I have referred two others to your program because I am so impressed with how thorough you are in intake and how you try to choose someone who seems to fit best the unique needs of the individual. - Sandy
The donation program with Mel was the best thing that I could have done. - Rachel
Ewan is very easy to talk to and gave me several different options to choose from when giving me homework. - Rita
Jake had made such an impact on me, that I couldn't wait to tell you how much I appreciated him! - Joanna
Jake had made such an impact on me, that I couldn’t wait to tell you how much I appreciated him! (He deserves to be recognized and commended!)
Another area that demonstrates how obviously positive and beneficial his services were to me can be seen in the difference he’s visibly made in me!
There’s no question that I walk around an ‘improved’ person thanks to the help and tools he’s provided me with in the last 10 weeks.
And the best part of it, was HOW he did it.Every session, it felt like I was just ‘having a conversation’ with a person who cared and genuinely wanted to help me to help myself.
Our dialogues were free flowing and he made me feel so comfortable, supported and ‘heard’ that every single one of our hour-long sessions ended too quickly for me.
The hour would past in the blink of an eye and in every session, regardless of my mood when I came in to the session, I always left it feeling better.
I can also honestly say that as the weeks passed on, I could totally recognize the very obvious changes (improvements) in my mental health.
The first few weeks, I was definitely entering the zoom room chats feeling anxious, sad, depressed, insecure, frustrated, angry, etc – but as the weeks passed on, there was a very obvious shift in my emotional/mental state.
I found with each week; I would be looking forward to my chats with Jake (rather than ‘dreading’ having the appointment).
And there were even times within the 10weeks where I’d had a couple of consecutively really bad days, but then made myself feel better by saying to myself “well, just get through this, cuz in a couple days, I’m going to get to talk to Jake about it and it will all feel better then”
He really helped me to sort through my emotions and made it feel safe to do so.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the gist – HE IS AWESOME – Joanna
I have become more resilient as a result of it thanks to Amanda.- Jennifer
It was so nice receiving counselling from Amanda for 10 weeks. I have become more resilient as a result of it thanks to her. I still have a long way to go but I believe there is hope that I will recover and begin to rebuild my life again. Thank you so much, Amanda! – Jennifer
The way Strength Counselling is set up it clears away a lot of the barriers to getting help that I experience locally. - Helen
Today my Life is moving forward in a beautiful way - Roger
Today my Life is moving forward in a beautiful way. My time with strength counselling has been such a blessing for myself and my family. Brittany is such a wonderful person and has had the patience and unbelievable knowledge to work with me and help me make the changes that I have never been able to make. I am sober , have a sense of Joy and freedom in my life. Thank you so very much Brittany and thank you Amanda for your first class service and care! – Roger
For the last 10 years I struggled daily with anxiety- Pam
I am choosing to live a strong and healthy sober life - Lika
Choosing to access counselling supports and actually do the work that was necessary for my personal growth, has been life-changing. Being able to put everything on the table and have an honest look at the choices I was making and how I was reacting to situations, was very emotional. The support I received helped me see that I am choosing to live a strong and healthy sober life, and through this clarity I see how wonderful and amazing life is. Thank you!
Amanda has been there every step of the way - Josh
I started seeing Amanda 2 years ago. In the beginning my main goal was to develop effective communication with my partner. Throughout the process i started to recognize the unhealthy habits that i have unknowingly repeated since i was a teenager. Working with Amanda i was able to develop proper coping techniques to lead a healthy life. For the first time in 20 years my life is organized and I am able to set boundaries to allow myself to maintain a healthy me. I am now building relationships through honesty and not underestimating the importance of trust. Meeting Amanda has truly been a blessing. She’s tough and honest but incredibly compassionate. The road to recovery can be sometimes lonely and hard but Amanda has been there every step of the way.
Thank you Amanda
No longer caught in a pattern of perpetual absenteeism from my own life - Harvard
It’s been over a year since I started working with Ewan so perhaps the best measure of our effectiveness together can be found in asking how am I doing today.
The main problem that I came seeking help for is that I am an addict. Under Ewan’s guidance, I managed to string together over a year of clean time. There have been setbacks as one might expect, however, today I am experiencing the longest periods of lucidity since before I started using. I am no longer caught in a pattern of perpetual absenteeism from my own life.
