My name is Courtenay, and I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor (#12891), nature-based therapist, and trauma specialist. I was born and raised on the traditional, unceded and ancestral territory of the Snuneymuxw nation, on Vancouver Island. I am a fourth generation Canadian with settler ancestry: I have British and Welsh ancestral lines on my maternal side and Italian and Scottish ancestry on my paternal side. I currently live on the traditional territory of the Tsimshian People in Terrace, BC where I feel so grateful to connect, learn and play on (and with) this incredible land.
My passion lies in supporting people to boldly embody their deepest sense of Self and purpose, and I do so through collaboration with the Earth, body, mind, and spirit. We all have an innate capacity to grow and heal, and the therapeutic process can help us to access this internal wisdom. As Leonard Cohen wrote, "there is a crack in everything... that's where the light gets in" - and, it is often in the places where we have been wounded or hurt that our unique gifts and life purpose are revealed. When we attend to our pain with skillful care and compassion, we become more able to connect with our life force and rise to our potential.
I believe that one of the most radical acts we can take is to show up as our authentic Selves, and share our unique gifts in the world. Right now, more than ever, our planet and society are depending on this! As Marianne Williamson says, "as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." Let me guide you through this liberation process, to connect to your wholeness and come home to your true nature!
To learn more about my counselling approach, click here.
A bit about my background:
I have been working in the field of complex trauma for over ten years. I completed my Bachelor of Arts (honours) in Psychology and First Nations Studies at Vancouver Island University in 2011. While pursuing my undergraduate studies, I worked as a support worker and program coordinator at an inner-city youth centre. This role was a significant turning point for me, as it was the first job where I felt a deep spark of passion. I loved connecting with my clients, and creating safe spaces for them to be themselves and access support. At that time, I knew that I was called to work with people, but I wanted to develop more clinical competency.
I pursued graduate training at the University of British Columbia, where I completed a Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology. While attending UBC, I received a number of awards and distinctions including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada's Joseph Armand Bombardier Graduate Scholarship. My masters thesis, which focused on the integration of Social Justice into counselling practice, was also recognized by SSHRC with a National Storytellers Award in 2015. Throughout my masters, I worked for the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) as their Youth Engagement Coordinator. In that role I facilitated the development of a number of youth-based programs and resources for young people in and from foster care and adoptees. My work with AFABC and the amazing youth that accessed my program left an indelible mark on my heart. I was constantly moved by the powerful voices of my clients, and began to explicitly understand the impact that our early relationships and experiences have on the ways that we relate to ourselves, others and the world.
After completing my masters, I began working as a psychotherapist with adults, children, families and groups... and have continued to do so within Indigenous communities, the non-profit sector, higher education, the public sector and private practice. I have focused the majority of my clinical career specializing in complicated grief and complex trauma and am very passionate about supporting folks to safely and effectively address complex trauma and dissociation. I am the co-chair of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation's (ISSTD) Student and Emerging Professional Committee. And in 2020 I was honoured with the ISSTD's President's Award of Distinction for my leadership within that role.
I am strongly committed to being on the forefront of best practice and research. I have been involved in research throughout my academic and professional career. During my undergraduate degree I was an active student researcher within the Vancouver Island University Psychological Resilience research lab and the First Nations Studies Department. Throughout my graduate training I was involved in various research projects and initiatives. Currently, I wear the hat of Assistant Editor for the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation's Clinical Journal, Frontiers in the Psychotherapy of Trauma and Dissociation, where I provide editorial support for all stages of the publication process. I feel proud to play a role in the dissemination of clinical research and best practices within my field.
I live in a tiny home amongst the wild mountains, medicines, waters, and foods of Northwestern, BC. When I’m not with clients, you can find me on my bike, in my garden, or exploring BC’s beautiful coastal mountains. I am a passionate wild forager, and love to intentionally harvest wild herbs, berries and mushrooms to create my own medicinal tinctures, teas and treats. I am continually inspired by the incredible teachings that are gifted from the forest floor. Outdoor adventure is my other passion, and I love to explore in my runners, hiking boots, skis, camper van, or on my touring bike. Some of my adventures have included cycling the US Pacific Coast (54 days, 3400 km) and cycling across Canada (84 days, 7500 km).
To learn more about my core values click here.