Anxiety is an automatic response, outside of our conscious control. This was a gift for early humans, as fleeing from danger without having to ponder the decision could be a lifesaver. We have built civilizations to protect us from constant attacks on our lives, but the mechanisms for anxiety within our minds remain. Anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorder in North America—and while everyone in their life will experience anxiety to some extent, for some it can become extremely limiting
The anxiety experience can feel a lot like being trapped under turbulent water rapids--at the mercy of your symptoms. It is scary and confusing; the harder you struggle to break free, the more it consumes, frightens, and pushes you under. You might suffer from chronic social anxiety, panic attacks, or specific phobias, such as performance anxiety. Regardless of how you are suffering, the good news is that counselling for anxiety can be extremely effective.
Anxious people tend to overestimate risks, overestimate their severity and to underestimate our own coping ability. Our therapeutic conversations will work through this, and uncover your internal power. Through mindfulness, you will become more comfortable when anxiety does make an inevitable appearance and you will have a less chaotic, more focused mind. Furthermore, though small, achievable steps of exposure, you will gain more and more confidence to move past the limitations your anxiety as put upon you.
Depression is a mood state that involves frequent feelings of sadness--individuals experiencing depression may lose interest in normally pleasurable activities, have trouble sleeping, feel overwhelmed, and gravitate towards isolation. Aside from the emotional struggles, depression has been linked to several physical maladies for sufferers.
Thankfully, help is available. Medications have been linked to a long list of troubling side effects, and published studies have found counselling to be as effective. Still, anti-depressant medication can sometimes be a helpful kick start towards recovery.
Every person is unique, and their struggles all deserve individualized attention. As a counsellor, I create a safe space where we can explore and co-create a path towards recovery. Some of my clients find great relief with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, others find mindfulness resonates best with them, while some thrive with a psychodynamic approach that helps give a clearer picture of how they got here and how they can fully actualize themselves in the present. No one therapeutic approach fits all, and I find that often a mix of approaches works best. And always, a non-judgmental, positive relationship with my clients sets the groundwork for a space where you feel understood and accepted.
Relationships can be the greatest teachers about ourselves. At times, this is a joyful process—as unconditional love and passion from a partner reveals parts of ourselves. These invigorating, revealed parts within us were always there, but it took a relationship with another to bring them forth. With the help of another, we recognize and appreciate our own ability to be present, love, and care. As time goes on with our partner, we may find other parts of ourselves that bubble up—parts that, instead, make us feel uncomfortable. But again, these reactions were already within us; and relationships, as a catalyst, give us the opportunity to examine and learn from them. In my work as a counsellor, I create a safe space for my clients that allows for learning and integration of what relationships are teaching.
Part of the process of learning from relationships is cultivating mindfulness, the ability to stay with the internal processes that bubble up; the, sometimes uncomfortable, processes, that we often are tempted to flee via one distraction or another. The benefits of this practice are vast. We become more comfortable being present to our own internal existence and, in turn, we are able to offer this presence to our partner. This presence is a cornerstone for any healthy relationship—being there fully for our loved ones.
To develop ourselves, we become better partners and foster healthier relationships. Working with our partner, in a solution-focused manner, also can be very helpful. As a counsellor, I help facilitate a safe, non-judgmental place where all parties can get a clearer idea of where they are, and what success looks like for them. From that point, I help clients develop strategies that will help them get there. The difference between a happy and unhappy relationship can seem like an insurmountable chasm, but our work can reveal small, achievable steps that will get you there.
A native of Fort Lauderdale, FL, Ryan graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelors degree in English and from City University of Seattle with a Master of Mental Health Counselling Degree. Ryan is a licensed counsellor though the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (#7995).
During graduate school, Ryan gained clinical experience at City University’s counselling clinic, located within the Broadway Youth Resource Centre. At the clinic, Ryan provided psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families. In addition, Ryan mentored incoming practicum students and participated in co-counselling sessions. Currently, Ryan is in private practice as a counsellor and also provides behaviour therapy to children with autism.
Ryan’s approach to psychotherapy is dynamic and solution-focused. Ryan draws on his background in evidence-based treatment modalities such as mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing , Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, all while using a psychodynamic approach. Each client has individual needs and Ryan strives to take the most effective approach for each individual. Ryan’s primary practice areas are: relationships, anxiety, depression, and addictions.
Ryan resides in Vancouver, BC and in his free time, Ryan enjoys being in nature, exercise, reading, and good coffee.