Perhaps Ewan’s crowning accomplishment in my case was to get me into the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous when I had both numerous reservations and objections for my being there. The first few times did not go well- I attended a dinner after a meeting to break the ice with some members and the people I left with were somehow not the people that showed up. I ended up sitting at a table of four listening to one guy monopolize the conversation 90% and a second person taking up the remaining 10%. I don’t think the talkers even knew the names of me and my stranger silent partner.
Another time a person I was considering having as a sponsor intellectually attacked me over my beliefs. Ewan, of course, heard all of my fledgling woes and most importantly was able to convince me to keep coming back. And I did. And today I recognize how very vital and irreplaceable my support group through NA is.
NA meetings have not replaced Ewan but they do fill a gap that is inherent in once-a-week counselling. Meetings with Ewan provide a safety net- I’ve skipped out on meetings that I’ve planned to go to but I’ve never last-minute fully-cancelled a session with Ewan. The biggest reason for that, I feel, is that I consistently enjoy meeting with him. (I do not consistently enjoy every NA meeting I go to despite recognizing their necessity.)
Some sessions he lets me vent my pain. Some sessions we joke around a lot. Some sessions he gets serious about homework. He has a lot of flexibility in his style, and incremental experimentation in the homework he gives me has been a key feature and, I feel, reason for his success with me.
I hope this writing has provided an idea of the value Ewan has contributed into my life.
She opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart, and for that I am truly thankful - Caitlin
I met Amanda 3 years ago. She was the person who helped change my life. It didn’t start out as me wanting to get help through counselling. A friend recommended I see Amanda for weight loss. After filling out the intake form and meeting her for my first session (which I thought would be all about fitness) a session that helped open my eyes wide to the existing problems in my life. Problems I already knew were there but I didn’t have the tools to deal with them.
On the intake form you rate your current relationship on a scale of 1-10. I circled 3 and didn’t even think twice about that being a problem. Even though in my heart the relationship had been a problem for years. Amanda encouraged me to invite my boyfriend to a session. He said yes and the next morning he changed his mind. A 6 year relationship came to an end and my whole world fell apart with it.
Looking back today and everything that came along with the break up choosing to see Amanda regardless of my reason behind the initial visit was one of the best choices I have ever made in my life. She was there for me every step of the way. She was there for me through all the tears. I could text her or call her no matter what. She was always there to provide me with healthy choices and emotionally support. She is still there for me today.
Amanda contacted me a couple of weeks ago just to check in with me even though I haven’t had a session in months. My life is far from perfect but she is always just a session away when I really need it. It took me 2 years to get around to writing this review and I could not say a bad thing about Amanda. I have recommended to her to countless friends and will continue to do so until she tells me to stop 🙂
She opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart, and for that I am truly thankful.
Holding me accountable - Kristy
Amanda makes it easier to talk about the things you don’t want to talk about. She holds you accountable and is with you every step of the way. Very personable.
Calm, non judgemental, accommodating, and always positive - Sharon
I cannot begin to say how blessed we were to find Amanda those years ago. She was still finishing her education at the time and yet, after one phone call with her, I felt that this young woman would be key in getting my daughter’s life back together. She had a way of listening -really listening- to what I had to say. My concerns and questions were never brushed off or minimized, unlike my experiences with counselling from the several years previous. Amanda answered me with honesty, with empathy, with compassion, and with the assurance that she would always do her level best for my daughter. That Diane would never be just a time slot on the calendar. That assurance still holds true to this day.
Diane had been to counselling for many years previously, prescribed medications, and yet there was little improvement. She was given lists of “things you must do” which most always meant things that “I” had to do with my daughter. This would have been fine if it would have been anywhere near successful. So we would find ourselves going around the same circle again and again, year after year, with nothing to show for all this but frustration, disappointment, and anger. Our family was a mess. The stress was becoming unbearable. No one was listening. Enter Amanda.
I found Amanda to be calm, non judgemental, accommodating, and always positive. Her sessions were always fair, straightforward, and professional. She welcomed me into the sessions until my daughter was comfortable enough to be there on her own. We were encouraged to speak freely and openly. My thoughts and ideas were given consideration. While respecting my daughter’s right to privacy, I was kept in the loop and always treated with respect.
