Every counsellor, consultant, teacher, or researcher operates from a particular set of beliefs or assumptions about human nature, how problems develop, how change occurs, etc. The following set of theoretical assumptions provide a foundation for all of the work that I engage in. By making these beliefs transparent, I offer you an opportunity to decide if my services are likely to be a good fit for you. I believe that...
- Human beings exist in relationship. We develop, grow, and change in and through our relationships with others. We carry forward both healthy and unhealthy patterns into new relationships and environments. We also retain beliefs about ourselves and others, positive and negative emotions, and sometimes physical challenges or limitations.
- We each develop a unique identity that influences our interactions with others, which may include our gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation,
age, ability, socioeconomic status, religion, or other factors. These
elements of our personal identities may or may not have an influence on
the concerns clients bring to counselling, but is it important that they be
recognized and respected.
- Who we are and how we view the world is also influenced by the contexts of our lives - our families and cultural communities, our experience of school or work, the social-economic-political environment, and the other contexts of our day-to-day lives. There are times when the source of distress or barrier is in the contexts of our lives, and change in our environments is essential to our health and well-being.
- Counselling is a collaborative and egalitarian process. Clients bring expertise in their own life experiences, and they bring strengths and resources that we can capitalize on in reaching your goals. The counsellor brings expertise in creating a safe and growth-fostering counselling relationship and in facilitating the changes clients want to make in their lives.
- Change is possible because human beings have the capacity, desire, and commitment to build new ways of seeing themselves, responding to others, and engaging in the contexts of their lives. Sometimes, clients need additional support to advocate for changes at home, at work, or in their communities to address issues of discrimination, abuse, harassment, barriers to resources, etc. in support of their well-being and success.
These basic principles are drawn from my own work in the area of multicultural counselling and social justice and, in particular, the feminist and relational-cultural therapy models. The following are useful references:
- Arthur, N., & Collins, S. (Eds.). (2010). Culture-infused counselling (2nd ed.). Calgary, AB: Counselling Concepts.
- Jordon, J. V. (2010) Relational-cultural therapy (Theories of psychotherapy series). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
- Brown, L. S. (2010) Feminist therapy (Theories of psychotherapy series). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
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