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Therapy & Restorative Dialogue

Many people are afraid to try therapy because of social or cultural stigmas, because they’re afraid of how they’ll feel, because they believe that their trauma is too big to overcome, or that healing might dishonour past loss. But the truth is, therapy is about working through trauma so that you can stop reliving painful experiences and instead be able to remember what happened with reverence and respect. You will gain insight, find your voice, learn to communicate in new ways and take the reins of life. In other words, you'll learn to let your negative experiences shape your life without controlling it.

Using EMDR, talk therapy, storytelling, self-compassion and forgiveness exploration among other interventions, I will help you to move from surviving to thriving by working together to define and achieve your mental health goals. I’ll encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone in order to achieve results, but never outside your safety zone. You’ll move from post-traumatic stress to post-traumatic growth, giving you hope (and a plan!) for the future you deserve. No one is ever broken beyond repair.

I also offer restorative dialogue facilitation for couples and families who aim to develop healthier relationships, peacefully close or change relationships, overcome hurts, offer apologies and achieve forgiveness. This process usually involves meeting with each individual a few times to set goals and prepare to come into safe and structured dialogue to achieve those goals, and to develop effective listening and sharing skills. Then we meet together (in person or online) on common ground, ready for productive communication. 

Who can use this service:

  • All ages, all genders, all backgrounds

  • People with “big T” and “little T” trauma

  • Survivors of crime, perpetrators of crime and families of both

  • Professionals who come face-to-face with trauma in their work

My unique expertise:

  • Human trafficking

  • Recent and historic sexual assault and abuse

  • Cult deprogramming and brainwashing/gaslighting recovery

  • Justice system journeys 

  • Indigenous people and communities (residential school and intergenerational trauma healing)

 
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Mental Health Needs Assessment

If you’re not sure how therapy works or which therapy service you need, you can book a 90-minute consultation with me to establish your needs and your goals, and to make a plan. I’ll ask questions and listen deeply and compassionately to your responses. The results may include a BPSH (biological, psychological and social history) write-up; results of clinical measures and social work diagnosis; a recommended treatment plan with me or another practitioner; and a vision for your health and healing that helps you feel empowered, not overwhelmed. We will also discuss what other advocacy and resources you’ll need, and the changes you can make in your life right away.

"Little t" trauma:

This type of trauma is often overlooked or unrecognised. It occurs when a person experiences (or causes) multiple, smaller distressing events. They may not threaten a person’s life, but over time, they can seriously interfere with emotional functioning. Picture a woodpecker steadily tapping the same spot on a tree. Eventually, it can bring the whole tree down. “Little t” trauma might include bullying, troubled relationships and breakups, poverty or money worries, addictions (yours or someone you love), racism, homophobia and other forms of chronic oppression.

"Big T" trauma:

​This type of trauma occurs when a person experiences (or causes) a significant, distressing, life-threatening or life-changing event. “Big T” trauma might include sexual assault and abuse, natural disaster, car crash, death of a loved one (particularly if sudden), medical emergency or serious diagnosis, job loss, violence (enduring, witnessing or perpetrating), betrayal or breach of trust.

 
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Justice Journey Companionship & Advocacy

No matter how you came to be on a justice system journey—whether you were hurt, someone you love was hurt, or you did the hurting—it is a roller-coaster. I know, because I’ve been there. Unable to find an agency or organization that would help me, I bushwhacked my way through a two-and-a-half year trial as both a victim and the family member of an offender, gaining knowledge, empathy and insight. Now I offer the advocacy and support that I needed to others.

In addition to mental health therapy, my services include counselling and education about criminal, civil and restorative justice processes, referrals to legal or other supports, preparation to make a police report or appear in court, drafting and reviewing court documents (i.e. victim impact statements, offender statements of accountability and apology), expert witness testimony, restorative justice facilitated dialogue, facilitated family dialogue, media relations, and any other assistance you may need to navigate this challenging time.

Who can use this service:

  • Victims/survivors of crime and their loved ones

  • People who have committed crimes who acknowledge their wrongdoing

  • Lawyers requiring an expert witness for cases involving trafficking, sex trafficking, sexual assault, child sexual abuse and other forms of violence

  • Police services, crown attorneys/prosecutors and law firms representing survivors or responsibility-taking offenders

 
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Community Healing

What happens after trauma? It can (literally and figuratively) change the landscape of a community. If you think of your workplace, neighbourhood, family, school or even your country as a tree, trauma has a ripple effect that can influence everything from the roots to the outermost branches, impacting every aspect of a group’s identity, health, communication and connection. Work with me to reverse a that negative ripple effect and make it positive. This service can help after a specific traumatic event has occurred—such as a death, an incident of violence, a natural disaster—or when the undercurrent of the culture has made people feel unsafe, alienated or isolated through inequity, power and privilege imbalance, and more.

