Agassiz-Harrison Community Services is pleased to announce that it has free counselling with the arrival of its new Registered Community Counsellor Ashley J. Caringi. Caringi completed her BA in psychology at UBC and Master’s in Counselling Psychology at Athabasca University and has acquired various work experience during her time as a Peer Support Worker for the UBC campus community and as a Clinical Counseller for a community counselling centre in Victoria, B.C.
Caringi took a moment to sit down with The Observer and to speak on her new role. Caringi began her fascination with the field in highschool after encountering psychology for the first time.
“I was very intrigued and interested in it and so I decided to take psychology as my undergraduate degree at UBC,” said Caringi.
Caringi’s time as a community counsellor in Victoria, allowed her to have the hands on experience of working with a variety of different adult clients with a variety of different problems.
“I love what I do I come from a place of caring, compassion, and empathy and I really try to be present with my clients as much as possible because I know the world can be a difficult place at times and so I’m there to support them,” said Caringi.
Caringi’s training has been instrumental in identifying problems and helping problem solve to create new solutions, step-by-step for people in addictions — it’s important that people take small steps toward the future they want to live.
Mental health and addictions are mainly what Caringi is there for as well as to treat people with concurrant disorders.
“I try to highlight that it’s a process if there’s no pain there’s no gain. It’s about teaching clients to slow down and stay present as much as possible rather than trying to get somewhere right away and trusting the process of life. One thing my clients have in common is a lack of self-awareness, they’re very impulsive and act on their behaviours while not knowing how they got there. It’s about slowing things down for them and developing that awareness so they can make better choices for themselves.”
According to Caringi the key is to understanding the thought process that’s involved when a person has a craving. She helps the person examine what that looks like emotionally and cognitively.
“Once they gain that awareness they can learn how to make better choices for themselves.”
Caringi is trained in mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapies, those are the main skills she uses to help clients combat internal negative thought patterns.
She uses cognitive behavioural therapies for her youth (13 to 17) and adult clients which is based on the teaching that thoughts produce emotion.
“If you have a negative thought you’re likely to feel a more negative emotion, and if you have a positive thought you’re more likely to experience a positive emotion,” Caringi told The Observer.
It’s about retraining and challenging those negative thought patterns.
“Often what we think is fully automatic and we’re not aware of what we are thinking so that’s where the mindfulness comes in, it’s about being aware of the thoughts that are running through your mind,” she said.
Caringi will give clients a thought record so they can record them and understand how they’re impacting their emotional life.
“Once they’re aware through mindfulness that they’re having a negative thought they can identify that and challenge it and look at it rationally and logically — for example the thought I‘m stupid.”
Caringi gets them to challenge those thoughts by questioning them and through that questioning the truth will often emerge.
“Am I stupid, am I 100 per cent stupid, am I stupid at everything? The answer is often no.”
According to Caringi it’s normal to have uncontrolled thoughts and that negativity is part of the human psyche. She teaches people to counter the negativity by acquiring a new set of coping skills and the best part is that she provides a free service.
For those interested in receiving counselling from Caringi whose approach utilizes Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy into her practice, call AHCS at 604-796-2585 ext 231 to book an appointment.