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Amy Mackenzie Counselling and Art Therapy Services

 
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About Me

I am a Registered Counselling Therapist (RCT), Canadian Certified Counsellor and a professional art therapist.  I have been in clinical practice for 9 years.  I work with individuals, couples, family dyads, children, teens and groups.  I can help people overcome life challenges, improve relationships, learn new ways to cope with difficulties, manage mental health issues, increase self-acceptance and self-compassion, discover creative solutions to problems together, self-actualize, heal from difficult life events and experience new inner growth.  I focus on personal strengths and resilience towards achieving therapeutic goals.  I offer both counselling and art therapy services for individuals, couples, family dyads and groups.

 

Counselling Services

I can help you to self-actualize, achieve your goals, discover new solutions, grow and heal.

INDIVIDUAL COUNSELLING SESSIONS​                                     

  • One hour in length   

  • Children

  • Adolescents

  • Adults

 

RELATIONSHIP COUNSELLING SESSIONS

  • One hour in length

  • Couples

  • Family dyads

  • With Health Insurance Benefits: $120/hr.   Most health plans cover the services of a Registered Counselling Therapist.  Ask your insurance provider about your plan.

  • Sliding Scale based on gross family income: $60-$120/hr

                            All counselling sessions include a free 15 minutes phone-based initial consultation

For more information or to book a phone consultation, email or call at:

           amymackenziecounselling@gmail.com 

           (902) 473-9391

Or complete the contact form below.

I will try to respond to your call, email, or submitted form within one business day.

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Individual Counselling

From the first session, we work collaboratively to identify and achieve your therapeutic goals. Each session may contain elements of support, arriving at new insights, discovering patterns, making connections between different life events, exploring solutions to problems and working through potential obstacles and learning new strategies to manage difficulties. We discuss and build on personal strengths to help you achieve balance and overall well-being.  All the different life domains become important such as family, friends, work/school, health/exercise, creative pursuits and sense of community.  You may learn ways to reduce the impact of unhelpful thoughts and difficult feelings on values-driven behavior. Potential goals and positive outcomes of individual counselling for adults, children and teens include:

  • Manage mental health difficulties more effectively, such as anxiety, depression, substance abuse disorders, PTSD, eating disorders and borderline personality disorders

  • Manage stress and/or anger more effectively and reduce their impact on important life events.

  • Process and heal from trauma

  • Increase self-esteem, self-worth, confidence and self-acceptance

  • Improve communication skills and assertiveness

  • Learn ways to cultivate self-compassion.

  • Get support for LGBTQ+ issues 

  • Explore and navigate issues specific to polyamory/ethical non-mongamy

  • Express and process grief and loss, towards greater resolution

  • Manage the stress of a separation/divorce

  • Improve relationships

  • Get support in navigating life transitions

  • Strengthen sense of self-identity

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Couples and Relationship Counselling

I have been providing couples counselling for 9 years as well as relationship counselling for small family groupings, eg: mother/son, siblings. I see my role as helping to recognize and draw from the strengths inherent in a relationship as well as providing tools, strategies and opportunities to practice new skills.  Areas of focus tend to be communication, assertiveness, boundaries, increasing emotional safety in the relationship as well as understanding and healing from difficult experiences and their impacts on the dynamic. But every relationship is unique, with its challenges and path to positive change just as unique.

I also have experience with relationship counselling for couples (or throuples) who identify as having ethically non-monogamous or polyamorous relationships.  I can help to support people in strengthening communication, boundaries and managing the range of both difficult and positive emotions that can present in their relationship structures.

 

Potential goals and positive outcomes of couples and relationship counselling include:

  • Improved communication

  • Healthier boundaries 

  • Increased emotional safety in the relationship

  • Processing of past difficult events that are impacting the relationship towards resolution

  • Increased empathy, mutual understanding and ability to shift perspectives

  • De-escalation and better conflict management

  • Increased emotional intimacy

  • Managing difficult emotions and their impact on the relationship 

  • Addressing needs: both for the individuals and for the relationship

Online or phone sessions available

I am currently offering all my services via a secure telemedicine-based online video platform or phone-based counselling.  This includes services for individuals, couples, small family groupings and the expressive arts groups I am running (description below in 'Art Therapy').  In-person services will likely resume in September, 2020, depending on the current situation, but the option to continue with online or phone counselling will remain.

 

Art Therapy Services

Sometimes words alone are not enough to express the full range of one's thoughts and feelings and to heal emotional wounds.

  • One hour Individual art therapy sessions for adults, children and teens

  • One hour art therapy sessions for couples or family dyads (2 people)

 

All art therapy sessions include a free 15 minutes phone-based initial consultation

Rate: $120/hr with health insurance benefits.

Many health plans cover the services of a Registered Counselling Therapist.  Ask your insurance provider about your plan.

Sliding Scale based on gross family income $60/hr - $120/hr.

  • Expressive Art Therapy groups (5 weeks): Option 1) per Organization - $100/weekly group, $500/series, 2) per person - sliding scale based on gross family income, $100-$160/series (5 weeks)

For more information or to book a phone consultation, send me an email at

amymackenziecounselling@gmail.com or call (902) 473-9391

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What is Art Therapy?

