2021 Graduate Profiles (Fall)

Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality

 

photo-garnerAnna Victoria Garner

During times of turmoil, a person’s spirituality is tested and can become a source of strength and support. By integrating spirituality into psychotherapy, I hope to help people who have experienced traumas not just heal and survive, but also to thrive. With my completion of the MPS program at St. Stephen’s College, I am delighted move on to the next stage in my own path, helping people on their healing journeys.

Thesis Title: Posttraumatic Growth and Spirituality: The Journey to Becoming Beautiful People

Thesis Abstract: Posttraumatic growth is a phenomenon that is characterized by the significant personal changes and growth that an individual can experience after a traumatic event. This research contributes to the existing body of research on posttraumatic growth by deeply looking into the experience after trauma, gaining insight into the process of growth after trauma, and the role that a person's spirituality plays in their growth process. This research answered the question “What is the experience of growth in the aftermath of a traumatic event?” with a particular focus on how aspects of spirituality and religion affected their journey. Semi-structured interviews were given to a convenience sample of five co-researchers. This research uses the hermeneutic phenomenological method to analyze the experiences of growth after trauma. The picture of my co-researchers’ growth is consistent with existing research on posttraumatic growth. The process of growth involves a continuous journey, a series of choices, existential questioning, support, and acceptance. My co-researcher’s experience highlights the importance of their personal spirituality. Spiritual themes: suffering, openness, and meaning making, had corresponding active processes: existential questioning, acceptance, and daily application, that helped change the traumatic experience into growth. The primary implication of my research to psychotherapeutic practice and posttraumatic growth research is the role spirituality plays in the growth process. Further research should investigate how spirituality can be used as support for clients and how therapists can assist their clients in cultivating this important resource for growth.

Favourite SSC MemoryMy favorite memories for St Stephen’s College all involve moments in class in which students shared their experiences, thoughts, and wisdoms: the moments in which the students supported each other in growth and learning. They were moments in which more than minds met, and I could feel the connection with the beautiful person across from me.

Future Ambitions: I would like to continue my therapeutic educations and become certified in both Gottman Method marriage therapy, and trauma-informed therapies.

 

photo-reizeDavid Reize

I grew up in a river valley west of Mohkinstsis, Calgary, Alberta. My integral values, and sense of self in large part took shape within the natural ecology of the Elbow River Valley; I honour my attraction and connection to the wild and open personalities of this land and its waters: the Willow, Poplar and Spruce; the Whitetail and Moose, Bear and Cougar; the Whitefish and Rainbow Trout; the Merganser, Raven and Canada Goose. I also honour my Swiss-Canadian Father, and Eastern Canadian mother, my dear siblings, and the Evangelical Christian traditions and faith of our family. I honour the model and mystery of Jesus of Galilee, wellspring of compassion, mercy and love. Literary and historical figures like Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Stanley Hauerwas, Mother Teresa, Desmond Tutu and Gandhi have illuminated the love and character of Christ to me. I also honour the Indigenous Elders and ceremonial communities that hosts a deepening of my spiritual connection to this land and to my own spirit.

Emerging from these influences, an interaction of strong values draw out in me a bottomless curiosity and wonder towards the depth of our spiritual nature, and the unspoken reality of our sufferings. I strive to understand wounds and weakness in the light mystery of our true nature, one which is not separate from the very Nature of the Cosmos, which Creator sets into movement and interaction.

The MPS degree at St. Stephen's has been a natural outworking, exploration and development of these values, which carry me now into psychotherapeutic practice and research frontiers. A key aspect of this program that informs and outlines my future directions of practice and research has been the completion of my thesis research project into relational movements of the self in connection to the Natural world, as previewed below. I am excited to bring these foundations into a growing practice within the field of social care, working with vulnerable populations. At present I am practicing within a wilderness-based experiential treatment program for young men with addictions, which dovetails beautifully with the core interests and approaches of my developing practice. I hope to continue working in contexts like these, and concurrently to contribute to a growing body of research in nature-based and ecological therapies.

