About Will Bratt
My Passion is Helping People Heal
Throughout the course of my life, nothing has given me more joy than being helpful to others. Long before I became a professional counsellor, I found motivation in helping others in whatever ways I could. Through first-hand experience, I learned the value of listening and the importance of giving thoughtful, compassionate responses. Through much of my early life, I was the person my loved ones knew they could count on to help. I made being helpful the backbone of all my interests and pursuits.
Language and Violence
As I matured, I sought out an undergraduate education in Psychology. This helped lay the foundation for honing my existing knowledge and skills. With the completion of my Masters degree in Counselling Psychology, I was at last able to be of service in a truly expert manner. Through my education and professional training, I became equipped to help others in deeper, more profound ways. Today, the combination of my theoretical knowledge and extensive frontline experience gives me the ability to help people create real change.
My first job in the counselling field was working with children and youth responding to domestic violence. Since that time, my interest in anti-violence work has helped me connect with colleagues and mentors doing inspiring, groundbreaking work. One area that I’m especially interested in is the relationship between language and violence.
The way we talk about things shapes our understandings of them. This is especially true when talking about violence. Inaccurate accounts inform how we respond to both victims and perpetrators. They make it more likely for victims to receive judgmental responses, while perpetrators are less likely to be held accountable.
Research shows the importance of how we respond to victims after they experience something awful like an assault. Victims who receive negative responses are far more likely to suffer in the long term. This knowledge informs much of my work with survivors of trauma and violence.
I’ve done my own research around how Canadian anti-violence agencies talk about violence and victims’ responses to it, and have presented at international conferences on the subject. I’m always interested in helping people responding to violence restore their sense of safety, dignity, and make changes to their lives for the better.
Men's Issues and Gender
As a man, I’ve taken both a personal and professional interest in understanding gender issues. I recognize that there are particular social and cultural expectations for all people, based on their gender identity. Through hundreds of conversations over the years, I’ve come to see how many of these expectations can be restrictive for people of any gender.
Historically, men have been expected to be “strong”, unemotional, dominant, and primary financial providers. While many men may identify with these expectations, and even find some value in them, they can also impose restrictions that make it hard to live rich, full lives. A growing number of researchers see relationships between these expectations and the many mental and physical health problems men face.
While these issues have certainly improved over the years, our society is not yet out of the woods. More and more men are taking an interest in reclaiming what they’ve lost to these unrealistic expectations. My interest is always peaked when men come to me wanting to explore their relationship to masculinity and things they’d like to be different.
Since my teenage years, music has been a cherished part of my life. Before I became a therapist, I was fortunate to play in bands – one of which allowed me to see much of North America. When I’m taking it easy, I love reading novels, and books about philosophy and therapy. All of these practices help to bring balance to my life, and support me in sustainable ways.
When I’m away from my counselling office, I love to spend my time engaged in enlivening activities. I find great joy in exploring the beauty of Vancouver Island, spending time with loved ones, and being active. Humour has always been of great importance to me, and I take a light-hearted approach to much of my personal life.