As Amanda spent time with Diane, she began to develop a plan very different from anything we had done before. Amanda would discuss the task with my daughter. Things like what it would look like, the steps they would take, what could be a risk or problem, what could you do then, and what a success might look like. She always included Diane in the plan, asking what her thoughts were. My favourite was that shoulder shrugs and “I don’t knows” weren’t acceptable answers. She was expected to try. Then they would practice in the office. Discussion would follow on why things went well or why they didn’t. No task was too small. Then, when Diane felt ready or just needed a gentle, but firm nudge, they would try the task out in the real world, together. When that was successful, Diane would then try on her own. It was amazing to see the growth in just a short time. She was developing tools she could use. My daughter was finally gaining confidence, becoming empowered, having some control.
Amanda was also instrumental in helping me to get my daughter reassessed. Through Amanda’s diligent work, we were able to get Daine retested and the costs covered. Diane now has a much clearer understanding of herself.
When Amanda moved, we thought things would come undone. Not so. With all the technology at our fingertips, it’s been easy and convenient to keep in touch. With that said, Diane still needed face to face support. Amanda went above and beyond screening prospective case workers until she was satisfied she had just the right match for Diane. We are happily and thankfully utilizing this support today.
Without Amanda, our lives would be in a very dark and different place. I knew shortly after starting our journey with Amanda and Strength Counselling, that it would prove to be a positive an helpful experience. I knew this because My daughter was smiling.
For those who want real change - Malcolm
I first started sessions with Amanda a few years a go. She helped me through a tumultuous transition in my life. I have come to find her candid and earnest feedback a great help in aiding my personal reflection and my ability to cope with change.
I have had a few counselors in the past who would just nod their heads all the time. In contrast, Amanda provides real support and advice. She is truly engaged and willing to challenge you where appropriate. For some this may be a difficult process to deal with, but for those who want real change, it is definitely the right direction and I would not hesitate to recommend Amanda.
Strength Counselling put my family back together - Carley
Strength Counselling not only put my family back together but it gave me the tools needed to put myself back together, no matter how broken I feel . Personally, i’ve come such a long ways with the help I received and with counselling available over Skype there are no limits!
Thank you Strength Counselling!
Amanda's passion for helping people shines - Julie
Amanda helped me determine what my goals were and told me how I could reach them. Amanda is very realistic with you and doesn’t get your hopes up, she wants you to be successful and feel good about yourself. Amanda pushes you to your max and won’t take excuses unless they are legit! Amanda’s passion for helping people shines when she’s helping you in the gym! I’m sure it’d be the same when she does counselling therapy, however I’ve only done personal training with her.
Easy and convenient being able to do the sessions from the comfort of my home - Scott
Amanda is both personable and professional. She is easy to talk to and a good listener, however also knows when to interject with feedback. I first began seeing Amanda when she was located in Lethbridge, after she moved to Victoria we continued our sessions through Skype. At first I was leery about continuing sessions over Skype, however after trying it I have found it to really not be any different from our sessions in her office. I have found it easy and convenient being able to do the sessions from the comfort of my home. I would not hesitate to recommend Amanda to anyone as well as Skype sessions with her.
My time with Manuela was very valuable in helping me unpack a lot and make sense of a big influence in my life. - Mari
I finished a series of counselling sessions with Manuela end of August or so. My time with her was very valuable in helping me unpack a lot and make sense of a big influence in my life. I had been “managing” this pressure which involved several of my early relationships, I guess thinking that they were out of sight and out of mind. Manuela coached me in my mediation practise and introduced me to EMDR. Manuela also sent me several online links that enhanced my counselling experience. My time with her was a combination of talk therapy and skill development and probably one of the most helpful times I have spent in counselling.
I learned how to have empathy - John
My name is John Beall. I did therapy/counseling with Amanda Poitras from March 2012-March2013. The work I did with Amanda was absolutely amazing and helpful. The tools she had taught me had worked in so many ways. I was always an angry man with troubles in talking and explaining myself as well as major self esteem issues. Amanda had helped me open my eyes and become a guy I have wanted to be for many years.
Some lessons I had learned were to set boundries when applicable. As well as being able to have constructable conversations and be able to keep calm without getting angry and actually listen and learned how to reverberate back to a person. I had also learned how to have empathy when I have never been able to do or use..
