IF IT WERE SAFE TO BE YOURSELF, WHO WOULD YOU BE?
The Experiential Studio provides systems-informed, trauma-focused, cross-culturally-experienced counselling, art therapy, and peer consult grounded in anti-oppression, our collective lived experiences, and the belief in the person you are.
Counselling to me is this process of connecting with our true selves and all of our desires, motivations, wisdom, and resources that may have been harmed in the past. Learning to bring our full selves is critical to living fully. But there are so many messaging in this society that have taught us to be smaller, less unique, less creative, and less confident, if we want to be safe from its fury.
My view of the counsellor’s role is to co-create a space where your own ability to heal is facilitated. Why? First of all, you don’t heal from sense of inadequacy by feeling inadequate to heal. Secondly and most importantly, because who you are is truly enough. Truly truly. I can’t wait for you to see it for yourself.
Depending on the person, counselling may be about
- negotiating the conflict between surviving and thriving,
- privilege/safety vs. authenticity,
- aligning with power for survival vs. resistance / activism, or
- conditional membership in a cultural or religious community vs. living the life that’s right for you.
- getting liberated from socialized or internalized expectations / conditional safety,
- daring to be different aka unlearning the implicit attraction of “normal” / up the societal skills
- acquired patterns / habits / thoughts (inadequacy, insecurity, imposter syndrome),
- overwhelming emotional, physical, or physiological reactions to triggers (e.g. anxiety, yelling, cold sweat), or
- developing confidence and mastery in navigating a context of power imbalance and/or systemic discrimination.
In addition, I honour people’s various therapeutic relationships in their lives: with music, select family members, friends, hobbies, arts, pastime/indulgence, coping/nurturing/soothing, nature, pets, culture and ceremonies, job, and yourselves. My aim is not to replace or displace them but to come in in harmony, as an extra note in a cord.
What to expect in sessions?
Counselling is a work with a human, and everyone deserves a customized therapy. Having said that, predictability is important, so I am going to attempt to explain.
The most important thing that happens in working with me is that the space we share is distinct from the society. It feels different because I am.
Back to what we actually do in sessions. Generally, you and I explore general contexts and goals. (e.g., “I freeze up when talking to my boss” and “I already have skills to prepare for and get through these moments, but I want to see if I can reduce that reaction.”)
Then we work out a path to that goal. We might get into why we feel what we feel and what is getting in the way of healing. We might create a safe space to really deeply listen to you, both verbally and non-verbally (e.g. art). Then we locate or connect with a movement toward healing, which might involve some skills I offer (e.g. EMDR) if desired and appropriate. And throughout this, we continue grounding in the question of who you are, what is safe enough, and how you relate to yourself and your mastery.
Why am I telling you so much about me? You don’t sit down with the counselling skills, training, and technique; you sit down with the person who the counsellor is. You deserve to know a few things about me.
I’m Kanō, Tamaki [鹿野環 | they/them/theirs]. My given name is Tamaki. I am a settler, complicit in the colonial occupation of the unceded homelands of the Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, and Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw.
I am ethnically Japanese, societally Asian, politically a Person of Colour, and a colonizer/settler to the land and Peoples. I am gay, transgender, trans non-binary GNC, artist, disabled / accessibility-barriered, neuro-divergent, middle-aged, and a proud odd-ball aka I have unlearned the draw of the “norm.”
Some background. One, I have been through stuff too, and I go to counselling too. Two, I have experience in a really wide range of workplaces across several different industries, and I know what it is really like out there and how things and people who are supposed to protect us threaten us. Three, I am politically-engaged. My personal politics will stay out (unless this is important to you), but I bring all the skills of an activist. I can participate in analysis of power, de-centre myself, speak directly and frankly to oppressive systems, address my privilege, name harms, and hold a calling-in. Four, I see beauty in humanity, not in so-called perfection. I hold inside and outside together, light and dark together, and joy and sorrow together, and see you and me for who we are. Finally, I believe you. You do not have to fight me to convince me of your experience.
I think my most helpful skill is that I deeply wholly listen. I listen to your whole person not just your words.
The second skill is that I have decades of experience questioning the norms and assumptions and how they are held up like a condition of belonging. We are surrounded by conditional love and worthiness. Also, I question the “authority” given to certain sources by the society. For instance, I have an M.Sc., and I know science is insufficient and inappropriate to describe, confirm, or categorize our experience. Also, I am critical of languages as a barrier to something becoming a fact when English lacks the language to articulate marginalized people’s experiences, especially in academia.
I work a lot with people with experience of marginalization, but I also welcome people in privilege. Some of you are looking for a space to do the work of unlearning white supremacy, and you may resonate with the experience of an immigrant who grew up as a member of the dominant colonizer race and suddenly had to confront it all. And others have a story of disempowerment and conditional love within your own culture / religion. You do not need to look like me to see yourself in me. All are welcome.
EMDR, “clinical trauma therapist” training, mindful somatic psychotherapy, San’yas Indigenous cultural safety training, art therapy, WARA, existential therapy, MI, ACT, DBT, CBT. All offerings are grounded in my anti-oppressive, trauma-informed view.
In my spare time, I try to outsmart my dog who is really good at training me.
Please review the practice info for your informed consent. If you book by email, please be informed that your name and email address are used to set up an account for all virtual appointments. Please email ahead if you have any questions.
Online Counselling or online art therapy $140 plus GST for a 60-minute session or $210 plus GST for a 90-minute session. Tamaki is a registered provider with FNHA and ICBC, and the rates would be adjusted to match the program coverage.
A limited number of free counselling and half-cost counselling spots are available. Please inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consulting: $85 – $120 plus GST / hour
For any questions about the process of counselling and/or just to get a sense of how it feels to sit with me, please feel free to book an initial meet at my booking site.
Note: Currently, only online counselling is offered.
The Experiential Studio is low-VOC, fragrance-free, strobe-reduced, quiet, and low-stimuli. Any sudden or intense stimuli are introduced with consent of the participants. Examples of avoided stimuli include a meditation bell, strobe lights, pulsers, vivid colours, both artificial and natural smoke and smells, textures, or bright lights.
I do not have the training to offer disability and chronic illness as a specialty, but I welcome Disabled participants and participants with disabilities if you choose to work with me as a fellow disabled community member.
I am familiar with the barriers experienced by people with neuro-diversity, sensitivity / intolerances / allergies / MCS, stimuli sensitivity / overwhelm, autism, mTBI, developmental disabilities, FASD, and chronic pain, with intersection of poverty and legislated poverty. However, experiences and issues greatly vary, and I invite you to inquire if I am a fit for you.
All questions are welcome, and I typically answer within two business days. Please be mindful of data security when choosing what to include. It is always OK to book an initial consult and share details in a confidential data-secure video platform.
©2020-2022 The Experiential Studio
The Existential Studio occupies the unceded, traditional, ancestral lands of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), colonially known as Vancouver.
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