My counselling focus and expertise support individuals who are experiencing grief, loss or trauma.
My name is Amy. My journey to becoming a grief and trauma therapist started 25+ years ago after many lived experiences with loved ones’ death, dying, grief and loss. In 2008, I founded Recreational Respite a national organization that supports the disability community, those who face mental health struggles and other vulnerable individuals. The goal of our work is to support those facing barriers to participation by collaboratively finding ways to reduce the isolation that often accompanies these experiences. Using diverse strategies and approaches including self discovery through recreation and activity with an emphasis on building social supports, efficacy and resilience. This has contributed to my deep understanding, interventions and innovative approaches used in counselling with the compassion for navigating the emotions of profound loss, disenfranchised grief, diverse barriers, isolation, and complex relational challenges within families while emphasizing a non-pathologizing practice.
My approach in counselling emphasizes integration of various humanistic approaches and interventions, based on an individual’s strengths and resources. These interventions can include (but are not limited to); attachment-informed grief therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), interpersonal therapy, internal family systems (IFS), cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), cognitive processing therapy (CPT), emotionally focused therapy (EFT), existential therapy, mindfulness practice, narrative therapy, solution focused and strengths-based therapies that are offered with compassion, are culturally sensitive and are socially just. I am also trauma-informed in my counselling approach and trained to support those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and or those who have had other traumatic experiences. My education includes a Bachelor of Arts in Disability Studies with honours and distinction from the Toronto Metropolitan University, and a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology with Yorkville University. I am a Registered Psychotherapist (qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and a professional practice member of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA). I value the opportunity to collaborate with clients in the therapeutic process, working in a non-judgemental manner, that ensures acceptance, safety, and trust.
Grief and loss feels isolating and often ‘tangled’ in pain and confusion. Grief is a natural response to losing someone or something that is important to us. For the grieving individual or family, friends or community, it can be hard to find emotional regulation and meaning from a loss. Grief is experienced by the death or dying of a loved one, a major transitional change, a traumatic event, a diagnosis for self or other, or for those in a caregiving role. Grief can also be amplified with persistent barriers that contribute to the lack of participation, sense of role, purpose and worth in everyday life.
Families often experiencing grief and loss in an individual or collective way. A loss, death or dying event, a complicated diagnosis and or a major transition that has caused grief, can create isolation that contributes to unique grief struggles for both the individual and or their family. Counselling support for individuals, couples or families can include a focus on trauma, anxiety and depression in bereaved families to help each member of the family support one another during this challenging time. Building coping strategies and emotional support, reducing isolation, and improving communication are some (but not all) of the goals in counselling sessions.
Counselling support with me in trauma and grief, includes helping to understand the individual experiences of those with a disability, chronic or long term illness, or disease. Also supporting those who are dying or helping others around them who are grieving or have witnessed the traumatic death of another.
This might include, but is not limited to individuals’ experiences, people in caregiving roles, frontline healthcare workers or first responders who have chronic and cumulative stressors, empathic distress, compassion fatigue and burnout, all while trying to manage vicarious trauma.
Trauma often causes intense grief experiences for an individual who might feel stuck in the grief process and or feels unable to adapt to life after a loss or traumatic event. Personal experiences of grief and loss are uniquely individual and should be supported as such. Trauma-informed care in counselling considers the impact that trauma has had on an individual’s wellbeing and their ability to cope. Grief support sessions may focus on re-establishing emotional regulation, reduce trauma symptoms, build skills and strategies to cope and process losses associated with the grief. Counselling sessions aim to collaboratively create safety, choice and trust while identifying ongoing social supports. Individual, couples and or family sessions are available virtually across Ontario.
As a disability scholar, a passionate advocate for disability rights and throughout my role as Founder of Recreational Respite, my approach has always been to create a non-pathologizing, safe and non-judgemental space for an individual with disability, their loved ones or caregiver(s). My deep understanding of navigating the emotions of profound loss, diverse barriers, and complex relational challenges within families, along with a passion for supporting neurodiverse individuals, creates a unique approach in the therapeutic space. Counselling goals include collaboratively developing effective coping strategies that help to navigate these challenges and build self-efficacy, self-advocacy and social supports, through difficult times. Sessions aim to hold space for healing and collaboratively support an individual, couples or family through their bereavement and ease the weight of the loss, while building social and emotional supports and coping strategies. Counselling supports are offered to collaboratively work through the presenting struggles.
Counselling sessions aim to validate the grief and caregiving experiences while reducing isolation, building emotional and social supports, identify strengths and coping strategies and encourage resilience through the caregiving experience.
Insurance and benefits coverage under psychotherapy.
Ontario Autism Program, Core Clinical Services can be used for therapy supports.