About joelle lazar, vancouver-based holistic psychotherapist…

Since 2013, I have honed my holistic psychotherapy approach, and helped countless people say goodbye to anxiety, depression, and self sabotaging patterns that perpetuate low self worth, isolation, loneliness, and shame.

My style is warm and compassionate, but honest and direct. 

By being present, I can help you see yourself in a new way, and have compassion for how your history and upbringing have shaped the person you are today.  

Empathy and unconditional positive regard from a therapist can provide temporary relief, but for deep meaningful change, we need to challenge the patterns that perpetuate suffering. 

True healing happens when we face the shadow parts of the psyche with a loving ally, and discover our core is unbreakable and whole. 

I can help you awaken self compassion and excitement about life!

“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. ”

— Carl Jung

Joelle Lazar, Registered Clinical Counsellor

My areas of Practice:

I provide effective treatment for many issues, such as:

Where I’ve worked:

I began my private practice In 2013, and from 2016 to 2018 I also worked part time alongside the psychiatric team at the Mood Disorder Association of BC.

At MDABC I worked with complex cases of depression, anxiety, trauma, OCD, Bipolar, and personality disorders.

To meet the needs of my growing private practice, I left MDABC in 2018.

Click here for a full list of my training and professional experience.

How we Heal:

I believe that the capacity to heal lives inside us.

My role is to be attuned to your needs and goals, and help you access the healing force inside of you.

Protective strategies that outlive their usefulness become obstacles to connecting more deeply with our feelings, the healing force within us.

Core feelings live in the body. They are made of sensations, impulses, and meaning, and they function like an internal GPS.

Through our core feelings we know what we need and want, and have the energy and motivation to make positive change!

Core feelings uproot self defeating patterns that undermine our ability to be assertive and advocate for ourselves.

I help my clients to process and move beyond their painful past, and discover their true strength, confidence, and joy!

My Approach:

I am committed to improve my skills and competency, and engage in ongoing clinical supervision, and professional training that is evidence-based and attachment oriented.

The following Therapeutic Techniques inform my approach to therapy:

Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy:

ISTDP is effective at helping people gain relief from self sabotaging patterns and anxiety in the most efficient amount of time possible. Outdated, protective strategies block core feelings that were a threat to our earliest attachment relationships. Learning to regulate anxiety and be present with our core feelings nurtures self compassion, and revitalizes our lives and relationships.

Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy:

AEDP Therapists are focused on fostering a safe, attuned container for their clients to process overwhelming emotions associated with previous trauma. AEDP’s theory of change has roots in interpersonal neurobiology, affective neuroscience, attachment theory, emotion theory, body-focused approaches, and transformational studies.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy:

DBT is a form of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy that develops the core skills of Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, Emotion Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. It is especially helpful for people whose nervous systems need help to regulate intense emotions and self destructive behaviours.

Internal Family Systems Therapy:

IFS Therapists help their Clients become familiar with Firefighter, Protector, Manager, and Exiled parts. Our parts do different jobs to keep anxiety at bay. A Manager part that drives overworking and perfectionism to elude a deep sense of unworthiness, can learn to step back, and make space for the wounded child part. Healing is the culmination of validating and valuing all of our parts and becoming an integrated self – compassionate, curious, creative, calm, confident, courageous, and connected.

Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing:

EMDR uses alternating bilateral stimulation, either through eye movement, pulsers or tapping (knees or arms) to process traumatic material. Through the eight phase EMDR protocol, which includes history taking, client preparation, assessment, desensitization, installation, body scan, closure and reevaluation of treatment, negative cognitions (the harmful beliefs left over by the imprint of trauma), are transformed into positive cognitions, and a felt sense of confidence, safety, and empowerment endures.

Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy:

Developed by Stan Tatkin, PACT helps couples to develop secure functioning by attenuating negative reactions, building a safe, connected couple bubble, and having your partner’s owner’s manual to foster connection and resilience. PACT helps partners navigate their insecure attachment patterns so their relationship can become the deep, treasured home they always wanted.

There’s Magic in Connection

I’ve always enjoyed talking to people.

There is magic in the art of listening well, not just to what’s said but to the tone of voice, facial expressions, movements, beliefs, and emotions.

