cropped_edited_IMG_7857Pardeep Atwal, CCC, RCC, holds a Master’s degree from the City University of Seattle in Vancouver, BC. She also has a BSc from the University of British Columbia. Pardeep continues her professional development and has recently acquired further trauma training acquiring her EMDR certificate and Sensory Motor Affect Regulation certificate. She is determined and dedicated to furthering her knowledge and understanding of psychological sciences through research.

Early on in my studies when I was interning in the mental health field while working with children and youth, I came across clients who showed anxiety like symptoms and or dissociative symptoms that could be traced back to a traumatic incident in their childhood.  A CBT approach at that time was recommended, yet I found that focusing just on the anxiety was similar to a Band-Aid solution.  I had great difficulty finding effective interventions in helping clients who exhibit anxiety like symptoms proceeding after a traumatic incident. This is when I decided to make this my thesis research topic. The purpose of my thesis is to establish a best practices protocol for counsellors working with traumatized youth (2-18 years of age) who are presenting hyperarousal and or dissociative related symptoms and or related disorders.  My thesis titled, Neurobiological Guided Practices for Therapeutic Work with Childhood Trauma, has been published and is available on From the findings of my thesis research I have realized the importance of trauma informed practice. I have acquired certificate in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Level 1 and Sensory Motor Affect Regulation Level 1 both of which are trauma training meant to facilitate the processing out of trauma.

The following is a link to my published thesis:

Formal Counselling Education:

  1. Master’s in Counselling Psychology
  2. Trauma Training
    • A) Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Certificate
      EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a well-researched therapy used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and physical symptoms. It has also been effectively used to decrease the impact of traumatic events, past or present, such as motor vehicle accidents, personal injury or natural disasters. Victims of historical abuse have also reported significant benefits from EMDR treatment. Practitioners of EMDR must complete a standardized certification course, which is internationally regulated, followed by supervised practice and regular professional development.
    • B) Sensory Motor Affect Regulation Certificate
      Traditional psychotherapy addresses the cognitive and emotional elements of trauma and early attachment issues but lacks techniques that work directly with the physiological elements. Research shows that trauma and early attachment profoundly affects the body and that many symptoms of afflicted individuals are somatically driven.
      Sensorimotor Psychotherapy℠ builds upon traditional psychotherapeutic techniques and principles, but approaches the body as central in the therapeutic field of awareness, and includes observational skills, theories, and interventions not usually practiced in psychodynamic psychotherapy. Theoretical principles and treatment approaches from both the mental health and body psychotherapy traditions are integrated in this approach.
      Sensorimotor Psychotherapy℠ draws from body-oriented psychotherapy methodology pioneered by Ron Kurtz (Kurtz, 1990) as a foundation for therapeutic skills and incorporates theory and technique from psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, neuroscience, and the theories of attachment and dissociation.
    • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy Certificate – Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a therapy designed to help people suffering from personality disorders. It has also been used to treat mood disorders as well as those who need to change patterns of behavior that are not helpful, such as self-harm, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse. This approach works towards helping people increase their emotional and cognitive regulation by learning about the triggers that lead to reactive states and helping to assess which coping skills to apply in the sequence of events, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to help avoid undesired reactions. DBT assumes that people are doing their best but lack the skills needed to succeed, or are influenced by positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement that interferes with their ability to function appropriately.
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Certificate – Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psycho-social intervention that is the most widely used evidence-based practice for improving mental health. Guided by empirical research, CBT focuses on the development of personal coping strategies that target solving current problems and changing unhelpful patterns in cognitions (e.g. thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes), behaviors, and emotional regulation. It was originally designed to treat depression, and is now used for a number of mental health conditions.
    • Emotional Focused Family Therapy – Part of the Emotion-Focused Therapy “family” and rooted in a deep and unwavering belief in the healing power of families, the essence of EFFT is to afford caregivers a significant role in their loved one’s mental health and well-being. The therapist’s role would then be to empower and support caregivers in mastering the skills, tasks, and, yes, the feelings involved in four main domains:
      • 1) Becoming their loved one’s behavior coach, that is, assisting their loved one – regardless of age – in the interruption of symptoms and maladaptive behaviors (anxiety, depression, an eating disorder, etc.) as well as in the transition from stressful life events (a divorce, diagnosis of a learning disability; placement into foster care, etc.);
      • 2) Becoming their loved one’s emotion coach, that is supporting their loved one to approach, process and manage stress, emotions and emotional pain, making symptoms unnecessary to cope;
      • 3) Facilitating relationship repair and healing possible wounds from the child and family’s past in order to help loved ones to let go of the weight of old injuries, and
      • 4) Working through and resolving the fears and obstacles that surface in the caregiver during this challenging and novel journey.
      • This last step is necessary when these fears and obstacles interfere with the parent or caregiver’s ability to be effective in their efforts. For example, some parents are afraid that engaging their child in the tasks of recovery and coping will lead the child to feel depressed or suicidal, leaving the parents paralyzed with fear & thus stuck in an impossible bind. There are many other emotion blocks that can surface throughout the family’s journey. For example, parents may sometimes feel resentful that their child continues to struggle and this resentment can influence their helping behaviors. Other parents may feel helpless and without skills and thus find themselves relying on controlling or punitive techniques to motivate behavior change. For details on each of these steps, click here.
      • Parents and caregivers can learn these skills and take on these roles regardless of their child’s level of motivation or involvement in formal treatment. EFFT is a lifespan approach that can be delivered with individuals only, parents and caregivers only, and with families.
      • In some cases, individuals are not able to have their parents or caregivers involved. It is possible to achieve many of the same goals with individuals using Emotion-Focused Therapy, although family involvement is the goal whenever possible.
    • Motivational Interviewing Certificate – Motivational interviewing (MI) is a method that works on facilitating and engaging intrinsic motivation within the client in order to change behavior. MI is a goal-oriented, client-centered counselling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. Compared with non-directive counseling, it’s more focused and goal-directed. The examination and resolution of ambivalence is a central purpose, and the counsellor is intentionally directive in pursuing this goal.

Professional Affiliations:
Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) with the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC),
Certified Clinical Counsellor (CCC) registered with the Canadian Clinical and Psychotherapy Association (C.C.P.A.)