I am a Halifax Psychologist who works with children (10+), teens, adults, couples, and families. I am also a writer, presenter, and a part-time professor at Saint Mary's University.
I hold an undergraduate honors degree (B.A.) in psychology and a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Clinical Life-Span Psychology. My graduate training involved 3 years, including doctoral-level coursework, at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. I have conducted research related to family and child development, including pediatric pain and issues related to parental separation and divorce. I currently teach an advanced undergraduate Personality course at Saint Mary's University in Halifax. As part of my continuing education, I commit myself to attending yearly workshops and conferences of the highest quality.
Good psychologists will have a strong theoretical orientation and will be open with clients about their approach. A theoretical framework serves as a map. It helps the clinician formulate problems and guides them to plan interventions that are logical, informed, and accountable.
I consider myself a "theoretical integrationist." I believe that while many theories and approaches can be effective in explaining our human experiences and guiding interventions, none do an adequate job on their own. My approach begins with an understanding that each of us experiences the world differently and has our own story to tell. I believe that we are all driven by biological processes, but that our biology has been shaped and is constantly being shaped by our relationships with other people, both past and present. In psychology terms, my assessment and therapy work would draw upon humanistic, neuroscientific, attachment, psychodynamic, and existential theories. During a course of therapy however, I may also use approaches that look at times like "Interpersonal" or "Cognitive Behavioral" therapies, which focus on skills development or challenging maladaptive patterns of thinking.
While many in our profession will take courses in psychopathology, few psychologists will ever take coursework in defining "mental health". This is unfortunate in my opinion, because it may create an unnecessary bias toward pathology. I believe a workable definition of mental health can involve a person's ability to think, to act, and to feel, in ways that are open and flexible; if those qualities are met, in my opinion, the individual is likely to be adaptive. It therefore involves broadening one's capacity to think less rigidly and more creatively, to feel with greater depth and intensity, and to act in ways that challenge old patterns to open up new possibilities for living.
While I am by profession a strong advocate of science, I have learned to be suspicious of those who favor empirical science while minimizing the need for sound reasoning and logic. In my academic teaching I work hard to teach my students the value of critical thinking and frequently challenge assumptions within my own profession. I believe that a profession should be open to freedom of inquiry, criticism, and debate. My academic writings reflect this spirit of inquiry in an effort to make the profession stronger and more relevant to society. I tend to set myself apart from other Halifax Psychologists in my broad range of thinking and areas of study. While psychology is my chosen field, I believe that one must also move outside of these theoretical boarders to understand the larger questions about what it means to be human. As a result, I try to draw from related fields of sociology, anthropology, history, and philosophy in understanding the individual person and society.
Being a psychologist is more than just a job for me - it is an integral part of who I am. This is reflected in my deep curiosity and wanting to understand individuals, society/culture, and this larger world that we live in. I am a humanist at heart - meaning that I believe in human dignity and I am actively interested in promoting human welfare and society in general. I believe that psychology can play a bigger role in helping our society better understand itself, so that we can try to prevent war and conflict, to raise children capable of feeling with passion, empathy, and vitality, and so that we can strive to leave this earth just a little bit better than when we found it.
I currently offer therapy services at Cornerstone Psychological Services in Halifax.
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