In-person and Online Therapy
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” - Victor Frankl
"Trauma is a fact of life. It does NOT have to be a life sentence." - Dr. Peter A. Levine
Cheryl Smith RPC
As a Registered Professional Counsellor I draw from various evidence based practices from which I'm trained. My primary therapeutic modality is influenced from my ongoing training in Existential Analysis Psychotherapy and Somatic Experiencing. I believe in working with the whole person. This includes discovering and bringing insight to the cerebral part of our life experience and also to the somatic bodily affects our experiences have had on our nervous system.
Life can be unsettling, overwhelming, even traumatic at times. Self-esteem can waiver, relationships can be difficult, we can become anxious, depressed, experience guilt, loss and sadness. All are normal parts of the human experience, yet not always easy to navigate on our own. My belief is that through a dialogical relationship with a compassionate other, while listening to the information our body provides, healing is very possible. You will receive compassionate guidance toward greater insight into your present condition; whether it's a current situational issue or deeper wound.
Many of us are somewhere along the continuum of developmental trauma. Emotional support that was missing in our childhoods, may have contributed to this. Some of us have had instances of shock trauma, whether it be an accident, assault, surgery or other. We may have experienced both. I use Somatic Experiencing and Attachment theory techniques to help rewire your nervous system from the effects of trauma.
Intimate partnerships can be the most important relationships in our lives, ones that require an incredible amount of nurturing. I aim to create an environment which assists couples in acquiring skills to strengthen communication and connection. In hopes to effectively cope with challenges and transitions from a place of love and understanding. Individual uniqueness is celebrated as are an understanding of individual needs and how these elements show up in the relationship.
Existential Analysis Psychotherapy
The beginnings of Existential Analysis were with Viktor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist who survived Auschwitz. He went on to create logotherapy and an entire school of psychotherapy that focused on the search for meaning in one’s life as a path to a fulfilled existence. His student Alfred Langle continued with Frankl’s work of logotherapy and developed it into a robust modality of psychotherapy that addresses all parts of the human experience.
Existential analysis (EA) as a psychotherapeutic approach helps people to live with an inner consent to our actions. Through examination of all parts of the self as well as the world we interact with, EA helps to find the Yes to life, which allows the individual to live a life with complete presence. A life of Commitment, Engagement, and Freedom to Choose.
EA is suited to all the struggles of the human experience, whether it is greater understanding of an immediate struggle or something routed deeper in the foundation of the person. With its holistic view of the person, it believes there is always room for growth and development in areas that weren’t developed earlier in life. I would be honoured to accompany you in this process to illuminate your essence and find harmony in your life.
I have been training with Somatic Experiencing International for three years, having completed their most advanced training. I will obtain my designation as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) in the spring of 2023. Developed by Peter Levine Ph.D., Somatic Experiencing (SE) has been used clinically for 45years. The therapeutic model brings together multiple disciplines and includes the study of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, and medical biophysics, in addition to indigenous healing practices.
When we encounter stress and trauma, our nervous system springs into action to attempt to bring us support, or protection, through the most effective and efficient means it has at its disposal at any given moment. Sometimes, when dealing with shock traumas or even developmental trauma, these responses can get somewhat ‘stuck’ in our physiology and play out in our present lives, long after the trauma(s) are over. SE works to bring regulation to our nervous systems through consolidation of past traumatic experiences. Enabling our present nervous system capacity to have full range, and only resort to fight, flight and freeze responses when they are necessary.
Working together in the SE approach, I will guide you to an understanding of how your nervous system functions and reacts to different stimuli in your environment. You will learn a new language to describe and notice the inner workings of a ‘felt sense’ of your body, the soma. This experiential process will lead us to discover your trauma patterns and ranges your nervous system operates within. Resolution of these trauma patterns is the goal and greater capacity in your nervous system and everyday life will be the result.