I always knew that my role in life was to help people. When I started on my journey of becoming a therapist, it felt more like coming home than ending up at a destination. I have been working in the mental health and addictions field since 2006 with youth and adults in a variety of settings and am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with the BCACC, a Certified Canadian Counsellor with the CCPA, and an Associate Faculty member in the Masters of Counselling program at City U Vancouver. I provide individual, couples, family, and group counselling services for issues related to mental illness of all kinds, trauma, addictions, and grief. I am experienced with specialized counselling of Residential School Survivors, intergenerational trauma, early complex childhood trauma, and physical and sexual abuse survivors. I have worked with many unique manifestations of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, anxiety, OCD, borderline personality disorder, psychosis, complicated grief, and all types of substance use disorders and process addictions (e.g., gambling addiction, sex addiction, pornography addiction, food addiction, etc.). I have extensive experience working with couples in conflict, family system dysfunction, domestic violence perpetrators and victims, and sex offense perpetrators and victims. I have been working for Indigenous communities since 2016 and continue to develop cultural competency and sensitivity for working with First Nations clients. I approach all healing work from the framework of the Medicine Wheel – striving to balance the self holistically through attention to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realms (in whatever way the client understands themselves spiritually).
I approach healing from a client-centered perspective, meaning that the client’s needs and agenda are at the center of the work. The client sets the purpose, pace, and boundaries of the work we do, and I act as a guide and vehicle to get them where they would like to be. I believe that the client’s history is relevant to the extent that it is impacting their current ability to function. Our problems in living do not just show up out of nowhere but are built over time through experience. I believe that the client’s attachment experience with early caregivers, the nuances of how their family system functioned, and their unique interactions with people and institutions over the life span combined to create adaptive and maladaptive ways of being in the world – and that problems in these areas can be repaired through a corrective experience with a counsellor or other supportive person in the client’s life. My goal as a counsellor is to create a safe, reliable relationship with people who are struggling so that they can be free to explore and change their way of being in a way that works best for them.
I often tell clients that if they broke a bone in their arm, their body would immediately begin to mobilize its own internal resources to fix the wound. If they did nothing else to it, the body would fix the break – it may not heal well, and it may always cause them pain or not work as effectively, but it would heal. A counsellor is merely a bone setter. We guide the broken pieces of the self back together and provide support until the person’s internal resources are strong enough to take over the job – and then we get out of the way and let the body do what it needs to do to heal. I believe in the innate strength and capability of my clients to heal any wound, no matter how deep it may be. And I am deeply honoured to be allowed to bear witness to their journeys.
Since completing my MA in Counselling Psychology in 2016, I have added to my professional training and continue to seek ongoing education in my field. I have completed training in Clinical Supervision, Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Processing (AEDP), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), the Treating Trauma Masters Series with the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavior Medicine; Lifespan Integration Level 1 trauma therapy; Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) trauma therapy; Observed Experiential Integration (OEI) Level 1 trauma therapy; Emotion-Focused Family Therapy Level 1; Gottman Method Couples Therapy Level 1; Rice Tray/Sand Tray and Play Therapy training; and ASIST Suicide Intervention Training. I also have completed the Naloxone Administration Training for Opiate Overdose, and several other professional development certificates for work with non-violent crisis intervention, self-harm interventions for adolescents, assessment and intervention for anxiety, self-harm, eating disorders, and suicide prevention for youth, working with LGBTQ2S clients, and I am a Roots of Empathy certified instructor.
I have had the privilege of developing and implementing training workshops for helping professionals, including nurses, teachers, social workers, community support workers, and other counsellors. These include topics such as: Understanding and Working with FASD; Group Facilitation Skills; Understanding Addiction; Trauma-Informed Practice; Self-Care and Collective Care for Helping Professions; and Understanding and Working with Mental Illness. Other related topics are currently being developed.
You can see more about me at www.dawnperchercounselling.com
I’m at Yale Therapy Group part time so the quickest way to access me is on my cell at 604-799-1691, call or text or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.