Welcome. I appreciate your time and courage for landing here today. My name is Wendy, 馬凱怡, and my pronouns are she/her. I am a second-generation Chinese-Canadian, born in “Vancouver”, but raised in a family that immigrated from Taishan (台山), Guangdong. I am an extraverted, curious, cisgender, able-bodied, fellow human.
My passion lies in advocating for marginalized communities impacted by systemic oppression. My heart pulls me towards work surrounding the asian diaspora, and with bicultural clients experiencing mental health challenges due to racism, cultural grief, intergenerational trauma, and/or minority stress. My lived experience has allowed me to empathize with the complexities of balancing personal needs alongside collective needs. I also recognize some of us have learned to stay silent in order to protect ourselves and others. I hope to empower clients to reclaim their heritage; to learn that they no longer have to negotiate their culture and values, that they have permission to take up space and live authentically, and that being strong can also mean embracing softness.
I view life as a collection of stories that have made us become the person we are. Our stories are shaped by the relationships we have with other people and the world. As humans, we are meaning-makers and storytellers – every day, we’re either sharing, creating, re-experiencing, or rewriting our stories. We’re collectively unique because we can experience the exact same situation in a number of different ways. We construct reality for ourselves and I believe there’s no right or wrong way of experiencing this.
As a counsellor, my role would be to understand your unique reality, and identify what is working and no longer working for you. My intention is not to tell you what you need to change, but to guide you to remember the values behind your way of being. Together, we will foster curiosity and compassion to explore your inner beliefs and strengths, and increase your connection with yourself. Although we can’t change our history, we can change our relationship with it. We can take action in the present and I will walk alongside you to support you in your healing journey.
I don’t believe that one size fits all. People are unique in their personalities, values, and experiences, and that is why I take a person-centred approach. I work collaboratively with my clients because I know that humans are incredibly resilient, and that before each person has entered my office, they’ve already come far in life, carrying inner wisdom and resources. My role as a therapist would be to add to that – to make adjustments in their coping skills by enhancing their self-awareness and nurturing their way of healthy emotional expression. Using a trauma-informed approach, I invite clients to explore hidden memories, unconscious assumptions, and automatic bodily reactions. From an attachment-based lens, I also believe the largest factors to success in therapy is trust and connection between the therapist and client. At any time, I welcome clients to seek another therapist that may be a better fit. Being authentic and transparent about your thoughts and expectations in counselling is crucial to receiving the best support possible.
For over 9 years, I have dedicated myself to a variety of people-oriented settings where I cultivated strong and meaningful connections. I have worked with the children’s hospice, kids with autism, crisis and suicide intervention with adults, care home support with seniors, and more. I am also a member of the Growth and Solidarity Lab at the University of Victoria, gathering research on intergenerational trauma and resilience and its impact on Chinese-Canadian families and their mental health. All my experiences have nurtured my abilities to foster a gentle, safe, healing space for clients.
Apart from listening to people’s stories, you’ll also find me scrambling on mountain peaks, playing ultimate frisbee, crying to kdramas, petting cats, sipping bubble tea, singing my heart out, baking goodies to share, and playing board games a little too competitively.
I am currently accepting clients both in-person in Vancouver and virtually. I can speak English, Cantonese, and Taishanese. My Canadian Certified Counsellor licence is currently being assessed by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. For insurance claims, my receipts currently show the licence information for Jennifer Hollinshead, the director of Peak Resilience. If you are receiving third party funding for counselling, please check with your insurance provider to see if you will be covered prior to booking with me.
Wendy’s informed consent form can be found here.