About Shivani Agarwal
I am a trauma-informed, Clinical Counsellor and Art Therapist, experienced in working with teens, youth and adults braving a range of mental health challenges.
I am specifically experienced in working with survivors of sexual assault and misconduct, and take a non-oppressive approach within session.
I was born in North India, raised in different parts of the country, and then went on to live in England and Canada. As a member of a very supportive family, I embraced my place as a ‘middle child’ - one of 4 siblings, which had its own joys and challenges. I also began attending boarding school at the age of 10 where a push for independence came early. Since then, I have been a student and a professional for most of my life, allowing my curiosity to take me from place to place. Time and again, I found myself preparing to take huge leaps of faith in the unknown- whether it is was upon starting a new life in a new place, a new relationship, a new social circle or a new role. Transitioning postcodes, brought transitioning relationships and the stress of complicated ‘immigrant statuses’. It brought some incredible wins, but also some sad losses.
Changes can be exciting, but not always easy. Sometimes, changes can be scary and take us to vulnerable places, by triggering past trauma. Sometimes changes, when unwanted, also force us to reconsider our own take on life. I found Counselling and Art Therapy along my way, and it has helped me immensely in changing the way I tell my own story – to myself.
Here’s what you can expect while working with me:
I will ask you questions. Sometime these questions might not have answers. That is okay.
I will help you highlight your strengths, confidence, and self-esteem - to yourself.
I will help you plan the best way of achieving your goals.
I will let you tell your own story and I will believe what you say.
Registered Clinical Counsellor (BCACC), Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCPA),
Vice President of the BC Art Therapy Association. (BCATA)
I work with Narrative Therapy and blend it with Art Therapy to help you have sensitive conversations and overcome challenges creatively.
Talk in Therapy
"As we become aware of ourselves as storytellers we realize we can use our stories to heal and make ourselves whole." – Susan Wittig Albert
Narrative Therapists views people as separate from their problems. This approach allows people to see if their issues are helping or protecting them, more than they are hurting them. With a possible new perspective, people often feel more empowered to make changes in their thought patterns and behavior and “rewrite” their life story for a future that reflects who they are, what they are capable of, and what their purpose is, separate from their problems.
As a Narrative Therapist, I align with “the problem is the problem, the person is not the problem” (Michael White and David Epston). I believe that with every question I ask you, I am creating a possible version of your story – the one you are the expert on. I am sensitive of intersectionality and its delicate but empowering mix when counselling you as a part of your unique culture. I hold an affirming, inclusive, non-pathologizing, culturally-safe, humility-focused and harm-reduction lens in my practice.
I also borrow from other approaches like Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Humanistic Therapy and Existential Therapy.
I have a background in film, digital art, drama, and speech. This is why you will spot a creative inclination in the work that we do together. This is also how I can help you engage with the ever-present influence of digital and social media in ways that best support your mental health and life goals.
Art in Therapy
My clients find that working with art along with talk therapy within sessions has worked effortlessly well especially with learning challenges, trauma recovery, stress, anxiety, grief, transitioning relationships, developmental delays, autism, addiction, eating disorders, to name a few. I have personally found that with art therapy, even people with the most awkward hide-and-seek relationships with their mental health make consistent progress, despite the resistance. The best part is - you don’t have to be an artist. Having said that, you will not find art interventions in all our sessions– it depends on the natural course of therapy. I understand that art materials can be intimidating – and you will find no looming pressure to engage.
Education & Training
Master of Counselling Psychology & Art Therapy, Adler University
Narrative Therapy training, The Dulwich Centre
Bader-Pearson Developmental Model of Couples Therapy, Couples Institute Cert. trainer, Sue Diamond.
Indigenous Cultural Safety Core Mental Health Training, Provincial Health Services Authority BC
Transgender Inclusion 101 Prism Services, Vancouver Coastal Health
Opioid Overdose Response Training, St John’s Ambulance
Safe TALK Suicide Prevention Training, Crisis Centre BC
Sexual Consent & Communication, Westland Academy of Clinical Sex Therapy
Parenting After Separation Certification, BC Justice Education Society
Couples Therapy training, Gottman Level 1
Outside of the role of a counsellor, I am an avid lover of dogs and dog memes, an experimental cook, and a film enthusiast.
Languages: English, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi
Initial Phone Consultation (20 min) Session - Free
Individual Counselling (50 min) Session - $140 (plus GST)
Individual Counselling (80 min) Session - $200 (plus GST)
Relationship Counselling (80 min) Session - $200 (plus GST)
Relationship Counselling (100 min) Session - $220 (plus GST)