Thesis Title: Relationality, Reciprocity and the Nature of Self: Encountering Expansive Connectedness in the Natural World

Thesis Abstract: By moving within and between frameworks of relationality and personal knowing, this exploration seeks to grapple with the meanings and connections between home, the natural world, and an expansive and related sense of self. Beyond the construal of self as a definite and individuated entity, my premise is an expanded sense of self, taken more as a context of relational movements than as a static noun, upon which predicates can be attributed; The balanced, dialectical, ever-moving ever-relating quality of Nature is explored as a viewpoint through which this sense of self may accrue depth and dynamic. From this basis I explore the relationship between themes of belonging and autonomy within home, in Nature and the cosmos, viewing these in relation to longings, motivations and coping strategies that accompany and underlie substance use and addictions, that inevitably result in narrowed and sequestered experiences of a self. My role as a therapist and participatory observer among the young men of Shunda Creek, a 90-day mindfulness-oriented wilderness addictions program in the Canadian Rockies, offers a wealth of rich and engaging descriptions, generating important dialectic resonance with my own knowings and discoveries. The heuristic approach and participatory stance that I employ in this study is complimented by these experiences as well as selected material of data collected within this program. 

Favourite SSC Memory: My highlight experiences of St. Stephen's have been in classes that hold space for a personal and spiritual connection with both the subject matter, and others present. My fellow students have characteristically shown a courage and openness in moving into this kind of sacred space together, which has been deeply inspiring. In particular, a class on Expressive Nature Therapies, hosted beautifully by Dr. Madeline Rugh, stands out to me, as our intentionally slowed student engagement with the natural beings around us set the tone for caring, respect and wonder within the classroom interactions. This class paved the way for the research interests of my thesis, and with Dr. Madeline Rugh as its supervisor, my research exploration unfolded with the same temperature of respect, honour and reciprocity. I am deeply grateful for these experiences.

 

photo-shandroMegan Shandro

Having worked in the social sector for the past two decades, I have developed an appreciation for the depth and resilience of the human spirit. As a person of great faith, I have been influenced by various spiritual practices and teachings. It has been a great privilege to have been able to further my education in the field of psychotherapy and spirituality The MPS program at St. Stephen’s College has allowed me to consider spirituality as part of my vocation.

Capstone Title: A.C.O.R.N. PROJECT: A Project Supporting Children Navigating Ambiguous Childhood Loss & Disenfranchised Grief

Capstone Abstract: The A.C.O.R.N. Project focuses on the topic of ambiguous childhood loss and disenfranchised grief. More specifically, grief related to the ambiguous loss or separation of a parent or primary caregiver as a result of family separation, parental illness, addiction, incarceration, child welfare involvement or other types of ambiguous loss. The project provides a rationale and highlights the gaps in the literature surrounding ambiguous loss and supports for children and their families. As a result, the research incorporates best practices for working with children, integrating constructivist theory, attachment theory, general grief theory and hope theory. Taking into account developmental stages, cultural sensitivities and ethical principles, this project sets a framework for interaction with children and families in a group setting. An eight-session program for children and their families is outlined, including specific therapeutic interventions, goals and guidelines. The project reflects best practices for working with children by integrating Narrative Therapy and Art-based therapy. This project is based upon academic research and informed by both my own personal and professional experiences, having worked with children and families over the past two decades.

Favourite SSC Memory: Many favorite memories include connecting with my peers and getting to know their stories over the five years I spent completing my program. I will carry with me many fond memories from my time on campus. Having grown up in rural Alberta, making the trip to Edmonton to attend courses always felt like I was returning to my roots. Being on the U of A campus again brought about many full circle moments, as I graduated with a BSc in Human Ecology from U of A in 2005.

Future Ambitions: I plan to continue my work as counsellor, working with children, families and individuals in the small community in which I live. My current approach is rooted in Narrative Therapy, however, I hope to pursue additional training in various body-centered psychotherapy modalities. I intend to register with the BCACC as a Registered Clinical Counsellor and have the option of opening my own private practice in the future. In the meantime, I strive to find balance between my work, family life and free time.

 


Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality (art therapy specialization)

 

photo-mapstoneTianna Mapstone

I am located in Treaty 6 territory of Edmonton, Alberta, Amiskwacîwâskahikan. I have spent the majority of my career thus far working in the child protection field supporting families and children. I am particularly interested in the impact of trauma on development, identity, and attachment relationships, as well as facilitating healing using both art and somatic interventions. I’m also interested in existential and narrative perspectives and in the ways Art Therapy can be used to support healing from trauma and the re-development of identity after individuals have experienced trauma or abuse.

