BCACC Registered Clinical Counsellor
I hold a Master of Counselling degree from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Victoria. I am registered with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. My longtime passion has been to support people in understanding the root causes of dis-ease and in promoting wellness. My belief is that no matter what worldview or religious affiliations we hold, we all want to be happy. My goal is to support clients to move one step closer to this state of being.
My approach to counselling is based on respect for you the client. I do my very best to ensure that you feel safe, in control of the process, heard, and understood. My job is to get to know your values and how you think, feel, and act, in order to support you to either strengthen or change, aspects of yourself and your life. We will collaborate to establish meaningful and achievable goals focused on creating the life you want.
Reaching out and asking for help is a huge step and one that most do not take lightly. Many people are suffering or confused when this point is reached. You can expect me to be aware of this, to be empathetic and to treat you with respect. You can expect to be heard, to be understood, and to not be judged. Examining difficult or painful aspects of your life and making concrete change can be challenging, however the counselling process is a collaboration between counsellor and client in which my priority is to ensure you have the ultimate say and control.
The first session has a number of “housekeeping issues” that must be covered. I need to let you know about confidentiality and the few exceptions mandated by law. As well I need to make you aware of your rights and responsibilities as a counselling client.
You can expect to collaborate on establishing concrete and achievable goals. You can rest assured that by reaching out for professional help you have started the process of change and will begin to feel better.
Anxiety and stress exist on a scale that goes from deep relaxation on one end, to the “fight or flight response” on the other. Some amount of anxiety is part of being human. Uncontrolled anxiety can involve racing thoughts, insomnia, pounding and rapid heartbeat and a sense of loss of control. Anxiety often surfaces when we are confronted with major life changes involving family, work or relationships. These changes can cause anxiety even if they are perceived as positive, such as planning to get married or a moving to start a new job.
I may suggest a number of ways to increase your sense of well-being and control over anxiety and stressors in your life. These could include breathing, visualization, and relaxation exercises. We will work with your thoughts, feelings, and body awareness to release anxiety and stress and leaving you feeling better and more able to cope.
Are you lacking motivation, feeling hopeless or crying a lot? Are you feeling isolated from friends or family? Are you lashing out at people? If you are not familiar with these and other symptoms of depression you may not recognize what is happening. Sometimes major life events, like the end of a relationship or a job loss can affect coping skills and start a downward spiral of depression.
I can give you tools and strategies that work with your body and your mind to bring back your sense of control over your own life. This approach can help you begin to feel better now, and help prevent depression in the future. One important aspect of this approach is to re-frame negative thought patterns. Examining the origins of these thoughts can also be helpful. As well, we will make an action plan with small and achievable steps to get you re-engaged with your life.
I work with couples and with individuals who are dealing with issues such as major conflict, blended families, or infidelity. I also work with people who have separated or who are facing divorce, to support them in taking the next steps in their lives.
In our busy and stressful world we often forget that marriage is more than two people living under the same roof. It takes intention, awareness, time and effort to create resiliency and intimacy in marriage. In couples counselling I work with you to identify the ways in which things have gone off the rails and help you begin the process of repairing. We will work to re-establish the connection that brought you together in the first place. I can also help you identify patterns of conflict that may be especially destructive and help introduce new ways communicating, of easing the power struggle, and creating more empathy for each other.
Addiction is an attempt to deal with emotional or physical pain. All of us find habitual ways to numb existential pain and anxiety, such as the search for meaning, the inevitability of death, or the many uncontrollable aspects of life. However for some, the combination of pain and genetic factors lead to the destructive illness of addiction. If you or someone close to you struggles with alcohol, drugs, or with behaviours such as gambling or internet use, then counselling can help.
We will work together to help you uncover the root of your pain and strengthen your motivations for change. We will identify triggers that place you in danger of relapsing to previous behaviours. Strategies for coping with times of intense craving will be developed. We will establish a plan that helps you remain safe and supported by as large a network as possible until you are well established in the new way of living that you desire.
Psychological trauma or post-traumatic stress, as it is also known, often results from a life-threatening event or an event that a person perceives as life threatening. Trauma can also develop from violations of personal boundaries such as sexual, physical or psychological abuse. Symptoms, such as feelings of intense fear, difficulty concentrating, and recurring dreams, may be immediate and also may re-occur years later. A person may be overwhelmed by shame or self-criticism, feeling that somehow he or she is responsible.
I will do my very best to create a safe and trusting relationship which is an essential starting point in healing trauma. We will work to reduce any physical, emotional and mental symptoms. This work could involve relaxation, breathing, visualizations, and self-awareness techniques. Most importantly, at your own pace we will work to address the feelings arising out of the traumatic experience, and to resolve the grip of this past experience in your present life.
© 2013- | John Rushforth Counselling