Julia Mah

Work with Julia Kristina

Enough is enough. Life is too short to be struggling with your mind and emotions day in and day out. I know it can sometimes feel like there’s no way out and this is just the way you are, but I’m here to tell you, it’s not  and there is.

Yes, life is hard sometimes. Yes things don’t always go our way, or according to our plan. Yes life can feel like a big struggle more often than we want it to, but there is a lot more we can do to make things a whole lot better than you realize.

You can heal from your emotional pain. You can overcome the battles you’re having with your mind. You can feel grounded at in charge of your life. You can feel good about yourself. You can have close, meaningful and fulfilling relationships.

We all have an inner critic who often likes to set up camp in our thoughts and tell us all kinds of negative to make us feel down, discouraged, anxious, overwhelmed, insecure, uncertain, weak, small, unimportant, insignificant and sometimes even worthless.

But that inner critic doesn’t have to have the final say. We can learn how to silence that inner critic and keep it from taking over our lives and keeping us in struggle.

Together we are going to work to breakthrough the biggest things that have been bringing you down, getting in your way, and holding you back – And I’m going to teach you how to make those positive changes last.

But what if you don’t know what the problem is? What if you can’t put your finger on the exact issue?

You don’t have to know the specific reason you’re struggling – you just have to know that you want to feel better, and then we can work together to uncover what’s really going on and what to do about it. 

I always knew I wanted to become a therapist, but I didn’t actually know that I knew until one summer evening several years ago while at my cousins wedding.

During a conversation with some distant relatives I found out their eldest daughter – whom I hadn’t seen since we were little girls – was in school to become a chiropractor. Now up until then I had been thinking about becoming a therapist, but was overwhelmed by how much work it was going to be, and I didn’t know if I had the courage or strength to do what it took to get there… Until this life changing conversation.

Until I found out that little doe-eyed, curly haired Sarah Brown was training to become a doctor of chiropractic medicine.

And that’s all it took.

I immediately came to my senses and thought “If Sarah can do that, there’s no reason I can’t do this.” And from that point forward there was no turning back.

I can’t express how much I love what I do. And my experience as a counsellor  has shown me time and time again that within each individual lies courage, strength, resiliency, beauty, and the desire to love and be loved and connected to both themselves and others.

Sometimes, though we find ourselves lost in the fog and need to be supported, encouraged, and challenged to get our lives either back on track, or onto a new and more fulfilling, rewarding, and meaningful track.

I work from a person-centered, strength based, solution focused, mindfulness and cognitive behavioural (CBT) approach.

What this means is that I work alongside my clients and help support them to uncover or re-discover their inner strengths, their inner resources, and their inner courage as they work through the things in their lives that are getting in the way of feeling fulfilled, connected, happy and a deep sense of inner calm and contentment.

In my practice the clients I work with often start to feel better and notice positive changes in their mood and outlook on life, themselves, and their relationships quite quickly.

My goal as your therapist is to help you to achieve lasting and meaningful changes for the better, and we’ll do exactly what we need to do to get you there. 

I work with my clients from a person-centered, strength-based, solution focused, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioural (CBT) perspective. What does all this mean? Let’s break it down.

Person Centered: Our work together is about you and what you want for yourself and your life. Our relationship will be genuine, empathic, warm, caring, and non-judgemental.

Strength Based: This means that we will work together to uncover, discover, or rediscover your unique and particular strengths and use them to empower and strengthen you on your life journey.

Solution Focused: This involves looking at what you want to be different right now, exploring and discovering what you want for yourself in the future, and what steps we will take to make this happen. It also entails looking at the things in your life that you want to continue to have happen and how to have more of what you do want, and thus less of what you don’t want.

Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a big buzzword right now and most people get a little scared when they hear it because they think they are going to be expected to sit and meditate in full lotus position for hours on end everyday until they reach enlightenment. That’s not the case. Practicing mindfulness can be much simpler than that. Mindfulness is really just about learning to be present. To notice and experience what’s happening right now – not getting stuck in regretting the past, or fearing the future. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This involves looking at and often challenging and restructuring those beliefs, thoughts, and choices we make that are keeping us ‘stuck’ where we don’t want to be stuck. This results in the creation of new perspectives, and understandings, and the strength to make choices that lead to greater happiness, peace, joy, and emotional freedom.

I know that each individual is unique and because our time together is about you, my role is to meet you where you are at and come alongside you on your journey toward discovering, creating, and working toward what you want for yourself and for your life.

Our work together can be to help and support you in working through a specific concern or challenge, or we can work more in-depth if you would like to focus on deeper exploration, healing, and breakthroughs. 

This deeper work will focus on shifting the thoughts, beliefs, and behaviours that are holding you back or preventing you from living how you want to live and feeling how you want to feel.

Sometimes people come for counselling or coaching and they’re not just sure of the precise reason or specific problem – they just know that things don’t feel quite right, or they want more for themselves and for their lives.

You don’t have to have a reason, or a major problem to meet. Coming to figure out what’s off and working together to get things on is reason enough.

I know that it takes a lot of strength and courage to reach out of help and support, and here you are making the choice to take the first step.

I hold a Master’s Degree in Counselling psychology, have done extensive specialization education and training and over the past 10 years of working in the field of mental health and wellness I’ve helped hundreds of  men and women breakthrough their biggest struggles with anxiety, worry, low self-esteem, self-doubt, perfectionism, and chronic stress, I also work with those who want to improve their communication skills, or their boundary setting abilities.

In other words, I help both men and women get through the craps that’s holding them back so they can like themselves and their lives more everyday. 

Through our one to one counselling sessions we will go deep and figure out what’s off, what’s not working, what’s getting in your way and what’s preventing you from feeling how you know you want to be feeling both within yourself and within your most important relationships.

We will spend some time working through and healing old wounds from the past and from there we will work to get you the tools, skills and mindset shifts necessary so you can start enjoying your life the way you’ve always wanted to.

I offer both in-person and telephone or web counselling.

Whether virtual or in person, the format is basically the same. The main difference is you will have to sit on your comfy couch instead of mine.

Coaching is a great option for people who feel like they may not be in enough distress for therapy, but still feel like they need some extra help, guidance or the necessary steps to help them get unstuck in one or more areas of their lives.

The focus of coaching is to work together to find effective strategies to help you work toward and reach any personal, career or relationship goals you may have.

Coaching uses personal strategic planning, values clarification, brainstorming, motivational counselling, and other counselling techniques, and although the work we do may feel therapeutic, coaching is not for working through deeper issues such as trauma or mental illness.

As your coach, you can count on me to be honest and straightforward, asking powerful questions and using challenging techniques to move you forward. You are expected to evaluate progress and when coaching is not working as you wish, you should immediately inform me so we can both take steps to correct the problem.

As with counselling, coaching can be short term and focus on 1 specific issue, or it can be longer term to really help you reach your bigger life goals.

I offer both in-person and telephone or web coaching.

Whether virtual or in person, the format is basically the same. The main difference is you will have to sit on your comfy couch instead of mine.

Work with Ruth Andrews

Do you feel frustrated, overwhelmed, stressed, stuck, confused or empty and can’t figure out how to get back to feeling good in a way that lasts?

Life can be really hard… for all of us. But it can be even harder if we try to get through our pain and struggles all on our own – We’re not meant to do it alone, nor do we have to.

