Marie is passionate about her work, and believes that her years of life experience and training in models of evidence-based therapies have fine-tuned her ability to help clients achieve both their individual and relationship goals in a lasting way.
“Each meeting, our time with Marie was well spent and we quickly dived to the heart of matters between myself and my partner. We were having communication issues and we learned some good personal discipline strategies and were even supplied with various communication materials. Our relationship is now stronger than ever and we base this on the work we have done within our sessions with Marie. We are very satisfied that so much was accomplished, and in just a few sessions. I would recommend Marie O’Neill to anyone experiencing similar relationship issues.”
“With Marie’s facilitation and guidance communication between my husband and myself has improved immensely. Prior to starting therapy we were both unhappy in our marriage and not very effective at listening to each other, but we have since learned how to better communicate with each other. Our marriage has been strengthened significantly with Marie’s assistance.”
M.S.W., REGISTERED CLINICAL COUNSELLOR
am a Registered Clinical Counsellor holding an undergraduate degree (Faculty Scholar Distinction) in Clinical Social Work from McGill University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of British Columbia.
Having witnessed many separations and divorces personally and professionally that were often devastating for adults and even more painful for the children, I began my Graduate Work with three goals; One, I was determined to research and develop a model of Divorce Mediation that could be kinder and more healing for all involved than the adversarial court system could be. My second goal was to educate parents about the emotional tasks that both they and their children were facing and how to move through them in a healthy way. My third goal was to teach parents effective and compassionate communication skills to aid them in the transition from married couple to their new co-parenting roles.
I vividly recall the first time that a parent remarked, during the divorce mediation process, that if she and her husband could have learned to communicate the way they were learning in mediation, they may not be divorced. I was certain that this would be a lone comment however just the opposite happened. Time and time again, couples in the mediation process expressed regret that they hadn’t sought professional help with their marriages sooner. I began to question that my energy might be more productively spent helping couples repair injured marriages—and not only just stay married, but experience far more intimacy and satisfaction in their marriages. This led me to shift the focus of my work from Divorce Mediation to Relationship counselling.
After years of working with couples, I’ve learned that relationships provide the greatest capacity to learn about ourselves and heal new and old emotional injuries. In doing this relationship work, a person has the potential to become happier, experience more intimacy in their couple relationship, and have a more positive emotional influence on their children, their work environment, and the world. It is my experience that even if the counselling ends in separation that it is a healthier separation than it could have been without counselling.
Today, I work to help couples through any crisis in their marriage and not only survive, but finish therapy feeling that both their personal life and their marital relationship are enriched. This creates an atmosphere in the home where children can thrive and learn, by observing their parents, how to be in nourishing, respectful and mutually fulfilling relationships.
In my work, I utilize The Emotionally Focused Model of Couples Therapy developed by Dr. Sue Johnson: statistics suggest that 50% of couples have recovered upon the termination of therapy, 70 % have recovered within three months of therapy and, two years later, these couples were still maintaining their improved relationship. I also draw from the Bader/Pearson Developmental Model of Couples Therapy, which mobilizes attachment theory and insights from neuroscience to facilitate the growth that is needed to have a thriving personal and relational life. I have also studied the Imago Relationship Model and the Integrated Body Psychotherapy Model. Further, my training and experience in mediation and conflict resolution is often very useful to couples in improving their negotiation skills with each other to resolve conflicts.
When working with a couple, I draw from whichever model of therapy I feel will best help them.
I believe that the biggest mistake a couple can make is procrastinating about getting help for their relationship. The longer a couple delays getting counselling, the more entrenched the negative patterns of interaction become and the likelihood of separation and divorce will be.
I am passionate about helping couples not only in resolving conflict and improving communication, but to discover themselves more deeply and connect with their partners in a more meaningful way.