Marilyn Sundeen Counselling
Marilyn Sundeen Counselling
Offering assistance & connection in the Westshore area

Become more of who you really are


Are you tired of struggling with the same issues over and over again?

Is there a crisis or loss that is causing you distress?

Are there difficulties with your relationships that you cannot seem to solve?

These are some of the questions I have assisted clients with in the past.

Everyone can find life challenging – and I do mean everyone.  If you are considering seeing a counsellor, it can be difficult to make that kind of commitment.

After reading about my counselling services and my latest blog posts, I hope you will agree that self-care is not a luxury. It is essential.

What you seek is also seeking you.
— Rumi


Description of Services

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Talk Therapy

I offer to form a partnership with you. Together we can work toward new solutions to get you where you want to go. I have been trained in and use a variety of approaches to look at your concerns. I may invite you to try a fresh perspective on an old issue.

Generally, I try to look underneath the issue and explore some of the factors that originally created the difficulties. Is it time to become more of who you really are?

Trauma & Abuse

I have used the symbol of the Evening Primrose flower to represent trauma work. This beautiful wildflower blooms in the dark, just as you too can bloom — even though right now, this night may seem to be the darkest.

Blog Post: Your Brain on Trauma

I use the traditional three-stage standard protocol. Calming and grounding techniques are an important beginning to the work. We also explore how past beliefs and historic coping mechanisms might be negatively influencing the present.

It’s understandable that many who have experienced trauma and abuse are reluctant to approach that pain. Our culture encourages people to “just get over it," and to "suck it up buttercup.” Trite sayings such as these do nothing to acknowledge the suffering inflicted by historical trauma and abuse. As well, men and women experience trauma differently. I have a speciality in working with men who have experienced trauma.

There is a lot of exciting work being done in this area by Daniel Goleman, Daniel Siegel, Gabor Mate, Allan Schore and many others.  Read more about their work in trauma.

CBC: How childhood trauma can have a life-long impact on health


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Short-Term Therapy

Goal-setting is the hallmark of this approach, and the therapist is more active in sessions than is typically the case in traditional psychotherapy. Most often when Short-Term Therapy is used, a cognitive, behavioural, or cognitive-behavioural approach to treatment is taken. Goals must be realistic, concrete and measurable. Learn more from the Institute for Solution-Focused Therapy.

Grief and Loss

We each experience loss and bereavement at some point in our life. Indeed, it is a right of passage that is inescapable if we are to live a truly human life. Loss can mean many things: the death of a loved one, the passing of a pet or the loss of a job. In fact, any life transition involves the loss of something so we can move on to something new.

A lot has been written about the stages of bereavement that Kubler-Ross described. However, there are more holistic ways of perceiving and newer methods of working with this all too common life experience. I see it as a process of adaptation. This honours the agency, the strengths and the wisdom that are already present in the person, which can be used to help them through the grieving process. Read about William Worden's four tasks of mourning.


Couples Therapy – using Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)

This form of therapy was developed by Dr. Sue Johnson. The main goal is to create a secure bond between romantic partners and to expand important emotional responses. It strengthens the relationship by working to improve communication, respect and harmony between the partners.  

EFT is a practical therapy that has been used successfully in relationships and marriages for many years. It generally only lasts between six to twenty sessions and has been shown to be effective in 90% of relationships. Read more about this exciting new approach from Dr. Sue Johnson.

Dream Therapy

Dreams speak to us from our Self, our Soul, and our Unconscious. Using dreams to inform our conscious life is not about using a one-size-fits-all handbook to interpret the dream symbols. It involves a journey into the person's lived experience and their unique meaning of the dream symbols. Dream therapy can be very powerful and a very useful approach to augment other types of therapy. Learn more from Jungian psychologist Marion Woodman.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Counselling or therapy?

Counselling can also be called talk therapy. It involves sitting down with a trained professional to explore situations, behaviours, thoughts, feelings and even dreams that have been causing distress, pain or anxiety. The concerns that can be brought to the therapy session are as wide and broad as human experience itself. As the counsellor, I will bring all my skills, training and wisdom to support you in getting to the place you want to go.

How do I know if therapy will work?

Evidence-based research has shown there is a high degree of success when the therapist and client together have created a bond based on respect and trust. That is important to me. I think therapy is both a science and an art. You have my commitment to form a partnership with you. Success also depends on the motivation of the client to invest time and energy toward their healing.  

Who will know if I go to therapy?

Only the people you tell will know. Everything you say in a session is held in strictest confidence.

There are three exceptions to this confidence that are explicitly explained at the first session:

  • if the counsellor has reason to believe a child may be at risk of abuse or neglect,

  • if the client is at risk of harming self or others,

  • if there is a legal subpoena for the client's file.

In these situations the counsellor is legally required to contact other community and/or social agencies like Emergency Medical Technicians, Victoria Police Department or the Ministry of Children and Family Development. If there is a subpoena, the file goes to the lawyer requesting it.

Will my counsellor tell me what to do or solve my problem for me?

No. This is a common misconception. Counsellors rarely, if ever, give advice or suggestions. They may offer various breathing and grounding techniques if anxiety is the issue, as I do, for example. No one can solve another person's problems. I will work with you to form a partnership of trust where we explore the various factors informing your concerns.  

