Trish Walsh, BA, MTC, is a Registered Master Therapeutic Counsellor, life coach, instructor and workshop facilitator, located in Vancouver, British Columbia; the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. From 2008 – 2016 Trish was the Executive Director of the InnerChange Foundation; a Canadian foundation with the mandate of increasing funding, education and awareness in the area of addiction and concurrent disorders. In Trish’s counselling practice her focus and training are in the area of Transpersonal Psychology, which integrates eastern philosophies within the framework of modern psychology.
Since 2017 Trish has focused on developing and facilitating strength-based trauma informed trainings, education and supervision, for counselling program students, along with health and mental health professionals already working in the field who are interested in updating their knowledge and skills in the area of trauma healing, and increasing relational resiliency. Since 2015 Trish has been a therapist in private practice and an instructor in a 3-year counselling accreditation training program. Trish provides trauma-informed, and resilience-informed, trainings and workshops on healing intergenerational trauma, collective trauma, compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, and moral injury, to front line workers, school teachers/school administrators, organizations, and the general public. Trish’s growing focus from 2021 to the present are trainings to help increase relational-resiliency (“response-flexibility”), and heal individual and collective polarization.
In addition to Trish’s counselling practice, her work over the last 20 years has focused on knowledge translation: specifically, conveying research findings in medicine and mental health care to government decision makers, and to physicians, mental health professionals, allied health care providers, along with corporations, community groups and the general public. She has also consulted for several organizations to bring health information to their staff, stakeholders, and the general public. Trish has a particular passion for conveying research information in an engaging and easy to understand way, aiding decision makers in their funding and public policy decisions, and helping individuals to learn practical strategies for better health, happiness, and personal success.
Trish also provides training in Trauma-Informed Coaching and Transpersonal Coaching, for professional coaches.
As a Transpersonal therapist and coach, I work from a combination of perspectives based on the individual goals of the client. My trauma-informed therapeutic approach draws primarily from the following areas: Bowen Family Systems Theory, Attachment Theory, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Mindfulness, Gestalt Therapy, Person-Centered/Rogerian Therapy, ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), and Transpersonal Psychology.
My therapeutic approach focuses on cognition, emotion and behavior. I will help you to become aware of patterns and perspectives in your life that are not effective, explore the underlying beliefs that drive these patterns, and create new options. As part of the therapeutic process you will be invited to take emotional risks, and to reveal thoughts, feelings, and experiences that you might not normally share.
As a therapist, I have a particular interest in helping clients who are suffering from the effects of childhood trauma, anxiety, grief & loss, relationships issues, and life transitions.
At the foundation of my approach is the belief that our struggles are powerful opportunities for growth, and for transformational expansion of our relationships, the world, and of ourselves.
Further detail on my therapeutic approach:
Transpersonal Psychology was founded in the early works of Carl Jung, William James, and Abraham Maslow with the goal of enhancing the study of mind-body relations, consciousness, and spirituality. In brief, it is the study of human growth and development from a perspective that delves deeper into the inner soul. Transpersonal psychology began within humanistic therapies, however today it has gained recognition by many psychologists and academic programs, and is seen as its own separate psychological theory, along with the other three main categories: behavioural, psychoanalytical & psychodynamic and humanistic.
Transpersonal psychology moves beyond the limited boundaries of the ego to access an enhanced capacity for connection, wisdom, creativity, unconditional love, and compassion – fostering the development of our highest potentials as human beings.
The term ‘transpersonal’ literally means ‘beyond (or through) the personal’. It refers to experiences, processes and events in which our normal limiting sense of self is transcended, and in which there is a feeling of connection to a larger, more meaningful reality.
Transpersonal Psychology involves an integration of the concept of a higher, spiritual level of consciousness, sometimes referred to as the “higher self”. Mind-fullness based approaches along with tools such as breathwork, yoga therapy, journaling, dream-work, visualization, and psychodrama (which accesses our inner world in a non-intellectual way by using methods that represent aspects of our inner experience) are used. All of these can be very powerful tools for healing, self-exploration, and personal growth.
A Review of Transpersonal Theory and its Application to the Practice of Psychotherapy: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3330526/
Transpersonal Coaching http://www.performanceconsultants.com/wp-content/uploads/images_pdfs_transpersonal.pdf
Interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB) was developed by Dr. Dan Siegel and Dr. Allan Schore. It is a therapeutic model which describes human development and functioning as being a product of the relationship between the body, mind and relationships. IPNB describes how the brain and mind are shaped, or developed, and how they function in the context of relationships. IPNB is heavily rooted in attachment theory.
This technique examines the opportunity for healing trauma. Studies have shown that conditions that were once considered to be irreversible may actually be able to be transformed in a healthy way. Because the brain grows continuously throughout our lives, the implications for healing are unending. This technique is being used across a broad sector of the population, including with those who work in the areas of mental health, education, parenting, business, industry, and others.
