About Matthew

Philosophy


I'm passionate about being a counsellor, and honoured people allow me to journey with them through the sacred places of heart and mind. There is a very respected therapist by the name of Virginia Satir who, among her many insights, commented that, "As a therapist, I am a companion. I try to help people tune into their own wisdom". This comment landed very early on in my academic and practice career, and is a philosophical perspective which guides my approach to counselling. Simply put, " You are the expert of your own life". Even if you feel lost or dis-empowered you have a lifetime of knowledge, skills, experience, insight, hopes and ideas that you bring into the counselling space. This is valuable! Together, with a collaboration of knowledge, we can "tune into" this wisdom and discover the possibilities.




Counselling Frameworks


My overall practice framework is a client-centered, strengths-based approach focused on promoting client reflection and self-determination. Some of the theoretical approaches I utilize include:

  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
    This is an approach that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. EMDR therapy is also effective in treating the “everyday” memories that are the reason people have low self-esteem, feelings of powerlessness, and the myriad of problems that bring them in for therapy.

    Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used as a client holds different aspects of a distrubing event, or thought, in mind. As this happens, for reasons believed to be connected with the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, internal associations arise and the client will begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings.

    This therapy is reccommended by the American Psychiatric Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Additionally, Veterans Affairs, the Pentagon, UK Department of Health, and other agencies also recommend this approach to therapy.



  • Solution Focused Therapy (SFT)
    This approach shares similarities with the narrative approach, but really focuses on the use of solution focused questioning in an attempt to help the client recognize the resources they have. It is future-focused, goal-directed, and focuses on solutions, rather than on the problems that brought clients to seek therapy. The SFBT approach assumes that all clients have some knowledge of what would make their life better, and that everyone who seeks help already possesses at least the minimal skills necessary to create solutions.


  • Narrative Therapy
    This approach to therapy attempts to maintain a non-blaming, respectful approach which places people as the experts in their own lives. It assumes people have valuable knowledge, skills, beliefs, values, etc., which can assist them to navigate difficult issues. This approach also views problems separate from people. The problem is the problem, as opposed to the person is the problem.People are meaning-making machines, and our brains are finding patterns and creating meaning every moment of our lives! This meaning making often takes the form of a personal narrative or story and can be both positive or problematic.Problem saturated narratives do not serve us well, can cause us emotional pain, and influence our decisions and behaviors. This approach allows us to explore and unpack how a story may have formed, how it is currently playing out, and discover where exceptions to the story exist. Exceptions are experiences which contradict the problems power and prominence. When we can identify exceptions we identify alternative and preferable narratives which is key to creating a narrative that is supportive.


  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
    As the name suggests, CBT focuses on the way people think ("cognitive") and act ("behavioural"). The concept behind CBT is that our thoughts about a situation affect how we feel (emotionally and physically) and how we behave in that situation. People give meaning to events that are happening around us all the time; however, we often don’t realize that two people can give two very different meanings to the same event.


  • Principals of Gottman Couples Therapy
The goals of Gottman Method Couples Therapy are to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect, and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship. The Gottman method uses concepts of the Sound Relationship House to help therapists and couples navigate issues in the relationship.
There are a many, many therapeutic models available for therapists to utilize in practice. However, in realtiy the choice of therapeutic model only contributes to about 8% of successful outcomes. The most important factor determining effectiveness is the relationship between you and your counsellor. I invite you to give me a call to see if I can be of service. You can also go to the "Appointments" tab on the menu and schedule a free consult.




A Snapshot


I originally grew up in British Columbia, in a small valley town of Princeton. Here I spent my days with friends and family swimming in the rivers, camping, hiking, riding dirtbikes and enjoying life. At 18 I moved to the Lower Mainland and attended college. I had two interests, one in fine arts and graphic design and the other in psychology. Fine arts won out, and after graduating the graphic design and communications program I spent years as a graphic designer, web designer, and sign maker. After my wife and I married, I decided to shift careers and pursue my long held interest in counselling and psychology. We moved to Lethbridge to be close to family and I attended school earning a General Studies Degree in Psychology and Sociology, and then a Master's Degree in Social Work with a clinical specialization. I particpated at AHS creating a research-based pilot program to provide support to children with ADHD and their parents/guardians, spent a few amazing years as a counsellor with Family and Community Support Services, and eventually decided to open my own practice. Counselling is a unique way to connect with people and offer personalized support. It has been wonderful to participate in my community in this way, and I hope I can continue to be of service.





Every Person Needs An Opportunity To Be Heard

call: 403-360-6056

e-mail: matthew@integrativecounselling.ca

Coulee Medical Clinic

5016  48 Ave, Taber, AB T1G 2E1