What does therapy cost?

Among counsellors costs vary widely, as do payment options. British Columbia Medical Services Plan does not cover the cost of counsellors. Group insurance, employee wellness benefits, cash and credit cards are generally accepted. Many counsellors have a sliding scale and their fees are posted on their web site.

My fees are at the lower end of the scale at $80 for an individual and $100 for couples. I accept cash and provide receipts to claim toward group health insurance plans. 


When should I go see a Therapist?

Ask yourself these question:

  • "Am I coping with this situation/struggle as well as I would like to be?"

  • "Can I think of any other solutions on my own?"

If you answered “no” to either of those questions, then perhaps therapy will open new doors and insights for you to pursue. It is likely the therapy, even just a few sessions, will get things moving for you again and get you past any blocks that have been impeding your progress.

How long do I have to go to therapy?

Everyone is different. Issues that involve daily life or co-workers might only need a few sessions; situations that are longstanding or concern trauma and abuse are layered and may take more time and dedication to get to a place of healing.  

Some of the techniques I employ include:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

  • Solution Focused Therapy

  • Developmental Theory

  • Attachment Theory

  • Tri-phasic model for Healing Trauma and Abuse

  • Healing Shame Therapy

  • Gender issues in Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Therapy

  • Dream Therapy

  • Breathing and Grounding techniques

Can't I just read a self-help book and get the same benefit as seeing a counsellor?

No. Whereas there are many useful and well-written self-help books, their advice is meant for a general audience, not your unique situation. It is just not the same as forming a trusting relationship with a trained professional. I become an ally in your life. A book cannot replicate the power of being witnessed, seen and heard.

Can't I just take medication and get better?

For some situations like depression, evidence has shown that the gold standard of treatment is medication plus counselling. However for most situations, the mental and emotional aspects of the issue still need to be processed and sorted. Primary care physicians do not do that sort of work.

Therapists do that work, but please note that counsellors do not prescribe or suggest medication.

I encourage clients to consult with their physician and I work openly and in conjunction with the client's medical practitioners on the client's request.




2016 - Certificate in Healing Shame, Bret Lyon & Sheila Rubin

2012 - Current Registered Member of BCACC (British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors)

2012 - Certificate in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, EMDRIA

2011 - Master of Counselling, City University of Seattle

2006 - Certificate in Counselling Skills, COSCA (Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland),

1986 - Bachelor of Arts, with Distinction, Brock University

About Marilyn Sundeen

At mid-life I experienced a life crisis that brought me to my knees. I needed to make some changes and to reconsider the meaning of my life. That time of transition eventually led to my change of career and my decision to become a therapist.

I went back to school and earned my Masters in Counselling in 2011. In addition to offering a private practice service, I am engaged by several local agencies, providing therapy for those suffering with grief and loss and assisting survivors of historical physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

I continue to expand and refine my professional skills, which build on traditional practices. I offer a holistic approach that includes body, mind and spirit. As well, personal growth work is an ongoing practice for me.

I am a current member in good standing with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC), since 2012.


BCACC is dedicated to enhancing mental health all across British Columbia. We're dedicated to providing the highest standard of professional counselling, consulting, assessment, testing and training services.

Contact Marilyn

Weekday, evening and Saturday appointments available.

Please feel free to call or email me with questions, or to book an appointment:


What will my first Counselling session be like?

In your first session I will welcome you into the office and offer water, tea or coffee.

Then, we will read through a “Consent to Counselling” form so that you understand confidentiality and the limits of confidentiality.

Next, we will go through an intake form to get some background about you, your life, your family, your medical history, your resources and your goals.

We will spend quite a bit of time focusing on what it is you want to achieve. The clearer our understanding is of your desires, the easier and quicker we can achieve them.


Individual: $80.00 per hour. Couples: $100.00 per hour.  

First session is 90 minutes with first half hour free

Name *



Westshore Langford location
#204-2780 Veterans Parkway, Langford/Colwood, British Columbia
V9B 3S6
Phone: 250-642-0047 
Ask about our Sooke location




David W. Stewart Ph.D.

"I have known Marilyn for six years, first as a graduate student, and then supervising some of her work as a practising clinician. She is a very reliable therapist who brings great personal presence and compassion to those with whom she works. She demonstrates tireless interest, advocacy, integrity and professionalism in her work and does not shy away from complex client situations. She will stay with you through the hard parts. I trust her work."

Dana Simard, RCC, ATR, RYT (200) 

"Marilyn is lovely; she is compassionate, kind, and will never be intimidated by even the biggest and scariest emotions. She truly listens and will walk each step of your journey alongside you! She is comfortable working within various therapeutic frameworks and will tailor her array of knowledge to the needs of her clients. She is professional and capable — an asset to the helping community!"

George Bielay, MSc., RCC, RMFT

"Intuitive, knowledgeable and informative. Marilyn is an effective counsellor, and has helped individuals and couples from matters ranging from communication, mood, to trauma."


"My partner and I saw Marilyn Sundeen for couples counselling.  Marilyn was very knowledgeable, professional and provided a safe place for our work.  Her explanations of Attachment Theory were particularly helpful.  We always felt heard and understood."