Hello! My name is Joanna and I’m a doctoral student in the Clinical and Research Psychology program at Concordia University. I have already completed my clinical training and am currently in the final stages of my doctoral research, which is rooted in longitudinal approach aimed at understanding how developmental experiences affect well-being. My research experience helps inform my case conceptualizations and understanding of how clients’ current worldviews may be influenced by earlier contextual factors, especially in the context of interpersonal relationships. I am not only interested in risk but in protective factors affecting one’s development, which help promote resiliency, and in my clinical experience, facilitate patients’ capacity for healing.
The approach I take in my clinical work is one I aspire to in life—that to be effective, in any endeavour, one must be flexible and open-minded. Therefore, I am constantly evolving as a clinician, especially as I continue to amass experience with diverse populations. In my clinical work, I have received formal training in cognitive-behavioural, dialectical, acceptance-based, as well as schema-focused and mentalization-based treatment approaches. This cumulative experience has allowed me to integrate and adapt my skills and techniques drawn from these diverse perspectives in order to meet the ever-evolving needs of my clients. Thus, I consider myself an integrative therapist in my approach to diagnostic assessment, case conceptualization, and treatment.
While there appears to be a common thread to human suffering (e.g., sadness, disappointment, regret, lack of motivation), the individuality of each client’s struggle poses an interesting conundrum: how to choose and implement the best evidence-based treatment in light of clients’ individual experiences and resulting struggle? Firstly, I strongly believe in collaborating with the client to identify goals for treatment, which then help guide the treatment plan and interventions. I also consider the assessment process as critical to identifying client’s strengths, weaknesses, and any underlying factors that may be involved in symptom origin and/or maintenance. Therefore, different approaches (or a combination of) may be needed depending on the type and the severity of presenting problems, as well as the client’s propensity and readiness towards various therapeutic styles.
I provide therapeutic approach that is warm, empathetic, and non-judgmental—a building block for the development of trust and disclosure within the therapeutic relationship. I also view cultural sensitivity as one of the most important tenets in therapy, which helps foster acceptance, mutual respect, and understanding while recognizing, at the same time, the individuality of each client within the context of their own norms, attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. Through purposeful collaboration, I explore clients’ inner experiences, their current behavioural, emotional and thinking patterns in order to facilitate change and create valued living.