Dr. Miriam Pai-Spering

Pre-licensed Clinical Counsellor, supervised by Jennifer Hollinshead RCC 5106, CCC-S 5088

Dr. Miriam Pai-Spering is accepting new clients.

Miriam (she/her) holds a Master’s degree in psychology and a PhD in psychology and neuroscience. She has 25 years of experience working in university research, education and leadership and has taught, supervised, and supported hundreds of individuals during their careers.

Her counselling work is infused by scientific knowledge and embraces that we are all different and uniquely shaped by experience. She believes in humans’ great capacity for learning, transformation, and healing and is humbled by the opportunity to walk alongside her clients in collaborative pursuit of what works best for them. In her role as a therapist, she strives to enable her clients to build confidence and trust in their ability to meaningfully create their own life experience.

As an immigrant from Germany, and as a mother to three school-aged children, Miriam reflects often on the meanings of origin, identity, culture and land. She recognizes the lands we live, love, play and work on as a sacred entity from which we originate, and feels responsible for interrupting harm and continuous violence towards the lands, the Indigenous peoples and towards our own mind and body, which is also land.

Miriam’s focus is on evidence-based therapies that are person-centred and feminist & trauma informed. She recognizes the incredible value of emotions as an information processing system. She is able to adapt her approach to the needs of her clients. She can provide counselling in English and German. 

Miriam splits her time between academia and counselling and is in the process of completing her registration with the BCACC. Her counselling work is supervised by Jennifer Hollinshead. 

Miriam’s informed consent can be found here.

Miriam can be reached by email at miriam@drpaispering.com.

Miriam offers accessible counselling.

Disclaimer: Miriam does not currently accept clients who are undergraduate, graduate students or postdoctoral fellows at UBC due to a dual relationship conflict.

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

I chose psychology as a major in order to work as a psychotherapist, but then took a detour and ended up doing a PhD and working as a neuroscientist. Counselling is my second career and I feel that I have arrived! I bring to my counselling practice life and leadership experience, awareness of my own abilities and limitations, compassion and empathy, and a desire to use all my skills and abilities to care for and support my clients. I also bring my own vulnerability and genuine self, inviting my clients to share theirs.

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

I have always felt drawn to helping and supporting others and I can get very invested in their stories and journeys. I truly care. Marcus Aurelius is reported to have written “You cannot be a self without others”. In a counselling context, I am connected to my clients, I see myself in relation to them, and as their selves expand, so does mine.

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

I have struggled with anxiety and panic in key transition periods in my life – during pregnancy, postpartum, and the perimenopause. These emotional ups and downs have taken a toll on my marriage. At times, they took my sleep, my ability to think and remember, work, and take care of myself and others. They have made me question my identity and purpose. I have learned (with the help of wonderful therapists) to work through these episodes by acknowledging my negative feelings and by treating myself with compassion. Finding my own inner balance and confidence requires continuous work and it is not something I have “overcome” but rather, something I embrace now as a part of who I am.

What have you learned from your work?

As a neuroscientist, I marvel at the complexity of the human brain. I have spent decades in a research lab, using and developing methods and approaches to decipher how humans perceive, act and make sense of their world. Whereas we have made great strides toward a better understanding of the brain, neuroscience lacks an appreciation of individuality. My counselling work is grounded in scientific evidence but also embraces and celebrates individual differences and diversity. I am able to dive in deep, exploring all the granular layers of an experience, as well as help clients take a bird’s eye view.

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