Registered Psychotherapist | CRPO (#008555)
In my practice, I specialize in working with those who have faced trauma, especially through forms of abuse – emotional, physical, sexual, and self-harm. Related to my work on trauma, I provide therapy to those with Borderline Personality Disorder.
Beyond my practice as a trauma specialist, I work with adults and adolescents in an array of issues such as depression/suicidal ideation, anxiety/panic disorders, grief, loneliness, as well as eating distress and body image.
I have a passion for promoting and caring for those who often are over-looked and marginalised in society and therefore work as an ally and advocate for clients. I am often been sought out to counsel those from the LGBTQI2SA+ community, as well as ethnically and economically diverse communities.
I welcome all to my practice and believe that anyone – regardless of issue, ethnicity, gender expression/ sex / sexuality, spiritual belief, economic standing – is valuable and I seek to provide the best care to all I see.
I trained as a doctor of psychotherapy at the University of Edinburgh, UK. For the past decade, I have worked with at-risk youth in both Canada and the UK, working specifically with issues such as depression, suicidal ideation, low self-esteem/body image, anxiety, sexuality and sexual trauma. I’ve worked adults regarding work-related stress, relationships / family functioning, depression, and personality disorders. I have also provided ‘Life Review’ work with elderly clients. I have mentored and trained new psychotherapists in the UK and am currently a certified supervisor with the CRPO in Toronto, ON. I am also an active potter and love getting messy at the pottery wheel - it is where the title 'Centred Self' came from: That interplay of being still and centred in ourselves, this is where therapeutic work can happen.
I practice primarily within the Relational Psychodynamic framework, which means that when we work together you will not have a removed or overly clinical counsellor, but a real person who meets you not simply as a ‘patient’ but as the expert of your own life! Together, we can delve into even the toughest, scariest, and unspeakable topics in a safe, non-judgmental and confidential space. I believe that the best therapy happens when a deep trust forms between counsellor and client. With me you will find a warm, compassionate psychotherapist who feels honoured to meet you in all aspects of your life.
As I have trained in many paradigms, the process of therapy will be an integration of psychodynamic, person-centred and emotion-focussed therapy, as well as forms of CBT, interpersonal and mindfulness practices. I believe that as my client, you deserve a treatment plan that fits you! Therefore, by getting to know you and your unique needs, the therapy I provide will be an approach the seems most suitable for you.
I believe that there is no such thing as a ‘Band-Aid’ approach to counselling; therefore, instead of providing quick-fixes, I welcome us to dive into issues together. From the first session with me we will start to talk about the issues that have brought you to therapy and where these might have originated – granting us insight into patterns of behaviour that may have been useful in the past but now may be actually getting in the way of your health. In our second phase of therapy we will start to see patterns emerge based upon your past history. There is nothing taboo with me, and as we learn more about your past, we may uncover areas that were once unconscious – making connections on how the past and present often interweave in our day-to-day lives. In our third phase of therapy we will then start to make these changes – often using the therapy session as a safe place to try these out. Through looking at the past and the larger context of your social world we can start to get a clearer picture as to why you may be facing distress and with this insight, we will work together in overcoming these issues.
I have published in journals related to feminist research and psychotherapy and currently have several projects in press (see Articles).
I am the co-founder of the ‘Bodies Collective’ that collaborates with scholars around the globe at bringing the physical body back into recognition within the academy. Through the Bodies Collective, we have created a new way of doing research called ‘Bodyography’.
I have given numerous presentations at conferences in both North America and Europe and am also an active public speaker on mental health for universities in the UK and Canada. I also run trainings for new psychotherapists in the field through the University of Edinburgh.
However 'tidy' I look in my profile photo as a psychodynamic trauma psychotherapist, I find that being real is the most important part of the work I do.
I actually love to see how photos between my roles look pretty different: As a psychodynamically trained Registered Psychotherapist, a supervisor/trainer, as a dog mom, and finally as a ceramicist, messy at the potter's wheel.
As you can see from this picture, I had been at the wheel for hours, 'throwing' mugs, bowls and plates. Wearing my old t-shirt, my hair is a mess, no makeup on, I am completely content at my wheel. This is my happy place, and it is a beautiful form of therapy.
I have worked as a potter for the past decade, and for 8 years as a professional potter - selling pieces, doing commissions, and teaching pottery while completing my doctorate in Psychotherapy at the University of Edinburgh.
Every time I make a piece for someone, it is that person I think about as I throw the piece. I think of them holding the mug in their hands, serving salad in the bowl, or eating off a plate I have made. In this way, each piece gets to be crafted in a unique and personal style that has aspects of me and the 'customer' in it.
What I am realising is that there is a convergence of my two professions; I have always seen a connection between the two but didn't think that they could merge - until now!
In this video, I am making of one of my signature flower bowls.
Created in Edinburgh, Scotland (UK) in 2017.
Gina Lihou, an EMDR trained psychotherapist, delves into the world of EMDR therapy in this user-friendly guide!
Ever wonder about what EMDR is and how it can help with trauma?
Read and find out!