Olivia Assuncao (She/Her/Hers),
CAnadian Certified Counsellor
Olivia is a Canadian Certified Counsellor, Registered Marriage & Family Therapist, Certified EMDR Therapist and holds a Bachelor’s degree with a Double Major in Psychology/Sociology and a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, both from the University of Winnipeg. Olivia has been a therapist for 11 years and has been in the mental health field for 18 years. Olivia has previously taught marriage and family therapy to psychiatrists in training, worked as a therapist in a residential treatment setting, as well as working in medical clinic settings providing therapy in collaboration with medical providers.
Olivia is trained in several modalities including Systemic Therapy, SRT, CBT, DBT, Mindfulness, EFT for Couples and The Gottman Method Couples Therapy. Olivia helps clients identify and resolve how their past is unconsciously coming into play in their present and causing them to feel stuck or not good enough, or to repeat patterns in all areas of their life. Ultimately, she helps her clients find meaning in these experiences and have a more authentic connection with themselves, so they can have a more genuine connection with others.
In the spirit of disclosure, I am a trauma survivor who has been practicing psychotherapy for 18 years. I can tell you that I have had my own experiences of trauma and struggles with substances and unhealthy choices/behaviour. I smile as I say I think I entered the field with a deep wish to heal myself. I longed to understand myself and feel better. This work heals rather than destabilizes me. What I can say is this: In the therapy I practice which is rooted in attachment theory and brain change, the therapist must always be aware of ways in which their attachment style can impede treatment. The myth of the therapist who has it all together treating the patient who does not is a false one in my book. The healing goes both ways. However, my healing is a byproduct, a lucky blessing rising out of technique, discipline, empathy, patience, awareness, repair and love.
Whether working with individuals, couples, or families, Olivia views all difficulties systemically and works to shift both individual and relational patterns in order to provide comprehensive, long-lasting results. Trained in an integrative model, she understands that one size does not fit all and can tailor the treatment plan to fit each client’s unique strengths and challenges.
Olivia is a straight-forward, pragmatic therapist who treats clients as equals, taking their concerns into account throughout treatment. At the same time, she provides a warm, safe space in which clients can feel supported and accepted throughout the process of growth and change. While she ultimately holds clients accountable for the change they seek, she sees herself as both a provider of information and a secure base from which clients can explore new ways of moving through the world.
Olivia has an understanding of systemic oppression, generational trauma and personal trauma both personally and professionally which has fueled her interest and extensive training in treating trauma with EMDR and other somatic approaches and the links between trauma and substance use disorders. Her approach to substance use disorders includes an understanding of the challenges clients face to soothe their traumatized nervous systems.