My first teaching position, in Prince Rupert, in an alternate school for troubled youth, was a wonderful education for me. This experience reinforced my belief in the importance of democratic classrooms with clear expectations and individualized curricula including hands-on learning. This lesson guided my teaching philosophy regardless of the setting: primary grades in a remote island school and an urban school, corrections settings for youth and adults, then in various community colleges around the province.
Teaching Introductory and Lifespan Psychology, The Sociology of Deviance and Social Control, and various specialized trainings in communication skills, personal development, and peer tutor training, I have felt rewarded by the relationships with my students and inspired by their energy and enthusiasm. As the years progress I see former students achieving their goals and I rejoice when I’m able to reconnect with them.
I completed an internship in school psychology with the Kamloops School District in 1996, and worked as a learning specialist for two years for Thompson Rivers University (all campuses) and for three years with North Island College (Port Hardy campus). Since 2003 I have travelled to Lax Kw’Alaams on the north coast regularly to provide educational consult and psycho-educational assessments, and to the Yukon to provide the same services to territorial schools there.
In 1992 I opened my private counselling and consulting practice while I taught for community colleges, quickly becoming specialized in the area of trauma recovery. This evolved naturally through witnessing my clients’ struggles to gain stability and positive self-concept following shattering experiences in childhood or adulthood. Today my practice is based in Campbell River on central Vancouver Island, with referrals coming through word-of-mouth, from psychiatrists, doctors, social workers, transition house staff, and non-profit agencies. Funding comes through Health Canada (Indian Residential School healing fund), Crime Victim Services, Inter-Tribal Health Authority, private insurance companies, ICBC, individual Band Health Councils, and individual fee payers.
Today my consulting work includes clinical consult for Campbell River and North Island Women’s Transition Society, consult and training for foster parents in Terrace and Prince Rupert, and educational consult and training for teachers and support staff at Coast Tsimshian Academy in Lax Kw’Alaams, BC.
In recent years I have supervised many practicum students in social work and counselling psychology through the University of Victoria, University of Northern BC, and the University of Calgary. The enthusiasm and devotion to helping others displayed by young, newly trained practitioners make these experiences very rewarding. One of the graduate students I supervised in years past, Gary Hartford, has joined me in my office. Gary has a Masters degree in Counselling and brings with him a rich history of working with youth and families in the education system and with non-profit agencies. He has a special interest in addictions, family and couples work, and wilderness therapy. Further information about Gary and his practice can be found at www.garyhartford.com.