Counselling and Art Therapy in Abbotsford British Columbia
Family Owned and Operated
First Class Therapy Studios
- General Counselling
- Art Therapy
- Story Telling
- Sand Tray
- Play Therapy
- Life Skills Training
- Psychoed Workgroups
- Puppet Play
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Mindfulness & Meditation
- Narration & Journaling
- Animal Assisted Therapy
- Healing Touch
- Integrated Wellness
- Spiritual Integration & Purpose
I make families stronger.
My focus is the on the emotional well-being of all people.
I provide therapy to individuals, couples and families who are experiencing overwhelming challenges at all ages and stages.
My clients bring a variety of struggles to treatment including stress, depression, anxiety, addiction, PTSD, self harm, and divorce.
As individual issues compound, the effects spread into other relationships, both at home and in the workplace. Some people are clear about what is causing them grief. Others feel bewildered, confused, or chronically stuck.
Since 1996 my clients have shown me that no matter how devastating their struggles, they will overcome.
My approach is to educate and guide clients through the different developmental stages. The goal is to increase understanding and competence in managing troublesome feelings and behaviours. This results in a greater sense of freedom, belonging, and accomplishment. I have helped people stop panic, gain confidence and greater self esteem, overcome addiction, improve their mood, manage their emotions, overcome the impact of post traumatic stress, and reconstruct their families.
A Holistic Approach to Therapy & Continuity of Care
I have always known that healing and wholeness requires an inclusion of all aspects of experience to integrate body, soul, spirit and community (tribe). For more than 20 years I have worked in a variety of natural healing approaches that include art and play, fitness, nutrition, indigenous medicine, homeopathy, animal assisted therapy, energy psychology, and more recently counselling psychology.
In my life I have overcome the gamut of abuse that had me, at one time, confined to my home. Walking with others as they recover redeems those lost years of my life. I don’t claim to have the answers. But we, working together, can find solutions. My proprietary system of programs ensures the continuity of care that helps clients adapt more easily to the transitions they must make.
Proprietary Therapeutic Approach
My intervention strategies are evidenced-based, and draw from several major theoretical fields, which are combined under an approach I call Cognitive Experiential Therapy (CET). Central to the approach is your sense of dignity and worth. Your concept of Self worth can negatively impact your Thoughts, Feelings, and Experiences, resulting in various symptoms. As you learn to recognize and eliminate your negative beliefs, many symptoms will begin to fade. Targeted strategies help to restore balance to your whole life- body, soul, spirit, and tribe.
Provides a developmental-attachment model of the formation of the self in relation to others and the environment.
Considers the structure and function of the brain and nervous system in relation to specific psychological processes and behaviors.
Examines the effects of physiological, genetic, and developmental mechanisms involved in behavior.
An interdisciplinary field that examines the interplay between people and various environments.
Considers how psychological traits are involved in adaptation to changing social structures, technological advances, ecology, and life’s stages.
The study of how thoughts, feelings and behaviors are influenced by the presence of others in dynamic settings.
The study of the interrelationship of the energy systems, cognitions, emotions, and behavioral health.
Looks at how faith and traditional healing approaches are used to instill balance, a sense of belonging, and personal competence.
Bonnie Ayotte, MA
Artist, Counsellor, Instructor
Bonnie is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a double-masters in Counselling Psychology. She is an artist and a writer, with an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Emily Carr Institute. As a therapist, her approach is positivist and client-centered, and she uses a variety of naturalistic approaches to help people unearth the long-standing behaviour patterns and negative perceptions that hold then back from a more fulfilling life.
All Things Technical
Like his mother, Taylor is a jack of all trades, and particularly adept at making sure all the electronics play nicely and everyone’s files are safely stored and transferred to the correct places. He’s also really good at moving heavy things and packing around a lot of fragile equipment. His mother is very proud :-). Taylor handles all the behind the scenes stuff that makes sure everyone is able to enjoy their visit. We’re hoping he will provide a photo that includes his face very soon, as he really does have one.
Eli’s specialties include sitting, laying down, staying, heeling, and he (mostly) comes when he’s called. He is very good at “off” (leave it, for some of you), and is learning “Paws Up” so he can visit those confined to a wheelchair. His interests include food, chewing, and more food, and he loves to carry his Blankie.
Sears Taylor, MA
Sears holds masters degrees in Counselling Psychology, Teaching, and Business Administration. His approach is warm, pragmatic, and client-centered. His goal is to help clients evaluate the areas of their lives that are causing anxiety or dysfunction. He has worked extensively with men and women suffering from past trauma and addiction.
