Areas of Specialty
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is an approach developed by Dr. Sue Johnson. This is a revolutionary approach, based on attachment principles, which provides a map for creating stronger bonds between people. The aim is to develop a secure, resilient sense of self as well as more securely attached relationships between partners and within families. EFT teaches a way to repair or enhance a relationship by developing an open, attuned and responsive emotional connection. By working with emotion, we discover patterns that interfere with secure attachment. The pattern can then be understood and changed to create secure, trusting and resilient relationships that can weather the storms of life. Emotion is also used in individual therapy to understand distress and help to develop emotional balance, leading to the ability to organize inner experience. This leads to a more grounded sense of self. This is a recipe for greater health and happiness within ourselves and in our relationships.
To see Sue Johnson explain EFT, view this video
For more information about ICEEFT, Click Here
For treatment of trauma / PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), several approaches are available. Trauma may be developmental such as childhood physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect. It may also be situational such as accidents, injuries, violence, hospitalizations etc.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming (EMDR) is a powerful approach for assisting with either type of trauma. To see a video describing EMDR, Click here. I have been trained in both Level I & Level II of the EMDR approach.
Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM). I have been trained in the Mitchell Model of defusing and debriefing groups after a trauma, such as bank robberies, deaths through tragic circumstances, fires, bombings or personal setbacks. Group experience can be a powerful way to assist healing and prevent traumatic symptoms. If further help is required, individual treatment is available.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One way is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Hakomi and other energy therapies are also effective in addressing symptoms of trauma. The mind and body are closely connected. Attending to symptoms in the body can lead to uncovering beliefs, sometimes unconscious, that may have developed in relation to trauma. Once uncovered, beliefs that are limiting or no longer helpful in the present, can be released. This frees up energy to be used in other areas of daily life. Hakomi has been described as "Body-Centered Psychotherapy" and "Mindfulness based, Assisted Self Study". It is a present-oriented collaboration between client and practitioner that studies the way each individual organizes their energy in response to the environment. Penney has studied with Donna Martin, an international Hakomi trainer, and the late Ron Kurtz, who developed this method of practice. For more about Donna Martin, consultation and retreats available, click here. Hakomi ‘s focus on present experience and the impact on the body is also part of the Emotion Focused approach to therapy.
“Faith sees best in the dark.” - Soren Kierkegaard
Spirituality. Penney has practiced Meditation for over 25 years. She follows Christian and Buddhist teachings of meditation practices. Thomas Keating has been influential in the Christian approach, as well as Cynthia Bourgeault in the Wisdom Tradition. Penney uses spiritual principles to bring a wholistic understanding to life challenges, similar to the conclusions coming to us from modern science. Mindfulness approaches build on meditation techniques. Mindfulness is helpful in bringing awareness to deeper levels of consciousness, which can help us transform many emotional and life difficulties. This is helpful in treating issues such as anxiety and depression. Mindful and body-centered approaches deepen cognitive and emotional understanding, helping us to relate in new ways to ourselves and others. There are times when we have to go through dark emotions and experiences before emerging into brighter states of mind.
Addictions. Penney has provided treatment for addictions issues for 15 years. Assessment tools such as the MAST, DAST and SUDDS 5 may be used for alcohol and drug addictions. Knowledge of treatment facilities and relapse prevention is available. Individual treatment is offered using understanding of the dynamics of addictions and the connection to emotion, trauma and relationships. This applies to other addictions such as gambling, pornography, eating disorders, internet addiction etc.
First Nations cultural sensitivity was developed through three years of work on a reserve in Northern Alberta. It has been augmented through workshops by Native Elders and a six day Cultural Training Camp in Saskatchewan, through the University of Regina. This training provided cultural and spiritual rites and instruction, such as sweat lodge and pipe ceremonies. Mentoring was also received for three years from an elder in a private Agency providing treatment for Aboriginal children. Cultural traditions, such as Talking Circles, Round Dances and spiritual practices were demonstrated. Penney is approved to provide therapy for treaty members and residential school survivors through the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIB) and the Indian Residential School (IRS) program.