Hi! I’m Katya Sivak!
Registered Clinical Counsellor (#11114)
I I live and do my work on the traditional and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples -Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.
My passion is guiding people to discover who they really are, beyond thoughts and judgments about themselves. My work is a unique combination of western therapeutic approaches, research based neuroscience infused therapy, and Mama Earth Based wisdom from both my Slavic ancestors and my Siberian ancestors in the Altai Mountains.
My Journey here
My ancestors are from Siberia and Ukraine. They were farmers, bee keepers, artists, teachers, and healers and I always felt their endurance, creativity, and wisdom in me. I would say, it is my natural and deep calling to SEE people and help them heal that led me to pursue a psychology & counselling career. And if I am completely honest, it is my own loving to be seen and to heal that has lead me to embark on this professional journey.
I began as a researcher at UBC Behavioural Psychology Labaratory. I was called to investigate Postraumatic Growth of genoside survivors, Astronauts, and women working in the harsh environment of Antarctica. This work opened up some glorious and dark chapters of my ancestral history. I already knew that my people were the first to fly to space, but I also learned some darker chapters of my people’ history. I learned about quiet genocide my Russian ancestors committed against my Ukrainian people. I felt it in my bones and my blood boiled for months. It is a secret that half of my family denies and the other half silently grieves. Diving deeper into my ancestral history, I found out how, on one side of my family tree, my Slavic ancestors were perpetrators of colonial violence against Native Siberian People. And how, on the other side of the family tree, my Native Siberian ancestors were survivors of colonization.
I also realized that research was not for me. I longed to be with people, not research them. When I began my Masters Degree in Counselling Therapy I thought I was on the right path. However upon completion of my degree I was extremely disappointed in my profession. Childhood traumas surfaced, ancestral traumas followed, a sense of not belonging as an immigrant on this land intensified, and therapy did not help. Spirling depression, anxiety and trauma symptoms pushed me into a deep search for healing.
I went through a number of therapists, women’s circles, intuitive healers, shamanic apprenticeship, dreamwork, work with sacred healing plants and finally received deep and profound healing from mama Earth and my Ancestral Medicine. I did not quit my profession, I just became an unconventional therapist who is into research, loves neuroscience and also encourages people to lean into the mystery, connect with their helping ancestors, do ancestral trauma work, talk to the trees, and develop relationship with the Land. I am known to quote recent research papers and also prescribe nature walks and ceremonies in the woods.
Today, I continue to study, seek, listen and learn from the Land, the ancestral, traditional and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, where I settled, live and play. My other studies include work with American psychiatrist Dr. Peter Levine, Canadian physician Gabor Matte, a mystic and dream worker Took-pa, a shamanic practitioner Sandra Ingerman, herbalist Asia Suller, and a wild woman Sabrina Lynn.
On a Personal Note
I identify as cis-gendered presenting-femme female, queer, white-passing, able-bodied, middle-class, parent, and spiritual. When not working with people, I am out in nature - hiking barefoot, swimming in the ocean, foraging for wild herbs, and taking my son and daughter on many forest adventures. I hike barefoot regularly. I love cuddle parties, essential oils, don't kill bugs, and I am a voracious reader. I make lots of mess in the kitchen while cooking amazing dinners and enjoy hosting parties. I adore mangos and sunshine. I love being by the ocean & sounds of the rainforest.
I recognize that my white-passing, cisgender, able-body, straight passing, and settler privileges allowed me to access education centred on colonial learning. I am continuously doing work to decolonize my education.
I hold an undergraduate degree in psychology form University of British Columbia, a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology from University of Victoria and I am a Registered Clinical counsellor with the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors.
I am a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC) with the B.C. Association of Clinical Counsellors, and I'm bound by their Code of Ethical Conduct & Standards of Clinical Practice.
I'm registered as a counselling provider with the Crime Victim Assistance Program, First Nations Health Authority .