About

HAH2018Hello!  My name is Heather and I am grateful you found your way here.  I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor with BCACC and a Professional Art Therapist with BCATA.  I currently see clients at Avicenna Holistic Centre in downtown Vancouver, BC.

Psychology has always been intriguing to me and I was consistently fascinated by people’s actions and wanted to understand why people responded in certain ways.  I was curious to know what they were thinking and why.  I especially wanted to know how to help people who felt lost, alone, sad, or overwhelmed.  This deep desire to connect with and help others has led me along this path to become a counsellor.

In order to facilitate my own healing I found engaging in creative pursuits to be profoundly supportive.  I would paint even though I was not a skilled painter.  I would collage even though I had no idea what I was doing.  And I would write often even though I did not consider myself a writer.  I would engage in expressive writing in the form of poetry or storytelling.  I found the healing I experienced through creativity to be so powerful that I kept that memory with me.  Many years later as an adult I found art therapy or it found me.  The marrying of psychology and the creative process set my heart on fire and led me to become an art therapist.

Through my experience, I have witnessed people’s numerous strengths.  They are kind, resilient, brave, and hopeful.  People have a desire for love and genuine connection.  Sometimes, though, people find themselves feeling lost, alone, unsupported and forget how strong they are.  It can be challenging to move forward when these emotions come up and seem to want to stay.  My role is to work alongside with you and help support you rediscover your inner resources in order to alleviate thoughts and emotions that are inhibiting feelings of connection, fulfillment, and joy.

I work with clients on an individual basis as well as through group workshop sessions.  I am also passionate about working with fellow empaths and highly sensitive people to help them learn to ground and balance their energy in a world that can seem overwhelming at times.

I work from a person-centered therapeutic orientation and believe cultivating safety and trust from the beginning is essential in order to help facilitate change and growth.  I also work from an intuitive and holistic perspective and believe in supporting the mind, body, soul connection and understand how one can impact the whole.  I also incorporate different techniques into my work with clients depending on what the client needs or would benefit from.  They include but are not limited to the following:

  • Person-Centered: Developing safety and trust is essential in our work together.  You get to decide how and when our journey unfolds.  My role is to support you in achieving your goals.  As your therapist I will be genuine, empathetic, and non-judgmental.
  • Strength-Based: Focusing on internal strengths and resources can help to empower you and elevate self confidence and positive thoughts and emotions.
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness is not just about meditating – that is just one part of the greater picture.  Practicing mindfulness is about learning to be present.  It is about focusing on one experience that is happening in the present moment.
  • Somatic: Somatic therapy is a holistic therapy that studies the relationship between the mind and body in regard to psychological past.  I believe in looking at the whole person – mind, body, and soul in order to facilitate healing at all levels.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Helping people see the relationship between beliefs, thoughts, and feelings and how those impact people’s decisions and actions.  The goal then becomes to restructure or reframe those beliefs, thoughts, and feelings in order to create new perspectives and understandings which lead to positive outcomes.
  • Art Therapy: Works with the creative process to help people develop self-awareness, explore emotions, address unresolved emotional conflicts, improve social skills, and raise self-esteem.

I recognize and value each client as a unique individual.  The goals, treatment, and approach will be dependent on each client.  I meet you where you currently are and work alongside you to help you get to where you would like to go.

It takes a lot of courage to reach out for support and I want you to know I am here whenever you are ready to get started.

I want you to know: I see you.  I hear you.  In this moment I am present with you.

Heather Hassenbein Counsellor Vancouver, BC Art Therapist Empath Highly Sensitive Person HSP Downtown Kitsilano