SARAH Atkinson Counselling and Consulting Services

Referral Process

While often clients find me via the recommendations of friends, physicians, and other practitioners, I accept exclusively self-referrals. Once you contact me, we will exchange information and questions. You will be asked to complete an introduction form and we may speak by phone before booking an initial appointment. Together, we will decide whether we are "a fit."

Individual Psychotherapy

Often the issues that bring individuals into therapy are the surface manifestation of underlying elements: shame, self-judgement, a sense of not being "good enough," or the existential dissonance that tells us that something needs our attention.. This dissonance signals a discrepancy between one's day-to-day reality and one's potential; it moves one toward change, integration, and hope. I believe that at every problem, lies some innate wisdom waiting to be discovered or reintegrated in a new way. Psychotherapy opens the door to this process. It attempts to shed light on the issue at hand and invites the individual to look inward, away from the symptoms and the notion of pathology, that "something is wrong with me." Instead, it facilitates a leaning toward oneself with curiosity and acceptance, inviting self-compassion. With new and rediscovered insights lies the potential for positive change.

Some issues that I address in my practice are: 

  • family-of-origin trauma (attachment-related injury)

  • PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

  • depression

  • anxiety

  • addictive behaviours

  • disordered eating 

  • grief and loss

  • identity issues

  • sexuality 

  • life transitions

Couple's Therapy

Couple's work is an exploration into both self and other, with a view to deeper relationship satisfaction and growth. It is an investment in your relationship; moreover, it is an investment in yourself. Most couples who work with me attend six to ten session over three to six months; some couples remain in therapy longer.

When working with couples, I draw on multiple modes of therapy to tailor the approach to the specific needs of the couple and family. I work to deconstruct accepted and presumed roles in the relationship and to understand and acknowledge the often-divergent narratives of each person. I work with couples both together and as individuals; individual work takes place both within the context of the relationship and singly. Confidentiality applies to individual sessions as to couple's sessions, and disclosures remain at the discretion of the individual. 

As a therapist influenced by Attachment Theory, psychodynamic, experiential, and existential approaches, my goal is to help each individual to understand their own relational patterns, desires, wants, and needs, and to gain insight into those of their partner, deepening intimacy and trust. 

Some issues that couple's therapy can address are: 

  • the internal conflict between relational safety and erotic desire

  • the needs for closeness versus separation

  • transgressions (infidelity, sex addiction, pornography)

  • sex and power

  • family-of-origin influences that affect the vitality of the relationship

  • control versus vulnerability

  • conscious endings as foundation for future co-parenting. 

Couples, more often than not, will arrive into my practice feeling broken, weary of each other, and full of shame for the failure in their connection. Inevitably there is disruption in the attachment experience - the bonding and feeling of being connected to another. In my work with couples I endeavour to provide an environment that is safe enough to talk about fears and attachment needs. I will help you to develop news ways to increase and foster the friendship, express your needs in a way that your partner can understand, develop new skills to manage conflict, and break destructive cycles of hurtful communication. 

Consulting Services

Group process, clinical supervision, and workshop/retreat facilitation are available upon request. Please visit my contact page for details.