Sarah Smith, CCC
Sarah Smith, CCC
"my mission to understand, and be present for, the plight that has brought you to therapy"
Much like plodding through snow-laden terrain in winter, forging forward with therapy can be arduous and foreboding. With commitment and repetition, however, a path emerges, and our journey becomes easier and more familiar with time. Whether mired in depression, frenetic with anxiety, battling the legacy of past trauma, or slogging through the monotony of a tired relationship, therapy can provide us with the tools and insights we need to reorient ourselves to the present and create an informed design for the future.
As a Canadian Certified Counsellor with a Masters of Arts in Counselling Psychology, I only practise evidence-based treatments that have a track-record of efficacy. Some of these include: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Strengths-Based Trauma Therapy, and elements of Gottman Method Therapy (Levels 1 and 2) for couples. Shortly, I will be augmenting my skill set through further trauma training in Life Integration (LI) and couples training with the Gottman Institute.
While these modalities provide the structure “or bones” of therapy, my personal approach is informed by a reverence for the following:
1. Irvin Yalom’s existential givens of death, meaning, isolation, and freedom, which denote the parameters of the human condition,
2. Carl Rogers’s client-centred approach, which views individuals through a lens of curiosity and unconditional positive regard, and
3. the biopsychosocial approach, which I use as a heuristic for understanding the facets of life that contribute to mental wellbeing.
In terms of delivery, I find figurative language, particularly the use of metaphor and analogy, effective for creating rich, memorable dialogue, and useful for expediting salient experiences and insights. Kintsugi, for example, is the Japanese art form of mending ceramic vessels with gold. While it is a stunning form of art, it is also a valuable metaphor for how adverse experiences (our own cracks and fissures) are part of what make us unique and resilient. In this way, I believe psychotherapy to be a form of Kintsugi for the psyche.
On the topic of adversity, it is my mission to understand, and be present for, the plight that has brought you to therapy. As someone who has been on both sides of the table- as a client, a couple, and a therapist, I respect the courage it takes to instigate change and show vulnerability to someone you’ve never met. It is my hope that we can work together to help you create clarity and connection within your relationship, reframe the legacy of trauma, mitigate depression and anxiety, and help you design an informed path forward. Until then, I invite you to contemplate this quote by Winston Churchill, 1940: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”