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Chronic Pain Counselling

Focused on pain management and common symptoms such as depression, anxiety and central sensitization. Pain is our body’s alarm system letting us know when something is wrong and needing our attention. Our alarm system is located in the amygdala next to the brain stem. The brain stem is concerned with our survival so when we experience pain we respond in a very instinctual way. Pain triggers a release of adrenaline putting our nervous system into action mode leading to the fight/ flight and freeze response. Notice how when we experience a sharp pain we wince, our muscle tighten, we lean forward, our jaw tightens and our vision becomes narrow – these are all instinctual responses preparing our body for action. Being in a adrenaline, fight/ flight response is draining for our bodies, we are only meant to be in this state for about 15 minutes before it starts to drain the system.

Meditation and mindfulness is an important practice to reduce pain and relax the nervous system. If you are experiencing chronic pain it is important to seek counselling support. CBT, mindfulness and meditation have all shown meaningful changes in the brain in short periods of time.

Video: Understanding Central Sensitization

Trauma Informed Therapy

Trauma Informed Therapy

Therapies to Support Resolution of Trauma

Attachment therapy helps us understand the unique way we view and build relationships. We all want secure relationships. When our secure attachment system is in place, we feel safe, and our breathing is slowed, our body relaxes, we feel seen and heard. Feeling secure comes naturally to individuals born in secure households but for those of us who never felt good enough love is more difficult. The art of attachment repair has been described as one of the best predictors of longer, happier, healthy relationships. And fortunately a great deal of healing of attachment is possible and even common in adulthood. (Heller, 2013). 

In households where love was coupled with fear and violence, it is difficult to trust. This kind of fear of a caregiver often creates a disorganized attachment system. With a disorganized system, we constantly feel pulled toward love while also frozen with fear. We work with this system by separating out the fear, assessing it and letting go of what is no longer needed, (Briere, J. N., & Scott, C., 2014). 

A preoccupation with the other person highlights the anxious attachment system. We can be so consumed with getting love it can be hard to acknowledge the love we have. We often struggle with our self-worth and need constant reassurance. It is helpful to notice the ways we are loved and cared for when this system is triggered. It is also important to ask for our needs to be met; otherwise, resentment builds (Heller, 2013). 

It is not as common to have individuals with an avoidant attachment system come to counselling. The avoidant person does not realize that other people can meet their needs. They are very independent and value alone time. Usually, it is only through experiencing being loved and cared for that this individual realizes what they were missing (Heller, 2013). 

Dr. Richard Schwartz developed Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS). In this work, we connect to our most authentic sense of self. Our self-care and mindfulness practices can help us to connect to this core version of ourselves. IFS understands that we all have different parts of ourselves that develop over time to help us deal with stress and trauma. These various parts are there to help us cope with stress, but without awareness, they can repeat old unhelpful patterns of strategies. This work shows us how we can more whole and more alive when we spend more time with our authentic selves (Schwartz, 2019).

Relational Somatic Therapy

Relational Somatic Therapy

Uses Touch, Imagery and Movement

Holding presence is the most essential skill a counsellor can have (Haley, 2014, p. 2). To hold presence means that each person's life and story is unique, and you, the client, are the expert. My client-centred approach will utilize various trauma-informed practices and skills to find the best fit for you.

Somatic therapy, an approached based on the latest science from neurobiology; uses touch, imagery and movement allowing traumatic body memories to find completion. RST can be thought of as the scientific study of the mind/body interface. It involves becoming consciously aware of body (soma) sensations. RST studies how our body sensations relate to our thoughts, actions and our perception or lens of how we see and relate to the world.

The relational part of RST refers to how we connect to others utilizing attachment based theory. RST understands that our learned attachment styles in childhood create a framework or lens of how we view and connect to others in the world.

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy

Mindfulness Skill Based Development

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is a mindfulness based, coping skill  based practice developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan. DBT has famously helped many individuals struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder. However, we now understand this mindfulness-skill based practice can help us all. DBT utilizes a workbook that provides easy step by step instructions for struggles like; nightmares, knowing when to end destructive relationships, asking for your needs to be met and more. See the toolbox for more information.

List of common illnesses treated: chronic pain, central sensitization, fibromyalgia, IBS, anxiety and depression, addictions. As well as trauma and sexual abuse.



Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing


EMDRIA (EMDR International Association) defines EMDR as a structured therapy that encourages the patient to focus briefly on the trauma memory while simultaneously experiencing bilateral stimulation (typically eye movements). This dual awareness provides a reduction in the vividness and intensity of emotion associated with the trauma memories. EMDR therapy is well researched, and shown to be effective in helping people recover from trauma and PTSD symptoms. EMDR therapy has been a helpful treatment for disorders such as anxiety, depression, OCD, chronic pain, addictions, as well as other distressing life experiences (Maxfield, 2019). EMDR therapy has even been superior to Prozac in trauma treatment (Van der Kolk et al., 2007). Shapiro and Forrest (2016) share that more than 7 million people have been treated successfully by 110,000 therapists in 130 countries since 2016.

The American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the U.K. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs/Dept. of DefenseThe Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the World Health Organization among many other national and international organizations recognize EMDR therapy as an effective treatment. More specific information on treatment guidelines can be found on the EMDR Treatment Guidelines page.



Embodiment Counselling

Please note that Tara is not currently accepting referrals.