As a Registered Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist, I do everything in my power to help individuals, couples and families develop strength and resilience when faced with life and/or relationship challenges. Life is changing quickly for everyone. Taking the time to address challenges directly gives the opportunity to move through complexity and relationship difficulties in a way that leaves us stronger and more capable as individuals and in our relationships.
My practice includes people from many walks of life and many different circumstances. I work with all types of individuals, relationships and families. Having learned many approaches, I work to integrate ideas that provide spring boards to better life choices, communication, problem-solving, parenting practices, and overall well-being.
As a society we know that separation, divorce and stepfamily life are a reality for more and more people, yet we still struggle to understand and really accept these transitions as mainstream events. How do we as a society and therapeutic professionals BOTH support families and committed relationships AND also understand and support those who find themselves considering or engaged in a separation/divorce? I have chosen to focus on these ‘marital transitions’ in my graduate work and practice because it is an area where I felt I could make a difference.
I am an alumni of the PhD program in Counselling Psychology at the University of British Columbia, as well as the Masters program in Counselling Psychology at Simon Fraser University. I benefited from the different approaches of these 2 programs, developing strong academic and clinical skills. I also taught undergraduate and graduate level courses for the UBC Counseling Psychology Dept.
Throughout my programs I chose opportunities to develop a specialty in Family Therapy allowing me to ultimately qualify to be licensed as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy as well as a Registered Psychologist with the College of Psychologists of BC.
My research interests focused on children and families through separation, divorce and remarriage as I completed both degrees. My research was also greatly enhanced by providing workshops for couples in stepfamilies for four different Family Services Agencies. From these parents I learned so much – they helped me identify which ideas could travel from the campus and academic journals to the homes and families of my participants. Those ideas that could go the distance were worth keeping and developing.
In addition to comprehensive training in individual and family therapy through my graduate programs, I have also completed Training in the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting as well as the Emotional Freedom Technique for self calming and the Strength Deployment Inventory which supports team and organizational development.
Throughout my career I have lived and worked in different parts of Canada. Among my 30+ years of experience I have:
- Spent thousands of hours engaged in therapeutic engagement and clinical consultations with individuals, children, couples and families since 1986.
- Provided many hours of workshops and presentations of many types over many years on separation, divorce and remarriage.
- Participated in the community of professionals who have worked to develop Collaborative Practice locally and internationally by:
- including it in my practice as psychologist and specialist in marital transitions,
- being a founding member of my local practice group,
- acting as founding mental health co-chair and as board member
- acting as board member International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
- provided clinical services as a Collaborative Divorce Coach and Collaborative Child Specialist
- using my media contacts to support the growth of Collaborative Practice
- providing training locally and internationally
- presenter at IACP annual networking forum
- presenter at 4 European Collaborative conferences
- acting as adjunct professor at UBC Faculty of Law
- acting as Co-chair of the Collaborative Practice provincial training for Continuing Legal Education in BC
- authored professional articles and chapters as well as resource for the public,
- Provided parent support and coaching through separation and divorce
- Within the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, provided team building and leadership workshops for more than 400 CP professionals since 2009
- Authored numerous publications ranging from academic articles to chapters in books, professional essays and parent education resources for:
- The Family Court Review. (Association of Family & Conciliation Courts)
- The Louisiana Law Review (Louisiana State University Law School Journal)
- The Collaborative Review (The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals)
- Family Connections (BC Council for Families)
- Created REACH (Reunification and Co-parenting in High conflict and Complexity) program, an innovative model to address disrupted parent-child relationships in contexts of alienation, estrangement, high conflict and high complexity. REACH provides an in-depth therapeutic intervention that both support the family and the judge, while keeping the therapeutic team out of court.
- In conjunction with the BC Council for Families and The Stepfamily Association of America (SAA) and many Family Services agencies in Greater Vancouver I provided:
- Parent Education Workshops
- Media Consultation
- Board Membership (SAA)
- Training across the US from 1995 – 2001 (SAA)
- Training in Vancouver in 1999 (SAA)
- Facilitation for local Stepfamily Support Groups
- Individual, Marital and Family Therapist and Mediator in private practice since 1991.
In the Media
- January 2017: Appeared on CBC Radio with host Gloria Macarenko, interviewed regarding Divorce month
- 1993 – PRESENT: Acted as Media consultant for BC Council for Families and appeared on other radio and TV broadcasts as an expert on separation/divorce, remarriage and Collaborative Divorce.
- 2008: Consultant to CBC Documentary on 3 approaches to marital separation and divorce, ‘How to Divorce Without Wrecking the Kids”
- PODCASTS: What Happens after Separation and Divorce? | Supporting Stepfamilies Part 1 | Supporting Stepfamilies Part 2
- TELEVISION: CBC, VTV, WTN
- RADIO: CBC, Radio Canada, CKNW, CFOX, QM FM
- PRINT: Reader’s Digest, The Vancouver Sun, Canadian Home Journal
- VIDEOS: Mediation Works: UBC Law Mediation Program
- 2002: Association of Continuing Legal Education for Professional Excellence – Award for Best Program for Getting Started in Collaborative Practice
- 2000: President’s Award for Research, Training and Advocacy – BC Association of Clinical Counsellors
- 1999: Randy Gerson Memorial Grant for Advancement in Family Systems, American Psychological Foundation
- 1993: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship (4 years)