Video about Gita Ward helping an ex-soldier with PTSD. Please see full article at the bottom of the page. “Gita gave a damn. My life was saved. My life was spared. ‘Thank you,’ is very small in words, but the meaning in my world is vast.”
About Gita Ward
I am the founder of True Living Counselling. I work with adults and teens who are presenting with a variety of issues and concerns such as addictions, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), relationships, anger management, life stress, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. I am also available for general concerns where you may just need someone to talk to.
I enjoy working in an empathetic and collaborative manner in order to provide you with individualistic service that best suits your needs. I am honoured to be a part of many peoples' journeys to personal growth and wellness. My work energizes me as I see the potential for achieving a life worth living and goals worth achieving. My clients tell me that I am very understanding and non-judgmental and surprised by how fast they feel better by attending therapy. I look forward to meeting you and developing goals together in a collaborative manner to achieve what you want in life. When you are ready for a change or to explore the possibility of change please contact Gita Ward.
My Professional Experience
I have been working in a variety of mental health, addiction and social settings for over 15 years and have a passion for the field. I have extensive experience providing counselling services to various populations in mental health and addictions. I have worked in inpatient, outpatient and community settings. I currently work with Alberta Health Services as a Registered Social Worker providing counselling/psychological services to the adult population.
Education and Training
I graduated from the University of Prince Edward with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and I have a Master's degree in Clinical Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. I strive for ongoing professional development and have completed the following training:
Advanced Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Trauma Informed Relationships
David Burns Advanced Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) Intensive for Anxiety, Depression and Trauma
I am registered with the Alberta College of Social Workers and authorized to Perform Restricted Activities
I love to travel the world to meet new people and learn about all of the amazing cultures the world has to offer. All of the pictures on this website are from different areas I have traveled to and surrounding areas of Okotoks. I am a proud mother of an amazing son whom loves to travel. I love to spend time with my family and my dog, Walter. I strongly believe in giving back to the community and building stronger communities through education, so I started an ongoing bi-yearly scholarship for GED graduates to pursue higher education. I am originally from the East Coast and do enjoy going home to Prince Edward Island once a year to visit the ocean, red sands, family, and eating delicious PEI potatoes, mussels and lobster.
Video and Article about Gita Ward and a Previous Client
Former soldier Dene Graskie says he has spent the last few years fighting “a different war” — this one with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “It’s a lot worse when (the war) is inside your own head and it’s with yourself,” he says. Graskie is grateful he had Gita Ward, an Alberta Health Services social worker with a huge reservoir of toughness and compassion, battling alongside him. Their story is the subject of a new Because You Cared video from Alberta Health Services. “There’s Gita; she’s a girl with a big stick. When I say, ‘girl with a big stick,’ I mean she doesn’t back down,” Graskie says. “So you’re accountable to somebody in your life for the first time when it comes to PTSD.” Graskie grew up in South Africa and joined its military at 17, dealing with the turbulence that rocked the country for more than a decade. He tried to put the past behind him when he and his son moved to Canada in 2005 but, despite living in a peaceful country, he was not at peace himself. “(I had) serious bouts of feeling sad over the slightest thing, sometimes for no reason. But real sadness that would linger and hold,” says the 52-year-old Calgary steelworker. He began distancing himself from his wife Donna and son Terrence, now 24. The fear of losing his family was enough to push Graskie into seeking help from his family doctor, who referred him to Ward at the South Health Campus. “He was very isolated,” recalls Ward. “He had lost his job. He would avoid bridges, he would avoid walking down certain streets, he would avoid crowds.” According to MyHealth.Alberta, PTSD is a mental health condition brought on by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Its symptoms include changes in behaviour, including isolation, relationship and work problems, depression and panic attacks. Most treatments for PTSD involve counselling and medication. And although Graskie knew he needed counselling, it was not an easy process. “It’s very difficult answering very, very personal questions to somebody you don’t know,” he says. “Things you put away for decades that you’ll never speak about again for the rest of your life. Now you must bring them out to the light.” Nor was the process easy for Ward. “When I was hearing Dene’s traumatic stories, on the inside, it was awful,” she says. “But I knew that Dene had to feel confident that I could hear these stories. So it was really important for me to try to regulate myself, keep myself calm and take care of myself after the session.” Graskie’s recovery involved facing his fears. “Part of his homework was he was going to have to put himself in situations that made him feel very uncomfortable,” says Ward, saying she would accompany Graskie to the grocery store and urge him to speak with strangers. “I was horrified,” says Graskie. “I would greet people and ask just mundane questions; 99 per cent of people are pleasant and have no idea why you asked them a question.” Graskie and Ward held their last session this spring after two years of counselling. He’s mending his relationships with his family, he’s working again, and he’s able to be around people without being overcome by fear. “It’s been a different fight. A different war,” Graskie says of his battle with PTSD. He’s grateful to the woman who helped him win it. “Gita gave a damn. My life was saved. My life was spared. ‘Thank you,’ is very small in words, but the meaning in my world is vast.”