Owner and operator of WestCoast Vitality, Rebekkah Stainton, is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with extensive experience working with a diverse client base who are struggling with a variety of issues including Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Trauma, Relationship Conflict, and Sexuality. Rebekkah has a background in a variety of therapeutic styles both cognitive and expressive.
You make such a difference in the lives of the people you work with, what drew you to your field?
I have always been a driven person and planned to be a lawyer when I was growing up. It was a complete shock that after I took my LSAT I felt that my “life plan” no longer fit me. It was overwhelming because I had never given any thought to a Plan B. Despite the anxiety that it brought up, I leaned into listening to my heart, stopped following the predetermined path, and looked for what did feel right.
I was drawn to listening to the stories of others, understanding where they are coming from and helping empower them to bring out the best from within themselves. After spending some time working in an intake center for people trying to connect with a counsellor, I knew I had found my passion.
World Hello Day is about communication for peace and a major part of that is communication with self – when you leave work, what do you do to take care of your own mind and self?
Taking care of myself is essential in order to have the capacity to hold space for others. After work, it is important for me to disconnect in a quiet space with low lighting, soft music and simply allow myself to be present with any of the emotions that my day brings up.
I also realize that having boundaries around my time and energy matters. Saying no to overcommitting myself and protecting my recharging time is a work in progress but I believe this is a crucial component of taking care of my mind and self.
Is there an obstacle that you faced that in your career or life that helped you in the long run?
Too many to count! Every obstacle provides an opportunity for learning, whether that’s learning what you are willing to let into your life, what you value, or what you would like to do differently. We don’t fail, we either succeed or we grow.
What do you recommend to your clients to show up for themselves in a kind and healthy way?
Be compassionate with yourself. We are so much harder on ourselves than we are with anyone else in our world. When you catch yourself being inwardly critical, imagine what it would be like to say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. If you wouldn’t say that to them, why is it ok to say it to yourself?
In your work, you’re exposed to so much of people’s innermost thoughts. How have you seen your work and the power of communication for transforming someone’s life?
It is amazing what happens when people listen to each other to hear rather than respond, when we get curious about another’s experience, when someone feels seen and accepted for who they are. In my work, I am fortunate to witness this every day.
One of the most impactful moments in my work as a counsellor happened when a got a phone call out of the blue one day from an old client. It had been years since I had worked with them and at the time, they had experienced significant trauma in their young lives and were struggling with addiction. They suddenly stopped coming in and were not responding to any of my attempts to reconnect. It was heartbreaking at the time to feel as though I hadn’t been able to reach them.
Years later they tracked me down to tell me that they were now in rehab and it was because they could hear my voice in their head saying they are worth it. How incredibly humbling to realize the power of communication to transform a life.
How are you recognizing World Hello Day?