Friday, November 6, 2009

Background & Education

Counselling is something that I have been called to do throughout my life. When the opportunity came to turn it into my career path I didn't need to ponder the point for very long. Being involved with women's and single parents groups over the years has served to hone several skills that every counsellor/healer needs: empathy, understanding, unconditional positive regard, sincerity, respect and a desire to help people help themselves.

Reiki came into my life by chance. I was required to choose a bodywork elective as part of the Langara College Holistic Health Practitioner course. The feedback from my first clients, along with my own experiences as a practitioner encouraged me and urged me on to attain the Reiki Master/Teacher Level, which has enabled me to pass on this ancient healing art to others.

I use the holistic approach to ensure that while one modality may be the primary answer to the central issue, all relevant aspects of the client's well-being are considered. Relaxing on the massage table, thereby easing mental and physical stress, can at times lead the person to talk; a tense and upset counselling client could benefit from some Reiki or massage beforehand; talking through issues could point to the client benefitting from bodywork to ease stress and anxiety. At times all three modalities can be used together to maximize the benefits to the client.
Counselling: the holistic approach ensures that the client is encouraged to look at more than just the emotional issues involved. On telling their story, many clients find that they are able to clarify their situations and are able to discover who they really are, and why, and how. My passion in counselling is with relationships, the desire to help couples enhance their togetherness, stop the rot rather than clean up the mess afterwards.


Feel free to stop by my Holistic Centre office to make an appointment!

#101 95 Eckhardt Avenue East
Penticton BC V2A 8L2

Or leave me a message on my private phone line!


*To ensure my clients privacy I am not always available to take your calls, so please leave me a message and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

You can also contact me through email:


I am passionate about helping people in their relating to others. Many relationships would be enhanced if people learned and used certain skills: assertiveness, stress relief, listening, reflection, empathy, and positive regard. We can change our view of the world, and also that of others. Many relationships would not founder if people used these skills in the course of their day, at work, with friends, family and those we meet every day or just once in passing. Wouldn't you like to have the tools to cope with the major issues in your life with hope and optimism?


I am particularly dedicated to helping couples stay together. While that may not always be possible, or even wise in some couples' cases, it is an important task to undertake. Marriages are breaking up at alarming rates, and many people later on regret their decision to divorce. People embark on subsequent marriages which can turn out to be unhappy and unhealthy. I acknowledge that it is the "sand in our shoes" that destroys relationships more than the boulders we fall over. It is not usually major life-shattering events that break up couples, but the small things that eat away at the fibre of the relationship until there is little or nothing left to salvage. I want to help people see clearly what is happening to their relationship, to turn it around and decide to make it as good as it can be. Some people may decide that they do not have what it takes to stay together, and I will help them to honour their feelings, to let go, and move on as peaceful and amicable as possible.


Many people are not prepared for the emotional and financial minefield of remarriage, and easily fall into despair when subsequent relationships fail. People need to explore what lies behind the choices they make, why they slow destructive patterns, how they can solve the problems that can be solved, and how to learn to live with what cannot be changed.

The Holistic Approach:

In many cases the presenting problem of the client is not the main issue. The first session with a new client will be an assessment session, when the client will be asked many questions about his/her life from birth to present day. Careful consideration and discussion of the client's information often leads to hidden issues, needs or a physical health problem. The person needs to be viewed as a whole person, not labeled by their ailment. Counselling with a holistic approach will ensure no aspect of the person's life is disregarded. If none of my skills appear to meet the person's needs, there are several practitioners to whom I can refer.

Loss and Grief:

You may know someone who was amazingly stoic through the illness and death of a loved one only to fall apart months or even years later. Many of us stuff down our feelings, to have them surface with a fury, causing much more pain and stress than the original event. Some people suffer ongoing ill-health, depression, pains and discomfort with no known cause. acknowledging your feelings, leaning into the pain, and letting yourself grieve could be the healthiest thing you could do.


