A little bit about me
My passion is children. I have dedicated most of my professional life, spanning almost 20 years, to working with children in various capacities including play therapist, child specialist, researcher, school psychologist, and now as a psychologist in private practice.
I am sometimes humbled and impressed by the incredible strength, wisdom, resilience, and capacities children possess, even at very young ages. In some cases, because of difficult life circumstances, these qualities are not allowed to shine, and sometimes they are forgotten entirely.
Rediscovering these qualities and helping children believe in themselves, find their voice, and be better able to tackle and cope with these life challenges, is my mission.
It takes incredible courage and humility to acknowledge when psychological help is needed and to put your trust and faith in a helping professional. I consider it a privilege and honor to be a part of that journey and pledge to safeguard that trust in me…for your kidz sake.
Guiding principles and beliefs
Raising children is a tough job. Raising children that have experienced more struggles in their lives is especially difficult without some extra help from caring, supportive, and knowledgeable people.
I believe all children want to experience success and feel heard, understood, valued, and empowered. I believe parents want the same things for their children. Sometimes life difficulties and stresses overwhelm the child’s capacity to function and cope. These stresses and difficulties coping may also overshadow the positive qualities and resilience that exists in every child.
When a child is struggling, parenting is more challenging. Even the most experienced, competent, and knowledgeable parent may begin to doubt their parenting skills and capacity to help their child. That is why I believe that collaborating with parents, and having them be an active and integral part of the therapy process, increases the likelihood of a successful outcome from the therapy services I provide.
In addition to working with parents, therapy for children is most beneficial when it is developmentally-based. I try to see the world through their eyes. For younger children, I minimize my language and use expressive activities, such as play, storytelling, and art, to better understand and support their efforts to tell me what they might be thinking or feeling. Within the context of these hands-on activities, I gently guide them toward new ways of understanding and relating.
For older children and adolescents, I encourage them to take the lead in choosing how to best express themselves, what goals they wish to work on, and how I can best help them in that journey.
Always, I work hard to establish a safe, caring, supportive, and trusted rapport with the children and youth I work with. In addition to parent involvement and developmentally-based therapy, I believe this type of trusted and caring relationship promotes therapy progress and success.
As a Developmental Psychologist and Play Therapist specializing in working with children, adolescents, and young adults, I am a committed and dedicated professional with many years of experience providing comprehensive, compassionate, and exemplary psychological services to families experiencing child-related issues or life stresses.
I use a variety of research-based and empirically validated therapy and assessment techniques and approaches best suited to the unique characteristics, capacities, needs, and presenting concerns of your child and family.
More about me…
- For Kidz’ Sake Psychological Services Inc.2006-present – Psychologist in independent practice
- Renfrew Educational Services2007-2008 – Program Manager (FASD Program) and Psychologist Team Lead
2004-2008 – Psychologist – FASD Team
2001-2004 – Psychologist – PUF Preschool Program
- Salvation Army Children’s Village2001-2002 – Play Therapist – Outreach Community Program; Provisional Psychologist
1996-1999 – Play Therapist – In-house Program
- University of Calgary Child Care Centre1999-2002 – Researcher and Child Development Specialist
- Wilson Banwell & Associates Ltd.2001 – Child Counsellor and Parenting Consultant
- McGraw Hill Publishing1998 – Freelance Writer
Education and Awards
- 1985 – University of Calgary – Department of Psychology – Bachelor or Art (BA) in Psychology – Typical and Atypical Development; Minor in Sociology
- 1994-1995 – University of Calgary – Department of Education and Rehabilitation Program – Play Therapy coursework – 160 hours completed (four ½ courses, one at the Masters level)
- 1995-1997 – University of Calgary – Department of Educational Psychology – Masters of Science (MSc) in School and Community Psychology
- 1997-2001 – University of Calgary – Division of Applied Psychology – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Human Development and Learning
- 2002 – College of Alberta Psychologist – Registered Psychologist
During my training I received various awards for a high standard of research and educational achievement including:
University of Calgary Merit Award, Province of Alberta Merit Award, University Entrance Scholarship – MSc Entrance Award, Province of Alberta Graduate Scholarship; and 5 Graduate Research Scholarships.
Volunteerism, Committee Work, and Special Projects
United Way Calgary Children’s Initiative – Action and Working Group Zero-to-Five: Served as a group member to identify gaps and develop programs for children and families in the Calgary community; participated on steering and advisory group organizing and hosting “Power of Play” conference in collaboration with Mount Royal College.
Calgary Family Connections – Board Member: Participated in governance of this community-based program that focuses on parenting support, child development, and literacy in early childhood.
TLC3 Hingst-Dellcrest Institute Research Project – Researcher and Child Development Specialist: Participated in this 3-year research project in collaboration with the University of Calgary. This project focused on early child developmental and the role of parents and environmental influences (i.e., play spaces, partners, materials) in children’s early cognitive, language, social, and play development. I developed play lending and parent resource libraries as part of this project.
Discovery House – Planning and providing play activities to children exposed to domestic violence and abuse.
Vocational and Rehabilitation Research Institute – Research Assistant: Conducted a literature review on abuse and neglect of individuals with developmental disabilities and summarized the findings in a paper; Surveyed and compiled a list of community services, resources and supports.
Calgary Police Services – Victim Services Unit: Provided support and information to victims of crime.
Alberta Play Therapy Association – Board Member; Secretary-Treasurer and Member-at-Large – Participated in the board that planned, organized, and hosted play therapy training workshops and conferences for professionals working therapeutically with children.
- College of Alberta Psychologists
- Psychologists Association of Alberta
- Canadian Psychological Association
- Canadian Association of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
- Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – International and Alberta Chapter