As a registered social worker for over 20 years, I have had the opportunity to work alongside individuals, couples and families willing to share with me their life stories, including the sharing of some of their most difficult life situations. This talk is often laden with clients expressing helplessness, but what is often forgotten are the moments of great strength you expressed during these hard times. Traumatic experiences are subjective, and whether it is a situational incident that has impacted your life, or you have endured years of repeated trauma, I will help you to shift to notice times of courage not shame, bravery not fear, and resilience, not hopelessness, and build on these instances to overcome your problems.
I am trained and experienced in many therapies allowing me to support couples, families, and individual clients with many therapy tools including:
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) which is a research-based approach to manage many problems including anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic pain, stress, and phobias; Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) which is a short-term (8 – 20 sessions) and attachment structured approach to couples‘ therapy; Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, which is an individualized counselling approach that I use with couples, women, teens, and individuals interested in employing future-focused visualization and client-derived strengths to overcome challenges and experience improvements in as little as 6 sessions; Mindfulness–Based approach which incorporates mindfulness practices such as meditation and breathing exercises; Sand tray therapy invites an individual to find a way to express themselves verbally and non-verbally; and Art Therapy, which helps clients communicate, overcome stress, and explore different aspects of their own personalities.
SPECIALIZATIONS: I have completed the requirements to treat clients with EMDR protocols and as such, I am registered with EMDR Canada and the EMDR International Association. I have worked successfully with individuals diagnosed with full-scale IQ’s below 85 for many years. I have extensive experience adjusting treatment approaches to meet the unique strengths and needs of individuals diagnosed with intellectual disabilities. I am certified as a Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and as a New Ways for Families counsellor. I am approved to offer counselling for individuals involved with the Crime Victim Assistance Program.
I understand that just as there is not a “one size fits all” for treatment options, so too varies the problems clients are experiencing. Sometimes more than one problem can exist at a time, increasing the feelings of being overwhelmed. So while my list covers some of the problems I can help you with, I encourage you to contact me directly to see how I can help with your unique situation.
Life’s Ups and Downs:
Counselling is not always for when things are already in a difficult place. Sometimes clients have entered into counselling proactively, for example, couples who want to reduce the likelihood of communication problems escalating, or individuals who want to increase their feelings of self-worth before any possibility of life throwing them a curve ball that leads them into making negative, rather than healthful, life choices. Perhaps you are a mom who is needing to regain some more balance in your life, so that you can enjoy motherhood without losing your identity. Are you a teen or young adult struggling with moods and feelings that are impacting your day-to-day living and social or family interactions? If any of these ideas sound like a fit for you, please contact me to learn more.
We will all experience ups and downs in our lives – that is life! If we all experienced a flat way of being, we would not be living. What is important to notice is how difficult times in our lives impact us. Asking yourself, “Is this just a bad day?” Or are the problems you’re experiencing impacting you for a longer period of time? Your lifestyle? Work? Relationships? Stress and anxiety are common problems people want to address in therapy, but it is important to remember a certain amount of stress is a good thing! Otherwise we wouldn’t know to stay away from unsafe situations! But when anxiety and stress levels stay high, the impact to our psychological and physical well-being can be debilitating.
Many of my clients have accessed counselling to help with a variety of issues. Are you experiencing any one or more of the following problems in your life? Do any of these problems sound like they might apply to your life? Please contact me to learn more about how I can support you to move from surviving to thriving.
James Cash Penney,