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During a free consult recently, I was asked about my approach to counselling therapy.

Sure I have a handful of psych-jargon I can rattle off over my many years of learning and working in this field. But it dawned on me that this person needed to know in a way that bridges how this will help them FEEL BETTER NOW, and it inspired me to write this post.

I do not have all the answers and the world of psychology is constantly shifting and advancing as fast as technology sometimes - so the notes below are My Beliefs as a therapist, and it’s how I learned to break myself out of my own personal darkness - so here goes:

It is simply this. We Act..

Sometimes it's premeditated, with thoughts or feelings or physical sensations - and many times it's not. We make choices in the moment and often we don't even know the choices are being made. We just act.

When you start to notice patterns of action that are painful -- such as: I've been in the same kind of relationship with the same type of person over and over for years and I often feel pain. OR I've had the same kind of job, in this same kind of field with this same personality type manager who makes me tear my hair out each night OR I've been having this same argument with my parent(s) for years and years, I can even play it out for you… -- We can't help but see the second piece to this Psyche Puzzle.

We Act in Plays. Our lives are made up of Stories (aka Plays), and these sequences are written by all of the First Roles we ever participated in as the Star of Our Own Lives. Other people play roles with us (parents, siblings, friends, teachers etc), and they are often the gatekeepers of the things we want in the world. We respond to these “other actors” in ways that depend on whether the outcome they hold is desirable or not.

Frankly, life is a lifelong improv gig and as we learn from the result of one experience, we retain that sequence subconsciously and role play it with others.. Over and over.

Now one of the best, most exciting parts of my work is helping people to both change the Act and Rewrite the Story. We do this by bringing both to the surface - by rooting through old scripts and identifying what feelings, thoughts and body sensations (if any) do connect us to these Acts - aka Habits - that don't help us get what we desire anymore, and we work hard to change them with practice in the therapy space and in real life. Until eventually the Story and the Act shift to get you where you want to be: feeling better, self confident, self aware and attaining the desired outcomes you deserve.

The fine print: all of the above is grounded in evidence based psychotherapies called narrative therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy and prolonged exposure. These are the ingredients that (when doing the work and staying engaged in therapy) can support a positive life change. For more info on these treatments see the links on my website under Approach to Therapy @


Hi I’m Nadine, a 40-something registered psychotherapist. I’ve been in counselling, social work and mental health fields for 14 years. My background is community mental health and university settings. Today I focus on adults in helping and service professions. Together we work to improve well-being - be it with mood; shifting negative patterns; fostering deep healing; improving stamina; or defining personal truth. Willow Rock Wellness is my counselling clinic and all therapy is online or by phone. You can also find me on my pages at: Facebook or LinkedIn

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