Annella believes that every person is unique, invaluable and multifaceted. Her philosophy in counselling is rooted in a biopsychosocial model and factors in the complexity of human nature by considering the emotional, psychological, biological, cognitive, interpersonal, behavioural, systemic and intangible elements of life (like a person’s hopes and dreams) throughout the therapeutic process.
She primarily uses a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy framework which focuses on the relationship between a person’s thinking, emotions and behavior. However, depending on the client and their presenting problem, she also uses Process Experiential psychotherapy (a humanistic form of Emotion Focused Therapy) which aims to help clients develop emotional intelligence to increase awareness and harmony with the self and others and; a Systems approach which factors in the role of the family in an individual's recovery and psychological health.
Annella believes developmental and traumatic experiences create a blue print for how individuals see themselves and others, and this in turn influences the way they interact in the world. Through these experiences individuals learn that the environment (inner self, family, friends, workplace, society) will not always meet their physical and emotional needs and this causes distress. This distress can present itself as anxiety, depression, fatigue, phobic, compulsive or self-defeating behaviors such as the disease of addiction and a loss of contact with the true self.
Her focus throughout the counselling process is to increase client awareness of their needs, emotions, desires and maladaptive thought patterns to assist them with overcoming obstacles to achieve their personal goals. Within a safe, collaborative and positive therapeutic relationship, this increased awareness allows clients to build on their strengths, develop new skills and gain insight to overcome their challenges. This results in increased individual responsibility, good decision making and healthy functioning. When healthy individuals deal with all aspects of their experience including their emotions, cognitions and physical bodies, the result will be positive change. She sees the counsellor-client relationship as a collaborative one where she is privileged to walk along side her clients for part of their life journey. Clients and colleagues describe her as a warm and empathetic person who easily connects with others.
Annella has professional counselling experience in the area of Health Psychology where she assessed and treated clients disabled from work for a variety of reasons including mental health issues such as mood and anxiety disorders, addiction, interpersonal difficulties, trauma, self-esteem, and stress management. Annella currently facilitates a continuing care recovery group at Life Services. She completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology at the University of Lethbridge and a Master's of Counselling degree at the University of Calgary. Annella is a Canadian Certified Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and a Registered Provisional Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists. As part of her commitment to continual professional development she has also completed the following courses/certificates:
Safe Talk Suicide Intervention course
Progressive Goal Attainment Program
Mental Health First Aid Canada
Managing Conflict in Today's Workplace