Dr. Janine Nelson - Registered Psychologist

Dr. Janine holds a PsyD. in Clinical Psychology and is registered with the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP #3338) and the College of Psychologists of British Columbia (CPBC #2625). Dr. Janine is a member of the Psychologists Association of Alberta (PAA) and the Canadian Registrar for Health Services Psychologists (CRHSP). Dr. Janine has conducted extensive research and now holds expertise in the areas of: trauma and PTSD, grief/loss and resiliency, interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB), psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), in addition to the neuroscience of the mind/brain/body system as it relates to both psychological and overall health.

Dr. Janine has over 26 years of experience working in the counselling and mental health field, 15 years as a registered psychologist. In private practice since 2005, Dr. Janine treats individuals for a variety of mental health and wellness concerns: anxiety, depression, trauma/attachment, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addictions/co-current disorders, chronic pain, challenging life events/circumstances. Dr. Janine also has master level certification in clinical hypnotherapy and meditation practice, which, in addition to what is mentioned above, is appropriate for helping with weight loss and smoking cessation. Dr. Janine possesses specific training/expertise in psycho-educational and other formal standardized assessment.

Dr. Janine was raised on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, and, other than intermittently relocating for university studies, has resided and worked in the Provost/Wainwright area for most of her life. Dr. Janine is married to a second-generation farmer and considers rural living her forever home. Dr. Janine is familiar with the challenges that come with rural living and understands the limited availability of health/wellness resources in the area. She strives to provide the quality of care that our community deserves, without the long drive or extra expense of travel for specialized services. Given the high population of military Veterans in the Wainwright area, Dr. Janine's treatment focus has evolved to offer specific expertise in supporting Veterans in the Veterans Affairs Canada program, whether in the assessment and vocational rehabilitation stage, or in the supportive maintenance phases of treatment.      

Get Inside Dr. Janine's Head

Why is your clinic called "Phoenix Counselling & Psychological Services"?

Many folks are aware of the mythical bird, the Phoenix who after burning and disintegrating into ashes, rises from the ash reborn and renewed. The Phoenix is also the female dragon in Chinese mythology. I have always loved the story of the Phoenix's resiliency, strength, and hope. I think it's a great metaphorical and literal "mascot" for facilitating the sometimes very emotional painful growth and eventual triumph that we will likely experience along the psychotherapy journey.

What drew you to becoming a psychologist?

Upon my graduation from high school, I had intentions of going to university to become a lawyer. Boy did I even not know myself - no offence to lawyers, but really not my jam at all!...I now know that was not a path that was meant for me, but it took my own 17-year-old self's experience with physical and psychological trauma that led me to needing psychotherapy support myself. It was the deeply supportive and patient facilitation of my healing from the therapist I saw at that time that opened my eyes (and heart!) to the positive impact that counselling psychology can have on lighting and re-routing even the darkest of paths. I was without hesitation drawn into the world of psychology, and along the way, I've become pleasantly surprised how I evolved into being grateful for the trauma I experienced that led me to change my educational path and shape me into who and where I am today.

What keeps you in the psychology profession?

I am infinitely humbled and inspired by the people I encounter who have endured what is sometimes intolerable darkness, trauma, pain, and all forms of suffering...and still they survive - and many times even come to thrive. There is no greater gift than being invited into another human being's intimately protected and sometimes abandoned parts of themselves and being granted their trust. I do not take lightly the risk and courage it takes to just inherently trust another human being because of their credentials, or extensive training, or impressive background detailed on a website. I am just another human being like every else, after all, and almost all of the time, clients are coming for support because they have experienced pain that comes from other humans or human-created systems - whether it be intentionally inflicted or not. So, really, if you distill it all down, every day when I go to work, my job becomes pretty simple: to bring joy and facilitate healing. The real work is taken on by the client. I'm just invited to witness the profound sacredness of another human being's healing.

What do you do to maintain good physical and psychological health?

