An Interview with a Trauma Counselling Calgary Therapist

Trauma Counselling Calgary

In honour of National PTSD Awareness Day on June 27, 2024, I decided to sit down with Jasleen Bhatoa, Registered Provisional Psychologist in the province of Alberta, to talk more about trauma counselling methods. 

Jasleen provides trauma counselling in Calgary and Alberta for people struggling with nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, phobias and impairment in functioning due to their experience(s) with a traumatic event. 

PTSD & Trauma Counselling Calgary

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs when people have experienced or witnessed an event such as abuse of any kind, neglect, an accident, unexpected death, war, or significant event that leaves long-lasting physical, emotional, and psychological impact. Not everyone who experiences significant events like this will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and require trauma counselling Calgary and beyond but it is important to be aware that this is a possibility for those who have encountered these events. To learn more about PTSD from the American Psychiatric Association, click here

What is the Significance of PTSD and Why Is Trauma Counselling Calgary Important?

It is important that we have days like National PTSD Awareness Day because it is estimated that around 76% of Canadians have experienced the type of event that can cause PTSD. It is estimated that around 9% of Canadians have PTSD (Reference is here). Likely many of these people have not engaged in treatment or trauma counselling of any kind due to barriers to access and stigma. The significance of this is that:

  1. Many Canadians are living with impairment in functioning due to PTSD
  2. Impairment from PTSD has political, economic, and healthcare implications
  3. Mortality rates are estimated to be 47% higher for those with long-term PTSD than the general population

There are many practitioners out there offering trauma counselling Calgary and beyond to help address these issues and lower these statistics but there are still many barriers to access. Let’s speak to Jasleen more about the trauma methods she uses and has found success with..   

Interview on Trauma Counselling Calgary with Jasleen Bhatoa

Paige: What trauma counselling methods are you trained in and which ones do you use when providing trauma counselling Calgary?

Jasleen: I tend to use trauma methods like Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Internal Family Systems (IFS), and Polyvagal Theory

You can learn more about some of these and other methods for treating trauma on our EMDR, ART, and More Blog Post.

Paige: Wow! Those are a lot of big words and acronyms that many people won’t be familiar with. Can you tell us a bit about these trauma counselling methods, what you like about them and why you use them for trauma counselling Calgary?

Jasleen: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy – This method helps clients in processing trauma and future triggers with the help of eye movements or through tapping on the shoulders or knees. This is known as bilateral stimulation, which helps activate the right and left sides of our brain together. This has been found to help with processing anxiety-provoking stressors from the past or the future and is the basis of many trauma counselling Calgary techniques, including its cousin Accelerated Resolution Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) & Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT)  – These methods help clients build distress tolerance skills, which is basically how we deal with big emotions. These methods also help us learn mindfulness and emotional regulation along with understanding how thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected. They can be very powerful techniques and are used often for other issues beyond trauma counselling Calgary, including issues like anxiety and mood disorders, addiction, grief, anger management, personality disorders, and more. 

Internal Family Systems (IFS) Therapy – This method helps people acknowledge the different parts within themselves and explore change. IFS names the different parts of ourselves to help us understand the different roles and functions we take inside (e.g., protectors, managers, firefighters). Someone may want different things from themselves and life because they are conflicted by these different roles. IFS assists us with clarifying these parts so that individuals can enjoy relationships with self. This can help with trauma counselling Calgary as it is another lens through which we can understand ourselves, our roles, and how we can move forward with authenticity. 

Polyvagal Theory- This theory relates to the critical role of the nervous system in shaping our perception and understanding of traumatic event(s). The theory can be helpful in understanding one’s response to the event(s) as opposed to focusing on the negative event alone. It allows us to explore the different states of our nervous system, how they are reacting and responding and how to move towards co-regulation, which is our biological need to be safely connected with other people and within ourselves. 

Trauma Counselling Calgary

Different Trauma Counselling Calgary Methods

Each of these methods have their own strengths and can be used in an integrative way depending on the person, their needs, and their goals for healing. Some people do not want to relive their traumatic memories and so some techniques will be better suited to healing without this than others. As with any kind of counselling, trauma counselling Calgary is unique to the individual and suited to their preferences, needs and situation. This gets collaboratively determined with your therapist who can evaluate with you what would be best. 

Paige: How do you find clients benefit from these methods in trauma counselling Calgary?

Jasleen: With EMDR, I find that this method assists individuals with making connections to their core beliefs and how these core beliefs drive their behaviour and helps with recognizing adaptive core beliefs to assist with altering unhealthy coping mechanisms. EMDR also helps with organizing negative memories in one’s brain after processing to help with healing from the past. EMDR is a way to keep what is helpful and eliminate what is not helpful in our thinking. Clients will also learn stabilization techniques and grounding techniques like eye roll breathing, slow tapping, butterfly hug, building an imaginary container, and/or calm place meditation. 

CBT and DBT – With these techniques, clients will learn to challenge their thoughts by checking the facts and doing some cognitive restructuring by altering thoughts that are not helpful with handling their problems. Clients will learn to catch such thoughts that are not helpful through increasing self-awareness by practicing mindfulness and emotion regulation techniques taught in DBT. 

IFS – With this method, clients will learn to check-in on the internal parts of themselves that are conflicted and be able to allow themselves to feel emotions that are normally dismissed as a way to avoid emotional distress. This method teaches clients to become curious about their different emotions, feelings, and thoughts in comparison to avoiding distressing emotions, thoughts, and feelings. 

Polyvagal Theory – The goal of this therapy is to help individuals expand their window of tolerance, meaning the range of emotions that they are comfortable with navigating. With trauma, people learn to narrow what emotions they deal with as a self-protective mechanism because dealing with too much pain is too uncomfortable. In trauma counselling Calgary, this theory can help people learn to recognize what physiological state they are in, remove cues of danger/threat and/or increase cues of safety, and learn how to stimulate their relaxation state by engaging in deep breathing, meditation, or self-soothing activities.

Paige: I appreciate everything that you have shared about these trauma counselling methods and how they can address trauma in different ways. Is there anything else you would like to say about trauma counselling Calgary?

Jasleen: Yes! All of these methods are helpful with trauma counselling Calgary but can be useful for a multitude of other presenting concerns, including: Depression and mood issues, anxiety, dissociation, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, life transitions, Borderline Personality Disorder, codependency, addiction, and grief. 

It’s an honour and privilege to be offering trauma counselling Calgary services to people and to be able to walk alongside in the path of healing. Through trauma counselling, I’ve seen people improve their quality of life tremendously and find the peace, freedom and empowerment they’ve been looking for.

Paige: Thank you so much for sharing all of this information, Jasleen. It’s obvious that you are passionate about trauma counselling Calgary and the work that you do as a therapist. I am so grateful that you took the time to inform our audience about the work you do and the methods that have been helpful for so many people. 

We would encourage you to look for providers in your area who engage in these trauma counselling methods as they are evidence based and proven to help heal from traumatic events. 

Sana Psychological is a private practice in Calgary, Alberta providing mental health and addiction support, including trauma counselling Calgary. Prospective clients who reside in Alberta, Yukon, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are invited to learn more about our team and book an appointment anytime, no referral needed, using our online scheduling system.  

Trauma Counselling Calgary