A Conversation with Olivia Blander
Olivia Blander, with Lynn Valley Counselling since June of this year, holds a Master of Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. Olivia has experience as a professional musician, and offers a unique perspective for clients struggling with a variety of performance-related issues. Apart from her passion for helping, Olivia loves spending time with her brilliant nephews and her dog Roo. She also enjoys baking, travelling, gardening and watching baseball.
1. What licenses and certifications do you have?
I am certified by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.
2. How long have you been in counselling practice?
I have been counselling since January 2022 and I joined LVC in June of 2023. Prior to obtaining my master’s degree in counselling psychology, I taught budding musicians of all ages, and I was a cellist in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for 21 years. I continue to perform when I can, so you might spot me on stage one day!
3. What areas interest you the most in your practice?
Many areas interest me, including working with clients who are experiencing the effects of past trauma, those who are navigating life transitions, as well as clients who are seeking growth and simply wanting to discover more about themselves.
Because of my background in competitive environments and my own personal struggles with perfectionism and anxiety, I find it very rewarding to support clients who are seeking a healthier relationship with their self-critic.
4. How do you see your role as a counsellor? What is your approach?
I do see my role as that of a supportive guide, and my approach can vary quite a bit depending on my client’s concerns and goals. I’ve had the privilege to witness many clients drawing from their own innate wisdom and strengths to find new perspectives and new experiences. Our brains change as we do things differently, and so my aim is to help create opportunities for these shifts to take place. Though I think my approach is generally less directive, I’m very happy to share ideas and strategies when my client is looking for concrete tools to apply in their life.
5. What should I expect when working with you?
I think you will find that I am an empathetic and non-judgmental listener, that I am here to provide you with support in the ways you need, and ultimately help empower you to support and listen to yourself.
In early sessions, I will ask about your goals for our work together, but I also acknowledge that the word ‘goal’ might not always feel right. I will be keeping your stated expectations or goals in mind but my intention is also to be flexible and allow things to evolve naturally; I find that tangents can lead to great insights!
Together we might learn mindfulness and/or self-compassion practices, or tools from ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) of IFS (Internal family systems), depending on your interests. Many clients also find it relevant and helpful to learn more about the workings of the brain – I really enjoy helping my clients to understand their experience in this way.
If you’re facing high-pressure situations and competitive environments, reach out to Olivia for a complimentary 20-minute session to explore her approach and understand how she can support you.