease rapidly. If it does not subside quickly on its own, let your therapist know because they can then use techniques to help your distress quickly dissipate. This is important so you can function comfortably outside of the sessions. If you are stuck at any point, I will not just keep saying “Go with that.” I will offer cognitive interweaves (questions, info, or ideas for an alternate ending) that you can try out if you wish to. They can provide for you what you wished had happened but didn’t. You may be tired after EMDR sessions, so plan to have some downtime after each treatment.
Past, present, and future aspects of events are addressed and evaluation is included briefly in each session to assess progress and choose the next events/beliefs to work on.
What to expect after your EMDR treatment is complete
You will still be the same person and be able to remember accurately what happened, but it will be less upsetting or not disturbing at all. You’ll have learned all you need to learn from your traumas. If you’ve had PTSD, you will no longer suffer from nightmares, intrusive memories, emotional flooding, anxiety, numbing, or low self–esteem. Even smaller traumas or hindering beliefs from any overwhelming event can be treated effectively with EMDR.
As an EMDR counsellor, I’ve had clients become more confident, calm, stable, hopeful, and adaptive. I’ve witnessed my clients developing more ability to focus, learn, sleep well, recover from breakups, recover from narcissist’s abuse, trust their judgement, reduce survivor guilt, eliminate impostor syndrome, to protect their family & themselves, to have healthier relationships. My clients have also become more calmly assertive, built more friendships, set healthy boundaries, changed careers, taking on tasks they’ve avoided, and become competent leaders.
What EMDR is effective for?
EMDR can be used to enhance performance, including interview skills, public speaking skills, or dating. EMDR is effective at treating PTSD and traumas from natural disasters, assault, abuse, accidents, or traumatizing medical or dental procedures. EMDR can be used to treat anxiety, depression, survivor guilt, or low self–esteem.