Reiki is a "universal life force"

Reiki is an ancient technique for activating, restoring and balancing natural energy

Reiki is a safe, non-invasive modality

Reiki is a unique experience for each recipient

For many, Reiki is relaxing, refreshing, soothing, stress relief - For others, Reiki is a spiritual experience, a connection to the Divine, a healing process


Your Reiki session will be as individual as you are - each person brings their own needs, desires, emotions and memories. Therefore your Reiki session is very much your own experience, I am there to facilitate, but what you gain comes not from me but through me. I approach each client with an open mind and heart, and no expectations.

At the beginning of each session I ask the client to lie on the Reiki table and find their highest level of comfort. People usually remain fully clothed, removing only items such as shoes, belts, and jewellery. The light is dim, a fragrant candle is lit, and soft Reiki-inspired music is played. I ask the client to let the day fall away, don't consciously think about anything in particular, and breathe deeply. Float with the music.

In Reiki the practitioner's hands are placed on certain parts of the body, from head to feet, and the process usually takes about an hour. Longer or shorter time can be taken at the client's request, with no detriment to the results. A woman who fell in the street was upset and shaken - ten minutes of Reiki calmed her and she said she felt "wonderful".

Most people leave feeling relaxed, refreshed, and soothed. Others report clarity of mind for the rest of the day, a dispersement of stress, an easing of a particular pain, emotions coming to the surface to signify it is time to heal a difficult issue, a feeling of being pampered. For some, it is the only time they experience a caring touch.

*see Workshops link for Reiki Teaching

Relaxation Massage

Relaxation massage promotes so much more than just relaxation. It is similar to Reiki in that the recipient's comfort is important, the practitioner's presence and tough encourage the recipient to ease and de-stress, thereby allowing the body to let go of tension and anxiety, leading to deep relaxation and a sense of well-being.

You lie on the bodywork table, a candle burns with subtle aromatherapy, soothing music surrounds you. Sink into relaxation as you are massaged from toes to scalp. Do not be shy about asking for more or less pressure, or more time spent on a particular area - this is your treatment! At the end of the massage you will be encouraged to take a few minutes to rest, as any kind of bodywork can leave you feeling quite mellow and somewhat disoriented. There is no need to rush.

I use Holly oil, which is absorbed into the skin and leaves you feeling soft and supple. It is non-greasy and does not stain clothing, and there is no fragrance unless you have asked for an essential oil to be added.

Here are some comments from clients:

"Enhanced my senses"

"Christina is very respectful and conscientious of a person's comfort - Thanks!"


"I could stand this every day!"

"I was left with a sensation of lightness and floating- my body felt completely different from when I came in!"

"Very relaxing and attentive to patient's comfort, physically and emotionally. Christina is a very gentle healing person."



Men....don't you just love them?! Well, maybe not, if your experiences have not been positive. Fathers, ex-husbands, current lovers: you feel hurt, afraid, bewildered, or just pretty-damned mad. Those feelings turn into resentment, affecting your physical/mental/emotional health as well as subsequent relationships. (If you are at any stage of menopause, you know how everything can intensify!)

We'll look at forgiveness, for yourself and your men: the first step in releasing the past and its inherent resentment. We will also look at anger, letting go, self-esteem, little ways to beautify your surroundings, ways to think and be a little bit different. We will have ritual, exercise, fun - and bring some tissues because we also have laughter and tears. Whether or not you choose to love again, join with other women in letting go, looking forward to renewed energy for life, and learn to cherish that beautiful, unique woman that is You! This three-hour workshop is offered to any group of women. A workbook is included, which sets out a ninety-day plan for enhancing your life, dealing with your issues, and having some fun. Each woman is invited to bring something for a Healing Altar.

Couples in Harmony

I am passionate about harmonizing relationships, and designed this programme with the intention of meeting several needs. You may have a good marriage and want to make it great; you may need to communicate with your partner but can't figure out how; you may be yawning through your relationship and want to turn it around before it's too late; or you may be drawing up a wedding plan which includes a relationship-oriented programme. This six-week course is ideal for you!