IPNB explores the effect that therapy has on the brain and how the brain mechanism is directly impacted by life experiences. In the past, experts believed that neurological growth stopped as late as early adulthood. Neuroplasticity demonstrates that the formation of new neurons and neurological links continue throughout people’s entire lives. This relatively new information supports the theory of interpersonal neurobiology and offers evidence of its validity and efficacy. By understanding how these neurological links are affected, and similarly, how they affect the body, mind, and spirit as a whole, clinicians can better assist clients to rebuild and reconnect these links to achieve a healthier internal balance. Article on IPNB: www.verywellmind.com/what-is-interpersonal-neurobiology-2337621
Bowen Family Systems Theory
Bowen family systems theory is a theory of human behavior that views the family as an emotional unit and uses systems thinking to describe the complex interactions in the unit. It is the nature of a family that its members are connected emotionally. Regardless of whether one is close or distanced from their family, generational family systems have impact upon member’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. In systems theory, behaviors, and family members responses to behaviours influence the family pattern and life. Meanings and values are vital components of the family system and provide structure. Every family has a unique culture, structure, values and history.
Values, which are described as the means of interpreting events and information, pass from one generation to the next. The connectedness and reactivity in the system make the functioning of family members interdependent. A change in one person’s functioning is predictably followed by reciprocal changes in the functioning of others. Families differ somewhat in the degree of interdependence, but it is always present to some degree.
Dr. Murray Bowen, a psychiatrist, originated this theory and its eight interlocking concepts. He formulated the theory by using systems thinking to integrate knowledge of the human species as a product of evolution with knowledge from family research. A core assumption is that an emotional system that evolved over several billion years governs human relationship systems. The emotional system affects most human activity and is the principal driving force in the development of clinical problems. Knowledge of how the emotional system operates in one’s family, work, and social systems reveals new and more effective options for solving problems in each of these areas.
What is a genogram? http://www.genograms.org/about.html and for more information: The Genogram Journey: Reconnecting with Your Family (by McGoldrick, W.W.Norton, 2nd edition, 2010),
Recommended reading for an introduction to inherited family trauma: “It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who You Are and How to Stop the Cycle” by Mark Wolynn, 2016. https://www.scienceandnonduality.com/an-excerpt-from-it-didnt-start-with-you-how-inherited-family-trauma-shapes-who-we-are-and-how-to-end-the-cycle-viking-april-2016-by-mark-wolynn/
Gestalt therapy refers to a form of psychotherapy that derives from the gestalt school of thought. It was developed in the late 1940s by Fritz Perls and is guided by the relational theory principle that every individual is a whole (mind, body and soul), and that they are best understood in relation to their current situation as he or she experiences it.
The approach combines this relational theory with present state – focusing strongly on self-awareness and the ‘here and now’ (what is happening from one moment to the next). In gestalt therapy, self-awareness is key to personal growth and developing full potential. The approach recognises that sometimes this self-awareness can become blocked by negative thought patterns and behaviour that can leave people feeling dissatisfied and unhappy.
It is the aim of a gestalt therapist to promote a non-judgemental self-awareness that enables clients to develop a unique perspective on life. By helping an individual to become more aware of how they think, feel and act in the present moment, gestalt therapy provides insight into ways in which he or she can alleviate their current issues and distress in order to aspire to their maximum potential.
How does Gestalt Therapy work?
Fundamentally, gestalt therapy works by teaching clients how to define what is truly being experienced rather than what is merely an interpretation of the events. Those undertaking gestalt therapy will explore all of their thoughts, feelings, behaviours, beliefs and values to develop awareness of how they present themselves and respond to events in their environment. This gives them the opportunity to identify choices, patterns of behaviour and obstacles that are impacting their health and well-being, and preventing them from reaching their full potential.
The unfolding of this therapeutic process will typically involve a range of expressive techniques and creative experiments developed collaboratively between therapist and client. These will be appropriate for the client and their specific problems.
Ultimately, gestalt therapy is considered to help individuals gain a better understanding of how their emotional and physical needs are connected. They will learn that being aware of their internal self is key to understanding why they react and behave in certain ways. This journey of self-discovery makes the approach beneficial for individuals who can be guarded when it comes to their emotions, and find it difficult to process why they feel and act the way they do. It can also provide support and a safe space for individuals going through times of personal difficulty.
Gestalt therapy is considered particularly valuable for helping to treat a wide range of psychological issues – especially as it can be applied as a long-term therapy or as a brief and focused approach. It has been found effective for managing tension, anxiety, addiction, post-traumatic stress, depression and other psychological problems that can prevent people from living life to the full. Overall, people who participate in gestalt therapy tend to feel more self-confident, calm and at peace with themselves.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
ACT is about values-guided action. There’s a big existential component to this model and asks questions such as: what do you want to stand for in life? What really matters, deep in your heart? What do you want to be remembered for? ACT is a therapy that helps you to connect to what really matters in the big picture of your life: your heart’s deepest desires for whom you want to be, and what you want to do during your brief time on this planet. You then use these core values to guide, motivate, and inspire change. Secondly, it’s about “mindful” action: action that you take consciously, with full awareness—open to your experience and fully engaged in whatever you’re doing.
ACT gets its name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to taking action that enriches your life. The aim of ACT is to help us create a rich, full, and meaningful life, while accepting the pain that life inevitably brings. ACT does this by:
- teaching us psychological skills to handle painful thoughts and feelings effectively, in such a way that they have much less impact and influence—these are known as mindfulness skills; and
- helping us to clarify what’s truly important and meaningful to us—that is, clarify our values—and use that knowledge to guide, inspire, and motivate us to set goals and take action that enriches our life.