Isabel Bleim

Background

Hello, my name is Isabel, and I thank you for your interest in Avery Therapy Centre. I’d like to begin by telling you a bit about my background. I was born into a large extended family and since childhood I’ve been fascinated by interpersonal relationships. By adolescence, I heard the call to enter the healing arts. I was 14 when I learned about psychology, a social science devoted to studying human emotions, thought, and behaviour. I knew instantly this pursuit was one of my life purposes. Still, my guidance counsellor told me it was better to give up my ‘pipe dream.’ That discouragement coupled with other events prevented me from entering university directly after high school.

Happily, many years later I was privileged to be a stay-at-home mom and a part-time student at Simon Fraser University. My final paper was an honours proposal focused on forgiveness within intimate relationships, specifically the need to look at the transgressor’s perception of having been forgiven. I became so immersed in the topic that after graduating in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, I decided to create a documentary examining the meaning of forgiveness through personal stories of forgiveness sought, found, and withheld. From my academic research and interviews I conducted, self-awareness and self-compassion emerged as key components of resilience.

After filming, I returned to school and earned my Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology at Adler University, an institution committed to social justice. I am now a registered clinical counsellor with a heightened responsibility to advocate for policies that promote equity for all people. I am ready and eager to help clients realize their goals of well-being, while keeping in mind the diverse contexts in which we all live. Whether the current crisis stems from an immediate matter (e.g. a specific incident at work/school/home, an unexpected event like COVID-19, etc.) or a long-standing issue (e.g. problems with assertiveness, unproductive patterns of coping, or ineffective arguments leading to perpetual problems between couples and/or families), I am dedicated to helping individuals, couples, and families reconnect to their inner strengths to help them restore harmony within themselves and their relationships.

 

Therapeutic Approach

My aim for every session is for clients to feel seen, heard, understood, and accepted. Without the sense of “she gets me!” I would be an ineffective clinician. To communicate in a way that allows my clients to know and feel that they matter is of utmost importance. To me, therapy is science embedded in art. The art of therapy is the clinician’s ability to be genuinely empathetic in a way that feels authentic to the client and invites their collaboration in building a trustworthy relationship. Decades of scientific studies have shown that the therapeutic relationship is more important for client progress than the therapeutic interventions used. Even before reading the research, I knew this to be true based on lived experience I had with teachers, supervisors, and therapists who I felt “got me.” With them I felt safe, not judged, not accused of being defensive or resistant. Respectful communication is truly the cornerstone of any relationship.

Once an environment of safety and trust is established (and continually maintained), the science of therapy can be applied. Depending on the client’s preference and presenting issue, I introduce evidence-based interventions found in different theoretical orientations. To anchor gains made in session, I provide worksheets, recommend readings, and suggest other activities that clients might choose to do between appointments. Studies have shown that ‘homework’ can hasten client progress. However, ‘homework’ is always optional and is always based on the client’s discretion.

I have worked with those living with chronic sadness, excessive worry, intended and unintended transitions, family of origin impacts, unresolved developmental trauma, regret, guilt, and/or anger over past decisions made, or that others made for them, substance use, calorie restricting and purging, and other self-harming behaviours, loss and grief.

I have also facilitated psychoeducational support groups for couples transitioning to parenthood and those dealing with becoming or being a single-parent. Times of transition can be tough and can lead to feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, and helplessness. As someone who has been there, I am passionate about helping people recognize their possibilities during these pivotal points. Research and lived experience have taught me that going through a painful experience can also mean ‘growing’ into greater self-awareness and self-compassion, which helps us reconnect to our resilience, our joy, ourselves. This is required for our own well-being and the well-being of others.

Thank you again for your interest in Avery Therapy Centre and for perusing my page. May you be well, may you be happy, may you be peaceful, may you be loved, may you be liberated.

My availability can be found here.

"We think we listen but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know." -Carl Rogers

Education and Training

//   Adler University

Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology

 

//   Simon Fraser University

Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

 

//   Gottman Method Couples Therapy

Level 1 & 2

// Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute

Brief Focused Counselling Skills

//   Satir Institute of the Pacific

Transformational Systemic Therapy, Level I

 

//   Satir Institute of the Pacific

Use of Body in Therapeutic Process

 

//   Satir Institute of the Pacific

Neuroscience and Satir in the Sandtray, Level 1

// DBT Centre of Vancouver

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills

We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.