Laura Bradley is the clinical director and a therapist at Steadfast Counselling, a couples, individual and group counselling centre with offices in North Vancouver and New Westminster. Laura’s interest in counselling started when she suffered with postpartum depression after the birth of her son and she now specializes in relationships, postpartum adjustment, family dynamics and parenting.
What were you doing before you opened your business?
I have always found it tricky to only do one thing–I think I came into this world with a passion for life and being engaged with people.
I worked for a counselling practice as an associate counselor specializing in relationship counselling. I was working for a non-profit collective on Commercial Drive supporting women and their families experiencing a postpartum depression. As well, I was (and still am) teaching Practionar’s Training, a three-year personal growth and counselor training program. I am also a mom of three wonderful children (now 7,19 and 21)!
What inspired you to start your company?
I really believe in people. I believe that we have so much untapped power and influence in our own lives. I do not mean we can control the “contents” of our lives, however, I believe we have so much more influence over the experience of our lives then we give ourselves credit for. So for me, I really wanted to support people to live a life that felt meaningful to them.
I had also worked for Gap for five years in management and I really missed running a business and training and developing people. As well, I love hiring new counsellors and supporting their development.
What is your company all about?
We are a team of personal counsellors that are dedicated to supporting people to live a life that matters to them.
What excites you about what you’re doing?
I love seeing people take back their lives. I love seeing people learn to take accountability for their lives and take steps towards creating what they want out of life.
I am also a sucker for love, so when I see a couple or a parent and child involved in a struggle, and someone takes a step back from their painful cycle and reaches out towards the other, to me there is nothing more fulfilling than watching someone extend love, even when there has been a history of pain. The human heart and spirit never cease to amaze me. People often say to me, “how do you hear such hard stories all day long, isn’t it stressful?” and I always think, “No, it is incredible because every single person that walks through my door has the courage to want something different, even in the middle of their mess.”
I get to work with people that have courage and are willing to risk things in order to have a better life. I think I have the best job in the world!
What are some early examples of success?
The moments I cherish the most are when past clients email me to tell me that what they were working towards in counselling is actually being applied in their lives, that they are getting married, having a baby or doing their first art shows. Ultimately, it is their success. However, it’s really nice to know that in some way, our time together has been a bridge towards that happening.
Hiring my first intern counsellor and them becoming an associate was really rewarding as well. Now I have one intern and three associate counselors that work for me.
Are there any charities or organizations you’re involved in?
Yes, I am a member on Committee for Children, a non-profit organization that is working globally to prevent bullying, violence and child abuse. I am also a member of the education committee and the board of directors at Urban Academy, an independent school for Junior Kindergarten to grade 10; I teach the second-year students at Clearmind International Counselor Training and Personal Growth in Transpersonal Psychology; and I am a regular guest for co-op radio network for Conscious Living radio where we do a call-in show that is almost always about love and relationships.
What’s next for you?
Really my next dream is to have a column in our local newspaper about relationships or parenting (I am still working on that one!). I am also putting together some of the homework I give couples so that people who cannot or do not want to come into counselling can try some of the exercises at home.