I do all the regular things that "therapist people" commonly do: running, yoga, meditation, breathwork, reading, travelling (although I don't like to venture far, I love a good "staycation" - so really, just enjoying downtime would be a better way to describe my "travel"). I also love Love, and am both thankful for and giving of love to those who are dear to me (humans, animals, and plants), but also really love to spread love around to anyone I encounter. I am pretty severely introverted, so I'm really conservative with my "energy" and you may find me just enjoying solitude (even though I still love you, but from a distance, you know?)...I am quite conscious of what I "ingest" into my body, whether that be food/nutrition, the news and social media, or just being around different "sources" of energy.

Do you have a favourite author or book?

My favourite author since adolescence has been Margaret Atwood. I also enjoyed the Harry Potter series, which I started reading because I was working with children and its popularity with that age demographic at the time (who knew I would end up reading the series for me!). More recently, I have been reading (and loving!) Richard Wagamese's work, particularly "Embers", "One Story, One Song", and "A Quality of Light". I have also re-read the book, "The Untethered Soul" by Michael Singer multiple times - it's a mantra for living that doesn't feel "mantra-y". As for psychology author's works, I'm drawn to anything by Irvin Yalom (fiction and textbooks), and I resonate with Dr. Janina Fischer's work/research in treating trauma. Finally, I have a friend who is a retired psychologist turned author, Terry Wilton, who has written and published two novels, "A Greater Good" and "An Incoming Tide", both themed around the dysfunctional psychological dystopia of humans and human systems and the painful journey of healing they encounter.

What about favourite movies or TV shows?

Well, I'm not much of a "screen watcher" (and I pretty much don't exist on social media either), but since you're asking...spoiler alert above because I'm always willing to re-watch any of the movies from the Harry Potter movie series. I saw the movie "Spaceballs" when I was an adolescent and still to this day, find the humour and satire of that movie timeless - I still quote some of the infamous lines from the characters! "The Good Place" was a TV show I found myself motivated to watch all the episodes of (and I will rarely start and even more rarely finish any TV series). And, full disclosure, the TV series "90 Day Fiancé" is my guilty pleasure. I've watched a few seasons now and still can't really believe or figure out why I keep watching it, but, hey, you asked....

Who are your heroes?

My husband Kyle, my sister Elaine, my friend Arlene (not necessarily in that order, but probably also in that order).

I have admired the story and success of Oprah Winfrey for many years - whether you like her or not, she has accomplished what seems impossible for her background, generation, gender, and cultural identity.

Dolly Parton is another trailblazing woman whom, for many of the same reasons as Oprah, I admire the tenacity, success, and humanity of such an iconic person - and her music is timeless. I am a fan!

Chanel Miller is a woman who you may have never heard of, but she is a hero I never knew I needed in my life. For years, Chanel Miller was known in legal proceedings as "Emily Doe," the woman assaulted while unconscious by Brock Turner, a star swimmer at Stanford University. She has now introduced herself to the world, wanting everyone to know her name and her face, identifying herself in a memoir "Know My Name" (also one of my favourite books that I forgot to mention).

Finally, but not the least of important as all those whom I've had the honour of coming to know through my work. Every one of them is in some way a hero to me and I hope themselves. Particularly veterans are heroic - not just because of their service to our country, but for the battles they continue to fight long after the wars and the accolades are over.

What career or research goals do you have for the future?

Honestly, I'm so intrigued and fascinated by the re-emerging research and treatment focus on psychedelic assisted therapy. Not to mention the attention that using psychedelics as a healing tool are gaining in popular culture. I've included it my continuing competency plan, where I've already engaged in professional development and training in this area to help me prepare for what I believe will be a future in psychotherapy where psychedelics are just another modality that could be helpful to some clients who are deeply wounded and stuck in progressing their wellness journey.

I've wanted to write a book for a while now, but time always evades me (probably motivation and getting past the intimidation of writing are more problematic, but I like to use time as an excuse). Topic and genre also keep changing. Maybe one day it'll all come together?...

What's your best piece of advice?

First, never give advice even if (and especially if) someone asks for it. ;)...Seriously though, to be honest, it's Breathe. That's it. Learn to use your breath to regulate your nervous system so you can show up as your best self to any difficult situation - whether the difficulty is coming from internal or external sources. Your breath always has your back (the nervous system is partially located in the spine, after all)!