Areas of practice:

I draw from a variety of therapy styles including:

  • Adlerian Therapy
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Mindfulness Approaches
  • Gottman Method
  • Nonviolent Communication

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Anxiety, Stress & Perfectionism

Therapy for anxiety, stress and perfectionism is very diverse. While these 3 concerns are often related, sometimes therapy is focused on a specific topic despite the overlap. Read more about each topic below, plus a brief treatment plan for each topic. Note: Individual treatment plans may vary greatly depending on which topics are relevant, and other limitations like short-term counselling for third-party billing.

Therapy for Anxiety

Therapy for anxiety is diverse because your anxiety concern might be specific or more general. The types of anxiety that I work with most often include: panic attacks, generalized anxiety (excessive worry), and moderate to low social anxiety. I also work with anxiety management and maintenance for anxiety concerns including OCD, trichotillomania, specific phobias, and PTSD in remission. Folks who experience moderate to severe OCD, trichotillomania, specific phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often work with a psychologist or counsellor who is specialized in CBT or other therapies used to treat their specific anxiety concern. I recommend to address your most severe symptoms with a therapist who uses a specialized approach.

Anxiety Treatment

Treatment for anxiety focuses on management of symptoms so that anxiety symptoms can be distinguished from non-threatening and natural responses to stress and other stimuli. This includes creating a lower-stress lifestyle, reducing and eliminating anxiety triggers, challenging negative thoughts, and building confidence and self-esteem to manage anxiety. Remission is also possible!

Example treatment plan for anxiety:
Relaxation and stress reduction
Self-care
Exposure*
Self-talk & automatic thoughts
Mistaken beliefs
Expressing feelings
Assertiveness & boundary setting
Strengths building

*Exposure therapy is used in specific conditions like panic attacks and social anxiety.


Therapy for Stress Management

Everyone experiences stress, but what is too much stress, and how do I know when I am not managing stress well? Some symptoms of high stress include (but is not limited to): poor sleep, changes in appetite (significant decrease or increase), feeling restless, irritability and frustration, difficulty relaxing, feeling on edge, uncontrollable crying, fits of anger, intolerance of mistakes, frequent arguments, headaches, back pain, neck and shoulder pain, upset stomach, muscle tension, and anxiety. Sometimes the body expresses stress before the mind is aware of it. If you experience these symptoms, it's time to focus on stress management.

Stress Management Treatment

Example treatment plan for stress:
Stress reduction and relaxation techniques
Self-care routine
Self-talk & beliefs
Perfectionism
Expressing feelings
Values exploration
Assertiveness & boundary setting


Therapy for Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a complicated and somewhat predictable problem (in its origins) that is faced by more people than you might expect. Perfectionism can sometimes be seen as an admirable quality in a job interview, but it is a red flag for a chronically stressed employee who is more likely to experience burnout and feel under-appreciated by their peers and supervisors. Social and family pressures can exacerbate an inherent desire to meet ideals and excel. But when is perfectionism problematic?

Perfectionism can arise from family experiences where the child was unable to predict the outcome of a situation and have their needs met by their primary caregiver(s). As an adult, the same person applies the rules learned in their childhood home to try to figure out how to have harmonious relationships to feel a sense of belonging and significance or importance. Perfectionism can also come from environments where there was a lot of criticism and judgment. But it can also come from an environment where you were encouraged to "do your best," "never settle," "try harder next time," or where there was comparison between your and others. Perfectionism is a learned behaviour that can also come from role modelling.

Beliefs and behaviours maintain perfectionism. Each person will have come to different conclusions along the lines of high standards, high expectations, high productivity, and sometimes even pleasing others, seeking approval, and needing reassurance. Perfectionism becomes problematic when you experience stress in your life because of high standards and expectations, or when you feel resentful towards others because of seemingly one-sided relationships. It is also problematic when you have a negative mindset and feel irritable, frustrated, easily angry, and are overly argumentative and critical or judgmental or yourself and/or others.

Perfectionism Treatment

Example treatment plan for perfectionism:
Self-care
Identify and explore values
Lifestyle beliefs and mistaken beliefs
Shame and productivity
Boundary setting

Ready to tackle anxiety, stress or perfectionism?