Capstone Title: Building Bridges and Growing Wings: An Art Psychotherapy Group for Women who have Experienced Intimate Partner Violence

Capstone Abstract: Intimate partner Violence (IPV) is a pervasive social problem, which despite impacting all demographics and socio-economic strata, remains overwhelmingly a gendered issue, predominantly victimizing women and perpetrated by men. And while there is significant research devoted to supporting women to leave abusive relationships, the full process of healing from intimate partner violence (IPV) is often glossed over in academic literature. Social service agencies frequently consider women who have been abused to be healed once they have successfully escaped the abuse. However, the effects of IPV can be insidious and long lasting, impacting health, altering identity, decision-making, parenting capacity, and how individuals navigate their lives. This paper explores identity as an integral part of the healing process by examining literature on the experience and shift from victim to survivor identities and their roles in healing from abuse. This paper will then discuss the cultivation of an identity that is less tied to abuse--an identity of thriving--and its subsequent benefits for wellbeing. Using an eclectic approach, integrating IPV research with concepts from art therapy, attachment theory, trauma-informed practice, feminist psychology, existential psychology, and narrative therapy, this project culminates in a comprehensive group art therapy program manual to support women who have experienced abuse to re-author their identities and improve wellness. The goal of this group is to fill in a gap in professional services by interweaving traditional psycho-education and support for this population with art therapy experiences that deepen the process of identity recovery and re-creation. Included is a discussion regarding next steps for this work, including expanding this intervention to other gender populations who have experienced IPV. The final part of this paper will be an exploration and reflection of the learning experience and capstone process at St. Stephen’s College.

Favourite SSC Memory: Many times in the classroom and art studio a safe learning space was created for creative exploration and it enriched the depth of both personal process and academic learning. 

Future Ambitions: My hope is to begin private practice work, but also continue to work with underserved populations in some capacity. I intend to increase my knowledge and capacity in trauma-informed therapy interventions, looking towards EMDR, and Hakomi training in the future. My hope is to be able to run the group that I designed for my Capstone, supporting women and others to heal from intimate partner violence and develop new and more whole identities after abuse.

 


Master of Theological Studies (Spirituality Specialization)

 

photo-inglisStephen Inglis

Stephen’s academic pursuits are as eclectic as they are practical. Knowledge is never just for the sake of itself in isolation, but to be directed into action in the world. Travel, trades, Yoga, martial arts, philosophy and theology have all been aimed at the self and through the self to kinship or communion with others. This may unfold in many ways, sometimes through conflict, but in the best case it flowers into connection with community in the most expansive and inclusive sense. Stephen’s professional life has been rather broad, seeking and gathering diversity as the order of service. As a result, human service to those most marginalized and vulnerable is the professional milieu where he has found himself most at home over the last many years. If he had a single profession or academic identity it would be as an adventurer, and sometimes as a guide.

Thesis Title: Union and Communion: A Heuristic Inquiry into the Practice of Presence and the Experience of the Holy

Thesis Abstract: This thesis explored how the practice of presence has impacted the experience of the Holy. As a heuristic process, the scope of the research was limited to the person of the researcher. This included all aspects of life for the researcher as all dimensions of human experience are available to different degrees of presence, just as the Holy may be revealed through any dimension of experience. The primary method of practicing presence took place through the practice of Yoga. The traditional Yoga practice of eight limbs was focused through a heuristic research method involving six stages, which brought familiar academic form to the process and structured the exposition of the findings. Practicing presence was significant in the recognition of personal barriers and transforming the vision of the practitioner. Presence was required to discern between what was transient and personal from what was enduring and transpersonal. This exploration revealed a deep relational nature to the experience of the Holy. Difference, separation, otherness, and the idea of the wholly other as a conception of the Holy emerged as the dimensional fields for relationship. Relationship in all dimensions of being—physical, psychological, emotional, social, political, and spiritual—bridge the separation between our lived experience in nature and the dimensions of deeper ontological meaning. The specific content of the experience of the Holy remains nevertheless illusive, as it may be manifest only to understanding through the transient terms of human experience. We remain only singular participants in the relationship with what transcends our limitations or separations.

Favourite SSC Memory: Nervously smoking cigarettes with Norbert on the steps of the college at the MTS intake collegium, awaiting interviews with apprehension, having no idea where they would lead. They led to sunny lunches in the lounge with fellow students sharing ideas in the noon pause of intensive week-long courses.

Future Ambitions: To keep finding ways to continue learning and growing while cultivating an open mind and a light heart.

 


Graduate Certificate in Spiritually-Informed Psychotherapy

 

ssc-logo.jpg
Corinna Centeno


 

 

 

 

photo-kuechler
Willis Kuechler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ssc-logo.jpg
Carey Mastre

 

 

 

 

 


Graduate Certificate in Spiritually-Informed Creative Arts

 

ssc-logo.jpg
Carey Mastre