What I do and how I do it
I am registered with the Canadian Professional Counselling Association and the BC College of Social Workers. My BSW and a counselling certificate have given me solid counselling skills and good understanding of the inter-connectedness of addiction and mental illness. I have an eclectic array of tools to draw from, ie Cognitive Behavioural approaches, family systems theory, Motivational Interviewing, trauma education and the use of spirituality as a vehicle to meaningful change.
Training, education and experience include:
A counselling certificate from VCC
Volunteer work with the Crisis Line Vancouver
A BSW from the University of the Fraser Valley
Work as family counsellor at Community Services
Work experience as an addiction counsellor at Turning Point North Vancouver
Work experience in Corrections
Motivational Interviewing training
Trauma informed training at the Justice Insitute
Facilitating meditation and educational groups
SMART facilitator training
Facilitator training in the area of domestic violence
Facilitator training with the Pacific Postpartum Society
Knowledge of the child welfare system
Souls stream course (spiritual direction)
A lived experience with addiction and 20 plus years of supporting men and women struggling with it.
I am a passionate counsellor in the field of substance use. I have supported people from all walks of life for over 20 years. I have seen families being healed and men and women restored to health and meaningful life.
However, I have also seen the effects of addiction destroying a person and witnessed the devastating effects on families. I am keenly aware that addiction does not distinguish between highly educated, wealthy, and even influential people; and people subject to poverty, stigma and racism.
Working in the field of addiction, no "one shoe fits all" and so I have a variety of approaches available to offer my clients. In my experience it is essential to address underlying trauma or unaddressed grief in order to make lasting changes.
I have a good understanding of the family dynamics in this field and am able to equip the family with education and offer hope so they can better understand the role they can play in their own healing journey.
“Gabriela is very compassionate, wise and thorough. She was instrumental in helping me dig deeper and work toward healing with addiction issues and an abusive relationship."
I have known Gabriela as a supervisor and have seen her work with women struggling with addiction. She has shown ethical and sound judgment, never loses hope for her clients and is a joy to be around on a team.
As a friend and mentor to Gabriela I have seen her heart for those caught in addiction and lies. She is a prayer warrior and dedicated to her own healing journey which enables her to speak powerfully into the lives of those she serves."
Coaching is a more directive and intense way of counselling and yet is often done on the phone. It involves goal setting, planing, assignments and follow-up. Coaching includes feedback and holding the client accountable. It is focused on the present and not so much the past.
The most effective coaching is to commit to the process by purchasing a pre-paid package.
4 hour session package $ 300.- (tax included)
includes free hour of assessment, four counselling session, and four short follow-up sessions on the phone. I will be available for crisis-only phone calls - that is the nature of addition.
Traditional counselling is creating a safe environment to explore the issues that keep you from reaching your potential. Although goals are established, the process is less strictly defined and more creatively achieved. Often in counselling we explore the past to look for patterns and how they hold us back. Counselling goes deeper but slower. I personally believe counselling is "grief work" that will enable you to move on. I hold a nonjudgmental space so you can get curious about your feelings and thoughts.
Counselling $ 90.- / hour
Free assessment, goal setting in the initial session. The sessions are held person-to-person in my office or in the family home if helpful - i.e. for the entire family).
Many Extended Health cover my services. Please check with your plan by using my registration number
My good friend and long-standing partner Jodi Thakar an me provide family intervention. Intervention is not what you have seen on TV. Intervention is a place we create to allow the family (and friends, employer etc) to express how the actions of the person with addiction have affected them. An intervention is emotional work. We get together and we speak truth, we explore consequences, we prepare options, we encourage each other to be strong. Jody and me will spend many hours preparing for "I-day", including researching and liason with treatment facilities, and educating the families. It is not an easy task and no guarantee for "success". But speaking truth in love and dignity is often a game changer for both the family and the person caught in addiction. Please contact us for more information.