As far as having anything criticism I do not have any issues with Amanda as she is an amazing counselor and is very good at her job.
Amanda is a very professional counselor and know how to make a person very comfortable in any situation a person may be in. So for that I would recommend Amanda and her services to anybody I know.
A safe place for me to explore my thoughts and feelings - Mary
My experience with Amanda has been very useful. Due to personal issues, I felt the need to seek out her help in dealing with them. Amanda has been patient, encouraging, and a strength and as we have delved back into my past and childhood, her office and her presence have been a safe place for me to explore my thoughts and feelings. She provides a completely non-judgmental atmosphere and unfailing kindness and compassion. I highly recommend her to anyone who needs a safe place to explore and grow.
Amanda challenged me to push my limits, while encouraging me to celebrate - Sandra
I have been fortunate to work with Amanda as a colleague as well as to have her as my personal trainer.
As a colleague I admire her direct approach in supporting her clients to explore their own reality. She does not allow others to hide behind pretense nor dismiss personal accountability. What is more, she holds herself to the same standard that she expects of others.
As a personal trainer I found her to be both encouraging and challenging of my fitness goals. She challenged me to push my limits, while encouraging me to celebrate, and not lose sight of, my achievements and successes. I highly recommend Amanda and all the services she offers through Strength Counselling.
Thank you for helping me reach my full potential and continuing to help me do so - Bethany
I was lucky enough to stumble upon Amanda’s business card at a local coffee shop and at the time picked it up for my partner. This very simple action changed my life forever. My partner is a very skeptical person, and as such was very skeptical of the entire counselling process. He was worried that Amanda would be phoney and he would see right through her, and thus, counselling would be ineffective for him. Nonetheless, he started to see her and found her approach and philosophy extremely effective, enlightening, and more helpful than he would have ever imagined. I watched him transform before my eyes and I know he wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this without her. As our relationship was quite rocky during this time, we decided to utilize Amanda’s couples counselling. I believe that had we not seen Amanda for our relationship issues we very well might have been doomed. Amanda was always extremely transparent, but supportive, throughout this delicate process. She did not make any false claims to keep us together, but made it clear that she would help us through whichever decisions we came to as the process unfolded. After a few sessions together with my partner, I decided that I should attend counselling to begin to work through some of my own issues. I continued couples counselling and individual therapy for a few months, until our relationship issues were resolved and our relationship was stronger than ever before. After that, I continued my own individual therapy and still continue to this day.
Seeing Amanda in person felt like an absolute treat. Her presence is astounding and her ability to make you feel at ease is wonderful. I was worried when she moved away that this would effect our counselling relationship (or that I would have to find another counsellor that would measure up — fat chance!), however; she decided to take on Skype clients and I snapped up the opportunity right away. I do not feel that any of Amanda’s presence has been lost over the internet; however, I am from a generation that is also used to communicating with people online. I actually find Skype counselling more convenient because I can sit down in my own home to do it and it fits around my busy schedule. Sometimes Skype can have connection issues, but when that happens we often will use FaceTime on our iPhones/laptop. Payment through e-mail transfer is extremely convenient and secure and I have never had any issues with that.
The best parts about therapy with Amanda are probably her amazing presence, her ability to call me out when I’m not being honest with myself or her, and her philosophy. I feel like it is rare to find a counsellor with such an honest, open, and nonjudgemental philosophy, in not just Southern Alberta, but in the world at large. The thought of not picking up that business card that fateful day in the coffee shop is quite scary to me and I’m not sure where I would be if I hadn’t. Amanda has helped me overcome disordered eating issues, body issues, physical health issues, relationship issues, confidence issues, depression, career path choices, current work issues and many, many more!! She has helped me work through trauma that I didn’t even realize was affecting me now and would continue to affect me negatively throughout my life. Amanda has an extremely effective holistic approach to counselling, such that, no part of your life is ever left out or deemed unimportant. She is extremely flexible with appointments, scheduling, and payments depending upon your financial situation. After I see her I feel renewed, and filled up with hope and life. Amanda is a breath of fresh air and I am so happy to have her to help me sort through the sometimes messy, chaotic, or tediousness that is my life and mind. I will always recommend Amanda as the number one counsellor to see if you are having any issues in your life or just need someone to talk to.
