REGULATING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM: TOOLS & RESOURCES
REGULATING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM: TOOLS & RESOURCES
Hi, I'm Natasha, I'm passionate about dismantling colonialism and helping folks (including myself) own their value, step into their power and seize their liberation.
ENERGY IS POWER
MY THERAPY APPROACH
I call what we do in therapy a collaborative spiritual workout where we put our heads and hearts together to figure out what is going on for you and how to get through it in an empowered way that makes sense and feels right for you.
We work at a frequency, depth and pace that works for you, which we figure out together.
A therapy experience of being seen, understood, accepted and attuned to over and over again helps folks regulate and better tolerate previously unbearable feelings. This in turn helps build clarity and self worth, which allows people to take more relational risks in life and seek out and cultivate the kind of connection the heart and spirit need instead of repeating old, painful, frustrating and dissatisfying patterns of relating.
Our upbringing, our relationships, the cultures and environments we live in and the stories we hear and tell ourselves, profoundly shape who we are, the way we perceive reality, and the life paths we take.
As we are born, there is nothing wrong with us. The mainstream colonial mental health industry wants us to believe that our distress is caused by internal, individual biological abnormalities and chemical imbalances. While this is true for some folks, I see this as a form of gaslighting and victim blaming for the vast majority of folks who are mentally, emotionally and spiritually distressed and struggling.
Our biology is of course impacted by trauma and distress, but the vast majority of human suffering in so-called "civilized" (colonized/colonizer) societies is rooted in external, socio-cultural, environmental and relational factors.
Colonization and globalization savagely and violently enforces, coerces and inflicts upon us things like domestication, oppressive abrahamic religions, industrialization, technology, and systems of slavery and exploitation such as capitalism. This creates a multitude of imbalances and dis-eases that show up as individual, familial, collective and intergenerational traumas.
When trauma and other forms of emotional and spiritual injuries are not responded to or repaired in the way we need, we develop all kinds of protective strategies and behaviors, or appropriate adaptations when living in hostile environments, as Dr. Joy DeGruy puts it.
Adaptive protective (survival) behaviors include things like shutting down, numbing out, dissociating, compulsions, intellectualizing, self-harming, harming others, avoiding, enmeshing, manipulating, fawning, isolating and so on.
To be human is to be interdependent and wired for connection from cradle to grave. The adaptive/coping strategies and behaviors we develop can become psychological and spiritual prisons that keep us from giving and receiving the kind of love and care that we so desperately need.
When these internal prisons become unbearable, therapy is one source of support that can help get us unstuck and on the path to liberation.
That was the case for me, though when I first began my own therapy journey, I had no idea or language to express the what, why and how I came to feel so lost, stuck and spiritually wilted, and it took a lot of time and work to learn how to get unstuck and more integrated and grounded which remains a work in progress through life's ebbs and flows.
I want to know your story and together, make sense of the challenges you are facing today, as well as celebrate your wins.
We will draw on tools, coping strategies and opportunities to support and sustain a more grounded, integrated, assertive and empowered You.
Through our collaborative relationship we will explore your story and develop meaningful insights and perspectives that work for you, not against you. This will enable you bit by bit to gain more clarity, reconnect with your inherent power and worth and start making choices that align with the kind of life you prefer to live.
I practice a combination of Narrative Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
WHAT IS NARRATIVE THERAPY?
Narrative Therapy is a collaborative, anti-oppressive, generative approach. It has no built-in assumptions about being human other than the fact that people are experts of their own lives and a therapist acts as an intimate witness and co-pilot in helping folks figure things out. This style of therapy is effective for many different issues.
The narrative approach helps us figure things out by getting curious about the anatomy of your problems as well as your strengths/skills/abilities and preferences using a who/what/where/when/why/how approach.
One of the most influential practices of Narrative Therapy is "Externalizing the Problem." The idea here is that you are not your problems. You are not your trauma. It is our relationship to our emotions and problems that is the fundamental issue, except when it comes to oppression, which is a more complicated thing.
Oppression and disempowerment are not mutually exclusive but there is an important difference between them. The experience of disempowerment is internal in that it is a disconnection from our inherent power and therefore within our grasp to change.
The experience of oppression is external in that while we may feel somewhat or fully aligned and connected to our inherent power, external factors and forces keep us from living life the way we want, need and prefer to.