I love writing, and appreciate a good story, especially one in which the hero goes through very difficult experiences and triumphs.

Each of us is somewhere on our own hero’s journey.

I enjoy adventures to new places both out in the world, and within myself as I ride a bike, climb or ski a mountain, dance, sing, pick up a pen, paint brush, or try something totally new!

My long term relationship with Eastern philosophy, meditation, and yoga began when my mother moved to India when I was six years old.

I am grateful for my powerful, and loving lineage. My grandparents on both sides studied yoga, and pursued healing through meditation and natural foods.

My paternal grandmother survived the Holocaust, and eventually became a yoga teacher to heal her body and her heart.

My maternal grandmother read Louise Hay, and sought solace in prayer.

My husband, a cancer survivor and an above-knee amputee, has taught me the importance of slowing down, and using our connection with each other to recharge.

I have two sons, one who is on the Autism Spectrum, and has an intellectual disability, another with ADHD.

Navigating  challenges in my family  when the stress of life outweighed my available energy was difficult, but it taught me to pause, breathe, and hold hope when I didn’t feel hopeful.

I am committed to see my mistakes as teachers, and whenever possible make reparations.

When I can be more accepting of myself, I can love well, and this is my most important legacy.

Professional Credentials

I am registered clinical counsellor, member #11405 in good standing with the British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC).

Having accrued over 1200 hours of yoga training and clinical experience, I am registered with the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

While I do not currently offer yoga therapy, my studies in Vipassana meditation, sound healing, and other expressive arts healing modalities do inform my holistic approach.

Summary of Training


January 2022 to January 2025 – ISTDP Core Training with Diane Byster (four 3 day modules each year).

Experiential / Attachment Oriented Therapy:

Apr 2023 – Trial Therapy Seminar and Supervision with Patricia Coughlin (Seven hours, online.)

Nov 2022- Exploring the Intersection of ISTDP and Couples Therapy with Diane Byster (five hour seminar)

Oct 2022- Love Is In the Air, International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association conference in Venice Italy (Four full days of presentations by leading Master Therapists, and other up and coming Therapist innovators)  

July 2022- Fragility Seminar with Dr. Allan Abbass (4 hrs, once per month for a year).

May 2022 – Bringing Structural Change  in the Fragile Patient: 3-Day Immersion with Dr. Allan Abbass

April, May 2022 – Treating PTSD with ISTDP with Joel Town, 14 hrs.

February 2022 – Working in the Transference with the Fragile Patient with Joel Town, 7 hrs.

January 2022 – Recognizing and Resolving Sexual Conflicts in ISTDP with Patricia Coughlin, 8 hrs.

October 2021 – An Audio Visual Introduction to Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy with Marvin Skorman, Jackie Meltz, and Johannes Kieding, 6 hrs.

October 2021 – The Power of Small Wins in ISTDP with Reiko Ikemoto-Joseph, 3.25 hrs.

September 2021 – Waiting for the Emotion Revolution with Allan Abbass and Les Greenberg, 3.5 hrs.

June 2021 – Moderate and High Resistance in ISTDP: A 3 Day Immersion with Allan Abbass, 3 X 7 hrs.

Feb 2021 – Mastering the Art of the Trial Therapy with Patricia Coughlin, 8 hrs.

Jan 2021 – Working with Adolescents and Youth using ISTDP with Allan Abbass Course, 3 hrs.

Oct 8, 2020 – Working with Splitting and Dissociation in a Fragile Patient, with Jon Frederickson – 8 hrs.

Sept 06, 2020 to the Present- Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy with Veronica Kallos-Lilly (20 hrs as of May 2021.)

Jul 28- Sep 29, 2020 – ISTDP. Experiential Dynamic Therapy: The Theory and Technique of Emotion-Focused, Experience-Near Psychodynamic Psychotherapy an Introduction, with Lindsay Chipman MA and Mark Vail Psy D – 20 hrs.

Jul 8-11, 2019 – Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples, Externship with Vancouver Couples and Family Institute, with Yolanda von Hockauf and Veronica Kallos-Lilly

Sep 2018 – AEDP Master Class: Fierce Love with Sue Anne Piliero

Feb 2018 – July 2018 – AEDP Core Skills Training

Feb 2017 – AEDP Immersion with Diana Fosha, Vancouver, BC.