Strength Counselling Services is just that: Building you up honestly and effectively to deal with anything from trauma to the every day, mundane situations in your life. Strength Counselling Services and Amanda has changed my life for the better and I will never look back. Thank you Amanda for making me reach my full potential and continuing to help me do so.
I am free to express myself and my all of my feelings - Samuel
My experience counselling with Amanda was excellent. She was fair but firm. She allowed me to feel like I was in an Open and inviting environment, free to express myself and my all of my feelings. She guided me through a tough time and I am Grateful for her assistance, as I am not sure what I would have done or I would have felt without her expertise. I have already recommended her to others and will continue to do so. Thank you Amanda!
Words can't explain my amazing journey - Sally
I called Amanda looking for marital help and not only did she help my husband and I revive our marriage she helped me realize I was not healthy. I am not sure words can explain my amazing journey I had and all the strategies she gave me to help me overcome the many obstacles I will face in my life. Amanda helped me realize that this is something that will never go away but can be managed. She opened my eyes to realize that I need to be happy with who I am and how I look. This is me and nobody is made the same or expected to look the same. I walked into her office and I thought that if I couldn’t buy an article of clothing in a certain size I couldn’t buy it, as well as if I couldn’t see a certain number on the scale I was mad and reverted to bad habits. I have gained so much confidence and strategies that Amanda has helped me learn.
I also trained with Amanda and she help me gain the confidence to walk into the gym, workout and not worry what other people will think of me. The training helped me to be able to develop my own workout routines and train on my own which I do as an enjoyment and not a job anymore. I can’t thank her enough for what she has helped me and my family overcome.
I felt safe and comfortable - Catherine
As a personal trainer, I found Amanda to be both extremely knowledgeable of how the human body functions through both exercise and nutrition. I felt safe and comfortable with someone who actually knew what they were doing! Amanda was also a very highly energetic motivator. During our personal training sessions, she pushed me as far as I could go to make the most out of every work out!! She helped me create a healthy food intake plan that would optimize the changes I was striving for. I would recommend her to anyone who truly wants to make a difference in their health!
I feel stronger, more confident, and happier than I ever have in my entire life - Sarah
I’ve been working with Amanda from strength counseling for about 9 months now and I’m extremely happy with her methods and the progress I’ve made in this time. I’ve seen counselors in the past but I didn’t feel like the sessions were really effective and they left a sour taste in my mouth about counseling in general. I was referred to Strength Counseling by a friend who was seeking help for similar things I wanted help managing (family relationships, assertiveness training, and my eating disorder). I reached out to Amanda and we began my sessions just days after my initial intake. I was nervous at first because I was worried that my experience would be similar to my previous counseling experiences where we just surface combed. But that wasn’t the case at all. Amanda was very welcoming. She made me feel safe and comfortable during my sessions and I never sensed any kind of judgement from her, regardless of the topic. We looked deep into my life to find the root cause of the things I was struggling with today and it was an amazing feeling to have so many epiphanies and “Ah Ha” moments. Amanda is helping me find the missing pieces to my puzzle and the work I’ve done with her has undoubtedly changed my life for the good.
I also moved cities within the time I’ve been working with Amanda and I was so relieved that she offered Skype sessions so I could continue on with her and not have to look for a new counselor. The sessions are great because I can schedule them for after work and in the comfort of my own home. The sessions work well and I hardly ever have connection problems.
Overall, I’m extremely happy with the progress I’ve made since I’ve been working with Amanda and would recommend her services to anyone looking for support in any aspect of their life. The sessions are not always easy but they are definitely worth it. I feel stronger, more confident and happier than I ever have in my entire life and I know it’s largely because of the work Amanda has done with me.
Thank you so much, Amanda!
