SOME OF OUR METHODS & MODALITIES
Looking for some more info about some of the tools we use during sessions? Read more below about some of our favourite therapy models.
Brainspotting (BSP) is an advanced brain and body therapy that works wonders on so many issues: addiction, depression, trauma, confusing physical sensations, medical issues, physical pain, grief, nervousness, and more.
There are two types of brainspotting that we offer. Here's how one which we call activation type, works: typically, the therapist helps the client to pinpoint, process and release unprocessed emotions and trauma. To start, the therapist uses a pointer to guide the client to find a spot where the client rests their gaze, and then by default, accesses part of their brain where important information or memories are stored. The eye position provides access to the clinet's internal neural and emotional experience. Together, the client and the therapist focus on the client's process of healing and growing, through this eye spot. In most cases, the client experiences a sense of relief, and triggers that cause difficult emotions are reduced or eliminated.
The therapist and the client work together to make sure the client feels good about the level of intensity during a brainspotting session. The process can be daunting at times. But, all Health Counselling therapists are trained in ensuring that the space stays safe and the client is on track with their healing goals.
The second type of BSP that we offer regards resourcing and strength building. We call this resource type. This can be helpful for goals such as: building confidence in social settings, feeling calm with strangers, self-pride, problem solving, motivation building, healthy (non-addictive) behaviours While the activation type of BSP can be dauting and addresses difficult emotions, the resource type BSP is about builing strengths, internal rsources such as calm and resilience. The process works in the same way as the activation type: with the help of a pointer, the therapist and client find a brainspot that accesses the client's inner resources or strengths they wish to build. The process is always different for everyone. Some clients may develop a sense of confidence in themselves, calm, or strength in their ability to heal, and more.
EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION & REPROCESSING (EMDR)
EMDR is a type of trauma processing therapy. The goal of EMDR is to determine where stuck memories or experiences are located and allow them to become unstuck and processed. We cannot change what happened in the past, however we can change how your body and brain hold on to the past. The goal is to reduce triggers, inaccurate beliefs, stuck emotions including fear, anger or sadness. EMDR allows us to update stuck memories to the present for example: I am safe now, I am not in that relationship anymore, I’m an adult now, I can protect myself. EMDR uses what is called bi-lateral stimulation, which means engaging alternating sides of the body. Bi-lateral stimulation is completed by using buzzers that buzz back and forth while you hold them in each hand. Through the bi-lateral stimulation, EMDR can take maladaptive thoughts, feelings, beliefs and or memories and connect them to adaptive information. Through the connection of adaptive information clients can process stuck memories, beliefs, and feelings. This allows the client to clear out the past and allow them to heal in the present.
Polyvagal theory is a theory of how the nervous system works. Polyvagal theory states that the nervous system has three main functions. These functions are social engagement: when the nervous system is calm, and we feel safe. The fight/flight response: when the nervous system has too much energy and perceives a threat. And lastly, the shutdown response: when the nervous system does not have enough energy and is no longer able to protect from threats. Polyvagal theory allows therapists to explore and determine how do client’s respond to triggers, perceived threats or respond to their changing environment. Therapists can use this information and develop strategies with clients to support being able to increase the ability to access and stay in their social engagement systems. Therapists can assist clients in understanding when they are in fight/flight or shutdown and learn what types of coping skills can assist in learning to manage responses from the nervous system.
ACCEPTANCE & COMMITMENT THERAPY
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is often applied in the therapy setting to address anxiety, depression, lack of life direction or motivation, stuck-ness or feeling unlike ourselves. ACT can also assist with issues related to grief, OCD, social anxiety and other concerns. ACT is an experiential, active type of therapy that helps patients build the life they really want. Some overarching ACT goals include determining what the client truly wants in their life. Then, the client and therapist work together to build a road map together to get there. ACT skills include building tolerance to difficult emotion and experience, acceptance, mindfulness, diffusion from difficult feelings. When using ACT skills, the client learns how to recognize avoidant behaviours, embrace their life experiences and emotions.
INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS & PARTS WORK
Imagine looking at the pacific ocean on a map of the globe. Now zoom in and imagine its makeup: the animals, reefs, currents, the minerals and micro organisms, the water, and much more, each having unique characteristics and playing important roles in making the ocean…well…an ocean. Just like we might think of an ocean as a whole but also explore its parts, Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy aims to help explore parts of our lived experiences as well as who we are as a whole. It approaches factors like various thoughts, behaviours, and emotions as components of ourselves; some conflict with each other and others fit well together in a pattern. In IFS, these patterns may be referred to as different “parts” of ourselves. Only the client can identify their own internal experience of their parts and how they contribute to their experience of themselves as a whole person; a goal of IFS includes increasing understanding of why these parts exist, with the support of a therapist, for an increased sense of inner harmony, self-knowledge and self-acceptance.
Narrative therapy views a person as an expert on the impact of their own life experiences. It takes the perspective that people are not defined by their problems or their behaviours but rather that they have values, skills and competencies within themselves to help change their relationship with the problem they face. Narrative therapy can help both therapists and clients to consider people’s lives in a broader context, talking into account the impacts of factors like environments, culture, class, gender, facets of identity, ability, and more. Narrative therapy also utilizes the idea that experiences, environments, histories, concepts can be explored and deeply understood through the creation, telling and hearing of personal stories.