The course will run for six weeks, and each session will be for two hours on a chosen evening. It will be stressed to participants that we are all teachers, discussion is encouraged, and everyone's feelings, emotions and opinions are honoured. There will be handouts, but group time will be discussion-oriented, as I believe that group dynamics are very powerful. Homework: your assignments are private and not to be shared in class (unless participants wish to do so).

We will look at essential traits of couples who thrive, discuss important issues such as boundaries, values, intimacy and commitment. What are your obstacles, what are your beliefs around marriage? Let's find out together.

We will look at communication - learn to listen, script your needs, express your feelings, discover how to problem-solve and negotiate. Are you defensive by nature, argumentative, controlling? Let's see what we can do to help you through these minefields.

Many couples drift along for years barely remembering how good it can be - others have forgotten completely and end up going their separate ways. Sometimes it can take just a shift in thinking to turn things around, or it can take lots of hard work and determination. Remember: Love is a decision, and one that you can make!

If this all sounds serious, then take heart. We will be looking at ways to put fun into your relationship, with some ideas hopefully coming for you to inspire your fellow participants. If there are couples planning weddings, we will ask the other participants to bring ideas and anecdotes to the final class. Each week we will have a break for juice and munchies, and some minute-breaks for stretching and relaxation techniques.

Courses will be on an on-going basis, and at the end couples will receive a certificate of participation. If you know of a couple who would benefit from this programme, I would be happy to arrange a gift certificate for them.

Lighting Fires

Weekend workshops for couples, with the emphasis on privacy and intimacy, based on Dr. Ellen Kreidman's highly successful Light Your Fire programme. (This is not for couples in crisis). You are already in the passionate, fun and exciting relationship that you always wanted - you just have to turn up the heat! Realize your potential and incrase the quality of your life together. Remember: romance is a decision!

Second Wife, Second Best?

Most women who take on the role of subsequent wife are unprepared for the emotional and financial minefield ahead. We look at issues such as dealing and coping with the first wife, adult step-children, your charter of rights as subsequent wife and step-mother. We explore your husband's issues: guilt, anger, grief, self-blame, self-worth. We ask and answer the questions about your feelings: resentment, jealousy, fear of failure, and doubts and concerns about the future. There will be a sharing circle for those who wish to share their stories, and what we hear will stay within the circle. Your privacy will be respected.

Remarriage - A Healing Gift?

Regretting, enduring, or considering marrying again? Second marriages break down at a faster rate and in greater numbers than first marriages. We explore what lies behind the choices people make, look at solving the problems that can be solved, and learning to live with what we cannot change. On the lighter side, we will look at Ten Good Reasons to be a second spouse! Come to this workshop alone or as a couple.

Reiki Workshops

Reiki Level I

The Reiki Level I class takes place over two days, usually a weekend, and involves much more than learning the hand placements and receiving the attunements. We will look at the skills of a healer, uses for Reiki, the benefits to the practitioner and receiver, some ideas for grounding and breathing, and how the hand placements relate to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the recipient. You will take turns with other students, giving and receiving, sharing and learning. If you choose to learn one-on-one, you may invite people to join us just for demonstration and practice - otherwise I do have a list of willing volunteers on whom to call.

After receiving the attunements at the end of the second day, you will be presented with a certificate. I recommend that you practice as much as possible before considering Level II. Many people who take Level 1 do so because they want to learn the technique and use it on family, friends, and - yes - animals. Your pet will love you for it! As will your weary spouse, your friend with the headache, your stressed sister...... It will be an enjoyable and positive experience!

Reiki Level II

This level also takes two days, and a certificate is given after the attunements. Level II focuses on the emotional aspects of healing, as well as distance healing. I recommend that the student be absolutely certain that he or she is ready for Level II before deciding to apply - only you know for sure if you are ready. Some teachers like to set a certain amount of time between levels, but I know students who have been ready within a short period of time, and others who have taken years, while there are others who decide that they will not go on.

We will review Level I, and as with that Level, we will invite volunteers on whom to work unless you wish to ask someone to offer themselves for the practical work. You will need to have someone who is at a distance on whom to do the first evening's homework - usually someone with a physical or emotional issue who has given permission for you to send distance healing.

