Sherwood Park, Alberta – To recognize what an abusive relationship looks like requires that we understand abuse takes many forms. Abuse is about power and control; it doesn’t always mean physical violence.
According to psychologist Brandi Gruninger, if people can understand the nature of abuse, they may be able to extract themselves from these relationships earlier or even avoid them altogether.
Gruninger is the founder of Evolution Psychology, a cognitive behavioral therapy practice dedicated to improving the lives of women, children and families. With an unbridled passion for women’s issues, Gruninger spent eight years working with non-profit organizations offering support to women leaving abusive relationships.
“I’ve always been a strong proponent of women’s issues,” says Gruninger. “The YWCA was a fit from the moment I arrived there. There were no perks, but it was a wonderful learning opportunity."
With her warm and empathetic approach to therapy, Gruninger’s clientele have followed her from the YWCA to Evolution Psychology where she helps clients modify their self-defeating thoughts to adapt to stressful environments, childhood trauma and symptoms of anxiety and depression.
“We can’t explicitly change someone’s feelings or behavior by telling them to think differently,” says Gruninger. “What we can change and modify is the thoughts and beliefs, the instigators of our behavior. Why do you believe that about yourself? How do those beliefs manifest? Then we look at actively challenging those beliefs.
“It’s always been my dream to have my own practice and have it look and sound and feel like what I want it to be,” says Gruninger: “I’m most proud that I’ve been able to create a space where people immediately feel welcome, calm and supported.”
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