Little By Little, A Little Becomes A Lot
The story began long ago. My interest in rehabilitation started long before he knew what a brain injury was. An early family tragedy led me down a path that I am continuing to forge to this day. Back then, it was described as compassion and love; today, the field uses the term caregiver. Many years passed. It was a roller-coaster that many are familiar with. I am grateful that at the end of the proverbial tunnel, I came out with foundational skills. Resilience, empathy, hope and cognitive-behavioural therapy are among my many treasured staples.
With over 20 years of experience in rehabilitation and counselling, I am familiar with The Ontario Accident Benefit Schedule and with the motor vehicle accident industry in Ontario. I have completed training in various therapeutic domains, including trauma counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Therapy. In addition, I have developed many programs, including goal-setting support groups, sleep intervention, and chronic pain management.
I have extensive experience working with people with various disabilities and have applied my diverse skillset in cognitive, behavioural and psychosocial rehabilitation to serve the community and my clients.
I feel at home serving the community. Giving back to the community is important to me. I have served as a board member of the Brain Injury Association of Windsor/Essex County. During my tenure, I developed a unique support group. Over a decade later, its still going strong and has expanded its reach. You can read more about it in an article I wrote for the Ontario Brain Injury Association’s magazine, the OBIA Review.
Standards, particularly clinical standards, serve as a pillar in healthcare and rehabilitation. The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) has developed a number of clinical guidelines in brain injury rehabilitation. With great honour, I contributed to developing some of those clinical standards. The ONF’s website is great, with links to all the clinical guidelines they developed.
Carl Rogers, a renowned psychologist, developed the Person-Centered Therapy approach, deeply rooted in humanistic psychology. This approach emphasizes creating a therapeutic environment that promotes personal growth and self-actualization. My clinical work aligns with Carl Rogers’ philosophy, where he identified three core conditions essential for effective therapy.
New & Better Ways of Doing Valued Things
Congruence (Genuineness): Congruence is often referred to as genuineness. In therapy, the therapist must be authentic and transparent in their interactions with the client. This involves being honest about their feelings and reactions within the therapeutic relationship. When therapists are congruent, they do not wear a facade or pretend to be someone they are not. Instead, they openly share their thoughts and emotions while maintaining a respectful and non-judgmental stance. This authenticity helps create a safe and trusting environment for the client.
Unconditional Positive Regard: Unconditional Positive Regard is fundamental in Person-Centered Therapy. It means the therapist deeply respects and accepts the client without judgment, regardless of their thoughts, feelings, or behaviours. This unconditional acceptance communicates to the client that they are inherently valuable. UPR fosters self-acceptance and encourages clients to explore their feelings and experiences without fear of criticism or rejection.
Accurate Empathic Understanding: Empathy is the ability of the therapist to understand and share the client’s feelings and perspective. In Person-Centered Therapy, proper empathic understanding goes beyond simply recognizing emotions; it involves conveying to the client that their feelings have been truly grasped. Therapists achieve this by actively listening, reflecting back what they have heard, and showing empathy through their responses. This deep understanding helps clients feel heard and validated, facilitating self-exploration and growth.
These core conditions work in tandem to create a therapeutic environment where clients can freely express themselves, feel understood and accepted, and ultimately embark on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Carl Rogers believed that these conditions are not just techniques but reflect the therapist’s genuine attitude and mindset in facilitating positive therapeutic change.
The Client-Centered Approach, also known as Rogerian Therapy, is a humanistic and person-centred form of psychotherapy. At its core, this approach emphasizes the central role of the client in the therapeutic process. Unlike traditional therapeutic approaches that often involve the therapist taking a more directive role, the client is placed firmly at the center of client-centred therapy.
In this approach, the therapist creates a safe and non-judgmental space for clients to express their thoughts, emotions, and concerns freely. The therapist practices empathetic listening, actively engaging with the client’s feelings and thoughts. This compassionate understanding fosters a deep sense of trust and rapport between the therapist and the client.
One of the key principles of client-centred therapy is unconditional positive regard. This means the therapist accepts and respects the client without judgment, regardless of their thoughts, behaviours, or feelings. This unconditional acceptance helps clients feel valued and understood, facilitating their self-exploration and personal growth.
Moreover, the therapist listens carefully to the client’s words, emotions, and non-verbal cues. Through this attentive listening, clients often gain insights into their own experiences and feelings, fostering self-awareness.
The therapist’s role in client-centered therapy is not to provide answers or solutions but to facilitate the client’s self-discovery. Clients are encouraged to explore their feelings, make their own choices, and find answers to their challenges. This self-directed approach empowers clients to take control of their personal growth and development.
In summary, the Client-Centered Approach strongly emphasizes the client’s autonomy, self-exploration, and personal growth. The therapist acts as a supportive and empathetic guide, fostering a collaborative and client-driven therapeutic process that allows individuals to better understand themselves and work towards positive change.
Active listening is a fundamental component of the Client-Centered Approach and a crucial skill for therapists practicing this approach. It goes beyond passive hearing and involves deeply engaging with the client’s words, emotions, and experiences.