No matter what happened to you or what you've been through, I see you as a whole person behind the fears, doubts, insecurities and disempowering stories that you've been told and that you may tell yourself that have you feeling lost, alone, broken, not enough, too much, confused, numb, scared or stuck.
To learn more about narrative therapy, check out this article.
WHAT IS EMOTIONALLY FOCUSED THERAPY (EFT)?
I am a beginner practitioner of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) so it will take me some time to become well versed in this modality. EFT is a powerful approach to therapy because it is rooted in attachment, with a core understanding that human beings are wired for connection and that safe, secure attachment with others is what allows us to individually blossom and thrive.
Human attachment wounds result in anxious, avoidant, or disorganized attachment behaviors and thought patterns, or a combination thereof. While we can't change history, it is possible to change some of the impact that painful, shameful, traumatic experiences have on us. And we can develop a secure attachment style by making different choices and showing up differently in our relationships.
Understanding our attachment injuries helps us make sense of the dysfunctional attachment communication cycles and self-protective behavior patterns we get caught up in our adult relationships as we learn healthier, more satisfying and meaningful ways to relate, connect and practice intimacy (into-me-see).
Conversations using an EFT approach build a felt sense of security for folks, with the therapy relationship being a secure base and the therapist functioning as a safe haven and temporary attachment figure.
This makes possible a loosening and lessening of self-defeating protective behaviors and a gradual attunement or integration with different parts of the self, or as Dr. Thelma Bryant puts it, a reclaiming of and homecoming to one's whole, authentic self. This is a deeply transformative process which happens bit by bit.
Emotional attunement is a big missing piece in dominant colonist culture and its increasingly emotion-phobic ways of treating our emotions as a problem to be controlled, punished, judged, squashed, fixed, ignored, minimized, intellectualized, chemically lobotomized or "powered through." I wrote an article about it here.
Experiencing emotional attunement is a core human need and a key ingredient for a transformative therapy experience.
To learn more about EFT check out this article.
I have experience supporting folks in the following areas:
Depression and Anxiety
Identity exploration and Self development
Boundaries, communication and consensual connection
Interpersonal and Relationship issues
Disability and ableism
Prostitution/porn/sex industry trauma recovery
Grief and Loss
Substance misuse (harm reduction approach)
WHY WORK WITH ME?
I am sincere, heart-centered, and I ask questions from a place of curiosity and compassion to get to the heart of matters. I love doing this work with the beautifully brave folks who choose me as their therapist.
I do my absolute best to understand, support and empower you. And, I will make mistakes and let you down sometimes because I am a human being first and foremost.
One of the most powerful and transformative parts of therapy is when rupture and repair happen, especially for folks who haven't had much experience with healthy conflict resolution. Engaging in repair conversations when ruptures occur in the client-therapist relationship is especially powerful from an attachment perspective.
From start to finish, in small and large ways, the process of talk therapy is a corrective emotional experience when it is a good client-therapist fit.
Studies prove over and over that it is the quality of the client-therapist relationship - also known as the therapeutic alliance - that makes for effective therapy.
Like any therapist, I'm a great match for some folks and not for others. What matters is finding the right therapist for YOU, because the fit between you and your therapist is what will make or break your therapy experience.
See my article on how to tell if your therapist is a good fit, and check out my video below to get a sense of who and how I am.
Between browsing therapist websites and bios and social media content to narrowing down the list to composing the first email, searching for the right fit therapist can be quite a time and energy consuming project. It can also cause some anxiety and overwhelm.
Think of it this way: therapists are just people and you're interviewing us to see if we're a good match for you. Check out this list of questions to ask a prospective therapist and this one in case they may help with your therapist search.
If it doesn't feel like a good fit when we connect, I am happy to suggest other therapists for you to check out.
All therapy sessions are conducted virtually. I offer a free ~30 minute video consultation so you can get a "preview" of what therapy with me is like, and so we can get a sense of one another, how I can support you, and answer any questions you have for me. I look forward to connecting with you!
It may sound cheesy but it's true: Every journey begins with a single step.
It takes a lot of courage - and some commitment - to embark on the personal growth journey of psychotherapy. I invite you to take the first step and contact me. It will be my honour and privilege to support and empower you along your path.
TS Medical Centre
692 Euclid Avenue
Toronto, ON M6G 2T9