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Counsellor provides safe space on the journey of healing

Mari Lee Ayers runs Burden Bearers, which has offices in Sundre and Rocky Mountain House
MVT Conversation, Mari Lee Ayers
Mari Lee Ayers Submitted photo

OLDS — Hope is available for those suffering from depression or who otherwise require healing, according to the operator of a counselling centre in central Alberta.

Mari Lee Ayers runs Burden Bearers, which has offices in Sundre and Rocky Mountain House. She received a Master of Arts in counseling in 2014 from Providence Theological Seminary and is a certified professional counsellor.

Ayers is one of about nine speakers who can be heard during The Conversation Has To Happen (TCHTH), a series on depression and suicide prevention offered in Olds.

In previous years, The Conversation Has To Happen was a one-day seminar. However, for the second year in a row, due to current COVID-19 restrictions it’s being offered in a variety of media.

For the next couple of weeks, interviews with or profiles of TCHTH speakers will be featured in The Albertan as well as 96.5CKFM and Rock 104.5 in Olds.

Ayers helps clients with a wide variety of individual and family issues, including addictions, depression, anxiety, and other concerns. She says she is also an LGBTQ-friendly counsellor.

Ayers works with clients via various therapeutic approaches including emotions focused therapy, neuroscience, attachment therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, and family systems therapy.

“It is my hope to use my calling and gifts to provide a safe, secure space for others to become empowered to heal their lives,” her website says.

“It is an honour to have the opportunity to share in the stories of others and to journey with them toward healing.

“It is my belief that each person and situation is different, requiring a plethora of treatment interventions and strategies to aide people in their healing journey.”

Ayers says currently, she offers a mix of virtual and face-to-face sessions with COVID-19 precautions in place.

In an email, Ayers says her own "journey and struggles with various life issues" led her to pursue a career in counselling. 

"Unfortunately, there are many people who suffer with depression and suicidal ideation, including intent, a plan and access, in which case a safety plan is necessary," she wrote.

Ayers says she has helped families cope the death of a loved one who has committed suicide and "it is one of the hardest conversations to have."

"I am not exactly sure why but death from suicide is the most challenging to process with the family members left behind," she added.