Hello, I’m glad you stopped by!

Finding the right connection with a therapist is key to therapeutic rapport, where safety, respect and trust all create space for healing and growth.

I believe sharing our humanness is where we find those places to connect a little deeper, and by sharing, we give others permission to do the same. I’ll take the opportunity here to introduce myself, to give you a glimpse into who I am, and to share some of my lived experience, to see if you think we might work well together.

My name is Michelle, I’m a married mom of three big kids! I live with my family in the beautiful HRM.

This year my partner and I will celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary, we call it ‘renewing our contract’ and we tease how it’s always a toss up until renewal. While our relationship is wonderfully rewarding, I wouldn’t be completely honouring our commitment to each other, if I didn’t acknowledge that it has come with a lot of work, many negotiations, as well its fair share of ups and downs!

Together, we have 3 beautiful children, 2 of whom are already adults, and I really don’t know when that happened! Parenting is the most humbling and the most rewarding of my adventures, I am learning so much about myself along this journey!

I’m unsure who said it, but it rings true for me  “A therapist can only take their client as far as they, themselves, have been willing to go in their own life”.  As a human, I too have experienced heartache, loss, and trauma; through hard work I’ve also experienced healing and post-traumatic personal growth. I am committed to the process of life-long learning and growing, and regardless of circumstances, choosing to live joyfully and gratefully.

As a therapist, it is my desire to contribute to my clients in a way that helps them to grow into their own version of their best self to create healthier and more satisfying relationships and lived experience.

In my private practice, my area of focus is relationship and sex therapy. I enjoy working with individuals and couples who are involved in committed long term romantic relationships, both traditional and modern.

I work with people who want to feel satisfied in their connection with their partner. By nature, we are relational creatures, our whole life is a dialogue in which we express our thoughts, wishes, needs, desires, hurts and we intuit what other people might need from us. In relationship, we are creating an awareness for the other. We communicate to our partner “I see you and I respect you; I care about you and what matters to you; I carry you inside of me” (Esther Perel).

Couples seek counselling for all sorts of reasons. Relationship therapy can be about healing past hurts such as betrayal, infidelity, trust or moving away from abuse and towards respect. It can also be about expanding awareness of needs and desires of our partner and of our self. It can be about deepening the friendship and connection and it can be about remembering to play and to enjoy spontaneity. A relationship dances between security, stability and safety and the need for novelty, curiosity, exploration, risk taking and adventure. Most times, people are searching for ways to reconnect or to deepen their connection with their partner.

Common goals in our work together might include improving communication, exploring new strategies, practicing expression of expectations, managing co-created patterns of conflict, working on differentiation and how to be individuals within the relationship.

One of the less talked about truths about relationships is that if you want to change the other, you must first change yourself. Relationship therapy is the place where we create a safe and provocative environment to check yourself, see your part in it, focus on where you can make change and then do your own work.

I am trained in emotion-focused, Imago, and Gottman therapy, I tend to draw upon these tools as required, as I tailor my approach specifically to the individual or couple I’m working with. I rely heavily on the work of Dr. David Schnarch which involves each person maintaining autonomy and showing up as the best version of themselves. I work with partners to become a distinctive version of themselves while helping them to become more grounded, adaptive, creative, and mature as a couple.

A particular area of interest in my relationship work is sex therapy. Issues with sexuality can be very distressing and often overlooked by mainstream counselling approaches. Our sexual health is an essential part of our overall emotional and physical well being. Sex therapy is a specialized psychotherapy designed to help individuals and partners address medical, psychological, personal, and interpersonal factors related to their sexuality. I am a trained sex therapist, practicing under supervision as part of the certification track with the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counsellors, and Therapists.

Learn more about sex therapy here.

Other areas of my clinical work include domestic violence, grief, loss, and trauma.

I hold a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology and am a licensed Registered Counselling Therapist (RCT-21-059) in the province of Nova Scotia. I own and oversee a busy family counselling clinic in Dartmouth and Bedford, servicing all the province and other parts of Canada. I am the Founder and the Executive Director of the non-profit counselling agency Couch of HOPE (standing for Healing Opportunities for People Everywhere). I am a Practicum Supervisor for Yorkville University Master of Arts Counselling Psychology and Acadia University Master of Education in Counselling.

In my earlier careers, I worked in Social Services, Mental Health, and Adult Education 20 years accumulative. Approximately, 10 years ago my career shifted when I joined with my partner in business, something I am still minimally involved in today. Born from this experience was my interest in business leadership, mentoring and coaching, these days I support those new to private practice.

During these past few years, my career has turned passionately toward psychotherapy. In my development as a therapist, I am influenced most by the work of Alfred Adler, the Austrian psychotherapist who founded Humanistic Psychology. I am also influenced by the work of Michael White and David Epston who pioneered Narrative Therapy. Adlerian Therapy is a growth model focusing on individual potential, the power of encouragement and the importance of the trusting and non-judgemental therapeutic relationship. Narrative Therapy is also a growth model that empowers individuals to re-author stories that might limit them from leading fulfilled lives. The combination of these two approaches emphasizes a sense of meaning, personal power, individual growth, resiliency, and personal strengths.

As your therapist I work from a client-centered approach. This means I join you and I journey with you. I am not the expert in our relationship-you are. My role is that of a tour guide, with my training and experience I will point things out you may want to see like a blind spot or a new perspective. I will offer you insight, increased self-awareness, and support you in the experiment of new behaviours.

I offer a safe, inclusive, and affirming space in my therapy room to explore possibilities. My promise to you is to show up at my best to create a meaningful therapeutic relationship that will provide the means for personal and relational growth.

I look forward to connecting,

Michelle

 


Personal Interests: Spending time with family and friends, beach walks with my dog, traveling, reading, hiking, biking and volunteering in the charities I’m involved with.

My statement about my practice of allyship:

I am committed to practicing actionable allyship in my day-to-day life by promoting and aspiring to advance culture of inclusion through intentional, positive, and conscious efforts. Some of my actions include lifting others up by advocating, sharing opportunities, recognizing systemic inequalities, realizing impact of microaggressions, honouring underrepresented people’s experiences, speaking up, and most importantly listening, supporting, and practicing self-reflection and change. I realize and expect I will make mistakes along my journey (this is where growth and learning happens) I will accept feedback, apologize, and correct.

As a private clinic, we’re unable to handle emergency situations.

If you are in crisis, please call your local mental health support line, 911 or go to the closest hospital.

In Nova Scotia you can reach the Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team at 1-888-429-8167

The Canada Suicide Prevention Service is available 24/7, 365 days a year 1-833-456-4566

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