If you’ve been struggling more than you want to with any of the following, I am here and I can help you learn how to effectively deal with and heal from:

  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Self-Esteem struggles
  • Depression
  • Emptiness & Sadness
  • Trauma
  • Grief and loss – Including ambiguous and anticipatory loss
  • Chronic pain
  • Feelings of isolation

With my help and support you will feel: 

  • Good about yourself and your life
  • Free from overwhelming worry or fear
  • More grounded and calm
  • More connected and loved
  • Hopeful and optimistic
  • Satisfied with your relationships
  • Stronger and more clear
  • Happy and confident

After experiencing significant life changes, or when anticipating them, we can become consumed by our emotions and quickly feel helpless, overly stressed, anxious, confused or lost.

The good news is, therapy offers a powerful and life changing opportunity to explore your thoughts, experiences and behaviours freely and without judgement. I believe wholeheartedly that every individual has the ability to heal from their pain or struggles and feel good about themselves and their lives.  I am excited to help you facilitate the necessary changes to do so.

Part of my motivation for becoming a therapist comes from personal experiences of grief and loss.

I’ve gone through quite a bit of loss myself, and have seen and felt many of the forms that grief shows up as (sometimes in the most unexpected ways) which has made me want to have the tough, but necessary and healing conversations about significant loss. I am particularly drawn to helping those who are experiencing anticipatory and ambiguous forms of grief or trauma.

I also have extensive training and experience in helping men and women work through anxiety and depression.

I take an integrative approach to counselling, incorporating elements of:

  • Person-centred therapy – I believe that individuals are the experts of their own lives.  You determine the pace and direction of each session with my support and encouragement along the way.
  • Emotion-focused therapy– Sessions are focused on helping you get in-tune with your emotions so you can better understand and manage your emotional responses.
  • Strengths-based therapy– Counselling is not about hiding your imperfections but realizing the strengths that contribute to making you special and unique. I help you pull out and recognize your strengths and then help you build on them.
  • Trauma-informed therapy– I establish a safe, trusting environment in which you have the space to be fully real and fully vulnerable. Therapeutic interventions are chosen carefully and with the intention of helping you uncover your resiliency and heal old wounds.
  • Mindfulness-based therapy– Self-compassion is key. Mindfulness-based approaches help you bring awareness to your experiences, reflect on them without passing judgement, and then learn how to respond with intention instead of react uncontrollably to difficult situations.
  • (optional) Art Therapy – Not an artist? No problem. Art Therapy is all about the process, not the outcome. No prior art experience is required. As a trained Art Therapist as well, I am able to incorporate art into each therapy session whether by use of metaphors and stories or by creating an image. No matter its form, art is an expression of one’s inner experiences, a personal outlet, and it can be an integral part of therapy. However, it is my philosophy that in order to best help you, I must allow you to take the lead. If art is not well suited to you, no problem. Each therapy session is formatted to suit each individual’s specific needs. What works best for you is always what’s most important to me.

I received my graduate degree in Counselling and Art Therapy from Adler University following the completion of my Bachelor of Arts from the University of British Columbia. I am Registered Clinical Counsellor and a certified Art Therapist with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors.

I have worked in residential care facilities in both Vancouver and North Vancouver, leading individual and group therapy sessions for older adults dealing with isolation, loss of freedom, depression, grief and loss, and other issues. I have provided individual art therapy sessions to individuals struggling with progressive or degenerative illnesses and chronic pain.

I have experience facilitating grief support groups in the Downtown Eastside for individuals affected by the fentanyl crisis. Similarly, I have worked with family members of palliative patients in North Vancouver who were experiencing anticipatory grief and loss. Sessions with palliative patients focused on experiences of anger, fear, depression, and a loss of independence.

As an Alumna of Adler University, I continue to volunteer as a mentor and supervisor to students completing their graduate studies in Counselling and Art Therapy.

Although raised in the United States, Vancouver has become my home in recent years and I intend on staying here. I am invested in contributing to this beautiful community as a mental health care practitioner and a social justice advocate.

I look forward to meeting you and learning more about the ways in which we can work together to improve your circumstances and achieve your goals.

Because We All Go Through Times When Life Feels Overwhelming and Unmanageable.