Approach

 

 I work with clients to address mental health issues within the context of intergenerational and systemic trauma (i.e capitalism, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc) and sexual violence.

My practice is grounded in Liberation Psychology and Judith Herman's Stages of Trauma Recovery model. I draw on Indigenous healing approaches, as well as modalities from Somatic (body-based) therapies, Existential therapy, and Mindfulness-Based therapies to support people with reconnecting to the wisdom within their own bodies, their cultural/ancestral backgrounds, and nature. My intention is to support people with experiencing compassion, empowerment and reconnection in ways that heal and end cycles of intergenerational trauma and create possibilities of abundance for themselves, their communities and future generations. 

I work with clients to: 

  • Explore the ways that unequal social power dynamics and oppression influence mental health,  trauma symptoms, relationship dynamics, self-esteem, and overall wellbeing. 

  • Explore how intergenerational trauma plays a role in their mental health and develop strategies for creating new patterns to enhance one's own quality of life and that of future generations. 

  • Develop strategies to promote: self-awareness and self-empowerment, boundary setting, nervous system regulation, emotional resourcing, self-care, and compassion for self and others. 

  • Develop new pathways of embodied ways of being that allow one to feel safe and connected to their bodies, intuition, emotions, and relationships that allow them to make choices from a place of awareness and self-empowerment.

  • Develop an embodied connection to the Earth, and ancestral/cultural lineages.

  • Un-learn narratives and expectations that have been imposed by people and institutions that practice colonial, capitalist, patriarchal, and other oppressive values. 

  • Construct their self-identities and life goals in ways that align with their personal values and desires. 

  • Develop self-trust, confidence, and inner-peace.

  • And more. 

  

 

Addressing Intergenerational & Systemic Trauma

Mental health issues often stem from trauma that has been passed down to us from previous generations (intergenerational trauma) and from experiences within oppressive social institutions (systemic trauma: i.e capitalism, colonization, white supremacy, patriarchy, racism, ableism, homophobia, etc.).

Just as I believe that mental health issues are not caused by an individual - I believe healing can extend beyond the realm of just the individual. I focus on helping people reconnect to their innate wholeness and to  connect deeply with themselves in ways that change the way they relate to their children, partners, families, communities, and the Earth. 

*See below for defining terms of intergenerational and systemic trauma

Frameworks

Liberation Psychology:

Addressing How Social Dynamics Embedded in

Power & Oppression Influence Mental Health

 

Liberation Psychology challenges standard Western approaches to mental health treatment by drawing on Indigenous healing approaches to support people's health in holistic ways. As a mental health practitioner who is committed to social change, I use a Liberation Psychology framework to address the ways social dynamics embedded in power and oppression impact people's mental health and their relationships to their bodies, emotions, communities, spirit, and the Earth.

 

My approach to psychotherapy seeks to address the MULTIPLE different social, cultural, and historical factors that impact people's mental health and the way these factors intersect with people's different social identities.

Integrating Indigenous and Multi-Cultural Healing Perspectives

In my Psychotherapy practice, I integrate certain Indigenous healing perspectives that believe we are all interconnected and that mental health difficulties often arise when people become disconnected from their sense of self, their communities, spirit, and the Earth.

I have Buddhist ancestry and have been initiated into the Himalayan Yoga Tradition. I learn and practice Kundalini and Hatha yoga from traditional lineage keepers. These traditions teach us about the value of: developing presence and mindfulness, being connected to our body's physiological and energetic wisdom, and about our interconnectedness with all beings and the grander Universe. I aim to integrate the wisdom of these traditions into my psychotherapy practice where relevant. 

I believe that people come from multi-cultural backgrounds with RICH understandings of mental health, wellness and consciousness that Western psychology is catching up on. I am thrilled to incorporate your multicultural and multi-spiritual understandings of mental health and wellness into sessions.

Non-Pathologizing Trauma-Informed Framework

 My practice is trauma-informed and based on my knowledge of the work on trauma from leaders in the mental health field such as Judith Herman, Pat Ogden, Bessel Van der Kolk, Resmaa Menakem, Stephen Porges, Deb Dana, and more. 

My practice is non-pathologizing in the sense that I do not believe that the source of distress is located within an individual - but rather within the social structures, systems and institutions that can perpetuate trauma and disconnection. 

My practice incorporates Judith Herman's Stages of Recovery Model (Herman, 1993; 2002)* which focuses on the empowerment of the client and supporting them with reconnection. 

Working With The Body

     The norms we have learned through experiences within our families, society, culture, and through privilege and oppression live within our bodies. These narratives influence the ways that we feel, behave, perceive, and act in the world (embodiment). Without conscious awareness, we may start to embody narratives created about us by those in positions of power and authority. We start to see ourselves through the eyes of those who want us to remain powerless. 

I draw on modalities from somatic (body-based) therapies, mindfulness-based therapies, polyvagal theory and existential therapy to support people with developing feelings of safety and connection to their bodies in ways that change the way they relate to themselves and other relationships. Through learning to listen to the body and track messages from the nervous system - I support people with making choices in life from a place of safety and empowerment, rather than from a place of survival. 

Defining Terms

Intergenerational Trauma: For example - if your ancestors (i.e great grandparents) experienced trauma in the form of sexual violence, war, poverty, colonization, slavery, etc then that may have impacted how they raised your grandparents and how your grandparents raised your parents - and how your parents raised you.

That initial trauma could have been passed down to preceding generations in ways that looked like: PTSD, emotional or physical abuse, substance use, anxiety, depression, low-self esteem, poverty consciousness, etc. 

Without healing & ending cycles of trauma, we may find ourselves feeling and perpetuating trauma symptoms that we either learned through experiences with our families and culture, or through trauma symptoms transmitted through DNA. 

 

Systemic Trauma: We can also experience and perpetuate pain that we internalize from systemic trauma (i.e capitalism, colonization, sexism, racism, ableism, etc.) Systemic trauma is trauma experienced from living within a society that imposes capitalist, patriarchal, white-supremacist, and other oppressive standards onto people. Without healing this type of trauma, we may end up in a perpetual cycle of trying to please and conform to these social norms in order to feel safe and accepted in society. However, doing this only exacerbates trauma and our survival mechanisms in ways that keep us stuck. 

Through addressing mental health symptoms AND the underlying causes of them - I help people end cycles of trauma and create new future possibilities for themselves and their communities.