Sep 2017 – AEDP Master Class: Spirituality in Psychotherapy with Danny Leung, Vancouver, BC.

Nov 2014 – Therapist & Client Actively Directing the Process of Neuroplasticity – Beatriz Winstanley, M.Ed., Psych, Van, BC.

Oct 2014, Jun 2014, Nov 2016 – AEDP Cascadia Community Presentations, Vancouver BC.

Aug 2014 – AEDP Workshop: Struggling with Transformance, Vancouver, BC

Oct 25, 2013 – Catalyzing Secure Attachment (AEDP) with Benjamin Lipton, Vancouver, BC.

Collaborative Divorce:

Feb 2023  Basic Training Collaborative Model of Dispute Resolution, UBC Robson Square (Three day training, eight hours each day).

Case Management:

Jul 2015 – DSM 5 Overview Course, Adler University, Van, BC.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

May 2016 – Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Training

Dec 2016 – Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) Training


Jan, May 2023- Diane Byster Couples Case Consultation Group Supervision (2 hr meeting)

Sep 2022- – Group Supervision with Jon Frederickson (three 1.5 hour meetings).

Sep 2022 – Mar 2023- ISTDP Group Supervision with Jonathan Entis (3.5 hrs monthly for six months).

Jul 2022 – Present- ISTDP Supervision with Diane Byster

Jul 2018 – Apr 2023 – ISTDP Supervision with Jessie Langlois

Jul 2016-Jan 2019 – AEDP Supervision with Richard Harrison, Dale Trimble, Patricia Rowe, Maria Angelina

Jun 2014 – Supervision and Group Training in Gestalt with Dr. Bea Mackay, Phd, Vancouver, BC


Feb 15 – 16, 2020 – Andrew Leeds, Defenses and Affect Restructuring with EMDR, Vancouver BC.

Apr 29-30, 2019 – Janina Fisher, Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Transformational Approaches to Treating Complex Trauma

Oct 2017 – EMDR Basic Training, Vancouver, BC.

Apr 2013 – Bessel Van Der Kolk, New Frontiers in Trauma Treatment, Vancouver, BC

Nov 2013 – Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Level 1, Vancouver, BC

Sep 2012 – Apr 2013 – Motivational Dialogue, Feedback Informed Treatment (FIT), Marital & Family Therapy, Group Work with Teens, The Power of Connection,  Assisting Survivors of Trauma (30 hrs), Share Family Services Internship Training Program, Port Moody, BC.


May 2022 to July 2022- Tools for Parenting Children with ADHD (16 hrs over 8 weeks)

Neuro & Gender diversity:

Feb 13 – 14 2013 – Zooming in on Social Communication, Richmond, BC.

Feb 15, 2013 – Friend 2 Friend Facilitators Workshop, Van, BC.

Apr 2012 – Transgender Positive Practice , Vancouver, BC

Expressive & Play Therapies:

Nov 23, 2019 – Lisa Dion Synergetic Play Therapy Workshop

Conferences / Presentations:

Feb 2019 – Trauma Informed Care for Registered Massage Therapists. I presented at Vancouver College of Massage Therapy

Nov 2019 – Wired Together: Self, Science and Society, Richmond, BC. I presented on Fierce Love: Therapist Presence in the Face of Passive Suicide.

Apr 2018 – Mindful Parenting. I presented at BCACC’s Mindful Living.

Feb 2017 – Body Centered Psychotherapy. I presented at BCACC’s Mindful Living.

Feb 2016 – Mindfulness For Managing Stress. I gave this workshop at Kwantlen College.

Jun 2015 – Mindfulness At Play. I gave this workshop at Stretch Yoga.

Feb 2015 – This is Your Brain on Mindfulness: The Science and Practice of Mindfulness for Optimal Health & Well Being. I gave this workshop at Stretch Yoga.

May 2012 – Narrative Therapy Conference. I attended this workshop in Vancouver, BC.


Oct 2014 – Oct 2015 – Vancouver Coastal Health. I was a SMART Recovery Facilitator, and yoga teacher for those struggling with substance abuse.

Feb 2014- Jun 2015 – Friends For Life. I provided counselling for those in treatment for cancer ALS, and AIDS