Believing in you....
till you can believe in yourself
What I do and how I do it
I start with an assessment of your health history, birth event, and any past mental health issues. This will give us a map of where we need to begin to make adjustments and build you up, maybe explore some mis-perceptions.
We will explore the cultural and familial messages around motherhood and what it means to be a "good" mom. We might want to unpack the myth of motherhood.
It is equally important to identify your strength and previous achievements and successes. Most likely you are more competent than you currently think you are. Depression is the great liar.
Finally, we will explore how your primary relationship has changed since the arrival of a baby. There is often grief associated with the loss of the special time when you were just a couple
Psycho-education around Post Partum derpession - what it is and what it is not is an essential part of what I do. It might be helpful to learn about developmental psychological themes (ie why does my own baby's crying press all my button?) Exploring a variety of cultural approaches to sleeping, holding and nursing can be helpful as well. The saying "it takes a village to raise a child" is more helpful in this period than in any other period of your life. What works for one mom might not work for another. The wisdom of other moms might prove to be a life saver at one point.
An essential part of coping during the first couple of months is good planning: Who can support you, which services are offered where you live, what supports are available on-line: From lactation consultants, to an elderly friend who loves rocking babies, to the meal train your friends would love to organize ...
you will be surprised how many resources are out there. My life saver was an on-line peer group where I could vent in the middle of the night, when baby cried for the fifth time.
Food preparation, house hold chores, scheduled time to self (7 minutes maybe) - many parts of your day might look entirely different with baby - but with a bit of creativity and humour you will get back a routine that works for you.
An essential part of my support is the accessibility and the accountability I offer. The coaching packages include several pre-paid sessions that so you will access them. This is a commitment to yourself to be supported. I will remind you of the self-care goals we have set and we creatively work with any hurdles we encounter. Whenever possible I will be available to you - even in the middle of the night when all other services are closed.
My hope is to support you when you feel alone.
the night is the darkest the hour before dawn!
I am a registered social worker with the BC college of Social workers and registered counsellor with the Canadian Professional Counsellor Association. Some benefits plans re-imburse for my services. I have supported women in a variety of ways from peer support to counselling for over 20 years. I currently work as a part time counsellor as an addiction counsellor in Corrections and have a private practice in the Faser Valley. I work from a holistic and strength-based frame work. I work with creativity, out of the box and like to include the spiritual dimension of life in my work with clients. My fees are staggered on a sliding scale.
Due to the confidential nature of my work for the confidentiality of my family I chose not to disclose my location nor pictures of myself.
2001 Counselling Certificate, VCC, Vancouver
2002 Volunteer at the Crisis Center, Vancouver
2009 - 2013 BSW, Fraser Valley University, Abbotsford
2013 Family Counsellor for Community Services, Sechelt
2013 Facilitator training for Parent Support Services Society BC
2012 Signs of Safety Training, Abbotsford
2014 End Abuse Training, MCC, Abbotsford
2015 Facilitator Training by the Pacific Post Partum Society
2016 Trauma informed Practice, Justice Institute
2017 - 2018 Addiction counsellor, Turning Point, North Vancouver
2018 SMART Recovery training, online
2019 Addiction Counsellor in Corrections (part time)
2019 Motivational Interviewing training
I gained much life experience from having a baby later in life after a successful career in tourism. Although I had a stable marriage, no financial hardships and was well educated and prepared to have a child, I had a history of depression in my family and lacked good role models for mothering in my life (the latter being risk factors). I simply was not prepared for the immense change from an independent life-style to having a little creature being utterly dependent on me. Although my husband was as supportive as he could, the darkness got darker and the sense of huge loss, sadness and bewilderment engulfed me. Thoughts of harming my baby were terrorizing me. I thinking "what has become of my life???" Fantasies of packing my suitecase and just disappearing filled me with shame. Life with baby was the polar opposite of the Gerber commercials.
I was afraid the Ministry would take my baby if I confided having thoughts to harm my baby (reality check: nobody can take your baby because of THOUGHTS!!) My life saver was a good counsellor, some moms who had been longer on this journey, and my spirituality. I struggled for 3 years with PPD, and things only got better once I found appropriate medication - and by coincidence - my baby started to finally sleep through the night. Today, working with clients on their sleep patterns, self-care, trusting themselves and creatively finding ways to regain some "control' over their lives. I am passionate about supporting women who struggle. I am an outspoken advocate to reduce the stigma around Post Partum Depression and have spoken at several health venues. My story will soon be screened on Santuary Ministries. I will hold out the flame of hope for you that THIS TOO SHALL PASS. I will assist you with practical ideas, I will be non-judgmental, I will be in your corner and have your back.
I will believe in you until you can - yet again - believe in yourself.
“I have witnessed Gabriela work with women and seen her wisdom, dedication and unconditional love. She is able to instill hope in her clients and guide them gently beyond their current situation.
Sheena E. (former supervisor)
Gabriela is very compassionate , wise and thorough. She was instrumental in helping me to dig deepr and worke towards healing with addiction issues and an abusive relationship
I have gotten to know Gabriela as a passionate and gentle spiritual warrior. She is uncompromising in her love for the women she supports.
Nancy C. (spiritual mentor)
You can arrange for sessions in my office,
at your house or on the phone.
Your convenience is paramount.
Monday – Wednesday 9AM – 7PM
Weekends on request