DARREN PARKER THERAPY
Choosing a therapist that is right for you is a deeply personal decision. When choosing a therapist you want someone you feel a good connection with and someone who has experience and knowledge in what you are dealing with. No one is an expert in everything.
You deserve good therapy. You deserve someone that appreciates what you are dealing with and can help you find the strength to face your troubles. Putting the time and energy into finding the right therapist now means more time living a better life later.
Areas of Expertise
Depression is generally a shutting down of our emotions. It's often a sign that our mind and body have been pushed too far for too long under the weight of unrealistic expectations, unrelenting anxiety, or chronic stressors. Often we've been dealing with these for so long that we either don't notice them or assume they are normal. This leads us to believing that we are depressed for no reason. In therapy we start by trying to understand what might be contributing to the depression. We then work to reduce some of the weight and pressure you are experiencing. Then we attempt to harness some of the precious little energy you have, and put it towards the parts of life that give you more energy. This brings you closer to reconnecting with yourself and feeling alive again (maybe for the first time).
We often want to get rid of anxiety. And why wouldn’t we? It causes us to freeze up, experience panic attacks, and hide away from the world. But if we take a step back and appreciate anxiety as our body's alarm system, we can start to understand its role, and shift how we feel about it. Anxiety wants us to pay attention to something. Whether that is a threat, concern, or anything important to us. We want to perform well, make good impressions, and stay healthy. But in extreme cases of anxiety, we experience a fight/flight/freeze response. If the stakes feel too high we freeze up on a test, we lash out at a loved one, or we run away from a situation. We humiliate ourselves and end up trying to avoid our anxious feelings (which often makes it worse as we start feeling anxious about feeling anxious). In therapy we work to adjust your relationship with anxiety and get it working for you, instead of against you. You learn to feel just enough of it to help you engage in what you care about, without letting it take control.
The painful truth is that we lose people we love. It can be a breakup, death, or some other circumstance outside of our control. The loss itself is devastating as we try to adjust to a world that is suddenly very different. We often struggle to make sense of what happened, and it gets even more complicated in situations involving suicide, overdose, or homicide. In therapy we work to normalize the wide range of grief responses, and work on where people feel most stuck. You find ways to honour the grief while working towards re-engaging with the world (when you are ready).
Suicidal thoughts are a normal response to feeling hopelessly trapped and imagining a future filled with pain. People with suicidal thoughts aren't fighting to die, they are fighting to figure out how to live. Talking about suicide is hard because people often face judgement, criticism, or unhelpful advice. Often all a person is looking for is some understanding and a chance to be heard. Therapy offers that space to talk and help you feel less alone. We aren't going to pretend life isn't hard, but we'll work on building some quality of life now, expand our options for the future, and build a life that doesn't have to be dominated exclusively by pain.
Humans are social creatures and we do best when we are in families, communities, and social groups that take care of one another. Some individuals are particularly drawn to helping others and end up in positions like nursing, teaching, or social work. Sometimes this role is thrust upon us as we care for our family, friends, or community members when nobody else will. It may not be anyone's fault, but being part of an unbalanced relationship (giving a lot and getting little in return) can result in resentment growing. In therapy we talk about how realistic it is to balance caregiver tasks with other parts of our life. We want our caregiving to be life enriching, instead of life draining.
Who we love and are attracted to (or not attracted to) are important parts of being human. Who you love is not an excuse to be mistreated or experience abuse. Unfortunately in many families, cultures, and parts of the world, 2SLGBTQ+ individuals are bombarded with messages of hate, microaggressions, and misunderstandings that erode our self-worth. In therapy we work to honour your unique identity, help you to appreciate your worth, and work on ways to navigate a world that is not always kind.
Trans and Nonbinary
Trans and nonbinary individuals are generally the most vulnerable to discrimination, hate, and violence. Trans and enby people have always existed, but have stayed hidden for their safety. Even when immediate safety isn't threatened, they are often tasked with explaining and justifying their existence (sometimes to people who don't even try to understand). Even the strongest people get worn down when bombarded by invalidation and we question our worth. In therapy we work on celebrating what makes you special. We find ways to promote safety while still finding ways to live more fully and experience gender euphoria. You learn ways to navigate difficult conversations and build meaningful relationships in your life.
*Please note I am cis but know that it can often be a challenge for trans and nonbinary people to find a therapist that shares their identity. I take my allyship seriously and have loved the opportunity to work with many amazing trans and nonbinary people.
"I Don't Know..."
Sometimes we just don’t know what's up. Unless you grew up in a household or community where people talked openly about their feelings and mental health, we struggle to know what terms like anxiety or depression even mean. We just feel “off”. Maybe we aren’t the same person we once were, or maybe our reactions to the world differ from those around us. We may think we’re being silly “this isn’t a big deal”. Alternatively, we may worry that our problems are too big to be helped.
If it's something that’s been on your mind, it’s worth talking about. Some people only need a quick tune-up. Others take their time as they address more complex situations. The service is tailored to you and your needs.