Master/Teacher Level

This level is usually taught with only one student. If two or more people specifically request to be taught together (possibly because they plan to be partners in teaching), I do not have any objection, but personally feel it is of benefit to the student to learn one-on-one. Not every Level II students decides to go on to take the Master/Teacher Level. This is referred to by some teachers as Level II, while others split the designation. There are some teachers who have chosen to split Reiki learning into even more levels. The student will decide which teaching methods are suitable for him or her.

This level is taught over four and a half days. Days One, Two and Three cover the three levels and how to teach them, one each day. Day Four reviews the entire process. Each day has time for questions from the student, meditation, exercise, grounding, breathing, ritual and breaks. The morning of Day Five opens with an elemental meditation, time for the student to ask any remaining questions, a full Reiki treatment for the student, the attunement, then presentation of the certificate and what I call "the Master's goodie basket" (filled with practitioners' essential items!).


While I generally teach in my room at the Holistic Centre, I am willing to travel to put on workshops. My first experience of teaching more than one student at a time came when a yoga teacher contacted me by e-mail and offered to provide accommodation and her yoga studio as teaching space if I would travel to her city to teach. She put up posters and notified all her students, and in exchange we came to a mutually satisfactory agreement regarding the fees payable by her and her husband. If this appeals to you, phone or e-mail with your proposal!

I encourage students to share their experiences, but also assure them that there is no expectation on them to do so. Each person's experience is unique; for some a treatment involves clearing a headache or easing stress, while for others it is deeply spiritual.

Before each Reiki workshop, I provide students with a letter which prepares them for the workshop experience. It's a good idea to wear comfortable clothes; bring water and simple nutritious food to "graze" on; anything you wish to share such as an exercise, poem, meditation, prayer, wisdom story; if you have some favourite soothing music, bring that along as well. There will be ideas for self-care, breathing exercises, meditation, music, movement, stories, and some fun!

Other Services

Shiatsu Face Lift
Focuses on improving facial appearances and enhancing Ki. It also improves ones physical and emotional balance. Clients feel and notice a difference.

Life force is restored and harmonized, helping to prevent ageing and facial disharmonies. You lie comfortably on a bodywork table during the treatment, which consists of several beneficial techniques, including stroking and circular motion, working from the throat to the forehead. Some clients fall asleep, others take the time to enjoy the relaxing and pampering experience. Gentle holly oil is used - this is a non-greasy oil which does not have any fragrance, colour, or additives.

Benefits to the client: smoothes out lines and wrinkles; tightens and tones facial muscles; brightens eyes; helps achieve youthful radiance instead of dull-looking skin; improves facial colour; may take years off client's face!

If you would like to learn this wonderful modality, I highly recommend my teacher, Harold Siebert. You may call Harold @ 1.866.796.8582, email, or drop him a line to Zen Shiatsu School, Box 791, Harrison Hot Springs, BC, V0M 1K0

Aqua Chi
The Aqua Chi Footbath was the first of its kind in North America, and since 2000 it has been used in spas, salons, and by health care practitioners all over the world.

What's it like? Well, a treatment takes about half-an-hour, during which time you sit comfortably with your feet in the footbath, enjoy soothing music, and some herbal or fruit tea. Afterwards your feet will be rinsed and smoothed with fragrant lotion or oil(try refreshing peppermint or soothing aloe). You may then go about your day, or choose to move on to a Reiki treatment or relaxation massage. Some practitioners maintain that having an Aqua Chi session before another modality enhances the entire experience.

The negative ions created during a session are similar to those found in hot springs, as well as other naturally charged water sources known to be beneficial to the body. The energized water helps to re-balance the body's energy meridians by permeating and re-aligning the body's energy field. many of the health benefits can be attributed to the re-balancing of these energy meridians. Some of the best results reported have included helping in the detoxification process, reducing inflammation and recovery time, improving liver, kidney and colon functions, as well as improving sleeping patterns.

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