Hi, I’m Ally
I’m a Registered Clinical Counsellor (#15901) and I have a Masters of Counselling from City University of Seattle in Vancouver, BC. I have training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy and Emotion Focused Couples Therapy. I focus on working with individuals, couples, and poly partners. To find out more about me, my approaches, and my specialities, keep reading.
I’m passionate about curiosity and connection. This means I place the highest priority on creating a connection with clients. That starts right here, where you can get to know me before deciding to book a consultation.
I found my way to counselling because of my desire to understand the world, and the people, around me. I’ve spent the last 15+ years answering questions from friends, colleagues, and clients about sex, relationships, and anatomy. People were coming to me with real and challenging issues and to better help them I decided I needed to know more - I sought a Masters in Counselling, and wrote a thesis on Sexual Health Education as a resource to myself and other therapists.
Since then, I’ve continued to avidly pursue training and other learning experiences in the field of sex and relationship therapy. I’ve completed two levels of training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, the foremost research-based approach to relationships, and a training with Sue Johnson, the primary developer of Emotionally Focused Couples and Family Therapy. I live and work with a curious and open mind, and try to remember every day to bring my values of loving kindness with me into every room.
My clinical specialties include sex & relationships, trauma, communication & boundaries. I also work with chronic pain & illness, grief & loss, anxiety & depression, and personal growth. I welcome queer folk, and folk in the BDSM fetish community. I work with people in all relationship structures, i.e. monogamy, open, polyamory, swinging, etc.
Sex & Relationships
The relationships in our lives can be rich and varied, and they can also be rife with difficulty and misunderstanding. It is usually in our relationships with others that we find ourselves feeling the most powerful emotions - hurt, sadness, anger, but also joy, and love. Through our work, partners can find a way to share deep and important feelings with each other, and to do so while feeling safe and supported. This deepens and strengthens their love and friendship, which helps them use their new skills together after leaving my office.
Many people experience challenging, confusing, or scary events that hold them back and that they want to work through or heal from. Whatever the context of these experiences, I can help you to see how your strengths have aided you in navigating these painful events, and we can recognize how you’ve been able to respond and resist in helpful ways. In couples or partner counselling, we can can discuss how this experience has affected the relationship, or what you’d like your partner(s) to know or understand about an event in the past.
Communication & Boundaries
Every type of relationship whether romantic, sexual, or even platonic, can have conversations that are strained, difficult, or just don’t end up where you want them to. Sometimes tough discussions may even feel like major battles. I can teach you the skills to communicate your needs and boundaries in more loving ways and to make new decisions about how you work through conflicts as a team.
Chronic Pain & Illness
Chronic conditions such as ADHD, diabetes, chronic pain, or other disabilities and illnesses can impact all aspects of our lives, including our relationships. We can begin a dialogue about the intersection of the relationship(s) and the condition(s) which can help to improve the level of understanding and empathy in the relationship.
Grief & Loss
For every kind of loss, from the death of a loved one to moving away, losing a pet, or losing a poly partner/metamour we can experience grief. When two or more people are grieving or experiencing loss they may not do so in the same way, and they may have very different needs from their partner(s). As an individual, you may need or want extra support or understanding from close others in your life. Discussing these needs and finding areas of compromise can help lessen any added stress in this delicate time.
Anxiety & Depression
Symptoms of anxiety and depression are becoming more and more common, and can play a role in daily life. These symptoms can often make being with others more difficult in nuanced ways. This can show up as a desire to be alone, avoiding social interaction, irritability or anger, or as an intense need for reassurance and togetherness. Understanding our own early signs of stress, creating a toolkit to use when we are not feeling like ourselves, and accurately communicating what’s going on with our partners can be helpful here.
Above all, I work with people looking to improve their self-connection and connection to others, those focusing on personal growth or exploration, and those looking to build their communication or interpersonal skills.
Warm, accepting, inclusive, and open best describes my personal therapeutic style. My goal is to build a safe environment in which we can engage our curiosity and explore what brought you to my office.
My practice is guided by these principles:
All people possess intrinsic equal worth and are worthy of respect. My therapy space is one of acceptance and safety. Gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, relationship, and family status pose no barrier to the therapy process.
Everyone, and every relationship, has the ability to change; readiness depends on each individual.
Clients are the primary agent of change in counselling; the counsellor’s role is that of guide.
Change comes from an interplay of skill building and deep understanding. If we ignore either, clients are left with half of the puzzle undone.
Counselling is a relationship wherein clients uncover new meaning and understanding, share strengths and achievements, and ultimately reach their personal goals.
I use a collaborative, integrative approach; I seek to choose therapies which best suit you and your situation and I ask for feedback about how that approach is working for you. It is important to me that counselling is never a mystery to my clients, that you always have an understanding of, and feel comfortable with, the work we are doing together.
Just as the therapies used should be tailor chosen for you, it is also important to have a good therapeutic fit. Referrals to other therapists are available at any time.
I am also passionate about the role of your story: understanding how you narrate your life story and the characters that play a role in that story is critical in charting a meaningful course in therapy.
In our initial session(s) we will build the foundation of our relationship as we get to know each other and start to find the shape of our work together. If my approach resonates with you, contact me for a free 15-min phone consultation.
Professional Licensure & Degrees
Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC #15901), BC Association of Clinical Counsellors
Masters of Counselling Psychology, City University of Seattle in Vancouver
The focus of my graduate research explored past and current sexual health education in B.C, Canada, with conclusions on the role therapists play in the community to provide sexual health education for our clients.
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, McGill University
Additional Professional Trainings
Completed Level 2 Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy
Completed Level 1 Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy
Completed 2 day workshop - Couples Therapy in the 21st Century with Dr. Sue Johnson