Michelle Carchrae MC, RCC
Techniques and Training
I like to think of counselling like a pizza. The base of the pizza is the relationship between counsellor and client. A healthy therapeutic relationship is the biggest factor in what predicts positive outcomes for clients, and this looks like listening carefully, making sure that I really get what it's like for you to be experiencing what you're experiencing, and helping make sure that we're engaging in a way that is safe. Specific techniques and therapeutic modalities are the pizza toppings; these give counselling a specific flavour. Here's more information on the three main techniques that I use in my work.
Focusing Oriented Therapy
Focusing is an approach to therapy that is based on helping clients get in touch with their felt sense. A felt sense is a person's whole sense of a situation. It's like that niggling feeling that you get when you're leaving the house and you're pretty sure you're forgetting something but you don't know what it is. It's located in our inner world, where we get other information about ourselves, like knowing if we're hungry or tired or have a stomachache. It often takes the form of images or metaphor, like being wrapped in a lead blanket or full of bubbles. Once we can attend inside safely, there is new potential for how we are feeling to shift in a positive direction.
Internal Family Systems
Internal Family Systems (IFS) also attends to this inner world, and offers a more comprehensive map of the territory. IFS sees all people as having multiple parts, or aspects of our personality that approach the world in a certain way. We might have an assertive part, or a part that is really longing for love and connection. When we find ourselves struggling in life, it's often because our parts are stuck in extreme roles or behaviours and we can't convince them to do things differently. In IFS, we get to know these parts in whatever way they are showing up and begin to have a new kind of relationship with them, which can bring healing to the vulnerable parts and allow more flexibility and choice to how we show up in the world.
Embodied Experiential Dreamwork and Nightmare Treatment
Embodied Experiential Dreamwork sees dreams as valuable and alive in their own right, and provides guidance on how to interact with our dreams in a way that brings safety and help into distressing dreams while maintaining the aliveness of dreams that can be so profound and transformative to engage with. Dreamwork was part of the original approach to psychotherapy for good reason - dreams are intimately connected to our unconscious world.
Nightmare treatment can be an important part of healing PTSD, and research shows that when you treat the nightmares, the daytime symptoms of PTSD often improve as well. Many people are unaware that nightmares can be treated, and that it's possible to shift recurrent dreams.
My approach to counselling is experiential, client-led and trauma informed. This means that I tend to invite clients into a different experience of themselves and their problems inside the therapy session, often by attending to the body and the present moment. I deeply believe that everyone has an inborn drive towards healing and growth, and that much of our work is in facilitating connection with that healing force within you.
I have experience working with adult individuals who are struggling with depression, anxiety, identity and belonging, relationship issues, codependency, grief and loss, attachment issues, and the effects of trauma both in childhood and adulthood.
I am grateful to live and work on Bowen Island, on the traditional lands of the Squamish nation. My pronouns are she/her.
University of Alberta - Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
City University of Seattle - Master of Counselling
EXPERIENCE / SKILLS
Additional training in:
- San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety
- Internal Family Systems
- Focusing Oriented Therapy
- Embodied Experiential Dreamwork
- Emotion Focused Therapy
- Interpersonal Neurobiology
- Somatic Empathy
- Nonviolent Communication
- Trauma Informed Yoga
Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC #18720)
Approved Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP) counselling service provider
Approved First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) counselling service provider