Who can use this service:

  • Corporations, teams and communities in crisis and coping with major trauma

  • Media teams and frontline responders to traumatic events

  • Governments of countries and communities coping with violence and disaster

  • Organizations and companies in transition post-pandemic

  • Schools (elementary to post-secondary) and School Boards

My unique expertise:

  • Indigenous Residential School survivors

  • Major sexual assault and trafficking investigations (survivors, investigators and lawyers)

  • Communities affected by high-profile crime

Past clients:

  • First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities, including Aklavik, Inuvik, Yellowknife, Whitehorse, Ulukhaktok, Reindeer Station and Kamloops

  • Ottawa Catholic District School Board Superintendents and Principals and other boards

  • RCMP, Toronto Police Services, Durham Regional Police/Ontario Superior Court, San Francisco County Sheriff’s Office, Parole Board of Canada

 
 
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Trauma-Informed Education & Consulting

Many organizations are ill-equipped to address traumatic events and mitigate the ripple effect—it’s more than just giving someone space or time off. Yet, at some point, almost every organization or government official will be called upon to respond to the trauma of their employees, members, students, residents or citizens. Work with me to establish policies and practices that ensure that you’re playing an active role in the recovery of your people, promoting healing rather than inadvertently causing further harm. 

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Who needs this service:

  • Journalists, TV and film producers and media outlets

  • Corporate and government leadership

  • Human resources professionals

  • Schools, from elementary to post-secondary

  • Community organizations and non-profits

For those who routinely encounter victims and survivors of trauma, there is a right way and a wrong way to work with them. The wrong way—which exploits their trauma—causes further harm, making your organization morally and legally liable. The right way honours and supports the fundamental dignity and healing process of the survivor, while equipping everyone around them to be part of that healing.

Who I work with:

  • Media corporations, individual journalists and filmmakers

  • Law enforcement

  • Lawyers and legal teams

  • Public relations teams

  • Public-facing government officials

My unique expertise:

  • Class-action lawsuit member management

  • Survivor exposure without exploitation

  • Customized trauma-informed training for individuals and teams

  • Crisis consulting in the immediate aftermath of trauma

Consulting can be either proactive or reactive. This means I can preemptively train your team to handle anything that arises, or you can call me in an urgent situation and I’ll parachute in to help. 

 

Past clients and partners:

CBC, NBC, Discovery+, Blue Ant Media, APTN, Toronto Police Service, RCMP

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Keynotes & Guest Lectures

Using my own journey of transforming PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) into PTSG (post-traumatic super growth), I show those in attendance how to move from surviving to thriving, no matter what has happened. Audience members will learn my six Rs of resilience, how to turn the V of Victim into the V of Victory and why forgiveness is the new F word. Keynotes build on the story of my husband’s arrest, trial and sentencing, and I share my photos and artwork to illustrate my journey from those dark days to this bright and purposeful time: my current work as a forgiveness expert, trauma therapist, bestselling author, recognized advocate for justice and mental health, and mum of twins. Each keynote is structured to be an unforgettable experience, one that inspires and motivates triumph over trauma in people and communities.

 

Guest lectures are similar in subject matter, tailored to meet the needs of each learning community. For example, students in law schools, medical schools, police colleges, social work programs and other helping professions are given an enhanced learning opportunity to see how the concepts and theories from their textbooks apply to real life. They are also given an important trauma-informed perspective that can potentially change how they approach their education and careers. Guest lectures can be large auditorium-style, lunch-and-learns or intimate Q&A format for groups that have read my book(s). 

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Who I work with:

  • Large corporations and organizations 

  • Interest groups, professional associations and book clubs

  • Lawyers, judges, police departments, parole boards, therapists and other health practitioners

  • The general public: think of your local theatre, library, convention centre or a fundraising event—anywhere people gather to be inspired by a unique speaker with an unforgettable story. I visit book clubs, too!

Past clients and partners:

Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, University of Ottawa, University of Toronto, Dalhousie University, Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, Ottawa Catholic School Board, UC San Francisco, Rotary Club International, Victim-Witness Assistance Program (in numerous cities), Government of Prince Edward Island, Government of Yukon, Charlottetown Public Library, Toronto Public Library, University of Alberta Law School

 
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Workshops & Retreats

In my customized workshop, The "F" Word: Exploring Forgiveness, I share my own story, and then expertly facilitate group activities, story-telling and personal reflections designed to connect each participant to their own story, offering philosophical and practical tools for freedom from resentment, anger, victimhood and shame. This life-changing workshop can be delivered in a multitude of settings, from an afternoon conference in a big-city hotel to a multi-day retreat in the wilderness. It is perfect for staff teams at helping organizations, recovery groups, bereavement groups, prison inmates/parolees, and families, communities and countries in conflict.