At its core, active listening is about providing the client with your full and undivided attention. It means being present in the moment, suspending judgment, and creating a safe space for the client to express themselves openly.
One key aspect of active listening is empathy. Empathetic listening means not only hearing the words but also understanding the emotions behind them. It requires tuning in to the client’s feelings and reflecting them back to convey that you genuinely grasp their experiences. This validation can be incredibly therapeutic, as it helps clients feel heard, acknowledged, and understood.
Active listening also involves accurate reflection. Therapists often paraphrase or summarize what the client has said to ensure they have interpreted it correctly. This practice not only confirms the therapist’s understanding but also allows the client to clarify or delve deeper into their thoughts and feelings.
Furthermore, nonverbal cues play a significant role in active listening. Maintaining eye contact, nodding, and using open body language signal to the client that you are fully engaged and receptive to their communication.
Lastly, active listening requires avoiding interruptions or premature solutions. Instead of immediately offering advice or solutions, the therapist allows the client the space to explore their thoughts and come to their conclusions. This empowers clients and promotes self-discovery.
In the Client-Centered Approach, active listening fosters a strong therapeutic alliance and creates an environment where clients can explore their inner experiences without fear of judgment. It’s a powerful tool for promoting self-awareness, personal growth, and positive change.
Self Actualization is a term introduced by psychologist Abraham Maslow as the highest level of psychological development in his famous Hierarchy of Needs theory. It represents the realization of one’s full potential and the pursuit of personal growth and fulfillment.
At the core of self-actualization is the idea that individuals strive to become the best version of themselves. This journey involves a deep exploration of one’s inner self, a commitment to personal values and passions, and the pursuit of meaningful goals. Self-actualized individuals are driven by a desire to reach their highest potential in various aspects of life, including creativity, relationships, and personal values.
Characteristics of self-actualized people include a strong sense of autonomy and authenticity. They are self-aware and have a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. They tend to be open to new experiences, adaptable, and have a sense of purpose that goes beyond self-interest. Self-actualized individuals often exhibit creativity and a deep appreciation for the beauty of life.
It’s important to note that self-actualization is not a destination but a lifelong journey. Maslow believed that only a small percentage of individuals fully achieve self-actualization, and it requires continuous self-exploration and personal growth. Moreover, self-actualization is highly individualistic, and the path to it varies from person to person.
In summary, self-actualization represents the pursuit of personal growth, authenticity, and the realization of one’s unique potential. It is a fundamental concept in psychology that encourages individuals to embark on a fulfilling journey of self-discovery and personal development.
Certifications & Awards
2019 – Present
As a PhD student in Rehabilitation Science at McGill University, I am actively engaged in advanced research and academic studies focused on enhancing our understanding of rehabilitation practices and contributing to the field’s knowledge base. This program allows me to delve deep into the science behind rehabilitation, ultimately leading to expertise in this specialized area.
2019 – Present
I have a Master in Social Work degree. I am a Registered Social Worker, indicating that I have met the professional standards and requirements necessary to practice social work ethically and effectively. This certification underscores my commitment to providing quality social work services to individuals, families, and communities.
Certified Brain Injury Specialist
2010 – Present
I have earned certification as a Brain Injury Specialist, demonstrating my specialized knowledge and skills in working with individuals who have experienced brain injuries. This certification signifies my ability to provide targeted support and rehabilitation to those affected by brain injuries.
Volunteer Of The Year
I am honored to have been recognized as the Volunteer of the Year by the Ontario Brain Injury Association. This award acknowledges my exceptional dedication and contributions to supporting individuals and families impacted by brain injuries in Ontario, highlighting my commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of those I serve.
- Psycho-social Assessments
- Development of OCF-18 plans under Ontario’s Statutory Accident Benefit regulations
- Provision of counselling services in a variety of settings (e.g. in person, via telephone, e-counselling)
- Collaboration with other medical and rehabilitation professionals
- Individual, couple and family counselling
- Selective assignment of Case Management responsibilities
- Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW)
- Ph.D. Student in Rehabilitation Science
- Registered Social Worker, Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, Certification # 837560
- Certified Brain Injury Specialist (CBIS), American Academy for the Certification of Brain Injury Specialists, Certification #7226
- Over 25 years of experience in clinical rehabilitation
- Familiarity with relevant legislation (e.g. Health Care Consent Act, Mental Health Act, etc.)
Life Behind the Lens
I invite you to step into my world beyond the professional realm. Here, I peel back the layers and reveal the human side of me – the one who enjoys the simple pleasures of life, cherishes memorable moments, and embraces the joy of living. Through this personal corner of my website, I aim to show that I’m not just a professional but a real person, relishing the beauty of everyday experiences.
When I’m not immersed in my work, you’ll often find me with a camera in hand, capturing life’s fleeting moments – from vibrant sunsets to candid laughter among friends. I’m passionate about freezing these instants in time, turning them into memories that warm the heart.