Paula Coutinho is a clinical mental health clinician and educator registered with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellor (#5819). As a mental health clinician for over a decade, she supports children, youths, and families across the lower mainland. She uses a compassionate and therapeutic approach with a focus on scientific-based and culturally-adapted interventions. She believes in a therapeutic process that aims to balance the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical elements of each person. Paula holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in Psychology from universities in the US and Canada. As a lifelong learner she has continued to develop clinical skills and adoption of the latest tools through several specializations. Her extensive experience and ongoing professional development provides exceptional skills in the treatment of many mental health and behavioral related difficulties.
Paula’s professional experiences include long term positions in both the public and private sectors. She has worked at non-profit residential and vocational community agencies, Fraser Health Authority, Developmental Disabilities Mental Health, Aboriginal Delegated Agency through the Ministry of Child and Family Development. The foundation of Paula’s work is trauma-informed, attachment based and culturally adapted. She specializes in complex trauma, including an active role as trauma therapist serving at a Canada-wide Anti-Human Trafficking Program for survivors of human trafficking. She has humbly supported numerous survivors of transgenerational trauma and abuse. She has worked closely with the First Nation’s Communities supporting children and parents to cope with mental health issues that directly affect the safety of children and youths. Her support is grounded in helping families to cope not only with mental health issues but also with systematic barriers to parenting and recovery.
Paula comes from a multicultural and bilingual backgrounds in Portuguese and Spanish. She has been a strong advocate for mental health services to new immigrants. She promoters the importance of psychological health and supports to navigate the public and private mental health and social services sectors as a new immigrant. She has supported many families to adapt to the changes of a new culture and lessen potential psychological stressors that can impact the acculturation process.
Over the years through her work, Paula has become a strong advocate for social justices and firm believer that early and skilled interventions can help create a fulfilling life beyond loss and trauma. She has helped numerous people change their relationship with pain, suffering and self-destructive behaviors and in turn recreate strong and meaningful relationships for a fulfilling life. Paula’s passion is to therapeutically walk alongside each unique individual, to provide her expertise and to witness inner transformations that lead to positive and meaningful life changes. She uses simple and direct language to explain complex dynamics and systemic issues that can hinder optimal mental wellness. She is grateful to witness each individual progress towards full potential and meaningful lives.
Paula brings warmth, humbleness, and expertise to her clinical practice with individuals across the developmental span. Her approach is one that treasures the attachment bond between individuals, their families, and communities. She cherishes and value’s each person’s cultural elements that contributes to understanding their mental health and recovery. Paula is experienced and trained in a variety of evidenced-based therapeutic approaches, including:
• Trauma informed and Trauma-Sensitive Interventions
• Art and Play Therapy
• Parent-Child Interaction Therapy
• Attachment-Based Family Therapy
• Emotional-Focused Therapy for Individuals and Couples
• Interpersonal Neurobiology
• Mindfulness Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
• Applied Behavioral Analysis & Positive Behavior Support
• Acceptance & Commitment Therapy
• Narrative & Solution-Focused Therapy
• Dialectical Behavior Therapy