Frequently Asked Questions

You may have questions about the benefits of counselling and my approach. The following may help inform your decision to get counselling from my practice. If you have additional questions email me at or call 250.213.6914 and leave good times to call you.


1. What is Marriage and Family Therapy?

A family’s patterns of behaviour influences the individual and therefore may need to be a part of the treatment plan. In marriage and family therapy, the unit of treatment isn’t just the person – even if only a single person is interviewed – it is the set of relationships in which the person is imbedded (i.e., their context).

Marriage and Family Therapy is:

  • specific, with attainable therapeutic goals
  • solution-focused
  • brief
  • designed with the “end in mind.”


2. Does counselling help and why a Marriage and Family Therapist?

Outcome research has consistently found that talk-therapy is effective in contributing to the resolution of interpersonal and personal problems. It is comparable to the effectiveness of Aspirin on headaches.  The bad news is that not all therapists are equally effective. Therapy that monitors change and engages in developing a positive working relationship with the client is much more effective.

Family Therapists treat a wide range of significant clinical problems including: depression, marital problems, anxiety, individual psychological problems, substance use issues and child-parent problems.

Research indicates that marriage and family therapy is as effective, and in some cases more effective than standard and/or individual treatments for many mental health problems such as: adult schizophrenia, affective (mood) disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, children’s conduct disorders, anorexia in young adult women, and marital distress and conflict.

Marriage and family therapists regularly practice short-term therapy; 12 sessions on average. Marital/couple’s therapy (11.5 sessions) and family therapy (9 sessions) both require less time than the average individuated treatment (13 sessions). About half of the treatment provided by marriage and family therapists is one-on- one with the other half divided between marital/couple and family therapy, or a combination of treatments.

Addressing relational issues means that problems are viewed as interactional and reciprocal. No one is to blame, as each person contributes to the problem and the potential solutions.  Empowering how the person (self) can take responsibility for their part requires effort, and leads to positive change within their control.  This is authentic power.

3. What is Your Approach?

My approach, in general, is to get you results and reconnected to your strengths and relationships.  Outcome research has determined that the most important contributions to a positive counselling process are what the client contributes in terms of strengths and resources, the fit or alliance between therapist and client(s) and that most models or approaches yield similar results. What is key is your belief that my approach works for you and my willingness to adapt my approach to your preferences.

I have been influenced by a tradition of therapists and researchers who view human communication and interaction as largely informed by language and perceptions as a narrative or ‘story-ing’ process. In short, we understand others and ourselves by what stories are told and believed. These stories are both internal (the stories we tell ourselves) and external (the stories that are told about each other).

So, my job is to help you understand what stories you have about yourself and others that are problematic. Explore with you how these stories help or hinder your life. We will discover what influences you and others may have on re-writing your stories, and what actions will lead towards developing your stories in preferred directions. Lastly, we will identify what will support these preferred directions and who supports these preferred stories, acting as your natural support system that can assist in maintaining change.

4. How Can I Get the Most Out of My Counselling 

The following questions may assist you in your decision to attend counselling and get the most out of talk-therapy:

  • What is going on now that has you concerned and thinking that counselling may help?
  • What is your understanding about what and who has contributed to this problem situation developing?
  • How much have you been convinced that the problem is internal, or that you are flawed in some way?
    • How did this idea develop?
    • How helpful has been this idea in your being able to live a life you prefer?
    • In what ways has this notion about your situation kept you stuck or constrained?
    • How and when does this happen?
  • What and who challenges your attempts to change your direction towards what you want?
  • What have you tried to do towards solving the problem, or coping with the problem?
  • What worked, even a little? What did not work?
  • How have you been able to resist the negative effects of this problem situation? What do you know about yourself that does not fit with the problem?
  • Who has been a support and encouraged you that you are not the problem, but the problem is the problem? How much do you agree with them?
  • Who else would be helpful in addressing this change or changes, and would be willing to attend sessions? What other ways could you keep your supports up to date, include them in your changes?
  • How hopeful are you that change regarding this problem situation is possible? What helps, even a little with that belief?
  • Who else will notice this change and what will they say about it?
  • What role do you want me to take in this process? What do you want me to avoid in our work together?
  • What will be different when you know that our work together has significantly addressed the problem situation or lead you to the solutions that counter the problem?
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