Clients are guided by the art therapist in a process of visually expressing internal thoughts and feelings using tools such as line, shape, colour, space, pattern and symbolic elements.  This helps to externalize inner experience on the page and discuss meanings and new understandings within a therapeutic relationship.  Clients may be encouraged to do ‘check in drawings’ at the beginning of the session, which can be the ‘spring board’ for discussion.  Other types of exercises may be to draw specific emotions, connections between thoughts, emotions and behaviors, or a ‘spontanenous’ drawing with some response writing to help discover meanings and connections to the person’s life.  Clients may be asked to work on a specific image in between sessions, of therapeutic value. Expressive image making engages several 'modes'. It provides sensory and kinesthetic stimulation, through the use of a variety of art materials such as markers, pencil crayons, paints and clay and the inherent movement involved in art making. 

 

Expressive image making engages many cognitive faculties such as decision-making, planning, problem-solving (and has been shown to be not just a 'right-brained' activity as was previously thought). Expressive image making is also a powerful tool for symbolism and narrative, eg: an image can represent something important about our lives, ourselves.  Or symbols in images can generate self-insight or help us tell a story.  Externalization of mental phenomena in this concrete manner can be of great value in terms of easing rumination, self-discovery, managing difficult emotions and providing an alternative channel to potentially destructive or unhelpful behaviour.  Expressive image making can also hold paradoxes and conflicting thoughts and feelings within.  Sometimes words are not enough to explore and express the whole range of the human psyche and spirit.

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Potential benefits of Art therapy

Creative self-expression:  Art therapy and expressive image making can be a wonderful way to ‘see yourself on the page’, to creatively externalize what needs to come out and is then reflected back to you.

An alternate mode of expression to verbal talk therapy:  If you have tried traditional ‘talk therapy’ before and found it difficult to verbalize everything, image making may be a positive experience and help you capture the fullness, paradoxes and subtleties of your inner experience. 

Gaining self-insight:  Expressive image making can reveal a ‘layer’ of yourself that you may not have been aware of.   For example, by doing a simple ‘check in drawing’, it may help to identify thoughts and feelings that were not immediately accessible to you.  Some say that image making, like dreaming reveals more about the ‘unconscious’ that talking alone.

Relaxation and stress/anxiety-reduction:  Drawing, painting and working with clay have inherently stress-reducing qualities, due to their sensory and kinaesthetic qualities.  Expressive image making can be paired with a mindfulness process as well.

Stimulation:  If you are suffering from depression, burn out or fatigue, working with energizing colours, shapes and image making can be revitalizing and provide helpful stimulation to improve mood and energy levels.

Increased self-esteem and confidence:  Engaging in creative activity can be a great boost to self-esteem and confidence.  You may be ‘getting out of your comfort zone’, trying something new, mastering a new skill, or simply feeling productively engaged in a positive and creative activity, which can all help to increase self-esteem and confidence.

Processing a traumatic event: Traumatic memories can become 'stuck', as in they don't get integrated into long term memory in the same way regular memories do, which can make them more difficult to talk about and reflect on verbally.  Expressive image making can serve a helpful purpose in processing and resolving the impacts of trauma.

Provides an alternative to problematic coping behaviour like substance abuse, self-harm or eating disorder behavior:  Expressive image making can be a helpful ‘channel’ for intense emotional experience that may otherwise be coped with, by engaging in behaviours that are unhelpful or hurtful.  Expressive image making is a movement-based, action-oriented activity, that could come to take the place of other ‘actions’ that you may be trying to reduce like substance use, self-harm or eating disorder behaviors.

Increased empathy and perspective taking in relationships:  In relationship or family counselling, you may be asked to draw your perspective of the problem.  By seeing the drawing of your partner or family member, you may gain increased perspective or empathy into their point of view, a refreshing change from hearing the same verbal account of the problem.

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Expressive Arts groups

I am currently offering online expressive arts groups, which explore topics in art therapy and related art exercises.  The goals are to:

  • Empower people to create their own expressive art at home by learning about new tools and techniques

  • Learn new strategies that could help individuals to manage difficult emotions, cope with mental health symptoms, experience relaxation and mindfulness, work through personal conflicts and develop self-insight.

  • Express internal phenomena like thoughts, feelings, impulses and memories in creative ways.

  • Connect with others in a meaningful way and share art work if desired.

I am offering a series of five online workshops:, each two hours in length

Week one: Introduction

Week two: Relaxation and Mindfulness

Week three: Emotions and Thoughts

Week four: Integration, Externalizing, Personifying and Dialoguing

Week five:  Symbolic and Narrative Responses

 

A description of the group series:

"Over the series, Amy will guide us in using tools such as line, shape, colour, space and symbol to convey thoughts and feelings in visual form, finding new ways to externalize and communicate one’s inner experience.  Some additional topics we will explore with related art exercises will be: the sensory, kinaesthetic, cognitive, emotional and symbolic value of art making, connecting with archetypes/myth through art for self-discovery, response writing to art images, integration of conflicted feeling/thought states and art for relaxation and mindfulness, among others.

Everyone will have the option to share and discuss their art works at each workshop, but this is entirely optional.

 

Please have on hand some blank paper and any drawing materials you have on hand such as pencil crayons, markers, pastels or paints."  

If you as an individual would like to participate in this series, please contact me for more information.

 

If you represent an organization or a group of people, please contact me for further information on setting up a group workshop series for your membership.

Email: amymackenziecounselling@gmail.com

Phone: (902) 473-9391