Counsellor offers Spiritual Solution

We recently posted this article on our Facebook page and got a really good responce from it, so thought we’d share it on our blog.

The Use of music helps clients tell their stories.

THROUGH all of Ruta Yawney’s life, music has been her anchor and way of finding peace.

After working for many years as a music therapist, she decided to go back to school to receive a masters in counselling psychology.

“Now I combine the verbal psychotherapy with the music,” she says. “It’s a very powerful combination.”

Registered clinical counsellor Ruta Yawney conducts a guided imagery and music session with a client. Photograph by: photo Robert Semeniuk, for North Shore News.
Registered clinical counsellor Ruta Yawney conducts a guided imagery and music session with a client. Photograph by: photo Robert Semeniuk, for North Shore News.

A Bowen Island resident, Yawney, 49, has been working as a registered clinical counsellor in private practice in West Vancouver since fall 2011. She offers counselling and provides psychotherapy to teenagers and adults who are experiencing anxiety and stress from life transitions, including addiction, eating disorders, chronic illness, grief and loss, trauma and depression.

“I’ve even had retired people that are having a hard time transitioning into retirement,” she says. “They experience a lack of purpose in their life and a lack of meaning.”

Whenever possible, Yawney employs the method of guided imagery and music.

“It’s one of the tools in my tool box, but it’s not the only tool that I use in my counselling practice,” she says. “It’s just wherever I can, I still use the music.”

Guided imagery and music, created by Helen Bonny, is a self-exploration and helps bring people to their “heart’s centre,” explains Yawney.

“When they experience the music, they actually have access to the unconscious part of themselves,” she says. “When they are in that space, it facilitates insight for them. What happens is, they get out of their heads, they get into their hearts and they start feeling more creative about themselves. They can see the potential of them creating a new way of being.”

A session begins with a talk followed by a relaxation exercise. The music (from the Western classical tradition) is turned on and it’s combined with a psychotherapy discussion. The goal is for clients to have a visceral experience and access their imagination. “It helps them tell their stories,” says Yawney.

After the session, clients are encouraged to draw something representative of what just occurred.

“You have the felt experience and then you have the visual,” she says.

Clients also receive a transcript of what they said when the music was playing. Each session lasts for approximately an hour and 15 minutes.

It’s an honour to witness clients telling their stories through music, says Yawney, adding she has found the approach to have yielded positive results for many. “I have addicts that are in remission because they have gone far enough to self-transform themselves because of the insights they gained from telling their stories,” she says.

Yawney also conducts group work and is planning to launch a local bereavement through guided imagery and music group in the coming weeks. Those interested in finding out more, can contact her at ruta@rutayawney. com or 604-928-0883. Info:


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