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More about my journey

Connection is everything.  I believe people are good and doing the best they can with what they have.  We are not meant to celebrate and struggle alone, and yet that is too often how it goes.  We often think like our feelings do not make sense, and the way we express our emotions push those closest to us away.  When we feel disconnected from the people closest to us, we literally go into fight or flight.  We either criticize, blame, nag, or attack or we abandon and move away from them.   Either position unintentionally increases feelings of disconnection and isolation.  If this pattern repeats itself enough times, it starts to happen so quickly, and so often, that it can feel like it takes over your relationship and your life.   Through our work together, I will help you explore the emotional drivers to your and your loved one’s behaviour, and help you regain control over this cycle. 

When I first started practicing therapy 20 years ago, I worked with some truly amazing, resilient, and intelligent people whose actions made no sense when it came to the people that they cared about most.  They taught me so much about love and pain, and the strength of connection.  I found professional and personal strength in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). EFT helped me understand the perfectly valid emotions that drive what looks like irrational behaviour.  Behaviour makes sense.  Emotions make sense.  Sometimes these are easy to understand, sometimes reasons are deeper and rooted in things that are hard to think about, never mind talk about.  I strive to create a safe space for you to explore, discover and connect. 

The pandemic has been hard on many, and I am no exception.  I thank goodness everyday for my family, my farm, and my furry creatures.  As I navigated the isolation and the emotional rollercoaster that I found myself on, I turned toward the work of Brene Brown.  Her writings, podcast, and posts helped me figure out that part of my unhappiness was because my values no longer aligned with those of the agency I worked for.  Her work helped me find the courage to follow my heart and live in my integrity.  Just as EFT effected me personally and professionally, so has Brene Brown’s work.  I am grateful everyday for Brene’s work as well as her generousity in sharing it. 

the story Behind the name

Meet The Team

By nature, I like order.  I like predictability.  When I take risks, I take calculated risks, with a lot of safety measures and back up plans.  In about 2011, I created a plan with my husband to buy a rural property, get horses, and offer therapeutic services with and without the horses on the property.  I gave myself 10 years to buy the property and take the next steps.  When we got to year 8, we found a stunning piece of nature, but there were a lot of risks, and not a lot of back up plans.  After many discussions and sleepless nights, we decided to take the plunge…but it was terrifying.  It was a change in lifestyle, a change is responsibility, and involved enormous financial and emotional risk.  We had to build a barn, build paddocks, build a riding ring, buy horses, buy a trailer, buy a tractor, figure out how to care for horses 100%, find feed, learn about abscesses, and so on.  As exciting as it has all been, it has been equally frightening.  This is the inspiration behind the name of our farm-Matatoa.  Matatoa is a Maori word meaning “to be fearless, courageous, daring, energetic.”  Maori is the language of native New Zealanders.  I was born in New Zealand and even though I moved away when I was young, I have always felt a bond. 

We moved in in 2019 and had a very busy year preparing to bring our equine family members home.  We bought Beorn (aka Bear) and boarded him up the road and searched for a friend for him.  Horses are herd animals, and Beorn is especially social, so we knew that he could not come home until he had company.  In March 2020 we found Bentley-just as the pandemic hit.  Thankfully, Beorn and Bentley were able to come home to Matatoa, and we were able to spend part of the first lock down helping them settle in.  About a year later, Duke, our Palomino, joined the herd. With Duke came a new lesson on horse health, as he struggles with allergies and breathing issues.  Each step, each addition, each new challenge was a new risk.  We were repeatedly called to be daring and challenge ourselves beyond what we thought we were capable of. 

All during the pandemic, I continued working full time as a Manager of Clinical Services for a major Children’s Mental Health agency in York Region.  I worked as a Child and Family Therapist, then a manager for this agency for 15 years.  Nice and safe…consistent paycheck, benefits, etc.  I started seeing clients through my private practice part time as the COVID restrictions allowed in the summer of 2021.  By November 2021, I became exceedingly stressed and unfulfilled with my “day job” and recognized how much I love working with clients through my practice; able to practice in a way that aligns with my values and beliefs.  By January 2022, I decided that, even though I was absolutely terrified, it was time to resign from my safe but unfulfilling position and follow my values and passion.  I have found balance and peace.  As Brene Brown says, I chose Courage over Comfort, and have found solace in my new life.

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