How to choose a therapist
I became a therapist after years of needing a therapist but being unable to find one that could actually help me change the way I was feeling. This failure in therapy set me on a 20 year quest to find out what makes a good therapist, and what makes therapy effective.
In short, it turns out that training, experience, technique, age, gender, location, and price have VERY LITTLE to do with achieving good outcomes from therapy. I was shocked to learn this. So, what else is there?
What makes a good therapist, and achieving good results in therapy, has everything to do with a therapist’s ability to connect with you, to honestly believe in you, and to respond to your feedback about how you feel the therapy is going.
Yes, that’s right. RELATIONSHIP IS KING. You will know if I’m a good therapist by how well I respond to and adjust my efforts based on YOUR FEEDBACK.
Why Clinical Counsellors are becoming the Cadillac of Mental Health Care
Strong evidence is beginning to show that Private Practice Counsellors have a “pressure to perform” that employed counsellors, or those otherwise financially supported under a medical service provider, may not have. Those of us who are paid directly from a client’s pocket MUST continue to develop and grow or starve. We are paid (or not) according to YOUR results. What a concept!
Frequently Asked Questions
How does therapy help?
Believe me, I was skeptical too when 20 years of trying to get help failed miserably. As a therapist, my job is to first connect with you. This relationship is key to your success, no matter what techniques we use, or what your struggles are. From there, I can provide ongoing support, problem-solving skills, and enhanced coping strategies for issues such as depression, anxiety, grief, stress, chronic sabotage, addiction, stress, body issues, relational failures, and more. I can also provide a fresh perspective, or feedback regarding your own perspectives on your situations. My clients report that they have overcome severe anxiety and depression, have reconstructed their families and relationships, discovered their purpose in life, moved beyond grief and loss, and improved their quality of life by realizing their worth and esteem. I know what it means to feel stuck. And I also know what it means to break free.
How do I know if I need therapy?
Everyone goes through challenging situations in life, and while you may have successfully navigated through other difficulties you’ve faced, there’s nothing wrong with seeking out extra support when you need it. In fact, therapy is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need a helping hand, and that is something to be admired. You are taking responsibility by accepting where you’re at in life and making a commitment to change the situation by seeking therapy. Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
People have many different motivations for coming to psychotherapy. Some may be going through a major life transition (unemployment, divorce, new job, etc.), or are not handling stressful circumstances well. Some people need assistance managing a range of other issues such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, addictions, relationship problems, spiritual conflicts and creative blocks. Therapy can help provide some much needed encouragement and help with skills to get them through these periods. Others may be at a point where they are ready to learn more about themselves or want to be more effective with their goals in life. In short, people seeking psychotherapy are ready to meet the challenges in their lives and ready to make changes in their lives.
What is therapy like?
To be honest, I’m not particularly “counsellory.” I’m more like just a real person. That said, because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. In general, you can expect to discuss the current events happening in your life, your personal history relevant to your issue, and report progress (or any new insights gained) from the previous therapy session. Depending on your specific needs, therapy can be short-term, for a specific issue, or longer-term, to deal with more difficult patterns or your desire for more personal development. Either way, it is most common to schedule regular sessions with your therapist (usually weekly).
It is important to understand that you will get more results from therapy if you actively participate in the process. The ultimate purpose of therapy is to help you bring what you learn in session back into your life. Therefore, beyond the work you do in therapy sessions, your therapist may suggest some things you can do outside of therapy to support your process – such as reading a pertinent book, journaling on specific topics, noting particular behaviors or taking action on your goals. People seeking psychotherapy are ready to make positive changes in their lives, are open to new perspectives and take responsibility for their lives.
What about meds vs. psychotherapy?
It is well established that the long-term solution to mental and emotional problems and the pain they cause cannot be solved solely by medication. Instead of just treating the symptom, therapy addresses the cause of our distress and the behavior patterns that curb our progress. You can best achieve sustainable growth and a greater sense of well-being with an integrative approach to wellness. Working with your medical doctor you can determine what’s best for you, and in some cases a combination of medication and therapy is the right course of action.
Do you take insurance and how does that work?
To determine if you have mental health coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Rates & Insurance
Rates are set by the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors. Package rates are available for Individual and Gottman Couples counselling. Please ask about pricing and reduced-rate counselling.
If you do not show up for your scheduled therapy appointment, and you have not notified me at least 24 hours in advance, you will be required to pay the full cost of the session.