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Shannon Kelly

MEd, Registered Clinical Counsellor #18946

What is a personal challenge that you have overcome in your own life?

In my mid-twenties, I was in a car accident that left me in chronic pain. I was no longer able to be physically active in the ways I had always taken for granted, and sitting for long periods at my office job and in social situations became unbearable. I started having trouble coping with everyday stresses and ended up becoming depressed. I went to countless hours of physio, chiro, and RMT, but I still wasn’t better and started losing hope that I would ever get back to my pre-accident self. I also struggled with motivating myself to follow through with my at-home exercises - which led to all sorts of self-criticism. After almost two years of mentally fighting my new reality, I finally sought counselling on the advice of my doctor. I had never even considered how much my mental attitude about the accident and what I had lost was impacting my healing. I still remember how impactful it was to learn through counselling that in addition to the physical pain I was in, my mental resistance to accepting my new situation was unnecessarily adding to my pain and making everything harder. This realization sounds simple, but it was honestly life changing. By finally accepting where I was and learning to nurture my body rather than fight with it, I felt so much more at peace with my life and myself. I also felt more empowered and motivated to keep working my way through recovery.

What is your favourite thing about working closely with people every day?

The magic that’s born out of truly authentic, vulnerable human connection. There’s nothing quite like feeling fully seen and accepted. Having been on the receiving end of such connection through my own therapy journey, it’s such a privilege to be able to co-create that same feeling with my clients. I learn so much from my clients and am constantly inspired by their courage to be vulnerable and try new ways of showing up in the world.

What have you learned from your work?

People are inherently good, and we’re all trying the best we can with our current level of awareness. With new awareness and the right conditions – love, acceptance, and maybe some new tools – healing and growth are always possible.

What experience or background do you bring to your counselling that is uniquely yours?

I moved around a lot growing up, splitting my time between various places with my mom in California and my dad in BC since I was four. My siblings and I switched back and forth between houses and countries as we chose, meaning sometimes I was one of four kids in the house and sometimes I felt like an only child. I got very used to being the new kid, which some years meant I was bullied and felt like an outsider, and some years meant I was accepted in with a group of friends. All the diverse experiences of my childhood have no doubt spurred my interest in people in general, and in helping others to feel valued and accepted, since I know how hard life can be when you’re not.