I finally felt supported, loved, and heard - Lisa
Amanda at Strength Counselling has provided me with various tools to enhance my talents in many aspects of my life! When I first began counselling, I felt alone and insecure; as though my ego has fully taken over myself. However, after using the many innovative outlets that Strength Counselling has taught me, I was able to begin to see my true self and connect with my light, positive energy. I truly appreciate how Amanda was able to allow my innate abilities to become part of our therapy. I am an artist by nature, and so Amanda had incorporated many imaginative, colorful, productive and creative outlets to our sessions. I honestly feel that she creates a plan that is authentically and genuinely individualized to suit MY specific, unique needs. Amanda has always been there as support, whether in person, on the phone, through text message or on Skype! I was hesitant about the “Skype sessions” at first…. but the way Amanda not only listened, but HEARD my concerns regarding Skype, she was able to comfort me and help me understand that Skype might seem to be an unconventional form of counselling but, could have the same outcomes as if she and I were sitting in the same room. Throughout my sessions, I have had many successful moments that felt so organically grown from my own strength; A strength that has always resided within myself but, that finally felt supported, loved and heard by a gifted counsellor who had allowed my pure and whole self to shine! I would highly encourage anyone seeking support to contact Strength Counselling for emotional and physical health and balance.
Lisa Van Osch
I am forever grateful for my friend being persistent in offering me a session with my now counsellor, it has changed my life - Sara
I came across this article the other day and thought I would share my own experience with counselling.
I remember the day when my good friend came into my office and recommended an old friend of hers who did online counselling and specialized in addiction. I gracefully denied her offer numerous times, I saw a few other Counsellor’s but couldn’t find the right fit for me. I needed someone who would allow me to swear, not bring religion into my sessions and someone who could push me. I needed someone unconventional.
I finally accepted her offer to see her friend, I remember the first call I had with her. I remember where I was, I paced in my sisters basement telling her how desperate I was to save the love of my life from addiction. She listened intently, she had empathy and she let me swear, in fact she swore just as much. My journey with my counsellor has been long and extremely painful, but she saved me. She was always patient with me, and helped me make progress, (which was very gradual). So gradual I didn’t notice it, until she would point it out to me. She was there for it all….
Three years into my relationship with my best friend, the person I knew 27 years, the person who I will forever love was still struggling to survive addiction. His demons were making me sick and I was pushed to my limits so many times, until one day I knew I couldn’t survive this much longer. I threw my hands in the air one day and begged my counsellor to help me, I promised I would do whatever it took. There were days I hated her, I yelled at her and called her stupid. But I took what she taught me and dug so deep, a fight I would never wish upon my worst enemy and I survived. I survived because I trusted her and I trusted the process.
The worst thing she ever said to me were words I will never forget… “ Sara, you can’t save him. If he continues on this path he will likely die within a year”. After 7 months of working hard on my own recovery, I received the worst possible news. The phone call still haunts me to this day. My heart sank, and I can’t even begin to explain what happened after that. The love of my life lost his battle against addiction. And please believe me when I say, he fought with every inch of his soul to recover. Now I was faced with extreme grief, I have never felt grief like this before. I was 100% certain I was going to die, the pain took my breath away, I had to fight to breath. How could he leave me??? My counsellor told me over and over to ride the waves and feel the pain. You fucking ride those waves and feel this.. I told her I couldn’t do this, I was going to die. But I showed up every week for my session with her, and she listened as I cried and tried to process what had just happened. My Counsellor has saved my life more than once, she believed in me. I am grateful for her. And as I mentioned before, my process has been gradual, I have had many ups and downs, but I have made progress. She made me look at my life, my choices, and pushed me to my limits sometimes. I trusted her, I trusted that she knew me well enough to know what I needed. I am not easy to deal with, I fight back, I go against her recommendations all the fucking time, but she is always there to support me when I crash and burn and need her help. She holds me accountable for my actions and the choices I make. I never thought I would be so grateful for a counsellor.
People are so quick to judge how others seek help. How I choose to take care of myself is up to me, and for those of you that need help, please don’t ever feel bad or that there is something wrong with you. I know there is so much stigma attached to taking care of your mental health, but I will tell you from someone who suffered for years with mental health issues, I am forever grateful for my friend being persistent in offering me a session with my now counsellor, it has changed my life. ♥️
I want to thank you & all the counsellor who have facilitated these meetings; they have been so helpful for me- Meg
I am forever grateful for the team and especially Amanda - Wendy
I am forever grateful for the team and especially Amanda. I went through a lot of emotions but I actually could work through them as opposed to being numb to them. I am coming up to three years sober I have not had a drink since I left Cedars. One of the best takeaways was “I am enough!” Life isn’t always easy but it’s a whole lot easier getting through it sober! – Wendy