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June Newsletter: Counselling and Somatic Experiencing

We're pleased to announce we've welcomed Kim Hamilton, a Registered Provisional Psychologist, to the Healing Connections team. Kim believes in the mind-body-soul connection and applies this to her counselling and somatic experiencing sessions.

Let's get to know Kim and her services a little better...


Kim Hamilton, Registered Provisional Psychologist

Kim graduated from the University of Alberta in 2000 with a Bachelor of Education degree, and spent the next 17 years as a classroom teacher. She has taught both in Edmonton, and also in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was during her time in Mexico that Kim fell in love with a holistic approach to healing. Her own experiences with acupuncture, yoga and meditation were so powerful that she completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training before moving back to Edmonton in 2014.

Kim decided that she wanted to become a psychologist after working with a wonderful counsellor in Mexico. Kim graduated from City University of Seattle in August 2020, with her Master of Counselling degree. Her many experiences as a school counsellor, Mental Health Therapist, and now Registered Provisional Psychologist have provided her the opportunity to work with a wide range of mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression. Throughout her degree, she discovered a strong passion for working with people who have experienced trauma and grief, and feels very passionate about helping people work through some of their most vulnerable or challenging times.

Her own experience, as well as her training, has shown Kim how much the body can store one’s trauma, and as such, she often explores one’s experience through the somatic lens. Allowing a person’s body to express and tune in to what has been can be a powerful agent of change.

Although many people don’t seek out counselling until they are in crisis, Kim believes that some of the best work can occur when we feel we are in a healthy state of mind. She also believes in the power of group therapy and bibliotherapy (books), which is why she often runs groups based on specific books that promote authenticity, healing and spirituality.

Kim is a Certified Grief Recovery SpecialistⓇ, EMDR clinician, and Certified Clinical Traumatologist. She has also completed her Level 3 Reiki and believes strongly in integrated Eastern and Western approaches to healing. In November of 2020, she began Somatic Experience Therapy.


Somatic Experiencing

What is somatic experiencing and how does it "work"?



There are many events in which our nervous systems might perceive some type of danger or trauma, and it is very different from how our minds or emotions process it. Trauma can be the result of a specific event, or an accumulation of stress. Often our minds can justify or push through an experience, and tell us that it’s not a big deal or we’ll be fine. However, our nervous system can store this trauma and it can create lasting effects that we might not be able to explain. Imagine our nervous system as an electric circuit, and when something significant or startling happens, the circuit is cut short. Our body will try to reconnect or relive the event, trying to process and release it, often unsuccessfully. Somatic Experiencing is a way to begin reconnecting the circuits in your nervous system. It is a body-oriented approach to healing trauma or stress disorders based on physiology, psychology, neuroscience and Indigenous healing practices, with over 45 years of research. Somatic Experiencing often works by moving our body from the nervous system’s sympathetic response of fight or flight, and creates release in its “rest and digest” parasympathetic system. It is quite common to experience a sense of exhaustion or tiredness, or digestive response after a session. Each time, the body is able to release some of what it has been holding onto, creating change within the body and mind.


Counselling

What is counselling and what does a typical session look like? While everyone’s experience with counselling is different, just as each person’s life experience is unique, there are some common things you can expect in a session. A typical session is 50 minutes long, and begins with you providing your therapist with a brief explanation of what is distressing or concerning you. Your therapist may also ask questions regarding your history or relationships, so treatment can be tailored to your situation and needs. In a session, you expect to be met with compassion, warmth, openness, and non-judgment. Counselling is not someone telling you what you need to do or what you have to stop doing. It is a collaborative approach where you and your psychologist together, explore strategies, interventions and insights that support change. Sometimes, interventions may be specific such as Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, or Grief RecoveryⓇ. Your psychologist listens to what you are looking to achieve or change through this process and comes up with a treatment plan to help you get there. Counselling can support you, regardless of what you are going through. It is a safe space to explore barriers to experiencing joy, limitations that are preventing you from feeling confident and happy, and to process deeper experiences that you have been holding on to.


To book with Kim, please email her directly at kim@innerlightpsychology.org


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